Homely vegetarian meals at Kasi Vinayaga Mess
Homely vegetarian meals

Kasi Vinayaga Mess – Homely Vegetarian Food In Chennai

Food is an integral part of travel because both of them cannot be separated. Last weekend when I was in Chennai to deliver a tech talk, I left no stone unturned to spend the free time I had to explore the city. Though I had limited time, I wanted to explore some local food.

And one of the places that my friend suggest was Kasi Vinayaga Mess. Knowing that I am a vegetarian this was the suggestion and I planned my visit to the mess. So this blog post will be my experience of having lunch at Kasi Vinayaga Mess.

If you’re a vegetarian looking for homely vegetarian food in Chennai, then Kasi Vinayaga Mess is something that you must try. Read on to find out why.

Reaching Kasi Vinayaga Mess

Kasi Vinayaga Mess in Chennai is very popular in the city and a lot of people know about it. So whether you Google it or ask someone, there’s a high chance they already know about it. It is located very close to the Chepauk stadium, and there are different means to reach here.

Since I was staying close to the airport, I preferred plying on the Chennai Metro. So you can take the metro from Airport (or anyplace on the Wimco Depot line) and you need to get down at Government Estate. From here the mess is about 2 km, so you can either walk, take a cab or an auto. I decided to walk, go past Chepauk and reach the mess. I don’t know the exact auto charges, but he charged me ₹100 upon return.

Old School Setup At Kasi Vinayaga Mess

Located in Akbar Lane, Triclane Lane as it is popularly known, it’s a very small, old-school setup. It’s not a bustling market, but rather a humble alley in Chennai, it’s one amongst many houses in the vicinity, but it’s a restaurant. It opens at 12 noon and is a hub for vegetarian meals in Chennai.

The setup itself is old school and minimal, just the basic setup that is required for a restaurant, a table, a chair, and food. The eatery has a rather interesting concept as you pay and get a token. Interestingly, each token is numbered and more interestingly every table is numbered too! You guessed it right, you can sit only on the table that is allotted to you. I got 21, but I’d prefer the 30s series as there’s a wall to support your back, in this case, there’s someone else sitting behind you. It will remind you of a classroom.

Minimal setup at Kasi Vinayaga Mess
Minimal setup at Kasi Vinayaga Mess

Apart from that, they have a washing area and a rather small waiting area. There was about 15 min waiting and that I feel is the minimum amount of time one has to wait. They serve everyone at once, and as soon as one row completes, they clean it and you can take your place, so you need to wait. An interesting experience for sure, let me know in the comments if you’ve had any such interesting experiences.

Homely Vegetarian Meals

Kasi Vinayaga Mess stays true to its image of a homely setup with homely vegetarian meals. The most ordered item here is plate meals which are priced at ₹100. In the meals, you’ll have rice, a couple of curries, sambhar/rasam, pickle, papad, buttermilk, and a sweet. You can opt for extras like curd and ghee for ₹10 each. So for ₹120, you have a complete meal with a dollop of pure ghee (do opt for this, at least the ghee)

Coming to the food, it’s served on a banana leaf. So there’s no plate (and maybe a spoon as well) so your hands are going to be your best friends. (And why not, food tastes better when eaten with hands!) So once you take your seat, sprinkle some water on the leaf to indicate the person to start serving. If you don’t, he won’t serve and will remind you.

Rice Berg at Kasi Vinayaga Mess
Rice Berg at Kasi Vinayaga Mess

Once that is out of the way, you first served Rice Berg, it’s a rice berg. I had never seen rice being served this way. And one after another, you’ll have dal, curries, ghee, curd, papad, pickle, and sambhar served. While the order of items can be erratic and slow (especially if you want to take a photo of the complete meal, you need to wait), all the items will reach your plate.

As mentioned above, it’s a very simple home-cooked meal. The rice dal with ghee is just out of the world and tastes heavenly. I had potato curry and a kurma sort of curry that was served. Both were again nice and had balanced flavors. The Smabhar too had somebody/content, unlike the Sambhar I eat in Hyderabad. Rasam was tangy and I did give it a skip. The lemon pickle was yummy and tasted best with curd and rice. And to end it, the Payasm was out of the world. It had literally nothing special, but it tasted too good.

Homely vegetarian meals at Kasi Vinayaga Mess
Homely vegetarian meals

Overall, I loved the food, setup, and experience. Compared to Andhra Meals, this was sombre and simple. Each and every item on the plate was eatable and had a very balanced taste. This isn’t true with Andhra meals, there will be a few items that would overpower the others. So if you’ve had Andhra Meals, then this will taste extremely simple without many masalas.

Do note that the quantity of rice is on the higher side, so if you’re someone who cannot eat it tell the server the moment he gets rice on your table. You don’t want to waste food or find yourself stuffing yourself forcefully.

It cannot get better

I think I couldn’t have asked for a better homely meal at that price. Kasi Vinayaga Mess does a great job. A simple homely setup, serving a delicious home-cooked meal. The place is popular and at peak lunch hours, you will have to wait. I loved the setup and the experience, worth the travel and walk I did to reach here. While I’m sure there might be other such messes in Chennai, I’m surely recommending this to anyone looking for homely vegetarian food in Chennai.

That’s about it from me d for this post, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, let me know if there are other eateries that you want me to try during my next Chennai visit. Throw in your recommendations below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram, or Get In Touch.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for Socialmaharaj.com :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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