Despite the fact that, India is a land of varied cultures & traditions, we tend to stereotype it. Let’s take the minuscule example of Indian food. It varies by every 100 kms, yet when we think of Indian food, we only think of “Biryanis, Makhanis, Tandoori Chickens, Paneer tikkas & Malai Kababs”. Stereotyped Indian food is much like the beautiful and popular cousin,who has been garnering accolades & recognition and in that process, you’ve forgotten the equally good looking cousin. “Miss.South Indian Food”
Even Miss.South Indian Food, gets stereotyped for being only about Idli, Dosa, Vada & Bhaths. If, you do think that South Indian Food, is just that.. then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Briefing about “SIMPLY SOUTH” :
Demarcating the boundaries of South India, is quite easy, but dividing each cuisine respectively is a task, that involves the application of handed down knowledge and in depth research, which has to be characteristic to that region. And, who better knows this except Chef Chalapathi Rao aka Chef Challu in the culinary world.
Simply South is an award winning restaurant based in Hyderabad, under the flagship of the celebrity chef “Mr. Chalapathi Rao”. Simply South has always been in the news for their feats, like being awarded “Times Now Food Awards” for consecutive years. They have branched out from Hyderabad and ambitiously ventured into “Namma Bengaluru” (our Bangalore in colloquial terms)
Chef Chalapathi Rao states, that, his food has the stamp of authenticity and that is what he proffers to us. Usually, when we talk of authentic tastes, we tend to bar the lines & mix influences of one region to another. Simply South is an expedition you embark on, which takes you through the 5 southern states of India. Giving you a taste of every state.
I, was invited over for the bloggers table at “SIMPLY SOUTH”, from the team of FBAB. We were greeted by an ever so humble and a sweet natured Chef Chalapathi Rao of placid disposition. After making all of us feel welcomed, he started started the nosh-up which was composed for us.
- Decor: The decor is rustic and beautiful with brick walls and the adornment of art that represents each of the South Indian states.
Hospitality: You have no reason to rethink, the hospitality is par excellence and our maitre d’s are just the most well behaved and nimble at their feet kinds.
The Grub Story: Here’s how the vegetarian fare looked like;
- Tomato Saar aka Tomato Soup: The soup was a delightful start to the meal. It was thin, clear & packed with ultimate flavours. It had faint hints of tanginess & a dominant quality of hotness. A hot and sour soup with Indian goodness. It instantly warmed me up. Makes it into the “must haves” to beat the chill away.
The non vegetarians were given a chicken soup called “Kozi Rasam” & all I could see was people asking for second helpings of it. The soup tasted delicious is what I’ve been told.
- Mokka Jonna Garelu/ Sweet Corn Fritters: I, must have easily had about 4 of these beauties. The most delicious set of vadas aka fritters i’ve tasted in a long while. They were sweet corn nibbles added to the simple batter of the vada. The distinct sweetness of the sweet corn & the depth imparted by the onions and coriander swept me over. Again, a staple from the Andhra/ Telangana region.
- Gobi kempu bezule/ fried cauliflower florets: My vegetarianism, sometimes has to fall flat in a place, where they offer meat. But, that wasn’t the case, the fried cauliflower florets were nice & spicy , with mangalorean masalas & garnished with fried curry leaves. (Native of Mangalore)
- Bendekaya Vepudu/ Stir fried okra: I’m an okra fan and boy! Did I love the subtle taste of the deep fried okra coated in roughly ground spices and garnished with cashew nuts & curry leaves. A great combination with parathas. (Native of Telangana)
- Moova Vankai/ Aubergine Curry: This is one of the signature dishes of “Simply South”, where baby aubergines are cooked in traditional curry made out of sesame seeds. I went crazy with this one. Paired with delicious parathas, you could just go on. ( Native of Andhra)
- Idiyapam/ String hoppers: These were the accompaniments that could be paired with curry’s. They are made out of rice flour. It requires quite some technique to make them.
- Ragi Mudde/ Finger Millet Cake: This is a cake of Finger Millet flour. Here, the millet flour is added to boiling water & made into a soft dough, which is then shaped into balls. Usually, this is eaten with a curry & ghee. First time tasting it the authentic way & I loved it!
- Curd Rice: A beautiful medley of soft mushy rice, doused in flavoured yogurt and tempered with cumin, red chillies, curry leaves, etc.
- Tomato Pappu/ Tomato lentil curry: This is a light curry of pigeon pea lentils, simmered and cooked with tomatoes, herbs & spices. Love the deep red colour of the curry. (Andhra native)
- Rasam/ Spicy Soup : This soup is made with pepper and is a thin, clear one. It’s paired with boiled rice and savoured.
- Gasgase Payasam / Poppy seed sweet: A delicious sweet made with poppy seed paste and who would’ve thought that it would be so addictive? (Native of Karnataka)
- Godhi Haggi : This was a dessert made out of broken wheat, flavoured with jaggery and cardamoms. The flavours were a shock for me, loved the use of jaggery instead of sugar to sweeten the dish which gave it a beautiful earthiness. Even the texture of broken wheat was an experience to savour. (Native of Karnataka)
- Badam Halwa/ Almond Sweet: Though, I couldn’t get a taste of it, everyone was raving about how superbly rich and delicious it was.
- Signature Buttermilk: It was nice, refreshing and just the right amount of salty to wash down the spice and ready us for the next dish.
They do have an unlimited lunch thali for Rs.250/- for all days except Sunday and that is on my list already when I visit this place next.
Apart from these vegetarian options, there were snazzy looking pots of non vegetarian dishes. Here’s a glimpse.
Hyderabadi Dum Ka Murgh/ Hyderabadi Chicken Curry:
Yera Varuval/ Spicy Prawn fry ( TamilNadu)
Telangana Kodi Roast/ Chicken Roast:
Pappad (completely vegetarian 😁)
Verdict : This restaurant is the “ne plus ultra” of the South Indian genre. I haven’t seen a restaurant more in tune and sync with their theme than the ” SIMPLY SOUTH”
Chef Chalapathi Rao, stays true to his word when he tells that this is a gastronomic journey through the 5 states. He believes in keeping a menu that is perfect to his ability. While I did take a virtual tour around the 5 states, my 5 senses were just singing in delight. Therefore, it’s only fair that this restaurant receives a 5 star!