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For a homely meal


PERCHED ON the first floor on a busy road, Shree Krishna Kafé wears no airs or pretensions. A first-timer could almost miss it as it blends with the other numerous shops on the street. But a trained eye, a regular wouldn't. It is a matter-of-fact place. Down to earth, almost to the point of giving it an aura of a luncheon hall at a marriage venue. The plantain leaves laid out on the tables reinforce this image. The waiters hover around with buckets containing various curries of the day, ready to serve a hungry customer.

At lunchtime, the menu is typical Tamil Brahmin food, containing three vegetables that includes a kootu, sambar, mor kuzhambu, or vatral kuzambu, rasam, curds, and papad with a sweet dish. Experienced cooks from Lalgudi, Viruthachalam, and the Chennai Saravana Bhavan have been hired to lend their might and taste.

The food served is unlimited with waiters replenishing the depleted stocks as swiftly as they are wolfed down. The sambar and rasam and the side dishes taste exactly like home-cooked food, not spicy, and sans the commercial masala additives normally used for flavour in some restaurants. And all this for a humble sum of Rs. 40 on weekdays, and Rs. 45 on weekends. "It is Rs. 45 on weekends, because the lunch served is special," says Pandian, the manager of the restaurant.

"You must try our snacks at breakfast and dinner," continues Mr. Pandian. "We serve idlis, vadas, dosas, pongal, kesari bath, to name a few." And at reasonable prices. "The peak hours are extremely crowded. Customers at times have their food packed on failing to get a place to sit," explains Mr. Pandian. The restaurant has a seating capacity of 48, which is too low given its popularity.

"The service is not only quick, the place is extremely clean, the food is exceptionally good, and the price is very reasonable. Most important, it comes closest to home food. For someone who eats out frequently, this place is ideal," says Anand, a software engineer who is a regular here.

Agrees Diwakar, also a software engineer: "It is very much like home food." "I particularly like the sambar here. It reminds me of home," chips in Arivoli, a hardware consultant, whose family is yet to move to Bangalore.

Of course, you can see a number of couples too. Be warned if you are looking for a romantic candlelight dinner with your Significant Other: the sheer practicality of the place throws any romance out the door.

But for a true-blue foodie who has to constantly contend with pretentious interiors, garish walls, serving the usual over-priced tandoori fare or oily south Indian stuff, this place is a refreshing change.

The restaurant is closed Monday mornings and afternoons. If you are somewhere near Koramangala, it is well worth checking it out. You can contact the restaurant on 51104345.

N.S.

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