It is incredible that a South Indian restaurant in South Bangalore can charge forty rupees for a plate of idli-vada, and not just get away with it, but also run a full house. By the time I was getting out of Maiya’s (in Jayanagar 4th block; I’d written about their dinner earlier) it seemed like the first floor was already full and people were being directed to the seating area on the second floor. Apart from these, in a separate area on the ground floor, there is a breakfast buffet (priced at Rs. 125 on weeekdays and Rs. 150 on Sundays).
The food was good but nothing exceptional. Perhaps I don’t find it exceptional since a lot of my South Indian eating out happens at one of the Vasudev Adiga’s restaurants, which I believe are significantly superior to the other “Darshinis”. The food at Maiya’s was approximately of the same standard as that of a Vasudev Adiga’s, and the coffee (served in a silver tumbler) was incredibly superior. And the place was full. I didn’t bother to exactly estimate the capacity of the place but I think the hall seats around 100 people.
The service was good and quick (except for the coffee which took an hour to arrive), and the waiters weren’t overbearing (unlike those on the third floor where I’d had the silver thali last month). It perhaps gives an idea as to what Adiga’s might have been had it gone into the business of running sit-down restaurants. I haven’t tried making an estimate of the finances, so I don’t really know how well it works out financially to have a sit-down restaurant priced at about 100% premium over similar food at fast-food joints.
The success of Maiya’s in Jayanagar also gives us an indication as to what my neighbours the Kamats (of Yatri Nivas, Lokaruchi, etc.) have missed out – having held a virtual monopoly over sit-down south indian restaurants over the last ten years during which most other sit-down places were downing their shutters and most of the new upstarts have been stand-and-eat types. If only the Kamats had been able to get a hold on their quality, they probably wouldn’t have had to go into the business of Chinese restaurants (chung-wah-opus in Jayanagar 3rd block) or capuccino shops.
Also, Maiya’s is what I call as a “full-service restaurant” – one that serves food throughout the day – as opposed to Darshinis which are typically breakfast-and-evening-snacks focused, or the fine dining places which do only meals. What that allows the Maiyas to do is to maximize their usage of space – since they will be using the same seating infrastructure throughout the day. I remember saying a couple of years back that darshinis should have a time-share arrangement with fine-dining places.
Another nice feature at Maiya’s is the tables. They have a large number of tables which can seat two people across, and which have been designed so as to easily join them to other tables. The chairs are also simple and light and can be moved around. This allows the restaurant to easily reorient the tables and chairs depending upon the size of various dining parties, without resorting to making people share tables with strangers (common practice in south indian restaurants).
Today probably the restaurant was relatively lean, so my mother and I got a table for four (basically 2 tables joined together). However, if the restaurant had reached capacity, I’m sure they’d’ve yanked off one of the tables and given it to someone else.
The food is good but not spectacular, but you can sit down and eat. Go on a weekday when it is not crowded, and you’ll enjoy it. Don’t botehr waiting in line to get in to eat on a Sunday – you might as well take a parcel from the nearest Adigas and eat at home.
2 plates 2-idli-1-vada 2 * 40 Rs. 80
1 plate rava idli 1 * 25 Rs. 25
1 coffee (silver tumbler) 1 * 15 Rs. 15
1 tea (silver tumbler) 1 * 15 Rs. 15
Total Rs. 135
Tips not accepted.
PS: On the ground floor, at the side, they have one stand-up coffee shop, which operates between 6am and 8pm on all days of the week (the restaurant is closed on Mondays). Absolutely brilliant coffee. Among the best I’ve had in Bangalore. I would recommend you to try it out the next time you pass by the area. Rupees ten only.