A charming cafe with food that will receive mum’s emphatic approval
Missing mommy’s aloo puri? Or craving hot phulkas straight off the tava? On days when you are weary of calorie-laden pizzas, insipid cafeteria food or greasy north Indian fare, we suggest you head to Imli, the latest swatch of colour in Indira Nagar’s patchwork quilt of eating establishments. The bright yellow bungalow that houses Imli is hard to miss. We were taken with the restaurant’s spacious terrace dining area, where you can sip tea redolent of home and watch squirrels scampering around, or play Jenga with friends. And it’s good that the furry animals and board games were there to keep us company, because service was a tad slow: on the day of our visit, the plates arrived after the food.
But that’s just a minor quibble. The food at this veggie restaurant is homely and delicious, even avowed chicken tikka devotees will approve. Since it doubles up as a cafe, there’s a range of snacks available including cheelas, thin savoury pancakes made out of chickpea flour or pulses; aloo poha; and jhaal moori, bhel puri that swirls a Bengali twist of mustard oil into its ingredients. We loved their sabudana vadas, they were crisp, topped with tangy amchur powder and perfectly paired with wellspiced coriander chutney. And there’s reason for transplanted Mumbaikars to rejoice: Imli also has vada pav on its menu. While it may not have the same panache as the street food version sold back in the island city, we couldn’t find anything to complain about the crisp batata vada, the bountiful lashes of lasoon (garlic) chutney, and the accompanying mirchi fry. We washed this all down with mild imli ka panna and sweet lassi.
Imli will find patronage among office-bound folks in Indira Nagar: it offers reasonably-priced combination meals that include two vegetables, a dal and dessert. The bhindi pyaaz was as good as the stuff ladled off saucepans up north, and the desi dal tadka mercifully wasn’t wallowing in oil. After that extremely satisfying meal, our phirni was a bit of let down: it was a little too sweet for our taste.
But it didn’t matter, as we barely had room for dessert. That’s because the portion sizes at Imli are large, bordering on gargantuan: exactly as mum would have it.
|Phulkas x 4||R80.00|
|Total (including tax)||R870.00|
By Bijal Vachharajani on November 23 2012 12.35pm
Photos by Selvaprakash L