Hiralal Kashidas Bhajiawala(HKB) is one of those iconic joints that need no introduction. The name says it all. It is a rare example of sticking to what one knows and does best. Majority of Mumbai’s population and especially around the Gujarati neighbourhood of Bhuleshwar, would vouch for the fact that if there’s a place to get the best Gujarati fare, this is it.
The story around how this establishment came into being is no less than that of a Bollywood Masala potboiler. The story begins in 1936, when Hiralal, after a conflict with his family in Surat, arrived in Mumbai. He opened a small shop that sold Gujarati farsan items in Bhuleshwar, which has a significant Gujarati population. His food was so good that his shop became quite popular. Later on, Hiralal’s son, educated in the US, returned to help his father with his business. Thus, this little farsan shop transformed into a destination.
Over the decades, HKB has built itself a loyal patronage who swear by its taste. The owners say that the fact that they have kept alive their Grandfather’s quality of cooking and traditions has contributed to their success. Most of the staff at HKB are there since the very beginning. But the most important factor that has defined the success of this place is the no-compromise policy regarding the ingredients. Their Undhiyu is the hottest selling item on the menu. The owners claim that all the essential ingredients required for their signature dish are sourced directly from Surat, which arrive fresh every morning. Also, instead of the regular vegetable oil, they use ground-nut oil, which is commonly used in Gujarati households.
Although this place is known mostly for its Undhiyu, regular patrons also come back for the variety of farsans on offer. If you are a lover of Gujarati food, this place is a must visit. Let’s take a look at the best this place has to offer.
- Surti Undhiyu with Green Garlic: Traditional Gujarati vegetable casserole made with seasonal winter vegetables, prepared Surti style. The gravy is peanut-sesame-coconut based. No one can escape the lip-smacking goodness of this Undhiyu.
- Stuffed Khandvi: Khandvi is made with a batter of gram flour and buttermilk. The stuffing is made of aromatic masala.
- Methi Thepla: Theplas are a breakfast staple in Gujarati households. They are flatbreads made of gram flour, whole wheat flour and fenugreek leaves.
- Ghughra: It is a traditional Gujarati sweet. Another variation that is popular is the Lilva(field beans) ghughra, that is stuffed and deep fried.
This place reminds us that the perfect result is the outcome of preserving traditions and respecting history. To do a job and do it well. A perfect place where people flock not only to have good food but also to taste a slice of history and heritage. The legacy of this iconic place lives on.