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Curries galore

`Curry' n Rice' at Taj Banjara is the latest restaurant serving traditional food in a contemporary ambience.



NICHE RESTAURANT: Curry `n' Rice offers a range of Indian food.

THE CURRY is integral to Indian cuisine and a meal is unimaginable without one. It is the distinguishing factor of Indian cookery and is popular on the menu along with rice in numerous restaurants abroad. But in the country of its origin it still remains a humble dish. A restaurant devoted to just curry and rice is quite rare to find here and this is where the Taj Group has slotted its new restaurant Curry'n Rice at Hotel Taj Banjara. Opened last week this is a must for all the rice lovers.

Gone is the `medieval' look at Dakhni (on the ground floor) and a contemporary one awaits the visitor - Curry'n Rice. For this is the revamped Dakhni. The interior décor has been done by Renu and Siraj Hassan.

Spacious and brightly lit, Curry'n Rice gives an impression of a café in the West (somewhat like the sidewalk cafes in Paris). Synthetic-topped tables sans table cloths and napkins, wrought iron chairs (like garden ones), different crockery and cutlery mark the modern look. It may sound a bit paradoxical but this trendy restaurant serves traditional food - curries and rice from different parts of the country.

On the walls are some large works of art - `charcoal' drawings with a hint of colour in some by Sangita Singh. They are reminiscent of the `West' and are like a narrative. The figures are Western and so is the café-like ambience recreated on canvas.

Settle down at a table and you will find a bib (which is like an `apron' tied around the neck) instead of the mandatory napkin and cutlery placed in a container. As this is a curry'n rice restaurant one is expected to savour the flavours by hand. And those who feel squeamish can resort to forks and spoons.

The menu card acquaints one with curries and rice in different parts through the short introductory note. The curries are predominantly from the southern States with a few from Maharashtra, Goa, Bengal and north India.

In most restaurants one gets perhaps one or two varieties of plain steamed rice but this restaurant serves basmati, Kerala red rice and sona masoori (Andhra rice). There are other varieties as well like gongura annam, tengai sadam (coconut rice), pulihora (tamarind rice), jeera rice, bagala bhath (curd rice). And those who prefer rotis need not feel left out as there is chapatti, phulka and ragi sangatti too.

The range in veg and non-veg curries is quite vast and each is different in taste too. They are served in earthen containers with lids. For eating `salsa' plates are provided. Some chutneys, pickles and vadis are served on the house. Natu kodi kura, kori gassi (Mangalorean chicken curry), kombdi cha rassa (chicken simmered in East Indian masala gravy), dalcha gosht, gongura mamsam, nalli Hyderabadi to meen kozhambu, Mangalorean fish curry, Allepey fish curry, Goan prawn curry, chingri malai curry and Nellore fish curry are some of the non-veg dishes. The veg repertoire comprises goothi vankaya, paruppu urandai kozhambu (lentil dumpling curry from Chettinad, TamilNadu), raw mango curry and fruit sasav (from Goa), vatana sheng amotik (drumstick and dry peas curry from Maharashtra), Punjabi pakodi curry and aloo mangodi curry).

There are some add ons - mainly starters like Kori Kasargod, Coorgi fried chicken, bajleli pomfret, Bengali bajja, sabudana vadi and shakarkand ka chat.Desserts are few - like Bibinca (Goan speciality), choco-chip srikhand, laccha rabdi, elneer payasam and ice cream.

The prices are a bit more compared to the normal restaurant ones but certainly lower than five-star rates. Check out this place if you are game for traditional food cooked home style.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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