Try millet ‘dosai’, ‘ bise bele bath’ and ‘kara adai’ at the newly-opened Zodiac restaurant in Tirupur

From ‘chinna vengaya poondu kuzhambu’ and ‘karuvepillai’ prawns to ‘kavuni arisi’ halwa and millet ladoos, a host of local flavours await diners at Zodiac 

Published - April 01, 2024 02:25 pm IST

  • Restaurant Zodiac
  • Cuisine Tamil Nadu
  • Cost ₹₹₹
  • Address SEE MAP
Millet dosais  on the menu

Millet dosais on the menu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Thinly sliced, spicy, and crispy — we are staring at a plateful of potato kuchi chips that got polished off in no time. The crispy chips with a drizzle of spicy dal podi is delicious and addictive. Lunch at Zodiac restaurant at the newly-opened Fortune Park Tirupur, a member of ITC’s hotel group is a delightful balance of global and local cuisines. Over plates of mutton chinthamani where diced, mutton fidget along with chopped red chillies, and kalan milagu perattal (mushrooms tossed in crushed pepper corns) that sets your taste buds on fire, Chef Saravanan Thangarasu talks about curating a locavore menu alongside global cuisines to offer a taste of home-grown flavours.

“I have added a few dishes which we often make at our homes in Kumbakonam. Have you tried the black kavuni arisi sweet pongal? or sweet-spicy-tangy kathirikai gothsu, a perfect side dish for idli, dosa or pongal,” he asks before showing us a platter of freshly-plucked mudakathan, perandai and karpooravalli greens that go into the making of a tangy chutney while the fresh basil is used to make the flavourful chinna vengaya poondu kuzhambu. “We grow our greens in the kitchen garden. Be it celery, lemongrass, leeks or basil, it’s straight from farm to table,” he explains.

Chef Saravanan Thangarasu

Chef Saravanan Thangarasu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Elaborating on the role of spices, he says they use hand-pound masalas in the kitchen. “While Chettinad and Kongu cuisines lean towards pepper-based spices, Karaikudi cuisine uses a lot of red chillies. We often make mixed vegetable sambar with locally sourced seasonal vegetables, and on some days we try the Karnataka style sweet sambar with a dash of jaggery for breakfast buffets.

Chef’s special prawn dish

Chef’s special prawn dish | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Chef Saravanan has also experimented with millets, so you will find millet pancakes, kara adai, saamai bisi bele bath and many varieties of millet dosas on the menu. “Our multi-millet ladoos is prepared by locally sourcing a variety of millets from in and around the Kongu region. We avoid preservatives and replace white sugar with palm jaggery.” Among starters, we also try prawns tossed in curry leaves paste and crisp baby corn fries that make for crunchy bites.

After a main course of flaky, crisp, and soft lachcha parathas, cheese garlic naans and kaju butter masala, the desserts platter awaits. There is elaneer payasam, choco coffee mousse and blackkavuni arisi pongal to choose from. Though it looked like sakarai pongal or sweet pongal, it was deep purple in colour. Chef Saravanan explains, “We are familiar with black kavuni rice as most homes in and around Tanjore make this dish often. The nutritious rice is packed with anti-oxidants. We soak the rice overnight and cook it the following morning. Then, we add palm jaggery.”

I scoop out a spoonful of purplish pongal and enjoy the nutty, chewy textures before signing off a satisfying meal.

A meal for two costs ₹2000 plus taxes. Located at Velampalayam Main Rd, Periyar Colony, Velampalayam, Thirumuruganpoondi,Tirupur. For reservations, call 9150089338

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