‘Maharaja Bhog’ – A ‘Feast Fitting A King’
Image Credit: The delicious Maharaja Bhog thali

Maharaja Bhog translates to a ‘Feast Fitting a King’, and the experience of dining at this ‘Thali’ restaurant named Maharaja Bhog aptly explains my feelings about the meal I had at this famous restaurant in Mumbai.

Rajasthani and Gujarati cuisines are two of the finest cuisines from India, especially due to their vast repertoire of vegetarian delights. Be it beverages and sherbets, unique snacks and curries, healthy and nutritious breads, different flavours and styles of Kadhi, and many other indigenous dishes from these western states of India.

At Goregaon’s Oberoi Mall, I experienced the decadent culinary affair on offer at one of the many successful and busy Maharaja Bhog outlets across Mumbai and Pune. The flavours of Maharaja Bhog have proudly earned their place internationally at their offshore outlets in Dubai and Houston (USA).

The dining set-up is royal, with heritage aesthetics in its décor and service. The meal is served as an unlimited ‘Thali’, caringly helped by the attentive and hospitable servers, all dressed in traditional Indian attire suitable for a royal banquet. We were served an exquisite and aromatic welcome drink called ‘Chandan Ka Sherbet’. The taste of this sandalwood sherbet, with its enchanting flavourful smell, led to a hypnotic effect on the senses; as I took a big sip of it, my body, soul and mind all felt aligned to enjoy the gastronomic extravaganza at play.

Gujarati patra

I have to confess. I never miss out on a Gujarati thali meal because of the sweet, spicy and irresistibly delicious white Gujarati Kadhi. Opposite flavours work like magic. The chillies and sourness of a Gujarati curd-based Kadhi get its amplifying partner in the sugar added to the Gujarati Kadhi. It can be enjoyed with ‘Roti’ or ‘Bajre ki Poori’. You can enjoy unlimited servings of the dishes.

Throughout the meal, ‘Masala Chaas’, the spiced buttermilk, plays its role as a coolant and palate cleanser. Which helps you switch between different combinations of flavours, enjoying them to the fullest. Don’t forget to save some appetite for the delicious ‘Khichdi’ and masala ‘Tawa Pulao’; Khichadi is served with a generous helping of Ghee. Chutney and papad go wonderfully well with the slurpy rice and ’Dal Khichadi’. The decadent desserts of Maharaja Bhog are the icing on the cake. ‘Moong Dal Halwa’ was fantastic. As mentioned earlier, the quality of ingredients used at Maharaja Bhog is highlighted in traditional dishes like a ‘Moong Dal Halwa’. ‘Desi Ghee’ is used to prepare the ‘Halwa’, and it carries just the right amount of sweetness for you to enjoy it as much as you want. There was ’Jalebi’ on offer as well; for people with a sweet tooth, what’s a better sight than to see ‘Jalebi’ and ‘Moong Dal Halwa’ on the same platter? The only thing that can make it better is a chilled milk-based dessert, and Maharaja Bhog duly complied, serving us ‘Apple Basundi’ to enjoy the ‘Jalebis’.

‘Basundi’ is a condensed milk dessert served chilled; adding Apples made it irresistible. The combination of ‘jalebi’ and ‘Apple Basundi’ worked wonders on the palate and uplifted our mood. The meal ended, and we were filled to the brim. Although there was hardly any scope to try anything new, our heart was craving repeats of many dishes from the culinary extravaganza we had just experienced. It was then when the quintessential Indian mouth freshener and digestive, ‘Meetha Paan’, was offered. Woah! That certainly lived up to the expectations of it being a royal meal. We all grabbed a ‘Paan’ each and enjoyed the happiness and satisfaction of a fantastic meal experience long after the ‘paan’ was digested.

The service standards and dining experience of ‘Maharaja Bhog’ make it one of a kind. Despite many ‘Thali’ restaurants in Mumbai and other parts of the country, Maharaja Bhog stands tall for its sheer consistency and culture of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’.

Sidharth Bhan Gupta is a Hospitality/F&B Consultant travelling across India exploring regional cuisines.