Vada Pav and Missal Pav were the two dishes that I wanted to have the moment I landed in Mumbai. And I did just that. In fact, over the two weeks that I spent in Mumbai, I had a Vada Pav and Missal Pav almost daily. Further, being a fan of Maharashtrian food, I wanted to try authentic vegetarian Maharashtrian food in Mumbai. FYI: Maharashtrian Food. It’s a lot different from the typical Mumbai street food.
So when I was on the lookout for a place to serve Maharashtrian food, Aaswad was the place that popped up first. It had great reviews and was quite popular among the locals. My expectations were set as I planned to dine at Aaswad. Like always, this is going to be my review of Aaswad, Dadar, Mumbai.
Prime Location – Simple Ambiance
I was staying at a backpacker hostel in Mumbai that was located in Bandra. Aaswad is located in Dadar, which wasn’t quite far from my hostel. Unaware of the location, I booked a kaali-peeli that took me to Aaswad. We passed through a crowded road leading up to Aaswad crossing Mahim. You’ll notice a towering skyscraper and the Shiv Sena Bhavan when you reach Aaswad. It’s located within a walking distance of the famous Shivaji Park.
Aaswad is one of the oldest and most loved places for authentic vegetarian Maharashtrian food. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait. I visited Aaswad thrice and on average had to wait for about 15mins. This can increase over the weekends.
On the inside, it’s a very simple place. A rather congested ground floor and first floor. The sitting area might feel congested especially if you’re in with a large group. You’ll see a lot of Marathi writings on the walls which are brightly lit. The decor is pretty simple and is a perfect family restaurant.
My Aaswad Review – Maharashtrian Food at its best
Since I was here for dinner, Vada Pav and Missal Pav were off the cards. I was looking forward to trying some authentic Maharashtrian food. Because I was with friends, we also ordered items like Pav Bhaji (which was good) but my focus was on the other items.
We ordered a plate each of Kothambir Vadi, Bharli Vangi (stuffed Brinjal), Pithale Bhakhri (Gram flour curry with rice flour chapati), Varan Bhaat (rice and dal) and Ras Poori (Mango pulp and poori). The order was almost instantly delivered, in fact, the table seemed small.
Kothambir Wadi had two huge pieces of it served with coconut chutney and dry red chilly garlic chutney. The vadis were soft yet crispy on the outside. It was flavourful but something didn’t click. Both chutneys complemented it perfectly. Bharli Vangi on the other hand was extremely flavourful – just the way I expected. Two small full brinjals in a peanut/coconut-based gravy. Relished it thoroughly with bhakri. Must try.
Pithale Bhakri was a plate meal – didn’t know it before ordering – so it had a serving of Bharli Vangi, Pithale and two bhakris. Pithale was one of the simplest yet yummiest I’ve had. Paired with thecha (green chilly based chutney) – the overall dish was perfect. Talking about varan bhaat, two dollops of rice served with dal, kadhi, ghee and kachri (crisp). I loved the plating, and of course the flavours. It was extremely basic, but the hot rice and dal with ghee were just perfect. Must try I’d say.
Lastly, the ras poori. 5 hot balloony pooris served with a bowl of aam ras. The ras wasn’t the machine-made one, rather it looked handmade. There were a lot of pulp and Mango pieces in it. Rich in flavour and texture without artificial additions. A perfect way to end the meal.
Overall, I loved Aaswad. A no-nonsense place serving authentic Maharashtrian food. The fact that there’s waiting most of the time, just affirms the popularity of the place.
Final Verdict: Aaswad has the Swaad!
You must understand that Mumbai food is very different from Maharashtrian food. There are a lot of places serving Marashtrian food in Mumbai, but Aaswad is the only one that’s pure vegetarian.
The place is simple, the food is simple and delicious plus its pocket friendly too. For everything mentioned, we paid about Rs 800 for 3 people which is extremely pocket friendly. No wonder I went here multiple times and surely Aaswad has the swaad! Next time you’re in Mumbai and looking for some authentic vegetarian Maharashtrian food, Aaswad is the place to go!