Having heard raving reviews about the Soueeth Indian food here from friends and colleagues, I expected a rocking tam-brahm saappadu at Banana Leaf, Four Bungalows, Andheri west. I was hugely disappointed.
While we waited for more than hour for our seats at Banana leaf on a crowded, hot Sunday afternoon, we decided to order something to drink. The Mango panna that I had ordered for turned out to be thick and creamy - something like a milkshake..eeyyuck!
The interiors of the Banana leaf were quite tastefully done with sketches from (what looked like) The Malgudi Days. The menu card was more like a book with hajjaar items. As part of the menu, were the thaali, kaalan, olan, kullan, sullan etc, puliccha (!) saadam, elumichai saadam, idli, appam, dosai, pongal etc. I was maha famished after having skipped my Sunday brunch for this saapadu. So the obvious choice was the unlimited South Indian thaali.
The thaali comprised of a small utthapam, vadai, sambhar, rasam, koottu, some jaggery-mixed-mallu-fyed dish, appalam, rice, pickle, thayir pacchadi, aappam/parrota / neer dosa /chapati, dessert. The neer dosa was ok but the rasam / sambhar were very sad. The kootu /kaalan/olan types did taste fine but what spoilt the look of the thaali was the bleddy paneer gravy dish. Since when did we Soueeth indians adopt this chewy, punju-fyed paneer as our cuisine? Yes.This is what I hate. In the name of appeasing all and sundry (yes yes the Gujjus and the Punjus) these people serve us fusion food which is neither here nor there. Along with the thaali was Aamras (Mango pulp) which was my favourite. hmm, the worsht of all - rice was not cooked fully! arrgh... most of these Shetty restaurants in Mumbai serve half-cooked rice and it was sad to see a restaurant like Banana leaf which claimed to serve genuine South Indian food, serve half-cooked rice. The only solace - the pricing. Unlimited thaali priced at Rs.200/= which is very very reasonable for a restaurant like this.
Saappaturaami rating : 3 out of 5 (bad service, waiters with stinking armpits, paneer dish in a south indian thaali, half cooked rice....the list is endless)