BENGALURU: If you want to experience Telugu cuisine in Bengaluru, Samaikya in HSR Layout will serve you exactly what you desire. The restaurant does not have the look and feel of a typical Andhra joint but the décor elements, however, are typical to three broad regions of the Telugu-speaking regions –coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Rayalaseema.
My dining companion and I started off the dinner with an innovative dish, where they have experimented with rasam, which the region is famous for. Verushanga Tamata Chaaru, a semi-thick soup made with peanuts, tomatoes and onions, churned our appetite with the tanginess and a rich flavour of mixed spices.
The restaurant is a fiery heaven for non-vegetarians who love the heat of chilli and the kick of spices in meat. We tried Telangana Lollipop –deep fried chicken drumsticks tossed with green chilies, curry leaves and dusted with pounded spice –and Udayagiri Mamsam Vepudu – lamb flavoured with curry leaf-infused gravy. On the first bite, the first wave of heat will hit you, followed by an amalgamation of spices absorbed by the meat.
Go for the Goddu Karam Chanduva Fry, which is a whole pomfret marinated in green chilli paste, deep fried and sprinkled with homemade chilli garlic powder. However, this is not for the faint-hearted as it can leave Habanero and Sriracha in the dust trail on the Scoville charts. For vegetarians, the appetizer section is a little limited but Chamadumpa JeedipapPuvepudu, a colocasia and cashew fry, stood out. We longed for a glass of beer as the flavours and the crispy colocasia would go well with it.
Andhra meals are synonymous with ‘pappu’ and Samaikya clearly knows how to get theirs right with Gongura Pappu. The perfectly cooked lentils and gongura greens (roselle) on a hot bed of rice, with a dollop of desi ghee on top, made our day. If you want to do some experimentation with vegetarian food, then Pachikaram Junni Paalu, Creamy Paneer Bhurji cooked with full fat milk, is a good recommendation.
For the non-veg main course, we tried a few of their specialties, the first one being Ulavacharu Chicken Biryani, an authentic Vijayawada-style biryani prepared with slow-cooked horse gram gravy. It has a distinct and pungent taste, which is very different from dum biryani. It might need an acquired taste to gorge on but you can definitely give it a try for its uniqueness. The star dish in the entire course was the Bommidayulu Pulusu, a traditional Andhra eel fish curry. It was savoury with classical Andhra spices. The heat was tempered down and well-refined.
Rounding up the whole experience was the Double Ka Meetha, a classic Hyderabadi sweet made of fried bread slices soaked in hot milk with spices, saffron and cardamom. We also tried Qubani Ka Meetha prepared with apricot pulp. While the desserts were from the region, they were nothing out of the ordinary.
Samaikya procures specialty ingredients such as Gongura, Bommidayulu (eel fish) and Guntur chilli from their region of origin, making these dishes authentic. The head chef is from the region and recreates his grandmother’s recipes, which adds to the authenticity.
The food festival will be held till December 1 at Samaikya in HSR Layout. Cost for two: `900 (approx)