BENGALURU: Mr and Mrs Idly on MDM Road, opposite Everest Theatre, Frazer Town is a tad hatke from your usual South Bengaluru darshinis. If not for the name, you could easily mistake this brightly-lit café with colourful walls for a burger joint. A popular name in Chennai, Mir Mohammed Ali opened Mr and Mrs Idly a month ago in Bengaluru. “The response has been positive so far,” he says. “Since we opened, we have had a couple of regular customers. One of them even has all his meals here,” he adds.
After getting a coupon from the counter, we wait in a small queue for our order of three different types of dishes made
with batter—Snow White Idli, Ghee Sambar Mini Idli and Ghee Podi Idli. The owner, Mir, takes the slip, smiles, and then goes back to spreading smooth dosa batter on a hot tava. He later explains that he is trying to learn the art of dosa-making from his main chef, who is from Chennai.
The idlis are soft and flavorful. Condiments in the sambar and chutney are slightly different from the ones used in Karnataka. The sambar is spicy, sans the sweet tang.
They have modified the traditional fare and given it a street food twist. Dishes like Subz Idli, Punjabi Idli, Chinese Dosai, Mexican Uthappam, Chocolate Dosai up the quirk factor. In fact, the fast food theme is intentional, as Mir puts it. “You have to keep innovating to stay in the market,” he says.
Apart from food, the highlight of this café is the hued wall right behind the cash counter. Around 30 white slips are pinned to a board. They might look like plain and useless pieces of paper from a distance but they are actually meals that will light up someone’s day. So this is how it works.
You pay for a meal and a copy of the bill is pinned up on the “charity wall”. When Mir collects enough of these bills, he takes the meals to an old age home near Richards Park. “Many cafes have these small donation boxes on their counters. But how does the customer know that the money is being utilised. So I thought why not let people buy meals instead,” he says. While some have donated a plate of Snow White Idli, others have been more generous and paid for a dosa.
Stop by Mr and Mrs Idly if you are in a mood for a quick fix of hot idlis with Chennai-style sambar and chutney. You won’t be disappointed. All dishes are priced below `100.