Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.
And sure enough, Mani's Lunch Home or Mani's (as we call it) greatness lies purely in its simplicity. Mani's is one of the oldest and most VFM South Indian restaurants in Mumbai. Though it has just 5 tables, ( 2 six-seaters and 3 four-seaters), the long queues outside ensure that these tables are never vacant. Its the standard south Indian breakfast of Idlis, wadas, dosas, upma, sheera, obviously followed by tea/coffee, for which people flock here.
There's a very traditional and welcoming feel to the place. In fact, Mani's is a good example of what efficient service is. Here's how:
- The customer next in line is made to wait at a table just a few seconds before the one sitting there is about to finish his food. No unnecessary crowding at the table inside and also no unnecessary waiting in queue outside.
- This is perhaps the only place in Mumbai that I have experienced who generously serve Sambar and chutney without you asking for it. This small action must really save them quite some time when taken as a whole. They keep an eye on every table and as the level of sambar/chutney in each plate reduces to half or little less than that, they appear in a flash and refill it within seconds. And yes, all this is free of cost.
- Without being pushy, they ensure that you finish your food and leave the place, making way for the others. Service is with a smile.
Now talking of the food, I must say that it is very filling, to the extent of being heavy sometimes. Not just because of the generous amount of ghee in which the dosa or upma is made, but also because the chutney/ sambar contains a good proportion of coconut along with other ingredients. And its taste also is sure different from the others.
Wadas are crispy and soft within and so are the Idlis, though my personal preference is the Ramashraya Idli. The Masala filling in the dosas is well made too and served in sufficient quantity. The filter coffee is a bit strong than usual but I like it that way. Every year on Onam, there's a grand authentic Keralite lunch feast (Sadya) celebrating the occasion. I have been wanting to try that for a long time now but I've heard its just too crowded then. Plus it is generally on a working day so never got the opportunity. But hoping for a chance soon.
A Good South Indian restaurant is hard to find! That's the tag line on the Mani's Lunch Home website. This line couldn't be more apt in a place like Mumbai, more specifically Matunga.