Mumbai Food: Lower Parel restaurant to offer special beer made from heirloom malt
Starting tomorrow, a Lower Parel watering hole is offering a special beer made from heirloom malt and a pop-up menu by a popular Bengaluru eatery that is inspired by the four southern states of India
Chef Kavan Kuttappa grew up in Kodagu district in a Kodava family of Kshatriya lineage. "Our cricket breaks were spent eating egg puffs from Iyengar bakery, and mom's pandi curry (Rs 425), slow-cooked and spiced with pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and corriander," the executive chef of Bengaluru-based The Permit Room recalls. When he was asked to curate a pop-menu for the first anniversary of Toit Taproom and Kitchen in Mumbai, he wanted to represent South India well.
"We are not just idli-dosa. In contemporary Indian restaurants too, South Indian food is seldom represented beyond sambhar foam. I decided to have fun with this menu," says Kuttappa, who sticks to authentic flavour profiles but doesn't hesitate adding parmesan to tamarind balls and hollandaise sauce over egg puffs. We took a four-state scrumptious food hop.
Spice it up
The spice levels hit the roof when we halt at Andhra Pradesh. "The food is rice-based, and we see the use of gongura pickles. We make in-house podi with chilli and gram dal. The spices are pre-roasted and then pounded which adds a nutty flavour. Red chilli from Guntur is the spiciest," says Kuttappa.
ORDER : Andhra-style chicken
While the version here uses yogurt, be prepared to breathe fire. The chicken chunks are tender, and come on a bed of appam. Polish off the chicken, and wipe off the soaked layer of soft appam beneath.
COST: Rs 275
Sweet like sambhar
Home ground for Kuttappa, he elevates the egg puffs into a gourmet dish of a flaky puff holding an upturned egg white pocket stuffed with a tomato-onion paste.
About the medu vada, whose name and recipe changes in slight variation across all the states, Kuttappa says, "It's medu vada (Rs 225) served with a non-sweet sambhar in Tamil Nadu and uddin vada, served with a sweeter sambhar in Karnataka." Ours comes spiked with cheese and crunchy asparagus pieces, adding body and textural breaks.
ORDER: chiroti sandwich
A wedding treat, ours looks like a French puff pastry, topped with a dollop of ice cream. The authenticity is marked with the filling of a basundi paste and the entire element swims in a mango milk and cream. We crush through the flakes and ensure every element is on the spoon for the big bite.
COST: Rs 275
There are all things coconut here, from oil to base curries, making them thicker on the palate, to freshly ground or roasted coconut in curries. "While raw mango is used as a souring agent, apart from tamarind, I have used it as an ingredient in the potato and raw mango curry (Rs 325). It is a pop of sour burst with every bite.
There's use of fennel in the spices too. Most gravies have a stewy-thin consistency. While Kerala coast has a staple of karimeen pollichathu, Mangalore consumes kane. "In Kerala, the fish is either fried or baked or steamed in banana leaves. In Tamil Nadu, the fish preparations are quick fixes like deep and stir frying. Kerala also gets the international influence of early settlers like the Arabs and the Syrian Christians.
ORDER: Fish Pollichathu
Usually a red-spice marination, ours comes in a light green tinge earned from raw mango, coconut and chillies. The marinade is finished with a tadka of curry leaves and rai.
COST: Rs 350
In Chennai, gravies use a lot of sesame oil making them thicker, and linger on the palate. "One of the dishes on the menu is the ennai kathirikai - an eggplant curry, stuffed with some chutney podi.
The gravy has a dominant chilli tamarind flavour," says Kuttappa. The state is known for its Chettinad cuisine, which documents the use of cardamom along with the fiery spice mix of chillies and pepper.
ORDER: Puliyogare Poppers
They look like a larger version of Jalapeño poppers, but inside is tamarind rice and toasted peanuts, fused with creamy parmesan. With a raw onion and yogurt dip, this is binge-worthy.
COST: Rs 250
Our tall glass of 500 ml Chevallier Bitter has a golden copper tinge, and is low on carbonation. The sip is chilled, on the bitter side, and has a biscuit-y malt flavour. This beer recently took part in a beer competition titled Heirloom Malt Brewing Award in Germany. Interestingly, the beer is made from an heirloom malt variety, Chevallier, which was first used in the 1830s, and since 2010 has been replanted and cropped. For the blend, it was procured from Rhoen Malt in Germany. If the stout scares you because of its bitterness, this one is a fine beginning.
AT: Toit Brewery Taproom and Kitchen, Zeba Centre, 242, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel West, Mathuradas Mill Compound (Todi Mills).
TIME: 12 noon till 1 am
CALL: 93245 55223
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