The sabha canteens are drawing foodies now. Though some of them are put off by the high pricing for sapadu at lunch time.
On Tuesday, Kerala themed vegetarian sapadu was offered at Arusuvai Catering’s canteen at Vidya Bharathi Hall on Bheemana Garden Street where the music fesr of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha is on. A one line summary of the meal had this afternoon – Mallu food for the Tamil palette.
The food tasted ‘okay to good’ but was unauthentically Kerala. Those who were lucky got papadam while others got appalams. Hardly anyone noticed the difference.
The pala pazha payasam as the server called it, could have been just that. It was advertised as Chakka Pradaman. The pal Ada Pradhaman did not taste like milk boiled with sugar – thank god.
Overall, good food if you go without great expectations. But prices range in the Rs.500 level for sapadu and some people are critical of that pricing.
Andhra style food was served on Monday here. It was the best food of the December Season thus far. There was gongura and avakka, rice and mango pachadi.
This canteen promises a new theme for lunch daily.
Here is a summary of the trends at sabha canteens this far – have visited the ones at The Music Academy, Mylapore Fine Arts, Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha and Narada Gana Sabha.
1. The canteens at Music Academy and Mylapore Fine Arts are run by Sastha Catering Services and serve traditional South Indian breakfast till 11 30 am, a full service banana leaf lunch with payasam, sweet, curries, sauces, sambar and rasam, etc. Dinner is basically tiffin items with a wide variety.
2. . In general, the food is the same at the canteen at The Music Academy and Mylapore Fine Arts; there is mini lunch at The Music Academy where the canteen is better organised and has better service than Mylapore Fine Arts which tends to be a bit chaotic.
3. The Narada Gana Sabha canteen does not serve full serve afternoon lunch – by design. The sabha bosses apparently do not want music rasika traffic to be overtaken by sapadu/canteen lunch traffic. This canteen is run by Sasthalaya that serves the rasika in between their concerts with coffee and short eats and maybe a mini meal.
4. The Arusuvai canteen at Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha fest premises ( Bheemana Garden St.) is a place that is well organised and easy to navigate. The people seem to know what they are serving. There is beeda at the end of the lunch. The breakfast was decent as well.
P. S. : Note after a few rounds of sabha canteens – Rs550 rupees is not a lot of money ( for elai sapadu at sabha canteens). But it is a lot of money if the food that is served is not even what they claim it is. This has been the repeat story for all the lunchtime caterers I have tasted. What is even more irritating is that they all have hired influencers who have no idea how this food is supposed to taste who make it sound yummy!
– Reported by Mohan Gopalakrishnan