In a nutshell
A no frills Udipi restaurant that serves honest to good food and one has to share table with strangers.
Address & other details: cafe madras
Meal for 2: 200 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian
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I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description – in case u r in a hurry:
This eatery has been around since 1940 – that alone speaks a lot.
A small restaurant that was jam packed during the full time we were there. A signage outside mentioned that guests need to share table with strangers.
The gentleman serving us was elderly and he helped us make choices. He was very patient and answered all our queries with a smile.
The dining room was optimally utilised to accommodate as many people at any time.
Menu card was a one pager with a listing of items without description.
Food was very good in general. We ate quite a few dishes that r not commonly served.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading
We started with podi Upma. We wud not hv ordered this dish had we not read praises about it in the social media. The dish was very different from the usual way of presenting upma. The warm Upma was placed in the center and coconut chutney in room temperature was poured on top. The dish was topped with podi (gunpowder / a powder made from lentil, chilly and spices).
Flavours of good cow ghee made its presence felt. The combination was excellent. This turned out to b one of the best Upma I have had in a while. Rate it 4.75/5
Next dish we had was kadhi idly. Kadhi was poured on the idly and served. This was a new combo for us. The idly had large grains and had a strong fermented feel to it , which we enjoyed. The Kadhi was very good. Enjoyed both kadhi and idly as it is and with each other. Rate it 4.25/5.
Rasam was served in tiny glasses. This had the punch. Spicy, hot, refreshing yet not in the face spices. Rate it 4.25/5
We next had Tuppa dosa. This was dosa made from urad dal batter. We were told that it is made of desi ghee. However desi ghee did not make its presence felt at all. Loved the flavours of urad dal.
The dosa was thick and was soft and fluffy inside. The aloo masala was good to taste but not extraordinary. Rate the aloo 3.5/5. Rate the dosa 4/5. Overall rating averages to 3.75/5. I guess it was an execution issue. Directionally we loved the dish.
We ordered Bisibele Bhath. It did not look or taste like the other bisibele bhaths that we have had so far.
It was more runny and did not have perfect proportion of salt n sour. The veggies were nice and overall it was just good. Rate it 3/5.
For dessert we had Pineapple Sheera – it was sooji/rawa with pieces of pineapple in it. It was a sweet dish with no particular twist to it. Had it been made of desi ghee at least there wud b an element of flavor. Rate it 3/5.
We ended our meal with ‘strong’ filter coffee – just loved it. The robust flavour of coffee, the perfect proportion of milk and sugar. Rate it 4.5/5
Overall rating of food at madras cafe averages out to 4/5
There was something nice about the place that wud get us back there to try some more dosas and rice dishes.
THe food at big Boys of Chennai like Saravana Bhawan, Dasaprakash are at times comparable to the food at Cafe Madras,though the former are much morecommercial and mass produced. Cafe madras had a touch of homecooked food. I however think Murugan Idly is surely a notch earlier