Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, more fondly known as MTR, is most definitly a harbinger of the good old days of yore, when the pomp and fanfare accompanying dining was still a matter of importance. And this you can tell just by the larger percentage of gold-decked, gajra-ensconced, sandalwood-smelling gentry in the line that snaked almost till Lalbagh, waiting for the clock to strike 12.30 pm.
When the clock does oblige, an old white haired man shorter than me ( and I’m all of 5’2”, for the record) in white dhoti and white shirt hanging loose opens the door and ushers everybody in to make another unending, rather silent line at the cash counter. And as he nudged and budged one and all to pin-dropness, he glowered down his long royal nose, and he informed us of the treat that awaited us.
So, we bought our coupons and were directed up a flight of stairs lined with Thanjavur paintings, to be greeted by another old man perched on his wooden stool of authority, also maintaining the silence and strict discipline that is due to these esteemed halls steeped in spicy tradition. He pointed us to our table in a corner, and we obediently walked to our proximate destiny.
Looking around, it struck me that this unnatural behaviour wasn’t just specific to me, my mother and her sister. Most people seemed unsure of talking in decibels higher than a whisper. And consequently, even big moustached men seemed inordinately giggly. Thankfully, my prayers were answered and the food came around sooner than we expected.
And whatever misgivings I had about overly snobbish places, took flight with my taste buds as the men with buckets coaxed us into overeating like never before. Typical kannadiga food, complete with bisi bele bath and payasam, made for a very memorable meal. And even when you’re replete with satisfaction, and loving it totally, you’ll be dissed into eating some more. They’ll make sure they give you your money’s worth.
A must visit place for all those who visit Bangalore.