Food, Music and Celebration - Margazhi aka December Food Mela !

The twelfth month, year end, holiday season, Christmas cakes, celebrations, huge sales, music and more music is what December represents for me. As soon as the Tamil month, Margazhi starts, my complete focus sticks to food. Beyond the beautiful renditions, the musical season is about mouth-watering South Indian food. And this season, the restaurants take a back seat as I visit the Sabha aka fine arts hall canteen for food.

Starting from the mid of December i.e. 15-16th December to the 1st of January the music festival will be held in the Sabha and after that they host the dance festival. During the music festival, the food canteens are opened in each Sabha by different catering services. And this season I made sure to visit the Sabha canteen, so based on my experience I am just listing down the Sabha’s that have food canteen.

To know the address or exact location of the Sabha, click the area highlighted in colour.
Let’s get down to the business now.

Narada Gana Sabha
It is located at Alwarpet and the food canteen here is always a hit. It is Sasthalaya Catering Service here, the food and service is phenomenal. The place is packed with people always and they never left us unattended even for a minute. With delicious sweets to South Indian tiffin and mini meals they serve food that tastes extraordinary.

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Tiffin / Dinner
My favourites: Sweets (badam halwa, ashoka halwa), Rava Dosa, Ghee Pongal, Mini Meals, Coffee.
Budget for 2: Rs.300-400 INR. Mini Meals is priced Rs.180 INR. Accept cards.

Mylapore Fine Arts
It is located at Mylapore and this food canteen is my favourite this season. It is Meenambiga Catering Service here; the food's taste and price are noteworthy. The impeccable sweets and meals served in banana leaf (typical to wedding food) are never meant to be missed.

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Tiffin / Dinner
My favourites: Sweets (Kasi Halwa), Pongal, Meals.
Budget for 2: Rs.200-300 INR. Mini Meals is priced Rs.150 INR. Only cash.

Vani Mahal
It is located at T.Nagar and it is Gnanambika Catering Service here. This is yet another canteen where the pricing is reasonable. There evening snacks and meals (similar to a wedding meal) are a must try; one of the finest Keera Vadai in terms of taste.

Open for: Lunch, Evening Tiffin / Dinner
My favourites: Meals, Keera Vadai.
Budget for 2: Rs.200-300 INR. Meals is priced Rs.150 INR. Only cards.

Music Academy
It is located at T.T.K.Road and the famous Mint Padmanaban Catering Service presents you with delicious food. The sumptuous South Indian meals they serve in banana leaf and evening snacks should be given a try. The pricing is definitely high and you must purchase the food token before you take a seat.

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Tiffin / Dinner
My favourites: Sweets, Bonda, Cutlet.
Budget for 2: Rs.300-500 INR. Meals is priced Rs.230 INR. Accept cards.

Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha
It is located at Vidya Bharati Kalyana Mandapam, Mylapore and its Mountbatten Mani Iyer Catering Service here, this catering is the most recommended place by Sabha canteen lovers. The food tastes great but they are the most expensive Sabha canteen, so don’t hesitate to enquire the price if you are planning to not exceed your budget.

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Tiffin / Dinner
My favourites: Thavala Vadai, Kanchipuram Idly, Dosa Varieties.
Budget for 2: Rs.400-600 INR. Meals is priced Rs.300 INR. Accept cards.

Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
It is located at T.Nagar and they have Sri Krishna Bhavan hotel i.e. Krishna Sweets catering service. After exploring almost all the prominent Sabha canteens, this place didn’t impress me much in their food taste.

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Tiffin / Dinner
My favourites: Mor Kali, Mangalore Bonda, Dosa.
Budget for 2: Rs.150-250 INR. Accept cards.

Besides the most prominent ones, there are food canteens at all the fine arts hall that hosts music programmes during the Margazhi season. Above are the places I have personally visited and experienced the food. Other places that have food canteens are Eithiraj Kalyana Mandapam – Venus Caterers (Alwarpet) and Chennai Cultural Academy – Sri Raghavendra caterers (T.Nagar).

Always remember these things:
·     Don’t forget to enquire about the famous or must try dish of the caterers you visit.
·     Be there on or before time. For an evening snack (which starts at 4 PM) if you go by 6.30 PM then the fast sellers would have been sold out.
·     Always carry sufficient cash in hand. And enquire the canteen timing and dates.
·     If you reside nearby then do regularly check the menu to know each day’s speciality if any. Also keep a closer look at newspaper or websites that cover about Sabha canteen to know about the food.

So the month of December is also about delicious South Indian food. As the fine arts season is nearing its end, try to visit a few places at the earliest. If you couldn’t make it this time then there is always next time.

Happy Margazhi, happy New Year and happy hogging!

Coffee is a Must!

P.S.Remember, no two person's palate can be same. This post is based on my experience at Sabha canteen during the December music festival at Chennai. 
Food, Music and Celebration - Margazhi aka December Food Mela ! Food, Music and Celebration - Margazhi aka December Food Mela ! Reviewed by Divya Srinivasan on 13:03 Rating: 5

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