A taste of old Madras

Sample this: At Madras, The Raintree, Anna Salai. Photo: Special Arrangement  

In the same space, earlier, under the same name of Madras at The Raintree, was a coastal cuisine dine-in. But now, with a changeover in what they offer but under the same name, Madras has dived into three new cultures!

The restaurant's named Madras not only because it caters to the Chennai population and also because the old Madras Presidency was a union of current day Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala.

This dine-in restaurant welcomes you into its traditional fold with piping hot rasam or well churned buttermilk. Pappad and spiced vegetables keep you company while you read through the vast menu card. Written in the vernacular, a sense of connection hits you!

The spread

The Aarambham (Tamil for beginning) spreads across the three states — the Makka Cholam Masala (corn nibblets with raw mango), Palkati Kodamolanga Varuval (Cottage Cheese and Capsicum), Prawns with Karuvapillai (curry leaves), Avoli Porichatu (Pomfret fried), Poricha Kozhi Thalichatu (Chicken fried), seer fish wrapped in banana leaves and Mutton Chukka Varuval are worth a try — all of them served with four sweet and spicy chutneys (two from AP and two from TN).

In particular, the pineapple chutney tops the chart. All the non-veg items on the platter (especially the prawns and pomfret) were well marinated and seasoned.

The Tambalam/Bhojanam or Sapadu could be marked as a perfect replica of home cooked food. The Tamil style predominantly pertains to only the Tanjore and Chettinad cooking.

A variety of curries, gravies and masalas from these State-cuisines are accompanied by biriyanis, aapams and kottu parothas. They have only an a-la-carte menu along with the thali for the chef feels that the Indian cooking styles are not very appealing, when served cold on the buffet table.

Crowd favourite

The only difference between their lunch and dinner menus is the Thali. Offered only for lunch, it has always had the maximum takers! With delicacies from all three regions, they have a wide range of chutneys, papads, dal (amazingly light), sambhar, a few gravies, curds and pickle that accompany the Malabar parathas and rice.

This set-meal remains the same for both veg and non-veg combinations; the only addition for the non-veg thali being the inclusion of two more curries (any two from the usual chicken/fish/mutton/prawns).

Three desserts follow — usually a payasam, one ice-cream scoop and one Indian sweet.

Timings: Lunch – 12:30 to 3pm; Dinner – 7:30 to 11:30 pm

Location: The Raintree Hotel, Anna Salai

A meal for two costs approximately: Rs. 1500

Thali prices: Rs. 450 (veg) and Rs. 550 (non-veg)

Kasturi Ramanathan is a Second Year B.Com Professional Student at Christ University, Bengaluru.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:35:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/a-taste-of-old-madras/article2734993.ece

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