On reaching Andhra Bhawan, you may be dismayed to see the crowd there, all waiting for their turn at the table. But before you think of calling it quits, a gentleman approaches you and points to a place where you can seat yourself. That is, after you buy the food coupons.
Andhra Bhavan is all about serious south Indian (Andhra) food with no-frills. It has a fast pace — efficient handling of crowds, serving of thaalis and replenishing your servings of side dishes.
You are never starved of food, let alone attention. The thaali is generous — sambhar, rasam, at least two varieties of vegetables, small purs, curd, rice, the ever present chutneys and of course dessert — which could be a rice pudding or halwa, depending on your luck!
You’d think that those serving you would forget you in the melee. But not here. The well-oiled system ensures that you do not have to wait for long. An ‘overseer’ ensures that your plate is not empty. Now the food. Lunch time is all about thaali. You can order fish, mutton or chicken. (Separately).
Do not miss out on the ‘gun powder’ — a powdery mix of spices that can be mixed with curd or water to transform it into a peppy chutney. Then those mango or mixed pickles that are the perfect add-ons to the unlimited crispy papads they serve.
Your best bet would be a soft drink — fountain Coke, Sprite and so on (never mind the pesticide content, we all ignore the reports)! And off you go! The non-vegetarian fare could be in curry or gravy form, but compliment your standard thaali perfectly.
After you indulge in the mindblowing servings and variety of Andhra food, drag yourself to the counter where you should pop a paan (without the betel nuts) into your mouth and look for a place to plonk yourself for a well-deserved siesta. After all that food, you know you need one! Meal for two (non-veg) Rs 200.