An oasis of calm in our urban jungle, Mahamudra offers up an interesting Vegetarian menu, skillfully combining Traditional and Modern recipes to woo all palates and age-groups!
It’s taken me two years to get here and all I can say is, better late to the Mahamudra party, than never! Located in Mylapore, the cultural heart of the city, this fine dining vegetarian restaurant is the brainchild of Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha Foundation, or Sadhguru as he is more affectionately known. It is the flagship restaurant of the Foundation and was designed to take forward Sadhguru’s philosophy of a healthy mind living in a healthy body. However, as Meena Thenaappan (R&D Head- Mahamudra), is quick to point out, the food is healthful, with an accent on traditional recipes, grains and cooking methods, but not necessarily health food. Sounds good to me!
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Mahamudra menu, is its refusal to take itself too seriously or be put in a box. The menu, which is both eclectic and extensive does draw inspiration from traditional South Indian fare but is not restricted to it and has sudden multi-cultural surprises like the Bunny Chow (INR 195), a South African stuffed-bread speciality as well as some fun, fusion food like the Humpty Dumpty (INR 110), mini-idlis topped with sauce, vegetables and cheese (INR 110) and grilled to melted perfection. There is something for everyone, and much to try!
I decide on a tea time visit and start off my journey through the menu with the Pepper Pina (INR 110) a tangy, sweet Pineapple juice that is spiced up with a bit of Tabasco hot pepper sauce. The sweet and spicy combination, my personal favourite, is refreshing and a tantalising start to the meal.
Next up are the Vazhaipoo Cutlets (INR 90) and these banana-flower delights are everything you want a cutlet to be – crisp, hot and flavourful with the added advantage of being low-carb, in case you’re counting. The Dosa Ballapur (INR 130) with fenugreek leaves and organic turmeric powder added to the batter, is served with a fresh herb green chutney and sambar, and is a crisp, satisfying snack. This is followed by a plate of Sweet Kozhukottai (INR 85), artistically formed steamed rice dumplings stuffed with a jammy coconut-jaggery filling. The slightly salty casing with the chewy sweet filling is a dreamy match, and I had to force myself to stop with two. The Maddur Vadas (INR 100), the flat disc-shaped vadais from Maddur in Karnataka, made from Rice, Rava and Maida with fine strings of onion are a tad hard and dry but the chutneys they are served with are fresh and flavourful and almost make up for that dryness. I round off my tea time visit with a cup of Masala Chai (INR 45) that is fragrant with spices and made to perfection.
My next visit to Mahamudra, almost embarrassingly soon, is the very next day to try the Navratri Special Menu for lunch. (INR 550 for Adults, INR 300 for Children and INR 445 Plus tax for the Thali.) The generous spread includes Ragi Thattu Vadais (crisp and onion-y), and Keerai Vadais (soft and delicious), as starters. A mild and soothing Drumstick Soup follows and then a mind boggling variety of main/side dishes, notable amongst which were the Samai Thayir Sadam (Millet Curd-rice) with Mango Pickle, Godhi Bisi Bela (Bisi Bela Bath made with wheat instead of rice), Chettinad style Vegetable Biriyani with Raita, Akki Roti and Ragi Roti with Kaalu Saaru (a kind of Lobia Beans Kurma) and a lip-smacking Thogayal (chutney made from Chow-chow peels), apart from salad and assorted accompaniments. My favourites were the crisp but tender Akki and Ragi Rotis and the perfectly spiced Chettinad Biriyani. We finish off our meal with a piece of Coconut Burfi and a bowl of Pirkingai Payasam that is light and not tooth achingly sweet as many restaurant payasams can be.
The food at Mahamudra, unlike most commercial restaurants is low in oil and does not have an overdose of spice. Subtle flavours and an almost home style way of cooking seem to be its trademark. The freshness of the food was evident on both my visits, as was the glorious absence of the ‘restaurant style mother gravy’!
If you’re looking for wholesome food made from quality ingredients, a choice of traditional fare as well as innovative urban cuisine, in surroundings that calm and soothe the soul, look no further.
Mahamudra is here, and here to stay!