The music season started with a bang with Sabhas hosting kutcheris of both big and small artistes performing to the delight of music/dance lovers of Chennai. The Sabha canteens too were buzzing with activity trying to compete with each other by offering varied fare to appease the taste buds of discriminating food lovers. Added to these are the food festivals organized by hotels and restaurants who have gone all out to offer the best fare during the season.
Not being connoisseurs of art but of food we found ourselves heading towards the Parthasarathy Sabha canteen one evening. We were quite flattered at the welcome we had here –a person neatly dressed in a spotless white dhoti and shirt lead us to one of the tables and wanted to know what we would like to eat. “Anything that is hot,” I said.
“Well, bonda, bajji are moderately hot, neither too much or too little, but just right to eat. I can get you really hot dosa or adai, if you wish,” he said and he brought what we had ordered in a jiffy and placed the plates with a smile that appeared as inviting as the stuff before us.
When I found the coffee a little too strong to my taste, he immediately brought a small glass of milk for me to add.
Even as he was collecting the payment, he extended an invitation for lunch saying, “ why don’t you and Mami come for lunch, I am sure you will enjoy the meal. Please come the day after since I will not be here tomorrow.”
We chose to go there once again, though not for lunch but for the evening tiffin and what a disillusionment it was ! The cold limp looking dosa served by a grumpy indifferent server was enough to put us off. Where was the man with the pleasing demeanor, I wondered.
In contrast to this was our experience at the Narada Gana Sabha canteen where a waiter not only found a seat for us amongst the milling crowd that was having a go at the sumptuous fare but readily served what we had ordered with a smile.
Intending to give a fitting finale to the season( food season) ,we chose a restaurant we normally frequented . We noticed there was not a soul there excepting for the man who took the order .A single menu card was placed before us which contained various kinds of biriyanis. Isn’t there anything else? I asked.
No madam, because it is the bitiyani festival, came the prompt reply.
Since it was too late in the evening and an hour when the traffic was at its peek, we were left with little choice.
I wondered who ever thought a biriyani festival would attract Chennai food lovers wouldn’t have expected the consequences of his “brilliant” idea. More concerned was I about the food that might be wasted.
Don’t worry, the staff will consume it, consoled my husband.
n.meera raghavendra rao