Pali Bhavan (Bandra, Mumbai)

I’m sure some food critics enjoy the theatre of enduring a terrible meal. Perhaps they feel it gives them “material” or “ammunition” to talk about in their reviews. In essence, such critics in the name of their profession, have no breaking point. However unlike many of the professional critics, as an amateur reviewer, I pay for all my meals (and often for others) and have no reservations about leaving a restaurant mid-way through if I’m pushed to it.

Pali Bhavan has a very similar air to Pali Village Cafe – I wonder if there is some connection between the two?  Pali Bhavan is just as drab and on the upper level, there’s a befuddling assortment of memorabilia which lines the walls and an equally questionable and dirty looking colour scheme.

About 15 minutes in, the starters arrive and that’s when I had to chuck in the towel. The sweet potato and pea chaat that arrives was of a size appropriate for a 2 month old kitten with a stapled jaw. The minuscule sweet potato portion was left mercilessly swimming in an elaborate looking mess of dahi (yoghurt) and sweet tamarind sauce.  The savoury crispy straws (farsan) on top were definitely stale, after confirming with The Brunette also. Her Malaysian Seafood soup looked a damp squib compared to the description and had some strange broken instant noodles squirming around the bottom of the bowl like tad poles in a jar.

Now here’s my earnest request: if a restaurant can’t get a simple, assembled starter right and if you’re not up a mountain in the Himalayas without an easy escape, you should not keep shtum.  The same is also true at a dinner party, family meal, if your host serves you a load of tripe. For heaven’s sake, don’t be another unctuous and servile guest “oh it’s delightful, it’s so nice…”, when actually you’re eating curried boot laces.

You might ask why I didn’t send the dishes back and order another dish? In my view, you should send a dish back if if there’s some sort of functional mistake e.g the food is cold, there is an omission in the dish etc. If the dish reflects gross incompetence on the part of the kitchen, why would you want to play pot luck and have another dish.

The only appropriate response in Mr Marley’s words: get up, stand up, fight for your right…. and then leave.

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