Holi is nearly here and the season has awakened colorful spirits in the people of Bengaluru. Last Saturday, the admin of HOMP Bengaluru, Nitin Hajela, organized a wonderful luncheon at Mast Kalandar, HSR Layout, to celebrate the season and promote their new Holi Thali.
We all know and love Mast Kalandar for the simplicity and affordablity of their menu, also the rustic homely taste of their dishes. So as we reached the restaurant, I couldn’t help but wonder how that meal was going to be any different from the regular trays.
Although the restaurant wasn’t decked up to mirror the festivities, there was this new energy that filled the room. With the HOMPers seated near the glass windows and staff scuttling around prepping for the big meal, it was evident that we were in for an interesting tasting session.
First came a bowl of Dahi Bhalla. In a humble little paper bowl, it looked pretty and colorful setting the rangeen mood for the day. After a quick Insta snap, I dug right in. The cold sweet curd and tangy masala with a bang of ajwain and the soft lentil balls got me salivating for more.
As soon as we emptied our bowls, the staff swept it away replacing it with a glass of Aam Panna. Tangy again like a fusion of Jal Jeera with Green Mango juice, this was yet another appetizer we were not ready to part with. Teasing the tastebuds furthermore was another glass of Thandai (Virgin), sweet with a hint of spice that hit the throat in the most delectable way.
The day was not about the starters. It was about Swaad Ke Rang and the new Holi Thali which was still out of sight. Probably because the HOMPers had gathered around it to snap snap snap away. We are after all foodies, and that’s what we do. So here’s a peek at what is in store for you at MK.
I was first taken aback when the waiter laid the thali on our table. Four large Masala Pooris stared at me challenging my original notion about MK. The spirit of festival shone boldly through the large servings of a complete three course meal – Salad, Mains and Dessert (Indianized of course) – on the table.
The thali included a Sprout Salad that was light and fresh. Eat it at the beginning or the end to clear your palate.
The Masala Pooris were large, golden brown and not so oily. It was spicy with a hit of ajwain and were good enough to be eaten plain.
The sides included Shahi Paneer, Chole, Alu Ki Subzi and Gobi Dry. All of them were delicious without too much masala. It was light and served in large portions. Loved the delicate balance of sweet and spice in Shahi Paneer. It is quite hard to find a place that perfects chole. What they never seem to understand that any amount of garam masala used will not penetrate its thick outer barrier, and will ultimately invoke an acid reflux when we consume it. This one, for the first time was mild enough to let the chickpeas do the talking as the masala mixed in with every bite. The Alu Ki Sabzi and Gobi were both well made just like home.
The Pulav had peas, lacked much flavor but tasted great in combo with the Raita.
The Sweets Gujiya and Gulab Jamoon were both quite enticing and delicious.
By the end of this huge meal, I was quite exhausted and full. Then came a plate of Litti Choka that said “Eat me too!” Hardly able to resist the brown crust, I tried a half. Chewing this takes a toll. But hey! you lose a couple of calories while you are at it. And another upside, it tastes brilliant.
The Holi Thali is priced at Rs. 229 and is quite heavy for an average person. It could serve two light eaters and leave you feeling satisfied. It was a hearty north indian meal with great service. I’d certainly recommend the thali for any starving Bengaluravaru this season.