Sometimes, surprises turn up at unexpected corners as did Vallarmathi Mess that has been around since 1986

If like me, you have lived in and around the same area of a city all your life, the subtle changes tend to pass you by. The narrow road next to the Cosmopolitan Club on Race Course is one such place I have often crossed, but seldom lingered and explored. Imagine my surprise when I heard from some foodie friends that there was an eatery situated on that very road. I couldn’t wait to check it out and the opportunity arose when I had I some house guests.

It seemed the perfect time to check out the highly talked of local fare. So, with friends in tow, off we went. It was a short walk from the main road and in the far distance the faint glow of a tube light suggested the presence of the eatery. As we got closer, we spotted a small illuminated board with Valarmathi Mess written on it. A noisy group of people, who looked quite satiated and happy, exited from an air conditioned room. Just before we entered we saw an open area which happened to the kitchen. Immediately noticeable was the standard of cleanliness which was quite impressive. The staff, attired neatly, seated us right away. In the absence of a menu, they relied on their memory to tell us the items on offer, assuring us that they would not get our order wrong.

Green banana leaves and stainless steel utensils were placed on clean granite topped tables. They served mineral water along with a choice of aerated drinks. The place was comfortable, and had not more than six to eight tables. Their repertoire included huge triangular dosas with a variety of fillings like masala, egg and kheema, veg and non-veg kothu parotas, chilli chicken, chilli paneer and pichhu pota kozhi, along with many sea-food dishes, plain parotas and gravies. They said their lunch menu was even bigger.

The owner, a charming elderly gentleman, seemed rather surprised that it was my first time at his establishment. They have been around since 1986, serving the same fare. Only recently did they add the a/c dining room. He said they also had a loyal vegetarian clientele.

The food was piping hot, straight from the pan to the plate, and service was quick. The silence as we ate spoke highly of the food. In under an hour, we were done and all set to head back home. It may have been fast food, but by no means junk food.

A meal for five cost around Rs. 1,000. One can take away food as well. I’m glad I heard about Valarmathi Mess. It’s definitely a place to visit again, when you are in the mood for a quick bite loaded with the flavours of street food, served in a comfortable setting.

P.S. The owner Mr.Rajan said the Pallipalayam chicken they served was cooked with a recipe from his hometown.

Read more in Shanthini’s website.