As a child, I rememebr being instructed by my parents to eat what is served without complaining about the flavour, seasoning, etc - given the several under privileged who go without even one square meal a day - a habit that is ingrained in me for the most part. Tonight, I will gladly make the first exception.
Having read the reviews of The Banana Leaf, my wife and I and a friend decided to go there for dinner tonight. The place itself looks like any other midscale restaurant although I felt that a better job could have been done by the maitre'd taking our place orders, although he did inform us that it would be 40-odd minutes before we would get a table. I also thought a better job could have been done managing the several people who were there waiting for tables.
Once inside, we ordered two chettinad spicy masala dosai, an iyer dosai and I also asked for a milagu (pepper) rasam.
Lest I forget, they botched the order at the start and got us a plain masala dosai instead of the spicy chettinad dosai we had ordered and were a bit reluctant to take it back.
Firstly, I thought the milagu rasam would be something exotic for the Rs. 110 being charged - big mistake, this was basically a triple/quadruple dose of tamarind in boiling water, with a few tomato slices and some peppercorns for garnish. Absolutely overdone and you could almost dissect the separate taste of the elements - pepper, salt, tomato and water - awful tripe served as rasam.
Secondly, the chettinad masala dosai - I actually pity Valli Aachi (that's what you'd call an elderly Chettinad lady), she would have turned in her grave had she tasted the monstrosity that was served to us - no taste of any of the famous Chettinad seasoning that I have eaten in several hotels all across Tamizl Nadu, especially in Chettinad.
Thirdly, a dosai is meant to be served whole, not chopped into bits like one of those by-the-Vile Parle station road sandwiches, cut into halves and quarters!!! We specifically asked for whole dosais and to compound their error on serving us a "cutted" dosai, they told us that this was to accomodate "Gujarati customers who wished to share the food" (his words, not mine). I repeat, we asked for whole dosais.
Also, please do not clear the sambhar and chutney cups when one is eating - I absolutely detest a waiter hovering around my table, waiting to throw me out before I have eaten my fill - it pisses me off and makes me feel unwelcome.
A glance at the menu also told me that while the dosai/idli and their various permutations/combinations go for standard prices, the other items like appam/stew, chettinad biryani, etc were about 20-25% costlier than what I would expect of similar fare in other south indian style restaurants.
Lastly, my wife and friend also spotted a rat meandering between some chairs and tables. When we brought this to the notice of the waiter, I think he treated it as if we just told him we sighted a UFO - jocularly and staring at us as if we were mad.
Summarily, nothing positive to say at all and if you count the noisy crowd who were talking at the top of their voices, a totally unpleasant dining experience - after all dinner is something to be had in peace.
I would not recommend this restaurant for dinner or for that matter ever.
PS: First review on burrp, let's hope I find some place better to write about next time.