With frozen toes, curled up in my blanket, my hands arrested, leaning my head on that frosted window I gazed at the snow; it was a chilly winter, that year in Nottingham. Yet, when I closed my eyes and thought about home, I could breathe the smell of fresh rotis soaked in desi ghee, the sweetness and creamy texture of white butter rolling in my mouth, that piece of ‘gud’ at the end of the meal which just sticks on to your palate and plays with your senses for hours later. Even the thought filled me with warmth and brought a smile on my cold lips.
I would often get lost into my own world while writing long and boring assignments. Then again, don’t we all? My mouth still waters when I think about a large, well prepared thali with four different types of vegetables, curries, dal and kadhi served with delicious rotis soaked in ghee. Not to forget, the papads, achaars, chutneys and delicious sweets. In many ways my visit to Revival was a realization of that recurring dream I used to have in Nottingham. I mean who are we kidding, which one of us in todays time and age has the time to even think about preparing more than one sabzi and dal? We save the trouble of making kadhi and khandvi for special occasions.
Revival’s warm and welcoming hospitality showcases Indian culture at its best. There is no doubt that this is a great place to bring along your foreign collaborators or friends. There are LCD screens at each table that describe each dish on the day’s menu for the diner’s information.
It was a reasonably priced meal at approximately Rupees 280 per person on weekdays as on 6th July 2012 and Rs 335 on Sundays. With a well-lit and spacious dining area and traditionally dressed serving staff, the dining experience here is a delight.
Heavy Thalis in an intimidating size covered with fabric covers were laid on the tables. The service staff was warm and well spoken; I was happy to hear them speak to us in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati or Marvari rather than in English as they served each item with a smile. One of the biggest USPs of this meal was the royal treatment with chandan (Sandalwood) water that was brought to our table at the beginning and end of the meal to wash our hands.
We were welcomed with a warm Tulsi drink followed by a range of savoury items including Gujarati and Marvari Kadhi, Spicy Dal, Khandvi, dhokla and rasam, small sabudana patty filled with roasted peanut mixture, along with veg kurma, matki math (which I loved), batata bhaji and tori with matar for the vegetable curries and dry preparations. My favourites on the Thali were the soft and tender Khandvi, Spicy Dal, Matki Math and Veg Kurma.
These were accompanied by 3 types of bread; which included rotis with lots of ghee, the second was crispy, sweet bread and the third, Rotla. Rotla is a bhakri made of Nachni, it is slightly hard and chewy, yet small rotlas served with white butter (loni) and jaggery (gud) was like poetry in my mouth.
The breads were followed by a simple khichadi with lots of ghee and saffron pulav, which sounds better than it tasted. Some amazing chutneys, achaars, papad and murrabbas along with chhaas accompanied these items on the thali. I must mention the Aonla murrabba, I’m not sure whether this was made in house or not, but it was the most amazing aonla murrabba there ever was, great taste.
The food was freshly made with good quality ingredients and from what I learnt from the LCD screen, they were organic ingredients. In fact, apart from traditional Indian food and service Revival also seems to be involved in bringing back organic and ayurvedic food products to our city. I happened to glance at a list of ayurvedic and organic food items featured on the LCD screen, a nice idea to advertise, although I didn’t read much, I was busy enjoying my meal. Even with little katoris on that plate, with the number of items and warmth with which we were insistently served, I was already full by the time we got to the dessert. Revival serves limited dessert on weekdays and unlimited desserts on Sundays. I could just pick one from custard with cut up fruits, strawberry halwa and shrikhand. How can I say no to Shrikhand? I over-stuffed myself, but I don’t regret it. It was a great meal concluded with a meetha pan.
That thing about this place is that they are preserving and promoting Indian traditional meals and hospitality and bringing it forward by using contemporary techniques such as the use of that LCD screen at every table.
Revival’s Rotla with gud and loni (Jaggery & White Butter)
Revival’s Aonla Murrabba