If you've lived in Mumbai long enough, you would know that Matunga (which was earlier known as Mylapore) has always been home to some of the best and most iconic South Indian eateries like Cafe Madras and Mani's Lunch Home (which is now shut). What you may have not paid attention to, however, are the other restaurants that also contribute to this locality's Southern charm. Yenna Rascala – A Southie Food Walk hosted by SeekSherpa promises to show you all these places. Vishall "Raaste Ka Bhukkad" Bansal, our guide for this tour, is a foodie and loves to explore food places in the city which besides serving foodgasmic dishes are easy on the wallet.
The meeting point for the food walk was located outside WE School which is opposite the Matunga Gymkhana. Here, we met our guide who gave us a brief of the 7 places we were going to visit (all of which were at walking distance from each other) and also a word of caution about the amount of food we were about to indulge in.
Soon after, we proceeded to our first stop which was Sharada Bhavan situated at Lakhamsi Napoo Road. This one with its marble-top wooden furniture, a wall menu and lungi- clad waiters is a quaint little place. It is indeed the simple ambience that adds to its charm. Given that it is one of the few restaurants in the area to serve Pongal (which is a popular rice dish in Tamil Nadu), we definitely gave the dish a shot. The Pongal's sheer deliciousness made for a good start. From here we walked to Arya Bhavan which is located opposite to Matunga East Railway Station. Given that the name behind the eatery is Muthuswamy, the Idli King of Mumbai, this place spells class. Food is served on a banana leaf laid on a sparkling plate. Here, we indulged in Thaat Idli (flat Idli with gunpowder sprinkled on it) paired with coconut chutney and believe me, the best Sambar I have ever eaten! The Idli was followed by Filter Kaapi, just the way one would like it – piping hot!
Vishall then announced that the next stop was Ram Ashraya. Located opposite the Matunga Kabutar Khana, this place may require you to wait before you acually get a place to sit (this includes table-sharing with other diners). The udipi has super-efficient service and food that makes the wait worthwhile. Here, we devoured a plate of Mysore Sada Dosa (which vanished in a minute) and salty, refreshing chaas which was just perfect for the weather.
Just when we were about half full, we walked to Amba Bhavan Coffee Club, a humble and unpretentious establishment. At Amba we tried Kadi Vada which was pleasantly surprising. The thought of it makes my mouth water even as I write this. As we proceeded to our next stop – Cafe Mysore, we could smell coffee from the famous Cafe Madras.
At Cafe Mysore, which we hear is Mukesh Ambani's favorite, we treated ourselves to a bowl of Pineapple Seera. As we let our teeth sink in, the flavor began to linger. If you have a sweet tooth, you must try it!
After that awesome bowl of dessert, we went to Anand Bhavan where we ordered Rasam Vada.The rasam was perfectly seasoned.
Just when we thought this had concluded the walk, we visited the Udipi Idli House which was across the road. Here we ordered the very famous Kanchipuram Idli, which was soft, fluffy and toothsome and Filter Kaapi (now, is there such a thing as too much Kaapi?). What is interesting at this eatery is the fact that you can take a look at the interesting set of rules the restaurant has till you get your order. Curious as to what they are? Allow us to tell you. First – A plate of Idli cannot be shared by two or more people. Fair enough. If you have Idli that tastes that good, why would you want to share it? Two, you can have as much Sambar as you like. But here's the catch – you will be charged if you waste it!
If you're a foodie, vegetarian or not, this walk is for you. Just make sure you take an empty stomach with you!
P.S. The next walk is set to take place soon. Make sure you keep a close watch on the Events page.