And it’s not only us who say this. Times Food Guide, Times Now, CNN-IBN and now, Trip Advisor too finds Café Madras to be the BEST. One that churns out Mumbai’s best Dosas and Idlis and Uppmas and Uttapams. And Sheera too.
On our way back from South Mumbai last Sunday, we decided to dine at Café Madras. The choice was unanimous. For, we hadn’t been here in a long time. Almost 3 months!!! That’s unheard of in our household – after all we hit Café Madras every other week, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Understandably, we had to be really busy to not go to Café Madras in all this while. I have to tell you that I start getting separation pangs when I don’t. Worse, my husband, who is famous all over for eating everything that once lived, got the pangs too, craving for their Uppma Puri (his favourite)!!! See? This is what good food does to you. You have every type of a patron and from all over!
That Café Madras does. Don’t think it is frequented only by the Tam-Brahms or the Gujjus for the veg food. Hard core non-vegs (Bongs like us), students, the elderly, the rich, the not-so-rich, the intellectual, the not-so-intellectual, lovers, families…all come here for the delectable options. Choose from bissibili rice or uppma puri or set dosa with the special chutney or the more mundane (but very very yumm!!!) idli, dosa, vada. And if there is a child with you, the staff will bring a dollop of butter for the dosa or idli, in case the child finds the sambhar too spicy.
Run by the 3rd generation Kamath cousins, you will find one of them standing by the door taking down everybody’s name and calling them by turns. He will flash a familiar smile or say ‘Hi’ while taking down your name and the number of chairs you need, and will also give you an estimation of the waiting time. Now the waiting time at Café Madras is FAMOUS!!! No matter what time of the day you come, you can never make it straight to the table. Last week, we reached Café Madras at around 6.45 pm (too late for evening coffee and too early for dinner, was what I presumed) and I told Jayant, “I will be damned if there’s waiting today”. And was I damned!!! We waited a good 40 minutes for our turn. There’s no calling up the place and table reservations here. You come here, you gotta wait! Come rain (nay, monsoons 😉 ), come sun.
Ask for a cup of coffee (Kaapi) while standing out. Jayant does that. You can even buy some and take home.I never drink coffee at Café Madras. Who wants to stay awake for 3 days???
Avenging the wait outside, you might have ordered a table full of meal. Be ready to be shocked by the bill though. No matter what you eat here and how much you eat here, the bill never goes beyond Rs 150 per person!! Yes, despite the inflation and the falling ruppe and the worldwide economic havoc!! LOL…
As you wait for the food to come to your table, take a look around you. You will notice that they have run out of walls for all their ‘wins’ and certificates!!
A modest ambience (no AC), the place rocks because of its superior food quality and the friendliness of the owners and staff. I got chatting with Gopikrishna (one of the Kamath cousins) that evening, and he told me that 5 years ago, one of their staff retired after having worked here for 55 years!!!
Go back from here with a satiated stomach and a satiated soul. But remember, this feeling will be short-lived. Utterly short-lived. You will soon want to come back here. Cravings for their specialities will nag you back here. Soon.