Gnana Madura is a small mess tucked in one of the by lanes of Valasaravakkam serving some heartwarming vegetarian meals along with traditional South Indian sweets and savouries. With just four tables, this tiny mess is small and has limited seating. But don't go by the look of the place. The meals they offer taste almost like homemade food, leaving you wanting for more.
Expect the staples like sambar, rasam, curry, kootu (changes every day), a crispy applam (papad). But it was the paruppu podi (powder to be mixed with rice) that won us over. Usha, the owner of the restaurant, tells us that they have close to 15 podis that are circulated every week. From angaya podi, kothamalli podi and manathakkali to sundaikkai vaththal podi and navadhanya podi, there's plenty to choose from. For dinner, Gnana Madura has tiffin varieties like dosa, rasam rice, idli, and ada avial.
There is also a sweet shop close to Gnana Madura that serves hot snacks like kozhukattai, different varieties of boli, kuzhipaniyaram, bajji, pakoda, etc. We tried jeera boli, an original creation made of maida which is rolled into a poori, fried and then coated in sugar, and fell in love instantly. You would find the place full during lunch hours and evenings are so much better with their freshly-made snack items.