Phone: +91 9176669989
Address: 2nd Floor, PMG Complex, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Time: 12 Noon – 4 PM, 7 PM – 11 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 500
Cuisines: South Indian, Kerala
Facilities: Table reservation required, Valet Parking Available, Indoor Seating
That Mallu Joint, T. Nagar, Chennai: Decor
Simple, warm, nicely done up, That Mallu Joint has lots of natural light streaming in from its large glass windows. Overlooking treetops and GN Chetty Road on one side, the other has the typical unfinished brick wall look. All wood and cane polished to a golden glow, the restaurant has a community table right in the middle for those large groups that like to chat, eat and sit together.
That Mallu Joint, T. Nagar, Chennai: Food
Quite empty when I reach, it quickly fills up with office-goers seeking a taste of typical Kerala food.
Almost as soon as I’m seated, the beautiful complimentary raw mango salad with slender flecks of orange appears. Sweet, from a touch of sugar and sour from a little vinegar, it has the addictive appeal only raw mango can command.
New on the menu and so good for Chennai’s weather, the cool Coconut Punch has tender coconut water (a given), some 7Up, a dash of lime, tender coconut slivers and a little sugar, just in case the tender coconut does an unexpected flip-flop and doesn’t impart the natural sweetness it is supposed to.
Kandhari Paneer. By now, I know that the Kandhari chilli is typical of Kerala and that it appears innocent at first bite, but punches hard after I swallow. With that in mind, I take a tentative bite of the silky-smooth paneer, darkly jagged around the edges because of the roasting. I do enjoy the flavors from shallots and coconut oil. Yes, the Kandhari chilli is there, but not as dangerous as I expected, so I end up having it all.
This is That Mallu Joint, so coconut oil simply has to make its presence felt.And it does in the deep-fried, boldly confident Prawn Fry. What I like most about this one is the succulence and the crunch from the rice flour coating. Of course, the perfect seasoning is a given, complete with glistening curry leaves on top.
Yam Fry: this one is for the fries lovers. Only, it is made using yam instead of potatoes, it has the total chips-appeal in its crunchy yellow (from turmeric) softness.
Going with my love for the seasonal mango, I opt to have the Fish Mango Curry with Egg Appam, my all-time favorite. I break the thin, crispy edge of the appam, and dip it into the coconut milk and raw mango curry. Of course, it has the regular chopped tomato and onion, but the tang factor comes from mango instead of tamarind, therefore is different. You’ve got to love the fishmango-coconut milk combination to truly appreciate this one.
How can I let Tender Coconut Ice Cream go without trying it? I don’t. And end my meal with some deeply satisfying sweetness. Those bits of tender coconut make it worth the calories.
That Mallu Joint, T. Nagar, Chennai: Plus & Minus
Like I said earlier, I like the comfort the ambience conveys. That Mallu Joint is confidently going back to tradition, and serving honest-to-goodness Mallu food. The menu is not very elaborate, making it easy to choose my food, which turns out to be good in parts and not so good in others.