It was totally jubilation galore, when Maidan Road and Car Street branches of New Taj Mahal Cafe, the legendary Restaurants amalgamated and opened in the newly set up cozy and comfortable air conditioned facility at Kodialbail, Mangalore.
A Family outing
A well organized function at Swagath Group Panch Mahal premises in Kodialbail at Noon hours today, witnessed a well attended crowd and felicitations galore.
There was pooja performed by the Kudpi Family members, seeking blessings of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, followed by a formal function highlighting the Inauguration.
The seers of GSB Samaj and the founder of Taj Mahal Group, Late Kudpi Srinivas Shenoy were shown due respect.
Panambur Ramakrishna Aithal, Owner and Managing Director of Swagath Group of Hotels, Chennai, inaugurated the Restaurant. B. R. Bhat, General Manager of Corporation Bank, Mangalore, lighted the lamp. Muralidhar Kamath, DGM of Corporation Bank inaugurated the kitchen. Kudpi Madhav Shenoy, Kudpi Vaman Shenoy and Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy along with their families were present.
Another section of regulars and Dosa Maker
Other guests present at the occasion included Pradeep Kumar Kalkura, President, KSP, Konkani Bhasha mandal active members S. Raghunath Shet, Basti Vaman Shenoy and Dr, Kasturi Mohan Pai, senior Chartered Accountant B. B. Shanbhogue, Trustee of Womenís National Education Society Manel Annappa Nayak, Ex Corporator K. Devananda Pai and others.
Dharmasthala Mahaveer - A regular customer walks in!
The program started with a melodious prayer by Vidya Shenoy, who also compered the show. Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy, in his welcome address painfully suggested, that New Taj Mahal Café stood tall for over 82 years due to the standards set by his father Late Kudpi Srinivas Shenoy, but as the world changes, people demand better services. He reiterated that it is because of the unassuming and humanitarian consideration of Mr. Aithal, that New Taj Mahal Café could find such ideal and strategically located premises.
Earliest Customers and Few Regulars
Kudpi Madhav Shenoy introduced Mr. Aithal to the audience. Kudpi Vaman Shenoy introduced Mr. Bhat, and Kudpi Ramanath Shenoy introduced Mr. Kamath.
Family with Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy
The dignitaries on the dais were honoured by the Kudpi Family members with shawl, garland and fruit basket, if not a memento!
In his address, Mr. Aithal was all praises for the Taj Mahal Group. He said, he was fond of Avalakki Uppittu that his brother used to get him from Taj Mahal during his earlier days. He also added that it took less than an hour to hand over the keys to the premises where Taj Mahal people wanted to set up their Restaurant! He didnít forget to mention that Taj Mahal people had offered to buy Panch Mahal Lodge, but he declined for the simple reason that he hailed from Mangalore, and he wanted a monument to be remembered in his name in his place of birth! He further added that Taj Mahal people are very reliable and trustworthy, and that they are at liberty to run the Lodge as well, under his ownership! He wished the Kudpi Family all the best in their venture.
Front view of the Cafe
Mr. Bhat in his speech drew a similarity between Corporation Bank and New Taj Mahal Café. He said that Corporation Bank opened their Car Street Mangalore Branch in 1926, in the same year when Taj Mahal started their first Restaurant in Mangalore. He narrated an incident, when he met an elderly person while traveling from Bangalore to Mangalore by flight. The gentleman next to him reportedly said that among GSBís, whenever alliances were made many years ago, Boyís side used to ask the Girlís side, whether she knows cooking. Then, girlís parents used to boast that she could make dosas as good as, or better than they made in Taj Mahal! Reputation speaks volumes, Mr. Bhat said. He didnít forget to mention the confessions of one of the officers in his Bank had his basic education, having mid day meal and other supports such as books and scholarships sponsored by the Taj Mahal family, so that he could become a dignified and well placed person in the society today! He said, today Taj Mahal has been sponsoring 250 such needy GSB students every year under instructions of Swamiji of GSBís.
Hot Thuppa Dosa ready for serving and Indulged in eating goodies!
Mr. Kamath was sentimental about his connection with Taj Mahal. He confessed that his days used to begin at early hours, waiting at Car Street Taj Mahal, for the shutters to open! On a lighter note, he narrated his experience, that whenever he used to visit Mangalore on official duty during the days when he was serving elsewhere, he used to forgo the free breakfast at the Star Hotel that he used to stay in, and go directly to Taj Mahal to have his breakfast!
Those who have worked behind the scenes to uplift the premises to give it a cozy look under the able guidance of Kiran Kambhadkone, reputed Interior Designer and Engineer, were felicitated by the guests. Due acknowledgements were made about the suppliers of steel and other construction materials by Vidya Shenoy.
"Kaapi" and "Cha" famous here
The function concluded with Kudpi Ganesh Shenoy proposing the vote of thanks.
Sumptuous spread of vegetable dinner was arranged for all the invitees.
Soon after the Restaurant opened business at 3. 00 p.m., there was a swarm of impatient crowd that invaded the place to find their seats! The management had difficulty in controlling the rush, but the waiters seemed jolly and patient enough, attending to each table with good manners!
Kudpi Madhav Shenoy welcoming Ramakrishna Aithal
Inside the state of the art kitchen, Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy and Kudpi Vaman Shenoy were seen guiding the staff how to handle new facilities and act faster! Two dosa camps functioned aggressively, making at least 36 tuppa dosas at a time. Something unique about todayís snacks was that the items were not looking oily! Perhaps, the modern kitchen equipments have facilitated the cut down of oil!
Regular customers enter the new setup
The sweets cum parcel counter looked very neat and clean, so were the smiles on the faces of the staff who worked behind the counters! They all wore clean white uniform to denote a new beginning for Taj Mahal!
This is what we were waiting for!
The best feature that we observed in the new setup is that both, the main entrance as well as the kitchen entrance are equipped with air curtains, ensuring zero entry of flies and dust!
Many regulars were seen around, but not many who could respond to our queries or who had the patience to say anything about the standard of food. All we could see were empty plates and a sigh of contentment that they could finally get what they wanted in Taj Mahal at its new premises. It was worth the wait, they seemed to denote!
Vedamoorthy Bhaskar Bhat says, this is yet another Temple for us!
New Taj Mahal Café in its new premises has promises to keep. Miles may look like inches for regular goers at the new facility. Slight increase in prices seems well justified, looking at the ambience and cleanliness. Parking area looks vast, compared to Car Street café. With little innovation, drive-in facility could be extended; we overheard couple of connoisseurs commenting as they got into their car.
All said and done, The New Taj Mahal Café at Kodialbail is here to stay!