Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Village, The Soul of India, Cuffe Parade

As I cool my feet here in Mumbai, waiting for the next phase in my life to reveal itself, I decided to diversify my blog writing into reviewing stuff. This can be reviews of books, movies, electronic products, services, etc. etc. The idea is to share my thoughts with readers who visit my blog regularly.

Today, I am going to talk about a restaurant that my family and I visited last week. This restaurant at the World Trade Center, Cuffe Parade is known simply as The Village, and subtitled "The Soul of India".  It is one of a chain of 7 outlets in Mumbai. 

A screenshot from www.zomato.com

The way to the main door is lit up nicely, and your path is flanked by counters on the wall where they've created a village ambience. The day we went was a Sunday evening, and we expected some rush. Fortunately, there wasn't a rush. We went past the walls decorated with glass bangles, faux cow dung hanging from threads, tyres from cars and Bollywood photos and through the multi-coloured gate into the restaurant reception. A manager approached us to know how many we were, and directed us to the payment counter, where we paid the cover charges of Rs. 600 per person for an unlimited buffet-style meal.

The interior was cooled by large air-conditioners placed discreetly behind tables. There were three real trees that lofted up above us, and through a net placed between three surrounding buildings. We were actually in a modified outdoors location! Rows of serving areas lay all around us on the sides of the central, open area. We went around, examining the various items on the menu as well as the interesting decor. There are areas made to look like village locations. Thus, we have a "Billoo barber shop", a "leddies tailler" shop, and several other similar areas. We also had a "pathshala", a "baraf-gola and drinks" station, a "sweets and dosa station", a "barbeque and rotis" station, plus the usual veg and non-veg table each. Of course, there was a chaat and pani-puri stall as well. 

There was a mini "bioscope" showing various village and national mnuments on turning a lever at the top, a "mini-puppet" theatre, and, as we continued through the evening, a live dance by some of the artists, in which the audience was also invited to join, a dandiya raas with audience participation, and, finally, a mini-dahi-handi (we had gone there on the eve of Gokulashthmi) where some kids were lofted on to the shoulders of the staff members, and they were asked to break a handi filled with milk.

Food wasn't exceptional, but there was plenty of variety, with veg and non-veg options. We had fish and chicken as well as paneer and veg starters, chaat, pani-puris, dosas, jalebi, main course of chicken, mutton and vegetarian dishes, with assorted rotis, biryani and pulao. One could go and have baraf golas and flavoured drinks as often as desired. A paan store was lacking, though, and I drew the manager's attention to this, and he agreed to look into it.

The food was above average, but not exceptional, as I already pointed out earlier. However, at Rs. 600 for an unlimited meal, this is probably the best location in south Mumbai for an evening of fun.

My ratings:

Ambiance: 4/5
Food 3/5
Price 4.5/5
Service 3.5/5

Overall 4/5

Village: The Soul of India
World Trade Center, The Arcade, Courtyard 2, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai
Tel.: +912222163355/+919987131339

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