Delhi may not offer many options for regional cuisine but for lovers of Maharashtrian delicacies, Yashasvi will do just fine, says Rahul Verma

It’s been a while, but I still remember the Kolhapuri mutton that I had eaten one sunny winter’s day. My friend Amita had co-hosted a lunch a couple of years ago – and I remember giving some quality time to the mutton. It came to my mind last week when I sat – once again – face to face with a bowl of Kolhapuri mutton.

Now Kolhapuri mutton, as you would know, is a part of the Maharashtrian cuisine. I have to admit that there was a time when I would turn my nose up at the mention of Maharashtrian food, much to the annoyance of some of my friends. But that was then. Today, I am a great advocate of the food of the Western State.

It never fails to surprise me that Delhi – which boasts of some of the best restaurants in town, showcasing some brilliant cuisines – doesn’t have too many regional restaurants. Take the food of Kerala. There were some big and small restaurants where you got good Kerala food once; now there are hardly any. Likewise, you’ll find Maharashtrian food with great difficulty in the Capital. The last time I had some was at a mela at the IGNCA.

But my friends tell me that the Maharashtra stall in Dilli Haat is not bad. I was planning to go there last week, when I was defeated by the scorching heat that had enveloped the city. I was in Central Delhi, and Dilli Haat seemed too far away. So I looked around and decided to visit Maharashtra Sadan on Copernicus Marg. I had gone there earlier once, and wasn’t very happy when I saw the menu included such Maharashtrian delicacies as butter chicken and chilli chicken. But this time I decided I would avoid looking at the menu altogether, and ask for a Maharashtrian thali.

But before getting to the thali, let me tell you a bit about the restaurant. It’s called Yashasvi (phone numbers: 23382822 and 9818902657), and it’s on the side of the building, on the first floor. It’s like any canteen, but air conditioned, and with a welcoming staff. I ordered my thali and a plate of mutton Kolhapuri (Rs.180). The thali (Rs. 116) consisted of pithla (curry cooked with besan), zunka (a dried dish of fried onions and besan), bharli vangi (small stuffed eggplants, with a sweet and sour taste), arhar dal, aloo-muttar ki sabzi and raita. All this came with rice and jwar rotis. And then there was srikhand at the end.

The food was indeed excellent. All the dishes had their own flavours and tastes – and some were light, some spicy. The servers stood by me, explaining every dish, which made the food even more enjoyable. And the Kolhapuri mutton was wonderful. It was a bit hot, but the gravy was thick and full of flavours. The meat pieces were rather good – well-sized and soft. And the helping was good enough for two or three people.

It was a lovely meal, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I don’t know how their butter chicken tastes – and I am not regretting it one bit. What I know is that there is good Maharashtrian food round the corner. And Kolhapur seems just a hop, skip and jump away.

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