Phone: 044 26225757
Address: AC 3, 2nd Avenue, Anna Nagar East, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Time: 12 Noon – 3:45 PM, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 700
Cuisines: South Indian
Facilities: Home Delivery, No Alcohol Available, Free Parking, Indoor Seating, Table booking recommended
Kovai Alankar Vilas, Anna Nagar East, Chennai: Decor
Kovai Alankar Vilas is one place that does not believe in fancy decor. Instead, they have ensured their space is not cramped, with large tables, sensible flooring, and sofas for guest comfort. Chants from speakers purify the air.
The restaurant fills up with lunchers on a week day. A mix of people walk in and it send to me, they know the place well. Mothers with children, office-goers or groups of friends… and just like that, all the tables are occupied.
Kovai Alankar Vilas, Anna Nagar East, Chennai: Food
The food itself is different. Kovai being close to the Kerala border, there is a lot of coconut used in the food, yet it is different from Kerala food. Nor does Kongu cuisine use spices as generously as Chettinad food.
Mutton Biryani is served with a mix of both chicken and mutton gravy. I’m quite surprised to see the cucumber raita, then realise that onions are still expensive. The rice used is the short-grained Seeraga Samba, which is the perfect base for the biryani. The meat comes from Dindigul.
Fresh and fragrant, Karuvapalai Pepper Prawns live up to their name. Tossed in coconut oil, curry leaves and pepper, they carry the flavors of dhaniya and texture of roasted and powdered urad dal.
My banana leaf receives a generous ladle of rice. Along with the rice, I get a small ball of yellow-orange stuff that is not sweet and is called Podi Urundai. Then, someone brings a small container of cold-pressed gingelly oil and pours it over my rice till I ask her to stop. I crush the disintegrating ball, mix it with the oil and rice, and enjoy the powdery hand-pounded peanuts, sesame, red chillies and salt urundai.
Its fragrance precedes its presence. The Archu Vitta Sambar contains pleasant flavors from freshly ground masala with the welcome hint of coconut, radish and shallots. Then I mix in some Beetroot Poriyal — they make a truly palate-pleasing combination.
All the rest of the usual courses follow. Till I reach the Curd Rice stage. As I’m beginning to mix the curd and rice, the serving lady brings along some gulkand. This is a first for me. Going with the flow, I mix in some, a little sceptically. Result: quite a different taste. Nice, too.
I cannot leave without Elaneer Payasam. Coconut milk, tender coconut water, a barely discernible hint of cardamom. All of it supported by just the right amount of sugar. And, with that ends my treat for the day.
Plus & Minus:
A lot of attention is paid to the food. Dry masalas are made by them every three days, and the ingredients used are of the highest quality. Noteworthy is the fact that all the kitchen staff are ladies, including the main chef. Because, according to the owners, ladies have more patience, and do not use any shortcuts.