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A romantic affair

Hurray!

The much awaited MTR has opened a restaurant in Singapore.

For the benefit of those not familiar with Bengaluru, MTR is the famed landmark of the city in the same manner as the Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park or Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. The eatery has been serving the lucky Bengaloreans since 1924 and is famed for the taste and quality of its food. There is plenty of folklore about how MTR has sustained the quality of its offering. There is one about how MTR refused to budge to the government diktat during the emergency and how it continued to maintain the size of its serving while reducing the rates as instructed by the government. MTR displayed a daily notice showing its losses in abiding by the diktat! And, for some time thereafter, MTR had to shut the shop as losses started mounting. The four yards coffee and the Nail test are equally famed fables about MTR and more can be read on their web site.

It was a sad day for me when my favorite joint Sri Lukshminarasimhan restaurant on the Serangoon Road (opp Sreenivasa Perumal Temple) closed down. I had got so used to that place and the staff that I could write a blog about their standards of customer service (posted some time in 2008). But then the loss was made up when I saw the MTR board at the same place. I have started believing in “What God takes away with one hand, he makes up for it with both the hands!!

The trade mark of the MTR offering is the all pervasive application of ghee. Whether you order idli or bisibele huliyanna, you surely get a small portion of ghee to pour on the food! I am told MTR never uses oil in any of its preparations and it is ghee all the way. And MTR is so nearby my residence that I cannot resist visiting it three times a day viz for breakfast then for lunch and then close the day with the dinner!

For me the magnetic attraction of MTR is sourced from its divinely coffee. My three visits in a day are more for the coffee than the food itself. After all food is merely a support for my cup of coffee! And, I need the coffee strong and hot without fail. On the first day of my visit, I was served coffee while I was yet to finish the food and I could not restrain my anger and almost scowled at the staff for serving me early. They have now got used to my whims that even before I tell them to delay serving coffee, I hear “yes sir.. we know .. very strong hot hot coffee without sugar!!”

Drinking coffee is a ritual to be performed with care and great attention to detail. The blend, the texture and the visual appearance all have to be perfect if the drink has to appeal to your senses. And, needless to say, it has to be really hot. My measure of the temperature of the drink is that I should not be able to drink it in any less than 45 sips and one should witness the flow of steam even after the 45 sips are over and the cup is emptied!! If I could manage it, I would really have my coffee drop by drop instead of the sip quantity .. let every drop tickle my sensory glands on the tongue and the hot liquid really scorch my tongue! But I am still puzzled how MTR could toss the coffee over the famed four yards and yet serve me hot liquid. I have tried emulating the act and have ruined at least three shirts with coffee all over them. The tossing has to be managed so skillfully that you have to be an expert in catching the downward throw and not let it fall on the floor or on your shirt. I seriously think our cricketers must be sent for training in the coffee service department of MTR so that they learn how to grab the ball on the field!

More than tingling the taste buds coffee drinking is really akin to a romantic affair. Every time I am served coffee at MTR, I am reminded of a newly married couple on their honeymoon and how the husband would caress his partner. He would typically hold her face with both his hands and look into her eyes as if his world resided inside. He would then shift his eyes slowly and gradually to her ears, cheeks and all over the face in a manner that sends shivers to her. He would then scintillate her by planting a soft, teasing kiss on the lips and then sensuously move his lips to her eyes, eye brows, ear lobes .. etc.. He would feel them as if nectar was oozing from her face and the kiss had better be soft as if they were petals of a flower and she pained by the pressure of his lips! I guess you have by now got the scene 

Coffee drinking is simply similar to that scene. It will be a heinous crime if you were to drink that elixir in one quick gulp. How could you destroy that heavenly appearance of the drink .. the whitish froth of the milk at the center surrounded by the brownish coffee with a border that is difficult to define.. almost like the waist of the curvaceous girl slowly turning into her hip! Now hold the cup as if it was that beautiful girl in your arm, glance it with the same sensuousness and love .. you will find the liquid speaking to you. Take not more than a sip at a time not wanting to disturb the fine spread of white froth on the brown coffee. And repeat that caressing action 45 times, slowly and softly partaking the coffee. You will then enjoy every drop of it and may even want to lick the cup!

And the problem is that the process tends to get addictive just like how you cannot get over that sensation on a honeymoon! You want more of it almost as if it would never end. I am tickled the same way.. If I could do it, I will go for the MTR coffee every hour but sadly they are closed for about four hours in the afternoon! And, I have also to attend to my livelihood so that I earn to pay the coffee bills!!

02 July 2013

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About The Author

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Ganesh - R

Corporate/Business/Professional

SINGAPORE

A corporate manager for over 40  years with an all round exposure. Have had the good fortune of great bosses who unfailingly took the risk of trying me out with  new functional responsibilities  that I was neither qualified to handle nor had any prior exposure. This served as an excellent opportunity for learning and  the exciting process continues even as I am ready to retire! 

 Have bid adieu to formal learning process long ago but the quest  continues.

"Human beings" interest me the most .. the curiosity at observing and learning from fellow beings appears to be a key  driver at this stage of life. Would like to spend the rest of the days in making a difference to them.

Other interests include gymming, music, etc..  

Blogging seems to be a god sent opportunity to laugh at oneself freely and without any pretensions. It also provides an excellent route to introspection albeit a bit loudly!


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