Upon spotting the place on S.V Road, Malad West, I took a glance at the caricature of a man dressed in a South Indian attire with the word ‘Vanakkam’ highlighted next to him. In Tamil, the word implies respecting the person whom you’re meeting. It signifies warmth and courtesy, which is very similar to what I felt upon entering the cafe. The staff dressed in the same South Indian attire were welcoming and we were seated inside where it was relatively packed with an increased number of footfalls pouring in that evening. We were given the menu, which was quite elaborate and had a state-wise mention of the local delicacies, be it from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. The place serves only vegetarian dishes having Jain options as well.
Coming to the Ambience and Service:-
The setting is of a regular South Indian eatery, having a relatively well-organized seating given the space, be it on the outdoors or indoors. The artificial leaves on the outside with some wall art add warmth and color to the ambience. The service here is pretty quick and the staff is on the toes if asked for assistance. Overall, the service and ambience are pretty good.
Note: The staff here continuously refill the sambar bowl whenever you’d like and also the chatnis that are pre-served on the table, namely: Tomato, Peanut, Pineapple and Coconut chatni, are absolutely scrummy! They will refill that as well.
1) Lava Idli: The presentation of the dish was interesting. It had two igloo-shaped idlis, sprinkled with idli podi on the outside and having stuffing of hot sambar on the inside. Definitely a unique concept to present the traditional idli in such a creative way. The idli was soft and the combination of the delectable sambar and pineapple chatni did please my palate.
2) Khow suey Idli: It’s a fusion of Burmese and South Indian delicacy, wherein mini-idlis are entirely soaked and served in a bowl of Khow Suey soup. The soup was pretty good having coconut milk, right hint of turmeric and garnished with peanuts and fried garlic. The mix of mini-idlis and khow suey was experimental yet toothsome and would appeal to some who would want to try something different.
3) Medu Vada Sandwich: To explain briefly, it’s another experimental take on the Medu vada wherein a tikki/masala is placed between two Vadas. It’s crisp, drool-worthy and scrumptious in all aspects, especially with the cheese on top. Definitely a must try!
4) Open Pizza Dosa: The presentation is of a pizza with cheese sprinkled on top with mayo sauce. The toppings include a delicious mix of vegetables placed on a triangular-shaped dosa piece. The taste is absolutely delectable, only that I hoped for a crispier dosa base which would have complemented the dish and enhanced the overall experience.
5) Kathiyawadi Dosa: This is the best fusion dish that the restaurant has to offer with an amalgamation of dosa with a popular Gujarati sabzi. It had a stuffing of sabzi made with potatoes, eggplant cooked in a peanut-based gravy covered in a dosa which was topped with sev and cheese. The dish was delish and the dosa was sliced well, making it easier to take a bite. Definitely recommended!
6) Pineapple Sheera: It’s a classic dessert option at any South Indian outlet which in most cases never goes wrong. The Pineapple Sheera we had here was absolutely luscious, light on the bite, flavourous and the sweetness was balanced well. The dry fruit pieces in between the sheera, especially the raisins, were a delight to munch on. Recommended!
7) Filter Kappi: An absolute favorite and a perfect way to end the dining experience. The filter coffee was vivifying and soothing in all aspects. The sugar is separately provided in sachets, along with the coffee, to be added as per one’s own requirement.
In conclusion, if you’re near Malad West and are craving for some south Indian/fusion dishes then this place would surely provide a fulfilling dining experience.