Visiting Kannannan is like going home to a feast

I feel like I am in my grandmother’s kitchen at Kannannan, a “purely non-vegetarian” restaurant at R.S Puram. The smell of grounded spices, coriander leaves and hot red chilly masala fills the air along with the sound of spluttering oil as Savithri slips chicken pieces, coated in red chilly masala and sombu podi into the hot oil.

“Sombu helps in digestion,” she says.

Karthik, a hotel management student and Balakrishnan, an IT professional, are the owners of Kannannan. Savithri is Karthik’s mother “All our recipes hark back to the traditional South Indian cuisine, prepared by our grand-mothers and great-grandmothers. We are continuing the legacy,” says Karthik, who studied Hotel Management abroad.

I sit for their elai sappadu. Balakrishnan spreads out a plantain leaf on my table and urges me to “Ëat slowly…Do not hurry.” He first serves me hot white rice. A regular fare at Kannanan begins with rice and mutton chops, mutton kudal and mutton thala curry. The hot spicy mutton chops are delicious with rice. Mutton kudal is soft and melts in my mouth.

Next, Balakrishnan pours a spoonful of mutton gravy on the rice.

“Have some more,” says Balakrishnan, and I do. Just as I am about to finish up, the chicken side dishes arrive. I fall head over heels in love with the Nattu Kozhi Varuval, prepared with ground spices and pepper. “Preparing nattu kozhi is different from making a broiler chicken dish,” says Savitri.

“There are certain masalas that bring out the taste of the nattu kozhi,” she says.

Balakrishnan prefers to call their cuisine a neo-traditional one because they marry the traditional recipes with innovative culinary ideas. For instance, the brain thokku with rice and curd is a recipe they invented.

The spicy and salty thokku blends like a dream with the thick creamy curd. Another innovation is hot chicken fry, a popular item, with rasam and rice.

It is around 12.30 in the afternoon, and people from the nearby banks, hospitals and offices stream in for lunch. This is the second time that Dr. Prema Thilakraj, a dentist has come to lunch at Kannanan. She says she loves their chicken fry. “ But the best thing about this place is the homely atmosphere, adds Prema. “You feel food is brought from your own kitchen,” she says.

“I have named the restaurant after my father, Kannannan who enjoyed eating,” says Karthik.

“We call the lunch ‘virundhu’. We do not use the word ‘customers’. All are family here.”

(The restaurant is located at R.S. Puram, opposite Karur Vysya Bank. It is open only for lunch.

A meal is priced at Rs. 350. For reservations and details, call 98942-11111, or viisit https://www.facebook.com/virundhu)