Gujarati Thali @ Iscon Thaal - Review Post

When I relocated to Ahmedabad from the Delhi-NCR region over two decades ago, I found respite in the city's milder summers. Unlike the relentless heat of North India, where April through June offers no reprieve from the scorching temperatures even at dawn or dusk, Ahmedabad's mornings and evenings were once an oasis of coolness. However, over the years, the tendrils of climate change have also insidiously tightened their grip on this city. The early morning hours are still cool, duration is reduced, blending into an oppressive daytime heat even from 9 AM, and the evenings, which used to bring a soothing breeze, are often stifling. The increasing intensity and duration of heatwaves, driven by global climate change, have not only made summers harsher but also strained the city's resources and tested the resilience of its inhabitants. The transformation is a stark reminder of the broader environmental crisis, reflecting how even the most familiar of climates can become hostile under the relentless march of global warming. 

Despite the increasingly harsh summers in Ahmedabad, I find solace in the small mercies that grace the season. No summer in a Gujarati's soul is truly complete without savouring "aam ras" at a traditional Gujarati thali restaurant. 
Aam Ras
My first encounter with this delightful treat dates back to 2003, at the now-legendary "Pakwan Dining Hall "in old Ahmedabad, introduced to me by a local friend. The divine taste of aam ras, made from the local Kesar mango, was a revelation. As a North Indian, I had always cherished the Dashahari mango as my favourite, but this new experience made me fall in love with the local variety. Firmly believing in supporting local agricultural produce, I have since made it a ritual to indulge in a Gujarati thali at least once every summer season, each time exploring a new restaurant. The elaborate thali can not be eaten more than once in a quarter of a year. :)

This year, my gastronomic journey led me to "Iscon Thal" on SG Highway, where the experience was as delightful as ever. Such culinary bliss provides a comforting counterpoint to the sweltering heat, reminding me of the enduring charm of Ahmedabad’s rich cultural and culinary heritage.
Gujarati Thal @Iscon Thal

Summers this year are exceedingly harsh all around the globe, and Ahmedabad is no exception. Typically, I avoid venturing out, a luxury afforded by the fact that I am neither working onsite nor offsite at the moment. However, a personal commitment required my presence yesterday, so we decided to make the most of this rare outing. Taking advantage of the early morning coolness, we set out after our morning tea. Once our commitment was fulfilled, I contacted Iscon Thal restaurant to inquire about their opening time, as we found ourselves free by 10:15 AM. They informed us that they opened at 11 AM, so we booked a cab (God bless Uber/Ola founders) and arrived ten minutes before the doors opened. We waited in their comfortable waiting area until they began service. We, meaning myself and RB, proudly became their first customers of the day. This simple yet cherished experience added a delightful note to an otherwise sweltering day, highlighting how small pleasures can provide relief amidst the oppressive heat.
Papad Platter

We were led to a table set for four, and two thalis were removed to accommodate just the two of us. The meal began with a bowl of rice and dal papad, accompanied by a refreshing, though synthetic-flavored, Jamun soda. Having just come in from the heat, this cooled us down instantly. The sweets followed promptly: moong dal halva, aamras, and gulabjamun. I had come primarily for the aamras, and it did not disappoint—it was as divine as I had anticipated. While everything else was secondary, the array of sweets was delightful. 

Next came the snacks—tomato dhokla and mirchi vada, the latter intriguingly filled with sweet stuffing. Having lived in Gujarat for a long time, I have grown to relish the unique combination of sweet and salty flavours. Just as we were finishing our snacks, a glass of chaas was added to our table, providing a cool, savoury counterpoint. The meal then progressed to chutneys, vegetables, roti, puri, and chat papri, each dish contributing to the symphony of flavours that makes a Gujarati thali an unforgettable experience.
Tomato Dhokla & Mirchi Vada

The vegetables served were a delightful variety: aloo gravy, paneer, aloo gobhi, rajmah, Gujarati dal, and Gujarati kadhi. As the meal drew to a close, we were offered a choice between rice and moong dal khichadi; I opted for the latter. This brought an end to a sumptuous feast. Given that this was an unlimited meal option, I found myself comfortably full after just one chapati, one poori, and a spoonful of khichadi. However, certain dishes tempted me to indulge repeatedly: I helped myself to moong dal halwa, tomato dhokla, and Gujarati kadhi twice each. The aamras, being the highlight of the meal for me, were savoured thrice. Thus concluded a delicious and memorable meal, each bite a testament to the rich culinary tradition of Gujarat. 
Meetha Paan
Paan - The end!

All the vegetables, snacks, and sweets were simply delicious, and the service was superb, deserving a rating of 4.8 out of 5. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the chances of repeating it are slim, given the plethora of dining options in Ahmedabad. As an explorer by nature, this inclination extends to my culinary adventures as well. This thali has not only satisfied but satiated my taste buds to such an extent that I will take some time before venturing out for another dining experience. The delightful flavours and impeccable service have left a lasting impression, making it a memorable outing.

This blog post is part of the Blogchatter Food Fest.


  1. I love thalis. I will try this next time I'm in Ahmedabad

  2. We will go together and have good fun!

  3. Thalis are so fulfilling. I love a hearty meal every day. I stay in Sindhudurg and we enjoy our share of Alphonso mangoes every year with raita, aam ras, amba poli, and having it as it is. The thali looks great, adding it to my Ahmedabad list for sure. We have some distant relatives there and have started visiting them for last few years.

  4. Yes, thalis are so fulfilling. Ahmedabad is the best place for a Gujarati thali.


Post a Comment