Skip to main content

The Udupis of Matunga

An udupi can mean different things to different people. A town in Karnataka, a vegetarian cuisine that first started there or a barebones no-frills cafe serving South Indian food. In Bombay though, an udupi restaurant can also be any neighborhood cafe you can eat familiar, homely food at no great expense.

But if you really want to see an udupi (the cafe, not the town), the only place to head to is Matunga in Central Mumbai. They are all the same, these cafes with metal chairs and tables, quick and efficient service and the best South Indian food on earth.

The first time I went to Matunga's King Circle, which probably has ten udupis next to each other, I settled on Cafe Mysore. It was not a choice really, for I went early in the morning and they were the only one that seemed open and in business. I've since been to Cafe Madras and Idli House and A. Ramanayak and countless others. All of these offer the snacking choices of idlis, dosas and uttapams. Some also offer the thali, depending on what time you get there.

Still I suggest you stick to Cafe Mysore, as I have done once I was finished sampling all the rest. For starters, it's bigger so you stand the best chance of getting a table (in Cafe Madras, the most popular of the lot, you will always end up sharing one). This also means that they will rush you less. Udupis in general are not places to linger - you order, you eat, you leave - but at least in Cafe Mysore they won't mind your staying an extra few mintues.

And finally the food. It's uniformly good, no matter which udupi you land at but you will notice a subtle difference in flavors everywhere. And Cafe Mysore seems to agree the most with my palate with its not-too-spicy sambar and even more amazing rasam vada. I love their idlis, but I love their masala dosa more. And I can never leave without eating the funnily named ulundu dosa, made with just the lentils and no rice. And dare you leave without sampling their filter coffee - there is no better place to go and overeat in all of Bombay.

Comments

Prathibha said…
Thank you simran for letting me know abt this!!
Being a south indian i would love to know the best south indian restaurants in mumbai..
I think i have seen abt this cafe even in a tv show..Will definitely try and let u knw dear!1
Suparna said…
Hi Simran,
Though I dont stay in Mumbai, I can vouch for the quality of food they serve at Udupi restaurants :) They have small and big outlets almost in every place.
The idli sambar and the manglore bajji is damn good and ya like u mentioned rasam vada is not to be forgotten,awsome aromatic coffee too... :) nice write, would be def. useful many foodie friends.
TC
Laura said…
OK posts like this make me really wish I could visit India. Our selection of Indian food is ALL the same (North Indian, Moghul influenced). We have one South Indian restaurant (2 hoyrs away near my parents) specializing in different kinds of chaat with a buffet and it is really good but I am sure it is just the tiniest fraction of what else there is.

*Sigh*
Bharti said…
Thank goodness for the the Lemont temple here and the amazing Udupi restaurant that opened up close to home last year. I'm still envious though.
Anonymous said…
I would like to share my experience about The Udipis Of Matunga.I used to study at a college in Matunga in the early 1970s and we used to frequent an udipi by the name of Sharda Bhavan which was exactly opp. Matunga Station.It will surprise you to note that they served the softest dahi vadas I have ever eaten anywhere. The dahi was tempered with mustard,cumin curry leaves and green chillies.If you have the time do try it and you will not be disappointed.
*KHUSHI* said…
Being a matunga resident I feel proud to read this topic...
if you need images of matunga pics to add in this topic, I can send u
Pradosh said…
Chanced upon your blog today ... really good !!
And I am a frequent visitor to Cafe Mysore in Matunga too - it makes for a tasty quick meal if you do not want to eat anything elaborate. The chutney is really to die for, though funnily, I havent tried the ulundu dosa yet. Will do it next time I go there.

Btw have you noticed newspaper cuttings of a very famous patron of Cafe Mysore near the entrance ? Check next time you are there ...
annoda said…
Being born and Brought up in Matunga you can say that I was Born and brought up in Cafe Mysore. Being just 5 mins distance from my house it is the best place where I could have found my Food solace. All the south indian dishes are great and the sambar is just awesome and yes the ulundu dosa. In places where they fill u up with great food decor doesnt matter though they have changed the decor now in the ground floor giving more space for visitors. If you love south indian breakfasts Cafe Mysore is the place to visit which also happens to be the fav palce of the senior Ambani couple.
Shilpa said…
I studied in a Matunga college and I love the Udupis in Matunga! U missed out Ramashraya.... its close to Matunga station and serves the yummiest Mysore Masala Dosas ever!! :)
Naresh Nayak said…
Hi there!

It's great reading about Cafe Mysore on the web. We have a Facebook page that you can join.

I hope all of you visit Cafe Mysore once again!

Also love your writing style. You should be a foodie.

Cheers,

Nayak
Cafe Mysore
Venkatram G said…
Amazing restaurant. No comparison. Great food. Clean and wholesome.
Venkatram

Popular posts from this blog

Fruits of the Forest

I know there hasn't been a new recipe on these pages for a while. But worry not, I'm back with a real zinger. Earthy, creamy, crunchy - this is an appetizer that ticks all the right boxes. And if you happen to be a mushroom lover like me, this is the best way to eat mushrooms I've found so far. I present to you, for all your year end parties and appetizer cravings - creamy mushroom pate on toast.

Its mushroom pate two way - just on its own and panko-crumbed and fried. Both go on a crisp garlic baguette with watercress and some kewpie mayonnaise. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
Crunchy garlic butter toasts (I buy them as is, but you can also slice and toast baguettes)
200 grams button mushrooms
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
kewpie mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise)
watercress or micro herbs
salt and black pepper to taste
oil for deep frying

First, make mushroom pate. Y…

A Bowlful of Comfort

I have a friend who is quite the globetrotter. Lunches at her place, often right after her trips, are a treasure trove of global flavours. But the last time we met, she was just back from Tamil Nadu and out she brought a bowl of curd rice. I love curd rice and have eaten a lot of it over the years but my friend's version was so full of flavours and textures, it was a revelation. Obviously, I asked for the recipe.

The genius of this curd rice lies in adding the tempering or the tadka twice, once to mix in the rice so it absorbs all the flavours. Then you make a second batch to top the rice with just before you serve, so it adds crunch to the usually mushy dish. The recipe also has a few other elements added in for texture, freshness and flavour.

I over-ate at lunch at my friend's and I over-ate again when I made this for myself for lunch. Plus, all the ingredients you need are likely in your kitchen already so you may as well go make it now.

Ingredients
1/2 cup rice
1 cup plain…

Farm to Fork in Chail

Back in 19th century, when Shimla was the summer capital of India, the Maharaja of Patiala got the British rulers riled over his dalliances and got banned from entering the city. Not the one to be put down so easily, he found a tiny little town about an hour from Shimla and made Chail his very own summer capital. Today, Chail still has the impressive Palace that the Maharaja built and the highest cricket ground in the world. There really isn't much more to the city apart from a small local market and a couple of hotels that get spillover crowd from Shimla in the summers. It's a pleasant little diversion but that's not why I went to Chail. I stopped nine kilometers short of the town to make Ekam my home for a weekend.

Sumeet Singal built this house on a cliff as his own weekend home. Today, even when Ekam is open as a luxury boutique resort, the cosy homely feeling remains intact. I asked Sumeet what there was to do during my three day holiday at Ekam. He told me that ther…