We had been craving a grand thali experience for some time. It was this ravenous craving that that pulled us towards Golden Star Thali situated opposite Charni Road East. The aroma that greeted us was appetising and the interiors were modern. Since we were hungry, we quickly sat down to a hearty thali with the owners!

golden-star-thali

We were quickly brought abreast with the latest special offer. “Golden Star Charni Road East has introduced Surti Undhiyu every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, served unlimited with the Thali. You can also buy half Kg and one Kg takeaway packs!”

We pried into what a Surti Undhiyu was. “Surti Undhiyu is a combination of sweet, sour and spicy tastes subtly blended with farm fresh vegetables procured from Surat. This winter dish is made only during the winter months, as the main ingredients are mainly available from November to February. The main ingredients that go in the making of the Undhiyu are: Surti Papdi, Purple Kand, fresh green garlic, sweet potatoes, baby brinjal, baby potatoes, Lilwa dana, fresh green peas, tuver dana, raw bananas & fresh methi muthias.”

“I’ve been managing the the Golden Star for the past 26 years (since 1992). It was initially a 90 year old Irani restaurant with the same name before. But the times were changing and the Irani restaurant was not doing so well. At that time the area was a predominantly diamond market full of Guajaratis and that’s why we decided to convert the restaurant into a Gujarati and Rajasthani thali joint. There weren’t too many thali joints either, so we thought it was the best business decision.”

“We have been maintaining all regional recipes. Only the freshest local ingredients are used. All the masalas are made here. We don’t use pre-packaged stuff; we grind our own. Even the aata is made here in our chakki! We maintain high standards for our cooking oil and ghee too.”

golden-star-thali

“The items have been the same for the last 26 years. There are about 28-30 items in our thali. On weekdays we serve 2 sweets and on weekends we serve 3 sweets; all unlimited. The price difference you will see over the weekend is because we serve Bengali sweets like malai chomchom. When we began the price of 1 thali was Rs. 75 to Rs. 100. Now on an average it goes for Rs. 450. ”

We asked how they maintained the menu. “The menu is decided 1 day prior. That’s how we order our vegetables and they are here by 6 A.M. Then they start the Mise en place (putting everything in its place) and food is prepared for the day. The daily menu is changed every day and is not repeated for at least 15 days.”

We pondered over the changes in the habits of their patron over time.” 26 years ago, people were the quantity of oil used in the preparation. They weren’t too health conscious. Now we have to control how much oil and ghee we use. ”

“The Thali has always been a balanced diet. A diet conscious person should avoid sweets. The rest is vegetables and it’s completely a nutritious meal. The Gujarati and Rajasthani thali has never been considered unhealthy unless you overeat or indulge in too many sweets. Our thali is a combination of the Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine. Most of the Gujarati items are slightly sweet or sour and Rajasthani dishes are spicy. That way, we balance out the thali and everybody seems to like it!”

golden-star-thali

The conversation moved on to their patrons. “We have many regular clientele. Some of them used to come here as children and now they come with their own children. There are grandparents that bring their children too! We have many celebrities and TV personalities coming here to enjoy our thali. Vidya Balan and Rajashwari are regulars here. All our customers are treated the same. When it comes to celebrities, they are known people. They need to be recognized. We greet them. That’s all.”

We prodded him one last time about the name. “The name golden star was already famous. The location was known as Golden Star restaurant before. We did not want to change. The owners are the same. It’s a lucky name for us!”

After having a delicious and super filling thali we thanked Golden Star for satiating our thali craving and headed out towards Charni Road Station.

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