Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) – A Heritage of Gastronomical Experience

This review could have come years ago, but better late than never. Our family has been patronizing Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) since decades. My father has his fond memories of visiting the restaurant as a kid when his father had brought them to Bangalore on a vacation. Years later when my father started working in Bangalore, MTR became one of his favorite places to eat. Since childhood, I have been taken to MTR occasionally for the special breakfast or lunch. It should not be a surprise that I will write well about this irresistible eating place, which has stood the test of times.

The eatery has a long history, being founded in 1924. It is situated on the Lalbagh road, just a stone’s throw away from Urvashi Cinema. The place is also regarded as the birthplace of ‘Rava Idly’, the traditional Idly cooked in semolina. The eatery is situated in Lalbagh Road, and easily accessible. The place starts its business early in the morning at around 6:30am to serve the morning walkers/joggers (MTR is close to Lalbagh). The breakfast menu is a small but a delicious list. The food is prepared and served hot, but the onus of finding a seat at the restaurant is with the customer. Regulars know how hard it is to get a seat in the eatery, and if you are one who is not ready to wait patiently you are not destined to enjoy the splendid culinary experience. If you are at MTR for breakfast, these items are “must to have” – Masala Dosa, Rava Idly, Poori, Khara Bath and Coffee. And remember to use the generous serving of a dollop of Ghee provided with Masala Dosa and Rava Idly. Chandrahara is special sweet dish of MTR which has a fan following of its own. After the heavy breakfast, if you still have time and space in belly to pack in more, be delighted by Chandrahara. Tiffin items are available in the morning (6:30am – 11am) and evening (3:30pm – 7:30pm).

Meals at MTR are served for Lunch and Dinner (12:30pm – 2pm & 7:30pm onwards). Meals are a specialty at the restaurant served with much fanfare. Usually the seats have to be booked in advance and by the time one reaches the restaurant there is long queue of people waiting to get their seats (controlled by a pad wielding bearer, who announces who can get in for Lunch/Dinner based on the Token# and available seating). Again, one should be patient to enjoy the food. The meals are served in plates (not long ago these meals were served in silverware, but over a period of time, they have switched over to stainless steel. Coffee is still served in silverware). The spread includes sweets, Kosambari (South Indian green salad), vegetables, tiffin items (varies every day), rice, sambhar, rasam and concludes with curd rice and another of MTR’s specialty – ‘Fruit salad with Ice cream’. Beeda (areca nut preparation wrapped in betel leaf) is provided at the end to complete the sumptuous meal. The meals are prepared in the traditional Mysore style. Except for the welcome drink all items on the Lunch/Dinner menu are unlimited and one can ask for more servings. The food is mildly spiced and will not cause discomfort for anyone.

Lunch Menu of 2nd December, 2013

MTR’s Lunch Menu on 2nd December, 2013


The hospitality is not what you might expect for the price paid. The staff might appear to be rude and turning a deaf ear to ones requests, but that’s something that has come with practice. As noted earlier, ones patience is really tested when you are at MTR. But this is a small issue that can be overlooked if what at stake is good quality food. The wallet factor is moderate with foods being priced on the higher side compared to other South Indian styled restaurants, but for the quality and taste obtained at MTR it is affordable.

Bangalore has changed. I have changed. The dress code in MTR has changed. But the restaurant is like a time machine pod, with the walls of the old building adorned with numerous black & white photographs of dignitaries enjoying food at the restaurant. Once you order a Masala Dosa, which arrives piping hot in a small white ceramic plate with chutney fighting for its space and a small cup of ghee balanced on top of it, and dig into it you are transported to the ‘Good Old Bangalore Days’. This piece of history and culinary opulence has to be preserved. If you are in Bangalore and have not yet paid a visit to MTR, please do so at the earliest. It is one eatery in Bangalore that should not be missed.


~ by Jayanthan Ravi on December 5, 2013.

One Response to “Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) – A Heritage of Gastronomical Experience”

  1. Reblogged this on 3mart and commented:
    this is so good, I like this, I will reblog this, thanks for posting

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