Steeped in spice

Steeped in spice

To eat on ‘bale yele’ or a ‘hittale thatte’ is the cherry on the top to a scrumptious South Indian meal. The subtle flavours of the banana leaf or brass plate as they seep into the chutney, meat and rice, is nothing short of a delectable experience. At ‘Dakshin’, one of the restaurants in ITC Windsor, one can gorge on various foods from the five South Indian states — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — just as traditions would have them.

They offer rare pleasures from each of the states and try to make the dining experience as authentic as possible. Right from lip-smacking ‘majjigae’ to ‘kiri pani’, they have it all. And the in-betweens are no less of a treat. If buttermilk is too commonplace, one can opt for the ‘muneer’, a concoction of jaggery, tender coconut water, khus syrup and honey. But for those who do not have a sweet-tooth, this can be given a pass.

To warm up the belly, a variety of fritters — fish fried cutlets, lamb samosas and vegetable samosas — are available. By this time, a colourful assortment of chutneys — coriander, tomato, coconut and tomato and onion — decorate the plate. But they are no more than idle decorations because the gap between each course is as vast as a plain. Be prepared to have your hands covered with slowly drying food. Other starters include ‘Devilled chicken’, ‘Devilled prawns’ and ‘Vendakka sambal’.

Even as the main course appears, and a variety of side helpings, like ‘Kaju curry’ (a melange of tender cashew and green peas in coconut curry), ‘Annasi perattal’ (pineapple curry scented with cinnamon and fennel), ‘Vambu pahi’ (sliced brinjals simmered in mustard-flavoured sauce), ‘Mozhaga masala’ (potato stuffed jumbo chillis), ‘Chicken badun’ and ‘Erachi curry’ (tender lamb stewed in spices), appear, the ‘appams’ and ‘Kerala parottas’ take ages to come. Just as one finishes one helping
of an ‘appam’ or ‘parotta’, they have another wait coming at them.

Even dishes like ‘Idiappam’, ‘Idiappam kottu’, ‘Bisi bele bath’, ‘Nei dosa’ and ‘Mysore biryani’ are on the menu.  The pineapple curry and parottas stand out for their warmth, as they settle in your belly. While the meat is a bit hard to taste, they aren’t all that bad. An ending with ‘payasams’, and one is set to go.

‘Dakshin’ is located at ITC Windsor, 25 Golf Course Road; for more details, call 41401205.

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