Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Eater's Digest - 8

The concept, they say, is to "Eat as you like, pay as you feel". Such a path-breaking concept had to emerge from a non-business mind, and that's exactly where the Annalakshmi vegetarian dining experince came from. Swami Shantananda Saraswati first put this idea into operation at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1984, before bringing it to Chennai in 1986.

There are no specialized chefs, standardized recipes or secret sauces at Annalakshmi. The food is cooked - and brought to your table - mainly by volunteers who give their time to serve the hungry. When it first opened in Madras, Annalakshmi's patrons were taken aback to find senior civil servants, musicians and other well-known public figures taking their orders and bringing the dishes to their table. That's how it has been in the Annalakshmi restaurants all over the world, across Malaysia, Singapore, Australia or India. It was an experience like no other and then, to top it all, there was no bill at the end of it. Remember, the concept is to "...pay as you feel". Of course, given the philosophy and the ambience, it is quite likely one would end up paying just that little more than the 'Management' would have charged.

I have only admired it from a distance, never having the experience of dining there. Maybe it is the 'vegetarian only' menu, but more likely it is the feeling that I will embarass myself by becoming the first person to underpay at this 'Temple of Service'!

No comments: