Address: 31, Jambulingam Street, Off Valluvar Kottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Time: 12 Noon – 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 1000
Cuisines: South Indian, Beverages
Facilities: Indoor Seating
Aadhirai, Nungambakkam, Chennai: Decor
Aadhirai means honesty and pureness of heart. According to Tamil mythology, Aadhirai placed the first morsel of rice into Amudhasurabhi: the vessel that always overflows with food. Aadhirai lives up to its name, as I examine the restaurant’s old-world charm. Small windows, thick walls, high ceilings. Not to forget the cooling red-oxide floor. A large wall is covered with a colorful mural, instantly reminding me of the cave paintings in Ajanta-Ellora. In fact, the whole restaurant has an appeal you will relate to if you have lived in Tamil Nadu. The rest of Aadhirai has solid wooden furniture, including the un-cushioned chairs. Cane lamp shades make their presence felt, as they hang from the ceiling.
Aadhirai, Nungambakkam, Chennai: Food
I’m asked which water I’d prefer to drink: Cucumber and Basil-infused, Kerala-style Jeeraga Vellam (for digestion) or Pathi Mugham, which has herbs that will lower my cholesterol. I decide to try all three in small glasses, settling for a tall glass of iced Panagam Granita made using dry ginger, a dash of lime and jaggery. Complimentary Vadagams arrive with four dips: garlic yoghurt, Mirpakaya Pachadi, Avakai Mayo and Pineapple Pachadi. All four are addictive.
I spy Loaded Yam Nachos coming my way, topped with salsa and a drizzle of sour cream. Thin, square wafers of yam (with their itchiness removed) go well with the salsa, and they remain on my table till the very end of my meal. Even as I bite into the picture-perfect Chicken 2019, drenched as the nuggets are with flavors of butter, garlic and onions. I top it all with a generous squeeze of the accompanying lime. Believe me, that lime makes a world of difference.
Indian innovation presents itself in the form of Gobi Ghee Roast on Sheermal. An interesting combination of Mangalore meeting Lucknow. Slight sweetness meeting spice. I like the touch of home-grown mini mustard shoots on top of each little bite.
Intrigued by the unusual combination of Puliodarai and Uppukari, I decide to have it for my main course along with Urulai Roast, Coconut Thovaial and Vadagams. It arrives wrapped in a brown paper and banana leaf package.When cut open, it reveals puliodarai (tamarind rice), mutton, and… fried onions! I find the Puliodarai falling flat on my palate when eaten by itself. I add the baby potato roast and some of the coconut thovial, and find redemption.
I’m ready for the light Coconut Litchi Saffron Rabdi. Two slivers of saffron on top and shreds of litchi mingle happily with coconut and rabdi.
Plus & Minus:
Overall, the food is interesting. However, some of the dishes need fine tuning to make them perfect.