Gujarati succour in Maratha heartland. Mumbai! Aram, Bandra, E

Fully loaded thali at Aram
A Bengali enjoying a Gujarati meal with Goans, Marwaris, Odiyas, Maharashtrians and South Indians in the middle of a Maharashtrian dominated area is what Mumbai is all about to me.

I have just returned from a lovely lunch at Aram in Bandra, E, near Guru Nanak Hospital and Hallmark Building. It is next to Sri Krishna Fast Foods which I wrote about here.

I had promised folks at work that we will go there for lunch when I returned from Goa.

The Karvy gang
Thankfully the food was light and perfect for my stomach which is recovering from the violent food poisoning caused by a dinner at a newly opened restaurant in Goa on our last night of the trip.
And you thought being a food blogger is fun!

Still, living your dreams after you have entered your 40s beats any age revitalizing cream!

I survived food poisoning
I had once eaten at a thali place called Aram, now shut, at Mahim with folks at work during my trainee days in Mumbai.

The contractor who runs the Aram at Bandra E says that there is no connection with the Mahim one. He told me that the family runs it also runs one at Girgaom near Wilson College. He said that the one at Bandra E is older.

' Bahut purana' (very old). 15 to 20 years apparently!

@flirtytango on twitter tells me that they are all run by the same family.

What we liked was that the atmosphere is very relaxed here. They don't keep hustling you and hurrying you unlike in the bigger Gujarati chain joints. We could eat and chat in peace.
'Truly aram (relaxed)' as Dharmesh said.

The food is nice and light. Hot fulka rotis, a flavoursome tendla baji, soupy alu palak curry and the very addictive sweet kadi were the highlights.
The start of the lunch
The khichdi could have done with a tad more salt. I also tried the plain rice with dal and ghee. You have to ask for the rice dishes at a Gujarati place as they normally stop with the rotis and puris.
Khichdi at aram
The contractor told me that they tone down the sweet notes in the food here as lot of the diners are from the nearby offices and are not Gujarati. The only sweetish dishes, apart from the halva in the dessert, was the mithi (sweet) daal and the kadhi. Nothing, not even the teekhi (spicy) daal, was overtly spicy.

The sort of food that people from all over India would classify as comfort food.

They run a hygienic kitchen, are proud of it and make no attempts to hide it.
The Aram Kitchen
This is the place to head to in Bandra E if you are not in the mood for a Malvani fish curry or sukha mutton.
The entry to Aram
Aram is not air conditioned but you can look out of big windows. The thalis cost Rs 250. It is shut on Mondays.

31st July 15 Update: I woke up to howls of protests on twitter on my observation/ statement that you have to ask for rice in Gujarati thali places and my lack of knowledge on the same. Well that has been my experience so far though from what I understand, rice is an integral part of Gujarati/ Marwari cuisine as Khushboo tells me and is served at the end

PPS I went back on 27/8/15 and was waiting to see what would happen. This time a waiter did come up to me and asked 'rice, khichdi dio?"

Here are some of the tweets to enlighten us all:


  1. In my exp,this has been the case at Toran in A'bad.They seem reluctant 2bring rice
  2. my mistake! I apologize.
  3. this discussion is not about what goes into a thali.
  4. about what belongs in a quintessential thali must be something like that, but with far more possibility.
  5. it's one of those things you can debate endlessly -- what belongs in a ploughman's lunch. I think the argument...
  6. if you have to ask for food , you are not at a gujarati thali restaurant.
  7. reading arguments about what's appropriate in thali reminds me of Englishmen arguing about what's in a ploughman's
  8. that's an assumption. May be wrong.
  9. maybe you should experience more !!
  10. colloquially Marathi speakers call Gujjus daal-bhaat ..
  11. 36 minutes ago
     favorited some Tweets you were mentioned in
    37m:
    my friend that's because gujjus like their phulkas hot. One at a time. So roti serv frq will always be higher.
  12. always been the case for me. They always ask.
  13. my friend that's because gujjus like their phulkas hot. One at a time. So roti serv frq will always be higher.
  14. yes of course they do. I meant if you're done after 2. Infact if you say done rice is offered
  15. mostly after 4-5 roti servings they ask Rice or Roti. Go try it.
  16. will not voluntarily start 'serving' rice. Kinda without checking with customer.
  17. point. They'd usually ask - 'aur Kya laaon'. If you want to continue roti say so.
  18. you might have to say you're done with the breads and want rice but they don't hide it from you
  19. guess that would put you in a minority of one or so.
  20. that's very odd. A complete Gujju meal is rotli, daal, bhaat, shaakh. Rice not offered is = bad service.
  21. 59 minutes ago
     favorited some Tweets you were mentioned in
    1h:
    That's strange. Usually have to be firm bordering on rude because I hardly eat rice and people keep offering.
  22. they don't serve rice at what Thali place ? Most serve 2-3 types I think
  23. that they don't serve rice at a thali place?
  24. 1 hour ago
     retweeted you
    Jul 28:
    Anjali Koli writes about Kolis and their relationship with fish & gives a crab curry recipe
  25. actually they over indulge you with rice and khichdi. Like they do with everything else.
  26. exactly my point.
  27. then you've been to the wrong places is what I can say :)
  28. That's strange. Usually have to be firm bordering on rude because I hardly eat rice and people keep offering.
  29. Not unless they're on a health streak. Rice is always a part of the meal
  30. 2 hours ago
     favorited your Tweet
    Jul 23:
    Any similarity in genealogy between patrani and patoori or did they evolve independently ?
  31. Who gave this incorrect information?
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