There is a scene in "Azhagan" movie where Mammooty opichufies the menu to Banupriya. He would repeat everything on the menu, category wise. Similar scenes are there in "Server Sundaram","Pudu Pudu Arthangal" and many more movies. (Just realised all three are KB movies. May be KB has a fetish for this type of recital?:D)
The point is, nowadays, there is hardly any communication between the waiter and the guest. The menu card is shown to the guest and he picks and chooses his wants. The art of showcasing the memory might of the waiters, hardly exist. Mylapore boasts of many famous hotels, which are well known for their specific menu items. Be it Sambhar or even coffee, tea for that matter. The name of the hotel would be synonymous with the dish. I've never frequented hotels as a kid as my mom's cooking was way too tasty to even consider going out to try options :D But on those occasions when i did went, i used to be amazed at the speed with which they recite the list of items and also how they managed to memorise the requirements of different tables, without writing them down and how they managed to serve the same, without missing anything. They used to take pride in announcing the daily special and would be more caring and patronising, urging us to try. Whatever be the intention, its always nice to feel pampered and attended upon, right? :)
I went to Karpagambal mess today to get dinner. Though its at a stones throw distance from my house, i've never visited that hotel ever before in my life. It was really a pleasant experience. I often used to wonder, whenever people used to speak so highly of that place, as to whats so special about it. Well. For starters, they still use plantain leaves to serve food. And the head waiter uncle did the recital. I went to order just "Idly" and came back with a bucketful of dishes :D He introduced each dish as if they are hot models on ramp walk :d It was cute and nostalgic. Main matter. The taste didnt disappoint either. So next time when u are anywhere near this area, give this place a try for sure. Its just opposite to Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan.