Flavours of Lalgudi in Alwarpet was on my list for a long time. In spite of visits to Alwarpet, it just didn’t happen. Today myself and a friend were returning home from RK Salai towards Velachery. We decided to have dinner enroute. As we were proceeding on C P Ramaswamy road, immediately decided to step in.
We entered into a well-lit restaurant with a nice ambience. The place looked good and welcoming. Immediately got a table and we settled down in a comfortable sofa as compared to the wooden chairs on the other side. The menu was handed over, and first glance, I tried hard to spot something specific to Lalgudi. At least if any dish read as Lalgudi-something ?!?!? Didn’t see any. Looked at the waiter and for obvious reasons, didn’t look like he knew Tamil. I have no problem with that, spoke to him in Hindi. Asked him what is special here specific to Lalgudi, to which he immediately pointed out the Tandoor Platter. :O Immediately realized this wasn’t going to help, so called another person who was at the cash counter and asked him the same question. This time, he was clear – Food-wise, there is nothing special about Lalgudi, its just for the name and wall paper. That was it, stopped thinking about Lalgudi and deep-dived into the menu to order the ‘standard’ items.
Decided to stick on to South-Indian, if not exactly Lalgudi. Ordered Rasam Vadai to be served one by two, Fried Podi Idli, Ghee Masala Dosa for my friend and Chinna Vengaayam Oothappam for myself. Rasam vadai came first, in spite of asking to be served one by two, it came as one portion. Not a big deal, clicked a picture and requested them to serve it to both of us, we got single portions then. The rasam was high on salt, vadai was okay. Chinna Vengaayam Oothappam arrived next! We were like what happened to the fried podi idli? Anyway, started to eat. I almost finished my oothappam and still my friend did not get his Ghee Masala Dosa. We had to ask for it twice and then overheard someone asking from inside the kitchen if it was Ghee Dosa or Ghee Masala Dosa. So that’s when they were going to make it. Meanwhile Fried Podi Idli came and it was visually not very appealing. Basically I was expecting Fried round mini idlies with chutneys as served in most places. Never mind, what’s in a shape! We asked for the chutneys, and I got the red chutney. Again asked for white chutney and then got that too. The idli pieces were fried well and it was crispy and nice, but the podi failed to make an impression. Even the smell of ghee was very faint. Until this time, Ghee Masala Dosa was yet to come to our table and it finally did! It looked decent, and tasted okay. Decided to finish with a filter coffee and as my luck would have it, it was not available ! Asked for the check and we decided to leave.
The bill came in a nice cute brass set and that was probably the best part about the whole dinner. Throughout the time we were there, the place was loud and noisy. As we were seated near the cash counter, an old gentleman, who probably was the manager, was continuously giving instructions to the non-Tamil waiters. It was a mix of English, Hindi, and Tamil. We couldn’t ignore, so just decided to get overwhelmed by his multi-linguistic talent. A very average experience and I don’t mean to sound rude, neither the food nor the service would make me go back to this place again. The dinner cost us 441 bucks, and prices were okay. Considering the name they chose, I would have loved to see a bit more of Lalgudi and a bit more of flavor.