If someone filed a petition to do away with the cultural norm of sharing your tiffin, I'd probably sign right up. Sometimes good food brings people together and other times it just leaves you in the dark, emptying a tiffin before someone asks for a bite.
Tiffins, for me, have always been personal, sealed containers of comfort food. The excitement of having to open one is my earliest idea of joy. Needless to say, it takes a restaurant with 'Tiffin Room' literally attached to its name, to remind me of what my childhood idea of paradise has always been: A room full of good food.
When I first walked into The Tanjore Tiffin Room, Khar, I was expecting authentic South-Indian, home-style food served in tiffin boxes. And you may laugh at the bit about the tiffin boxes, but trust me, you’d want a monthly subscription of this food.
The interiors are vibrant, with lush green floral paintings coupled with the enticing whiff of Mogra petals on every table. I’d recommend this place for brunch dates, family gatherings and special occasions. And of course, you should try this place if you don’t know what to expect or if you’re eager to satisfy your Tamil food cravings. In any case, there’s no better way to be transported to paradise than with the refreshing Guava Mary.
Sweet, spicy and delightfully Indian, this Guava Mary is made with Smirnoff vodka and comes ripe with the sweetness of guava and spiciness of red chillies. Here’s a cocktail you can rely on to kickstart your meal in a very refreshing way. I’d say, the only thing missing with this cocktail is a beach setting and the gorgeous view of the ocean.
Karaikudi Fried Prawns
In a surprise to absolutely no one, the prawns deep fried in spicy batter were absolutely delicious. If the aroma of curry leaves in coconut oil sounds heavenly to you, there is no combination quite as satisfying as these fresh Karaikudi fried prawns. The prawns are juicy, succulent and almost over by the time they hit the table.
You may not have a reason to go to Tanjore, but I do: Slow roast cooked beef in spicy masala with coconut tidbits and curry leaves. This lip-smacking Beef Roast is neither a curry nor a fry but in between. It is the stuff of legends and you have to make sure this one is on your plate!
Garden Galata Gin
By this point we needed to go a little easy on the spice and the Garden Galata Gin does the job perfectly. This refreshing cocktail is made using Tanqueray gin, tonic, a dash of passion fruit and comes garnished with rose petals, orange and cucumber. Subtle yet flavourful, this cocktail will compliment the spice-surprise that you’re headed towards at The Tanjore Tiffin Room.
Apparently, this dish is a common street food served in Tamil Nadu, and I can totally see why. Made with chopped parotta, scrambled eggs and just the right amount of spice, it’s an anytime-anywhere, just-bring-it-on sort of dish. We’re fans, and if you happen to find yourself craving akuri eggs a lot, you will be too.
Ordering food can be a stressful task, especially when the menu is long and unfamiliar. The sampler at The Tanjore Tiffin Room is the ideal way to start things off. You don’t need to do the guesswork and pray you made the right choice. Just get a taste of everything on the menu and let your palate decide!
Prawns Yellow Curry and Coconut Rice
I’m no sage, but the next time you feel like boosting your happiness quotient, just recite the words ‘home-style prawn yellow curry’. This dish comprises a thick yellow gravy with succulent prawns and freshly ground coconut milk. I went coco-nuts with this one and topped my yellow coconut curry with coconut rice and zero regrets!
Mutton Stew And Appams
What can I say about this? Order it. If you're splitting it, dig in for all the juicy mutton pieces before someone else gets there. Remember, you need to look out for yourself at The Tanjore Tiffin Room, and this mutton stew is not something you'd want to compromise on. Try it with piping hot appams. It's delicious!
As an ardent fan of Mysore Pak, I can tell you that I’d want to park this dish on my palate forever. “Oh too sweet, too much ghee” is all the more reason to dive right in. Although, if it’s not your favorite, I’ve heard that their serving of payasam is utterly scrumptious too. You should probably try the Payasam when you get there (more Mysore Pak for me).
When your dining scenes are dominated by bar-hopping, sushi-eating, globe-trotting millennials, it’s reassuring to see straightforward home cooking being celebrated. The food is impressive in a way that allows you to drop your camera and grab the fork. Sadly, you can’t go to The Tanjore Tiffin Room every day, and that's fine. But know that the sight of a home-cooked meal or even a whiff of curry leaves is going to leave you excited for a very long time in the days to come.
Tl;dr: The Tanjore Tiffin Room at Khar is easily one of the best ways to send your taste buds on that South Indian vacation it deserves. The food is appealing in a straightforward, low-maintenance sort of way. The ambience is bright, positive and familial. And the staff really makes you feel like you’re hanging out at your favourite Tamilian patti’s (grandmother’s) house for lunch. You need to check this place out (every month if need be).
Here’s the rate card
Food: 5 out of 5
Cocktails: 4.5 out of 5
Ambience: 5 out of 5
Staff: 5 out of 5
Value for money: 5 out of 5