Imagine a dosa. Now imagine a pile of soft dosas. Now imagine the softest dosas to ever exist served with a big dollop of white butter on top. We’re talking about the Mylari Dosa, Mysore’s favourite dish found in a humble restaurant.
Hotel Vinayak Mylari, despite its name, is anything but. Rather, it is a cosy six-table eatery with a total of up to five items on its menu. Let that not underwhelm you, because each of these dishes is packed with a punch. This includes the Mylari dosa, Masala Dosa and idli (with no sambhar) and if one isn’t in luck, are often sold out by evening.
They sell about 200 idlis on a good day, and on the weekend up to 300. Having heard much about its rival item however, we order ourselves a couple of plates of dosa. The dosas, round and folded over itself in half, comes with butter on top, white chutney on the side (and if the masala variant, then with an onion and potato filling inside).
They are done perfectly well, and are so soft on the inside that you’d be temped to liken the dish to the Japanese cheesecake. After finishing one, we call for one more, and after finishing that, yet another.
In spite of its popularity, the Mylari Dosa isn't easy to track down in Mysore. A combination of impostors, fake signs and misdirections from Google Maps make the quest particularly trying. Eventually, however, when you see a plate of the most delicious butter dosa coming towards your table, all's forgiven and seems right with the world.
So how can one identify the real Mylari dosa? In the neighbourhood of Nazarbad with tiny lanes and even tinier shops, the difficulty in locating this one shop is unsurprising. The wafer-coloured walls blend into one another, and at least three joints claim to be the original Hotel Mylari. Follow our clues, and you’ll never be fooled again. Here goes: The original Vinayaka Mylari has a green sign with the words ‘the Old Original Hotel Vinayaka Mylari’ printed in red. It occupies the corner of a building, next to Giri Stationery store, and is closed on Wednesdays only, thank you very much.
“This chain was established 25 years ago by my great grandmother,” says Usha Rani, who now runs the place, and is usually known as the friendly face at the counter. When we ask her what she likes to eat here, she tells us, rather matter-of-factly, “I can have 3-4 masala dosas in one go. No problem.” We concur.
The timings at Hotel Mylari border on unusual too, with it being shut during prime lunch hours at 1.30pm and reopening again at 3pm. But those who value their idlis being soft and dosas buttery will switch their other meals around to accommodate this one.
As we leave, the last customer for the ‘noon, a local policeman is tearing into a plateful of the masala dosas, with a renewed sense of duty. Wistfully, we leave, already planning our next meal.
Address: 79, Nazarbad Main Road, Near Police Station, Doora, Mysore
Getting There: Mysore is a 4-hour-drive from Bengaluru. One can fly into the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru and reach Mysore by car, or bus.