The hive of activity and maze of streets that surround Gokul Gujarati Restaurant aren’t actually far removed from the haze and noisiness that you’d find in Indian cities like Rajkot, especially after 7pm, when Gokul’s small dining room is teeming with guests devouring tray after tray of thali.
When the food arrives, its taste and quality easily outdoes many high-end Indian restaurants in the city. It has a transporting quality you can only experience when eating richly spiced and truly authentic food from a simple, silver tray, the content of which changes on a daily basis.
You can always expect, however, a varying combination of vegetarian thali staples: dhal, vegetable shak (curry), rotis, and something sweet like the syrup-soaked coils of jalebi. On the side, there are firey chutneys and bowls of chopped onion, lemon slices and whole green chillies.
The friendly family who own the restaurant hurry from table to table refilling trays, and not taking no for an answer. Even when you’ve barely had time to start. Ignore the spoons and get stuck in with your hands by squeezing liberal amounts of lemon over the nutty barley-based dhal and scooping up mouthfuls with the light, buttery rotis.
Any leftover curry sauces are best soaked up with the sublimely fluffy dokhla – soft, spongy steamed gram flour seasoned with spices like asafoetida (responsible for the distinct fragrance of authentic Indian food) and mustard seeds. An unforgettable meal.
QR25 (all you can eat). Open Sun-Sat 7am-11pm. 920 Ibn Bin Mahmoud Street, Freej Bin Mahmoud (4480 0373).