Southern Spice : Curating the best from South

Walking across a door is all that matters. When you pass that threshold, you find yourself transported to an ancient south Indian temple, where pillars stand tall, where the ceilings and walls are lined with carved timber and decorated with intricately done murals depicting the four south Indian states, adorned with bronze lamps modelled from the lamps of Padmanabhapuram Palace and statues from Chola period. Description resembles some museum?!, nope, I’m describing the interiors of  Southern Spice – the country’s most iconic South Indian specialty restaurant, at Taj Coromandel. The detailing doesn’t stop with the interiors and ambiance, even the cutlery, silver and gold plated dinner ware, and the linen oozes the traditional feel from Southern India, and the traditional touch doesn’t stop just there.

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Southern Spice showcases the very best of the traditional dishes of South India, with a modern rendition. Dishes I got to taste was part of the Mahavirundhu, which literally translates to “Grand Feast”, and boy, it was indeed one grand feast. Tickling and tantalizing my taste buds with myriad of spices in the traditionally prepared food. With few dishes even kicking off memories from my ancestry region of God’s own country. Interesting part or the modern rendition that I mentioned earlier is that these traditional dishes are given a twist with some exotic ingredients. And the recipes here are from a research that is 15yrs old, a collection from royal clans across south India and celebrity families who have dined here.

Pineapple - Ginger Punch

Pineapple – Ginger Punch

Assortment of Chutneys

Assortment of Chutneys

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Vathals/Vadaams with chutneys

Vathals/Vadaams with chutneys

The meal starts with a dose of Mysore rasam, and they have a an extensive menu just for varieties of rasam on offer. And then comes a flurry of starters and I just loved hogging down each and every one of them. The taste of each and every dish still lingers on my taste buds.

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Mysore Rasam

Banana dosa Jaggery and cardamom flavoured sweet banana pancakes

Banana dosa
Jaggery and cardamom flavoured sweet banana pancakes

Injipuli koshambri A salad of tempered lentils and lettuce with ginger-tamarind yogurt quenelles

Injipuli koshambri
A salad of tempered lentils and lettuce with ginger-tamarind yogurt quenelles

Vaigai Kari sukka Succulent lamb morsels gently cooked in fragrant spices, a typial comfort food of Madurai

Vaigai Kari sukka
Succulent lamb morsels gently cooked in fragrant spices, a typial comfort food of Madurai

Denji rawa fry Semolina crusted soft shell crabs, fried crisp

Denji rawa fry
Semolina crusted soft shell crabs, fried crisp

Kori Kempu Shredded chicken marinated with chillies and spices fried and tossed in yoghurt

Kori Kempu
Shredded chicken marinated with chillies and spices fried and tossed in yoghurt

Fennel flavoured crisp lamb meat dumplings wrapped with banana fibre, a specialty Kair katti Yerachi kola urundai from Thanjavur

Kair katti Yerachi kola urundai
Fennel flavoured crisp lamb meat dumplings wrapped with banana fibre, a specialty from Thanjavur

Melagu adai Pan fried lentil pan cakes

Melagu adai
Pan fried lentil pan cakes

 

And then it was time for main course, along came a large plaintain leaf inspired gold plated plate, with an assortment of bowls. Idiyappam, Appam and Parotta were served with Manathakkali vathal kozhambu,  Pookose urlai kurma, Kadala gassi, Pachakari ishtew, Royallu iguru, Mangalore yetti curry, Scallop pepper stew, Sankaraa meen kozhambu, Kozhi malliperalan, Asparagus paruppu usili and Zucchini Khaara Poriyal.

Phew, that was a long list ain’t it?

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Along came steamed rice with andhra paruppu podi and ghee, the best I have had till date. And then rice with arachivitta Sambhar, a traditional tam-brahm recipe from Chef’s grandma. Also served were curd rice and not to miss, the Bhejwada kodi biriyani, a speciality from Andhra.

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 To wash down the main course we were given a shot of curry leaves concoction, mine spiked with vodka 😀

And then came my favorite part of any feast, desserts. The twist of tradition was here in the desserts too. Elaneer payasam was just too good. Godhi bella ice-cream, altogether a new dessert for me, made of broken wheat, jaggery and banana. To be served last was a mouth watering surprise, Chocolate Purnam mousse, totally Indian version of chocolate mousse filled with jaggery, coconut and lentils.

Curry leaf concoction

Curry leaf concoction

Elaneer payasam & Godhi bella ice-cream

Elaneer payasam & Godhi bella ice-cream

Chocolate purnam mousse

Chocolate purnam mousse

 

Southern Spice has three private dining rooms along with the usual fine dining setting. The thalis start from 2000rs and goes upto 12000rs which includes best of the wines paired to go with the traditional taste. MahaVirundhu is priced at 5000rs and has 30 dishes in it. Now, are you thinking that the pricing is tad high? Well, you gotta experience it to know that the price is worth it. Try it once, I’m pretty sure you will return for more.

 

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