Southern Aroma comes calling again. Festival or no, this comfortable restaurant at Residency Towers spells magic for those who like to lose themselves in the flavours of South Indian cuisine.
Done up in Chettinad style, the restaurant has high tiled ceilings help up by chiselled pillars. The lighting reminds you of the late, laid-back afternoons spent on the long, wind-blown verandahs of ancestral homes. The Carnatic music in the background complements the ambience.
The restaurant serves its food on banana leaf lending it that unmistakable South Indian touch. Dishes from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu find a place on the menu. For the die-hard roti-sabzi fan, certain tandoori and North Indian dishes are also included.
Southern Aroma encourages its discerning guests by organising food festivals at regular intervals. One such was the South Indian Food Festival where Chef Damodharan put together some traditional South Indian dishes.
The menu featured dishes like Mutton Cashew Sukha, South Indian Chilli Fish, Prawn Pepper Masala, Mushroom Pepper Fry, Murungai Parupu Mango Masala, Siru Urulai Varuval and Khnol Khol Chops.
It was a treat to watch Chef Damu toss together simple ingredients to churn out some amazing dishes. While we watched with rapt attention, he worked at the live counters simultaneously making mushroom pepper fry - mildly flavoured with pepper and garlic - and maloor chicken - made without the usual masala and peppered with a large dose of chilli. A third dish made of chopped paneer, ripe chillies and coconut milk was out of the world.
The festival strengthened Southern Aroma`s `South India on a steel plate` motto by reviving ancient recipes that are almost lost to memory.
Among the vegetarian dishes were thipili rasam - Grandma`s concoction for cold and vegetable salna - that undeniably Tamil street food.
Mutton munthiri sukka was an exemplary dish even by the standards of a staunch meat-eater. Unlike the usual mutton dishes that are prepared with a lot of spice or with coconut milk, this one was tangier and rendered less spicy by the cashew nuts. The mutton curry soru, though it fell a tad behind the other dishes in that it was not unique, reminded us of tasty home-cooked food.
Overall, Southern Aroma`s attempt at bringing back dishes that were chased into the deepest recesses of memory by the onslaught of the fast food age is commendable.