The Royal Karnataka Thali Meals

Last weekend, I along with my friends Arvind and Sashank decided to head to MTR, Bangalore’s legacy restaurant and food products company that’s been there since 1924 (which they’ve made sure everyone knows about by highlighting at the entrance along with the logo) to have their elaborate meals. Costing ₹250, it was more expensive than the typical South Indian meals, limited or unlimited notwithstanding.


The first item the waiter kept on the table was a tumbler of grape juice, which tasted eerily similar to the welcome drink they serve in wedding receptions. Before we could gather our thoughts to comment on it, empty plates with multiple partitions were kept in front of us. This was quickly filled up by side dishes, namely – Saagu, kosambari (aka kosmalli), pickle, cabbage palya, coconut chutney and payasa. The kosambari tasted really good, probably because I love grated carrots, but the rest of the items weren’t anything special to talk about.

The sides were followed by the first item on the main course, poori. While we were gobbling up the crispy pooris, the mini masala dosa came, which had the trademark red paste in the middle and went well with the coconut chutney. And how can I forget the 3 cups of gulab jamun, that looked more inviting than everything else on the table until that point? Sashank and I fought over Arvind’s portion as he wasn’t one to enjoy sweets, but little did we realise we wouldn’t be having space in our stomachs to consume our own later.

Now, we needed a breather and Arvind asked me if it was actually South Indian full meals or whether we made a mistake. South Indian full meals are traditionally three courses of rice but here we were, sitting with an unlimited supply of pooris and masala dosas. His question was answered soon after, when vangi bath and bisi bele bath were served back to back. We gobbled up the vangi bath before we could say ‘brinjal’ and though the bisi bele bath was too hot to handle, it was delicious alongside some cool raita and papad.

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At this point we assumed it was done, and started talking about the movie we were to go to later. Our conversation was quickly cut short by the incoming plain rice, rasam and sambar. Although nothing noteworthy in the rice and sambar, it was still very satisfying. Suddenly, we noticed a bowl of fruit salad with yellow ice cream sitting in front of us which we had overlooked until that point. The ice cream didn’t taste like much but the cut fruits were a good spread.

The meal came to a close with some curd rice and beeda, which were essential to digest the incredible amount of food that we had devoured (I left out the multiple servings of different dishes we consumed on purpose).

There are only a few places that let you focus more on the food than making conversation or scrolling on your mobile phone. This was one. If you live in Bangalore, but haven’t been to MTR yet, please do so. At least the different experience is worth it.


Saagu: A semi gravy curry containing vegetables, served as a side for Poori.

Kosambari: A salad made out of moong dal and grated carrots and coconut.

Palya: A dry vegetable dish, mainly used as a side for rice.

Payasa: Sweet rice pudding, kheer.

Vangi Bath: A mixed rice made predominantly with brinjal.

Bisi Bele Bath: A (very) hot version of sambar rice.

Beeda: Sweet paan made out of betel leaves and nuts.

The rest of the food items in the article are popular enough for you to have come across at some point in your life. If not, there’s always Google.


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