|My first time at Raju's Malvani corner. December: 2018|
Would you be surprised if I was to tell you that some of the freshest fried fish that I have had in Mumbai and some of the most melodious Malvani curries too, were at a street food stall and not a restaurant?
Not if you are one of the many fans of Raju's Malvani Corner at Dadar. The most illustrious of whom is the one and only, 'The Foodie,' Kunal Vijayakar.
I came rather late to the party when I went there for the first time in 2018, though I had heard of the place for quite a while from food loving Maharashtrian friends of mine.
The 55 year old Mumbai born Raju, as Narendra Saraswat is better known, had just opened a small air-conditioned restaurant called Raju's Malvani Mejwani nearby then with a more extensive menu. I had gone to eat there with friends and then decided to go to the original cart after that.
The food at the restaurant was nice but I was hypnotised by the food that I had at the cart. The freshly fried vade (multigrain puris), the freshly fried bangda (mackerel) and bombil (Bombay Duck), the fish rassa (gravy) and the kolambi rice (prawn pulao) were memorable. The rest of the stuff was over but I do recommend that you try those too if you can.
Sit on the plastic chairs kept by the stall and balance your thalis on the rickety plastic tables to make your meal truly gourmet.
When I spoke to Mr Sawant on the phone about his story, he said 'job karta tha,' (he used to work at an office) before he set up a thela (food cart) in 1986. He used to sell Malvani food (food from coastal Maharashtra) as cooked by his mother, the late Gunawanti Sawant, from the cart. She had come to Mumbai from Sawantwadi in coastal Maharashtra and her cooking still retained the memories of the time that she herself had spent in her mother’s kitchen. Raju's Malvani Corner, as the cart is called, became an urban legend over the years in Mumbai and continues to be a hidden city gem.
Reaching there: It is located beside the now Shetty run Malvani restaurant named Sachin and the ICICI Bank ATM at Dadar ahead of the Sena Bhavan. Giving it company are a few other street side carts offering dosas and vada pavs and the such. A Mervan Bakery outlet lies opposite.
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