Chef Sakala Sankara curates an exclusive menu at Dakshin Coastal restaurant.
With the commitment to ITC’s hotel guiding Principle of ‘Responsible Luxury’, Chef Sakala Sankara had curated an exclusive menu to showcase the rich culinary repertoire of his hometown Rayalaseema (Andhra Pradesh) to bring together the fond memories of the land he grew up in. These culinary masterpieces were presented at the Dakshin Coastal restaurant at ITC Maratha. I was invited to taste the cuisine and have a better understanding of what it had to offer to its patrons.
From the entrance to the artefacts; from the cutlery to the music, everything about Dakshin Coastal exuded a warm vibe that made me feel at home. The floral décor at the entrance with the statue of Nataraj with diyas lit is a pure reflection of the rich culture of Southern India.
The display of the beautifully decorated Urli and Adukku vessels on the table prepares you for the gala feat that follows. It transports you immediately to the glory and grandeur of the bygone era, thereby epitomising the rich cultural heritage from this part of the country.
The ginger lemon juice served right before the dining experience readies your system and facilitates in better digestion. The welcome drink was followed by rasam – the aroma of which, consumed my senses.
It a true reflection of the richness of Indian cuisine that tantalises your taste buds. Being an avid seafood lover, I tried out the seafood platter. For starters they served the Pandu Gappa fry prepared freshwater fish and marinated in a spicy paste and then pan-fried. It was predominately Andhra cuisine, therefore was more spicy than usual. The main course comprised of Royalla Masala Karam, heavily spiced, flavourful prawn preparation. This was followed by Chinna Royala Pulao consisted of bite-sized shrimps with short-grain rice and spices. Some of the main ingredients which were used by him included freshly ground spices, Guntur chillies, sundried fish, roasted peanuts and country chicken that perfectly represent the region.
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The food was not something that fed me but satiated my soul. Contrary to what most people think, South Indian cuisine is more than just idli, dosa, sambar, rasam and others and if you really want to have a glimpse of what South Indian cuisine is like then a visit to ITC Maratha’s Dakshin Coastal is worth it.
Relishing the taste of Andhra food triggered some fond memories of my childhood days with my dad. They rightly say that a lot can happen over food and Chef Shakala’s curated menu unlatched the floodgates of precious memories, which I shared with my father in southern India.
Dakshin Coastal strives to recreate the splendour of southern cooking and revive the disappearing lifestyle of peninsular India.