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New look, new menu

Dakshin at the Park Sheraton, sports a new look that reflects the rich South Indian traditions.

TWO HOURS have gone by and I had steadily progressed through some tasty chicken, crab crumble, mutton chops, a tangy fish curry, squid and a variety of vegetable curries that Chef Praveen Anand had personally chosen for the new menu at the Dakshin, Park Sheraton (ph: 24994101).

Dakshin has undergone a complete makeover. The restaurant now looks like a Kanchipuram pattu unfolded. The juxtaposition of maroon and green walls acquires the elegance of a silk sari. The Tanjore paintings punctuating the walls look like golden `buttis' on it.

Beautiful setting kept the euphoria going. My tongue was constantly being challenged to identify new flavours and revel in them. We were discussing the merits of putting aniseed in nandu puttu.

Being a sora puttu fan, the aniseed did startle me but it did give a twist to sweetness of the crabmeat and the onion-chilli masala.

The conversation veered to chillies and how using different varieties changed the masala. The chef was excited about the `sappota' chilli he had found at a market in Vizag and the way he had used it to bring out its inherent acidity.

The chillies were brought out on a tray. The kozhi roast testified to this claim.

What is your equation with thayir sadam? Curd rice is reserved for curative purpose; it has never failed to calm an upset tummy.

The creamy mass was followed by the bitter sour hot Sundakkai vatral kozhambu taste buds went into a tizzy. When the curd rice lulled and soothed them the kozhambu acted as a shot of adrenalin.

Now comes the tough part, desserts. Down South, we have more sweets than desserts. Besides payasams, there is hardly any choice. Ambalapuzha pal payasam and kaidachakka (pineapple) halwa are the new additions to the menu.

Praveen has successfully managed to retain the character of halwa. The fruit halwas are a dicey lot; the line separating them from jam is very thin. The payasam can be better.

Dakshin is about experiencing the food; not merely eating it, provided one can afford it.

MARIEN MATHEW

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