They say that if you want to get to the heart of a city, you must sample its local delicacies. And how do you find the best places to eat these authentic dishes, especially in a city as huge as Mumbai? We say, ask a local foodie who has explored every nook and cranny to relish the indigenous flavours. Right-arm medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, may be playing for Rajasthan Royals this Indian Premier League but he is still your man in the Maximum City of Mumbai.
Mumbai On A Plate
When the Mumbai Ranji team’s star bowler has some time at hand, he dives into flavoursome and palate-tickling Maharashtrian cuisine. “On a rainy day, I crave for the hot vada pav from Aram,” shares Kulkarni. The bowler who plays for Gujarat Lions in the IPL, also swears by the thalipeeth served at Aaswad and the coastal-special culinary offerings at Highway Gomantak. The fish there is always fresh and a must-try, he insists. “Otherwise, Prakash restaurant serves delectable sabudana vada and kombdi vade, which you can wash down with a glass of refreshing Piyush,” adds the cricketer.
This love for authentic aroma and pronounced flavours also takes him to Pune’s Shreyas Hotel for their quintessential Maharastrian thali, “where you must ask for add-ons like shrikhand, aamras puri and puran poli.” When not feasting on local delicacies, Kulkarni and his wife often dine at Wasabi By Morimoto - The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
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Unfortunately for the pacer, his profession doesn’t give him the liberty to eat most of his beloved local Maharashtrian specialties. “My diet includes no sugar and no rice or roti, which is especially hard because I have a sweet tooth and love my gajar ka halwa, pastries and kulfi,” Kulkarni confesses. “I mostly eat grilled food, like fish, chicken and mutton fresh from the tandoor along with light and subtle curries.” He has never been fussy about food, so beating cravings can be tough at times, he admits. “I follow my routine and am extremely strict with myself, sometimes even harsh. But my career comes first.”
The fit bowler and lower-order batsman divulges that he never misses his training sessions, no matter what. “Fitness married with the right diet are pre-requisites to a successful sporting career. I work hard on my fitness—do my running, hit the gym and practice my skills to perfect them. There’s no substitute for hard work, and it’s important to maintain a positive attitude.” “Luckily”, continues Kulkarni, “my life is filled with plenty of sweetness thanks to a supportive family, my wife and three dogs.” The pacer is proud daddy to two Labradors and a Saint Bernard.
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One of the leading seam bowlers in the domestic circuit, Kulkarni recounts one of his happiest moments on the field back in 2009 when he was first picked for the Indian team during the tour of New Zealand and recounts an incident with pride. “Back in 2012, I was filled with pride during the final game of Ranji Trophy as I was playing alongside Sachin Tendulkar. He paid me a compliment about how I bowl with the new ball—marrying accuracy to new-ball swing. He pointed out that not all bowlers get the same kind of accuracy and seam position that I get while bowling with the new ball. This has motivated me to worked harder on my bowling,” concludes Kulkarni.
Watch Dhawal Kulkarni with Cheteshwar Pujara, in conversation with Sandeep Patil on Taste Match, only on LF.
Creative courtesy: Vartika Pahuja
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