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Authentic and affordable

At Navaratina, you can savour some Gujarati and Rajasthani flavours


FROM THE days of pongal-chutney and idli-sambar at Rathna Café and Karpagambal Mess, today Chennai-ites have discovered a variety of cuisines — Gujarati, Rajasthani, Bengali, Punjabi, Andhra, Konkan, Malayali, Continental and of course, Chinese. So, discovering yet another ethnic restaurant, particularly during the festival time, was a pleasure.

Navaratina (Second Avenue, 1st floor, Anna Nagar, phone: 52170081) offers `genuine Gujarati and rich Rajasthani food.' Besides the two cuisines, Punjabi vegetarian fare is also available. In keeping with the Navarathri spirit, we stuck to the main menu. The spartan streak in the interior decoration has not extended to the menu.

The remarkable feature about this restaurant is that it goes beyond the thalis. There are other choices in the one-dish-meal section such as vagarli khichadi, rotlis and rotlas. There is an a la carte menu for side dishes too.


The thali (Rs.125), a combination of Gujarati and Rajasthani dishes, is a good buy. It starts with khandvis and progresses to different rotis and rice. A word of advice, you may have to skip a meal to do justice to the thali. The vegetables served such as val kaju (broad beans) and the sweet mungdal sira were particularly good.

Rotlis (Rs.75) and phulkas come with two vegetables, pickle and chaas or buttermilk. Even the buttermilk was tasty. Vagarli khichadi (Rs.75) forced me to do a rethink on khichadi. What is a Gujarati meal without farsan? Methi muthia (Rs.35) in this section is good if you want a change from the dhoklas. Ask for garlic chutney, it combines well with the muthias. Mungdal kachori (Rs.35) didn't ring any bell for me. The measures went all wrong for this one, scanty stuffing and generous chillies.

Remember the rosemilk of yore? Navaratina serves good rosemilk for Rs.30.

Another unique feature is the hookah that is the rage in the other metros. The rates are Rs.200 per person and Rs.275 for two. The smoke comes in different fruit flavours — apple, cherry and strawberry.

MARIEN MATHEW

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