There are some experiences that hold so much inexplicable charm to it that they get etched into ones memories forever. Our trip to Rayar’s Mess was exactly one such event.
Rayar’s is housed in a tiny spot that seats all of about 16 people in a room crowded with canteen style tables and chairs adjacent to the main kitchen.
The Mess is now in the hands of its third generation who are two brothers – P. Mohan who mans the front end and P. Kumar who is in charge of cooking and the kitchen.
The menu is simple. Breakfast is served from 7.00 – 10.30 AM and offers Idlis, Pongal and Vadai. It then re-opens at 3:00 PM and Rava Dosas, Bonda and a sweet. Their superb Madras filter coffee is available at both times.
The recipes have been handed down from their grandfather and everything is still prepared in exactly the same way.
The results are powder soft idlis with a sour tang to them – just the way I like it along with hot fresh vadas that are fried just minutes before they are served and hot melt in your mouth pongal.
What amazes me about Rayar’s Mess is the people behind it. There is a tangible passion and authenticity that pervades this place and everything here is based on trust. One does not get billed for what one eats until after you exit the Mess. You then wait outside where Mohan comes to each person waiting and asks you what you ate – that how you pay and he doesn’t for one minute doubt you. That is truly amazing. It is no wonder that the likes of Gemini Ganesan, MGR along with several current personalities would frequent this place.
I think Rayar’s is a must do in Chennai!
Here is some of what we ate: