My quest for a good South Indian dining space which would be safe in the COVID times took me to the newly opened “Chattynadu – Dakshin Flavours” restaurant located in ROF Portico complex in Sushant Lok. This subtle space is housed on the first floor among a few prime retail grocery outlets and cafes in a fresh shopping complex.
The heavy teak carvings embellished entrance door, homely Carnatic music and culturally rich artworks around give it a very traditional South Indian ambience. Something that really piqued my interest was the small coconut shell pots holding the plants in the windowpane area and the roof adorned with wicker fish baskets giving it a coastal feel.
The tables were set at distance, keeping with the norms of restaurant operation in covid times. I saw that after every customer, the tables and chairs were being cleaned and sanitised. Every table held a sanitiser bottle too for use by the diners.
I went there with expectations of a regular menu option of dosa, idli, vada, etc and was pleasantly surprised to see a good range of chettinad dishes on their menu. So why have the usual, I just had to try the specials.
While I was waiting for my order to be prepared, I was served with a complimentary appetiser of spiced buttermilk [Neer Mor]. The buttermilk was just the perfect cooler on a hot afternoon blended well with spices.
Senai vada made with yam was well done and crispy and accompanied with really smooth and delicious coconut and tomato-chilly chutneys. Rasam was aromatic with the spices, soothing to the palatte and not much spicy.
The entrée Kozhi (Chicken) Ghee Roast, Vegetable stew with Appam and Malabar Parotta arrived soon.
Chicken dish, well-coated with masala, was more delicious than ravishing it looked on first sight. The wonderful pieces were very tender, smooth and juicy, easily separating from the bones and still coming laden with the masala mix and cashews in each and every bite.
Vegetable stew with the aromatic spices, cooked in coconut milk was just perfect.
A good size appam, with crisp edges and thick centre. Malabar parotta was just right with each layer opening up and not too hard or crispy and not at all oily.
The richness of food lead me to not leave without having the desserts. Parappu Payasam was made of moong dal cooked in milk with jaggery, fried cashewnuts and small pieces of coconut. It was not like a moong dal halwa but a very yummy south indian version of moong dal sheera.
Paal Ada Payasam made with steamed rice flakes cooked in milk and jaggery was again a flowy dessert but amazing taste. My usual South indian dessert tasting have been limited to the kesar bhaat but this has surely given me a new experience.
I did need to settle all the goodness of food in my belly. So what better than a traditional filter coffee! The coffee came in the inverted tumbler put inside a bowl and pop it went into the bowl when I picked it.
That was the ultimate beverage to end my five course chettinad lunch at a beautiful fine dining space close to home.
The whole experience was like a ceremonial feast with exotic dishes served in copper or copper plated utensils covered with banana leaves, the aroma of dishes engulfing you, a hearty variety and great service and well presentable, English speaking, kind and friendly staff.
Thank you “Chattynadu“. I am coming back very soon with my family to try out everything I missed in this round !