during a visit to bombay last year, i had dinner one night at maharaja bhog, a restaurant that boasts a different rajasthani-gujurati thali every day. the food was delicious and decadent, so when i found out they had a location in bangalore, i knew i would need to visit. as cindy’s time in india drew to a close, we thought it would be a great place for her final dinner, closing out the last 7 months with a bang.
upon our arrival, we discovered that the restaurant has undergone a rebranding of sorts and is now known as samaroh. once we confirmed that they still have the thali and operate in the same general style, we decided to stay and check out what they had to offer.
our initial server – there were a lot of them – noted that they changed the name of the restaurant partly because they wanted to offer a different dining experience. where at maharaja bhog every course is served on the thali plate in various katoris, at samaroh different courses are presented in different ways.
to begin, a portion of a rose-flavoured sweet was given in a small bowl with the tiniest spoon i’ve ever seen. it was an interesting little taster to start the meal.
following that, we received the above platter with small pappadums, chutneys, pickle, spiced onions, salad, green chillies, and lemons. the chutneys were delicious, and we scarfed down the salad. this stayed on the table throughout our meal so that we could partake in the garnishes whenever we wanted.
next up was some very good soup and a small portion of crushed papads with chopped onions, tomatoes, and coriander. it was kind of like chaat without the masala.
after that we received our “starters” — i use the air quotes since we had already been eating for about 15 minutes at that point. clockwise from top left you have paneer pakoda, dhokla, aloo tikka, and katti roll. the aloo tikka was definitely my favourite of the lot, but they were all good.
while we were munching on the starters we also received papdi chaat and pani puri, complete with our own individual mini teapots of pani. these were both really good, especially the papdi chaat.
and then! it was finally time for the main event, the round we had both been waiting for. the starter dishes were cleared, and out came the thali plates with the katoris. i love the anticipation that builds when that beautiful empty plate is placed on the table.
out came the dahi vada, the various vegetables, along with one roti, one chapatti, and one phulka with your choice of butter or ghee. monday night’s offerings were chana palak, kofta, paneer butter masala, a sabzi of broccoli and corn in a cream sauce, and tadka dal. the broccoli was definitely my favourite, because it was something different and was super tasty, and cindy’s was the paneer butter masala. both of us agreed that the dal was just ok, and i was personally disappointed because i was hoping for makhani instead of tadka. fingers crossed for next time, i guess.
i had a very small portion of ghee rice to finish off a few of my vegetables while cindy opted for another phulka. we both skipped the curd rice, however, because we were pretty stuffed and wanted to get on to the desserts.
and oh boy, the desserts. we had two tiny jalebis, something like a rasagolla with mango puree over it, kesar something, and one that they called something else but looked and tasted an awful lot like gulab jamun. my favourite was the jamun, followed closely by the jalebis, which is surprising because i am not normally a fan. but these were tasty.
as you can see, we both stuffed ourselves silly. i was grateful for our walk back home so that i could burn off some of what i had just eaten, because after about 20 minutes it began to sink in just how much food we had consumed.
one of our servers asked me at the end of the meal which was better, maharaja bhog or samaroh. i responded that they are both different and cannot be compared, especially since the menu changes on a daily basis. food-wise they are practically equals, but i have to personally give the nod to maharaja bhog for the ambience that they create — eating there feels like an event, and that is difficult to replicate.
samaroh does deserve credit, however, for taking maharaja bhog’s model and making it their own. it has only been open for about a week under the new name, so it’s only natural that there will be some hiccups until they find their new groove. i look forward to visiting again in a few months and seeing how things are going.
location: 7/1, 1st floor, above icici bank. vittal mallya road, lavelle road. bangalore – 560001 // it is still listed as maharaja bhog on google maps, but look out for the samaroh sign
landmark: above icici bank.
serves non-veg: no
serves drinks: no
wifi available? no
what we ordered: the only thing on the menu — thali x 2.
our bill: rs 990
my zomato rating: 3.5 out of 5 // average rating is 3.1
fun facts: the menu changes each day, so in 30 days there are 30 different meals served // dishes are made according to what is in season, so in may there will be a heavy focus on using mangoes // initial servings are small so that you can taste a little of everything, but you can always get more of whatever you liked best // they just rebranded the restaurant and reopened about a week before we visited // the servers use hand gestures to signal to one another what someone wants more of [eg: if they hold up four fingers, it indicates that someone wants more sabzi, etc]; it’s fascinating – and a little hilarious – to watch
to keep in mind: the bill does not include service tax, vat, or anything else // even though portions are small, there is a lot of food, so come with an appetite and some loose-fitting trousers
will i go back? possibly once during mango season because that aam ras is amazing