What: Onam Sadhya
Where: Poes Garden, Kasturi Estate, 1st Street, Alwarpet, Chennai
Onam Sadhya is available at their other outlets too, Anna Nagar and MRC Nagar.
When: 5 - 18 September, 2016 (for Lunch only)
So we are back to that time of the year where it is all about festivals. Though I am not a Malayali, Onam is always a festival I await the most just for the Sadhya. The hearty and sumptuous array of dishes spread on the banana leaf just makes my tummy and heart happy. And some of Chennai's food joints excite all the food lovers with their Onam Sadhya meals every year. So coming to the place I visited, it's Ente Keralam and every year they present traditional Sadhya spearheaded by Chef Unnikrishnan Namboodiri and his team. With almost 25 dishes, the pure vegetarian meals is a treat to your palate and vision.
The restaurant invites you with pookkalams and decorations that reminds you the marriages or Kerala style houses you see in Malayalam movies. So let's get to the Sadhya! As you sit down and fasten your seat belts for food, a huge plate with nine different curries and sides, chips and pickles is placed before. And that's not the end, bowls of sambar, rasam, moru curry and four types of desserts continue to line up. It's an unlimited meals, so keep asking them for rice servings until your stomach gives up.
After munching through four types of chipslike the Nendran (banana) chips, Jaggery Upperi, etc., my immediate reach was for the Nei Paruppu (ghee dal). The red Kerala rice is not just healthy but tastes perfect with the curries and poriyals prepared for Sadhya. Just smash the Pappadamon the dal rice and that combination tinkles your taste buds.
The light hint of sweetness and the soft yam Kootu Curryand flavourful medley of vegetables Aviyal pairs well with Sambarand MoruCurry. I loved the zest of sourness from moru curry, it was my favourite and I couldn't bid adieu with just one serving. Taste-wise the cabbage Thoran, Erussery, Olanand Kichadiwas good, they go along well with plain rice or with Sambar and Rasam. But the one that stood out for me was the Pachadi, the intense hit of sourness and the refreshing sense the dish gives you is unbelievable good.
With four pickle types, I still salivate when I think about Inji Puli(ginger tamarind) and Inji Tayir (ginger curd). The sweet yet sour flavour of the inji puli is remarkable. Also the inji tayir is delicious and the taste seems to get better and better as you continue to have them. The mangoand lemonpicklewas mandatory on the plate for curd rice. After slurping rasam and curd rice, there is buttermilk to help you digest and make some space for sweet. Though it's always ideal to have rasam and buttermilk after desserts to help digest, I prefer having desserts at the end so the sweetness remains with me.
And they present you with two payasam and two pradhaman. The addition of sugar or jaggery, different dal or rice variety and consistency acts as the difference between these two dessert varieties that is part of most of the occasions in Kerala. Palada Payasam was the best, the milks richness and sweetness was perfectly balanced; I wouldn't resist and went ahead for another serving. Though the taste was good I personally don't like Paruppu (dal) payasam, Ada Pradhaman and Chakka Pradhaman. The Kerala style pradhaman lovers, you are definitely in for a treat.
So bite the banana and there ends Onam Sadhya. Sumptuous, traditional, delicious and definitely hearty meal, one place in Chennai that I would vouch any day for some mouth-watering food from Kerala cuisine.
Note: You also have take-away for Payasam and Sadhya for minimum of two people.
Breaking Down Points
Ambience: Cosy but it's Onam time so the lunch service is crowded.
Food Variety: Definitely the best place for Onam Sadhya. A great applause in terms of variety and presentation.
Taste: Loved the food. There certainly are dishes in the meals that I don't like, but that isn't in reference to taste but it's a personal choice.
Quality & Quantity:Presentation of Sadhya, authentic food preparation and unlimited portion are the positives that grabs the food lovers.
Service: Courteous and attentive.
Price: Costly. Cost for two is Rs.1050 INR (plus taxes). But the variety, portion and taste would vouch for the price.
So my Verdict!
Ente Keralam is celebrating Onam and the authentic Sadhya is their till 18 September 2016. Onam Ashamsakal (wishes) to all my Malayali friends and happy Sadhya for all the foodies.
P.S. On-the-house blogger meet to taste and experience Onam Sadhya at Ente Keralam. Remember, no two person's palate can be same.