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The Sindhoor `server'

Sindhoor offers a gastronomic escape from the monotony of one's kitchen.


What makes a good restaurant? Good food, prompt service and, of course, accessibility. No wonder then that Sindhoor restaurant, situated near the Cotton Hill Girls High School, could complete four successful years in a city that is conservative, with little or no night life. Sindhoor, with a recent extension (Parag), offers a wonderful gastronomic escape from the monotony of one's kitchen. Says N. K. Sugathan, restaurant manager, "Evenings got so crowded that many of the customers were forced to wait outside. This was when we seriously thought of an extension." Though the restaurant cannot boast of excellence in architecture, the ambience is just right for a quiet evening out. Paintings of Kovalam and Vizhinjam beach adorn the walls. One half of the restaurant is designed like a cave. Parag, on the first floor, is where the parties are organised.

Thai food is a speciality of Sindhoor. "Some of our customers come here for the Thai dishes. These are very popular," says Sugathan. And there is an impressive menu with hundreds of Chinese, Keralite, north Indian, Mughlai and continental dishes. For starters, there are cutlets, sandwiches, cauliflower fritters (Rs. 40), sweet corn fritters (Rs. 40) and butterfly shrimps (Rs. 110). Even tikkas and kababs make for excellent starters. Among the soups, tofu and lettuce soup (Rs. 35) are recommended. Tofu is widely used in Thai cuisine. Salads have never been an essential part of our diet. Though highly recommended by doctors and dieticians, we often forget to include them in our diet. But many restaurants now have salad bars exclusively for health freaks. Sindhoor is one among them. Its egg & mayonnaise salad (Rs. 35) is yum. Equally good are the minted cucumber and celery salad (Rs. 30), Thai cucumber salad (Rs. 30), rainbow coleslaw (Rs. 40) and Thai beef salad (Rs. 50). If all these names sound `fattening', there is slimmers salad (Rs. 50) for you. With plain vegetables and just a touch of salad oil, this can be a good appetiser.

Roti, kulcha, naan are the main dishes in the tandoori section. Mutton Mughlai (Rs. 90), dum pukt mutton curry (Rs. 100), murg badhani (Rs. 120), kadai subzi (Rs. 55) and kadai mutton (Rs. 120) are the side dishes for the tandoori food. Though the Chinese fare includes the usual noodles and fried rice, Sindhoor has a wide range of accompaniments. Hot garlic vegetable (Rs. 50), Chinese potato with chilli beans (Rs. 50), lemon chicken (Rs. 100), bang bang chicken (Rs. 100), beef Mongolian (Rs. 70) and beef strips with orange and ginger (Rs. 85) are in the menu.

Fish lovers have no reason to complain. Goan fish curry (Rs. 75), Peking fish (100) and machhi kofta curry (Rs. 100) vie with each other in taste.

Stir-fried mixed vegetables (Rs. 70), stir fried mushroom (Rs. 85), stir-fried lamb with leeks (Rs. 180) and spicy beef stir fried (Rs. 75) are quite popular. But the best of the lot is the beverages section. Away from the usual tea and coffee, Sindhoor offers iced mint tea (Rs. 15), fruit tea (Rs. 25), orange & mint tea (Rs. 35), mint orangeade (Rs. 35), pudina lassi (Rs. 25) and cocoa tea (Rs. 30). For dessert, they have cream caramel (Rs. 20), fruit jelly (Rs. 25), pineapple, lemon and chocolate soufflé. Ice creams are available in the usual vanilla, strawberry and chocolate flavours.

AMBIKA VARMA

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