Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Kalpaka, Royapettah, Chennai, India

Name: Kalpaka
Address: Royapettah
Location: Chennai (madras), India

Its been years since i have gone here. Actually not true, me and wife had picked up food recently from the place. But life after a visit and life in the US, has surely affected our ability to dine in restaurants where the food is great but the ambience not. In the case Kalpaka, the food is great, the place is decent, the area were you wash your hands (or bathroom) is the weakest link. And thats not true only of Kalpaka, its true of virtually any restaurant in Chennai, except the ones in a hotel or maybe the high class ones.

Before i spent too much about the 'nothing', let me simply start by saying the food is great. Starting with the free 'kachiya-mora' and achaar on the table during lunch time. Sit in the air-conditioned room, and order your stuff, and be ready to forget all those warnings of health and diet before you read the menu. Because this is not for the faint-hearted, nice beef curry and fish curry etc, is for the one ready to battle it out.

The restaurant like the other two i have written about so far, has limited access and parking. It, altho', is located in a very easy to find intersection, within walking distance of the Music Academy. The days when we used to frequent this place, it had more parking of the kind we wanted then (bike), and it still does allow bikes to be parked in nearby lanes. The view from the road is almost hidden, and you could easily miss this place, if you didnt know where to look and what to look for. A small steep stairway, i guess typical of homes in kerala, leads to this food place, that serves up hot malayali dishes, right in the heart of madras.

And my favourite about kerala food is the rice. Nalla goondu goondu ari (nice fat and thick rice). But it seems that no matter how much eat this rice, it doesnt fill you up. I am sure it is just a perception, but who wants to argue. Food would have been even better for me if it came served on a banana leaf, but here it is served on a nice clean and white porcelain plate.

So, briyani, fish fry, chicken kerala style, mallu parotta are all my favourite. I dont eat beef, but the options are real mouth watering. I wish the cook would be brave enough to cook up chicken the same way she/he does beef. Everything on the side plate is all kerala style too, papadam, moru-ozhicha kuttan, avial and manga-pickle, etc. Fast service, at least, the best i remember, but may also be because, i have always been here only during weekday lunch time. And in-expensive, at the end of the day. Me and wife used to frequent this place during our working days. How else to get home cooked food, when both of us were working ?

Here is a review of the place from The Hindu.

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