Travel Diaries: The Chefs ‘Foodie’ Malvan Coastal Trip part 2
In the second part, the road took me to Ratnagiri- Aarey Waarey- Ganpati Phule and finally Alibaug. Most of the places are unknown, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that if the locals are gathering in a particular restaurant or a place those are the must-visit places. I must tell you now only that the Alibaug phase was really boring, maybe that’s because I did not go to the right places but people rave about Alibaug as if its the PLACE TO BE!
Tarkarli to Ratnagiri:
Well there are many modes of transport one can take, (Although there isn’t a boat route yet!! Map Link) private car, Rickshaws, government buses and many more, but if you want to travel relaxed take the private Taxis. I paid 2500 for a beautiful Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and that was the best decision ever. In a little over 3 hours I was in Ratnagiri and went to my hotel — Hotel Vihar, slap bang in the center of the city. Well I’m making it sound fancy with the city center and all, but its just 5 minutes away from the bus stop, 10 from the railway station, 7 minutes from the beach thus city center. Post checking in, I went straight to the restaurant, apparently TripAdvisor says this place has one of the best restaurants in the city and so I went to check it out. Its called “Down-town’ a little to corny, but for Ratnagiri standards it was good.
The Place and the Food:
The ground floor non-ac section serves Malvani food and thaalis, while the basement serves up Indian, some Malvani and has a fully stocked bar. Wanting to stick to traditional food I went to the non-ac section and called for the following — A Surmai thaali, Daal Khichdi and Malvan Mutton Masala. What? I was Hungry!!!! Fresh Surmai slice, like I’ve eaten the entire trip, refreshing Sol Kadi and soft MUTTON!!! It was spiced just right and went really well with the Khichdi, as you can see in the picture, wiped clean (like all other dishes in this trip!) Over eating got a new meaning in this trip but trust me guys, TripAdvisor isn’t wrong, the food at Hotel Vihar is pretty damn good!
After eating like a pig, sleep followed (like a pig.) I got back to what I do best, eat some more of course! Like I said before follow the locals, this time that lead took me to Annapurna – an authentic Malvani cuisine restaurant. Since I had three peoples food for lunch, I wanted to keep it light and not over-do things, so called for a Mud-Crab Thaali. Now I’ve had my share of crabs this trip Annapurna seemed way off the mark. Again I might not have had the best dish of the place, but if you travelers run out of option, this is a place you must visit.
Aarey Waarey — Private beach with clear water for all!
Next day, I was off to Ganpati Pule, and another incredible spot which falls mid-way. Now to get to Ganpati pule, there are buses, private taxis, share taxis etc. But trust me if you’ll plan to go there take your own vehicle or a rickshaw. Also tell your rickshaw-wala to take you from this tiny village called Aarey Waarey and you will not be disappointed. Ganpati Pule, like all the other temple and holy shrines of our country, will allow you for a “darshan time” of only a few seconds. I was told to move out so fast, I did not even know what was in the temple!!!! Around the temple there are a lot of small vegetarian eateries and shops that sell some really cool wooden-hand crafted toys.
On the way, I made that a stop had to be made at Aarey Waarey beach. Well these are two villages called Aarey and Waarey and the beach is slap bang in the middle of the two. Absolutely empty, clear and clean water — Untouched. It seemed like a small rivulet or a creek joining the sea, but whatever it was, I could see at least 3 ft in! If only I was alone I would stripped naked and dived head first cause this is definitely a skinny dipping sort of a place, Oh and snorkeling as well 😐
Returning back to the hotel, a grand meal was waiting for me. Yes it had been about 6 days and I hadn’t had my fill of North Indian food so i thought well let me give it a try! Hotel Vihar doesn’t just make amazing Malwani food, but their North Indian food was fantastic as well. As you can see below, Methi Malai Mutter, Mutton Saagwala and Chicken Tikka Masala. There is some sort of associated with great North Indian food, let it be the butter in the food or the cream or just the love; this kinda food gives me another kind of a high!(Note: Smoking is Injurious to health, but who cares yea?)
Well the last leg of my trip was to Alibaug, when I hear my friends talk about Alibaug they make it seem like something extra-ordinary. In my case it wasn’t; maybe I went at the wrong time or went to the wrong places. I think it was because I took an overnight bus, reached Panvel at 5 am and then took an auto to Alibaug in the freezing cold wearing shorts and chappals! When the night/early morning was freezing, the afternoons and evenings were hot as f*ck!!! Well Fulora was a restaurant that was highly praised by everyone (locals et al.) so I made my way there.
Well the Pomfret seemed a little off, the crab masala was alright but the Sol Kadi here was amazing!! But what killed me most was my walk back to the hotel; inner thigh sweat mixed with groin powder making a paste-y mixture which I could feel while walking (your welcome 🙂 ) Anyway I got back to the hotel and decided to get back to Mumbai the next morning. The best part about going back was the boat ride to the Gateway of India. The seagulls following our boat, the wide open space with fresh sea breeze, the massive oil drillers in the middle of the ocean and the quiet ride back just made me reminisce the 8 days gone by. I always believe that one must travel to their own country before venturing out and this trip all Maharashtrans and Indians should do. Great food, amazing people and the life long memories will be cherished by me for ever!!
Cost (for this leg): 8500 INR
Car and Rickshaw: 2500 + 500 INR
Hotel: 2500 INR
ETC: 1500 INR