To all the thali-lovers out there, today I shall be reviewing the largest thali in Mumbai! It is named after Dara Singh, a legendary Indian wrestler. Of course, wrestlers are known to have a huge diet! A thali is a round metal plate upon which traditional Indian food is served on. It is a wholesome meal consisting of condiments, starters, a main meal and dessert; therefore presenting all the flavours (sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy). It’s a meal you simply can’t go wrong with!
The Dara Singh Thali, served at Mini Punjabi in Powai and Thane, contains over 40 North Indian food items. It typically takes between 4-6 people to finish the thali, however, if you can do the impossible and finish it alone, it’s free for you! Contrary to most thalis, this is a non-refillable thali. For preparation purposes, a reservation has to be made one day in advance. It is available in vegetarian (1616 rupees) and non-vegetarian (2300 rupees) options.
The vegetarian thali comes with four welcome drinks, tomato soup, starters, such as pani puri and tikkis, makki di roti, naan breads, paranthas, rice, biryani, khichdi, different types of daals and sabjis, punjabi kadhi, an assortment of condiments, and finally, seven types of dessert!
Those are all the details you need to know, but how was my experience? The seating and atmosphere at Mini Punjabi Lakeside in Powai is spacious and pleasant with beautiful glass interiors. It makes for the perfect location to organise intimate meet-ups with family and friends. The service, however, was pretty average; the staff were not as friendly and welcoming as I would expect. Now let’s get onto the real stuff. The thali, which is incredibly heavy, is carried to the table by two waiters. It’s overwhelming to see so much food! One word of caution, the food gets cold very fast, so ditch the ooh-ing and aah-ing and quickly get down to eating. However, it would be better if the welcome drinks and starters were served separately to avoid the main meal from getting cold. I usually find that the pani puri/ gol guppas at restaurants are below average. This was the case here as well; the puris had become soft and the pani puri water was bland. The biryani was lacking in texture and ingredients, which made it seem more like a pulao. Having said this, food is food, and I still appreciated every morsel of it! The fresh white butter was a delicious addition to the assortments of breads. And the dessert thali was simply perfection! Most of the food was flavoursome and not at all spicy- which was good news for me! To all those craving North Indian food, this thali is very satisfying. I got extremely full from having just one bite of everything. On the whole, the meal was enjoyable and authentic, albeit slightly overpriced.
Sharing such a huge thali is fun! However, for me this was a one-time novelty experience.