Solid teakwood pillars, intricately carved seats and high ceilings that defy the scorching noon sun - the interiors of Southern Aroma are
reminiscent of a typical Chettinad house. Residency Towers` newest restaurant serving the South Indian Thali offers choice dishes from Andhra
Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The welcome drink is chilled buttermilk flavoured with ginger and chillies and tempered with mustard.
The banana leaf is laid out on a sliver platter in preparation for the feast.
Traditionally, the first dish must be a sweet and so a gulab jamun is served.
The appetizers are tiny samosas - nice and crisp with a tasty filling - that make you forget what samosas were doing in the midst of a South Indian thali.
This is followed by the vegetarian side dishes - two kootus made of snake gourd and chayote cooked with coconut and ground spices; a
poriyal (stir fry) of carrots and beans sprinkled over with dessicated coconut, and a spicy yam sabzi.
The keerai vada, Kerala parotta and idiyappam served with kurma find their way together to the thali.
Mildly-spiced brinji - a South Indian fried rice made in coconut milk and a raita made of canned pineapple and cucumber are brought in next.
We`ve made some progress with the first course when the appetizers are suddenly brought in - tiny samosas - nice and crisp with a tasty
filling that make you forget what samosas were doing in the midst of a South Indian thali.
Chef Gopal eagerly anticipates our feedback on his innovation - the malli vada - deep fried, crisp triangles made of lentil, cashew,
pine nuts and coriander leaves served with an inimitable tangy banana chutney - and is visibly thrilled at our sighs of appreciation on
biting into it.
The non-vegetarian part of the thali comprises large pieces of fried fish that are perfectly spiced and extremely tender, and a chicken
gravy, the flavours of which could`ve been brought out better.
Another of Chef Gopal`s innovations is served next - deep fried, scallop-shaped fritters stuffed with banana, sweet corn, nuts, grated
coconut and sugar - a twist to the traditional Kerala sharkara ada.
While we are struggling to finish what's on the thali, steaming hot stew arrives, though a little ahead of the Chettinad appam.
Papads and pickles - gongura from Andhra, traditional manga thokku and the tangy lemon pickle from Tamil Nadu are served before the
rice is brought in. The sambar smells gloriously of okra and the rasam is nice and peppery.
Chilled elaneer payasam made of coconut milk and pieces of tender coconut is served as dessert.
The vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis cost Rs 325 and Rs 400 respectively which is economical for the variety and taste on offer. For
bookings contact: 28156363.