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For an unforgettable experience

Try out Kritunga at Somajiguda, for a red-hot Rayalaseema experience.



ROBUST RAYALASEEMA: Go on the spice route.

SOMETIME AFTER the break-up of the Vijayanagara Kingdom, the palegars (war lords) or palegallu (in Telugu) attained prominence in the present-day Rayalaseema. Known for their verve and valour, the spitfire spirit of this warrior-class extended to their cuisine as well. Brewed with the same vim and vigour, the robustness of Rayalaseema fare is an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Kritunga, a non-descript eatery at Somajiguda (Maheshwari Chambers, near Medinova) is an ode to the fiery spirit of the palegars. The city's earliest Rayalaseema restaurant, Kritunga - an acronym for river Krishna and Tungabhadra, provides a rare opportunity to savour authentic dishes from the fertile `doab' region that had enthused many a connoisseur.

That Indira Gandhi took the recipe of Raagi Sankati, Jonna Roti and Kurnool Vankaya-Mulagakaya curry all the way to New Delhi is no exaggeration. Nor is N.T.R's fascination for Thalakayakura and Natukodi with Ragimudda (one of his favourite combinations), unknown. As manager Pawan puts it, "It is the fire in the food that fans its popularity. None is known to have developed a distaste for it."

A limited, no-nonsense menu that talks turkey, a moderately urbane ambience and insufficiently comfortable chairs, characterise the 30-seater eatery that serves 20 varieties of dal, among other items. However, do not expect to find starters or colourless soups here. Dive in straight for a combo of the challengingly spicy Banginerada (meatballs made of lamb testicles, liver and kidney), Gutthi Vankai, Head Curry or Chinta Chiguru Mutton, with Natukodi Biryani and the tantalising Korannam.



INVITING INTERIORS: The ambience in moderately urbane.

The non-vegetarian category has a few exciting, rich red colour stuff, ready for experimentation but on subsequent visits. And there's no ice cream!

Veggies can have a feast here with so much of dal around and a choice of other items like Birakaya Sogi and Alu Vankai, among others. For those in-between times, there's Kritunga's exotic range like Dosa Paya, Sajja Roti and Kamju Fry and Kheema Balls.

One highpoint of the restaurant (Tel: 55822550) is that the menu keeps changing everyday, although the core items remain the same. "Our biryani prepared in authentic Kurnool-style, with choicest leg-pieces of country chicken, in particular, is entirely different from its Hyderabadi cousin," asserts the manager, recommending it as a must-try-out dish for newcomers. "And don't blame us should you get addicted to it," he smiles.

Experiencing the sweeter side of the Seema, one should not miss out on the Baksham and Bella Paramannam. Now, that's a sweet sign-off to an acidic indulgence!

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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