This place in T Nagar is a meat lover’s paradise
The recipes for the spice mixes at BHUUVA have been passed down across generations within the family that owns it
In a village near Tirupur, an elderly lady makes a variety of curry powders and every month, sends them to her son’s family in Chennai. These masalas form the base of many items on BHUUVA’s menu, in T Nagar. “The recipes for the spice mixes were passed to my mother-in-law across generations… the key lies in the proportions,” says Divya Arthi, owner of the newly-opened quick service restaurant which, unlike most outlets in this category, focuses on non-vegetarian dishes.
Rasam rice like risotto
Her mother-in-law’s magic is perhaps what helps this restaurant offer non-vegetarian Kongunaadu style dishes that will definitely remind you of home, especially if you are from Western Tamil Nadu. From their rasam rice that is so rich it reminds us of risotto to their soupy chicken kuzhambu, the outlet gets its flavours bang on. Divya says her mother-in-law, now in her 60s, roasts all the spices in the backyard of her house.
Meat and greet
As the staff assemble our meals in the open service area, we notice that the menu is just a single page. We sit on one of the four couches, but you can choose to have a meal standing too. “We decided to keep the menu simple and concise,” the owner, whose husband has been in the food business for 10 years, adds. For lunch, you can choose between fish, chicken, mutton and vegetarian meals. At `140 (without taxes) a plate, you get a gravy, curry, vegetable, rasam and curd rice.
A fish meal, with rice and accompaniments, lands on our table. The fish curry takes its place in the largest bowl. It is sharp and tangy. “This is the only dish which is not Kongu-style, it does not have coconut in it … this is a typical Chennai meen kuzhambu, a tomato and tamarind-based gravy,” the 27-year-old says.
Just like home
Another dish which is omnipresent in homes across Tamil Nadu, the humble rasam rice, wins hands down. It’s creamy texture and the garlicky bits of jeera add texture to this comfort food. The chicken curry, which is loaded with the famous spice mix, is soupy, spicy and warms our throats. We drink up the curry on its own. “We only use shallots for all the dishes, the onions are just for garnish; if we use onions to cook with, the taste will change.”
The next dish, an accompaniment which you can order along with your meal, Prawn Varuval, is packed with caramelised shallots and fried curry leaves. Divya says that while the curries remain constant, the sides change every day. The restaurant is currently open for lunch and dinner, but will soon be open for breakfast. What do they offer for breakfast and dinner? Idlis and dosas, just like home.
Meal for two Rs 400.