I happened to be on the road, from Mysore to Bangalore on the day before Christmas. And I found our favourite breakfast joint run by MTR packed, with a spill-over of customers waiting for table. We moved on to Kamat, further down the highway, only to find a much bigger crowd. Our taxi-driver suggested a self-service eatery that served special idli at Bidadi. Same story there as well. We had to make it to Bangalore without breakfast.
On our return from Bangalore, at lunch time on Christmas Day, the situation was the same at Kamat, though we managed to get a table at the MTR. But then the lunch hour rush proved too much for the catering staff. The waiter took much longer to serve, the puri we ordered came with chutney and plain dal, instead of the customary kurma or masala. And then we had to hang around for 15 minutes at the payment counter, because even the manager-cum-cashier was drafted to serve tables to cope with a run on the restaurant.
In contrast to the chaos at MTR, the Coffee Day next door was relatively empty. Maybe our middle-class clientele isn’t yet ready (or pretentious enough) for the Starbucks culture. Maybe Coffee Day, unmindful of its scrupulously nurtured image, ought to add to its menu items such as thali meals and idli-vada breakfast.
We could do with one or two more strategically located middle-class eateries on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. The middle-class goes for brand image. Several small eating houses, and so-called dabhas along the highway don't seem to attract the car-borne middle-class that goes for the Kamats and the MTR. Mysore’s own GTR, Ramyas or Maheshprasad, I reckon, would do well, if they set up shop on the highway.