Gar Firdaus bar ru-e-zaminast, haminasto haminasto haminast
If there is a heaven on the face of the earth, it is here, it is here, it is here
I have been eating the namak
, so to speak, of the Mallu Mess on 18th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, every weekend, for so long now that the least I could do for them, apart from, ofcourse, paying for my food, is to write about them in my blog.
The Mess is called 'Kerala Spice' and the owner is a Mallu Christian. There is a garlanded picture of Jesus on the side-wall. On the front-wall there is a garlanded picture of a youth in his twenties who was probably the owner's brother. Hmmm...
The chairs are plastic ones which you see in marriages and public gatherings. The tables are covered by a thick synthetic table-cloth. There are no tissue papers. Instead a steel tumbler of newspaper pieces is kept at the cash-table. No fancy stuff. Both you and the establishment can concentrate on the food.
You sit at the chair. Take a steel tumbler amongst a few neatly arranged on a plate and pour yourself either warm jeera-water or tadka-buttermilk from their respective jugs. And then you order.
I usually order a 'meal' and a fish fry. The meal consists of steaming, aromatic par-boiled (red) rice, two curries (beetroot, moong, bittergourd, beans, cabbage, anything...can't predict) a fried-chilli and a pickle. Then there is a bowl of some sort of a dal-sambar cross. And the veggies in that! My God. They put anything in that dal-sambar. And several at once too. Potatoes, pumpkin, drumsticks, beans, bhindi, brinjal, tomato, Tendul (that small, round thing after which Tendulkar is named (sic), which has green and white stripes and which is called Tendle in Konkani and Dondekaayi in Kannada), raw banana, jackfruit seeds ( commonly eaten in the coast), bamboo stem. Anything. Once I found a large chunk of beet-root in it. I love those veggies. Especially the ones which get all squishy-squashy: tomato, brinjal, bhindi, pumpkin. After I have eaten enough rice with this dal-sambar-stew, I eat more rice with the tadka-buttermilk, the pickle and the fried chilli. Let it be known that my mouth is watering as I write this.
The fish fry, I usually order bangda
(saradine) which is, er, the bread and butter back at home. Sometimes I order Sear Fish.
The place has other things to offer as well. Fish/mutton/chicken/beef/prawn biryani, curries, roasts and fries. I haven't tried any of those out, though. Since I go there only on weekends I don't experiment much.