Shanmugas is one of my most favourite places to dine at. They've got a killer masala tea, and some excellent chaat as well. Their patronage is horrible for aside from weirdos like me, they're usually visited by the highly judgemental family types that spend their entire meals chewing down on their food whilst fixing you with a resentful gaze. But this is just at their main outlet.
At the Crescat Boulevard, you have the luxury of dining in peace with no threatening stares, but good grief do they like to balance that plus point out with some extremely mediocre servings. It's baffling how these two can be related from the stark contrast in their dish quality. Let's take a look.
The Food & Drinks
Ahhh Pani Puri (Rs. 230). One of the best dishes ever to be invented. The pani here was flavourful in its individuality and was fine. But the puri was just….not fine.
It came stuffed with the tiniest amount of kadala, and sev. There was no tamarind chutney, nothing else to balance out these dry elements. This will NEVER be the case at their main outlet.
Any pani puri is good pani puri for me I suppose, so I plowed through that entire dish with abandon and haste, chomping and chewing away. But still, the joy was amiss.
We asked for a Paneer Naan (Rs. 260), and the man just pushed this in our direction and told us that this was the paneer naan. It was not the paneer naan. It was a Garlic Naan (Rs. 240) with a side of paneer.
I consider garlic naan to be one of my greatest loves. But then again, so is paneer naan. So what do you do in a situation like this!?
The naan itself was crisp and fresh. You know what would've been better? If it had a delicious paneer filling sandwiched in between. But alas.
We ordered a North Indian Meal (Rs. 700) which came with a sparse number of accompaniments. Each curry was satisfactory, like their paneer curry for example, but we sincerely wished the meal had more to offer on account of its hefty Rs. 700 price tag.
In addition to this, the rice was dry and flavourless. The chapathi was tough. Like leather. It seemed like it needed to be thawed, but wasn't cold either. I dunno what was happening there, but it was not good.
I was waiting eagerly to pair that delicious looking jalebi-type sweet with the tea, but NOOO NO. That one had to be bad, too. It was old. It was so old that it wasn't sweet anymore. It was also hardened to the point where I had to sadly give up after the first bite.
It's a no from me.
The Ghee Roast is in the Rs. 400 range, and is a towering sheet that's actually the best out of all the other dishes we ordered. It's evident that they do their dosas well. Really well, actually.
It's crispy and light throughout, and while this might not be everyone's cup of tea, it's got a lot of flavours courtesy of the ghee. Pair with the sambar and other curries present, and you have yourself a light, crispy, and filling meal.
The tea here is thick and velvety, with a rich mouthfeel. It's chock full of spices, and a dominant cinnamon flavour so it's a good option to wash down a heavy meal. Also a good option for when you need something comforting and strong to wake your innards up. Eh, you don't really need much of a reason at all, just get this and enjoy.
Service & Ambience
Service here is practically nonexistent. You place your orders at the counter, and then you're tasked with the duty of looking back at the counter every ten or so minutes until you know your food is ready. You can then go and pick it up.
There's really not much to say about the food courts ambience. It's crowded, it's a little more grown-up than Majestic City's patronage and a lot more civil.
Look, I had my first ever masala tea here. I love this place. It's full of nostalgia, but I'll be damned if I didn't mention that the food here is obviously lacking in attention. Stick to the dosa, and the tea.