Eateries in Trivandrum are aplenty, but there is a dearth of authentic vegetarian restaurants serving crispy hot Dosas, Vadas, Pongal, or even a good Naan and Paneer Butter Masala for that matter. That is why when Madras Tiffin Centre sprang up in Kowdiar there was quite a lot of excitement and well-wishers eagerly waiting to try out the place.
The attractive orange and black board with a tiffin symbol on it was very tempting from the outside and as we got in, we weren’t disappointed with the interiors too! The place is comparatively small for restaurant standards, but done up well in shades of white and green along with photos of some drool-worthy dishes framed to the wall.
Anything ‘Madras’ spikes my interest, especially if it’s food and now you can guess how excited I would have been to try this place out. And so I have been a regular here from the time it started, walking in at every opportunity that I get and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve tried out their breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.
Although almost all the dishes here are lip-smackingly delicious, there are a few personal favourites that I slightly prefer over the others. To start with, I love going here for breakfast. Everything about the breakfast here is perfect. I love the hot crispy Dosas served with Chutney and Sambhar, soft and fluffy Idlis, crunchy Vadas, and my all-time favourite Pongal. This, along with a glass of filter coffee, is the perfect start for your day ahead. The meals and the Hyderbadi Dum Biryani here too are commendable.
For meals, you are spoiled with choices of North Indian Meals (Soup, Salad, Roti, Naan, Paneer Tikka Butter Masala, Dal Makhni, and Peas Pulav), Madras Meals (Masala Vada, Flavoured Rice, Chappathi, Kurma, Plain Rice, Sambar, Rasam, Mor Kulambu, Poriyal, Koottu, Chammanthi, Curd, Appalam and Pickle), and even an Executive Lunch (Masala Vada, Chappathi, Kurma, Sambar Rice, Vegetable Biryani/Pulav, Rice, Poriyal, Curd Rice, Appalam, Pickle, Raita and Sweet). The Biryani, packed with flavours and loaded with vegetables, is a must-try and definitely one of my favourites.
The Curd Vada here needs a special mention. The crispy Vada is fully drenched in curd, giving it the perfect mix of salty, sweet and tangy flavours. Even after you are done with the Vadas, there is still almost a bowl of flavourful curd to lap up, making it perfect for one of those hot summer evenings. There is a long list of interesting varieties of Dosas, ranging right from the normal Masala Dosa to Rocket Dosa and even Tendulkar Dosa in the menu option. When you are there, you can clearly see that Dosa is a favourite option among the diners. Last time I was there, I had the Paneer Tikka Butter Masala Dosa and it was the perfect fusion of the best of north Indian and south Indian food. The flavourful gravy of the Paneer Tikka Masala is stuffed inside the hot, crispy Dosa giving you the best of both and before I realised, I had an empty plate in front of me!
Though they are rising as one of the best south Indian restaurants in Trivandrum, they have an amazing range of north Indian and Chinese dishes too on their menu. The Crispy Corn, Paneer Tikka (they use really soft paneer), Cheese Chilly Garlic Naan, and Vegetable Kofta are my preferred dishes on those rare occasions when I choose to deviate from my usual south Indian fare. They also serve some amazing juices and have some specials too like the Karikku Orange Shake (Tender Coconut Orange Shake), which is a pleasant deviation from the usual shakes and juices you get everywhere.
This place struggled hard with all the teething problems it faced initially, but it has been responsive to all the feedback that it got and it has been a pleasure to see it flourish. The service is commendable now, considering how they struggled during the initial days. The friendly waiters are at your table with the menu as soon as you are seated and the food is served without much delay. There isn’t much to speak about ambiance, there are no semi-cabins/private areas but the whole place is done up well and is neat and clean.
I can go on and on about this place, but if I was to sum it up in one sentence, this place is a definite try if you are in Trivandrum and crave for some authentic south Indian dishes, especially Dosas, although, the north Indian options too will not disappoint you!