In a city over populated with restaurants, road side stalls, take away joints and pubs, very few manage to stand the test of time. Some have been around for a while and over the years received a lot of accolade and publicity that make them almost iconic in the city.
While they are extremely popular and amass new fans every day, the truth is that they have old loyal ones that still dine there regularly. One of these popular Mumbai restaurants is Swati Snacks.
What started out as a tiny hole in the wall nearly 4 decades ago, is today a swish restaurant serving some delectable regional food, however, most of their traditional specialties are Gujarati dishes and they bring in the crowd. It is nearly impossible to walk into this restaurant and find an empty table. There is always a line of hungry diners waiting outside. Some are smart enough to come in as early as 7 pm, when they start dinner service and still find that they might have to wait.
The style of service is almost like a fast food restaurant or a small South Indian joint where the food comes flying to your table almost the second after you have placed your order. Despite this tremendous speed and gentle reminders to vacate your table the minute you are done, there is always at least a few people patiently waiting outside.
What does one eat at this restaurant? With a menu listing nearly a mix of regional Indian dishes, it can get mind boggling, but for a newbie it is safe to stick to traditional favourites. The Panki is one of their many hot sellers which is rice pancake wrapped in a thin banana leaf. The pancake is literally wafer thin and breaks the minute you try to pick it up & while you are relishing it, you will realise it’s over before you even started and will be compelled to order more. The dal dhokli which is a whole wheat roti cooked in a traditional Gujarati dal & fada ni khichadi which is cracked wheat pulao served with curd are also great choices. They serve wonderful snacks like dosas, pav bhaji, vadas etc. but their traditional menu is what people enjoy the most.
Another specialty is their jalebi and fafda which is served hot and fresh on Sunday mornings for breakfast, only as a takeaway, and it is only when you see the ridiculous line early in the morning that you realise that the people in this city have a serious commitment to food.
If you are new to the city or just visiting, try and make a stop here, that is, of course if you are patient enough to wait for a table.
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Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.