This one has been long time in pipeline!
Samrat is in backbay reclamation area near Churchgate. Its not as well known as its cousin Status which sees Nariman point flocking to it for lunch. But trust me its a lot better.
Its a medium sized place spread over two floors. One is struck by two things upon entry: most of the patrons are families taking a day out and that there are so many trophys declaring Samrat as the Best Veg restaurant in Bombay! It seems they have won for every year for a fairly long time!
Its a nice clean place with tables packed together and waiters in uniforms bustling about. A glance around will show that Thali is popular and indeed its tough to go wrong with the choice. I would also recommend the Masala Khicdi here. I’m split between the Thali and the Khicdi everytime I come here and just can’t make a decision on the gastronomic criteria. So I take Khicdi when in hurry/when I need to stay light and Thali otherwise. My recommendation for these two should by no means take you away from trying other items on Menu. They’re great too! Its just that I haven’t been able to break myself away from the hold that these two items have over me! I have tried some others when we went in a group and I can tell you that the Tandoori paneer is the best I’ve had anywhere in the world. For dessert, the aamras is incomparable.
I’ll dwell a bit on the thali as its the most attractive option here. Costs Rs 170 a head. The items are the same as any Gujrathi thali. But its vastly superior to any other in two aspects: taste and service. One can keep eating just one or two items and completely immerse oneself into them at the cost of others and still feel satiated. Item to item, samrat beats other gujrathi places hands down. When it comes to service, you feel you have come in a wedding. There may be people lined up and waiting to get in and you may be protesting that you’re filled upto the mouth, the waiters would still implore you to have more! They actually run to get items you haven’t tried lest you run away before they return! Other gurathi thali places like Aaram in Mahim also serve huge amount of food but this service is beyond anything I’ve ever seen.
I can go on and on about Samrat. I have already used more exclamation marks here than all my other posts combined and I can still add more. But suffice it to say that its MUST visit place in Mumbai. Its the benchmark for good quality food as far as I’m concerned.