Andhra cuisine is temperamental at the best of times. It’s got a funky tendency to mess with your brain, if you try anything smart. You’re either in for a stout singeing or, if you respect it, some mellow mood food — it’s unpredictable, which is how I can describe the food at Vindu, in Jayanagar 5th block.
This place is perfect for dinner. As if to circumvent any odd effects the food might put on the grey matter, Vindu’s ambience is almost too soothing, too innocent. But there’s fire in there, if you know where to look. If you don’t, chances are the fire will come to you.
While you’re still deciding, order ‘Vindu’s vegetable bullets’. And as I rarely get the opportunity to pun in Hindi: goli khayega kya? These bullets are just tikkas part deux. Minced veggies fried with liberal doses of pepper. Or if you’re a mushroom fan, look for the Guntur mushroom. Then there’s its chicken equivalent — they’re more fiery.
The main course was ‘Gutthivankai koora’. Even after I snatched the menu off another table to check the name (thrice), I’m still not sure I’ve got it right. It’s brinjal, in groundnut paste, or groundnut stuffing...let’s just say there’s a lot of groundnut.
Then my favourite Andhra dish: Kodi Masala. If you’re going to follow my path, then let me warn you: you’re going to lose all feeling on your tongue, for at least a couple of hours. For the true chilli aficionado, this is catharsis. Trial by fire. The tongue still shivers in memory.
The ‘Moghali kodi’, on the other hand, was more apologetic; a thick, savoury gravy, chicken in cashewnut paste, milder, soothing.
Seafood maniacs, don’t worry, there’s quite a few fish in this part of the ocean. I’m not sure what kind of fish it was in ‘Chapala pulusu’ — apparently they cook it overnight — but the tamarind was too evident, and for a minute everyone had a seizure.
The gravies go well with the biriyanis on offer, especially the egg biriyani. But if you want simpler fare, there are dosas on the menu.
There’s also a lot of tandoor dishes, such as the Hariyali Murgh, which I had parcelled and someone stole on the way out, but I don’t mind. The thief should be regretting it by now. Play with the Hariyali Murgh at your own risk.
Wash it all down with fresh lime soda, and make like a bee for the ‘matka kulfi’. It’ll likely save your tongue from going into a coma if you overdose on the spice. Which is a given, if you’re stepping into Vindu.