A meal at Shivajee Mess

 

The tag line of Shivajee Mess sums it up - "Small Place Great Taste". It's on the ECR, just before the Road Transport Office if you're coming from Thiruvanmiyur. It's quite easy to spot too - the name board is a large one. The 14-seater "mess" seems to be quite popular - even at 3 pm on a Sunday afternoon, the place is full.  

Inside the mess

The mess is a small, functional space, a large glass window along one wall lets in plenty of light but you can still hear the sound of traffic; the menu is prominently displayed along another wall and they've even managed to fit in a wash basin. It's Chef Shivajee's baby,  the food is Tanjore-style, quite a change from the  Asian food he usually dishes out.
 


Non-veg meal

Banana leaves are laid out in front of us, water is served in disposable glasses. We opt for the non-veg meal. Kootu (lentil and spinach), poriyal (bottlegourd with coconut) are served directly on the leaf.  There's rice, an omelette, a fried fish and appalam along with katories that hold fish curry, chicken curry, sambar, rasam and buttermilk.

Appalam; fried mackerel, rice & omelette; buttermilk; rasam; sambar; chicken curry; fish curry; kootu & poriyal

Each plate holds a huge serving of rice so we send one back. One itself is plenty for the both of us. The fish curry of the day is made with mackerel, it's fresh and the gravy is deliciously tangy, the chicken gravy comes with a piece of chicken.  In keeping with the Thanjavur provenance, coconut paste thickens the gravies and the food is not very spicy. The sambar is quite ordinary. Both the kootu and poriyal are tasty, the fried mackerel is very fresh. The rasam too is tangy while the buttermilk is light and refreshing.

Kadai fry; prawn masala; mutton chukka

Kadai (quail) fry, mutton chukka (dry mutton) and prawn fry are the other sides we ordered. I'm not too fond of quail as in most places, the meat tastes quite gamey but at Shivajee Mess, the meat is tender and yeah - tastes like chicken!. The mutton chukka is really good - chunks of meat in a dark brown masala that is not too spicy. The prawns are disappointing, a little rubbery and though the masala looked enticing, it didn't taste so.

Kozhi masala rice & prawn masala

A couple of weeks earlier, we had ordered the kozhi masala rice from the Mess. It's a biryani lookalike - the rice is long, slender and golden, cooked in a thick chicken curry. It comes with a piece of chicken, a boiled egg and raita and is quite spicy. The prawn masala that day was absolutely delicious. At 90/ for a serving, the masala rice is a good deal and the portion is generous.

Veg meals cost 60/ and for non veg, it's 120/. The flavours are simple, homely and tasty. As of now, they are open at 12.30 in the afternoon and serve only lunch but by next month, they will be open longer. They do have home delivery and next time, I'm going to try the Tanjore special vatha kulambu.


Shivajee Mess
99, ECR, Thiruvanmiyur.
Chennai 600041.

Phone: 8870708014, 7299951166.

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