Wednesday, 9 October 2019

New Restaurant | This award-winning restaurant from Chennai and Pune has finally opened its doors in NCR

Savya Rasa, is not just another ‘south-Indian restaurant’. It takes one on a culinary journey spanning the four southern states, with handpicked dishes from the seven major culinary regions of South India. So, Mangalore and Mysore have been picked from Karnataka, Malabar and Nasrani from Kerala, Chettinad and Kongunadu from Tamil Nadu and Nellore from Andhra Pradesh. 

The vibrant interiors of Savya Rasa.

Located on the 3rd floor of Ardee Mall in Gurgaon, the ambience is reminiscent of a wealthy home in the South, with elements from the different states. While the windows and pillars have been inspired from the many ancient temples, they have been fitted with stained Belgian glass. Tiled flooring adds a traditional charm while keeping the place cool and the art work on the walls includes a large piece of kalamkari painting made with vegetable dyes and wall art depicting the interior of the famous Meenakshi Temple. 

Start Right: refreshing mocktails or fragrant rasams.

Coming back to the food, the choice is aplenty and the wait staff is well-trained to explain the origins, ingredients and cooking techniques, adding to the overall experience. Take your time to navigate the extensive menu that is divided into the modern-style soup, starters, mains, breads rice and desserts, although the recipes are as traditional as possible. My meal starts with the thengai paal rasam, a delicious coconut broth made with tomato puree and tempered with ghee. There is also an aromatic and peppery kozhi rasam, a hearty chicken soup that is a winter specialty from Chettinad.

Clockwise from Top Left: Chicken Porichadhu; Yam Patty;
Baby Potatoes; Fish wrapped in Banana Leaf.

While the menu features my favourites like podi idli fry and methu vada, I went with the starters that I had never had before: senai vadai, a deep fried patty made of boiled elephant foot yam and Malabar urulai roast, or baby potatoes marinated with rice flour and chilli mix, that is deep fried and then pan tossed with sliced onions and aromatic Malabar spices. This is going to be a hit with potato lovers! For the non-vegetarians, kozhi paniyaram, stuffed with finely chopped chicken sounds like a good bet. There is of course a great choice of mutton, prawn and fish options too. Mini meen polichathu is seer fish marinated in a tangy masala made of tomatoes, onions, red chillies and tamarind, rolled in a banana leaf and grilled on a tawa and makes a great appetiser.

Curries Galore
Idiyappam with Veg Ishtew
Bottom L to R: Bun Parotta with different curries;
Manga Curry and Rice.

The curries are absolutely delicious too. You can go for the Andhra special tamatar pappu, yellow lentils cooked with tomatoes, or try the tangy mango curry from Kerala or the very flavourful vegetable ishtew. Kozhi mappas is a Syrian Christian delicacy cooked especially during Easter and Christmas. Or, balance out the spicy gongura mutton with an aromatic meen moilee. The breads to mop up all the aforementioned curries include the whole gamut from appam and idiyappam to neer dosa and a variety of dosai. Thus, the Savya Rasa special bread platter comes highly recommended. And, the chutneys deserve a special mention. They are the freshest and tastiest varieties of white coconut, spicy red and tangy green chutney. 

Must Have
Clockwise from Top Left:
Bun Parotta; Curd Rice;
Filter Coffee; Black Rice Halwa.

Of the things that you shouldn't miss are the bun parotta, a crispier and flakier version of Malabar parotta and pair it with a tangy manga curry or flavourful mutton sukka. And do save space for thayir saadham or curd rice, black rice halwa and of course the filter kaapi, to wash it all down. 

Insider Tip: If you like to taste a variety of dishes the weekday lunch thalis come in vegetarian, non-vegetarian and seafood options. 

Savya Rasa, 3rd floor, Ardee Mall, Sector 52, Ardee City, Gurgaon.
Ph: +91 9319429735; +91 7428495530
Timings: Lunch 12noon – 3.30pm; Dinner 7pm-11pm.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

New Restaurant | This One is for Virat Kohli Fans

All the Virat Kohli fans, please say “aye”! If you like to get up close and personal to your on-field hero, here is a place that gets you a glimpse into his off-field world. The Indian Skipper is quite a foodie and has invested in a couple of restaurants already. His latest F&B venture is one8 Commune at the hip and buzzing Worldmark 2 in Delhi’s Aerocity.

If you haven’t guessed it already, the restaurant is named after the number on his jersey. And sure enough, when you walk in, you’ll find his autographed jersey displayed proudly. The waitstaff are as excited as us about Kohli’s visits, and he happily obliges them with taking selfies, giving autographs and of course reveling in the food on offer. We’re told Kohli is a proper Delhi foodie who can indulge in rajma-chaawal three times a day. While kadhi-chaawal follow as a close second, his fitness regime requires him to stick to a healthy meal plan. So he abstains from alcohol and sticks to nutritious food, like a bowl of red and white quinoa salad.

Kohli's Favourites
Top: Red and White Quinoa Salad
Bottom: Truffle Mushroom dimsum

What’s Hot
We are promptly served the same and we find it is as delicious as it is nutritious, with the combination of balsamic vinaigrette and chives dressing giving it a certain umami. His other favourite on a ‘cheat day’ is truffle mushroom dimsum, which also gets double thumbs up from us. In fact, the menu starts with a section called, “Virat’s Favourite” which includes a Buddha bowl and mushroom sliders, besides the aforementioned dishes.

The Eclectic Choice
Top: Sriracha Tacos; Butter Garlic Prawns
Middle: Spinach and Feta Puffs; Pepperoni Pizza
Bottom: Mock Meat Tikka; Roast Chicken

Among the other fare, the menu that has been designed by Chef Sabyasachi Gorai and Chef Pawan Bisht features a diverse range of multi-cuisine dishes. We start with delicious sriracha chicken tacos, have some fabulous pepperoni pizza, before moving on to a bowl of buttery garlicy prawns zinged up with olives, capers and cherry tomatoes. Vegetarians who look for mock meat options will be happy to know that there are more than a couple of dishes like mock meat tandoori malai tikka, soya keema pav, soya boti kebab and even a mock meat taco. Just as cricket unites the country, even this menu showcases flavours from across India. There are plenty of regional favourites like Amma’s tamarind brinjal, Gymkhana sandwich, and representatives of cuisines from Andhra, Malabar and Goa.

Raise a Toast

The drinks are at par with the food. With mixologist Yangdup Lama concocting signature cocktails, you needn’t expect any less. Cocktails are well priced and offer plenty of choice from millennial cocktails and disco age cocktails and prohibition era cocktails. So you can boogie with Hot Pants on The Rocks, that blends different flavours like Tabasco and apple juice with gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, or shimmy with the Bari Manilow Copacabana, made with white rum, redberry puree, lemon juice and in-house Maraschino liqueur. Even though all the sections include interesting gin-based cocktails as per the current trend, you’ll find an additional section of Gin n Tonic Twists. The bartender is happy to help you choose one {or more} to suit your palate.

Top: Chocolate Fondant
Bottom: Five Rivers Mud Cake

Finally, the desserts! Do not miss them, especially if you’re a chocoholic, we highly recommend the chocolate fondant and five rivers mud cake to finish your evening on a high.

What’s Not
The first floor has an entire wall made like a scoreboard featuring seemingly live scores of games of cricket, tennis, soccer and NBA. But alas! These are faux scores. This only makes us wish that there was more to offer for sports enthusiasts, either live scores, screens featuring live games and maybe even a few games like in sports bars in keeping with the ‘Kohli theme’.

Our verdict: one8 Commune is a fun casual hangout that works well whether you’re out with your colleagues or family, romantic date or a rollicking evening with a bunch of friends.

One8 Commune, 8 Worldmark 2, Aerocity, New Delhi.
Timings: 11am to midnight.

Ph: 011-66992235

This article was first published on on 24th September'19.