Madhuban restaurant, which was launched on May 23 at R Mall in Mulund, offers an unlimited buffet while giving an ode to the Rasleela between Radha and Krishna.
As soon as our ears discerned a riveting tune dedicated to Lord Krishna coming from a flute, we knew we were nearby 'Madhuban' - not in the town in current Jharkhand and formerly Bihar but inside a mall in Mulund, the northeastern suburb of Mumbai. Madhuban restaurant was launched inside the R Mall yesterday, and undoubtedly, it granted us a fine gander into the erstwhile mythological era of the bond between Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha — that might have existed in Madhuban — within a confined space of the first outlet of the same name.
By the mere entrance of the restaurant, we were beguiled by the efforts made to compile every possible component to make the restaurant appear a dedication to the love of Radha-Krishna. A wide-sized Rangoli adorned the floor right outside the restaurant, and the welcoming door took pride with the inflorescence embellishments making it look like an entry to a sizeable floral garden as one might have seen in the movies or shows depicting the rasleela between Radha and Krishna or if not, surely in the iconic song, 'Baharon Phool Barsao' from the movie, 'Suraj'.
Once entered, we glanced upon the left for it being the most catchy element, also outshining from the outside through its glass doors; two swings facing each other and attached to the ceiling through ropes. And adjoining this small corner was greenery, even though artificial, and a small bench for two of the people to sit in front of each other to soak the vibe of the place. But as alluring as the left part appeared, the right was even more captivating in the form of a sit-down space for a few artists playing classical instruments like Tabla, Sitar and in the middle of them, the flute that outpoured the fine tunes throughout, including the popular tune from the movie, 'Krrish'.
Taking a few steps ahead took us to a table-like structure on which was kept an idol of Radha-Krishna and multiple items were served to constitute part of '56 bhog'. Along with this were a few decor pieces that stood for us just compellingly delightful like the figure of Lord Krishna playing the flute drawn with threads on a white backdrop of a wall. Adjacent to this were the portraits of Radha-Krishna made with quilling papers and a structure of Conchshell stuck on the wall made out of just sea shells, which turned out to be both creative and aesthetically appealing at the same time. Having said that, what also got our eyes arrested was a beautiful painting of Radha staring at a mirror — apparently, a real one — from which Lord Krishna was seen too. Amidst a rabble of noisy folks, we stared at this for a few good seconds and could not help but get immersed in the moment.
The owner of the restaurant, Pratiesh Ambekar, who got candid with us about the concept behind the theme, said, "When we thought of dedicating a theme to the restaurant, nothing else but the divinity of Lord Krishna and the love between Radha-Krishna came to our mind." By pointing toward the doodle on one of the walls, he continued, "We wanted to showcase the bygone era of their love at Madhuban through the paintings and other artworks that depict various life phases of Krishna."
However, in creating the space in the today's-time, the owner and the designers have well considered the preferences of not just the families but also the new-age groups who, according to the owner, are also likely to be their potential customers. And, keeping the same in mind, the restaurant decks itself with contemporary hues like modern-seating sofas, chairs and styles, and marble and mosaic flooring. But surely, with the staff wearing traditional clothes, including Kurta-pyjamas and turbans on their heads, about which the owner claimed that the same would be followed even in the coming days.
Bhojan at Madhuban
Coming to the most crucial part, which, ideally, would decide whether or not people should pay a visit to the otherwise deserted mall in which Madhuban will be operating, our take is a "yes." One of the most attractive points that should be considered here is that Madhuban does not offer a Thali system but a buffet. With not having a major difference, the latter surely has an edge for the independence of choosing and reduction in the wastage as well and hence, no doubt, why the owner finds this to be the selling point of the dining space.
Among the variation in starters ranging from Khaman, Samosas, Cheese Balls, Soup Aamras-Pooris, to many more, we happened to relish a few, and the quality of them did not let us down. Moreover, the restaurant offers end number of food options giving a mix of Gujarati, Rajasthan and other North-Indian veg delicacies. To name a few were plenty of options in rice and Pulao, Gujarati Daal, Daal Fry and Kadhi, Rajasthani Kadhi, Paneer Butter Masala, Baigan Bharta, Daal-Baati-Choorma, and a few options in sweets like Shreekhand, Moongdal Halwa, Sooji Halwa and Gulab Jamuns. Complimenting these are served a few traditional drinks like Kokum, all of which together make for a hearty traditional veg meal.
All in all, we had a satisfactory rendezvous and Madhuban, for us, turned out to be a true melange of the mythological era of Radha-Krishna with the current-era aesthetics welcoming an unlimited traditional veg buffet. So, whether or not this Madhuban has the Radhika dancing, it surely ensures you groove within its pleasing offerings!