Maratha Kolhapur Darbar, Peru Gate Lane, Pune Review
Kolhapur Darbar is in the same Peru gate lane which I call the Mutton galli. Just behind Bharat Natya mandir, this place is a 20-year-old in this area.
All the mutton thali places in this area are small, pocket friendly and have their own followers.
The kind of café trend that I have seen in Pune, I believe 20 cafes open in a month and almost 8 of them close in a month. Hence, I like going to such places as they have survived decades, with a small place, limited dishes on the menu and a very specific cuisine. There is something about them which makes them tick.
I visited this place recently and fortunately it was a Chaturthi, there was just one table occupied out of the 6 odd tables there.
I had eaten enough of mutton, so decide to go with the Chicken thali this time. As the name suggests they serve their non-veg in Kolhapuri style. The chicken thali consisted of a Chicken Masala serving, half boiled egg masala serving, Tambda and pandhra rassa. It is served with either chappati or Bhakri, as any thali place does. They also serve either plane rice or Biryani Rice (will explain that in a bit)
The chicken was cooked well but still on the bone. This is an art many people are not able to master many a times. It was soft chicken cooked well in the gravies of the Kolhapuri curry. The same gravy was used for the half egg curry.
The half egg curry concept is interesting. I am sure it was introduced to keep the costs of the meal low and provide a variety on the thali apart from the chicken. The larger meal would have a full egg curry, chicken curry and dry chicken and then pandra and tambda rassa.
Let’s talk about Kolhapuri Cuisine a bit
Kolhapuri food is famous or infamous for the high on chilli content factor. It is a myth. Kolhapuri food is a balanced set of flavours and surely not something which should make you sweat. The reason it goes wrong sometimes, at quite a few places,possibly could be because, people understand Kolhapuri food only as hot. So they demand hot and the restaurant caters to that.
The other reason could be that it is very easy to go wrong with the balance of the masalas as the content is dried red chillies, black pepper corn, cloves and others. These ingredients, erred a little, can change the spiciness quotient completely.
Coming Back to Kolhapur Darbar
The tambda rassa is excellent here. I had taken an additional bowl of this heavenly liquid.I am not a big fan of rice but since they offered Biryani rice as an option, I opted to try that.
The rice served is Indrayani but it is topped with fried onions and some fresh coriander. There is something about Indrayani rice that makes it go well with kolhapuri rassa.
Pocket friendly, family friendly and on Zomato too. So, you can go there and eat or order in, the food really works.
This is one more restaurant which is on my must visit list, when in Pune.