Long after Coimbatore goes to bed, a few late-night buffets provide nourishment to the night birds

Hunger pangs after a fantastic late-night weekend movie? You wish to complete the experience by dining in style instead of balancing a plate in one hand and swatting mosquitoes with the other at a roadside thattu kadai or biting into cold sandwiches. Where do you head to, especially in our city, which slides into slumber by 10 p.m.?

Get to the midnight buffets, say food enthusiasts. Prominent among them are those served at The Residency and Alankar Grande. The Arcadia on Avanashi Road also had a popular midnight buffet going but has put it on hold because of lack of regular patronage. And then, there are the parottas, idlis and dosais served with spicy gravies in messes near Gandhipuram.

Besides being a great option for those who want to wind down after a hectic week of work, the price is a huge factor that draws people to star-rated restaurants. The midnight buffet offers as much variety as a regular meal at about 50 per cent of the cost. Midnight buffets are elaborate affairs, where health and calories go hand-in-hand. For every dosa-idli-phulka lover, there’s the biryani fan who tucks into mounds of fragrant rice and meat long after rest of the world has gone to bed.

Alankar Grande in Ramnagar has been ladling out a late-night buffet every single night, for eight years now. Executive chef S. Muthukumar says the footfall includes families, young boys hanging out with friends and people returning from movies. The buffet is served at its Tiffanys restaurant within the hotel, and sees about 60 to 80 diners every night. This spread is vastly different from what is served for dinner in its South East restaurant. Traditional food rules the menu. The most-loved items are the kheema dosai and the chicken and fish curries.

At The Residency, clients walk in at around 12.30 a.m., and have a leisurely hot meal in comforting surroundings. The hotel has had the Saturday night buffet going for the past five years, says executive chef S. Ashok Kumar. The midnight buffet is cooked fresh and does not contain leftovers of the previous night’s dinner. “We start work on the midnight meal at around 10.30 p.m. By midnight, they are arranged on the counters,” he says. A team of 10, including a chef, is on call to take care of the 100-odd diners.

R. Rajkumar, general manager of The Arcadia (0422-4567777), says their weekend menu (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) featured the staples — idlis, dosais, biryani and sandwiches. “Even now, we can organise a buffet for a group of 20 people and above, with advance notice,” he says. Rajkumar says that to keep the midnight buffet culture alive in any city, there is need for a stable floating population. Once that happens, Coimbatore is sure to come up with more options for a meal after midnight.

The Residency

Time: Midnight to 0230 a.m. on Saturday

Price: Rs. 470

Menu: Eight veg dishes, four non-veg dishes, biryani, egg masala, desserts, live counters for dosais and rotis.

Phone: 0422-2241414

Alankar Grande

Time: 11 p.m. to 3.30 a.m., Every day

Menu: Veg and non-veg dishes, kuska, biryani, variety rice, sandwiches, ice creams. Live counters for dosais.

Price: Rs. 260

Telephone: 0422-4378888