"The Owner Eats Here"

'The owner eats here' – I wonder how many eating establishments in the world could boast of that. Bang outside Matunga station in Bombay's mini-madras,matunga - Ram Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding sure can. Ram Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding is India's and therefore the world's first Udipi restaurant and an absolute gourmet gem. The South Indian thali, which they serve piping hot on a pristine plantain leaf, could easily be the longest, most economical and healthiest buffet anywhere.

Today being the first day [well when I wrote it atleast] of Ganesh Chaturthi - Mahajan family tradition dictates us to pay Ram Nayaks our customary lunchtime visit and since my family is not one to tinker with such scrumptious traditions so lunch it is. Festivals are fun times in India and Ganesh Chaturthi is as big as they get in Maharashtra , what Kali Puja is to the Bengalis Ganesh Chaturthi is to the maharashtrians. My personal theory to this is the Maharashtrians like a good beginning and the Bengalis a good end.. The streets are filled with colour and the sound of resonating drums as covered idols make their way from the workshops to the puja floor. The children have their best smiles and cloths on and are always on the look out to where they can score their next modak.

Walking up to the first floor of what is Matunga's municipal market I was greeted by a chalk sign saying

" On account of it being Ganesh Chaturthi, dessert will be served no extra charge. Today's special Mysore Pudding." Akshay reaffirms in faith in God.

We find ourselves in the quaint enclave which looks more like doctor's office then a restaurant, the narrow corridor thats leads us in is flanked by a small line of chairs, thronging with people reading magazines and newspapers as they patiently as they wait their turn . The smell of mogras, disguise the faint smell of mouth watering rasam sneaking in from other room. The A man in a indigo white shirt and matching lungi gives us our coupons and after a small short wait we find ourselves in the very clean environs of the restaurant.

Then began the long, elegantly choreographed courting ritual of my palate.

Step 1

A fresh sparkingly clean, slightly wet banana leaf is kept on the granite table infront of me. Also nice stainless steel glass of cold water is slide across the table.

Step 1

Step 2

Three varities of vegetables are lumped on to my smooth banana leaf. One of them is crunchy and green and has allot of coconut in it. The secand is avial and the third is dal-like pulsy taste to it. Some salt is added on the side and along with some green mango pickle.

Step 2

Step 3

A small glass of butter milk, two empty catoris [vessel], some curd are propped up against my now half full glass of water. A ghee lined roti and some papad are placed on the plateau of my banana leaf and in the mean time my glass is refilled.

Step 3

Step 4

Eat, and as you do so all your food magically re-appear with and watchful bearers replenishing your every move. By the time sambhar and some tangy rasam fills up those empty catoris.

Step 4

P.S - I'm a messy eater

Step 5

Once you've finished with the rotis, rice is served and eaten with the sambhar and rasam.

Steps 2 to 5 are repeated till I'm full.

Time for an afternoon nap.

Hi, We are templateify, we create best and free blogger templates for you all i hope you will like this blogify template we have put lot of effort on this template, Cheers, Follow us on: Facebook & Twitter


Bombayite said...

awesome post.. feeling damn hungry myself... its 10.30 pm and I'm in office.... :((

Geetanjali said...

I've had some of those thalis (though I can NEVER do justice to ANY thali with my sparrow's appetite) - the most interesting experience was at a South Indian wedding in a temple - where they served even the sambar on the banana leaf! Controlling it from spilling all over the place was quite a task...

Anju said...

Ok, maybe you can answer this for me... Are rotis sometimes served sweet like rolled in sugar or whatnot? I mentioned this to some of my friends who all stared at me like I had mangos coming out of my ears.

Let me know...

Rash said...

hmmm...one advantage of being in bangalore is that one can always go to MTR after reading your slurrp inducing post :)

Charu said...

yummm, one of those places where they go on feeding you till you beg them to stop. and then some more.
and yes, time for a nap after that :)

arzan said...

my mouth is watering as if there is a cloudburst inside !!

i am hungry !!

Ritesh Nadhani said...

There are enough of such restaurants in Blore :)

Akshay said...

bombayite - you should run and get yourself a south indian bite. Have you tried Mani's near Ruia college. They're absolutely mind blowing, cheap and fast.

geetanjalli - may be if you don't eat breakfast and head down there with some gusto you could I'm sure do justice to that thalli. I know all about those temple weddings and their palakkad cooks YUM !!!

anju - I'm sure what you're refering to what is called puran poli. The thing is, they don't use suguar they use jaggery in the prepartion. The reason why the person you where asking didn't know about it is probably bc India is so regionally diverse that people have different names for the same dish or that they simply don't eat that particular preparation. Puran poli is a maharastrian preparation.Hope that helped

rash - I hope you're there already. Enjoy you're meal :)

charu - I know their staff are so efficient, passing on tips as they pass on their rounds. Eat your srikhand they tell me it becomes watery after some time.

arzan - I read in the NYT travel section there is a great new south indian restaurant in New York called Saravanaas. You could give it a spin.

ritesh - and I'm sure the food would tasty in all of them

rusty said...

That was some mouthwaterin post....I love the concept of eating from a banana leaf....lovely pics...

Nick said...

Great entry and great pictures. This festival sounds awesome- free dessert.

Kapil said...

Is this the same as the all famous Madras Cafe where I usually enjoy the Sunday morning Idli breakfast.

Akshay said...

Rusty - I agree with you completely, it is a lovely concept

Nick - Yeah well everyday is a holliday in India most literally in many cases

Kapil - Well Madras Cafe is owned by the same people. Ram Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding is near Matunga station, whereas Madras Cafe is at King Circle.
Madras Cafe is a great place too, have you tried shardha bhavan and their cuddy bondha.

Phal said...

Ahhhh. Ram Nayak. Oh I want to go back for lunch. Now im hungry!!!

Elixir said...

hehe. reminded me o udupi n temple lunches :)

aparna said...

n when ur eating on banana leaf no one cares if ur a messy eater.
p.s- u shud have taken a separate snap of mysore pudding so that i cud have salivated some more.

Chicagoan said...

I loved your post and nice pictures too. I went to Ruia for my Bachelor's degree but never once went to Ram Nayak's- very sad. But Mani's-for idle vada sambar, Jayesh Milk Bar (I don't know if it is still called that)-for cutting chai and sabudana vada and Sharada Bhuvan for Upma were my favorites.
You mentioned puranpoli to somebody asking a question about roti's with sugar. Actually my mother used to give me chapatis(poli)with toop(ghee)and sakhar when I was a kid. I believe it is a common childhood snack, much like peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches.

Viewer said...

All this just aggrevated my urge for food ----- Already starved to Death - Me