Usal, Vada, Misal trail…. Thane

Thane, India

Two weekends in a row; I have been on a tryst to explore the humble Usal and Misal in the city. Last week it was some cult eateries in South Mumbai (read more here) and this week I chose the northern suburb of Thane. My experience from the last time when I fizzled out in two restaurants forced me to experiment so as to go through the full stretch of 4 restaurants I had planned. The experiment was to walk a 15 km stretch from my house to Thane and for company was my friend Anupam Sehgal a batchmate from Dadar Catering. We were very very hungry by the time we reached and our Misal binge began…

Gokhale Uphar Griha (Gokhale Road):

Apparently it has been standing there tall for over seven decades and going strong. It is a pay-first, self-service joint with a limited seating with an option to stand and eat like the ‘Sukh-shanti-Sagars’ from Bangalore. The menu was full of standard Maharashtrian fare with options for Upvas or fasting. We ordered a Misal, Peas Karanji and Methi Bhajis. The Misal was a mild and flavoursome in a Mumbai style, methi bhajis were hot and crisp but abundance of soda in it came through and lastly the Peas Karanji was filled with pea and coconut with mild spice and the shell was crispy and light, I liked them and would recommend them for people who go easy on spice.

Misal - Gokhle Uphar Griha Methi Bhaji and Peas Karanji at Gokhle Uphar Griha

Goras Uphar Griha ( Gokhale road):

Open since 1977 it is run by the same people who run a sweet shop just across the road from this place. This place was empty and the server was sitting on the table waiting for patrons, it was a hint but we chose to ignore it. We ordered a vada usal and a kairi panna. The usal was cold and very poor in taste and the vada had just boiled potato in it. The kairi panna came after 15 minutes and at room temperature and was strictly ok. Certainly does not have anything to go back for…. Avoid at all costs and Gokhale is a 3 minute walk from this place.

Wada Usal at Goras Uphar Griha

Kutir Udyog (station road):

This place split on two levels has been operating since 1953.  The lower level has a sweet shop and the upper level the restaurant. As we walked up the stairs, we waited for a few minutes to appreciate brass kitchen equipments and other antiques enclosed in glass. The restaurant was dark, a bit depressing but with plenty of more such antiques displayed around. The menu is more than just Maharashtrian dishes but we settled for Misal and a Kharvas. The Misal was nothing special, Gokhale was better and the Kharvas was sweetened just right, was creamy and nutmeg forward. I have to go back to this place to explore more.

Misal at Kutir Udyog Kharvas at Kutir Udyog Thane

Mamledar Misal (a few blocks from Kutir Udyog)

The walk experiment had worked and we were in the fourth eatery. We just did not have the food we deserved it !! Mamledar, this place requires no introduction and we kept the ‘best’ for the last. The Misals came and we cried, we coughed, the spice attack had begun but we were glorious, we doused the fire with a glass of Taak ( Buttermilk) and celebrated the walk with the second one. Make sure you ask them to go easy on the “Tari” which is the oil that floats on top if you do not need the heat. They also serve dahi wadas, cutlets etc but do not go to movies for pop corns, do you!!!

Misal at Mamledar Thane

Vinay Health Home (sweet and hot), New Anand Bhavan (Fiery), Gokhale Upahar Griha (Mild), Bhat (great spice mix) and the Mamledar (super fiery) are my top of mind recall Misals in Mumbai for now.  Do share your favourite joints too…

Till my next…. Jai Maharashtra….

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