Kokkarakko in Chennai serves a humungous Virundhu meal with 63 dishes on one leaf
When we stepped into Kokkarakko, Kodambakkam’s newest restaurant, little did we know a feast would be waiting for us. As we sat down at the table, we attempted to eat 63 dishes over the next two hours, as a part of the restaurant’s Virundhu meal; it was obviously challenging, but we finished at a good 40 dishes. Previously called Kichees, the restaurant, owned by Krishika Karthik, now stands refurbished with a new name. As you can tell, it has been inspired by the sound of a rooster crowing in the morning. Interestingly, this also indicates that the restaurant will be open all night for hungry diners, in the months to come.
“I wanted to start a specialised restaurant, so when I consulted with Chef Koushik Shankar, he said the city required a responsible poultry-based restaurant which also satisfied the vegetarian palate and that is what we should serve,” Krishika tells us, when we ask about what inspired her to re-brand. The menu has been designed by Chef Koushik, popularly known as ‘The Mad Chef’, to serve South Indian cuisine and delectable fusion desserts, with an organic touch that makes it light on the belly. “You can eat all of the food and still not feel stuffed because it is all about healthy eating with lightly fried food, to make it easier to relish,” says the chef, talking about the large Virundhu meal and all other food on the menu.
Fry it out
We started our meal with chilled Panagams, a traditional South Indian drink made from jaggery and ginger before the Chettinadu Bashed Potato appeared on our table. Bashed baby potatoes tossed in a spicy Chettinad masala, with a dominant chilli flavour, gets us excited for the meal. The Tandoori Pookosu (cauliflower) makes for a crunchy bite with a smoky flavour it gets from being finished on charcoal. The chicken specialities, on the other hand, come in all kinds — from Andhra-style chicken to even a Tamil Nadu-inspired local dish. The Karaikudi Kozhi Kal Kebab is a meaty drumstick chicken, fried in dominant Karaikudi spices, which is finished on charcoal. And it immediately impressed with a burst of flavour. The restaurant also has its very own version of fried chicken, nicknamed KFC, which simply offers chunks of chicken deep-fried and served with a spicy homemade chilli sauce.
Panjamirutham in panna cotta?
One of Kokkarakko’s signature dishes turns out to be Kada Fry, which is a crisp, fried Chinese-style quail dish tossed in a ‘secret’ masala. Even though we had already eaten so much, we couldn’t resist a serving of the Ambur-style Chicken Biryani, which was perfect and mildly spiced, and if the desserts weren’t so exciting, we might have attempted another helping. Served in a set of six chai glasses — the Coconut Pudding and Panjamirutham Panna cotta easily stood out for us. While the first is a creamy mix of tender coconut and saffron, the second turns out to be a sweet pudding topped with actual temple prasad!
Kadaknath chicken is a breed popularly found in Madhya Pradesh, however, the restaurant has locally sourced the meat from Tamil Nadu. Completely black to the bone, the chicken is a little tougher than normal and has a peppery flavour which is hard to miss, and makes quite an interesting feast.
Veg thali unlimited with 21 varieties at Rs 149 + taxes
Kokkarakko Virundhu over 63 varieties at Rs 659 + taxes
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