Have you ever waited 45 minutes to eat idli? Well I did. I mean in Karnataka, Idli is a common house hold staple. We consume Idli at least twice a week for breakfast or dinner and yet I waited 45 minutes to eat idli. And you know what? It was worth every second! Lets dive into my experience with Shivappa Idli Hotel and its wonderful Idli..
I had been to Mysore for a staycation with my cousins(Read as workation because it was more work and less vacation :P) and that is where I stumbled upon this gem of a place. We had very little to plan here as my brother had already visited this place about 4- 5 times and since I was a foodie, he had volunteered this information long back. To be honest, all his explanation had hyped the image of the place for me and it proved to be true.
Visiting Shivappa Idli Hotel:
Now lets get back to the visit. We woke up on a Saturday morning and left out homes around 8.30 AM (The place shuts itself around 10.30 AM as the idli batter is limited) for an half hour ride to Darasaguppe. Darasaguppe is located on the way the Bangalore-Mysore highway. To be exact its in Chamrajnagara Road. I will not dive into the history of this place later as Idli is more important here.
Fast-forward 30 minutes later, we reached the hotel. The hotel in itself is a small home with no boards. In-fact, hadn’t there been a crowd there, I would have never guessed that a famous place laid hidden there! Do not mistake me, there was a cardboard with a printed paper in Kannada but its so tiny that you would probably miss it. Also that sign was inside the hotel and to add fuel to the fire, I cannot read Kannada. So the only indication for the hotel was the huge crowd and parked cars that stood at the place.
As we went in my brother explained to me that the place served only one item: Idly. And all these people were waiting for it. I was like ok, then lets eat bro. And I went to stand in the line. The line did not alarm me because hey, its for food. however, I was fooled. The line was not for the food. It was to get tokens. After about 10 minutes of wait time, I saw him for the first time in my life: Mr. Shivappa.
Mr. Shivappa is 60 something years old and his is a one man Army. He cooks, cleans, serves, takes payment and organises the eatery all by himself. And he is fast. What set him apart from all the people I have seen was not this one man army category, rather it was his attitude. To explain more about this, I would have to share a small experience I had as we waited with our tokens in hand.
I had just paid for the idles and was watching Shivappas work in fascination. In come our police friends. They were there to parcel idli’s for breakfast and asked Shivappa to serve them immediately. They said that a VIP was in route and they had to leave immediately to escort them. Now in any other story, we would have seen an old man who would immediately prostrate before the authorities and bundle the food up for them.
However, Shivappa just calmly said : “You have to wait for your turn” to which the cop retorted: “Its urgent, adjust and give us idli’s. Others will wait” Shivappa did not flinch nor change his stance here. His reply was “Customers been waiting for quiet some time now. You can wait for your turn. Or you can leave”. And the the cops left grumbling. Just that. He did not care who they were. In his shop, every one were equal and that stunned me.
Back to Topic:
So during my 45 minutes wait time, I saw Shivappa turning down the cops, getting angry with customers as they did not place the order properly and then running the entire hotel. He would first open a huge steamet that could fit around 100-150 idlis. His wife would pour water to them as he took up 5 idli stand. Each stand could fit around 25-28 idli. He would first place a wet cloth in them and then he would pour the idli batter into it by hand. He would rotate the stand as he filled one form another and within a minute it was done. Then he would repeat the process for the other 4 stands. Next, he would place them in the steamer and steam it for about 10 minutes.
As the steamer did its work, he would place plates made out of plants on the table, then he would add chutney and a small dollop of butter in them.
You read that right! Butter. This butter was made out of pure cow milk and you could get another dollop for 5 rupees per plate. (We got 4 plates of idli and he charged us 20 rupees for 4 extra butter). Next he would take the idli’s out of the steamer, sprinkle water over them and then would proceed to add 8 idli’s to each plate. And then it was served. This whole experience came at a price of 180 rupees. Each plate of Idli was charged at 40 rupees. Since we took 4 plates of Idli’s and extra butter, the total came up to this amount.
Tasting the magic of Shivappa Idli Hotel:
There is just one thing to say about it: Amazing! Man 8 idlis would sound a lot but not these. These are soft idlis that nothing but rice and urad dal in it. It’s fresh, natural, soft as butter and when mixed with that coconut chutney and pure butter….Heaven! That 45 minutes in itself was an experience…however the 10 minutes of continues eating is even more beautiful. We were 3 people, had 4 plates of Idli with extra butter and a huge appetite. So I’m surprised that we took 10 minutes to finish it!
All in all, it is an experience that I would not forget soon and am hoping that one of these days, I’ll go back to Mysore and to this wonderful place with its wonderful owner and food! Shivappa Idli Hotel, you surely are being missed 😛
Until we meet next time, Adios!
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