Where: 8/31, Chakrapani Street, Kodambakkam, Chennai
Cuisine: South Indian, North Indian, Chinese
For reservations & enquiries: 044 65344344, +91 9962566688
It's hard to find a diner with good food and ambience at Kodambakkam; though many food joints are opening up, there is just a handful that would impress you in terms of food. So when I came across the restaurant Manjal, their huge line-up of non-vegetarian delicacies and restaurant name created an immediate spark in my mind. Had to settle down for a Sunday lunch and the place wasn't crowded, may be the location plays to be the big reason to irritate people. But located in the middle of a residential area, the diners gradually started to scoop in for late lunch.
And you shall forget that you are at Chennai while your dining there. As the place brings the glimpse of Chettinad houses; right from the thinnai at the entrance, the kolam, jallikattu pictures and the furniture, I loved everything. And let me come to the food, considering it was lunch service they didn't have any tiffin items (they are available only for dinner) and they don't serve a few dishes mentioned in their menu too (yeah, they are yet to get a new updated menu card).
After all the hungamas, the order was Naatu Kozhi Uppu Kari, Fish Fry, South Indian Non-Veg Thali and Plain Biriyani.
The Seer fish fry is an all time favourite of mine but I wasn't much fond of this one. The flavour of the spices and the crispy outer layer of the fish was bang-on but the fish would have been perfect if it was left on the pan for a few more seconds.
Naatu Kozhi Uppu Kari is a treat for chicken lovers. A simple yet flavourful dish, the use of minimal spices to cook the chicken with just the right seasoning made this one a delicious dish.
I was in total love with the Biriyani. The aromatic blend of spices in the seeraga samba rice was too good to resist but the level of heat (i.e. spiciness) will pull your hands in the opposite direction to the plate. There is mutton kurma and raitha to go along with the biriyani; considering the spice level it's better to stay away from the kurma.
And the South Indian Non-veg Thali is an ideal choice for lunch. The plate is filled with Kozhi (Chicken) Rasam, Mutton Kurma, Fish Curry, Rasam, Snake Gourd Poriyal, Keerai Kootu, Buttermilk, Appalam and Rice. It's limited meals but was perfect for a person. In terms of taste didn't have any complaints but the standouts were the non-veg curries. The authentic South-Indian spices makes the curries taste phenomenal; the fish curry was exceptional and the chicken rasam is a perfecto for the rice. Once again the curries were really spicy; by the time I took a mouthful of mutton kurma with rice my palate was completely burn so it was quite difficult to even differentiate the flavour. But my partner seemed to love the mutton kurma and had demolished the thali in no-time.
As they don't have a category called desserts, I ordered for Nanari Sarbath and it was a perfect choice to calm me down after the overload of spices.
That meal cost Rs. 643 INR (including taxes), except the fish fry I didn't have any complaints about the food and pricing seemed reasonable.
Breaking Down Points
Location & Parking: Follow the maps and you will reach the spot without any confusion. Though not a dedicated parking space, you have enough space to rest your vehicle outside the restaurant.
Ambience: Classy and traditional.
Food Variety: Non-vegetarians are in for a treat. Though there are vegetarian options, you much atleast be an eggetarian so you shall taste more dishes.
Taste: Good but I wouldn't go raving about their food. They must focus on bringing a balance in the flavours instead of burning our palate with spicy food.
Quality & Quantity: Food was presented neatly. The portion is perfect for a person and no major complaints in food quality.
Service: Fast and attentive but somewhere their cautiousness to please a diner felt like rushing us to finish the meal or order more food and unnecessary.
Price: A meal for two would cost Rs.700-900 INR approx., the price range is reasonable considering the taste and quantity.
So my Verdict!
Manjal is a welcoming addition to Kodambakkam. Ideal for non-vegetarians but still there is hope for vegetarians. There were highs and lows in terms of taste but the quantity and pricing were a big thumbs-up for me. And finally I loved the restaurant setup.
P.S. Remember, no two person's palate can be same.
The fragrance that enlightens your meal - Manjal, Kodambakkam Chennai Reviewed by Divya Srinivasan on 13:56 Rating: