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On A Trail Of Traditional Thalis In The Historic City Of Mysuru

From niche Madhva Brahmin cuisine to a rustic farmer’s meal of jowar rotis and brinjal curry.

Arathi Menon

The restaurant scene in Mysuru, also known as Mysore, is certainly changing to cater to a bustling younger crowd that’s moving into the city. The crowd-puller, however, continue to be the good old South Indian vegetarian eateries that serve authentic food from this part of the world.

Anybody could argue that there’s hardly anything that can beat the delight that a plate of hot idli-vadas or dosas can offer in the south. Equally popular at these traditional restaurants are the thalis give you a real taste of the place.

Here are four thalis you must try when you’re in Mysuru:

1. South Indian lunch thali at Hotel Dasaprakash Paradise, Yadavagiri

One of the oldest hotels in Mysuru, Dasaprakash Paradise has a good reputation when it comes to the food served at their restaurant Vishala. The lunch thali is a particularly good sample of what’s prepared in South Indian homes at mealtimes.

There’s sambar, rasam, curd, palya (dry subzi) with any vegetable, one flavoured rice (that changes every day) from the region, puris or chapatis and a curry to go with it and a sweet to complete the fare. It’s quintessentially South Indian. The “North Indian” curry to go with the puris being the only aberration. But we can cut them some slack because, without the puris and the curry, the thali simply would be incomplete.

What we loved: The flavoured rice. You’re lucky if it’s Bisi Bele Bath. BBB that translates to hot-dal-rice is Karnataka’s own unique rice and dal preparation with masalas which is served bisi, bisi.

2. Sunday special meals at Anima Madhva Bhavan, Vani Vilas Mohalla

This restaurant serves the Madhva Brahman food from Dakshina Kannada. They say the food has no onion and no garlic and no kind of preservatives or synthetic flavourings go into its preparation. It’s prepared fresh and you know it when you eat it. On Sundays and special occasions, they serve a special meal that should not be missed.

Apart from the usual suspects like rice, sambar, rasam, palya, majjige (buttermilk) and curd, this meal also has chapatis and a curry, pulav, kosambari (raw salad with moong dal), saasam (a dish made with pineapple or manogoes) and a sweet dish or payasa. On special occasions and Sundays, they serve you a snack, mostly a chilli bajji and a holige (sweet stuffed chapati) in addition to all these.

The highlight is the holige or obbatu (akin to Maharashtra’s puran poli) prepared with steamed and crushed chana dal, jaggery with oodles of ghee. What’s more? This meal is unlimited, except for the holige.

What we loved: Holige, holige, holige. And yeah, the kosambari and saasam. 

 

3. Jolada Roti Thali at Nalpak Restaurants, outlets across Mysuru

Let’s take a detour from the traditional course and go to the Nalpak to have an Uttara Kannada or North Karnataka jowar roti meal. A chain of restaurants spread across the city, Nalpak is Mysuru’s homegrown eatery. The jowar rotis served here are super soft and fluffy and come with a serving of ‘yennegai’ a Dharwad-style eggplant preparation in which eggplants are stuffed with masalas, fried and come dipped in a flavourful curry. This pairing alone is pure bliss.

No points for guessing that there is sambar, rasam and majjige with this meal as well. They also serve a palya (vegetable side dish) with beans, either black-eyed peas or hyacinth beans if it’s in season. This meal also comes with various kinds of spicy pickles and powders and sabudana papad or fries that taste splendid. To feed your sweet tooth, there is a banana and icecream at the end of the meal.

What we loved: Jowar roti and yennegai 

 

4. Mini tiffin combo at Adyar Ananda Bhavan Sweets, near Mysore Railway Station 

In many parts of South India, breakfast is known as ‘tiffin’. A tiffin could be anything from dosas and idlis to vadas or upma. The mini breakfast combo at Adyar Ananda Bhavan Sweets gives a sample of how an elaborate South Indian breakfast feels like.

The combo at this restaurant provides a small masala dosa, a mini idli and a vada. These are accompanied by small portions of khara bath (upma) or pongal and kesari bath which is a sweet dish made with semolina, ghee and sugar. The chutneys are however the best part. There are three of them in three different colours—white, red and green. A cup of coffee or tea also comes as part of the thali.

What we loved:

 Mouthwatering chutneys. Pongal is a must-try too.

Photo: Shutterstock
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