When it comes to traditional food, there are a few restaurants in Chennai who still manage to retain their authenticity. Over the decades the list has become small, as many have closed their doors unable to stand their ground against the fast food culture, franchise onslaught from bigger chains and ever-increasing input cost. Among the ones who are still in business are Rayar’s Cafe, Mylapore; Hotel New Woodlands, Dr Radhakrishnan Salai; Hotel Palmgrove and a few others.

Today, a friend of mine wanted to meet up for lunch and I suggested we go to Menaka Restaurant in Hotel Palmgrove. I like their South Indian meals (as the fixed menu, lunch is called here), which is authentic, tasty and served in a laid-back ambience.  I opted for their Andhra Meals which cost about Rs.192 + taxes – today it consisted of Rice, Sambar, Rasam, Chapati, Curry, Raitha, Pachadi, Curd, Vegetable Pulao, Ladies’ fingers Poriyal, Appalam, Banana and paan.

Apart from Andhra Meals, they have four other varieties – Madras Meals, South Indian Special Thali, Special Bombay Meals and Palmgrove Special Thali.

Andhra Vegetarian Meals
Andhra Vegetarian Meals [ஆந்திரா சைவ சாப்பாடு]
Condiments tray - (Clockwise from left top) Dal Powder to be mixed with Rice; Avakkai Mango Pickle; Gongura pickle; and Salt
Condiments tray – (Clockwise from left top) Paruppu (Dal/Lentils) Powder to be mixed with rice and ghee; Avakkai Mango Pickle; Gongura pickle; and Salt. [பருப்புப் பொடி, ஆவக்கா ஊறுகாய், கோங்குரா (புளிச்சக்கீரை) ஊறுகாய், உப்பு]

Appalam - அப்பளம்
Appalam – அப்பளம்

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