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Serving from grandma’s kitchen

ON A SPICY TRAIL: Flattering platter. Photo: T. Saravanan  

“Try the ‘nandu’ (crab) omelette,” suggests A. Saravanan, one of the partners of the newly opened Arumugam Mess on the Alagarkoil Road. “It is boneless crab pieces minced and mixed with egg,” he explains.

Gourmands welcome quaint places offering lost flavours. And, Arumugam mess is one such place which does not need any social media marketing or artful plating to promote their cause. It lets the food do the talking.

Dotted with numerous non vegetarian restaurants, Tallakulam has become the dining destination for non vegetarian food lovers visiting the city. “We are not new to the food industry. With more than five decades of experience, we have etched out name firmly with our evening mutton stall,” says A. Ramesh, another partner.

“We decided to open this restaurant after numerous enquiries and suggestions from our customers to start an exclusive space for dining with family,” he adds.

Coming back to food, a quick glance at the restaurant's menu will tell you they’ve respected the traditional staples and have tweaked recipes to suit the local palate. The meal opens with the crispy ‘kola urundais’ (mutton kheema balls). The flavoursome starter with minced meat and choice of spices melts in your mouth.

“We have already studied the market and planned to introduce unique recipes, but will retain our traditional recipes, which is our stronghold,” says Ramesh.

Most of the preparations are based on Chettinad cuisine, for which the owners have roped in team of cooks from Ponnamaravathi. Crab masala and crab lollipop stand out. Chicken lollipop is heard but a lollipop preparation with crab is certainly different. “It is basically crab kebab. Boneless crab is minced and mixed with spices, skewered and deep fried. The crispy kebabs are much sought after dish among children,” says Saravanan. The good health oozing from its peppery base leaves a lasting impact on your palate.

The kebabs tossed with a glitter of Chettinad masala is definitely a spice burst. The bone marrow omelette is another sought after dish. Getting bone marrow in large quantities is not an easy task but sufficient staff has been deployed just for that job.

It is an adventurous culinary journey for the gourmands with inviting ‘viral meen’ (snake head murrel) kozhambu and the winner here hands down is the ‘ayirai meen’ kozhambu. The thick gravy with liberal use of red chilli powder and tamarind pulp lingers on your tongue. Not to be left behind is the mutton roast. The meat crispy outside and succulently soft inside leaves a lasting impression. “The meat here is super soft as we boil the meat well before taking it to the frying pan. The homemade masala does the rest,” says Saravanan

There is also a variety of biryanis on offer from fish to turkey biryani. While mutton, chicken and prawns are available on all days, Turkey is available only on Sundays. The evening session is stacked with smorgasbord of dosas that include mutton and chicken kari dosa, crab and prawn dosa. “We are already popular for our pepper chicken preparation and parottas and we will continue to provide the same here also,” promises Ramesh.

From a humble roadside eatery to the sophisticated family restaurant, Arumugam Mess has come a long way. It would not be wrong to say that the restaurant has contributed to Madurai’s fame for food.


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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:32:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Serving-from-grandma%E2%80%99s-kitchen/article16644588.ece

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