More of authentic food and less of hospitality: Madras Diaries restaurant review
Despite a few straight-faced staff members, this Bandra restaurant has the potential to make one’s wallet as well as tummy happy.more lifestyle Updated: Feb 08, 2018 20:15 IST
We visited the restaurant in the evening and found a table in the al fresco section taken up by a family with kids and another table, in the air-conditioned section, taken up by a solo customer. We initially chose a table outside, but a not-so-welcome small, green, crawling visitor from the adjacent money plant pot had us moving inside in a hurry. However, given the meagre green cover the city offers in general, the fact that this eatery had actual plants instead of plastic ones was refreshing.
Inside, the speakers treated visitors to a Carnatic fusion playlist, which instantly improved our mood. We told our attendant that even though it was teatime, we were too hungry and would like to have something heavier than regular snacks. He suggested Malabari Parotta (₹235 for two pieces), which was served with vegetable korma after about 15 minutes of our order. We were able to tear pieces off the parotta with just three fingers — the mark of a wellmade one - and it wasn’t rubbery to chew. This one turned out to be a true delicacy.
We next opted to sample Masala Uthappam (₹155) and Medu Vada (₹125 for three pieces). The uthappam was served with coconut chutney, sambar as well as a complimentary assortment of chutneys — sweet pineapple , mellow red beetroot, tangy brown tamarind and cool coriander. The four extra chutneys were intriguing and they not only looked good, but they were also an epicurean delight. They took the humble uthappam to a whole new level. This goes down as the must try at Madras Diaries.
The dish was well complemented by a drink, Spiced Lemon with Basil Seed (₹95), which came garnished with green chillies. We’d ordered the drink sans sugar, but it came sweetened anyway. When this was brought to the notice of the maître d’, our attendant told us that we were not clear with our specifications. But after we made it clear that we won’t be able to have the drink due to dietary restrictions, our attendant replaced the drink with an unsweetened one, albeit after a disappointed sigh.
The medu vadas were uneventful and satiated our unhealthy craving for something deep fried. The Filter Coffee (₹65) was served with much drama — our attendant made a spectacular show of repeatedly pouring the coffee from the tumbler to the dabara and then back into the tumbler. It wasn’t as strong as traditional coffees, but just about made the cut. The dishes all came well within 20 to 25 minutes of placing the order. The colourful ambience and the cosy vibe of the place work to its favour, and the budget-friendly food definitely deserves no complaints. However, the hospitality of the staff has much room for improvement. This is clearly a place for someone whose only priority is good vegetarian food.
HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously
What: Madras Diaries
Where: Shop 7, ground floor, Muzaffar Manor, 117 Waterfield Road, Bandra (W)
When: 7.30am to 11.30pm
Cost: Rs 600 for two
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The author tweets@iamsusanjose