Ugadi ruchulu at Dakshin


Push open the embellished wooden door of Dakshin at the Crowne Plaza and you could as well be entering a room that time nearly forgot. A brass lamp and an urli with floating petals decorate the foyer. On the walls hang Tanjore paintings, there are wooden carvings, brass artifacts and pillars. A group of musicians are seated in front, playing classical music. Tables are set with banana leaf-fitted thalis, water tumblers and steel katories. The room is dimly lit but enough light shines over the tables so you can read the menu. (The menu is a conversation starter - the cover looks like two doors!) The decor is unmistakably South Indian and very elegant. Dakshin serves cuisines of the southern states of India.


Table setting; papads and panakkam

It is a beautiful setting for Ugadi Ruchulu. Ugadi is the Telugu New Year and it's definitely one of the best of times to visit Dakshin to taste the flavours of the festival. Sous Chef Prabhakaran's menu is a celebration of this festival and we're welcomed with panakkam, a mix of jaggery and ginger powder. It's not only refreshing but also a digestive.

From top: jaggery; butter; beetroot, ridge gourd, coconut and tamarind chutneys

Four chutneys - tamarind, coconut, ridge gourd and beetroot were served first , along with butter and cubes of jaggery. All the chutneys are delish, every day, there is a new selection.

Appetisers -Thotakura jeedipappu pakodi (spinach & cashew); the famous Rayalaseema kodi vepudu (fried chicken)

Mokkajonna garelu - corn vadas with a yummy raw mango chutney

Peethala charu

Peethala Charu is a thin spicy crab soup, the flavour of the crab was almost indiscernible. The other soup, Miriyala Kodi Ulavacharu, was much nicer, the lentil adding body to the chicken broth.

Green mango dal; curry leaf curry; prawn; country chicken curry; lamb & drumstick; brinjal ; dal & drumstick 

There is an a la carte menu but we decided to order the non-vegetarian thali on the chef's recommendation. The gravies are served in little katories. There was green mango with dal, curry leaf curry, delicious prawn, onion and tomato in a thick gravy and country chicken curry in the katories. Other side dishes were dal and drumstick, whole baby brinjal and a stunning lamb and drumstick masala. The wholewheat paratha did a good job of mopping up the gravies. The best was definitely mulakada mamsam - lamb cooked with drumstick. The other standout dish was the prawn in onion-tomato gravy. And also the curry leaf gravy which was not at all bitter. 

Andhra cuisine has a reputation for being very spicy but surprisingly, none of the dishes reduced me to tears.

Prawn curry; mulakada mamsam

Black-eyed peas with garlic and drumstick

Tangy green mango dal

Curry leaf curry

Country chicken curry

Ragi sangati

Ragi sangati - ragi dumplings were something I've never had. They look like cannonballs and came hot off the steamer. They're rather gooey and best eaten with any of the gravies. Very filling too and healthy.

Nellore kodi biryani

The Nellore-style biryani was very flavourful and mildly spiced. The diced tomato was the only thing that didn't quite belong in the dish.

Desserts - pootharekulu, gummadikaya halwa; pandulu payasam

Well, we were stuffed but that pootharekulu was tempting. Making it requires plenty of skill but the end result is delicious. The halwa was made with ash gourd and lightly sweetened.





There are some iconic dishes at Dakshin that you simply cannot afford to miss. One is their banana dosa and the other, the filter coffee. I am quite finicky about my coffee but I must admit that this one floored me!!



Ugadi Ruchulu is on at Dakshin, Crowne Plaza till March 21st, for both lunch and dinner. The veg thali is priced at 1800/++, non-veg at 2200/++.

The menu

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