The lunch at Dina Hotel just hits you where it should....on your tummy. It begins with a copy book cream of vegetable soup that does exactly what it has to do..as a sign things to come. The baked chicken, fine pieces of meat blended with boiled potato , boiled egg and butter , baked to form a thin crust was a melt in the mouth first course. We started breaking pieces of country baked bread not easily available to the city folk who had driven from Pune and Mumbai. I wonder what they thought of the crispy crust on every slice? And the individually curled butter soft enough to spread itself on the bread to enhance its taste.
Keema mutter was our introduction to the famous Parsee cuisine of the Mahableshwarwalla family who own The Dina Hotel. The humble lauki or white pumpkin became a celebration item with very delicate spices and coconut juice. I shall never again look down on this freely available sasta vegetable when it arrives on our dining table.
Rotis were available but I preferred to continue with bread.
Rice was served with curry having succulent pieces of mutton and potato which was suspiciously like the anglo Indian table curry-lethal red to look but subtle on the tummy.
We were already giving up when our waiter announced that the dessert is Rava (Sooji) Kheer with generous amounts of almonds and raisins. So extra space was made!!
So Dina Hotel ‘s reputation is carefully passed on by word of mouth to close associates. This explains the type of guests that we met. They were friendly, but not intrusive, not loud or interested to proclaim who they are. A retired couple sat in one corner quite happy talking to each other. Parents with two grown up children from Mumbai willing to let their hair down , drinking beer. A mother with a working daughter in IT who also acts in Goa in Tiatres , ethnic music filled dramas , as a pass time. Accompanying them is a teenage daughter and their grandmother. Yes they took a sleeper bus to Satara and then a cab just to come to Dina hotel.
On the second day we sat next to two couples with an army background who come to Dina hotel once a year. Today Crumb chops, mutton Dhansak and motis were on the menu and falooda with vanilla icecream to conclude.
Our four poster beds and modern bathrooms added to our experience. Hormaz Mahableshwarwalla says that they have been in the same city for two hundred years. The next generation is in place with his teenage daughter and eight year old son. The hotel keeps its old world charm but has the parsee touch of being well maintained. A special mention of their very modern toilets and extremely hot running water.
Here are a few tips. Carry a bottle of wine or something stronger to enjoy the evenings since the hotel only serves beer. Test out the calling bell since service to the room is slow. With such amazing dinner and lunch menus the breakfast is just simple eggs etc without the trappings of an English “bacon/sausage”style. Ask for Hot Chocolate if you don’t drink the other beverages.
There are a lot of hotels in town but for this atmosphere there is only one other. Fredricks, that is almost adjacent. It offers a better view from the room itself and was considered to have a similar atmosphere. They have a bigger property and I would certainly like to try them out the next time I come.