Since quite a while I've been hearing about the legendary dhaba's around Bhiwandi on the Mumbai - Nashik highway. Hence recently when I got an opportunity to visit them I did what any one does first. Turn to google of course. I quickly typed in "Dhaba's around Bhiwandi" and to my dismay found no recommended list of Dhaba's to visit.
The only one we found mentioned was Shalimar Dhaba on Mouth Shut. Given the amount of word of mouth buzz these Dhaba's had, I was quite disheartened to see that and thought that I would have definitely been better off had I just relied on my fellow bloggers and reached out to some of them. By the time I realized this though the clock was close to striking 11 and I decided against it. Relying on the only suggestion Google gave me we decided to make our way to Shalimar Dhaba.
Reaching the Dhaba located bang opposite the Shangrila Water Park we waltzed in to be greeted by Khatiyas on which to sit on. The vibe which they seemed to evoke was quite lovely. While we were deliberating the order amongst ourselves we mentioned that two out of the party were veg and only the third ate non-veg. Immediately the waiter informed us that there wasn't a separate veg section in the kitchen and all the utensils and other implements would be the same. Now I'm not usually particular about such things, however when the waiter made a point to mention it, I started feeling uneasy and we decided to try out another dhaba which hopefully would have separate utensils.
A short way away we found Sai Dhaba which not only proudly proclaims that it has a separate veg kitchen, it also had a Jain section to the menu. My mind at peace we decided to start ordering and satiate the mice scurrying around in our tummies.
To start off our meal we decided to go for the Chana Koliwada which consisted of Kabuli Chana coated in a red batter which had a fair bit of masala and garnished with a ton of fried garlic. Now the presentation and quite frankly assembly of the entire dish could have been way better. The coating was soft whereas it would have benefited from being crisp and the garlic cloves were fried and didn't provide any real depth to the dish.
Next up was the paneer tikka coated in a red spice mix. While the spice mix itself was flavourful and mercifully the capsicum and onions which were cooked on the kebab were nice and charred. The paneer however wasn't as soft as expected and turned out to be slightly chewy.
Looking to move on quickly we decided to opt for the Veg Hyderabadi and a Garlic Butter Naan. While I wasn't expecting the world from the food I did expect the Naan to be much better. While the Veg Hyderabadi had a nice flavour to it the Naan was too heavy and thick which made it seem a lot more chewy than it should have been right out of the tandoor.
Overall based on this experience I'm not really sure whether I would recommend a trip all the way out to Bhiwandi to eat at a Dhaba, I would much rather make a trip to Lonavala and eat at Sunny's over there. However if you guys know of any which are ones I must check out do let me know in the comments.