Food

For that sumptuous VEGGIE MEAL

South Indian combo meal for breakfast at Madras Tiffin Centre. Photo: special arrangement

South Indian combo meal for breakfast at Madras Tiffin Centre. Photo: special arrangement   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

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Madras Tiffin Centre at Kowdiar is the place to feast on vegetarian food in comfortable surroundings



If it is vegetarian food that you crave for in the city, that too in comfy surroundings, then your choices narrow down to a few that can be counted on your fingers. Now, there is one eatery that can be added to that sparse list – Madras Tiffin Centre at Kowdiar. Just the look of the place can whet your appetite – sunlight yellow with apple green and white accents create a happy space.

Madras Tiffin Centre evokes images of fluffy idlis, golden dosas, rich pongal, spicy vadas and hot filter coffee. And the menu and the food do not disappoint. The large menu with a generous spread of dishes can confuse newcomers because in addition to the ‘tiffin’ items, there are the familiar noodles, fried rice, soups et al. The menu includes food from Chennai, Mumbai, Punjab and elsewhere too!

So, predictably, we begin with soup. It is sizzling hot and has the comforting taste of vegetable soups everywhere. Then comes the starters – chilli honey cauliflower and spicy corn.

Suddenly there is a lull in the conversation at our table as we sample the starters. With an interesting blend of flavours, each cauliflower floret is savoured in silence before we start on the corn mix. Soon both plates are empty. That is when our third starter arrives – stuffed tandoori potato. From the look of it, we are going to fill ourselves with starters and more starters. Layers of flavours have been melded together for this fat eat – potato covering with a paneer heart that melts in the mouth.

Since Abraham Thomas Kayalackakom, the proprietor, insists that we also try the main courses, reluctantly, we move on to the main dishes. While we wait for the food, Abraham tells us the story behind the nearly three-month-old Madras Tiffin Centre.

The hotel management graduate was homesick for Chennai, where he did his studies, and that is when he decided to start a veggie joint in his home town. “That is why it is called Madras Tiffin Centre,” says Abraham.

Madras Tiffin Centre is open on all days from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Breakfast is served till 10 a.m. The tandoor items are for lunch and dinner but the combos (certain combinations) are available for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

By then the food arrives. Our tastebuds still do hunger for the starters. Nevertheless, like obedient children, we take a bite of the dosa and, hey, it is crisp, brown and done just right! It goes well with the sambar but the bland chutney is disappointing.

It is obvious that dosas are the showstoppers here. A variety of lacy dosas, all alluringly crisp and golden, folded in many different ways, are carried to tables all around us. Each invites you to gorge, with or without the chutney.

Then we move on to buttery Kashmiri naan, which has a filling of paneer and coloured bits of tutti-fruiti. It goes well with the paneer masala. The panner is soft and crumbly and not rubbery.

But then the fried rice that is on the table does not have too many takers although its aroma is appetising. We take spoonfuls of the delicious fried rice and finish off our meal with glasses of superb fresh orange juice, not canned.

We were prepared to skip desserts when suddenly warm luscious gulab jamoons arrived on our table. It was love at first bite. After relishing the last bit, we staggered out, satiated and full!

Abraham has also started combo meals that keep changing. Prices for the combo meals begin at Rs. 90.

What is conspicuous by its absence is the range of flavoured rice that is so typical of Chennai – lemon rice, tamarind rice, sambar and coconut rice. Although available in small eateries in the Fort area in the city, most restaurants, mysteriously, don’t have these on the menu!

There is a whole lot of delicious stuff that we haven’t tried like tikkis, chaats, dahi vada and more at Madras Tiffin Centre. But there is always another day.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:27:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/madras-tiffin-centre-a-veggies-delight/article8188150.ece

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