Savya Rasa is not your usual fine-dine restaurant. The experience here is actually like taking a heritage walk into ancient South India. Right from the 300 year old door, the stonework at the entrance, the Terracotta fruit tray, the brass artefacts or the antique chairs, the ambience at Savya Rasa is enthralling to say the least.
The hand chiselled flooring, the bright glass paintings, the antique large vessels, the old vanity mirror and the dying wall art transport you to a bygone era.
I was invited by Carpe Diem to try out the Mango-centric Summer special menu along with a few dishes from the regular menu. If not for them, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get to this place, since I rarely do regional cuisine. But boy, I’m glad I did! The food was a revelation. The complementary history lesson by Shivangi Shah made our meal all the more memorable 🙂
The idea behind Savya Rasa is to showcase food from seven regions of Southern India:
The team at Savya Rasa have put in years of research to make sure everything on your plate is authentic. Each section on the menu (Appetisers, mains etc) has delicacies from all or most of these 7 regions. Yes, the menu is complicated and you would spend quite some time glancing through it. But the servers here are extremely helpful with suggestions, and will ensure that you choose the right dishes to appease your taste buds.
As soon as we were seated, each of us received a cold, refreshing face towel which signalled the luxurious meal we were about to experience. Every guest here is treated to a bowl of piping hot Rasam served with Papaddum – an excellent start to you meal here.
And no, the servers won’t ask you – regular water or bottled? Instead the conversation would flow like this – May I get you Jeera water, Khus water, Tulsi water or Plain water? How lovely!
We began with a welcome drink of AAMRAS. No, not in a katori, but in a wine glass! Not only did it look fantabulous, it tasted great too.
Our server explained each dish to us intricately while serving, which was a really nice touch. So we began with the following appetisers.
KONDAKKADALAI KOZHUKKATTAI (Kongunadu)
Steamed rice flour dumplings with well balanced fillings of chick peas, trio of peppers and onions seasoned with hand blended spices.
This hot salad was packed with flavours and textures. Loved the mini rice dumplings. Highly recommended.
CHUTNEY PANIYARAM (Chettinad)
Rice and lentils steeped over night, stone ground into batter, seasoned with ginger, green chillies, grated coconut, crushed pepper, stuffed with three types of chutney and shallow-fried in a customised cast iron pan.
Or Appe, as you and I know them! The rustic presentation was very eye-catching, and the stuffed red chutney within the Appe imparted a lovely flavor. Highly recommended.
Look at these 3 lovely Chutneys. Don’t they look absolutely fresh? Each one had a distinct flavor, the red one being my absolute favorite.
CHANAGA PAPPU VADA (Nellore)
Deep-fried patties of Bengal lentils with chopped green chillies, ginger and spices, served with coconut and coriander chutney.
And then arrived the humble Dal vada. Good preparation. Though this wouldn’t feature on my must-order list at Savya Rasa since it had nothing special going for it.
Moving onto the main course, we tried 4 different curries and 3 different breads.
BUN PAROTTA (Kongunadu)
A fluffy multilayered bread made with refined wheat flour, egg and butter cooked on a griddle – soul food!
This was the flakiest Indian bread I’ve ever sunk my teeth into, period. I would urge each and every one to definitely order this here. Whether you eat it by itself, dip into a chutney or lap up with a curry, the Bun Parotta tastes wonderful in all forms. Highly recommended.
A delicate crêpe made with rice batter and coconut oil – a delicacy from the land of Tulu. Goes wonderfully well with almost anything, but nothing to beat its companion, the famous Gassi.
A fluffy rice pancake made from fermented rice batter, cooked in a traditional “Appa Chatti” (a custom-made cast iron pan).
MANGO THOKKU – A sweet, sour and spicy Chettinad preparation of ripened mangoes enjoyed best with Appam.
This was the dish of the day for me! The perfect amalgamation of sweet, sour and spicy flavours made sure I kept lapping this up throughout the meal. Highly recommended.
KALAAN THIRATTAL – A thick curry made with button mushrooms, groundnuts, shallots and red chillies. Kongunadu treat best enjoyed with bun parotta.
This was had very different flavours. It was the first time I had mushrooms cooked in a groundnut base. It was a good preparation for mushroom lovers.
MAMIDI PANDU PULUSU – This dish is a seasonal speciality of Andhra kitchens. This mango-based, spicy, sweet-and-sour dish is known for its cooling powers and can help prevent heat strokes.
This was one dish that did not work for me. It was too sweet for my liking. I like my curries to have spice. Those inclined towards sweet-n-sour preparations might enjoy this one.
VEGETABLE STEW – Cooked in a creamy coconut base, this dish was wonderful! My Appam soaked up the curry instantly and made for a great combination. Recommended.
RICE – We tried two different rice preparations – the classic Ghee rice and the seasonal speciality Mango Rice. While the Ghee rice went perfectly well with the curries, the Mango rice was a treat all by itself. Recommended.
And then waltzed in the desserts!
MAMBAZHA KESARI – Made with Semolina and sweet mango pulp, this one was a great dessert. The addition of ghee imparted a rich flavor.
KUKUDA PAYASA, MAMBAZHA HALWA & MAMBAZHA PUDDING were the other 3 desserts I sampled. But unfortunately, none of them could impress me. I prefer my desserts to go easy on the sweetness which wasn’t the case here.
We got to sample a couple of fruit based cocktails too. Boy, was I glad! Absolutely flavor packed and potent drinks.. I sampled various options with Mulberry, Litchi, Mango, Watermelon and Curry leaves.
I ended up calling for the full portion of the Mango Daiquiri. Tart, sweet, fresh, flavor packed and absolutely refreshing!
We ended the meal with a cuppa of perfectly made Filter Kapi. It was served with jars containing different types of sugars – coconut sugar, brown sugar, jaggery sugar and table sugar. I added the coconut and brown sugars which imparted a lovely flavor to the coffee. Highly recommended.
And then came the surprise! So each guest at Savya Rasa is treated to a paan made right in front of his eyes – peti and all! Loved this special touch.
And the mouth fresheners – the imli goli and the sweet sour pellets took us right back to our childhood. Major nostalgia!
So that was the end of my perfect meal here. Yes, it’s an expensive place. But the ingredients are top-notch, the recipes truly authentic, the decor is well thought of and the service is excellent. The cold napkins, the welcome nibbles of rasam-papaddum, the flavored waters and the hand-crafted paan are sure to put a smile on your face. They do make you feel really special.
I, for one, would love to dine here again.
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