A friend told me about UBM Namma Veetu Saapaadu. The eatery serves a meal with about 20 varieties of non-vegetarian dishes. I looked the place up on the internet. The photographs were good enough to convince me to visit.
Several plans were made, but none of them worked out till one day, I decided to simply go. I called the hosts the previous night and informed them that I would be coming for lunch. Since the place is about 300 kilometres away from Bengaluru, I said I would come early so that I could leave early and reach home by around 9 PM at least. So, I informed that I would arrive at 11.30 AM since they open at 12.
However, the host insisted that I not come before 2 PM. I assumed that they must have a lot of bookings.
So, I left at the planned hour, but took a longer route: Bengaluru — Kanakapura — Chamarajanagar — Sathyamangalam — Perundurai. The route is scenic and the roads were good throughout. Due to low traffic, I did not have any difficulty driving on the two-lane route. Restaurants are few. So, it would be a good idea to carry some snacks.
The first decent place I got was Hotel Shringar Sagar in Chamarajanagar. Tried the rava dosa and tea. They were good. Nice place to stop for a snack. The place is clean, but don’t expect a loo.
Then came the most scenic part of this route: the Sathyamangala Ghat whose highlight is 26 hair pin bends.
There were some eateries at the end of the ghat. I was hungry and tempted to eat. I stopped myself by reminding myself of the photographs of the meal that was awaiting me.
When I reached Namma Veetu Saapaadu in Perundurai at 1.30 PM, there was a couple on a bike and another in a car. On enquiring, I learnt that our hosts — the couple who run the place — had just returned from a family function elsewhere and were making arrangements to serve their guests.
Then I understood why I was told not to reach before 2 PM. The couple run the place themselves. This is less of a restaurant and more of a home. They serve their guests personally. I was very impressed, to say the least.
Talking to the others who were arriving as the hand on the clock inched closer to 2 PM, I learnt that people had come from Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Erode, Karaikudi and Sivakasi. All had heard of this place from others before checking it on Facebook.
At 2 PM, the door opened and the people who had come from farthest were seated before the others. The couple greeted every guest before applying vermilion on the forehead.
The food was to be served on a plantain leaf. Each leaf was to be shared by a couple. It might seem like a practical thing to do, but there is a story behind this. In some communities, the first meal of a married couple is eaten on a common plantain leaf. Each one may be served separate meal, but the leaf is common.
The food was personally served by the couple. There are only five items for people who do not eat meat or fish: rice, rasam, sabzi, pickle and curds. The rest is a meat story, or what I call a meastory (pronounced: mys tory).
The food is very tasty. You must come here with a huge appetite. They serve around 20 dishes. Sorry, I lost count. It is not unusual to be overwhelmed by all the food in front of you. Even for the most ravenous of eaters.
This is not a meal: it is an experience. Something everyone who loves a good meal and a good host must experience.
I went to Perundurai via Kanakapura and Chamrajanagar.
On the return, I took the Salem route.
Erode – 25 km
Coimbatore – 75 km
Palakkad – 120 km
Ooty – 130 km
Kodaikanal – 175 km
Bengaluru – 290 km
Chennai – 435 km
— Dhiraj Shetty