What: Madras Week at Southern Spice
Where: Taj Coromandel, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai
When: Till 28th August, 2016
The world knows it as Chennai now, but it is and will always be "Madras" for the people who love the city. And we are MAD-RASigargal (fan) of everything we love so that word resonates into the heart of every being on this metro city. If not the culture, historical places, arts, language and heritage then it shall be the FOOD at Madras that will be a part of you. From Marina's Bajji to Mylapore's pongal, Biriyani to Thayir Sadhan (curd rice), Potato Fry to Chicken 65, the food journey never ends. This city gives everything when it comes to the four letter word "food".
As a tribute to my Madras, Taj Coromandel is hosting Madras Week special at Southern Spice restaurant for the Madras Week (21-28 August). A separate A La Carte menu with Signature Dishes from Madras and it wasn't easy to wait after glancing through some of my favourites in the menu. As the sweet, hot and mind-blowing Pineapple Rasam awakens your senses, there they place the Fryams and Chutneys to munch until the food arrives.
When it's South-Indian I go crazy and my appetite just doubles; who could resist a tasty plate of food? The juicy chicken that is fried to perfection and the spicy marinate does the magic, Kozhi Porichathu is an irresistibly delicious plate of chicken. And next comes the Eral Milagu Pirattal, a dish that can be tasted alone or paired with rice/chappati. The spicy hit of pepper in the onion-tomato masala with succulent prawns that absorbs the flavours of the masala is a delight in your mouth.
My votes were to chicken and prawn until I met Cauliflower. Love at first sight when I saw Cauliflower Varuval i.e. Gobi 65. The delicious and crispy cauliflowers were a perfecto, whatsoever the marinate is, these beauties taste divine. And the spices used for marinate is so South and uplifts the taste. Finally, the Milagai Bajji! Of course bajji is an everyday ritual for most of us at Chennai; a cup of tea with hot bajji and your done with evening snacks. The hot and crispy chilli bajji with coconut chutney were yum.
We did taste a few more Starters from their regular A La Carte menu. The famous Tanjore Kayar Katti Yerachi Kola Urundai, a blast of spices blended together with minced mutton just melts in your mouth. The savoury fluffy and crispy Kuzhi Paniyaram and the tasty Adai (lentils dosa) with the chutneys were another favourite of mine.
And the Banana Dosa, sweet and spongy dosa enlightens your taste buds and tummy with happiness.
|Adai, Banana Dosa, Paniyaram|
We wanted to have a glimpse of everything on their menu for Madras Week so we opted for Madras Feast. With five varieties of curry, Aapam, Dosa, Paratha and Rice, it was a plate of delight.
An unbeatable combination, Set Dosa with Vada Curry! The flavour of cumin and the soft chenna dal vada in the curry just sets the set dosa in right path.
The paratha and egg is scrambled perfectly with the masala; good that the masala wasn't overly spicy so I could enjoy the different flavours the Kothu Paratha proposed me. I always prefer salna for my paratha, but when it's kothu paratha the preferred side-dish is Raitha cause it's too spicy to be had alone. Whereas this bundle of kothu paratha tasted bang-on with Kaikari Kadamba Salna. The essence of coconut and spices takes the vegetable gravy a notch higher than the usual kurma.
Where there is Paya there must be Appam. Soak the appam with the paya curry and get lost in the taste. The depth of flavour with the essence of black pepper and lamb trotters is truly a South Indian mesmeriser; if you are in Chennai never miss this combo (paya and appam).
Also the Madras Meen Kuzhambu and Kozhi Kurma is a nice side for the appam. The sourness from tamarind and the zest of tomato in the spicy Seer Fish kuzhambu is an all-time favourite and this tasted so good. Though the Kozhi Kurma was good to taste with succulent chicken, I shall prefer a spicier one. As the coconuts flavour was taking an upper hand I couldn't sense the spices much.
|Veg Salna, Paya, Chicken Kurma, Fish Curry, Vada Curry (top-bottom row-wise)|
Finally some rice Kothamalli Milagu Sadam, the delicious mix of coriander, pepper and coconut with the rice and the crunch from the tempered dal is absolute bliss. The papad and potato roast were an ideal match for the rice; but I liked them with the Meen Kuzhambu too. Coming to Madras Urlai Kara Kari, resembling the flavours of podi idly, the crispy potato roast tossed in spices is a love and the world needs more potato!
And something for the sweet person inside me, a bowl of Paal Payasam and Kasi Halwa (can this become more Madras?). The creamy and rich Paal Payasam lures you with their delicious taste but the ghee dripping Kasi Halwa proves to be an absolute delight for my sweet tooth. The white pumpkin halwa with hints of cashew just melts at ease and that's how I wish my meal to end every time.
With such delectable food from Madras, your mind gets immersed with food thoughts and fills your heart and tummy with foodgasmic happiness.
Breaking Down Points
Location & Parking: Elite locale with valet parking.
Ambience: Positive. Artistic and beauty personified.
Food Variety: Positive. An exclusive A La Carte menu with signature dishes from Madras, limited yet so Madras.
Taste: Positive. Ok, I am thinking! And still no complaints. I loved the food.
Quality & Quantity: Positive. I love their presentation, food consistency and quality. It's A La Carte and portion is perfect for sharing; but you can also opt for 'Madras Feast' to try everything.
(P.S. The individual portion size of each dish will differ and this is only for the tasting session.)
Service: Positive. Flawless.
Price: NA. Approximate cost for two is Rs. 3500 INR (plus taxes) for A La Carte. The price for the Madras Feast is would come around Rs. 2500 INR per person approx.
So my Verdict!
Southern Spice at Taj Coromandel is celebrating Madras Week by crafting some authentic food from the city for their diners. It's on till 28 August 2016. A perfect place for some royal traditional encounter with 'food from Madras'.
For Reservations & enquiries call 044 66002827
P.S. On-the-house bloggers meet for tasting session at Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel for their Madras Week special. Remember, no two person's palate can be same. And this post is only for the Madras Week specials happening at Southern Spice.