Finally, a Bengaluru Dharshini kinda place in Chennai, and immediately decided to check it out! Call it a cultural difference, somehow people in Chennai (me included 🙂 ) don’t seem very comfortable when it comes to stand-and-eat restaurants. Barring a few, not many have succeeded in this model. In fact, Eating Circles started off pretty much like this and then moved to sit-and-eat model. I still recollect the conversation I had back then with the owner of Eating Circles, Mr. Sushruth, and passing on this feedback to him which he actually acknowledged.
The restaurant is a small hole in the wall kind of a place with three tables on the platform to stand and eat. I expected it to be small, but at least a place you could enter into, like a proper Dharshini setup. This was just a Counter to serve. Anyways, kudos to the confidence to open right opposite to Hotel Saravana Bhavan.
At 7AM in the morning, they were yet to open and still setting up their stuff. “Hathu nimisha, ready ayithu” was what one of the restaurant employees told me. That was evident that folks were from Bengaluru (most likely), and I was looking forward to some authentic Bengaluru breakfast.
At 07:30AM, the place was already crowded and thankfully I was second in the queue. Managed to get hold of one of the three tables. That made it a bit easy to click pics before people were all over the place. The menu was limited and prices were definitely reasonable. Didn’t look too pricey on the first look.
As our luck would have it, Mangalore Buns and Vada were not available, quite a dampener. Probably they would be available a little later and served throughout the day, we thought. Since they just started for the day, it wasn’t really worth complaining. Ordered Benne Masala Dosa, Open Butter Masala Dosa, and Chow Chow Bath to start with. It is basically self-service using a Token system.
Chow Chow Bath came first, quite tasty with two chutneys. The green chutney is the typical Bengaluru chutney. The Kesari Bath was just rightly sweet and not too cloying. Khara bath was slightly runny, but tasty. The food was served in Areca plates, definitely good for the environment, but somehow felt stainless steel plates with a plantain leaf would have been way better. The wooden spoons weren’t giving the same feel as eating using a stainless steel spoon.
Benne Masala Dosa came next, and I have to say, dosa wasn’t as thick as you’d find in Bengaluru. The same complaint I have lately in Eating Circles too. The Benne, the crispness, everything was okay, just not thick enough! Dosa was good, the aalugadde palya was tasty. The sambhar was typical ‘sweet’ sambhar and I loved it.
Open Butter Masala Dosa was tasty too, generous sprinkle of podi on the dosa, a dollop of butter on the palya. Tasted good with chutneys and sambhar. My personal preference would still be crispy dosa as compared to this soft one.
By this time, people were swarming all over the place and it was quite a struggle to hold on to my place on the table. A lot of elders too, and I decided to give the place to them.
Ordered a Plain Benne Dosa for my friend and a Thatte Idli for myself. Vada was still not ready! 🙁
Thatte idli was tasty, was topped with podi and drenched in ghee, had to stand and eat with the plate in hand.
Likewise, friend had his Plain Benne Dosa. There was a good amount of butter than went into making this dosa and it was quite evident from the taste. It was very good.
They didn’t have coffee! That was perhaps a bigger disappointment as compared to vada and Mangalore buns not being available. I’d have certainly liked to finish with that.
Frankly, I would not complain anything on the quality of the food served. There’s no denying that the dining experience wasn’t comfortable. It was just an exploration of a new place with a friend, and it was okay. Had it been a family outing, they would have struggled. I heard from the owner that there’s going to be seating space opened on the rooftop, and probably they plan to have a cover too. That would certainly make it more comfortable, have to wait and watch!
On a weekday morning, if this is the kind of rush, I can only imagine how it would be on weekends. Naturally, that would lead to more frustration of having to wait longer in this Summer heat. It has only been about two weeks since they opened and they certainly have a lot of things to take care and settle down. A proper handwash is definitely a must, now they just have a makeshift one.
We paid 284 for three dishes the first time, and 131 for two dishes the second time. As I mentioned earlier, not very pricey when you have an outlet in Anna Nagar. I’d certainly wait for the chaos to settle down and check them out probably a month or two later when they have the seating ready, and when there’s no availability issues of dishes on the menu.
Pics courtesy: Some of the non-food clicks are from my friend Hari Krishnan! Any unintended infringement into privacy is regretted. 🙂