Princely south Indian tiffin, now on Kings Street

By Poornima Koonath
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Shekar Mani Saravanaa Bhavan
Shekar Mani

Value meals served at speeds that value your time

You think good authentic South Indian tiffin and you think Saravanaa Bhavan. I recall my excitement and elation when a Saravanaa Bhavan branch opened doors close to my residence in Chennai. Finally, there was a place I could go to with friends after college for a cup of filter coffee or a nice, crispy ghee roast. It was not that filter coffee wasn’t made at home or that my mother didn’t make nice, crispy ghee roast. But visiting Saravanaa Bhavan was the next best thing to dining at home. So, you can imagine my glee when a branch opened in Sydney a few years ago. After opening the restaurant in Sydney, one was opened in Melbourne too. Shekar Mani, the owner of Saravanaa Bhavan also wanted non-Indian Australians to experience the lip smacking vada-sambar, the soft fluffy idlis, the crispy yet soft dosas, the tangy yet not so spicy bisibellebath and the tantalising Indian sweets. And so on Thursday, 25 May, Melbourne received its second Saravanaa Bhavan. But this one is a wee-bit different from the other two.

In an attempt to make the surroundings more appealing to the young working Australians, Shekar has made visually and aesthetically pleasing changes to the interiors

A very elated and pleased Shekar said that while the restaurant at 131, Kings Street in Melbourne, has a chic, smart modern décor, the culinary fare is still traditional and authentic. In an attempt to make the surroundings more appealing to the young working Australians, Shekar has made visually and aesthetically pleasing changes to the interiors while still maintaining the Saravanaa Bhavan colours and logo. The Saravanaa Bhavan restaurants across the globe are not franchises but these are all run in partnership with the parent organisation that is rooted in tradition. Shekar said that the biggest challenge he faced was convincing his partners about the benefits of the cosmetic changes that he was planning, to make the restaurant more appealing and contemporary.

Saravanaa Bhavan interiors
Saravanaa Bhavan interiors

The demographics of this new restaurant are very different from the others. Restaurants in the CBD cater to a different crowd and clientele. They are fewer diners and more customers looking for quick lunch or take-away. For the first time ever, Saravanaa Bhavan has introduced combo value meals at a very reasonable $9.90. The menu is detailed, giving information about all the ingredients that have gone into making a particular dish. The order is placed at the counter and the wait is as short as 15 minutes. There are few restaurants that offer take-aways with a wide choice of pure vegetarian delicacies. The restaurant is set to appeal to the multicultural dynamics of a vibrant Australian community.

Shekar Mani is very happy that the new restaurant has had the desired impact as the large number of Melburnians walking into the restaurant has not eased since the opening. Everyone seems to have accepted and enjoyed the culinary delights served at Saravanaa Bhavan. The social media is flooded with many positive reviews and Shekar says that the management is listening to what the customers have to say.

“Even the Melbourne weather seemed to favour us on the day,” joked Shekar at the launch. All in all, it has been a very successful venture thus far and Shekar is confident that the popularity of this avatar of Saravanaa Bhavan will continue to grow and flourish. Sydneysiders, don’t be disappointed as a similar one will soon be opening in the Crow’s Nest/ St. Leonard’s area. Shekar, we wait with bated breath!

 

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Madmimi


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