A mudde is a ubiquitous ball that might look far from appetising. Yet, it is among the most-loved bites of the local food-loving junta. The lump or hittu soaked into a bassaru or chicken or mutton curry is the ultimate meal for a true-blue meat lover. From the rural areas across the South, it’s been the meal of choice for the working class, and entered popular cuisine through its lip-smacking, earthy flavours. If military hotels and legendary armies of royals loved it, today’s “smart” army of well-travelled foodies have come back longing for the wholesomeness of a good thick and flavourful mutton curry, and some soft mudde to make the swallow worth their while. Here are our favourites from across the city that are authentic. Also called Ragi Sangati or kali, these messes or military hotels serve a hot, steaming mudde with ghee and a dark rich green mutton chops. Most have the best rasam you can have, and also a slew of other mutton, chicken, nati items, and donne and pulav too. And once the food made fresh is over: it’s really over.
Here are our top favourites:
Shivaji Military Hotel
This mess-like two-room eatery is basic, with the only frill being the “landscaped area” at the staircase. The 70-year-old restaurant started in Avenue Road and later shifted to Jayanagar. No one cares about the interiors, it’s the food they are after. Especially the mudde and chops. The donne is also special here, so much so that most folk call it the “donne hotel.” Lokesh Rao and Raju Rao learnt it from their father who learnt it from their grandfather. It was founded by Mannaji Rao and later the late Lakshman Rao took on the mantle of the head cook. Now,g the sons are busy bowling “ghee-some” meals for hungry horses.
The menu is simple — mutton biryani or paya with dosa and mudde with mutton chops. The gravy is delicious, oily, but that brings out the flavour, some would say.
718, 1 st C Mail, 8 th Block, Jayanagar.
For all those wandering mudde searchers, who like what the traditional and inviting Gowda home serves with so much love and flavour, the Gowdru Military Hotel, a small chain in Banaswadi and Indiranagar is the place to go. Their mutton chops gravy is totally wallop-worthy with a hearty mudde. Nandish and Amaranath’s mother is behind the bountiful offerings. They also serve the famed paya soup and there’s rabbit meat (yes, farmed ones), head meat (talle mamsa), curry, brain fry and boti fry, so it’s a choice of quite meaty proportions.
Opposite Aishwarya Bar, Appareddy Palya, Double Road, Indiranagar
Yet again, if one were to think of a good mudde and chops in the CBD, Maratha Darshan is the go-to on Queen’s Road. There is ragi mudde, nati curry, mutton liver fry and meals here. It’s run by the Lad family, Naveen Lad, who runs the show. His father Shanthraj Lad used to be a taxi driver and like all cabbies, would search for places that served authentic “mane oota” (home-cooked food), but found none. So, the family came up with a “toomba chennagidhe” idea. Let the mother (Hemavathi) cook. Starting on the footpath, serving gravy-laden plates from a luggage auto, the sales tax office gave them space to serve it quite readily, and later they took this place off Queen Road. The gravy here is a bit runny.
Miller Tank Road, Queens Road Cross, Cunningham Road Area, Cunningham Road.
SG Road Military Mess
This Cubbonpet mess is ThinkTanc man Amit Roy’s favourite. Incidentally, he is a true blue local food aficionado. “The food is amazing, chops are a bit fatty but yum.” Situated in the old town area, its menu has the regulars and people swear by its delicious gravy laden chops. They serve paya, chicken pulav and kebabs too. From 1908, it has been the most popular of places. Started by S Govinda Rao Rannore, a Maratha, it is among the oldest messes which used to be situated in Akkipete, and has shifted base to a more brighter and larger space that is equally basic and no frills.
A new entrant
Paving a way for a more contemporary experience in the city is this new chain of military hotels that serves Ragi Mudde and chops that are good, and not swimming in oil. It’s located in RT Nagar, with a small walk in and eat QSR on Brigade Road which makes it perfect for those hunger pangs. Amit Roy and a couple of friends under Zams Hospitality started it. A few tables upstairs, and barstools downstairs, the menu is succinct, chicken kebab, mutton chops, chicken pulao with the famed chilli chicken and kheema balls. The chops are subtle in masala.
No 1, 80ft Road Next to BMTC Bus Depot, RT Nagar
The uber mudde and chops routine
So high is the popularity of the ragi mudde and chops, that many new places in the city have added it to their menu. Among them is Bob’s Bar, which serves a slew of local fare, especially vegetarian fare, and even donne biryani. The Bob’s Bar mudde and chops is ok. There is also Byg Brewski that serves mudde with nati chicken curry, and for vegetarians with soppu.