Amidst all the new pubs opening in the city, there is also a new wave of restaurants sprouting up serving authentic Tamil Nadu cuisine. After Murukku Meesai Mess in Ambattur’s OMR Food Street, Vimalam Mess in Anna Nagar is serving mouthwatering Chettinad cuisine, which will help feed your local food craving. It is owned by Chennai-based restaurateur couple Kurinchiselvan T and Dr. Vijayalakshmi R, who also own Nivedhanam in Mylapore. What makes this 110-seater unique, are the freshly ground masalas which are added to each dish, and also its never-ending non-vegetarian menu, with a smattering of vegetarian dishes.
We start with a steaming cup of filter coffee, as the meal gets laid out in front of us on a banana leaf. Being a modern version of the classic ‘mess’ in the city, the 2,000 sq ft restaurant is brightly lit and has walls adorned with paintings by one of Tamil Nadu’s most famous artists, Trotsky Marudu. Firm believers in serving original flavours, they also boast of using every part of the goat, which we assume takes inspiration from the nose-to-tail concept, a cooking style for pork, made popular by English chef Fergus Henderson.
With so many dishes on our table, we decided to start with the Mackerel fish curry and rice, and we immediately got the comfort food feeling. A bite of the batter-fried Mutton Kola Urundai is a must, as it crumbles in our mouth as soon as we bite into it. While we are tempted by the fragrant Dindigul biryani, we decide to taste the enticing Pichupotta Poondu Kozhi (stir-fried chicken with garlic). We aren’t disappointed as it turns out to be an absolute delight with a strong flavour from the curry leaves and garlic rubbing off on the chicken cubes. Later in the meal, we dive into the Vimalam Special Biryani which is irresistible and relish the soft chunks of mutton. We are told it is even better with the greasy mutton curry (made with a lamb neck), and couldn’t agree more, because it turns out to be the perfect combination.
Sweet and spice
Being one of the signatures, we pick at the spicy, meaty prawns from the Karuveppilai Prawn Varuval, which is influenced by curry leaves and tantalises our taste buds immediately. The Mutton Suvoroti (mutton spleen) is spicy and dry with a peppery taste that we love. Happy with our experience, a sweet Elaneer Payasam, served chilled and sweet with fresh coconut pieces, turns out to be the perfect end to our meal.
Meal for two Rs 1,000 plus taxes.
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