Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mumbai Foodie Memories – “Misal” at Girgaum (Girgaon)

MUMBAI FOODIE MEMORIES

I enjoyed the 6 Best Years of My Life in Mumbai – six glorious years from the years 2000 to 2006.

During these six best years of my life, I lived in EMPRESS COURT  my all time favourite home – the best house I have ever lived in during my entire life.

I wish I could have had my retirement home in that lovely neighbourhood  or nearby  but then  can an honest Naval Officer afford a house in South Mumbai...?

Maybe a Merchant Navy Officer can afford a house in So Bo (South Bombay) – but if you have spent your life honestly serving the nation in the “Fauji Indian Navy  forget about Mumbai  you will not be able to afford a home in the heart of Pune  and  you would probably have to settle down in some faraway suburb like Wakad or Baner or Kharadi  or in one of those military veteran “fauji ghettos” like Mundhwa, Kondhwa or Mohammadwadi – where most retired service officers have settled down.

But in your mind’s eye  you can always hark back  and relive your “good old days” with nostalgia. 

That is what I did on this lovely morning – during my foodwalk – I reminisced about my glorious Sunday Morning “Food Walks” in Mumbai. 

A few days ago – I told you about my favourite Non-Veg Morning Foodwalk in Mumbai. 

Now – let me tell you about my favourite Vegetarian Morning Foodwalk in Mumbai.

MY FAVOURITE VEG MUMBAI FOOD WALK

MISAL at GIRGAUM (Girgaon)
Mouthwatering Mumbai Memories 
By 
VIKRAM KARVE 

Mumbai is in Maharashtra. 

You will get all genres and varieties of cuisine in Mumbai. 

But tell me – where would you go for an authentic Maharashtrian breakfast...?

My favorite place is Vinay Health Home (aka Vinay Lunch Home) near Thakurdwar in Girgaum in Mumbai.
  
When I used to stay at Churchgate  I used to walk down Marine Drive towards Chowpatty  cross the road near Taraporewala Aquarium  take the lane between Kaivalyadhama Yoga Centre and Savitribai Phule Ladies Hostel  (the lane is called Income Tax Lane)  cross the railway overbridge at the southern end of Charni Road Station on the Western Railway  walk straight on Thakurdwar Road  cross Girgaum (JSS) Road  and continue walking till I reached Vinay Health Home on my right. 

Have you ever tasted a dish called Misal...?

If you want to know what an authentic Misal tastes like 
 try the Misal at Vinay. 

It is the signature dish of the place. 

In fact – I will say that – in my opinion MISAL is the signature dish of Maharashtra.

The Misal at Vinay Health Home is my favourite Misal. 

I don’t think anyone else serves a better Misal than Vinay of Girgaum  and  in my opinion  not even the many famous Misals of Pune can surpass the Vinay Lunch Home Misal

The place is always crowded and you may have to wait for a seat  but the sight of foodies voraciously eating and the gastronomic ambiance will help build up your appetite.

The moment you sit down in the shiny bright eatery 
 with mirrors all around – the waiter will appear pretty fast – and you can order a Misal

The Misal will arrive quickly as service is prompt and efficient.

Don’t delve too much on the contents  or the ingredients  which basically comprise an Usal – Rassa (the spicy curry) – and a zesty garnish of Shev (Sev), Chiwda, Farsan, onions, fresh corriander and green chillies  arranged in three tiers and served with a wedge of lemon.

There are two bowls and two spoons.

Using both spoons 
 mix the contents thoroughly  squeeze the lemon  and eat.

It’s hot 
– lip-smacking – and –  delicious. 

Soon your tongue will be on fire – your nose will run – and  your eyes will water – that's the true test of a genuine Misal.

Bash on Regardless.

Never try to douse the appetizing zesty fire in your insides by sipping water 
– or – ruin the gastronomic experience by succumbing to a bite of Pav or bread – which they may have the temerity to place alongside your plate of Misal 

That's right - never have Pav or bread with a misal.

Pav with Bhaji or Vada may be fine (Pav-Bhaji or Vada-Pav but if you want to savor the genuine taste of Misal – and experience the "proof" of the real stuff  it would be tantamount to sacrilege to have Pav with Pisal. 

Vada-Pav  okay

Pav-Bhaji  okay

Misal-Pav – it's a No, No!

If you like things less spicy try Dahi Misal.

The sweet cool curds (dahi or yoghurt) mixed with fiery chillies, zesty onions and spicy crisp chiwda-shev provide an excellent contrasting symbiosis of tastes and flavours. 

And  if you do want to have something with Pav  try the Patal Bhaji or Usal. 

Fresh soft bread (Pav) drenched in those delicious gravies – it’s heavenly.

You’ll find all the Maharashtrian specialties on the menu 
 including the Upas (Fast) Food like Sabudanyachi Khichadi and Wade  but you must go there and discover for yourself.

There are quite a few exquisite preparations of Pohe too.

But do remember to end your breakfast with chilled Piyush or Mango Lassi to savor a sweet end to a delightful repast. 

If you are looking for authentic value-for-money pure vegetarian Maharashtrian cuisine in Mumbai  head for Vinay – and you will carry mouthwatering memories of the place forever.

It has been a long time since I last relished a Misal at Vinay. 

I wonder if the place still exists.

If you are a Mumbaikar  and you live nearby  please do visit Vinay Health Home  and let us know whether the place is still going strong  and does it still serve the same high quality Misal and other dishes.

And – Dear Reader – if you know of a place that serves a good Misal – please be so good as to let us know.

Happy Eating!

VIKRAM KARVE
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