Last night we visited Shri Balaji Bhavan on Hillcroft after many years. I grew up eating all kinds of yummy South Indian food lovingly prepared by my Malayali neighbors who lived right next door to our house in India and treated us as family.
I remember looking for authentic South Indian cuisine as a newlywed who had just arrived in Houston and someone recommended this place. My husband who is not too fond of South Indian cuisine took me there and I remember enjoying the food but feeling a bit guilty that he wasn’t really enjoying it. This was almost 13 years ago. I ate there a few times after that too and always loved it.
Fast forward to 2018, my daughters who are 11 and 9 are also not too fond of South Indian cuisine like their Dad. Plus, my elder daughter is allergic to mustard which is a staple in most South Indian dishes. Hence, we don’t dine out at South Indian restaurants very often.
However, last night my girls were out enjoying the Fort Bend County Fair with their cousins , so my husband offered to treat me to South Indian cuisine at Shri Balaji Bhavan.
I was delighted to get a chance to enjoy one of my favorite cuisines but unfortunately, I felt that the taste was not the same.
The menu consists of all the usual South Indian fare like idli, dosa, vadas, uttapam, thali, tomato rice along with some popular North Indian street food like pav bhaji, chaats etc.
We ordered the Madras Thali with Masala dosa . The thali consisted of boiled rice, rajma masala, thoran, kadhi pakora, sambar, rasam, yogurt and payasam. There was a choice of Masala Dosa, puris or chapati. We opted for the Masala Dosa. The rajma in the thali tasted stale and the thoran was a tad undercooked. Payasam was watery. Dosa and sambar were good though, as always.
We also ordered their idli vada combo. The idlis were a bit dry and the vada was hard.
The place is mostly self service but I was really impressed by the customer service of the young hijabi girl behind the counter. She was really energetic and served everyone with a smile.
Price and Ambiance
The prices at Shri Balaji Bhavan are extremely affordable. Two people can easily have a hearty meal for under $20.
The place is very casual and is conveniently located in the heart of Hillcroft among a plethora of desi restaurants and shops.
Based on my past experience, I would still be willing to try Shri Balaji Bhavan once again especially for their dosa ,Tomato rice and chaat.
Have you visited Shri Balaji Bhavan lately? Do you think that the quality has gone down over the years or were they just having an off day when I visited them ?
What are your favorites at Shri Balaji Bhavan? Please leave a comment in the comment section below to let me and my readers know your experience.