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Of copper plates and cane furniture...

Govind Haridas | March 24, 2006

We continue our reader-driven series on great restaurants and eating places across the country. 

Govind Haridas tells you where to head if you want to eat at a dhaba in Chennai.

Sachin Ka Dhabba (nothing to do with Sachin Tendulkar) is a part of the Dhabba Express Group, which has a chain of restaurants in Chennai.

It is situated in Mahalingapuram off the T Nagar traffic junction at the foothill of the Kodambakkam bridge.

The Dhabba Express Group actually runs two restaurants in the same premises -- Sachin Ka Dhabba and Dhabba Express. Although the price, ambience, menu and kitchen vary, they both serve north Indian food (I always wonder why north Indians like south Indian food so much and we south Indians like north Indian food so much).
Let's talk about Sachin Ka Dhabba first. The ambience is good, with a typical mid-market dhaba feel. The cane and wooden furniture is decent.

The walls are adorned with pictures of yesteryear Hindi film greats like Madhubala, Raj Kapoor, Meena Kumari, etc. The music concentrates on the hit tracks from films of that era. You will be served in copper plates and tumblers. The service is both quick and good.

Coming to the food -- it's awesome. For the non-vegetarians, it is a feast. I would recommend half a plate of Tandoori Chicken for starters and Rotis and Chicken Punjabi for the main course.

For the vegetarians, the Shahi Paneer is a must. Their Dal Tadka is also very authentic.

One shouldn't leave the place without relishing their Rajasthani Kulfi for dessert.

And now the best part, the bill. For one person, the bill -- if you have ordered a starter, main dish, roti and kulfi -- is around Rs 77. For two, it will be around Rs 120 as the gravy serves two.
Dhabba Express is more posh in terms of the furniture, the ambience and the cutlery. The service, however, is a tad below Sachin Ka Dhabba and the price is higher. The food tastes almost the same.

The bill should be around Rs 120 for one and around Rs 250 for two. But sitting by the window there on a rainy day, looking at the vehicles passing by, is a wonderful experience.
When I was working in Chennai, I used to lunch there at least thrice a week and take my family to dinner at least twice a week. We used to stay in an apartment diagonally opposite this restaurant. All lunches with my business associates and colleagues visiting from Bangalore and Delhi would be hosted here. Everyone loves the place.
I have been in Kuala Lumpur for the last year. I am yearning to get back to Chennai and have a sumptuous meal at Sachin's that will, without a doubt, end with my favourite Rajasthani Kulfi. 
158, Mahalingapuram High Road
Chennai -- 600 034

Phone: (044) 52031300

Govind Haridas, 27, works as an IT Sales Consultant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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