Friday, December 04, 2009

Mani's Lunch Home

The arrival of Arun, Dwaipayan and Hari in our lab has brought in some fresh air and enthusiasm to enjoy life outside the lab. They share my desire to go around the city into its streets and enjoy its flavour. After a long time, I got to go out and enjoy with them. With Hari and Arun being new to the city, explaining some of the nuances of the city's ways is interesting. It has also helped me a lot in brushing my (little in quantity) facts of the city. In the course of our discussions of the city, I introduced Hari to Matunga. And he loved the area like anything. Being from Gurvayoor and having studied in Tamil Nadu, Hari felt as if he had come to his hometown when he walked on Matunga's streets. In due course, we went to Ramashraya and A. Rama Nayak Udipi restaurant to savour the South Indian delicacies.

I had also heard about Mani's Lunch Home in Matunga, but had never been there. When I searched on the web, I came to know that it is the first and oldest authentic Aiyer restaurant in Mumbai. Of course, it had to be in Matunga. They have come up with branches later, but began in Matunga. And, on one fine Saturday, Hari persuaded all of us to go to Mani's to savour the authentic Aiyer food. And we had a meal of our life. Served on a plantain leaf, in traditional Aiyer style, the food consists of the typical South Indian menu of dry vegetable, curry vegetable, pickle, papad, curd, butter-milk, sambhar, rasam and rice. And it goes without saying, that you can devour in as much quantity as you can. As it is a very busy restaurant, the food served is always hot. The chapatis are served fresh off the pan. The sambhar and rasam have a typical Aiyer taste to it. They source the rice from South India itself. The kind of rice used in the restaurant is not native to Maharashtra. But, it is a nice variety and the rice is well cooked and has a soft, spongy feeling to it.

Having Hari with us, gave us a language advantage. Hari used all his knowledge of Tamil language to get us an express seat and good service. Otherwise, the service standard in Mani's is not as good as Rama Nayak. Of course, we were first timers in the restaurant and patrons must be getting better treatment. But then, they also have to focus on converting first timers into patrons. That they cannot do only by serving good food. Sometimes you are kept waiting for the next serving of vegetables and sometimes you are deluged with the waiters wanting to serve you.

But overall, Mani's was a satisfying experience. We ate so much that it would have been very nice to have an acquaintance in Matunga. We somehow managed to get back to IIT. That to we took a rickshaw from Kanjur to the hostel. And in the hostel, we slept soundly for more than an hour. The evening saw us having very less dinner, as we were still savouring the tastes of Mani's.
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  1. Talk of having a South-Indian lunch followed by an afternoon siesta. Nothing like that. I see that you share a special affinity with S. Indian cuisine. The picture looks very inviting.

    Have a great day ahead.

    Would like to see some posts about local Bombay food. Is there anything like that. That which has originated from Bombay itself.

  2. @Susan,

    Well, apart from Maharashtrian food, the next most appealing cuisine is the S. Indian cuisine. About foods in Mumbai, here are two links of restaurants that I've been to and serve food that can be called Mumbai food, in some way.

    Sardar Pavbhaji and Cafe Britannia and Co.

  3. hmmm....this reminded me of my good old Ruia days...even i love south Indian food and Matunga i think is a wonderful place for south Indian food lovers...i would recommend Cafe Madras and Cafe Mysore at Matunga circle...they are amazing!When you are at Matunga circle...the aroma of the coffee is just irresistible...!

  4. @Supriya,

    There're so many South Indian restaurants there, that I might end up spending all my weekends in Matunga. There's also Idli House in King's Circle and Mani's has a branch near Ruia's where they have dosa, idli, etc. type of food.

  5. yes of course...Mani's is good..ppl go thr sp. for the unlimited chutni and sambar he provides...though haven't been to idli house...