MTR, a name all are familiar with, a name that makes many recollect wonderful, delicious memories! A place that has been in existence for more than 90 years, is nothing short of Bengaluru`s pride. And hence it is apt to begin this post with the history of MTR.
THE MTR STORY
Many years ago, in the year 1920, 3 brothers, Parameshwara Maiya, Ganappayya Maiya and Yagnanarayana Maiya , left the town Udupi (coastal region of Karnataka) and landed in Bengaluru (then Bangalore). Being adept in cooking, they found themselves employed as cooks in prominent homes of those times.
In 1924, armed with intense passion, the skill in cooking and encouragement from his employer, Parameshwara Maiya along with his brother Ganappayya Maiya opened a small restaurant on LalBagh Fort Road and named it Brahmin Coffee Club. Five years later, on the death of Parameshwara Maiya, Yagnanarayana Maiya joined his brother in running the restaurant. The place was renamed as MTR, short for Mavalli Tiffin Room.
A tour of Europe by Yagnanarayana Maiya and having gained immense awareness on the cleanliness and hygiene of restaurants there, he returned to India and adopted quite a few changes in the functioning of the restaurant and set new standards for health and hygiene.
In the year 1960, MTR was shifted to its present location on Lalbagh road. It was taken over by Harischandra Maiya in 1968 after the death of Yagnanarayana Maiya.
Over the years the popularity has grown many folds and today MTR is a must-visit restaurant both for Bangaloreans and non-bangaloreans.
THE ORIGIN OF RAVA IDLI
Among the many specialties of MTR, Rava Idli is one of them. Rava Idli was invented by MTR. In mid 1970`s during emergency in India, rice was in short supply.Rice was a staple item in preparing idli. Semolina or rava was hence substituted for rice and thus came into existence the famed Rava Idli.
The batter is made from semolina, curd, curry leaves, green chillies, mustard, coriader leaves and steamed in idli moulds.
Rava idlis are soft and delicious when served piping hot with coconut chutney and saagu.
MTR serves only pure vegetarian dishes. All items on the menu are a must-try! From their crisp and hot masala dosas to bisi bele bhath, none can be ignored!
Tiffin items include:
Masala dosas – Dosas filled with potato masala, crisp and golden on the outside and soft on inside. What sets them apart from regular masala dosas are addition of red boiled rice to the batter and not to forget a generous drizzling of pure desi ghee on top of the dosas! The result – aromatic and lip smacking masala dosas!!! The taste lingers on for long!!!
Khara Bhath – Khara bhat, a specialty of Bengaluru is also a must try. Semolina is roasted and cooked with onions and spices to create a mouth watering breakfast dish.
Idli– Soft and fluffly rice-urad idlis dunked in pipping hot sambhar, simplicity at its best.
Kesari Bhath – Semolina & vermicelli sweetened with sugar and generous additions of raisins, cashew, saffron (kesari) and not to forget ghee! It is served alongside Khara Bhath and the combination is termed chow-chow bhath!
Bisibele Bhath – The popular dish of Bengaluru – Bisi bele bhath is dish made from rice, tur dal and mixed vegetables, tamarind and flavoured with a special blend of spices called bisi bele bhath powder. It is served along with raita and kara boondi. BB Bhath is spicy, tangy, mouthwatering and makes for a complete meal.
Dosa Varieties – Apart from masala dosa, you can get plain dosa, set dosa, onion dosa, rava dosa
Other breakfast specialties – Other tiffin items on the menu are shavige bhath, dahi vada, vada, akki rotti, poori, bonda soup.
Sweet varieties – For the sweet lovers, you can select from their mouthwatering sweet options – Jamoon, Chandrahara, Kesari bhath, Fruit mixture.
To accompany your orders you have tea, coffee, cold badam milk or fresh fruit juices.
Meals – For lunch you have the option of either Mini Meals or Special Full meals. MTR meals, particularly the special meal, is a royal affair!
You have varied items that are served one after the other and can seem endless! You start with a welcome drink and then kosambris (lentil salad), palyas veg stir fries), poori-kurma, bisi bele bhath, rice, sambhar, rasam, other rice accompaniments, pakoras, sweets, payasam, curd rice!
Today it is run by Hemamalini Maiya, Vikram Maiya and Arvind Maiya; children of Harischandra Maiya.
Even today, MTR has still retained the charm and flavours that have always been synonymous with the restaurant. Like they say, some things never change! They have about 9 branches in Bengaluru, one in Singapore and one in Dubai. The flavours and aromas have thus spread far and wide.
People still wait for tables in long queues. But the wait is all worth it. MTR is a quintessential Bengaluru Eat Out. If you live in Bengaluru then I am sure you have visited MTR plenty of times and have plans to visit the place many more times! And in case you are visiting the city, then a visit to MTR is a must. But I am sure that goes without saying! Because the indulgent dishes laden with pure ghee, the charm of yesteryear, the hospitable service and more beckons one to visit the place and have a memorable experience each time.
All Photos Courtesy- Arvind Maiya