Khandani Rajdhani, Kurla, Mumbai

Madhulika found the Rajdhani experience at this outlet par for the course.

The tasty, the interesting and the missing

[singlepic id=1725 w=80 h=92 float=left]Say ‘Thali’, and the first thing that comes to my mind is food, traditional food… and loads of it. And when the food place is the newly-opened Khandani Rajdhani in Kurla, the excitement is obvious. Known for its Gujarati thali, served since 1988, Rajdhani is a favourite of many in the city, and need little introduction.

The good thing about Rajdhani is that in spite of it’s upscale décor, the restaurant is pretty Udupi at heart with steel thalis (not round; oblong) and small katoris (bowls) placed on every table that serve as a reminder of the number of dishes in store. The staff is warm and pleasant, a refreshing change from uppity places that strive to appear better than they are. Rajdhani boasts of some 72 daily changing, different, rotating menus with 22,464 delicacies within. So there’s no thinking required about what to order and how much; just relax, wash your hands with the help of the staff and wait to be served!

The menu was Gujarati; disco remix. Snack choices: Sahi Samosa, Dhai Wada, Papad, three kinds of Chutneys, Puran Poli. Main course: Moong dal, Methi Roti, sweet Gujarati Dal, Kadi, Punjabi Curry, Sargwa Sing, Tindola Sambhiya, Steam Rice, Khichdi and Phulka (roti). Sweets: Malpua Rabdi, Malai Sandesh and Pineapple Halwa. We won’t crib about the absence of drinks, though we would have loved a glass of chilled chaach (buttermilk) and jaljeera  (deemed mandatory at most thali places these days) for our parched throats. Oops! Just did.

Hot snacks would have been nice; the lack of heat not allowing us to enjoy them as much as we would have otherwise done. Topping the list was Sahi Samosa. While sahi (right) on taste (good old aloo masala filling), crispiness was miles way. It felt more like a soft version of a stale samosa. Dahi Wada was the second dish to go into our list of not quite there; while the dahi (yogurt) was thick and tasted great, the wada was hard and chewy. We tried a second helping just to be sure that it wasn’t a one off case. Wasn’t. Mini Puran Poli looked quite a sight and lacked bite. Made of gur (jaggery), it was hard all around and gooey in the middle; not the usual, soft, melt-in-your-mouth thing that’s available all around. Steamed rice was the last entry to the ‘not quite there’ list; hard and chewy.

These aside, the fare really went off well, with a few surprises like the Tondli Sambhriya. A dry dish of tondli and coconut, it was surprisingly good aided by lovely, crunchy tondli. You may just start loving it! The mini Methi Paratha emerged as our second common favourite; soft, with mildly crunchy methi within. What really got us going was the utter awesomeness of Sagwa Sing; a thick and spicy gravy of besan and sagwa (drumsticks). The other wonder of the meal was Malpua. Sweet and slightly chewy, it may not have been the best ever but really good nonetheless. I’m sure the Malpua would have tasted great with it’s menu partner, Rabdi, which we were told was over. The promised Pineapple Halwa too was among those missing in action.

How would we rate the experience? A mixed bag. We enjoyed a few of our favorite dishes and indulged in some new discoveries. Should you go? Yes, once at least.

By Madhulika Dash

Madhulika is deeply interested in eating, sniffing, looking at and writing about food among other possible activities. Madhulika enjoys trying different types of food and travelling to distant locations, with the North Pole and Timbuktu prominent in her wish list.

Madhulika covers Mumbai for Chef at Large and can be reached at