Aaswad had opened its doors in the late 80s - the time period coincided with my moving from school to college and also from tiffin in the bag to pocket money for a week. Aaswad, since those days, was easy on pocket but never compromised on quality. Today, as market demands, it caters to idlis, dosas, pav bhaji and so on - but its signature dishes are quintessencially Marathi. Sabudana Wada, Sabudana Khichadi, Puri Bhaji, Masale Bhaat, Bhaji Bhakari, Amba Dal, Panhe, Pohe, Misal - you name it and Aaswad has it - the same quality over the years.
My favorites are Amba Dal, Puri Bhaji and Sabudana Khichadi. The amba dal is a delightful tangy concoction of gram flour and granules with small chunks of raw mango and mustard seeds. Sabudana Khichadi is a perfect mixture of pearl sagos, peanuts, green chilly and a curd as accompaniment. Puri Bhaji has multiple delights - Fluffy, fresh Puris; amazingly tasty Potato bhaji; green coconut chutney, fiery red garlic chutney and grated onions.
Over the period of times, competition around Aaswad has changed considerably. But Aaswad still retains that freshness and quality. For us, who have moved on from the turn of college long back, it's both - Nostalgia and Assurance!