Thara Local serves up ‘mass’ sensations inspired by the streets of Chennai
It’s fitting that this cloud kitchen has been given the name Thara Local. Sample this: Kasimedu Meen Varuval, Triplicane Kaima Roast Chicken and Kondithope Mutton Fry. On this menu, every dish has been a streetside hit, voted on by folk lining up in queue for one thing and one thing only — that semma taste.
Chef Vijayakumar Manikandan who has plenty of fond childhood food memories, having been raised in North Madras told us this project got him so enthused, he ‘mapped’ out their location-centic menu of close to 50 dishes all in one night. “I was about 14 or 15 when I remember tasting Pulianthope Pepper Beef, en route to where my father worked,” he recalls. Later, as a chef buying fresh market produce at the crack of dawn, a meen fry from Kasimedu crackling away on a stove as early as 7 am, was an experience that has since, imprinted in his memory.
What makes our first impression however, well before we get to the heady aromas and spice-laden chunks of mutton in the Chinna Arisi Biryani — is the vibrant packaging. As an ode to the messes where these dishes shot to popularity, expect reusable tiffin-style boxes and eco-friendly paper potlums designed with funky pops of red and yellow and a bull for a brand ambassador. “We wanted to find a way to have this local taste translate in presentation as well,” says chef Navin Prasad, the other half of Chef’s M&N. The firm has consulted on projects like Ministry of Drinks and Parambriym. Even the cloth delivery bag bears semblance to what you would receive for a return wedding gift at a South Indian wedding.
Warm and kozhi
Now, let’s talk food. We spot a liberal smattering of shallots and whole garlic cloves which adds a rustic appeal to the Royapuram Kozhi Idichai Masala. Expect generous portions of meat with a pairing of rice (try the Melagu Poondu Rasa Sadham) or Indian bread (parotta). We find ourselves drenching our idiyappams with the home-style Nattu Kozhi curry (cooked in a clay pot) and going for seconds of the Raawuther Beef Chukka! The latter, chef Manikandan shares, “has just a hint of cardamom, inspired by drives through Muslim neighborhoods in Triplicane”.
Vegetarians can look out for options like the Koyambedu Cauliflower Roast and Mylai Podi Uralai Roast. We however have our sights set on the Dairy Milk Chocolate Poli!
In the coming months, look forward to a Broadway-inspired festival paying homage to teatime staples like the Broadway bun (already on the menu) and cutting chai as well as specialties like Brain Roast and Paya.
Meal for two INR 550.