CHENNAI: It was food for thought at every step for this bunch of enthusiastic cyclists, who set out to explore the streets of Mylapore on Sunday morning. A locality, which pre-dates the city of Chennai, Mylapore is dotted with heritage spots and a dozen and more hole-in-the-wall food joints.
Cycling group Mongrels’ monthly edition of expedition began at the Gandhi Statue on Marina Beach, a little past 5 am. Making pit stops at historical points —All India Radio, Light House, Ice House (formerly Vivekananda House), Santhome Basilica, and the Luz Church — the riders also got a few more to-visit places added to their eateries’ list.
They zipped past Maami’s mess, Kalathi rose milk stall on East Mada Street, Jannal Kadai, Crown Bakery and Gomathi Mess, halting for a bit of early breakfast at places that were open early in the morning.
The members on the food and heritage mission, sipped on some rosy history at the 80-year-0ld rose milk stall, before they concluded their ride again near Gandhi Statue.
Shridhar Venkataraman, a history-enthusiast who regularly organises food walks, gave the group of 60-odd cyclists a peek into the lesser-known facts. He said, “Mylapore precedes Chennai. From the All India Radio to the Light House, which dates back to the 70s, there are some relatively lesser-known things about some of the these landmarks. The present Light House is the fourth as the others were in Fort St George and on the Madras High Court premises.”
Luz Church, the oldest church in the city, traces its origin to 500 years ago when the Portuguese headed to the Coramandel Coast.
“They were guided by a light from the spot, which is where the church is located today. Luz in Portuguese means light,” he added.
He also seasoned the ride with some tantalising tidbits about the different eateries that have stood the test of time in the vicinity.
These quaint eateries have continued as success stories and stood as mute witnesses to transient times.
“Crown Bakery is more than a hundred years old; it may not have many fancy bakery items, but the owners are content making supplies to nearby schools and other loyal clientele,” he said.
Subba Reddy, one of the founding members of Mongrels, which began the pedal journey three years ago, said that the Mylapore ride was their second food ride.
“We have planned to hold the food ride on the last Sunday of every month. We are consciously looking at hole in the wall kind of eateries,” he said. With riders in the age group of 14 to 60, Mongrels, which had a food sojourn around Sowcarpet last month, is headed for T Nagar in July.