Friday, May 28, 2010

Mavalli Tiffin Room: MTR

Anyone who has stayed in Bangalore for more than two weeks (sometimes, not even that) would have heard of this establishment. The 83 year old Mavalli Tiffin Room is a Bangalore favourite. Loads of old Bangaloreans finish their morning at Lalbagh Gardens and head over to MTR to regain all the calories the worked off. If you get here any later than 6:40 a.m. you are bound to be waiting in a very long queue. I have on many occassions gotten up at ungodly hours, stood in long queues only to be told that most items on the menu are over (You can imagine my wrath, but sadly the big wigs at MTR seem unfazed by it).

If you do however manage to get there on time, I recommend the Masala Dosa (Rs. 40!!).
Crispy, brown and with the distinct taste of ghee. Every calorie
laden bite is heavenly. The other truly wonderful thing about this is the chatni. Generally, I'm more of a sambar person but here I willingly forego sambar. The chatni is thick, spicy and infinitely tasty. If you're more of an idli person, you will be satisfied. The idlis are soft and warm. But idlis are essentially rather bland so there is nothing to be said beyond that.

One can also try the upma here. It is slightly spice and the vegetables are fresh. i recommend that you try this with the chatni and you will be in foodie heaven. The one dish that I always have (if they have not run out of it, that is) is the kesari bath.
Warm, sweet and wonderful. Unlike most preparations which are made of suji, this one has vermicelli/semiya in it. It avoids being oversweet but the comforting taste of ghee is abundant in every bite. If you get there in time, you simply must try this.

To round of your breakfast have the coffee here. Traditional South Indian coffee, piping hot and served in silver tumblers. It's one of the few hot coffees I actually like and incredibly refreshing. Service is quick and efficient (The last time we went there we thought he took ages with our food. Of course, that might have had more to do with the fact that we were horiffically hungry than any actual laziness in the service). The decor resembles any old South Indian establishment: clean and serviceable.

That said, I think MTR is overpriced (and trust me, I love the food here). My humble South Indian genes find it hard to justify Rs.40
for a dosa and Rs.24 for a plate of idli. Places such as CTR, Veena and Janatha serve just as good food at half the price. While MTR deserves all the attention that it gets (Every Travel and Living, NDTV Good times show on Bangalore features MTR), the prices are too steep for it's down to earth image. They also charge extra for sambar. Come on! (I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me but Rs. 70 for a simple South Indian breakfast is ridiculously expensive).

One must also try the thali dinner here (Rs.100). Start off with a grape juice, followed by dosas,
puris, rice, a number of curries, curd, rasam, sambar, sweets and many other things that I can't remember right now. Don't miss out on the mindblowing bisibele bath at this place. If you are going for dinner, book in advance. MTR is also one of the few establishments in the country that is strictly punctual. I once arrived 5 mins late, and was told (rather rudely :( ) that my table had been given away and I had to sit it out.

MTR is closed on Mondays and open during the following timings on other days: 6:30am-noon, 12:30-2:30pm, and 7:30-9pm.

Pricing: Rs. 70 per person for breakfast
Location" 14, Lalbagh Road, Phone: 22220022\

P.S. : I'm unsure of what to enter in the area tab for this post. What area does Lalbagh fall under exactly? My directionally challenged self will be really happy if someone could tell me that.


Zorro64 said...

Havent been there for some time. People say that the cleanliness is not s before and so is the taste. Is it true???

Roshmi Sinha said...

Haven't been there for a while. But after reading this... feeling hungry already!

Unknown said...

Jayanagar no? Another place to try there is La Casa. Ok food but they have sweet beer called Shandy which is quite cool.

Shruti said...

@Zorro: I have had no issues with the hygiene nor have I noticed any difference in the taste. It's only the prices that have escalated, I think.

@Roshmi: Haha. You should definitely visit it soon.

@Divya: Jayanagar? Okie, changing tab. Thanks! Where is La Casa?

A ditty said...

Post - Like
Template - Double Like
Keep going!!

magiceye said...

would hate to stand in a long queue and wait to eat something which might not available and that too at some fancy price. however good the food might be, you are paying extra for the ambiance and to say ;yes, i ate at mtr'.
loved your review though! very well written!

Greeshma said...

had been to this place once. waited for 5-10 mins. Didnt have the patience to wait for 30 more mins after having the smell of dosa. So rushed to another restaurant in gandhi bazar :P

Btw MTR has opened a branch in Forum Value mall, Whitefield with a better ambiance.

Shri Ram Ayyangar said...

There is a downfall in the taste of MTR products and better stuff available elsewhere. Even there is nothing special about the dinner Thali.You can taste BETTER Butter dosa at CTR NEAR Malleswaram play ground.

Unknown said...

mtr mtr mtr!! yday i attended a wedding which had mtr food! yum!!

this makes it your fortieth post, btw!! :)

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The wild said...

Nice to a post on MTR,even i have thought twice before making an exit ,frankly i cant convince myself to eat there ,it is a once a month affair for me :)

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Vims said...

yummm...i LOVE MTR!

Unknown said...

very long and interesting article on the history of the establishment in ET today

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