Shifting the idli-loyalty

Even after living in Chennai for nearly six years now, I have been to Pondicherry — barely 120 km away — only once, that too last month. But I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to Kerala, which takes about 15 hours. The reason is quite simple and universal: when something is next-door, you tend to take it for granted. “Ok, I’ll go there someday, what’s the hurry. Let me check out the other places first,” you find telling yourself.

Precisely why I rarely go around looking for eateries in my area, which is, literally, a stone’s throw from Panagal Park. The places I usually go to, when I eat out, are Kumarakom on Kodambakkam High Road, New Andhra Meals in Pondy Bazaar, Hotel Safari in Royapettah and Annapurna, the authentic Bengali restaurant, in Egmore. Chennai, of course, has no dearth of meals-ready joints, so no matter wherever you are during lunch- or dinner-time, you could always squeeze into a place where the air smells of steaming rice.

But last week I discovered — yes, discovered; shame on me! — one restaurant around Panagal Park. It’s called Woodlands, next to Nallis. The place is air-conditioned and the food is excellent, especially the idli-sambhar. So far I would swear by the Ratna cafe idli, but here the sambhar tastes even better. I strongly recommend their idli-sambhar to all. Follow it up with the dahi-vadai and you’ve just had a filling brunch.

The ‘meals’ are good too, but a steady stream of shoppers makes it difficult to find a place. Moreover, for Rs 53-a-‘meals’, even if you get unlimited rice, it is unlikely that one would patronise it at lunchtime every day. Yet, the crowd is never ending. Walking, if not shopping, on Usman Road can make one hungry.

14 Comments so far

  1. PSU (unregistered) on October 10th, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    WOW! Is it still around. We used to like it as it was “woman-friendly”. Especially during Deepawali shopping my mother and I used to take a breather there and then go on to Kumarans after Nalli shopping :-)) I am talking about 20 years ago ;-)

  2. vishal (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

    Have you learnt to speak Tamil yet Mr Ghosh just wondering since you have been living in Chennai so long? Or do you feel it is not required for people like youself.

  3. Siva (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

    Dear Vishal/Chandler64/Rohan whatever alias you go by,

    If its not too much trouble, kindly type your issue out in Tamil. Use Tamil fonts, you know where to get them.
    We need to assess your Tamil skills first.

  4. Nilu (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

    Does that explain your horrible punctuation, Vishal?

  5. Mahesh (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

    VISHAL –
    Yes, speak to us in Tamil. 80% of the authors of this blog know Tamil. And so do a majority of the readers of this blog.

    Vishal, we’d like to see if you can hold a conversation with us in Tamil. We’ll listen to all your problems and see if we can arrive at a solution.

  6. Srivatsan (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

    Hi Biswanath

    Woodlands Tnagar has been there for eons.Its a nice place for foodies.Check out baji stall next to Adyar bakery in Adyar.Its open from 3 pn onwards till 7 pm.


  7. Mehak (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    hey guys an off-topic query here

    Pls let me know about some grp on yahoo/google where I can ask for pointers pertaining to the city,Chennai as I am just 4 months old here & often need info & is there any Chennai Food Blog???

  8. J (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    hi Mehak,
    this is not a complete listing but you could start by looking here
    Welcome to Chennai :)

  9. Mehak (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

    @J thanks :)

  10. Chandler64 (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 3:49 pm


    For the record, I enjoy Mr.Ghosh’s writing and his
    attitude towards life. I have visited his blog.

    Yes, I can read and write Tamil.
    Yes, I have read Kalki, Thiru Kural and Silapathikaram in Tamil.
    Yes, I have read Sakunthalam and Gita in Sanskrit.
    Yes, I am Old but not senile.
    Neither Ma PO Si nor Kannadasan had any issues with my Tamil skills.
    Yes. I lived and liked Madras.
    Yes. I like to say what I like to say.

    No, I am not an Indian.
    No, I don’t like what Madras has become (Chennai)
    No, I don’t like people’s indiffence towards the defenceless children in Chennai.
    No, I don’t care for Jax or JackAsses

    Now, it is your turn..Go on..

  11. PSU (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

    I lived for many years in Madras. I speak a funny tamil. Nobody ever made fun of me. I still cannot read Tamil. It is my eternal loss that I never learnt it. India is a vast country. If people are smart they learn languages. If not they just forge ahead. Live and let live. Bangalore is a veritable Tower of Bable. Is anybody the worse for that? I try and talk to people in Tamil. I have realized that Tamil Nadu people all speak differently because they come from different districts. Madras tamil is not considered “good”. But hey. That;s what I know and that;s what I make an attempt to talk.

  12. Siva (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

    My response was directed at the troll who goes by Vishal/Rohan/… the self-proclaimed upholder of culture who asked Mr.Ghosh to learn Tamil.
    I’ve noticed that this Vishal/Rohan/person is using this forum to start childish North-South flame wars.

    If that disturbed child is still reading this, my request still holds.

    Dear Vishal/Rohan whatever alias you go by,

    If its not too much trouble, kindly type your issue out in Tamil. Use Tamil fonts, you know where to get them.
    I think you can express your anger a lot better in your mother tongue.

  13. vishal (unregistered) on October 12th, 2006 @ 7:44 am

    Siva why are you kicking up such a fuss, I only asked a question of Mr Gosh and you seem to want to attack me at every chance you get. North-South wars have been around since before you and I were born and they will continue to be there for eternity I am not trying to cause one either.

  14. Sudha (unregistered) on October 12th, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    Since you’re such a hot blooded Tamil boy, it’ll be a pleasure to hear you express yourself in Tamil. We are always hungry for good Tamil works on the web. It would be good if you could turn your anger into fiery Tamil words which have a greater impact. For the benefit of others, you can also put up a translation in English.
    This will show the world how much you are passionate about the Tamil culture.
    Please don’t disappoint us. Awaiting a long reply from you in divine classical thamizh… :)


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