Mumbai is a melting pot of various cultures, religions, communities, dialects and most importantly, cuisines. People get drawn towards this ‘maximum’ city from all over the country to realise their dreams. These influences have greatly contributed to the emerging food scene in the city. You can find all imaginable kinds of cuisines here.
One of the most prominent influences have been that of Gujarati settlers. They came from Gujarat, mainly as traders, and made Mumbai their home. A growing Gujarati population saw the need for eateries that served their favourite food from back home. Speaking of Gujarati food, no conversation can ever be complete without the mention of ‘Friends Union Joshi Club‘. This place is no ‘fine dine’ but the food speaks for itself.
The place is located at Society No. 381, A Wing 1st Floor, Narottamwadi, Kalbadevi Road, Kalbadevi, Mumbai .This place opened more than a century ago, mainly to cater to the Gujarati populace, who had left their villages to work in the city. They best describe themselves as a ‘bhojnalay’. Mr Yogesh Purohit is the current owner, who took over the reins from his father, who became the owner in 1955. The place is open for lunch from 11.00 a.m to 3.00 p.m and for dinner from 7.00 p.m to 10 p.m. To be noted is that NO dinner is served on Sundays.
This is a ‘thali’ restaurant that serves only Vegetarian Gujarati food. The food here is unlimited with a set menu, but the menu changes every day. The only constant is the Dal and Kadhi. Once you are seated, a huge thali is placed in front of you. One after the other, all the delicacies are served. Accompaniments like a green salad, papad and Batata Vadas are served first.
Next on the list are the vegetables, which change every day. One day, it could be the Batata Ni Shaak or a seasonal vegetable and Matki ki Bhajji, Paneer Subzi the next. Four veggies are served in total.
Apart from this, one farsan(snack item) and four types of phulkas or bhakris are served. Sometimes, the rice is replaced with Khichdi. To aid digestion and lower the spice quotient, Chaas or Buttermilk is also served. The patrons love the soft and fluffy and totally delicious Dahi Wadas. The Garlic Chutney also goes well with the thali.
This unlimited Thali is priced at Rs 200 and if you want a sweet at the end of your meal(who doesn’t?), it will be charged extra.
There’s something about simple and straightforward food, made with conviction and love. This place is just that-no pretence whatsoever. You come, you eat to your heart’s content with the waiters nudging you gently and when you are finished, you have nothing but a huge smile on your lips. Friends Union Joshi Club has this effect on you.