The south Indian virundhu is one of the best meals to look forward to. The number of dishes depends on the type of event or festival. However big the menu is. the traditional sambar, rasam and curd does not fade away from it.
This holds true in the case of Maplai, a south Indian restaurant that has opened its branch in Neelankarai, ECR.
Derived from the French word Ma Plai, which means ‘my pleasure’, the restaurant promises to offer pleasure in the form of food.
Their famous virundhu is inspired from the south Indian wedding, where the groom is treated to a sumptuous meal at the in-laws’ house after marriage. Although Maplai serves typical a-la carte menu, their virundhu is a must try.
They serve 26 items in a large thali, that never seems to get empty.
The work of the restaurant’s ‘Mad Chef’ – mad because of their innovations – makes each of the items served is so south Indian.
Diners are served complimentary, crispy hot vadams with dip.
The food trail begins with nenju elumbu soup, with a large mutton bone sitting in the middle of the soup. Then comes the thali with an assortment dishes like muttai masala, which is boiled egg covered with masala and tava fried, naattu kozhi fry, chicken kothu kari.
One of their delicacies is suvarotti, which is the spleen of the goat. It is cooked with lots of pepper and is good for increasing the haemoglobin content in the body.
They also serve mutton chukka which is cooked in Madurai masala. Viraal fry, chicken kozhambu, mutton thala curry, viraal meen kulambu, kootu, poriyal.
All of these are accompanied by a flaky parotta, which could be eaten with any of these dishes . Then there is also rice, rasam, applam, curd, chekku ennai and ghee on offer. The thogayal, a thick coarse chutney, is their runaway hit.
Rice and parotta are unlimited and I am sure one needs to have a large appetite to finish the entire thali.
You can flush everything down with their neer moru or panagam. There are also other drinks that you can order from.
For dessert, the restaurant boasts of elaneer payasam and mundiri halwa. The kaju halwa is recommended to be eaten warm, so don’t hesitate to ask your host to warm it up.
The restaurant grinds its own masalas, which, according to them, enhances the flavour of their cooking.
The place is calm and the walls are painted with tiger dance (puli attam) theme. The decor is pleasing and the cutlery matches the setting.
Another interesting thing about the place was that the waiters go by filmy names. The one who served us called himself ‘Bogan’. There was also a Maari, among others.
The place is open for lunch and dinner. It is located at 145, ECR Road, Neelangarai, Chennai. For reservations call 2449 4445.