“People want honest, flavourful food, not some show-off meal that takes days to prepare” – Chef Ted Allen
Jivhala Maharashtrian Kitchen is a small Maharashtrian street food serving restaurant owned and managed by two brothers since October 2016 in Thakur complex, Kandivali. The word ‘Jivhala’ in the name simply connotes that the food served here is very homely, with a mother’s touch (inspired by the owners’ mother’s recipes) and served from heart.
The decor and ambience is very simple and minimalistic yet clean and tidy with adequately lit interiors.
A refreshingly cool buttermilk with a hint of spice imparted by the green chillies and cumin and mellow citrus tones of ginger that this was, it turned out to be a perfectly soothing beverage to beat the heat!
Their version of the traditional Maharashtrian drink was a smooth and adequately sweet (not overly sweet) blend of buttermilk and shrikhand but could have been thicker. I would have preferred a tad bit more cardamom as well as some saffron (that was missing) which would have rightly imparted the characteristic yellow colour as well as some spice and warmth to this sweet blend.
A wholesome and warm khichdi made of adequately cooked sago pearls having an appealingly light chewy texture that let out a hint of sweetness in the beginning (courtesy the little bit of sugar added to it) and a lingering spiciness imparted by the green chillies. The roasted peanuts added an occasional nutty crunch. This was teamed with some sweet curd that very well complemented it.
While we are all familiar with Kande Pohe, the Dadpe Pohe served here was strikingly different for that was made using thin variety of merely water-soaked (uncooked) poha tossed with a mildly spicy tempering, some lemon juice and plenty of fresh and chewy grated coconut. This is said to be their specialty and it’s needless to say that one MUST try this here.
The thalipeeth served here was an immensely satiating, steamed as well as tava fried blend of seven varieties of flour and spices that was served with copious amounts of ghee on top. I would have preferred much less Ghee as the thalipeeth was absolutely delicious on it’s own and ghee only made it overly greasy. The mildly spicy yoghurt based chutney revealing sharp and vivid pungent tones of garlic and faint nuttiness of groundnuts, turned out to be an absolutely marvellous accompaniment.
Kaali Pav Bhaji
Flavouring the Pav Bhaji with an unusual blend of special in-house Maharashtrian masala mixes, imparted it a beautifully dark colour and a robust flavour reminiscent of that of Punjabi chole. Had it not been for the EXCESS OF SALT, this one would have undoubtedly been a hit!
The Misal Pav served here was again a mouth-watering treat owing to the spiciness of the curry, earthy and wholesome usal, characteristic pungent tones with borderline sweetness imparted by the chopped onions, crunchiness of farsan and the freshness of coriander and lemon.
Cheese Pav Bhaji Toast
These crunchy toasted pav with uber delicious and robust Kaali Pav Bhaji (also having right proportion of salt this time) and generous amounts of grated cheese atop further ensured a happy ending to our meal!
The silky smooth and melting-in-the-mouth milk pudding – Kharvas and the warm, sweet and moist Gajar Halwa, both successfully pacified our sweet cravings with their optimal sweetness and their simplicity!
This is an absolutely no-nonsense and eat-pay-leave kind of a restaurant aiming at swift service where one shouldn’t expect any pampering in terms of service but only delicious and soul satisfying food. They need to work a bit more on improving the speed of the service though, in my opinion. The younger brother (of the owner-duo) who happened to manage the restaurant on the Sunday evening during our visit, was a very warm, welcoming, kind and friendly host who patiently answered all our food related queries and was also very keen on taking feedback and suggestions.
The delicious, satiating and homely food inspired by the owners’ mom’s recipes, the elder brother’s hotel management studies ensuring some hospitality background and the choice of locality where no other eatery serves similar cuisine; all speak loud and clear of a very well done market research and a well executed business strategy. Owing to all the factors mentioned above and the pocket friendly pricing, Jivhala Maharashtrian kitchen is definitely here to stay!
Food quality – 4/5
Food quantity – 4.5/5
Ambience – 3/5
Service – 3.5/5