A clean 'mess'

A clean 'mess'

Malleswaram is considered to be a haven for foodies. It has a line of legendary eateries that can make for the best breakfast, lunch and dinner. While one can start the day with a hot plate of ‘idli’ from Veena Stores, they can count on Iyer Mess located in 8th Cross, Malleswaram for homemade South Indian meals. A small place, with a hardly visible board, one has to go through a passage just to realise how crowded the place is.

Started in 1959 by PV Mahadeva Iyer, Iyer Mess opened as a small restaurant that served breakfast and meals. It was in the 1970s that this restaurant took the shape of a mess exclusively serving South Indian meals for lunch and dinner. A small room, it has old-styled granite tables, plastic stools and arranged leaf plantains.

 The clock ticks 1 pm and there is a long queue to get a token. People then wait for their turn to grab a seat and a plantain leaf. This place evokes one of the memories of having lunch at a South Indian Brahmin wedding. Variety of ‘sabjis’, the special-tasting ‘sambhar’in Tamil style, spicy and tangy ‘rasam’, the varied ‘majjigehuli’, rice moulded in the shape of a bowl, papad, pickle and the much sought-after ‘payasam’...one cannot ask for more variety.

The place is presently run by Mahadeva Iyer’s son Venkatesh Iyer, who says, he is proud and happy to be owning this mess. Fifty-six years, and it still has almost 300 customers coming in everyday. Says Venkatesh, “The restaurant was converted into a mess because of the labour problem. Now it is a family business and it has been successfully running ever since.” The exclusive meals are home cooked by Venkatesh’s wife Kamala and it definitely makes for ‘mamma’s recipe’.

One more thing that adds to the homely feeling is the price of the meals. The sumptuous meal that leaves one filled till the brim is priced just Rs 55.

“This is a family business and it has helped us maintain the taste and tradition.
There are special days when we make the authentic Tamil Nadu cuisine like ‘Vatal Kozhambu’ — a distinct sambhar served in a cup. We also offer ‘chapatis’ with the meals,” he explains. The mess also serves special vegetarian dishes of Kerala that are flavoured with a touch of coconut. It would not be wrong to call this place a ‘bachelor’s paradise’, as there are a number of regulars who are bachelors that have made this their home.

 “There are customers who have been coming regularly here for over 40 years now,” he says.

A tiny little mess, it has hosted lunch for various Sandalwood actors. Following the systemic timings of traditional Indians, this mess is open from 11.30 am to 3.15 pm and 7.15 pm to 9.15 pm.

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