Showing posts with label Thali. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thali. Show all posts

Tuesday 28 August 2018

When it comes to spicy Tamil cuisine, all of us know nothing beats Chettinad cuisine. But are we sure we are talking about the right term? What does spicy denote here? Are are we talking chilli or peppers? Most restaurants that serve Chettinad cuisine involves only the use of chilli. However, the authentic Chettinad food is created using a fine balance of chilli and peppercorns. It's not the burning sensation that is Chettinad, rather its the hot after effect that represents the authenticity of the food.

With commercialization the key in today's food scene, a new restaurant has decided to make taste and originality their key. Mango Tree, a recently opened restaurant in Nungambakkam focusses on introducing authentic Chettinad home cuisine to folks in Chennai. Located near Valluvar Kottam on a by-lane, the restaurant is a remodeled house that replicates the ambiance of a Chettinad house. The decor too is in line with what you would expect in a regular Chettinad house. It really felt like being in a Chettinad house with the expectation that the food also follows suit, unlike other so-called Chettinad restaurants that leave you burning after a meal.
(Kari Uppu Kari)
(Kari Kola Urundai)
The starters that were served included the 'Kari Uppu Kari', 'Karuvepilai Paneer', 'Beetroot Kola Urundai', 'Erai Varuval', 'Kari Kola Urundai'. Kari Uppu Kari is one of the signature dishes along with Kari Kola Urundai. They were both very simplistic and full of flavour. The Kola Urundai served here comes sans the wrapping of the urundai with dried plantain fibres making it a bit easier to eat. The other standout dish was the Erai varuval. Though being deep fried, it was not at all greasy and had a very distinctive spiciness to it that made me feel just a subtle hotness which was instantaneously overcome by the aroma of the masala. 
(Karuvepilai Paneer) 
(Erai Varuval)
(Beetroot Kola Urundai)
A Thali is one of the best ways to understand how the fare in a restaurant is as invariably it includes most of the basic dishes that can otherwise be ordered a la carte. Keeping this in mind, I ordered a 'Karaikudi Special Thali' while my friend ordered a 'Mutton Biryani combo'. The Karaikudi thali was indeed special as it had about 19 items all beautifully plated in a big thali. If anyone can actually manage to finish everything in the thali, I'm sure they wouldn't even think about dinner. There was  fish, chicken as well as mutton curry along with rasam, vegetable kootu, a poriyal and masala fried whole egg. As accompaniments, the thali had parotta, variety rice, steamed rice with ghee served along with curd, pickle and appalam. A neer more accompanied the thali and a payasam to finish it. On the other hand, the Biryani combo was also huge. The combo consisted of a full portion of Mutton Biryani along with Raitha, masala fried egg and appalam. But what made it more interesting is the fact that the biryani combo also had parotta, Kari masala and some salna. This made it a perfect combo for hardcore carnivores like me. 
(Non Veg Karaikudi Special Thali)
(Mutton Biryani Combo)
Most of you by now know how much of a dessert fan I'm, so how could I skip desserts even after such a sumptuous meal. So we requested a dessert sampler plate. Although not part of the menu, the restaurant obliged us on the same. The plater consisted of 'Kauvn Arisi' and 'Aadi Kumaayam'. Both were distinctive in their taste and consistency while at the same time being very simplistic in composition.

Now comes the most important question amongst all. Did my palate burn at the end of the meal? Absolutely not. Does that mean my meal wasn't spicy? Of course, it was spicy but the sort of spiciness that leaves a lasting tingling effect and not the one that ends up burning you. This I'm told is the characteristic effect of an authentic Chettinad meal. And the secret to this is the fact that all masalas used in the preparation at Mango Tree are home prepared and grounded to avoid contamination with any elements that have an commercialization attached to it.

Mango Tree is located at 31, Jambulingam Street, Off Valluvar Kottam High Road in Nungambakkam. A meal for two would approximately cost you about Rs. 1200 while that Thalis are priced from Rs. 160 for the Executive Veg Thali to Rs. 340 for the Non-Veg Karaikudi Special Thali. The Biryani combos are priced from Rs. 290 for Veg to Rs. 420 for the Mutton Biryani combo.

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Thursday 31 October 2013

For anyone across the globe familiar with Indian cuisine, the first thing that strikes their mind when you mention the word "Thali" is the large variety of dishes served on a single plate. This is different from a platter as the Thali is not shared amongst others on the table and is is usually ordered one per person and often forms a complete meal own its own. The usual components of an Indian Thali consists of 3-4 different currys, some short eats, Indian breads, rice and desserts. The Thali's do differ dramatically between North and South India and savouring one is an experience all by itself. 

Now, if the Thali's are so accustomed to Indian cuisine then take your imagination to the next level to what could be available at Tuscana on Chamiers, an Italian restaurant based in Chennai. I'm sure you might have guessed it by now. Yes for the first time in Chennai, we now have an Italian Thali. This innovate concept was the brain work of those behind Tuscana on Chamiers. In the right spirit of what a Thali should constitute, the Italian Thali available here have all the elements a conventional one would have such as salad, starters, mains & desserts. 

On offer are 5 different Thali menu with 2 options for the vegetable lovers and 3 for the carnivores out there. Being a group of three in which I was the only meat lover, I decided to go in for the Thali with Chicken as the main course while my peers decided to order both the vegetarian Thali so as to have a complete experience. While we were waiting for our Thali's to make their appearance in style, we were informed that Tuscana on Chamiers has also started catering to the Jain community by making Jain friendly pizzas. Now thats a big step for such a restaurant as it is quite challenging to dish out a Jain dish without losing the flavours that you would get in the regular version.
(Stuffed Capsicum - Jain Style)
(Another Jain dish)
(Jain Pizza)
(Jain Pizza)
After a few chit chats, the Thali's made their grand appearance. The moment I saw my Thali, I was taken back with the large portion sizes for each of the component. They were humongous and big a big eater, felt it would be too much even for me. My Thali had a 'Pan Seared Chicken Escalope' for mains and they were accompanied by a portion of garlic bread, salad, pasta and a dessert. The dessert was an 'Apple Pie with Vanilla Sauce'. Savouring the Thali was an wholesome experience in total as the different elements provided the right oomph factor for a complete meal. The vegetarian Thalis had Risotto Cakes & Crepes for their main dishes while the accompaniments were a soup of mushroom or tomato along with a portion of garlic bread. The other desserts that were part of the Thali options are the dense Chocolate Fudge cake and a walnut cake with honey syrup.
(Chicken Thali)
(Vegetarian Thali with Crepes)
(Vegetarian Thali with Risotto Cakes)
How can one visit Tuscana and not savour their amazing Tiramisu. And precisely for this reason even though we had reached our threshold, we went ahead and ordered for a portion of the yummylicious Tiramisu. As always it never disappointed us. Along with the Tiramisu we were also given another fantastic dessert available here, the Panacotta. To end up the evening, we were told we had a surprise dish. When it brought into the room, all of us had to heave a heavy sigh. It was a dessert pizza. The base was spread with Nutella topped with caramelized bananas and chocolate chips. With absolutely no more room for anything related food, we still couldn't give up the temptation and dived into it straight. It was just mind-blowing. If it was served earlier on during the evening, I'm sure I would have gorged upon two such pizzas. Just can't wait to go back for another one.
(Chocolate Pizza)
So if you need a twist to the contemporary Thali that you have been savouring for all these years, head straight to Tuscana on Chamiers to try their twist on Thalis. The Thalis are in the price range of ₹650 to ₹850 plus taxes. But mind you, it is a complete and filling meal so its worth every penny spent.

Tuscana on Chamiers is located on Chamiers Road opposite to Hotel Park Sheraton.

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