I have some affinity to restaurants which have a lot of history to it and a story to tell. One such place is Vaishno Punjab in Chembur camp, founded in 1948 post-partition by a migrant from Karachi. It originally started in a shack with food cooked in pure ghee and with time the demand changed and people deemed ghee unhealthy giving way to refined oil.
We went for dinner on a Monday evening and now the place also has an air-conditioned section. One look at the right hand side of the menu and you will know this place is run for passion and love for people more than profits. Can you imagine Sarson ka Saag at Rs 55 in an A/C restaurant!!! The owner Updesh Sharma a very young by heart 66 year old ensured that we were well taken care of and he did not know about us or the review until the end when he made the Gourmet pitch. Updesh has had a stint in Bollywood as an actor and producer and also assisted with direction where he also doubled up as a caterer for the industry across shooting venues in the country. He has been managing the place since 1968.
We ordered masala papad, aloo gobhi, paneer bhurji, sarson ka saag and makka roti, tandoori rotis and a stuffed paratha. I am not exaggerating but the masala papad is the best I have ever had, the combination of spices and black salt made the difference. The aloo gobhi was a very simple preparation with minimal spices, the quality of paneer in the bhurji was extraordinary and the sarson ka saag (comes in tins from Himachal) a little watered down was beaming with the mustard flavour. The stuffed paratha had a heavy dose of garam masala and became overwhelming after a couple of morsels but the chaas they serve by bottles came to the rescue. Most of their food is cooked on coal and they are known for their chapattis done on coal.
Verdict: A must go if you are in the vicinity. It is a no frill airconditioned place with simple Punjabi food.
Meal for 2: Rs 300 and even lesser in the non A/C section.
Plus & Minus: For the price and legacy I am all thumbs for this place. Yes they don’t portion out the vegetables on individual plates but I like to call it unobtrusive service. Also its crude and rustic, they cucumber slices came with the skin on, suits the experience.
Gourmet Pitch: For those who missed on the last, a Gourmet pitch akin to an elevator pitch is a short appeal by the representatives/Owners of the place to their consumer.