Agashiye: A Gujarati feast under the stars

Dined at a charming restaurant in Ahmedabad last week. My hotel’s front desk recommended Agashiye instantly when I asked about where I could go dig into a wholesome Gujarat thali.  Google too served up many ready references and reviews, some giving it as many as 4 stars.

My friend and I- famished and gastronomically curious and- now with naturally boosted expectations hitched an autorickshaw to Lal Darwaaza in the Old City. Both of us Delhiites unfamiliar with Ahmedabad and women genetically predisposed to asking for directions along the way much to the chagrin of the autowalla, made it there in 25 minutes from the airport. 90 rupees lighter we found the place housed in a 1924 heritage building which is now ‘The House of MG’, a heritage hotel.

Foyer Off the Lift

We stepped into its rustic foyer, marvelled at the decor as we made our way to the cosy front desk. There an old man in a spotless white dhoti kurta welcomed us. We were asked to indicate our meal preference- we chose one of the two options, the regular thali over the deluxe. The property’s tastefully retained old world charm extended to its elevator…a rickety, old contraption that led us to – wait for it – a diya and moonlight-bathed terrace. Agashiye means ‘on the terrace’ in Gujarat.  The fine dining eatery is spread across 2 interconnected terraces and is yet an intimate setting

We were welcomed with a fuchsia drink and later told it was pineapple bit nu sharbat! A serving of farsaan followed served in a steel quarter thali,  something you’d find in a humble worker’s  home. We dug into the specially-prepared maisur dhokla and makai copra samosas and licked the green chutney off our fingers.  Then came the salad- a generous lashing of cucumbers  dressed with lemon on an earthen plate.

Then came the main course. Drumroll, please. Massive kansa thalis were placed before us, replete with 6 katoris each.  These were filled before our eyes with Jodhpuri Bataki, Palak Jambu, Gujarati Dal and Mix Kathol. But the centrepiece for me was the parwar subzi- Kurmuriya Parwar. This is a big compliment as I, otherwise, don’t fancy parwal. And the servers obliged this hungry diner with a second helping.  An assortment of rotis –Fulka and Bhakri did full justice to that parwal. There was also an array of pickles to choose from – I tried the garlic and mango pickles and found no reason to complain. Rice – a choice of Vatana Walo Bhat  and/or Mag ni Fotrawali dal ni Khichdi – with the option of dollops of sinful ghee squared off the main course.  If your wondering what was in the sixth katori it was Pista Basundi. We thought that this and the lone Malpuas in each of our plates marked the sweet ending of our evening. But to our surprise, there was more. An Anjeer ice cream proved to be the finale. Unfortunately, I was too full to pander to my sweet tooth.

Food: What I liked most about Agashiye was that it’s the food that’s truly the star. This meal was finger-licking good and memorable enough for me to make it the subject of my first food blog.  Its 4-star food rating and 2 Times Food awards are totally justified. Everything at Agashiye is freshly made and the proof is, well, in your thali.  ‘Homemade’ and ‘fine dining’ are usually mutually exclusive categories. But at Agashiye they’ve blended well.  The meal is billed at an all-inclusive Rs 395 for the regular thali but I honestly feel you can’t put a price on those wholesome flavours.  The deluxe thali which would have included Patra, Dahiwada Chat and a Sarewada platter is priced Rs 495

Service: The servers are mostly men from neighbouring villagers and let you enjoy your meal in peace. They don’t hover around but keep an eye on your thali and are ready on hand with generous refills . Servings here are unlimited. A slice of advice: Go easy on the starters. If you fill up on those, like we did, there’s no way you can make the most of those unlimited helpings without loosening your belt.

Ambience:  There’s nothing better than eating such a feast under the stars. Dim lighting and comfortable seating compliment the experience. But what really sealed it for me was the call of the muazzin from Sidi Sayyad masjid which is just across the road.

I’m definitely going back to Agashiye for all these reasons. I’m told they have a different menu for each day of the week. It’s the sort of the place you can enjoy a meal – with a partner, a bigger group of friends or even just by yourself

Agashiye is at Mirzapur Rd, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001. Call: 079 25506946


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