Mumbai Food: South Indian eatery in Verosova serves home-style delicacies
On our second visit to a popular South Indian eatery in Versova, we find it retains its vigour for dishing out soulful, authentic home-style delicacies
When The Treesome Cafe shut, we were heartbroken. It was our neighbourhood watering hole with the perfect vibe, with a phrase on the wall describing it best: Tonight we rage. It is our second visit to Tanjore Tiffin Room that has replaced it since early this year. We recall the crumb-fried jackfruit cutlets holding a coconut-flecked mash, and the masaledar chicken Chettinad.
We guess the hype around the restaurant serving Tamil Nadu cuisine in Andheri must have settled. How packed can the eatery be? We won't need a reservation, our partner for the evening ascertains. But we walk in around 8.30 pm to be told the place is fully booked.
Paneer pepper fry. Pics/Ashish Raje
Before we turn back, the kind lady who receives us makes some adjustments and we get a table in the al fresco seating under a green-curtain roof and monkey sculptures meant to make us feel we are in a house surrounded by a jungle. And the warm lighting makes the white flower motifs on the wall come alive.
An elderly Tamil couple who have come with their daughter is grinning at a member of the waiting staff taking them through the tasting thali of curries and rasams for the main course. By the end, the mother giggles.
Padmini's mutton cutlet
"We are Tamilians, so we know these curries. But your explanation was perfect," she says. We settle at our table and order a kaapi Monk (Rs 360), reasoning it is meant to keep us awake for the night patrol. It's a double whammy — caffeine aiding good ol' Old Monk. We pair this with Padmini's mutton cutlet (Rs 375), deep-fried brown patties marinated in fenugreek, sesame, garlic, curry leaves and lots of chillies. Each bite sets our mouth on fire, and the cocktail adds more fuel, but
we carry on. The cutlets are meaty and crumbly.
Our vegetarian option of paneer pepper fry (Rs 225) brings on more fire, this time in the form of pepper, ginger and green chillies. One of us is sensitive to spice levels, but still cannot stop at one bite. However, if you must, do tell your server to suggest milder dishes.
From the tamarind curry, rasam to the sour fish curry, we are spoilt for choice as we try a spoonful of all the gravies they have to offer. The well-informed servers help us pair our curries and point out milder options, taking notice of our sweaty brows. We opt for the Anglo-Indian inspired Madras railway chicken curry (Rs 350) with Malabar parotha ('75), and a veg yellow curry ('280) with appam (Rs 65).
The colonial Madras curry became famous in the 1600s when the curry powder was made in Madras with the regular spices of cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon, dried red chillies, fennel and black pepper. We wonder how the colonial babus digested this hot dish that we pair with our parotha, which is a tad too chewy.
The yellow curry is similar to the Thai version, and is thick and mildly spiced and goes well with the fluffy appams that reminds us of the impending slumber in our soft blanket awaiting us at home.
Time 12 pm to 1 am
At Jewel Mahal Shopping Centre, Seven Bungalows, Andheri West.
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