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After a long ten-hour drive to Ahmedabad, we rested well and started the day at leisure. The agenda was to relive old memories by visiting my favourite food joints in Ahmedabad.

Neelam Sandwich Centre is a small eatery I have been visiting since 1995. My sister, who is a big fan of anything ‘chatpata’, introduced me to this place. She discovered it during her time as a student in Ahmedabad.

Neelam Sandwich Centre features a vast variety of sandwiches, including the interesting aloo muttar (potato and peas) sandwich. Dinesh, the proprietor, says they have a “monopoly” over this sandwich. Other must-try sandwiches include the garlic sandwich, vegetable sandwich, vegetable surprise (a ‘hatke’ sandwich with a mayonnaise spread which goes really well with the tomato, potato and onion slices), cheese-onion-capsicum-garlic grill, veg fantastic, veg bonanza and the Cadbury sandwich.

Real Reviews: Cheese pineapple sandwich at Neelam Sandwich Centre, AhmedabadMy favourite among all of them is the pineapple and cheese sandwich. I have tried to replicate this sandwich at home innumerable times but without success! This time I found out why – because the pineapple jam used in this sandwich is prepared by Dinesh and his team. Ditto the sandwich masala. All chutneys that go into the various sandwiches are also exclusively made by them. It’s no wonder the sandwiches here taste so good.

After placing my order, I began talking to the other customers and found that they too have been regulars at this joint for years and are loyal fans. They told me that once you try a Neelam sandwich, you are addicted. You soon develop a favourite and keep coming back for it, again and again.

Dinesh Vaishnav of Neelam SandwichDinesh Vaishnav, a college graduate from Udaipur, started this eatery in 1995 and has seen a string of successes, the most influential being his nomination for the Maharashtra Government Udyog Ratna Award. Dinesh added that an Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIM-A) professor has used his business as a case study.

The sandwiches are certainly value-for-money, priced between Rs. 20 and Rs. 80.  However, every ingredient is generously added – be it cheese, butter or masalas – and is served with lots of affection.

Dinesh is so in tune with his customers’ needs that during Hindu festivals which require days or even weeks of fasting, he serves farhali dishes i.e. food that can be eaten during a fast. This incredibly popular range includes farhali bhel, pizza (made out of rajgira or amaranth flour), patties and dahi vada. The farhali items are priced between Rs. 40 and Rs. 60.

It was a pleasure to return to the familiar sights, sounds and tastes of this cozy little sandwich shop.

(My next post will be on Shree Krupa Bombay Vada Pav in Ahmedabad, following which I’ll be heading to Jaipur where my mom’s special gaajar ka halwa awaits!)

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