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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mess(es) of Triplicane and Mylapore ~ the Rayars' Mess

Yesterday was returning from Mylapore – Arundale Street always attracts me for it houses the Avathara sthalam of Swami Peyalwar… this itself is not a big Street and yesterday had occasion to go into a small dusty lane…

Often you read about Food festivals… recently one was organized in Island grounds where cuisine of different States of India were specially made and served.  One comes across specialized ‘food festivals’ being organized in Star hotels too…………. It would be concepts – extravaganzas – you will see the ambience, even the waiters and servers would be dressed in native dresses and you get food ~ of course priced exorbitantly high………

There are so many Mansions and lodges in the lanes and by-lanes of Triplicane. One reason for their flourishing business and continued occupancy is Triplicane being well connected with all business points of Chennai; another important aspect is the availability of good Hotels – a la ‘Mess’ providing to the taste buds at reasonable costs.  There are so many and I had recently posted something of the ‘Messes’ [the eateries] – the more famous ones  - Rathna Café, Murali Café.  Sydoji Cafe and Kasi Vinayaka Mess, Ambal Mess, Bharathi Mess, Neo Mitra Bhavan, Vadivelan mess and there are so many smaller ones without even name boards…….. all providing quality food which never affects the stomach of the eaters. 

A foodie friend quipped that one needs to look beyond at least in nearby vicinity ….. some famous names in Mylapore would sure include  Murudis, Karpagambal, Mami and Rayar mess…. Sure there are more…

In this small dusty lane otherwise inane lane is a small eatery which people frequent and come out with happiness writ large………. It is the Rayar Mess which reportedly is 78 years old… It was founded by Shri. V. Srinivasa Rao in 1935,………. It reportedly was in Kutchery road for long and thence shifted to the present place.  Though not a great ambience, it is just more than couple of tables and few chairs and some more people dining happily.   It is more of a tiffin hotel and in the evening ‘Mysore Bonda’ Rava dosai, Adai, Gulab Jamun and jangiri sell hot…. The items are priced very reasonably…. A plate of mysore bonda is Rs.24/- while it is Rs.20/- for the dosa and adai.  The accompaniments of chutney and sambar are relishingly good.  

In an era where you have seen some big names not able to survive the flourishing hotel industry in the hot competition of fast foods… Rayars and some other mess have survived due to the patronage arising out of quality of food they have been serving.  Though generations have changed the menu has not changed they quip.  

They do not have advertisement / bill boards – they are not on any main street, there are no arrow marks / location indicators – still people continue to throng to that narrow lane – speaks of their quality and unstinted patronage they enjoy from their loyal customers.  

Only Tiffin items are served  here due to place and time constraints. The mess functions from 7.00am to 10.30am in the morning and reopens at 3 in the evening.  In the morning it will be Idlis, Pongal and vadai – while bonda, dosa and sweet as also strong Madras filter coffee – are devoured by those regular customers. 

So perhaps next time you have some work in Mylapore, you might take sometime to go to Arundale Street, Off Kutchery Road and try out some tasty food.  I did….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Nov. 2013.

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