A spanking new restaurant with the lowest pricing!
Atmospherics: All things considered, this is one popular eatery, crowded to capacity whenever I have visited. During meal-times, be prepared to wait outside the door for a table. There is no sharing of tables and although service is fairly brisk, nobody is hurried away – quite a feat, considering how busy the restaurant is. There are two sections: one is the long main section; the other is right inside the restaurant, after the cash counter and is called the ‘courtyard’ though it is completely covered. The large section in the front is more suitable for ordering snacks, which are served during lunch and dinner in addition to tea-time. Thalis are usually served in the courtyard.
Table talk: You have two options: the thali meals or the snacks and meal-in-one. Every day of the week has one fixed thali, and on my first visit, I was obliged to choose the Kerala thali. While I cannot cavil at the authenticity which was spot-on, I was sub-consciously looking for lip-smacking food. This thali was everyday home food rather than an occasional restaurant indulgence. There are different cooks for each state so it is entirely possible that the Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Karanataka thalis have more robust flavours. What I did love though, were the snacks. Each is filling enough as a complete meal for one person. Ghee podi idli (Rs 140 for three large idlis) slathered over with ‘gunpowder’ and soaked in pure ghee, is strongly reminiscent of an unpretentious stall somewhere in Tamil Nadu. The ghee Pongal (Rs 165) which is served with sambhar and coconut chutney is as soft as a cloud and exemplifies why our southern cuisines are so popular. Banana bhajji (Rs 145) and medu vada (Rs 130 are crisp and always freshly fried for extra crunch.
Plus and minus: There is a plethora of cooks from every state of the south, so there is an enviable degree of authenticity across the menu. However, the crying need of the hour is more wash-basins. On my first visit, at the behest of a knowledgeable friend, I ordered the Kerala thali, seated near the entrance, and had to use the washroom, a long trek away, to wash my hands, there being no finger-bowls or wash-basins in the entire eatery!
Must try: Pongal vadai; set dosai; thair saadam
Food: 3.50; Service: 3.25; Décor: 3.50
Tel: +91 8882300300
Open from (Mon-Fri) 11 am to 11 pm; Sat-Sun: 7 am to 11 pm
Meal for two: Rs 600
Credit cards accepted; no alcohol served