Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kande Pohe, Masala Dosa and Maharashtrian Thali at MTDC's Neem, Shirdi

Wander around in the little town of Shirdi and you will come across a lot of eating options aimed at catering to the growing crowds coming from all over the country. Our driver pointed out to a very recently opened fast food joint called Mukta Foods which I saw, stretched itself for 3 stories towards the sky. But for hygiene and freshness – we preferred the safer option of Neem (where we have eaten many times before) for our meals.

Entrance to MTDC's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

Attached to MTDC’s budget hotel, Pilgrim’s Inn - Neem is their in-house restaurant serving all kinds of pure vegetarian dishes at affordable prices
in a laidback peaceful environment.

Though we chose to stay at Airbnb’s Shirdi rental home this time around, I must also add from my personal experience – MTDC’s Pilgrim’s Inn is another very good option if you are looking for a good value-for-money budget hotel close to Sai Baba's Samadhi temple in Shirdi.

MTDC Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

Stepping into MTDC’s pure vegetarian restaurant, Neem – a bubble of peace was quick to cocoon my weary bodily jaunt of the day. There is ample parking space available in their courtyard which acts as a wonderful insulator against the mad honking rush outside.

Menu card of MTDC's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

At the eating table, the menu of Neem offers an array of dishes ranging from North to South India at affordable prices; I tried out more of the local Maharashtrian flavors that the restaurant had to offer in addition to the others - let's see how it all fared!

1. POHE:

A widely eaten Maharastrian delicacy - Pohe is a heap of fluffy rice flakes, soaked and drained, spiced up with green chilies, tomatoes and roasted peanuts and tempered with a dash of mustard seeds and a host of other flavorful spices – Pohe is very light on the stomach and hence makes for a great breakfast starter of the day!

Kande Pohe in MTDC's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

As appetizing as Kande Pohe might sound to you, sadly,
in Neem, it wasn’t really interesting.

Though the served portion was generous but the taste was not exactly enjoyable. What’s more - the very essential ingredient onion or ‘kande’ was astonishingly missing from the delicacy as also were the toppings – crunchy Indian crackers sev and freshly chopped coriander.

Verdict: Give it a miss!

2. MASALA DOSA:

After my failed sojourn with the Kande Pohe, I decided to opt for the more ubiquitous Masala Dosa. Typically a dish from South India, I was happy to get my option right this time.

South Indian Masala Dosa in MTDC's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

The dosa was fresh and crunchy and tasted nice when dipped in the semi-watery but spicy sambhar curry, palatable potato masala and coconut chutney.

Verdict: Certainly a better option than Kande Pohe; can try.

3.  MAHARASHTRIAN THALI / TADKA DAL / JEERA RICE:

But what I really enjoyed eating at the restaurant was their Maharastrian thali which was a simple solid homely affair. My plate came neatly packed with 2 vegetable currries (neither spicy nor sweet), one lentil dal, one bowl of sweet dish (semolina kheer), wheat flour chapatti, a plate of biryani and a bowl of buttermilk.

Maharashtrian Thali in MTDC Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

Everything tasted good and I finished my plate sooner than I had expected. Wholesome and nutritious, the meal never left me with any feeling of heaviness in the stomach.

Cool Buttermilk - MTDC's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant in Shirdi - Neem

The coolly salted buttermilk at the end worked great as an after-meal digestive appetizer.

We helped ourselves with a serving Dal tadka and Jeera rice along with the Maharashtrian thali and enjoyed it as well. The hot and medially spiced Dal tadka was simple yet full of flavors and made for a delectable accompaniment with the cumin flavored rice.

Verdict: EAT!


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Have you been to Shirdi?
Do you have any good eating places to recommend?
If yes, please do leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!



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29 comments:

  1. I will suggest this to my parents. They go to Shirdi twice a year.

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  2. very informative post,and the name is easy to remember

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  3. Thanks dear Arti for the beautiful post. Maharashtrian Thali looks so nice, wholesome and nutritious. Thanks for the information about Neem :)

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  4. Arti, You will need to order for me if I ever visit your country! How will I know what to order? Perhaps a "toasted cheese?"

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    1. Anytime, Barb - what a joy that would be! Please plan a visit to India really soon!!

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  5. Mniam, mniam - super yummy food!!! Jeera rice looks so good!

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  6. Guess, its time to visit Shirdi:) Nice place and food!

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  7. Dear Arti, thank you for welcoming me back with your sweet comment! I have missed you and blogland - looking forward to sharing more of our summer with you! The food in Shirdi looks amazing - and the vegetarian restaurant looks so inviting too - quiet and peaceful. We ccok vegetarian too - and i get hungry seeing all the yummy meals! Until soon and sunny greetings, M.

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  8. Will be visiting shiridi this year.. will try out these...Dosa, any day any time ;)

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  9. Wow! Amazing Mumbai food! Love such simple, yet delicious dishes. :-)

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  10. Lovely post...did you try their Sabudana Wadas...yummy!!!
    Ami @ http://thrillingtravel.blogspot.in/

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  11. Thank you Arti. Perfect review. I am sure it will help many. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  12. we've eaten all this more loads of times during each of our Shirdi visit.. amazing food :-) lip smacking to the core!! :-)
    Cheers, Archana - www.drishti.co

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  13. Food looks yummy.
    Shall visit Neem whenever I come to Shirdi.

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  14. The divine blessing :)

    Hey do check the #Giveaway on my blog- http://www.hautekutir.com/2015/07/a-quick-guide-on-tooth-care.html

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  15. Shall visit Neem when in Shirdi..!!
    Nice write up..Yummy pictures.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Finding and eating new food is one of the most enjoyments when we make a trip!! Looks delicious,Arti.

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  17. Never been there,but the dining room of Neem looks very inviting,as also the thali :)

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  18. I have never been to Shirdhi :(, but will soon go.. this post will sure be read again before I go. And I had no idea Maharashtra food had so much variety...

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  19. Mouth watering dishes..After Airbnb stay, this is yet another useful post Arti for those visiting Shirdi Shrine. Good to know about Neem. I like the advise part as 'Verdict' and want to give one from my end:

    Verdict: You have a great.....GREAT blog Arti. All the best :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words of appreciation, Vishal - all best wishes to you as well! :)

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  20. Wow, Beautiful post,
    Thanks for sharing Arti :)

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  21. Nice post Arti. Sad to know that pohe was not up to the mark. Were khaskhas and taat also served as part of the thaali?

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    1. Nope... although I would have loved if they were - perhaps the thali wasn't very traditional in the real sense of the word!

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  22. You're making me hungry :-))

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  23. The thali looks like the winner here, for me! A nice wholesome round-up of scrumptious looking items (just the way a thali should be!), especially the biriyani which looks promising. :) Too bad the poha wasn't great - that's usually my favourite breakfast to order.

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