Bisi Bengaluru: Don't mess with the mamsa!

The place might look simple, but the food has its own story to tell.

Shree Annapoorneshwari Mess
The concept of a mess or military hotel, be it from the Maratha legacy or the British army’s forays into local fare, is ingrained into ooru culture. The city is home to innumerable messes, from the Gowda, Naidu, Iyer and Andhra legacies, all typically serving home-styled fare meant to satisfy the masses.

Shree Annapoorneshwari Mess is a tiny nook secreted away in Indiranagar’s bustling business district and its where the harried executive rushes for a quick, sumptuous, easy-on-the-pocket meal. Started seven years ago near Mallya Hospital by B. Naresh, the mess quickly began to cater to a horde of hungry citizens. They moved to Indiranagar three years ago, to an equally minimalist, no-frills setting – a small, one-roomed canteen that serves homely, wholesome and tasty fare. The dining area contains no more than five tables that look out onto the open kitchen where Naresh’s sister and sister-in-law hover over their respective stoves, dishing up fresh oota learned from their mothers. It’s the sort local ooru folk adore: not too spicy, with a no-frills curry and mudde or mamsa.

The menu is basic and so is the place, but it gives the local meat eater a choice of nati chicken meals, mutton meals, boti meals, tallay mamsa, kebabs, vegetarian meals with either chappati or ragi mudde and mutton biryani. Go there between 12 pm and 4 pm on any day, wait for your place on the few tables there, get your thali from the self-help counter and thulp away. Naresh serves close to 150 plated meals a day, with special mutton meals being the most popular. His regulars, he says, are office-goers from the area and those with a taste for truly local curried flavours and of course, the mudde. We particularly enjoyed their toned-down approach – not too spicy and not swimming in oil, either.

We ordered the mutton meals, and the biryani which, sadly, had run out. Which brings us to another important point: If you’re not there bright and early, you might miss most of the day’s specialties. Naresh was kind enough to give us a small bowl of biryani rice, to taste, and its pudina, coriander and subtle spiced texture was quite delicious. It went down very well with the mutton curry!

The meal has two bowls of mutton, one packed with an abundance of mutton pieces, cooked tender, soft, not chewy but with the fat, a very rustic and villagey flavour. With it comes a large ragi mudde that we cut in half and a bowl of rice. You can also dip into the rasam jug placed at the centre of all the tables (it could be hotter, or you can ask for it to be heated) … and ask for some vegetable of the day that they serve in the vegetarian thali that comes with a curry, sambhar, rice, majjige, vegetable, mudde or chappati and rice.

We started the meal with the juicy, well-cooked mutton that was immersed in a slightly thin gravy into which we dunked our mudde. The chicken kebabs, fried and cooked just right, were crunchy and so was the rasam - spicy and with the right amount of tanginess. Like we said, it’s simple, basic and good for a quick, homely meal. The place might look simple, but the food has its own story to tell – and where else, really, can you get a mutton or nati meal for these prices?

Naresh is planning another outlet in New Thippasandra as well. We liked the ease, pretty basic space for its no frills meals, that's good for a nice regional ‘thulp’. It could easily be a place in a village en route Dharwad, so don’t expect too much, even cleanliness is not the best on some days. However, it’s the fact that the meals are home cooked fare, prepared by Naresh’s sister and sister-in-law fresh drives office goers here to the place. And of course, those prices are hard to beat!


Address: 20, 2nd Main Road, 7th Cross, Behind Airtel Office, Phase 1, Off Double Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Call +91 9880689230
Meal for two: Rs 250 onwards
Open from 12 to 4 pm, closed on Sunday.
Only for lunch

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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