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A Taste Of Chennai, Freshly Served In Mumbai

access_time January 12, 2012 chat_bubble_outline 4 comments 6972

If you’re a fan of the staple yet delectable South Indian fare, and yet you crave for something that’s extraordinary, head to Café Madras in Central Mumbai. Diana Kotwal tells you why it’s absolutely imperative that you do so.

I’m not quite sure who I am, at the moment. Or what my name is. I’ll have to check my wallet for address details and I have no idea who this strange person, wearing the same gold band on his ring finger as I am, is, or why he’s rolling his eyes all the way to the top of his head in total ecstasy.
All I know is that I’ve taken one tiny bite of malagapudi idli.
That one instance becomes a Matrix moment. Where time slows down, air particles become visible and your taste buds enter a complex, spiritual dimension where rice cakes, coconut shavings, home-made butter and common gunpowder join forces to form a swinging pocket watch that slowly hypnotise all your senses into culinary submission.
Yeah, that was one heck of a bite.
As I continue to chew into those oh so baby-soft idlis that might as well have floated their way from heaven’s kitchen and onto my plate, I try and regain real world consciousness. Suddenly, sound and light, along with shape and form come into existence. I look down at my plate. It’s empty. That just won’t do.

Next up is a sinful, so-good-it-must-be-barely-legal plate of set dosa. This soft, buttery white dosa with a thin layer of gunpowder is served with delicious coconut chutney and just a hint of lust. If you like your dosas crispy and loved up in a generous dollop of ghee, try the much ordered thuppa dosa or the regular but still spectacular mysore masala dosa.

I learnt a wonderful new trick when sampling my fresh, hot dosas. How to eat with one hand, and thump the table with joy with the other. Actually, it was almost instinctive.
The medu vadas are crisp on the outside, yet marshmallow soft on the inside. Just the way God intended. I end my deliciously divine meal with some hot, and authentically Madrasi filter coffee (kaapi). It seems like the appropriate thing to do.

That just about sums up my first experience at Café Madras. A seemingly innocuous eating joint tucked away in a quaint, old-fashioned neighbourhood in Mumbai called Matunga. So if you’re ever in the vicinity, grab a book, stand in line (yes, there’s always a queue. No surprises there) and wait your turn for a little taste of heaven. Chances are, I’ll be right there next to you.

Average meal for two: Rs 200
Open from: 7 AM to 2:30 PM and 4 PM to 11 PM
Address: 38-B, Circle House, King’s Circle, Matunga, Mumbai
Phone: 022-24014419

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About author


Diana Kotwal loves travel and food, and finds that writing about the former is a good way to pay for the latter. She’s visited several cities across the world, and brought back quite a few souvenirs (especially in the form of body fat), making her love handles the perfect ode to her two loves. Diana has written for Lonely Planet, Mid-Day, Femina, Jade Magazine and Random House India.

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  1. mayank
    October 09, 05:13 mayank

    I love the set dosas at Madras cafe. And I never leave there without at least one cup of their kaapi. It’s a great place for good, healthy, vegetarian snacks.

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