Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Oh-I-cannot-eat-anymore Gujarati Thali

The legendary 'Gujarati Thali' consists of a huge variety of dishes. Predominantly sweet, not too salty and even less hot (chilly). While staying at the Silver Leaf Hotel located along the busy S G Highway in Ahmedabad, I was looking out for a restaurant that servers the Gujarati Thali.

To my amazement, I discovered a restaurant right next door, turned out to be the very well known Gordhan Thaal. So, what's in store for me, I wondered, as I walked in. I was the first guest that evening. The entire hall was ready for the show. Row after row of tables were dressed up, the Thaalis and small containers gleaming as they waited for guests to arrive. 

Stewards and waiters were quietly standing by. They welcomed me warmly. And then the gentle onslaught started. One after another, the stream of waiters seemed endless, filling up the Thaali and containers with a colourful variety of food. All in highly efficient factory production line format, each waiter specializing in one item or a set of specific ones.

Other guests started coming in soon enough, however, the waiters' attention did not waver. You ARE expected to eat! Helpless waving of the left hand to convey that I've eaten enough resulted in extremely hurt looks from the waiters, as if to ask: "What, is this all? You cannot do this to us." I was thinking, "You cannot be doing this to me!"

At the end of the feast, the 'hand wash' experience is equally lavish. A large copper jug filled with warm water is brought, and the water is poured into a huge copper bowl as you stick your hands in the falling water and wash. Certainly the largest hand wash apparatus I have come across.

A unique experience, from the welcome to the hand wash. 

The culinary experience reminded me of the song by Roberta Flack back from my school days, "Killing me softly with his song." In this case, it was "Killing me softly with their food", the evening turning out to be a very memorable "Oh, I cannot eat anymore" Thali.