Expensive On Invitation

Dakshin - 25 years and Still Kicking Up a Culinary Storm

Friday, May 16, 2014Me! In words

There are some brands in the culinary world that evolve to be come classics in their own right over time - Dakshin, which has been around for 25 years, beginning with its first restaurant in Chennai is one such brand. Its quality, attention to detail and perfection in all that is served on the table has matured with time. Dakshin, at the ITC Windsor here in Bangalore has been in operation for 17 years now. Recently, to commemorate 25 years of Dakshin - ITC Windsor hosted a festival that brought together a menu that curated classics from all the festivals held at the restaurant till now. 

At one time all of these dishes graced the menu at Dakshin.  Each one of them slowly moved over to allow other classics to get into the spotlight. There are several such hidden gems that have hidden themselves in the recesses of special menus of Dakshin over the years. This time around, in celebration of the 25 years of culinary glory, many of these dishes have been brought back and will now grace the current offerings at Dakshin.

It was a really long journey for us that afternoon - after all we were tasting an entire menu from across Karnataka, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Some of what you see are in tasting portions. A pictorial walkthrough would be the best bet.  

Dakshin's decor is reminiscent of the regal Indian homes of yore. Subtle,
yet so comfortable to be in 

A typical table setting - and do note that eating by hand is completely encouraged here

What south Indian meal is complete with these?

We settled for the Elaneer - tender coconut water throughout the meal

We started with some classic fried bajjis, as we call it - often made by grandmom for tea or for those mid-morning snacks. Banana fritters to the right and a dals and greens version to the left. The banana one really resonated with me - non-greasy, not overly sweet or artificially sweetened for that matter. 

Two varieties more - a wonderful potato stuffed chilli version which had crisp as potato chips coating. Not overly spicy but definitely the kind that you can over-indulge in. The coating reminded me of the crispness of tempura batter - perhaps the same principle of cold batter in play here?

One of the first starters for the afternoon was the Pacche Miruppukkai Royalla Fry (Andhra) - deep fried prawns with a green chilli pesto. A discussion with the chef revealed that spice levels are managed considering how varied the diner profile of Dakshin is. But if you like it the classic way, you will definitely get it just the way mama made it. 

Next came the Kaima Unde Barthad (Coorg) - Pan fried minced lamb dumplings. Its very easy to get kheema balls wrong - they can be greasy, hard, and the taste of the kheema can be totally lost. But these were succulent, moist and every spice right down to the curry leaves were deliciously evident. 

Kozhi Porichiathu - a common preparation at home considering we are a mixed household of Mangalore and Kerala. This dry chicken with grated coconut and red chillies, with a classic tempering of curry leaves and onions went down well with us. 

Moving on to the main course - We were served the Karwar Meen Gashi - a typically coconut based curry of Silver Pomfret. I was assuming that kokum would be the souring agent of choice here, but it was tamarind and personally for me, I would have liked it a wee bit stronger. This was paired with the sannas you see below - steamed in kulfi moulds if I am not wrong, rather than the roundels that we are used to back home. 


And then came what is possibly the highlight of the meal for me - the Chemeen Manga Chaaru - prawns in coconut gravy with raw mangoes and green chillies. The tanginess of the green mango slices conjured up images of my mom at the dining table when she had to field my dad and me fighting over the green mangoes in the prawn curry she made for lunch. Thankfully here I had no one to fight with. 

Then came the Guntur Mirapukaya Mamsam - Jaipur Lamb Chops served with tawa parathas. The brilliant hues of red alone are enough to catch your fancy - these are spicy and perfectly teamed with parathas which you will need to balance out the heaviness of the masala. There is no arguing with the way restaurants of this caliber treats its meats - its always with respect and reverence. 

Vegetarians do not despair, there is a lot on the menu for you as well. We had the Double beans Kozhambu - double beans and baby potatoes with coconut, poppy seeds and green chillies. The slightly pasty texture of the beans pairs well with the soft, cushy feeling of the baby potatoes - of course coconut is central character here as well - but then, I believe coconut is to South Indian cuisine, what bacon is to well... all its fans - it just makes everything better.

Baine Fry - brinjal in a base of onion and tomato with jaggery 

Bele Thove or Dali Tovve as the GSB community calls it - a staple in our homes again - great tasting, though the consistency seemed to be leaning more towards the north Indian than the classic GSB version which is watery in nature. 

Kootu Curry - black chickpea, yam and raw banana another Kerala staple and nicely done.  

By the time Naatu Kozhi Kozhambu - chicken coconut and ground poppy seed gravy with cinnamon paired with Idiappam came to the table, I had my share of dinner as well. Stuffed to the gills, we were down to teaspoon worth of tastings. This was a pleasant gravy and I actually teamed it up with my sannas. 


Rice being quite the staple in South Indian homes - an ode to the mango had to be made and so the Maavinkai Anna came to the table. I never say no to anything green mango and so 2 teaspoons worth and a few more snatches in between is what I did. 

We were served two biryanis - Andhra Kodi Biryani (above) and Mysore Chicken biryani - both mellow on the spice levels, but nicely prepared. 

End on a sweet note and the Boondi Payasam and Obattu are the way to go. The boondi payasam was especially delightful. A light sweet concoction that you will enjoy right down to the last small gramflour peral

25 years of Dakshin encapsulated in a single menu - now this was a meal worth coming to. To know that many of these dishes will now find their way into the regular menu is even better. From the a la carte to the executive to a much more leisurely, yet comprehensive tasting menu, Dakshin has its offerings presented in myriad ways for you to savor. An average meal for two will be in the Rs 3000 bracket. 

Address: #25, Golf Course Road, Windsor Square, Bangalore - 560052
Phone: 22269898
Cuisine: South Indian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Valet

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