Monday, September 21, 2009

A. Ramanayak Udipi

Matunga station on the Central Railway line, has a number of restaurants serving various types of South Indian cuisines. Infact, in Matunga, you should eat only in restaurants that serve South Indian cuisines. They are the ones that have been running ever since Matunga came into existence. And till date, they've been running it in a very nice manner.

A. Ramanayak Udipi restaurant is one such restaurant in Matunga. It is situated right next to the station, on the eastern side, thus giving it a crucial location advantage. The restaurant serves only lunch and dinner, and the cuisine is authentic Udipi cuisine, with a touch of Maharashtrian habits. So popular is the restaurant that on Sundays and holidays, the waiting time at the restaurant exceeds one hour. The food is served on a banana leaf, giving it a traditional outlook. The meal consists of three vegetables (two gravy-based and one dry), curd, butter milk, chapati or puri, sambhar, rasam, papad and most importantly rice. And except for the curd, everything else is unlimited in amount. You can eat as much as you want. The waiters who serve there do not stand on your head pushing you to eat fast. You can eat at your own pace. The waiter serves you whatever you need at your call. Thus, you don't keep staring at an empty plate (or empty banana leaf) before you are served. The food has a distinct coastal flavour. The vegetable preparations are in coconut oil (though they are not too oily) and are not spicy, but neither bland.
The chapatis and puris served are hot and fresh off pan. Never have I been served anything that is off the stove more than 10 minutes ago. After you have filled yourself to the heart with chapatis, you should definitely have sambhar/rasam rice. No South-Indian meal is complete without this. And if you still have space in your stomach, top it up with curd-rice.

The restaurant has been functioning since 1942. They have now opened other sister concerns, for e.g. Idli House on King's Circle. But this restaurant remains their flagship. The service here is prompt, but there is no rush in serving. Neither do they want you to rush through your meal. As of September 2009, this meal costs you Rs. 90/- only. The prices are bound to be revised, considering the changes in the costs of eatables. The only problem is how do you carry yourself home, through the Mumbai local, after such a hearty meal?
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  1. After a long time, I see a post. Being a South Indian, the Matunga eatery seems hmmm a nice idea but then I get all this stuff at home all the time. The Sambar rice perhaps would be a treat. Nothing like Sambar rice with pickle and papad. Bissibelabath is something like sambar rice. You should try that some day. Its an Andhra delicacy.

  2. Yes, I've tried the Bisibellebath and I enjoy it very much.

    The reason I like Ramanayak is because the food there isn't spicy, which is typical of Udipi restaurants. Oh yes, and the sambar rice, pickle papad combination is just awesome!