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.