This small outlet near the Worli flyover had been attracting my attention since the day it opened. The crowds outside indicated that the place was popular since the first week. Prasad Nayak, one of the owners, told me an interesting anecdote. “We were not full for the first five days. Sixth day afternoon, my sister-in-law’s friends came for lunch. I was feeling sheepish that my restaurant had no customers when they visited. I told them — ‘it’s full for dinner’. And trust me, God heard me and from that night’s dinner, the restaurant has always been full.”
Maaslli has come up in the place where there used to be a small vegetarian joint called Liberty — a basic eating house for the government servants to have lunch. The brothers, Rajesh and Prasad Nayak, after their father’s death, were wondering what to do with the place when their mother suggested that they should serve the food they love — food that the ate every day at home. And that’s how Maaslli came about, with recipes of the Nayak family. “Our attempt is to give our customers an experience that will bring them back again and again,” adds Rajesh, Prasad’s elder brother. Rajesh is the backbone of the kitchen. He has designed the menu, conducted tryouts and designed the dishes it is served in as well. I am a self-declared fusspot when it comes to Solkadhi. I find all Solkadhis served outside of my home watery. But I was pleasantly surprised when the Solkadhi at Maaslli was not watery. The texture and consistency were perfect making it a tasty accompaniment for the meal. The only thing amiss was the sugar in it, but that I understand is required for commercial reasons.
Surmai Fry |
It was slightly difficult deciding the starter. But like a true GSB I opted for the Khubbewadi — clam cutlets — but Prasad insisted I should try Prawns Lasooni Fry as well. The Khubbewadi, also known at some place as Tisryo Dangar, is one of the most delicate preparations in a GSB kitchen. And trust me Maaslli’s preparation is melt in the mouth perfect. The prawns too were cooked just right. “It is our food, we eat here... and we serve the freshest fish and seafood,” says Rajesh.
Stuffed Pomfret |
I had to have Kulith saar (horse gram soup), which is another GSB delicacy. But also tried the Chicken Konkani Soup — a spicy broth with boneless chicken pieces. If you are fond of spicy stuff then do start the meal with this soup and follow it with a starter — either Khubbewadi or a simple Bombil fry.
Prawns Phanna Curry |
I chose to have Bombil Fry with Prawns Phanna Curry — a curry made from paste of coconut, ginger, onion — and eaten with rice; staple diet of a GSB.
After a glass of Solkadhi and a break of a few minutes, it was crab time. Crab Sukke with tandlachi bhakri — crab sautéed with a typical GSB coconut masala with red chillies. The masala tastes amazing with the rice roti made from rice flour that’s pre-steamed. If you are clams fans, then Malwani Clams Sukke is a must. A different masala that has a hint of garam masala is what makes the Malwani Tisrya Sukke different from the GSB style dry crab presentation. Both masalas use coconut as the base, but still have a definite taste of their own thanks to the unique spices used. Stuffed Pomfret is a must try as well.
Crab Sukke-GSB |
Mackerel (bangda) is a fish that very few really enjoy, but if you do, then have the Tirphala Curry. The use of ‘tirphala’, the distinctive GSB spice, enhances the innate taste of mackerel.
The restaurant offers thalis as well. A good offering if you want to have a complete meal of roti, rice, curry (fish/chicken/mutton), fried fish (choice of the fresh catch), a vegetable, Solkadhi and Dali toy.
Jaggery Kharwas |
Prasad strongly believes that GSB food is well-balanced and scientifically correct. “It has ingredients like coconut, turmeric, hing and other stuff which is good for digestion and has fibre and minerals. It’s a known fact that fish is rich in minerals and Omega-3…,” Prasad says. “Why do you think we have such good skin and hair?” he questions with a smile.
Whatever the reason, Maaslli is the perfect place to eat GSB and Malwani food, though I would recommend the GSB seafood more than anything else. Just feast yourself on the varied fish that start from a pomfret to smaller ones like tarli, mandeli and clams and crabs. Have a thali, or just aamchi xit-kodi-talelo tukdo (curry-rice-fried fish), remember to sip the solkadhi during the meal and finish it off with a Jaggery Kharwas!
For me, it was a home cooked meal, which was not cooked by me! A treat in itself.
Average price: Rs 2200 for two
Address: Maaslli, 31/A, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli Naka, Near Worli Flyover, Mumbai: 400018 Tel: 8282826121