A Little Known Popular Restaurant Turns 70
Let not the name deceive you. Vinay Health Home in Fanaswadi (an eight minute drive from Charni Road station) is neither an organic foods shop nor a restaurant specialising in diet-friendly meals. And yet the constant crowd assembled outside the Maharshtrian restaurant suggests that a lot of lives depend on it. Set up by Ramkrishna Tembe on August 1, 1940 (it turned 70 this Sunday), the restaurant has been a much favoured haunt of mill workers, famous politicians, theatre actors and film stars, who come for the Puneri misal and other authentic Maharashtrian fare.
Tembe senior is no more, but his sons, Chandrashekhar and Anil, inherited the restaurant, its lofty reputation and the secret recipes responsible for its enduring success. Over its 70 year history, much has been updated (cushioned seats, a take away counter), except for the menu, which specialises in local home-cooked fare like patal bhaji, patal usal, Puneri misal, potato poha and thalipith (spiced, multigrain dough). Grannies, mums and wives of the Tembe household are consulted in matters of food, so as to keep a check on quality control. As a result, much of the simple food tastes home-made. We recommend the tomato curry-based patal usal and bhaji: the usal had a mild and thick gravy with vaal dal mashed into it while the patal bhaji has a spicier, red chilli-infused tomato gravy that is best had with a butter pav and chopped onions. One of their most popular items, a popular Maharashtrian tea time snack, is Puneri misal. Staff at Vinay are heavily guarded about the ingredients (the founder’s hand-written recipes are treated as sacred), but we detected sprouts, chopped peanuts, chivda, lime and coriander in their version of the spicy mixture.
Also worth a taste is the deep-fried kothimbir vadi (admittedly not good for heart patients), a patty-like snack made of chickpea flour, coriander, green chilli and crushed peanuts; and the dink ladoo, a hand rolled confection made with dried coconut, raisins, peanuts, cashews and sweetened with jaggery. Even after sampling Vinay’s bestsellers, three quarters of the menu still remained to be tried. “You will be through with the menu very soon,” Chandrashekhar Tembe said. ”Once people eat at Vinay they always return.”
A meal for two costs approximately Rs200.Tags: Anil Tembe, Chandrashekhar Tembe, Food, Ramkrishna Tembe, restaurant, Vinay Health Home
LocationVinay Health Home
Dr. Babasaheb Jayakar Marg
HoursThursday to Tuesday, 7am-10pm. Wednesday closed.