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Underneath the mango tree

The new resto bar designed along the lines of a Chettinad home takes you on a trip to a bygone era

Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

THIS PLACE certainly does give you a sense déjà vu, that of sitting in the courtyard of a two hundred-year-old house, under the moonlight alongside an arty fountain, sipping coffee.

But the Bryan Adam's number from his latest album Room Service played on a low decibel brings you back to the now.

Ullasa at Athithi Inn can be best defined as a retro lounge — recline chairs that could have once adorned living rooms of zamindars and carved dining tables under a tiled roof supported by stone pillars.

The private dining room is a rich affair with leather upholstered lounge sofas and sketches of traditional games — snake boat race and cock fights, in shades of brown.

"This is designed like a typical Chettinad house. In order to bring in the authenticity, we have borrowed the original flooring, wooden doors and beams from the 200-year-old houses there," says Bharathi B, managing director, Athithi Inn.

Similarly, the cuisine has a spicy southern tang — be it a deliciously fiery Diced chicken in red pepper sauce or a Gosht kali mirchi.

The multi-cuisine fare has an exhaustive mughlai, Chinese and Conti spread.

The latter is rather popular with the guests, mostly foreigners who come for the ethnic eating out experience. Further guests can fix their own cocktails, says Bharathi.

Annalakshmi, designed on the lines of a temple that has been popular with Hyderabadi folks for its ambience, has been renamed Sampradaya.

"We have retained the ambience. But the cuisine has changed. We have added continental, north Indian and Chinese vegetarian dishes to the menu. Plus there is a section of Jain food," says Nasir Hussain, F&B Executive.

With the rate at which lounge bars are mushrooming in the twin cities, a solid USP for décor matched with good food seem imperative for long-term survival.

Ullasa packs in both. If you have been planning to go on that vacation to the unhurried countryside for a chilled out evening sipping beer under the sky, you know where to go.

SYEDA FARIDA

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