That's Swati Snacks in Mumbai's Tardeo for you. When you first look at their menu, full of homely comfort foods, you can't really understand the crowds in this small-ish eatery. Neither did I first get the long queues waiting patiently outside.
But a meal is all it takes to convince you to make long, arduous treks (at least for me!) to eat a meal that gets over too quickly. First, there's Panki, A thin rice flour crepe cooked between two banana leaves. This method steams rather than fries the batter, leaving you with super soft pankis. Every panki comes with a pickled chilli, the high point of the dish if you ask me. But there's also a coriander chutney and a sweet mango sauce if you are interested.
Then, there's khickdi. It's really the basic mung dal and rice you cook at home. But Swati takes it to another level with the right level of spice and tons of ghee. Khichdi comes up a spicy kadhi and a uniformly excellent side of potatoes. Because I would have also had Swati's fresh juice or buttermilk by now, I haven't ventured outside these two menu items often.
But my friends today ordered moong dal chila, a lentil pancake studded with garlic and peanut sauce that just might become a regular order too.
Service isn't a high point at Swati. They always smile and they won't rush you, but they'd rather you finish your meal soon and make way for the next guest. With food this good, I don't really care!