King Kongu!: Travel back in time with a retro-style eatery with flavours that will connect you to the roots!

Junior Mess serves traditional flavours in a new retro-inspired vertical of the brand taking us back to the ’60s
A delicious spread of the finest Kongu cuisine food from Junior Mess.
A delicious spread of the finest Kongu cuisine food from Junior Mess.

This summer as our cravings run at an all-time high, and we’re dying to relish the taste notes of some home-style masalas to connect us back to the roots, we might have found just the perfect place for the same. Junior Mess, a new venture from the Junior Kuppanna group of restaurants has launched its first outlet at Mylapore, and we couldn’t help but check the place out for some authentic Kongunadu flavours.

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The retro-style look of the mess, featuring teak benches and old-school uniforms of the waiters, took us back to the stories we used to hear from our grandparents about their experiences at similar eateries. “We started off in 1960 as a mess but evolved into a family dining restaurant. We want to take the customers back to our roots with the traditional mess concept hence, Junior Mess,” says Murthy Kuppanna, founder and co-chairman of Junior Kuppanna

We kick things off with some authentic Kongu-style Mutton biryani, which is paired with raita and salan. To add to this spread on the banana leaf, we were served two incredibly flavourful variants of chicken dishes — Chinthamani nattukozhi and Nallampatti chicken. The former is a roasted chicken dish which is also high on the spice metre, while the latter gives a more tangy taste while also delivering a hint of pungency. “Kongu masalas although very flavourful, don’t have spice levels as high as other popular Tamil cuisines,” Murthy explains, as our waiter plies our table with a fresh batch of parotta.

Kongunadu-style Mutton <em>biryani</em>
Kongunadu-style Mutton biryani

Within the parottas, the Egg veechu parotta is a highlight recommended by the founder, along with the large array of mutton and chicken dishes like Mutton Chukka and Pallipalayam Chicken. For vegetarians, the Butter gravy which is available during the dinner servings is a unique dish and “pairs well with idli, dosai and parotta.”

The vegetarian dinner spread
The vegetarian dinner spread

While elaborating further on the significance of the Kongu cuisine, Murthy explains, “Kongu cuisine belongs to the Kongu region around Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Tirupur and Ooty and is nestled in between Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.” He adds, “The cuisine has influences from all three states.”

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Future plans for Junior Mess include expanding to multiple Tier 2 and 3 cities within Tamil Nadu, making it accessible to all in the 234 constituencies in the state.

Meal for two at ₹400.

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