Yesterday, I visited one of the oldest South-Indian restaurant in Mumbai – Cafe Mysore, situated near Kings Circle, Matunga East but the restaurant was closed – since last two months – as told by nearby shopkeeper.
Today, I decided to visit another one of the oldest South-Indian restaurant – A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, situated next to Matunga Central Railway Station, Mumbai.
Yesterday was too tiring. I was driving Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350. There was lots of traffic-on-road. I almost lost way to reach Kings Circle but today, I decided to park motorbike nearby Matunga Road Railway Station (western-line) and walk via Z-bridge. It was definitely easy to reach. Google Map on mobile was very helpful.
A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding as said is next to Matunga Central Railway Station, on the first floor, above the market. The entry to the restaurant is from the building side-lane.
Few steps for the first floor. You will see display board mentioning 1942 and platinum jubilee year – 2017 and finally the entrance of the restaurant.
At the entrance – an important Covid-19 slogan:
I reached the token-counter and enquired about the lunch.
The person at the token-counter first took temperature to be sure I am not having fever.
250 rupees – He said for the lunch.
Paid. I received a hand-written bill mentioning temperature and table number, where I have to sit and lunch will be served but before that I was requested to wash hands.
I followed the advice and then walk towards the table number.
Note: Hand-wash area was neat and clean with liquid soap available. Restaurant and its tables were also very very clean.
Banana leaf was placed on the table and then the menu was served.
I requested the serving-person to enhance knowledge about the serving items.
Dahi, Sambar, Rasam, Kakdi sabzi, Chana Subzi, Banana Subzi, Pappad, Puri, Roti, Rice (Pure Ghee on top), Achar, Namak and Chaas.
That’s it? May I start eating now? – I question waiter.
No. More three things to come.
Ok- said I with a smile.
Chawli, Bhindi, Aalu was served.
Before starting lunch I decided to click the photograph of the served food items on banana leaf – for you – the website visitors.
Mount-watering? Isn’t it?
I observed – Waiters were very courteous. Numerous times they visited and asked – anything else sir.
Anyway, I started lunch and a voice behind – I will give you soft-copy of today’s menu. Don’t worry.
And below is the today’s menu:
That was not the end. In the end sweet dish was served with varieties of option. I selected – Rasgulla (two pieces).
I was happy with the lunch specially because very rare in big cities you will find traditional South-Indian way of serving food. Maybe this is a indication from above to start South-India journey in coming months.
Anyway, after mouth-watering lunch, time was to meet the owner to know the History of A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding.
A. Rama Nayak (born: 02nd May, 1902) at the age of 11 years sailed from Mangalore to Mumbai leaving his village Akkar, nearby Mangalore in Karnataka (known as Madras province during those days) and settled down in Santacruz, Mumbai. He started doing jobs in couple of Mumbai restaurants and finally in 1942 decided to open his own restaurant because he saw – you can get omelette pav, vada pav, misal pav but hardly one can get sambar rice specially if the tourist is from South-India. Thus, he started South-Indian food at this very location by serving on banana leaf.
I question: From where you get so much of banana leaf on daily basis?
He said: Jalgaon (Maharashtra) and Kerala are two places from where banana leaf arrive in Mumbai and then we purchase. 4 Annas was the cost of the lunch or dinner at that time. Now-a-days the cost is Rs. 250/-.
I question: Menu items – Today the same as it was in your father’s time?
Yes, no change. The only change is the cost with the time. And please note: The menu also changes daily. for example: Friday we serve Chana, Sunday is Aalu..like this since father’s time.
Covid-19 has affected the restaurant business very hard. The sale is now 25% only in-comparison with business before Covid-19. Earlier, the restaurant was open from 10:30 morning till 3 pm and then from 7 pm till 10 in the night but now-a-days it is open only from 10:30 am till 3 pm. Earlier, Monday was closed but now from October 1, all days open. We have started home-delivery recently. 15% is home-delivery (within 5-6 Kms. by our staff) business now-a-days and 10% is walking visitors.
Tough-Time – said I.
For home-delivery download Wefast app. Wefast boy delivers to your address.
We do home-delivery only in nearby areas such as: Matunga East/West, Dadar East/West, Sion, Shivaji Park, Mahim, Wadala, Dosti Acres, Bhakti Park, Prabhadevi.
Our work starts at 6 am. By 10 am everything is ready.
What’s your name sir and the person at the counter? – I question.
Myself -Satish Nayak and he is my son – Shashank Nayak.
What about spices? You buy from the market or you self-prepared it?
Our spices are different from the market. It is self-prepared by us.
Is this your only restaurant? You never thought of opening more branches? – I question again.
My father opened eleven restaurants in Mumbai from 1942 till 1955 but now only four are functioning – Cafe Mysore (Kings Circle), Udipi Air-Conditioned Restaurant, Udipi Idli House (Kings Circle) and this one. Father was titled “Father of Udipi Hotels” by late M. V. Shetty, Gen. Secretary, Federations of Hotels and Restaurants Association.
Great – said I and Thank you. Will someday visit again this and your other restaurants too for sure. Simplicity – in one word.
It was time to leave but I decided to have a look around.
A statement on the wall makes a customer more happy and i.e.., The Owner of This Restaurant also Eats Here.
And then Satish Nayak ji gave a Handbook About – A. Rama Nayak. Thanks again – said I.
Visitors, if you want to know more about A. Rama Nayak and his journey, visit the restaurant. The journey continues..
Tomorrow – 14.01.2021 is Makar Sankranti and Pongal in India. There is Sankranti Special Menu at A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding. Must try – Pongal Avial and Sakkar Pongal.
Not only Sankranti Special Menu, they are having Til Ladu too.
Hope if you guys reading, visit for sure to celebrate Makar Sankranti and Pongal at A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga (Mumbai, Maharashtra). The journey continues..
Update – II
Today – 14.01.2021 is Pongal & Makar Sankranti. I visited A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding (Matunga, Mumbai) and had a wonderful lunch on Plantain leaf. The best about them is: we eat with our hands.
तृप्ति , संतुष्टि in-short.
And I saw a Shlok to Recite before Every Meal.
The journey continues..