CHENNAI: Intricately decorated elephants outside temples, long snake boats lined up at the shore, Puli Kali dancers performing on the streets during all the days, porches of houses decked with floral decorations, men and women in traditional half-white attire… Just as monsoon bids adieu to the coastal land of Kerala, Malayalis around the world gear up to celebrate the 10-day harvest festival Onam with pomp. Onam marks the homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali, who sacrificed his life for his subjects. As part of the festival, a sumptuous 23-dish meal — the traditional Onam sadhya is prepared and served on a banana leaf.
Kappa Chakka Kandhari
The restaurant takes its name from three ingredients unique to Kerala cuisine — tapioca, jackfruit and the Kanthari chilli. They have a dedicated floor for Onam sadhya where traditional music is played when food is served and devoured. “We are trying to bring in the vibe of Kerala to Chennai. We have an exclusive kitchen for sadhya where temple priests will perform puja before cooking the food. We have more than 27 dishes including varieties of chips, pickles and quintessential gravies,” said chef Regi Matthew from Kappa Chakka.
The platter will include pavakka kichedi, chakka pradhaman, kurukku kalan, pineapple pachadi and sakkara varatti.
Priced at Rs 640 plus taxes. Open from today till September 10 from 11.45-3.30 pm.On September 11, sadhya will be served from 11 am-3.30 pm. For details, call: 9361744119
That Mallu Joint
This year-old eatery is located in the busy T Nagar neighbourhood. This will be their debut Onam celebration. Somewhere between a mess and fine dining, the place is almost always filled with content tummies and happy smiles for its price-conscious menu. “Our spread is priced nominally when compared to other places in the city.
Alongside the vegetarian spread which will include thoran, aviyal and olan, we also serve non-vegetarian delicacies based on demand. We hope to keep the meal family-style,” said Roshina Tharakan, who co-owns the place with Ashwin Ninan.
Priced at Rs 350 per person. Open from today till September 11 (‘Sadhya’ lunch will be available on all days. ‘Sadhya’ lunch and dinner will be available only on September 11). For details, call: 9344249747
A fairly new entrant to the city, Ikkakas, which opened in 2018, serves authentic Kerala cuisine at pocket-friendly prices. Their special sadhya available only on the day of Onam (September 11) boasts 21 dishes including moru vellam, steamed rice (Kerala/local), ghee, sambar, upperi, avial, kalan, olan, erisseri, kootu curry, mezhuku puratti, pappadam, curd, moru mulaku, puli inji, chips, pazham, sharkkara upperi, pachadi pineapple, ada payasam and ari payasam.
“All the essential ingredients are sourced from Kerala. We are starting preparations the night before Onam because everything has to be slow-cooked and prepared traditionally. The sadhya will be served between 12 pm and 4 pm,” said Samjid, manager, Ikkakas. Other than sadhya, Malabar style biryanis are a major crowd-puller at Ikkakas.
Priced at Rs 399 plus taxes. Onam spread will be available only on September 11. For details, contact: 9940079944
Missing Kerala food? Is your stomach chanting sadhya? This is the third year Crimson Chakra at Besant Nagar is hosting an Onam sadhya. The lavish spread will have 23 items with four kinds of pickle, homegrown red rice and desserts. “There will be a new menu every day. We’ve brought a chef from Kottayam who specialises in sadhya.
While it’s a vegetarian spread, there are non-vegetarian options that can be availed from the a la carte menu,” said Nikhil Moturi, owner, Crimson Chakra who has curated the recipes for this year. Expect staples like inji puli, erusheri, and chakka pradhaman. Their word-of-mouth popularity garnered around 800 bookings last year. There are 200 pre-booked orders for takeaway this year.
Priced at Rs 600 per person. Open from September 8-13. For details, call: 9677277900
This recently opened restaurant on the posh lanes of KNK Road will be having its debut Onam celebrations this year. The traditional sadhya spread will be prepared with a touch of nativity by chef Chandra from Palakkad, Kerala.
He’s been curating authentic sadhya menu for the past 50 years. “This is the first time where we’ll be curating an Onam spread and we’re hoping patrons will enjoy it. Alongside staples like kootu, kalan and poriyal, non-veg delicacies comprising fish and meat will also be served as per preference,” said chef Harish Rao.