Tradition and fun plot twists go hand-in-hand at The Chettinad Stories. Like the welcome drink, Kulir Paanangal, a refreshing mix of tender coconut water and honey with coconut bits in the mix and just a hint of mint. Traditional, delicious, textbook. But then, sample this. Appetiser: Vazhaipoo Kola Urundai with a drizzle of jalapeño cheese fondue. Crunchy and familiar to taste and yet stepping out of the box just enough to surprise and stir up our curiosity.
Once upon a tile
Located within Aadithya Hotel on Arcot Road, the interiors, however, are as one would imagine — warmly lit with traditional art framed on the wall and Athangudi tiles making for a colourful statement piece at the centre of each table. As you wait for your order, the waiter brings out a quick puzzle that you could give a go, instead of a word of a word game or something to do with the menu, he pulls out miniature Athangudi tiles for us to piece together in
Later on we are joined by Consultant chef Saravanan K who tells us that décor apart, traditional cooking utensils have been sourced from Karaikudi for specific dishes. “We have a copper urali used just for curries, a clay pot used for fish curry and vatha kozhumbu and a biryani vengalapaanai,” he shares.
Meanwhile, more shareable plates make their way to our table. There are Kari Murungakkai Drumsticks, a play on Chicken Drumsticks, except here the meaty section is juicy pulled lamb cooked dry with a ‘secret’ masala and the base is, you guessed it, a drumstick! Another favourite of ours is the Mushroom Three Way — adai, varuval, curry. This was a tempered mushroom pancake topped with crispy pepper mushroom and finished off with mix mushroom sauce. So many layers of flavour in a single bite. And finally, a dish that had us raving about it all the way home — the Thengai Kozhi Varuval, succulent morsels of chicken tossed in a rich coconut milk.
If you’re looking for something warm and comforting on a rainy day, the Kozhi Saaru, a country chicken soup with Chettinad spices, is not to be missed.
For mains, we are served a classic Chicken Chettinad and Meen Kuzhambu with white rice, which are passable, but don’t blow us away like everything that came before it. Fortunately, this is quickly made up for by the exquisite Elaneer Payasam Panna Cotta with a jaggery drizzle.
Open for lunch and dinner. Meal for two at INR 600 approx.