Midnight Pav Bhaji At Amar Juice Centre

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MIDNIGHT PAV BHAJI AT AMAR JUICE CENTRE

Amar Juice Centre is a boon for party hoppers in the Western Suburbs. Open till 2 a.m., the fast food establishment churns out fresh fruit juices, thick shakes, and at least four different cuisines, but their pav bhaji always steals the spotlight.

Amar Juice Centre, 3, RN Cooper Hospital Compound, Gulmohar Road, Vile Parle (w), Mumbai 400 056. Phone: 022 26247917

READ KRUTI DALAL’S STORY

The quarter vat of butter slid generously into every serving elevates Sardar’s pav bhaji to a celestial level. What propels Amar’s bhaji into the same stratospheric league is the humble pav. Amar’s pav is perfectly buttered (not a single dry corner), lightly crisped to perfection (an even, golden brown layer), and generously sized (extra pav is an indulgence). I always save the top half of my second pav for the end. It’s a two-part finale. Half is used to mop up all traces of bhaji in my shallow plate. The other half is nibbled upon while sipping on a “cocktail” juice the colour of Mojo Jojo. This sequence never alters across visits, despite the fluctuating level of alcohol in my system.

I hadn’t realise just how integral Amar is until my latest visit. I had consumed two cups of freshly brewed coffee, tried wasabi-flavoured popcorn, and attended a film screening next to the sea that day. But at 11:45 p.m., my Sunday still felt incomplete. I impulsively called my Juhu friend (we all have one). He picked me up from the Tulip Star signal and instinctively steered the car towards Cooper Hospital. The weekend crowd was out in full force. We crossed families of four in their hatchbacks, children swinging their legs between mouthfuls of bhaji, lovers balanced precariously on motorbikes, and youngsters taking selfies with their mosambi juice. As we flagged off towards the far end of the road, I realised I was smiling. Maybe it was the selfie gang. Maybe it was the anticipation.

“No need for the menu,” I told the waiter who appeared magically on the driver’s side. “One pav bhaji. One cocktail juice.” I hesitated. My friend’s not eating. I’ve dined out all week. This is a midnight meal. But, it’s Amar. It’s settled. “And one plate of extra pav, please.”

Feature photo by Neeraja foodie (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 
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