Food A complete thali which satiates hunger without hurting the purse
Good food for less sounds unreal. Doesn't it? Vegetarian it might be, but where do we find a wholesome meal that will make you say, “tummy bhi khush aur pocket bhi .”
Wandering through the streets of Gujarati Galli in search of a certain address, we landed in the lane running parallel to it. This lane is also famous for early morning dosas.
Opposite these many dosa stalls is a prominent signboard which reads ‘Pragati Bhojanalay’. It is not a new find. This eatery has existed for 33 years and those who know about it are regulars for lunch, either eating in or to take away. This is a pure vegetarian eatery serving Gujarati thali. It’s a non fancy place with just a ceiling fan to keep the heat off. The place can accommodate around 30 people at a go on simple table and chairs and serves cold bottled water to those who ask for it. There is nothing like a menu here unless one wants to skip some dishes and only eat certain curies and with the roti or dal.
Like in most traditional homes, the thali here begins with roti with a dash of ghee. Once the little katoris are placed on the thali with an explanation of what each katori has, the dishes keep flowing in. For the curries there is a choice of dal, (sweet one), a dry sabji made of red gram and a wet aloo sabji ( geeli sabji ). The curries change everyday and so does the dal. But the Gujarati dal is a regular. Kadhi is also served here with rice as a part of the thali.
As far as the dishes go, each of them is simple and very low on spices and oil. The red gram sabji is almost like a snack and goes well with the sweet dal. Don’t skip the sweet none will regret having it. Though it is sweet, it also has a hint of tanginess to it. Dahi is also a part of the everyday meal.
Run by Anand R Desai, Pragati has that homely feel, every customer is treated like a guest and those serving the food keep suggesting, ‘aur ek roti?’ ‘aur thoda chawal?’
The rotis are the size of tea cup saucer, fluffy and straight from the chulha . In the thali three types of rotis — jowar, bajra and phulkas are served. Onion wedges and mango pickle to go with the rotis complete the meal.
If you are a first timer and getting to know Gujarati khana, Anand might just offer all kind of rotis and also suggest which one is to be eaten with what.
All this sweetness and food for Rs. 80 only. Open for both lunch and dinner, dinner is slightly different with an inclusion of khichdi with kadhi. On Sundays, they serve undhiyu, a Gujarati speciality.
On order, Anand can also cater Gujarati items like Khandvi, khaman dhokla and puran poli.
PRABALIKA M. BORAH
Where: Pragati Bhojanalay
When: Lunch and dinner
Address: Pragati College compound, near Hanuman Vyayamshala
Every customer is treated like a guest