Savya Rasa, the latest fine dining restaurant in the upscale Koregaon Park area is here to shatter any illusions you may have about South Indian cuisine. From the moment you enter the place, the carefully chosen handicrafts and ethnic décor will transform you to a different world. You will feel warmly welcomed into a Southern Indian home.
Savya Rasa is showcasing Kongunadu, Chettinad, Malabar, Nasrani, Managluru, Mysuru and Nellore – that is food from seven different areas of the South. The well trained staff will guide you through this enchanting land that is the South. As soon as we were seated, I was offered a choice of flavored water, one of my favorites. The choices were ethnic like Tulsi or Holy Basil, Jeera or Cumin and Khus. I chose Khus right away, wondering what it would taste like. Just a sip took me back to summers of my childhood, and the ‘Khus’ scents of the air cooler of yore.
The cocktail menu was presented and this has a good variety. The Betel Sour beckoned but I am not big on whiskey. Neither am I a mojito fan. But I am definitely a brandy fan. The Brandy Mani was chosen and it proved to be excellent. Served warm, it was a bit like mulled wine, and I would prefer it as a night cap rather than a predinner drink. Or an anytime drink on a chilly winter day spent reading a juicy mystery by a roaring fire ;).
Other drinks worth mentioning are the Kapi Martini, which is made with vodka and coffee (of course), and an Apple Ginger Mojito which has bits of ginger and apple slices.
The appetizers started and the Cheniga Pappu Vada, also known as Daal Vada was a winner. This is actually something that may be familiar to a lot of people. We have a variation of this vada even in Maharashtrian cuisine. The Koon Ularthiyathu were mushrooms Kerala style. There was a strong flavor of black pepper and coconut here, and it was also made in coconut oil.
Biskuthambade was a kind of fried dumpling which was very light.
In the mains, the Bun Parota and Kambu Rotti are both worth a try. The Bun Parota is actually shaped like a bun, and this flaky Parotta is perfect to soak up the thick, creamy, spicy sauce of the Gutti Venkaya curry, which is baby eggplant simmered in a nut, seed and spice paste.
Idiyappa Idli was a kind of string hopper and was served with the Batata Gassi. The Batata Gassi was mildly spiced and I liked it a lot. But I would still prefer my string hopper with a stew.
The Mock Fish Curry was fiery! I am not big on food that is very hot or very spicy, although I do like the flavors. The Mock Fish Curry had a strong taste of chili and will impress those who like hot food.
Malli Sadam was another winner in my book. Cooked in coconut oil, this coriander rice tasted very fresh and had the crunch of some daal.
The Desserts were as South Indian as could be. I have recently become a fan of the Elaneer Payasam. And I got to try another new dessert in the form of Karuppati Halva. This was like a fudge and tasted predominantly of ghee.
The Obbatlu was like a Marathi Puran Poli that provided some familiar comfort.
Savya Rasa contains an outdoor seating area which seems to be a smoking zone. The inside is air conditioned and hopefully a nonsmoking zone. As you step through a massive carved teak door from Chettinad, you come upon a large tapestry depicting Kalamkari or the tree of life. This is hand painted using vegetable dyes and is not the only treasure you will come across here. The floor tiles are also hand made by some artisans in the deep South, the roof tiles are Madras tiles made from Terracotta.
If you are tired of ordering the same dishes all the time, here is a place that offers delicious novelty in a pleasant ambience. So make tracks to Savya Rasa the next time you eat out. It is definitely worth a visit.