Five new delivery kitchens in Chennai to give lockdown life a boost of flavour
One of the few perks of a government-mandated lockdown is the slew of conveniences that the hospitality industry has deftly evolved to deliver to your door. From Instagram kitchens to pre-measured DIY pasta kits, plenty of trends were kicked off last year. And as we grapple with the second wave, in 2021, plates of good food continue to be a source of joy you can count on — a way to satiate one’s appetite for wanderlust and much-needed comfort. Here is a list of new takeaway and delivery spots on our radar.
The Madras Pizzeria
From dough to door. These gourmet wood-fired pizza offerings by The Park Chennai’s new cloud kitchen, The Madras Pizzeria, spell love at first slice. With 12 thin-crust pizzas to choose from at a standard 12 inches, the template is simple, fuss-free and satisfying. Executive chef Ashutosh Nerlekar tells us, “We wanted to put out a product that we know we’re good at.” And given the access of a five-star kitchen, you can be rest assured that high-quality ingredients are the norm. Expect classics like the Margherita and Pepperoni as well as a lesser found seafood option — Gamberi e mainoese — with prawns, cherry tomatoes and olives. Also notable is the even split of vegetarian to non-vegetarian choices. Personally, our votes go to the Barbeque Chicken with caramelized onions and the Four Cheese with indulgent toppings of buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar and homemade ricotta. INR 375 to INR 475.
When Kappa Chakka Khandari introduced Malabar Biryani Bento boxes during the lockdown last year, orders poured in. And right away chef and co-owner Regi Mathew knew the team was on to something. Ever since, a ‘biryani only’ takeaway venture has been on the brew — with specialized chefs from different regions to offer expertise and a more authentic experience. Partner Augustine Kurian who is handling DumBir, their new vertical that launched recently tells us, “We currently have Thalassery and Lucknow styles available to order, with Hyderabadi biryani on the way (next month).” This includes choices of chicken, mutton, fish, prawn, egg and vegetarian. We sampled the Malabar Chicken Bento box that was ghee-laden and rich, and apart from the expected raita, came with chammandhi (coconut chutney) and date pickle for a pop of sweetness! The delicately flavoured Lucknow Mutton Bento was accompanied by shammi kebabs, a paratha and butter chicken, pickled onions and mint chutney. A broad spectrum of flavour and variety, in contrast to the usual. If this isn’t impressive enough already, each box includes a custom dessert — we got their signature Caramel Custard and Phirni, best had chilled. Prices: INR 345 to INR 595.
This Instagram kitchen that opened shop in March serves more cuisines than most people have places stamped on their passports. Get a mouthful of this: Mexican, Korean, Ethiopian, South Asian, Japanese, Latin American, Italian and American. Phew! Started by 28-year-old chef Gokul Kumar Mohit, who graduated from The Culinary Institute of America and has done stints at Michelin star kitchens like Junoon and Aureole in New York, we discover the ethos behind this project comes from his travels. “I wanted to bring my NY experiences to my beloved Chennai,” he tells us. Expect a rotational menu of cuisines with seasonal produce all the way. We opted for Fish Tacos with pickled beets (highly recommended) for some tangy zing and a Lamb Burrito Bowl packed with fresh, seasonal veggies, lemon wedges and homemade salsa verde. Sadly, guacamole was not one of the sides, which was a touch disappointing. However, the divine Basque Cheesecake for dessert, was quick to lift our spirits right back up! Order a day in advance. Meal for two INR 1,000.
After over a decade spent living in Thailand, Prabha Ramesh has spent plenty of time whipping up Bangkok staples for family and friends. Especially given, she shares, “There were many days where, as a family, we’d crave authentic, flavourful, vegan or vegetarian Thai food in the city — but we were unable to find any places that really struck a chord.” This led to the start of Totally Thai (largely vegan) recently with a compact eight-item menu of salads, rice and noodles and mains like Green Curry. We got a taste of their popular Som Tam (raw papaya salad) that comes with a dressing that is a symphony of tang and sweet. Crunchy, fresh and nutty, courtesy the accompanying peanuts to garnish — this appetizer gets a thumbs up from us. We also recommend their Thai Red Curry and sticky rice which has us eager for seconds. On the beverage front, Prabha tells us to look out for favourites like Thai Milk Tea and Milo Dinosaur on their menu soon. Available on Wednesday and Friday, for lunch and dinner. Order a day in advance. Meal for two INR 800.
ID Soul Box
Home-style meals packed with nutrition and flavour. That is what the new ID Soul Box delivers, according to business head Nithin Suresh. Wheat upma for breakfast, paruppu keerai kootu for lunch and ragi idlis for dinner? We found the seven-day day menu rotation choc-full with healthy South Indian fare. The portion sizes are also quite generous as we discovered over lunch delivered to the office. The 13-item combo included rice, a tasty mixed vegetable poriyal, melagu rasam, chapati and vegetable kurma... we needed to share this even though it was a single serving. The best part? You get a seasonal fresh juice in a bottle along with your meal. We got a refreshing musk melon option that was just what we needed, a sweet escape from the summer heat. Available per meal, or on subscription. Jain special meal boxes have just been introduced. INR 450 covers breakfast, lunch and dinner.