Friday, January 2, 2009

Thattukada, Spencer Plaza, Chennai

This eating place had opened a while back in the Spencer Plaza food court. I also helped some of my colleagues and friends not so aware of the mallu (malayalee, as in person from kerala) ways, understand what these dishes meant. But, i didnt quite enjoy the ambience in the food court and so had avoided the opportunity to eat from this place. Well, finally i was presented with another one, that allowed seating in their reserved area and i took it.

There was a lot to offer. My other rationale for not lunching here was that, the portions (biriyani etc) could be huge and i didnt want to sleep after lunch. So it took a while to read and re-read the menu to choose something appropriate. I finally settled for 'poricha kozhi and parotta', thats mostly dry fried chicken, with kerala style parotta. My friend accompanying me ordered fish curry and rice. The food arrived soon, 'cause i think there is very little cooking done at the site. Meals come prepared.

I got two parottas, and two fairly sized pieces of chicken meat (with bones) and some nice thick gravy stuck to it. The first taste was awesome, just the way i liked it - spicy and hot - mallu style. The gravy was thick enough, but had managed to seem inside the flesh and was marinated nicely, cooked to perfection. I also got to taste the fish curry, typical mallu curry, coconut based gravy, rich with the sour tasting pulli (tamarind), and spiced up to give you a kick. The parottas and chicken quickly disappeared. I was tempted to ask for more, but this was filling and decided the greed had to wait for another day.

Just as i was leaving, i confirmed, if they were open late and provided parcel/pickup. An obvious question, to a mallu would have warranted a retort, but i was answered with a exuberant yes and confirmation that they are open late till 9pm in the evening. I guess thats when the mall also bring their shutters down. By the way, in the evening, around 4, you could also stop by for a 'meter chaya' and masala vada. All done kerala style.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Delhi Dhaba, ECR, Chennai

Delhi Dhaba, on the ECR close to the toll gate (just before, if travelling from thiruvanmiyur) and is part of the same group that runs Amaravathi and Savera Hotels in Chennai. We had been here before, but the last time we ate at Malgudi, which was the same food (taste and concept) as the Malgudi inside the Savera Hotel. The Delhi Dhaba is the north-indian (read punjabi) version of food.

The restaurant is inside a nice complex, that includes Malgudi and a chinese restaurant, a shop selling some 'desi' stuff etc. We had stopped at Malgudi here previously after visiting the ISKCON temple still being constructed off the ECR. Lot of space, made parking a breeze, but it shouldnt have been a concern, because they also had a valet service. The decision was made to eat biryani etc., so the choice became Delhi Dhaba. We were quickly disappointed, by a very nonchalant host, or should i say ghost, who was more interested in staring at space. This ghost clearly couldnt see people, even though his curse and black coat, allowed him to be clearly visible to everyone. After a little thought, we helped ourselves to a table available in the closed room (airconditioned), even though the weather was perfect to sit out.

We sat and waited for what seemed a good ten minutes before patience ran out, and we attempted to seek attention to our table. The waiter (i am not sure what the professional terms used), soon arrived with 1 menu for the entire table. Meanwhile, the ghost, actually managed to collect a lot of menus lying on a table nearby, and calmly walked out. I think i am certain, he couldnt have seen us, sitting almost right in front of him. I wonder if the table was in different position, if he would walked thru' to get to the door.

The order placed, included murgh and panneer kabob, chicken biriyani, veg pulao, makki roti, sarson ka saag and some raitha and pappad. The waiter after his initial embarassment was quick on his feet and turned very helpful and fast. We were hungry and he indicated he can deliver everything (or anything) we order fast enough (we of course didnt quite ask him how fast is fast). But true to his statement, the kabobs reached our table in about 5 minutes. And it turned out to be good. I dont know, i guess the expectation were low, so we were amazed at the quality. But that didnt last long.

The biriyani and chicken were just about average. The veg pulao was very mediocre. But the makki roti and saag were really good. Well, i enjoyed them. It had been a while since i had treated to myself to these, and so comparision to original or regional preparation aside, i think it tasted good, just as it melted in the mouth.  The food service was quite fast. But i think we paid a price for speed, in terms of quality of food. They also seemed to be stingy in dishing out portions, because they hardly filled the vessels they were served in. All of this also, came at a nice price ( a tad bit expenisve total i thought).

A mixed experience, in all. I think i will visit Malgudi again, but not this Dhaba. And on ECR, i think there are a lot of choices, for me to pick Malgudi, specially thinking we may have to see the ghost again. Altho' i must say the hosts at Malgudi (previously) were quite friendly. And oh ya, only one other reason to choose this clump of restaurants is the killi jyotsyam and kai jyotsyam offered at the location.