As I begin with my 100th post, let me share some wonderful news with you all. Recently, Feedspot featured my blog in their list of “Top 25 Mumbai based food blogs that you must follow in 2018.” Yayyyy! Thank you Feedspot. I’m so elated! You can find the list here.
In this era of globalization, there are only countable restaurants offering a variety of regional cuisines in Mumbai; most of them specializing in Punjabi, Rajasthani, Gujarati, Maharashtrian, and South Indian thalis. Just ask yourself whether you have ever visited a restaurant serving a Sindhi thali. The answer’s no, right? For the uninitiated, Sindhi cuisine refers to the cusine of the Sindhis from Sindh, Pakistan and India. Pre-partition period played a vital role in making this cuisine what it is today. As Sindh was once a part of India, Indian food (predominantly Punjabi and Gujarati food) has largely influenced Sindhi cuisine.
ABOUT THE RESTAURANT:
In Sindhi language, Juss represents the love and magic in the hands of the person cooking the meal. After the successful launch of Sindhful – Mumbai’s first Sindhi food delivery kitchen, in Khar and Andheri West in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the mother-son duo Chef Kanchan Ahuja and Mr. Sannat Ahuja decided to open Mumbai’s first ever restaurant to offer the Sindhi Thali (unlimited), i.e. a lavish spread of Sindhi food on a single plate! Thus, Juss by Sindhful in Khar opened its doors for the public on February 26th, 2018.
Tucked away in the by-lanes of Khar, Juss by Sindhful is a merely 24-seater restaurant exuding warm, welcoming, cosy as well as classy and new-age vibes owing to the wall paintings, pretty yellow lighting, soft instrumental music and the homely yet comfortable seating arrangements.
This one struck a nearly perfect balance between sweet, spicy and tangy flavours to render it an aptly chatpata taste with a lingering sweet aftertaste, owing to the combination of sweet curd, fresh and minty green chutney, sweet saunt chutney, mildly spicy cooked chana dal and plenty of onions letting out characteristic pungent tones and mellowed down sweetness – all served atop crispy, flat and crunchy maida puris, i.e. Pakwan studded with carom seeds, which weren’t too oily either.
These had a wonderfully crispy fried exterior with a moist and tender mix of potatoes and chickpeas within. They were served with a homely, hearty, adequately spiced and delicious Chole (chickpeas curry) and were also accompanied by Pav and Chutney.
Bheeyan Ji Tikki
These were mildly spiced yet oh-so flavourful potato and lotus stem cakes with a moist core and a relatively crunchy exterior, presented on a platter topped with crispy lotus stems as a garnish. I absolutely loved these! Please note that they are a MUST-ORDER.
I was simply bowled over by the deliciousness of these soya mince kebabs. I have never really been a fan of Soya ever – the reason being that I have almost always found soya to be too chewy consistency-wise and realized that soya doesn’t really imbibe the flavours added to it always. I just loved the fact that these kebabs having a slightly crispy exterior simply melted in the mouth and that they were so full of flavour! These are generally served topped with hummus. Sadly, the restaurant ran out of hummus on the day we visited, else, we could have got our hands on the interesting combination.
Tuk Tuk being just a quirky name for the very popular Sindhi snack – Aloo Tuk; these were thin potato slices so comfortingly soft and mushy on the inside with an uber crispy fried exterior dusted generously with a dry and spicy masala that made them so deliciously addictive that one would simply go on and on! These were a part of our thali too, but, we just couldn’t resist ordering for a repeat without the spice dusted atop, and they were equally delectable!
The unique shape of these sun-dried soaked-rice papads deep fried to render them a crispy-crunchy texture was simply eye-catching to begin with, and they tasted just perfect! The green chutney that accompanied almost every appetizer deserves a special mention for it aptly rendered its tangy-spicy and fresh notes and played its part very effectively in further escalating the flavour quotient of every single dish.
Veg Sindhi Thali (Unlimited)
Their vegetarian thali comprises of:
Sanna Pakoda or Aloo Tuk,
Sindhi Curry or Sai Bhaji,
Steamed Rice or Bhuga Chawal,
Gulab Jamun or Sevai Kheerni (limited)
and Rose Sherbet.
Absolutely no complaints regarding the Sanna Pakoda, i.e. the sindhi style onion bhajias which were oh-so yumm! However, if I were to choose between them and the Aloo Tuk, I would always pick the latter; aloo (potatoes) being my primary favourite amongst the very few veggies that I have like since childhood.
Sai Bhaji was a hearty and mildly tangy combination of dal, spinach and other veggies letting out faint earthy notes of spinach in every morsel and consistency-wise was just right (neither too thick nor too runny). Also, it paired so well with the subtle flavour of Bhuga Chawal.
Sindhi Curry was a deliciously tangy curry with a variety of vegetables further revealing a complexity of flavours. Have it with the Steamed White Rice, some crispy Sindhi Papad and some Aloo Tuk, and this becomes such a comforting combination of another level altogether!
I further enjoyed wiping off almost all the dry-fried and mildly spiced Bhindi Basar with their adequately soft and supple Phoolkas as well as their Pooris which weren’t too oily either.
Pooris paired even better with their Aloo Raswale. However, the latter grossly missed out on the characteristic tang of the tomatoes and could also do with a bit more spice; was tasting quite bland and watered down instead.
Singhar Ji Mithai
Singhar Ji Mithai or Sev mithai is one Sindhi speciality that you just shouldn’t miss out when you’re here. This rich and thick dessert crafted using milk, unsalted sev (fried strings of gramflour) and generous amounts of nuts like almonds, pistachios, etc. was simply too scrumptious to resist!
This simple yet flavourful and sweet vermicelli and milk pudding embellished with a plenty of dry fruits like pistachios, also revealed a faint warm and sweet flavour of cardamom.
The Gulab Jamun served here were long, warm, soft and nearly melted in the mouth; undoubtedly delectable!
Their Kesar Lassi was adequately thick consistency-wise and it also had just the right amount of sweetness. The Pink Guava Cooler tasted very much like lemonade with just a faint flavour of the fruit. The Rose Sherbet in the Thali was quite reminiscent of the very popular Rooh Afza.
The service was extremely warm, welcoming and courteous. The attendants were well groomed and attentive. The speed of the service was reasonably fast, and quite consistent throughout the meal.
Food Quality – 4.5/5
Food Quantity – 5/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4.5/5
VFM – NA (This meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu).