Last weekend, we had been to South Indies Restaurant in Shivaji Nagar, Pune for dinner; I was invited by Pallavi from PRaxis Media for a complimentary lunch/dinner to sample the revamped menu at the restaurant.
South Indies, the chain of Billionsmiles Hospitality Pvt. Ltd is re-launching its restaurant in Pune with the all new theme and cuisines for the lavish taste. I tagged my hubby along. He being a hard core North Indian food lover, it took a little bit of pestering to make him to come along with me to try authentic south Indian cuisine. But, at the end he did like his experience at South Indies.
This restaurant is situated in the heart of the city and is easily accessible. When we reached there we were greeted by the manager who look us to our designated seats and explained us the concept of the menu. South Indies doesn't do Ala-carte menu. For dinner they have a huge set menu for dinner that we enjoyed that evening.
To start with we were served with 'rasam puri', which is a close cousin of the famous 'Golgappas' we all know. But, here it comes with an innovative South Indian twist. Puffed up puris were served with 4 types of rasam and 3 chutneys. I loved the pudina rasam and pepper rasam. All the chutneys were great. However, I did feel that the puris were not crunchy enough. Overall, it was a great way to start our meal.
Next on the starter list was 'Appe'. This was one dish I was familiar with. I have a few friends from down South and hence, I have had the opportunity to taste them before. The appe served to us at the restaurant were nice and warm - aptly spiced and we devoured them all with coconut chutney. A thumbs up for this one.
This was followed by a plate full of 6 types of starters - their name I can't possibly pronounce perfectly. The best thing to do would be to refer to the menu picture above. The manager explained us what the name means and we were good to go ahead and sample them.
We has masala spiced mini idlis which were awesome, curry leaves flavored paneer which was also great. I also liked the veggie uttapam. The arbi tikki was also good. I didn't like the sago wada and the other mushroom starter, mostly because I don't like either mushrooms and sago.
The variety they serve here is mind boggling. I has already started to feel full, so I decided to watch out for the portion size of the dishes.
After starters, we were served with cardamom flavored yogurt sorbet - which I simply loved. It was nicely flavored with cardamom, the sweetness was just right and it was quite soothing.
Apart from this, we had also ordered two mocktails which were not a part of the set menu namely - Lava Flow and Cool Blue. Both of them were nicely chilled and met our expectations.
After a refreshing yogurt sorbet, the main course was served.
First was 'Neer dosa; that came with a spicy tomato gravy. Another was 'appam' that came with a coconut. curry. Of the two gravies, I liked the coconut one more as it was mildly spiced. The appam was nice and soft.
It was followed by curries and parathas. There were 2 types of parathas and three types of curries. The curries were specially good, all tasted good - they were rightly spiced. A thumbs up for it.
Before we move on the the desserts, a little about the decor and ambiance of the restaurant. The settings of the restaurant is nice. I particularly like those round designs on the wall. It is well lit - not too bright and just right to give a cosy feeling. However, the restaurant can get a bit noisy when most tables are occupied. And my husband complained to me that he could not quite feel the AC in the restaurant. I think that is one area where they can still improve.
I also had curd rice before heading for desserts. It was okay - it was the first time I had it. It came with a wide variety of pickles. I quite liked the sweet mango pickle and helped myself with a generous serving of it.
The desserts menu was quite extensive. So much so that we were actually spoilt for choices. All the dishes from starts, drinks to main course was served to us on the table. But, for desserts we had to go over the desserts counter and take out pick. There were brownies, shahi tukda, gulab jamun, phirni, and two types of payasam. They also had some freshly cut fruits and an ice-cream counter. The ice-cream was served with a variety of toppings. I didn't try it as I was already so full.
I did feel that the desserts had quite a North Indian influence. I tasted each of them - they were quite nicely done. I quite liked the brownies and payasams and my husband loved the gulab jamoons. I quote him here - he said, 'they are out of the world.'
There can be no better way to finish a South Indian meal than having a cup of authentic filter 'kapi' aka coffee. I am not really a coffee person. I occasionally indulge in cold-coffees and lattes once in a blue moon. But, I loved the coffee here - it was simply 'amazing'.
Overall we had quite a nice experience at South Indies. I will definitely recommend it to any one looking to have some authentic South Indian food. For me South Indian food have always meant the popular dishes like the Dosa, Upma, Idli, Vada, Uttapam, etc. But, you can't find these things on the menu here. The menu is quite innovative and that's what makes this place very different.