In a barrage of north Indian cuisines, this restaurant offers traditional south Indian dishes with a modern twist, finds Nikita Wadhawan
The new addition to one of Mumbai’s busiest commercial destination in Kamla Mills, Lower Parel, South High Kitchen & Bar brings a refreshing change to our traditional south Indian dishes. Although it claims to cater to various south Indian cuisines, the base of most of the dishes is Mangalorean. The ambience is inspired from south Indian traditions such as Kathakali Face painted on one of the walls. The seating arrangements included a stone sofa and table, which may sound uncomfortable, but is not. But the music was very loud and jarring during our conversation.
On a hot sunny day
Although they have a very extensive menu online, they provide limited dishes during lunch and dinner. We started with mocktails, a Ginger Coli (Rs 325) which is a fusion of coconut water, jaggary and cinnamon with basil seed – had an uplifting feel, would recommend it especially on a hot day. The Imli Soda (Rs 325) is a blend of tamarind and chili lemonade – it seemed refreshing, but the chili taste was extremely over-powering. The Anarasa (Rs 325) is blend of rasam and pineapple over ice, it is a spicy mocktail and had a very strong tangy flavour which also seemed to over-power the drink.
Cheap and filling
Moving on to the food, the staff recommended that we opt for the unlimited vegetarian Thali (Rs 325). They offer it on a banana leaf and had a lot of options – bhindi sabzi, raw banana sabzi, mixed dry sabzi, chana masala, sambhar and rassam. These were served with a malabar parotha, dosa and puri. Also a part of the thali were starters like idli, medu vadas and dal bhaji served alongside coconut and garlic chutneys. Butter milk was served as an accompaniment to wash down all the savoury preparations. None of the dishes were a standout, though there was nothing wrong with them, they just failed to make a deep impact. Although the fact that it is cheap, unlimited and there are various options available, it can be filling for lunch. But remember that this thali is served only during lunch hour and would recommend it for the pure vegetarians out there.
A non-vegetarian’s delight
On to the à-la-carte, we started with Kadipatta Katal (Rs 425), which is crushed kadi Patta made into rich, aromatic masala and served with either basa or prawns. If you are kadipatta person, this is a must. We chose prawns and it was an absolute delight, the prawns were fried in a freshly ground masala of curry leaves and green chillies along with generous amounts of whole curry leaves. They were soft and the kadi Patta masala was tangy but not overpowering.
Then we tried Coorg Idli Chicken (Rs 195) which is spiced idli marinated in tomato and gun powder gravy with boneless chicken pieces. The idli and chicken were soft and the tomato gravy was just the right amount of tangy. Moving on to the Narukku dosa chicken (Rs 225) is dosa stuffed with chicken and served with various chutney. It is basically and Indian taco, but a must-have dish.
The Kerala Pepper Fry Chicken (Rs 325) consists of boneless chicken chunks tossed in black pepper masala along with coconut cream. The heat from pepper was balanced off beautifully by the creaminess of the coconut. It is south Indian twist to chili chicken. All the dishes were accompanied with a Neer dosa (Rs 25) which was light and fluffy.
No matter how much you eat, there is special place in your tummy for dessert. We started with Elaneer (Rs 275) which is tender coconut payasam topped with coconut ice cream, fruits and nuts. One mouth-full of this desert and you get the over-whelming taste of coconut which is amazing. Although a bit overpriced. Payasam is in Mumbaikar terms savaiya and, it was not too sweet. Although the peanut barfi had too much jaggary which made it extremely sweet.
The final verdict
Overall, if you are bored of north Indian food then you should try it. You may realise that south Indian food is lot more than Dosa and Idli. Coming to food –It has majority non-veg dishes in the menu so veg lovers might get a bump. It is heavy on your pocket and will burn a small hole. Albeit a very exhaustive menu will not leave you with dearth of options