Food special: This novel festival at Dakshin, Chennai has chefs and musicians working together in symphony
And we look forward to some brilliant food pairings playing out over the next few weeks
Poosinikkai over tabla beats. Or how about Meen Mappas to the gentle strains of a mandolin?
South Indian speciality restaurant Dakshin at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park has a novel concept playing out over the next few weeks. Four different menus will be served alongside genre-appropriate pairings in a new festival called Isayam Virundhu.
As we sample a crisp Thavala Vada (deep fried lentil fritters) with a generous dip of tomato chutney — Chef de Cuisine Vijay Kumar tells us the line-up comprises of “Classical dishes (Carnatic), a Nostalgia menu (classical instrumental), Rural relish (Folk) and finally, Forgotten recipes from yesteryear (Melody).”These will be scheduled in three day stints, in the same order, starting from November 22.
While the new 10-member band of musicians isn’t in during our preview tasting experience — we found ourselves delighting in the sudden recognition of Happy Birthday (the flute version) dedicated to a fellow guest.
Shifting our focus to the food now, our favourite dish of the afternoon turns out to be a delicately flavoured Kudampuli Meen Curry. Prepared in a clay pot as it was traditionally done back in the day, with brindle berry, coconut and chilli — this dish goes wonderfully with our thayir sadham at the end of the meal. Although, if you prefer your fish a bit spicy, we recommend you opt for village-style meen preparation with raw mango and tamarind.
A Coorg Mamsam Shukki (shallow-fried mutton with pepper and spices) also has us licking our fingers, and the Seema Kathrikkai Thirakkal (Chettinad Eggplant Curry) is wholesome with coconut, tomatoes and cinnamon dry masala. We drench our mini dosas in this curry and find the combination quite warming and hearty.
We wrap up with a delicate Poosinikkai Mor Kootu. Light and refreshing, this ash gourd curry-meets-curd combo is best had with rice or even on its own, if you opt for seconds like we did.
November 22 to December 15. Meal for two INR 2,000 approximately.