Restauranthesis: Banana Leaf, Ghatkopar

It was a Monday evening and with all the festive images posted by friends on social networks; a real bad craving for Onasadya-Onam feast arose and I had to choose the closest diner, it was almost 2130 hrs then.

Floral Rangoli, a sacrament
Floral Rangoli, a sacrament

I reached the venue and it seemed like a fair (read chaos), there was nobody to host people at the entry and 20 odd people stood waiting clueless. The guy who looked like the manager was trying to keep a smile on his face as many seated guests seemed to be complaining, the waiting crowd hounded the poor chap for seats the moment he came close to the entry. I understand that restaurants can end up in situations like these on a Monday evening when they do not expect such numbers! But one thing that irritated me here was a guy; who looked like the owner from his body language just stood in one corner and watched the service collapse, but with a huge smile on his face, maybe he was already making mental notes of his overflowing coffers that night!

I got seated after a 15 minute wait, it was a comfortable one but just that I felt hungry enough to gobble up a dinosaur! The plantain leaf was laid. The items started trickling in the following order Salt, pickle, InjiPuli ( Ginger and Tamarind chutney), banana chips, ripe banana fritters, ripe banana, poppadum, curd,  Sujihalva ( with banana), Pineapple in a coconut gravy, Kabulichana in coconut gravy, Olan (ashgourd in coconut milk), Malabar curry ( Paneer and veggies in coconut milk), neer dosa, keralaparatha, parippupayasam, Curd and finally white rice with sambhar. Within no time I polished it all off and asked for another helping, this time the Malabar curry was replaced with a ripe banana curry in coconut. I really enjoyed it till the last bit.


One thing that struck me at the end was, was it a Kerala feast at all?  The closest it got was with Inji Puli, Olan and the Sambhar. The rest was purely Mangalorean, a meal more fit for a Ugadi (Hindu new year,also called Gudipadva in the west) celebration!  If you count the number of mentions for Banana and Coconut, you will clearly see the stereotyping of Keralite cuisine by the restaurant. They must have spent thousands to advertise the event, wish they had some inkling to invest some of it in a Malabari chef ….sigh!

Great food otherwise, and yes they have a great choice for dosas and idlis in their a la carte selection however it is  south Indian ‘nouvelle” cuisine I would say.


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