The diversity of Indian food is so vast, that one comes across different ways to use the same type of ingredients, every few kilometres. But the one root that binds all Indian cuisines is tumeric. Celebrating this ingredient is a sprawling new Worli eatery, Talli Turmeric.
Contemporary but authentic
The restaurant is the brainchild of hospitality experts Tapan Vaidya and Mansij Vaidya. Tapan, based in Bahrain works with a business group that operates chains such as Chili’s and Burger King in Bahrain and Oman, and has operated over 200 restaurants from various franchises. “We have always wanted to launch an Indian restaurant in India and I felt that the time is right now. The menu is a celebration of everything Indian and turmeric, its flavour, healing properties, adaptability and aroma. We didn’t want to serve fusion food but authentic recipes. Which is why we have two head chefs, Fareed Qureshi, who will helm the Northern recipes; and Arasakumar who will bring flavours from the South,” Tapan tells The Hindu during an exclusive preview.
Starters and more
The presence of two different chefs is evident on the menu as we glance through the offering. There are popular dishes from different states – Massor Tenga from Assam, Fish Curry from Goa, and Vegetarian Biryani from Rajasthan. They also offer Jain and vegan options for several dishes. The use of turmeric is restricted to the food menu, while the cocktail range drifts more towards other popular desi ingredients such as Aamchi Rita (tequila infused with kokum, lime and grape juice), Imli Sour and Laung ka Screwdriver (cinnamon flavoured). The rest of the menu offers international cocktails. Tapan selects a few of his favourite appetisers for us to get a taste of the menu and our guess turns right when the Galaouti Kabab (₹395) lands on our table, Chef Qureshi is from the famous chef Imtiaz Qureshi’s family. A delicate delight, the kebabs are the right amount of greasy with the perfect balance of over a dozen spices. A vegetarian appetiser on your must-try list is Tandoori Shakkarkand (₹325). The charcoal grilled sweet potato chunks are marinated in spices, and served on a special mustard sauce that unites all the flavours. There are many other options for vegetarians in the tandoor and appetiser section – you could try Benarasi Pakoda Chaat, Vazhaipoo Vada (banana blossom deep fried vadas from Kerala) or Gunpowder Potatoes (baby potatoes tossed in Andhra’s famous masala), ₹250 each.
We get excited to spot bater or quail on the menu, Dum ki Bater (₹695). Prepared in a rich cashew gravy, the delicate meat is cooked perfectly, and the silken texture works well with the gravy. You can pick from a host of breads to go with the curries and gravies for the main course, simple phulkas and naans, Malabari parotta, kulchas, appam or pesarattu. We try the soft appams with a serving of Kozhi Chettinad (₹450), the chicken chunks cooked in the famous traditional Chettinad style that boasts of delicious heat from pepper. Also try their Manglorean Kozhi Ghee Roast, ₹295. On the menu are various other tempting carnivorous options for the main course, like Laal Maas (₹495), Andhra Chicken Liver Masala (₹450), Bhuna Gurda Kaleeji (₹450). Simple vegetarian options like Aloo Gobi, Dum Ka Karela or Kairi ki Bhindi (₹395 each) are reassuringly present. Of course if you want a little bit of everything, just order their thali.
For sweet endings, ask for the halwa of the day (₹225). If you luck out, you’ll get the mirchi halwa, which tastes a lot better than it sounds, or the more simple Elaneer Paysam (₹225) that is accompanied with refreshing pieces of tender coconut.
Talli Tumeric opens February 10 at Atria Mall, Worli; Noon to midnight; phone: 67363601