The already well known Fusion 9 team set up their new restaurant – Coastal Spice Kitchen on the second floor of the same building. Serving dishes from the southern states with an emphasis on their seafood dishes, the food is simple yet delicious.
While the name Coastal Spice Kitchen could imply that just seafood is on the menu, it is pleasantly surprising to sample dishes that are from the southern states and not all consist of fish. Walking into this 70 seater restaurant which is done up in soothing shades of taupe (almost the colour of sand) and blue remind one of warm beaches and blue waters. Light green walls add to the overall ambience.
The menu is extensive and besides the a la carte options, they have three different kinds of thalis too – the veg, chicken and fish thalis. My vegetarian friend and I start with sampling the Beetroot cutlet, the Prawn Sukka (for me) and Vaazhaipoo vada, a Tamilian dish which was a delicious mix of green banana flower, onion and green chillies. The beetroot cutlet which is a Syrian Christian dish from Kerala has an undercurrent of fiery pepper but the beetroot has been mixed with a bit of carrot so the beetroot flavour is a bit muted, which is a good thing. The Prawn Sukka is flavoured with coconut and spices but all so subtle that you can savour the coconut and the prawns with the spices adding to the overall taste of the dish. There are dishes from Andhra Pradesh too – the pulusu and the gongura based ones – but we choose to experiment with other states for a change.
I also indulge in some delicious Sol Kadi – a coconut milk, kokum, garlic and chilli drink that works as an appetiser and is a staple of the coastal cuisine of Maharashtra and Goa. Though it is essentially South Indian food, the restaurant has included Goa as well which is great because Goan cuisine has some unique methods of cooking.
For the main course we decided to try the neer dosa, appam and sannas – both rice preparations but so different in the way they look. One is fermented with toddy while the other is made with water. Accompanying the dosa and sannas which is from Mangalore, we try Malwani Chicken, Vegetable ghassi and vegetable stew. The chicken is made the Konkani way with a special masala from Sindhudurg and coconut milk. The stew is full of fresh vegetables and the chef has got this just right where the coconut milk blends in rather than being the overpowering taste. The Ghassi which is a Manglorean dish also with coconut is vastly different from the stew but very tasty. And all these dishes go extremely well with the curries and the stew.
What I find interesting about South Indian cuisine is that most states use coconut as a base – but each one treats it differently and the spices give it colour and taste. So a red ghassi and a whitish stew are on par with the yellow chicken curry and they all have coconut as a base. Needles to say the chef has done justice to all and the authenticity has been retained and the dishes not tweaked to appeal to a wider audience.
To finish we had a payasam which was simple and tasty.
In the final verdict, would I go back to Coastal Spice Kitchen? Most definitely and I would try the thali this time as it has a little from every part of South India in it.
Meal for two: Rs 1000- Rs 1200 excluding alcohol
Thalis are priced between Rs 225 and Rs 385.
Address: 1st Avenue, Above Fusion 9, Road No. 1, Banjara Hills
Tel: 6557 7722
Timings: Noon to 3:30 pm and 6:45 pm to 11:30 pm