FOOD for thought
CLEANLINESS IS next to godliness, so goes the saying. And it is sacred for the `Sana' Mess too. For, A. Mohammed Isaac, the proud owner, believes in maintaining hygiene standards in his restaurant more than anything else.
Once you squeeze yourself through the narrow entry, the broad elevation of the `Sana' Mess on the Algarkoil Road unfurls. As you walk in, a whiff of South Indian and Chinese delicacies welcome you.
Rummaging through the carte de jour, you discover a whole world of special dishes that set your tastebuds tingling. From traditional biryani to regular meals, the menu has been thoughtfully packaged keeping customer satisfaction in mind. Periodic introduction of new dishes is an innovative high at the Sana.
Though the restaurant provides routine lunch and dinner, some of its special items like the tandoori makes, the varieties in fish preparations including `finger fish' and `ginger fish' are particularly hit during dinnertime. The regular hot idlis, dosas, parathas and a host of soups are the permanent entries.
It has almost become a trend with a majority of the small eateries in the city opting for a dim light decor - perhaps given the shortage of space and limited ventilation. What they don't realise is that people are more comfortable when they are able see clearly what they are eating. And Sana has scored its plus here too. Not only have the interiors been done with bright lights, but one can also breathe easy in the good ventilated place.
Sana is an Arabic word which means famous. And Mr. Isaac is just aiming that. "I want my restaurant to become a household name in Madurai. The hoi polloi expect just tasty food and don't care much about the hygiene whereas it is the most important component of every restaurant and its kitchen. Every restauranteur should serve good and safe food to its clients. Even the water served should be of good quality."
For this electrical engineer, working in an oil mine in Abu Dhabi, opening a restaurant was not just an accident. Rather, it was a desire he had cherished from childhood. "Having lost my mother early in life, I took to kitchen easily. Istarted making tea for my father and then slowly picked up the art of cooking. As a student when I used to visit restaurants, I could see people were more interested in making money rather than maintaining clean environment. So I decided to have a restaurant of my own and kept chasing my dream till it materialised," he recollects.
Meticulous in deciding what is best for his customers, Mr.Isaac shares that he has plans to instal a mineral water plant in Sana. "Serving quality, tasty and clean food" is afterall his team's motto. He is extremely cautious when it comes to water."Water determines the quality of food served and also the hygiene standards. Many a times it is the water which causes indigestion," he says, adding that he always ensures that the water used and served at Sana has a "ph" level maintained between 7 and 7.5 though the ideal level is 7.
Often it is seen that restaurants specialising in non-vegetarian food items don't pay much attention to good vegetarian curries. And `Sana' once again scores high by making available tasty vegetarian curries which supplement its menu of non-vegetarian dishes.
Mr.Isaac is also careful about choosing the food items. "There has to be a method in selection.You cannot take seafood with the meat and chicken items as it may cause indigestion. Similarly fish and curd should not be taken together," his experience speaks.
Given the rush, Mr.Isaac is contemplating an extension plan so that he can provide parking space to his customers. Besides he proposes to introduce the `homely' biryani family pack and a snacks bar.With a whole range of lip-smacking ice creams and thirst quenching soft drinks up for the grabs, this quintessential round-the-corner place lays out a veritable feast for the hungry stomach.
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