In terms of space, Dakshina Mandapa feels like the executive summary of Galaxy
, the more luxurious restaurant at Taj Tristar
- it's almost in parenthesis. And a good block in the center of this cosy buffet-only restaurant is occupied by the spread of items you can help yourself to, leaving pretty little space for you to flail about, especially since they try to accommodate 85 people at a time.
The presentation isn't too remarkable either - if you come here on a date, it can't be in any courtship stage. For the prices they charge, they really need to keep those walls spotless. However, the prices also ensure that you see pretty cultured crowds.
The reception however has South-Indian written all over it. A couple of young sari-clad ladies exude warmth outside the entrance, and dhoti-clad waiters take orders inside. If you know what Dakshina Mandapa means, you don't really need to say "What's in a name?" after that.
The raison d'etre
. Like we said, this is a buffet joint, and the food spans cuisines, prompting the Bard's question above this time. A weekday buffet features about 40 items from salads, pickles and soups to a range of desserts, with Chinese, South-Indian, North-Indian, chaat and continental fare all pitching in for the main course.
The restaurant boasts multiple chefs for each cuisine, and the effort and care shows on your taste buds. Some truly authentic South-Indian and exotic dishes (which we cannot remember, them being in several alien tongues) make up the menu, and you are unlikely to be complaining for variety. Weekends boost that up even further, with upto 55 items to choose from. Lunch buffets cost Rs. 155 (Rs. 175 on weekends), and dinner buffets cost Rs. 175.
Dakshina Mandapa also offers a Sunday morning brunch for Rs. 115, with about 20 items including bread/butter, cornflakes, a range of South-Indian items, paratha with curd, and fruits and juices.
Good food in a fairly professional ambience makes Dakshina Mandapa a good place for a family outing - or a middle management lunch break. If you live in the neighbourhood and know a shortcut home, it's even better - this is the Paradise/Patny hub, and on a crowded day, the cramped main roads can make even Dakshina Mandapa feel like Buckingham Palace.