There is no dearth of new restaurants in Mumbai but should you need a nudge to get out and expand your sights, we introduce you to a young Gujarati restaurant in Lower Parel. It goes by the name Pravas (meaning a journey) and is justifiably housed in three metal rail cars. From the same owners as SMAAASH in India, this train-shaped Gujarati Kitchen and Bar pays homage to home-style food from Gujarat with a smattering of Rajasthani and south Indian dishes.
The interiors remind you of the famous Palace on Wheels with brocade ceilings, curtained windows and servers in stiff maroon uniforms. There is a vibrant alfresco seating too, decked with a vertical garden and water fountains. The embroidered lamps and rustic ceiling fans add to the boogey experience.
What’s hot: Let the gastronomic journey begin with Damru Paan—a mocktail, garnished with betelnut leaves. The Panki (rice batter cooked in banana leaves) is delicately seasoned with cheese and coriander. Steamed to perfection and served with green chilli chutney and bhavnagri chillies, it’s quite impossible to stop at a few. If you can stomach some heat, go for the Bhungra with Lasaniya Bateka. This is the star dish of Rajkot, Morbi and Junagadh as far as street food goes. Garlic flavoured hot and spicy potato pieces are wolfed down with pipe fryums. Thankfully the Pravas version doesn’t tear you up. Another standout dish is the Rassawala Samosa where the humble potato stuffed samosa is crushed and topped with spicy lentil and sev. The samosa is dreamily moist and pregnant with the lentil. Yum.
For the mains, look no further than the Satpadi roti and Gatta nu shaak. This traditional Gujarati roti is made with seven grains and a wide assortment of spices. The dough is also spiked with crushed mango pickle which gives it a spicy aftertaste. Wash it down with a tall glass of masala chaas. The Thalipeeth with garlic raita is also compelling. Most restaurants that attempt this Maharashtrian mix grain pancake turn it into a roti when it’s actually supposed to be like a biscuit. Pravas nails it. The Dal Dhokli is as it should be – wafer thin dokli dunked in a sweet and spicy gravy with a hint of tang from the kokum. The addition of cashewnut and peanuts lends a welcome crunch.
What’s not: The Fada ni Khichdi which is broken wheat and lentil khichdi with vegetables was watery and insipid. A stronger tempering of asafetida and cumin could have saved the dish. However, nothing could salvage the thick and rubbery Malpua that met a watery grave in the rabri.
Apart from some lesser bites, it’s the attention to detail that falters: one night ebullient and efficient, other nights’ textbook imperfect.
Where: Pravas, Gate No 4, next to Smaaash, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel. Mumbai.
Cost for meal for two: 2500
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