If you don’t use your GPS and search for Trouser Anna Kadai in Mandaveli, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find this place on your own. Or perhaps you should ask someone on the street where Trouser Kadai is, and they’ll point you to a literal hole in the wall. There’s no signboard here and as you enter you’ll notice paint peeling off the worn-out walls. This place has been around for 40 years and is still run by R. Rajendra who you can spot shirtless, still wearing his famous trousers hurrying about busily in the traditional kitchen.
The story behind this local kadai is that back in the day R. Rajendra would serve his customers while wearing trousers (a pair of dark-coloured shorts) and the name Trouser Anna Kadai has stuck by since. We spotted the famous albeit soft-spoken Trouser Mama cooking up a storm using firewood and home-made masalas, as we went towards the small dining space.
If you’re someone who is particular about where they’re eating from and fussy about the ambience of a place, keep an open mind here. Trouser Anna Kadai is absolutely basic. There are a handful of chairs and tables, and they serve breakfast by 8 am lunch between 1 pm and 3.30 pm and dinner at 8 pm until 11ish. We got to try their lunch, which is pretty much a similar menu every day except on Wednesdays and Sundays, we’re told Mutton Biryani for about INR 150 is available. But this is what we got on our plantain leaf — a cup of white rice, some keerai poriyal (greens stir fry) and potato poriyal — as homely as it can get!
Non-vegetarians, you will love what follows. We got Mutton Masala (about INR 100) and Mutton Kola Urundai (mutton kheema fritters — crunchy and so delicious we had to ask for seconds) that came up to about INR 40 per piece. There’s also Asorai Puttu (shark fish puttu) which is very popular in these local eateries. You can also try Paya Curry (mutton trotters) for about INR 130 along with fish fry, rasam and mor (buttermilk) at Trouser Anna Kadai. The food tastes simply too good with great flavours coming from the fresh meat and home-ground masalas. Our total bill came up to INR 400 that included Mutton Masala, Kola Urundai, rasam, mor, Sora Puttu and Meen Kolambu (fish curry).