Hyderabad's newly launched Southern Spice Green celebrates traditional recipes like avakai and ulavacharu in novel ways
Going to the suburbs like Abids and Koti, that too into the leafy bylanes of Old Hyderabad, is like a blast from the past. So it was a pleasant surprise to revisit the South part of the city to sample the flavours of Southern Spice Green, the first vegetarian restaurant of the Southern Spice group, one sunny Monday afternoon. That the all-day diner opened opposite ISKCON Temple, a landmark in itself and next to Govinda’s, also a vegetarian restaurant known for its sattvic food, is a bold move. Manager B Shiva Shankar says it is the confidence in their native recipes that made them go for this location. The 74-seater diner which opened a month ago sports simple ambience with bright interiors, thanks to light filtering through its large French windows.
The single-floor eatery of the group caters to families that typically visit the temple on weekends and the collegians from Golden Threshold, the heritage home of the late Gandhian, Sarojini Naidu, in the vicinity. “We offer a variety to our guests and hence the food ranges from simple Sambar Rice for the elderly to Paneer Butter Dosa for teenagers,” he says. We start with their most popular starter — the garelu range — mokkajonna (sweetcorn vada), alasanda (lobia) and saggubiyyam (tapioca). All three were crispy, (surprisingly) not oily, and delicious too. They were a refreshing change from the new-age jalapeno poppers or arancinis. I wish they also had an assorted platter so that one could have a taste of all. “Keeping in line with our local delicacies, we have designed a menu that celebrates avakaya and ulavacharu, all distinctly Telugu.” We tried the avakaya range of idli, dosa and biryani. The spice of the mango pickle certainly made the bland idli a rockstar. My favourite, however, is the Ulavacharu Pulav made of water from boiling horsegram. This spicy brown rice came with a fresh garnish of mint and coriander and added a new spice that no other ulavacharu delicacy has ever seen. If you have a Sunday morning at hand and also want to pick up secondhand books at Abids, this one makes for a perfect pit-stop for lunch.
Price for two: Rs 600.
Pics: Sathya Keerthy