A return to your roots

Vidya Singh visits Parambriyam, Anna Nagar with few friends and returns nostalgic.

It was a warm summer afternoon, when a few friends and I set out to Anna Nagar, to Parambriyam , the newest entry into our city, serving wonderful home-cooked style Chettinadu food. Anita Sivakumar, the dynamic lady who now owns three Parambriyam restaurants across the city, says that she was inspired to set up these to bring to our city, recipes that can give us authentic food of the deep south of the state of Tamilnadu. Several of these recipes have been handed down through the generations and they are now preserved for posterity.

Rekha Rangaraj and I are wedding planners and our company Sumyog had been privileged to have handled the wedding of Anitha Sivakumar’s daughter Shivani, a few years ago. Even then the restaurant was in the planning stages and her success is evident in the authenticity of the food that her chefs put together for their diners. The restaurant name denotes tradition, Parambriyam, and they have been able to maintain the taste of ancient tradition while simultaneously incorporating the latest technology to maintain authenticity. The Times Food Award 2013 for best Chettinadu stands proof to the restaurants popularity.

Accompanying Rekha and myself are Jayshree Kumar, an educationist and philanthropist from Kodaikanal, where she had been involved for several years in the management of the famed Kodai International School and also runs two NGOs  that help create Pottery and Quilts giving the underprivileged a chance to earn a living while learning a skill. Anuradha Giri, hailing from the Sivaji Ganesan family, is a specialist in creating bespoke interiors, using the finest quality of hand embroidery in upholstery and curtain fabric. Having trained under the famous Jean Francois, Anuradha does work for Channel, D&G, Armani and other couture houses. She is now in her 25th year in the business.

The first course were the soups, a vegetarian and a mutton soup, that was an old world soup that Jayshree says was spicy and peppery and very tasty. The starters were so many that we actually began protesting and did request the Chef to send us tiny portions so that we could do justice to them! The Koli Vepudu, is as its name suggests from Andhra, was crispy and tasty, as was the mushroom and an interesting take on Shredded Paneer, that was tossed with Ghee. Rekha pronounced that this was a first for her!  The Mushroom Cheese Balls were filling and had an interesting flavor as we bit into them. The Karvepillai Finger Chicken was excellent, as was the Chicken 65, a tried and tested dish of our city. The Kheema Urundai was excellent, said Jayshree who was checking out the Non-Veg for us! The Sara Puttu, the shark, she said was superbly well done. Fried fish and the fish curry came to the table, that Jayshree said was just excellently flavoured.

Chef brought us a meal on a Thali that gave us a taste of many different of the dishes that are signature to Parambriyam. The Thali had a Vegetable Biryani and A Chicken Biryani both were well made, light on the spices and the oil. The chopped onions in yogurt, was a very welcome accompaniment to the Biryanis. The Sambar Rice, Anu said was very good and Rekha liked the Kootu, made of mixed vegetables. The Vegetable Kurma was accompanied with the Paratha that was typical of Chettinad .There was the rasam that again was nicely flavoured, Valakkai Chips, home style, also nice and crispy, and Thair Sadam was great to round off the meal.

The desert selection was a perfect accompaniment to this meal, a great Payasam and a Carrot Halva, a super Pumpkin Halwa and the ubiquitous Gulab Jamun that is always popular with everyone. We tasted all of them, with each of us favouring our favourite!

Parambriyam’s food certainly brings back memories of someone in your life,may be a loved grandmother, an aunt or your mother!! This meal certainly brings back memories of home cooked simple food that is totally unpretentious, but totally authentic in its taste