In a nutshell:
A simple & basic 150+ year old restaurant that attracts massive crowds due to the sheer great taste of its food.
Address & other details: Pancham Puriwala
Meal for 2: 70 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian only
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Day 1 , 2 people Rs 130. Day 2 four people Rs 330. No bill.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short description – in case u r in a hurry:
We came to know about Pancham puriwale from a friend. It was pretty easy to find as it is just opposite VT (CST is the new name) station of Mumbai.
We went here on 2 occasions & had almost the same dishes. All dishes except two were consistent in their taste. For those two dishes I have given separate rating to both the experiences & taken an average of that as the final rating.
The restaurant has basic steel furniture. People share table with strangers. There is no AC.
Service is super fast & efficient.
Food is so good that people did not seem to be missing the AC.
They had a menu card in which the names & price of the dishes was mentioned. No pictures / description.
A wall inside the restaurant was full of awards that they have won by this time.
Taste of food at Pancham made it a great leveler. People from all states, religions, countries & divergent financial backgrounds were coming here to eat & share tables.
Do I still need to say I loved the food?
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
Plain poori was as good as it cud get – perfectly puffed, textured, somewhat crispy outer later and soft otherwise. Rate it 4/5.
Masala poori had a dal and masala filling within. The poori had salt – so it cud b eaten just as it is and also with the curries.
The Dal was introvert in nature and did not shout out its presence. I have surely had better dal pooris in other places around the country. However this one was very good on its own. So rate it 4/5.
Aloo Ki subzi was mind blowing. Intense, robust, rustic , this curry was delicious beyond I cud believe.
It had a mouthful of flavour that Made it different. Rate it 4.75/5
Sookha aloo was very good. It was aloo cooked in masalas and red chillies. Ginger made its presence felt and so did red chillies. Rate it 4/5. Day 2 we again had this & this tie it was ourstanding. Perfect in all respect. Rate that 4.5/5. Both days put together rating averages out to 4.25/5
Kadhi was again very good. It had fritters of pakoda rather than full big round pakoda balls.
The kadhi was thick, slightly sour, but balanced well with salt. Rate it 4.5/5
Bhopla Ki subzi was a revelation again – bhopla meaning pumpkin. Do not remember any shop selling such a good pumpkin curry. It had a sour tinge, the natural sweetness of pumpkin, salt and also hotness from chillies – the medley was excellent.
Pumpkin was made into a curry with the skin on. That added texture. Rate it 4.5/5 day 2 the same subzi was very average. It was watery & strange. Rate day 2 at 2.4/5.Average of both days is 3.5/5
Chholey was the relative black sheep among all the dishes we had. It had a tomato based gravy. The chholey was soft and good. However the chholey did not incorporate the taste and flavours of masalas. The gravy was a bit tomatoeee as well. Inspire of all that, it was better than a lot others and in general good. Rate it 3/5
Aloo matar was a very good aloo curry with green peas in it. While it cud not beat the aloo subzi, it was very good on its own. Rate it 4/5
Chaanch was super simple and very good. It had Masala and coriander leaves on the top. Rate it 4.25/5
Lassi was very good. It had a good balance of sweet and sour. A thick piece of malai on top made it even better. Rate it 4.5/5
We also tried rose lassi. It had the typical flavor of rose but it differed from a usual rooh afza milk drink coz this drink had an excellent balance of sweet (from rose syrup) & sour (from curd). Rate it 4.5/5
Kesar lassi also was very good. It had real Kesar in it & had excellent flavor in addition to being a thick tasty lassi. Rate it 4.5/5 as well.
Overall rating of food at Pancham Puriwale averages out to 4.1/5
I am sure to revisit. What’s u thinking?