Today I went for lunch at Guruji's favorite restaurant. Legend has it that Dasaprakash is the only place he would eat outside of his home. I mentioned the place in passing to my friend Nitesh and two days later we were on our way with Vikram and Rina.
This is why I love India.
Dasaprakash translates to mean, light of the servant of God. The hotel was built in the 1920’s and it’s founder, Shri Seetharama Rao wanted to create an Indian Hotel that served Indian food. His mission was not one of profit or business but to create “an instrument of service and an agency for spreading the Dharma and Indian culture.” The founder believed that the quality of a mans' mind is only as pure as his food. No wonder Guruji ate there!
When you enter the restaurant you can tell it is old, original fittings, moldings, and floor. There is a counter where you order and pay for your food in advance. They have three choices. South Indian Thali, South Indian Super Thali, and North Indian Thali. We all ordered the South Indian Super Thali.
For those of you who don’t know what Thali is, it is out of this world. A Thali (which translates as dish) is a traditional way of serving the many different flavors of south Indian cooking. In our case, the waiter brought out a round steel-serving tray with a palm leaf in the middle. A ring of small stainless steel dishes surround the leaf. They are filled with all kinds of treats: sambhar, channa, dahl, vegetables, curd (yogurt), spiced rice, and dessert. The idea is that you put some of the rice in the middle of the tray and spoon your different dishes into the rice. Make a little ball of rice and sauce with your right-hand, pick it up and pop the flavor packet in your mouth. There is a correct order to eating these dishes but I just wing it and have a good time.
I have been to Dasaprakash before but never with locals. These guys knew what they were doing. First of all, they knew you could ask for more. Second, they knew to eat rice with Thali, not necessarily bread. Finally, they said the food was good. I was so relieved. I mean, I know Guruji went there, but the pressure was on. Luckily it was good and they said so. I am telling you, if you come to Mysore, go to Dasaprakash, it is an incredible adventure. PS they have a whole room right in the restaurant just for washing your hands.