Less than a month old, Junior Kuppanna is a crowd puller

Humble beginnings can spell stupendous success. So is the story of Erode's Kuppusamy and Rukmani Mudhaliar. Fifty years ago they started Hotel Kuppanna, and captured the imagination of people, both with exceptional food and able serviceTheir son, K Moorthy, along with P. Arumugam, have recently opened Junior Kuppanna (JK) in Coimbatore. They say, “upon visiting many restaurants in the city, we felt that the people of Coimbatore would definitely enjoy our fare.” And the story behind the restaurant's perky name? Moorthy replies, “being the youngest son of Mr. Kuppusamy, I decided to add the prefix.”

Famous for their biriyani and a wide selection of meats, JK also has a modest vegetarian spread that includes parotta, oil roti (which is ironically cooked with less oil), mushroom biriyani, cauliflower dishes and vegetarian meals.

The meat selection make you want to sing. The naatu kozhi, mutton and fish kozhumbu and the chicken, mutton, kaadai and fish fry are smooth and well flavoured. The thalai kari and mutton keema also work well. Only a couple of the dishes are deep fried, while the rest are gently sautéed and cooked to perfection. I can't help but linger on the chicken pallipalayam and the naatu kozhi fry. Health fads will be delighted to know that the chicken pallipalayam (named after a town near Erode) is made without a single drop of oil and carries an explosion of flavours. The naatu kozhi fry is surprisingly soft with a luscious texture. Every dish on the menu carries a distinct flavour all its own. Even the unassuming raitha is yummy. As P.Arumugam explains, “I am a stickler for quality and this is the fourth time I've changed my milk supplier.” I am told that Rukmani paati in Erode still conjures up her magic. She personally sees to the selection and combination of 15 to 20 ingredients that go into the masalas - freshly ground every morning! The owners of JK give all credit to their predecessors for these age old recipes, which have been tweaked just a bit to lend a universal appeal. Dinner is also an enjoyable outing, be it with idlis or a variety of dosas. These are served with two chutneys, butter kozhumbu and chicken kozhumbu.

The kitchen at JK is run to perfection and the food is a reflection of the personal style of those who run it – exactness, simplicity and sensitivity to one's personal tastes.

Open for lunch from 12 to 3.30p.m and for dinner from 6.30 to 10.15p.m, Junior Kuppanna is located at Sarojini Street, Opposite City Union Bank, Ramnagar. For details, call 0422-2235772.

Keywords: Junior Kuppanna