Category: Food Mood: Nostalgic
We were seated in the small stools placed outside the restaurant waiting for the waiter to come and take the orders. Thats how it always happened at this place. It might be full to the brim (on most occasions), but you could pull one of these plastic stools kept outside, order your stuff, have a wonderful snack and pay your bills. All without even entering the place...
We made our way to Mani's Lunch Home, one of our favourite hang out places in Matunga. (Its just not a hang out place, its a place where you get seriously good stuff to eat). There is something about these places that you grow up in. You don't like it to change. There is a certain sense of charm and romance associated with it. Ive always seen groups of 'gujjus' lined up outside Mani's Lunch home, yapping and merrily hogging away at Mysore Bonda - that too after a round of brisk walk :-). Being very close to Matunga gymkhana it was also very common to find people crowding out, having a quick snack after an exciting game of cricket. But this time it was a bit different. Apparently the government had passed some new regulations due to which they had stopped serving food outside.
We had to wait for our turn before we could get our seats. Now this place has exactly the same no of seats for as long as I can remember, 20+ years for sure. A look around and you can see the following things.
1. A black and white picture of the founder of the restaurant. (who I presume was called Mani).
2. A board which says 'We welcome members of all community'
3. Another board which says 'Outside food not allowed'
You can make out that all of these hoardings have been there for ages. I was wondering what made a restaurant in the heart of a South Indian suburb of Mumbai put a message welcoming members of all community? (Would be interesting to find out).
Coming to the main point - Food. Just awsome vada sambar & rava dosa coupled with unlimited sambar. If you want a refill of chatni or sambhar just call the waiter, he comes over and pours it, some of it will fall in the cup, some might spill over to the table. Again its not the type of place known for hi-fi cleanliness or waiters speaking the queen's English. Its a place where you can go with your school mates, rekindle old memories, relive those good ol school days order the best of South Indian dishes, eat as if there is no tomorrow, end with an authentic south indian filter coffee. Mani's lunch home is not just about food, Its loads and loads of memories !!
After I wrote this blog I decided to google for Mani's lunch home. Found some very interesting stories. The most interesting story one being in the Maharashtra Times (1973) of all places and it talks about 'Unlimited Chatni and Sambhar' (pic uploaded).
Details about Mani's lunch home & how it all began http://www.manislunchhome.in/about_us