Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Magic of MTR



MTR is now a well known brand around the country, known for their ready to cook and ready to eat packaged food and spices. But before it became MTR the brand, it was Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore's Lalbagh. The first time I entered the rather shabby looking place, I was directed to the 'family room' on the first floor. And that's where I head each time now.

You enter a waiting room on the first floor landing, obviously because the place draws hordes of people at dinner time. I beat the crowds by going there for tiffin or snacks between 3-5 pm. Even at that time, the place is busy but there is usually no waiting.

There are no menus at MTR. There is a white board at the entrance that shows all that's available. Then you go into the dining hall which has pretty basic plastic chairs. They are all tables for four, so if it's only one or two of you, you are expected to share tables once it gets busy.

My top thing to order at MTR is a dosa. You can order a masala dosa but I like the plain variety. The dosas here are crisp but thicker than what you get in Mumbai, with a generous dousing of ghee. They also coat the inside of the dosas with the green chutney. The same green chutney - coconut and surprisingly, mint - gets served with the dosa along with a small container of ghee.



Another bestseller is their rava idli. Its a gigantic idli and you only get one per serving, along with the ghee, chutney and curried potatoes. Unlike most other places, you do not get sambar with your idli and dosa. You can either order a sambar vada or plead with them to give you 'extra sambar' but remember they don't understand any Hindi and barely speak English so getting anything off menu can be quite an undertaking.

I did get an English speaking server once and he proudly told me the filter coffee was served in silver glasses that have been around for over a century. It's great coffee too and a fantastic end to your meal. This is one place I make sure to stop at every visit to Bangalore, and you should too.

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