A bold vision for Southern Indian cuisine that will please traditionalists and global gourmands alike.
When was the last time a South Indian restaurant launch made you sit up and take notice. Avartana is just that kind of restaurant; crafted with a bold vision. It’s what other Indian hotel chains could have created, but they didn’t. You can be forgiven for imagining you are dining in London or Singapore. Except this is Chennai a city where the traditional and modern have always co-existed.
The Space: One sweeping glance is all it takes to engage with this ‘dinner only’ restaurant. No ‘in your face’ Southern Indian décor, just elegant design touches that draw heavily from the region’s motifs. Light fittings inspired by banana flowers, wall art that reminds you of Kerala’s iconic boats. A display kitchen – a rarity for a South Indian fine dining restaurant is another clever touch.
The grub: be prepared to occasionally fall of your chair. Warn that aunt or grandmother about some of the restaurant’s quirky reinterpretations. A rasam infused in a French Press and served in a Martini glass – no kidding. It’s only tasting menus at this point – from 7 to 13 courses. Each course challenges the next, just when you think you’ve seen it all, the culinary team keeps pulling rabbits out of the hat. Like a fennel infused panacota that resembles an egg and is broken with sufficient theatrics by the culinary team (spoiler alert!). The drama almost never stops but ultimately this restaurant goes beyond gimmickry. Whether it’s the Fish in Chips (not and chips) served with a butter milk mayo or the exquisite coriander shrimp dumplings, the flavours are truly authentic and will continue to bring you back after the ‘new place in town’ sheen wears off.
Bottomline: Avartana gives South Indian cuisine what it deserves – a global template and a fresh perspective without stealing its soul.
Avartana is at the ITC Grand Chola, 63, Mount Road, Chennai: 32. Phone: 2220-0000 (www.itchotels.in) Tasting menus start at Rs 2000/head (plus taxes) for a 7-course meal.