Think Madhuban and an imagery of a lush green forest is what the mind conjures up. The last thing I would have associated Madhuban with was food from the south of India. Being a South Indian it isn’t very often that I visit restaurants that serve south Indian cuisine. Madhuban – Sattvic South Indian Restaurant, located on the second floor of Cross Point mall was a rare exception since friends I was with were in a mood for some appam and stew. Unfortunately appams weren’t on the menu.
Sattvic meaning pure, light, and simple is what the interiors of this place reflect. With a capacity to seat 40, and an open kitchen, there isn’t much more that one can do with the space on hand. The term ‘south India’ is often loosely used to refer to Tamil Nadu and by extension South Indian food has rather unfortunately become stereotyped to mean idli and dosa. Most tend to overlook delicacies that Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala have to offer. Madhuban makes an impression on this front – seeing some Andhra dishes on the menu certainly piqued my interest.
With the no-nonsense menu in hand, we started off with papad laced with gunpowder. A refreshing change from normally eating masala-papad or roasted papad. While the menu said that there would be 1 piece the actual dish that was served to us was with 3 pieces of papad. The gunpowder was well spiced and complemented the papad really well. The foundation for the meal was well laid.
Our main course consisted of Pesarattu and Malabar Parantha served with Korma. Priced at Rupees 345/- the Malabar Parantha and korma were nothing to write home about. The korma was bland and could have done with a lot of seasoning. Also, the korma only had potatoes, cauliflower, and some peas. What was missing – carrots, French beans, cloves, bay leaf, and cardamom. Andhra food is normally emphasized by red hot chilies, but this korma apart from looking red and fiery didn’t live up to its name at all, an utter disappointment. The Malabar Parantha, the USP of which is its flakiness also turned out to be a let down.
Five minutes into the meal, I found the Parantha turning crisp and I decided not to finish it, ignoring the pangs of wasting quite a significant amount on it. The Parantha was accompanied by a vegetable raita, which was the saving grace – made with nicely tempered curd and just the right masala.
The Pesarattu, on the other hand, which was accompanied by four different types of chutney and sambhar was well-worth the Rupees 155/- I paid for it. I am usually very weary of having sambhar prepared anywhere other than my own kitchen. But I was truly
happy with the sambhar at Madhuban. Coconut chutney, tomato chutney, ginger chutney, and Bengal gram chutney looked and tasted nice with the Pesarattu. The coconut chutney was fresh and light, while the ginger chutney left me with a sharp zingy aftertaste.
The paan or beeda as it is called in the south, was stuffed with a lot of tutti frutti and a little bit of gulkand. Perhaps the excess tutti frutti was to ensure that the shock of the bill is lessened.
Would I go back to Madhuban? In all probability, the answer to that would be no. The one thing that I liked was the papad with gunpowder, which is much too easy to make at home.