Aadhirai, what an unusual name right? Well, it is the name of a woman in Sangam literature, who is said to have fed the first morsel of rice to a mythological vessel that overflowed with food & so it is said that whoever receives food from her will never go hungry… Well, true to the name, the restaurant serves up one amazing dish after the other.
It is a 70-80 year old house that has red oxide flooring, windows with colourful glass pants and winding staircase that led us to the 1st floor with more rooms. The walls are adorned with Ravi Varma paintings, and few tile pieces, while the furniture was simple plain wood. In the 1st floor is a Buddha room, with one wall filled with a mural I could not take my eyes off. We were told it was done by an arts student, the worn out effect is sensational here.. There are also rooms that can hold a family, with a long community style table and simple decor. The light fittings had Chettinad saree as covers, with few curio cupboards filled with Chettinad vessels, some of which had a “Made in Switzerland” tag on them, all of which adding to the feel of the place.
The highlights for me were the entrees [ starters] and few beverages. which I highly recommend you savour.. It all began with the crispy traditional rice vadams that came with a selection of 4 dips- avakkai mayo, raw & roasted garlic in curd, mirapakaya pachadi (chilli chutney) and the tangy tomato thokku. Infact, we asked for a repeat of the tomato thokku and enjoyed the Karuveppilai Paneer and English kai kari veppudu [crispy veggies- broccoli, zucchini and others, tossed in delicious garlic molagai podi] with it. Oh, not to forget the lovely panagam Granita and Karupatti+coconut milk drink, both of us which had us grinning. The Yam nachos with generous portion of salsa on top was a cool dish, loved the twist on nachos. The final starter was Cauliflower 2019 [cooked in Ghee].There was also a rose milk, where the flavour is from real rose petals and beetroot for colour.
Infact this dish came in handy when Mad Chef brought out the three range of chilli sauces they use across a few the dishes [non veg]. These are named after the South indian comedian Vadivelu’s movie characters- The first is Pulikesi (mild spice: tomato, garlic and red chillies), the second was Nesamani (medium level spicy: with red chilli, green chilli, star anise and Sichuan pepper) and the third, the most deadly is Vedi murugan (oompa loompa level spice that made my lips burn cos the spoon touched them- made with bhut jolokia chillies from the hills/north east that can blow your socks off). As mentioned above, I immediately popped a few Gobi pieces after tasting Mr Vedi murugan…
Removing those cups away from the table was all I could do to not think about the chilli hit.. Then came the few non veg dishes, chicken cooked in the mirapakaya mix [ the one that had come as a dip for the vadam], Madurai Mutton Chukka, and the Kozhi Kaal Nei Roast [chicken leg cooked in ghee that had been marinated in a spice mix].. Along came the Prawn ghee roast[ from Mangalore] that was served on a sheermal roti (from Lucknow)- the roti was wow! The show stopper came next, Chitra Ramu’s family recipe- Puliyodhare served with Mutton uppukari [that had mutton on the bone].. It is a family recipe guarded close to her heart by Chitra is what we were told.. The puliyodhare was packed with flavours, the crunchy peanuts adding to the flavours.
Moving to the final stage of the meal, the desserts, we got a set of 6 tea glasses packed with sweet goodies- Pomogranate Payasam, Salted caramel over Akaravadasal, Karupatti Panacotta, Kubani ka meetha [ my favorite], Coconut souffle and Rose Falooda… Across the dishes, I was remembering my grandma and how these dishes met her standard- in terms of the Ghee used, or the payasam that had been reduced to just the right consistency and so on… Love how the place sticks to the roots, serves food that is home style and you just lose yourself in the rich flavours and combinations.
A meal for two would cost around Rs1200-1500..
Address: #31, Jambulingam St, Pushpa Nagar, Nungambakkam, Chennai – 600034
Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit