Dec 31, 2022

Ending the year on a sweet note!

 The famous Indian Laddoo in its various avatars !

My daughter enjoying her favorite dessert - Tiramisu

Ending 2022 with sweet memories..

Dec 28, 2022

Mahimaism !

It was wonderful to see little Esther Mahima ( my cousin's 12 year old daughter) getting inspired by my book Ashokism 75. She has a natural talent for art and it was fun to watch her draw. 

The Kingfisher 

The little artist at work


Dec 26, 2022

Fusion Bistro at Karaikudi

Nithila's new found favorite food joint in Karaikudi

We were returning back to karaikudi after a long drive that drove us hungry. The name "Fusion Bistro" on an advertisement board at the Periyar statue junction made us curious...we quickly set our google map and drove to the cafe cum restaurant destination. We had no clue about the place. We were surprised that it was tucked away from the main road in a side street, quite an unlikely location for a 'fusion' restaurant!
Chef David

As we entered , we were welcomed by the young Owner and Chef David Amirtharaj. He quickly gave us an orientation of his offering in the fusion cuisine. He also shared his personal story...he had worked as chef abroad mastering Italian and continental cuisine. He had come home on vacation from Australia when Covid19 stuck and changed his life forever. He lost his dad to Covid and decided to stay back with his mom and start his own venture in his native home. Fusion Bistro was soon born out of David's overseas experience in continental cuisine and his roots in local Chettinad cuisine. David has a wide range of exquisitely unbelievable fusion dishes to offer that you can not imagine to be available in this part of the world! 
We ordered Honey chilli Chicken and crispy fried calamari with Tartar sauce for starters. They were delicious and well presented in 5 star style as well. David suggested we try his thin crust pizzas. We ordered barbeque chicken pizzas and were extremely happy with our decision..

Honey chilli chicken
Crispy fried calamari
 BBQ chicken pizza
Our favorite here is the thin crust pizza... The best pizzas we have had so far ..perfectly crunchy and flavorful!

The only drawback was the interior ambience..quite gaudy and not matching up to the high standard David has set for his food! I wish he had it designed by an Architect to reflect his fusion cuisine! But I am sure most people here don't bother about the interior design as long as its kept neat and hygienic. 

Iam sure we will be visiting Fusion Bistro again on all our future visits to Karaikudi. There is a huge list of items on David's menu that are waiting to be tasted! 

Dec 25, 2022

Golden Annivarsary function

With my old school mates James, Kumaran, Chella and Anand

With Karu. Annamalai

Today my School friend Karu. Annamalai had invited me to his parent's 50th (Golden) wedding anniversary function. The celebrations included his dad Mr.Chinna Karuppiah's 75th Birthday and his Mom Mrs. Nagammai's 70th birthday as well. The grand event was held at PLP mandabam, Karaikudi.  Incidentaly I had planned my Christmas vacation in Karaikudi and hence could make it to the event. My friend Chella Kumar arrived from Madurai and together we made it to the mandabam. We got a chance to meet few of our school friends after decades. 

With karu. Annamalai (far left) and his parents

Annamalai's elder brother Karu.Palaniappan ( also my school senior) is a well known film director, actor and TV host.  Hence a whole bunch of film personalities and politicians had graced the occasion. 

With my school pal Chella Kumar

Chettinad vegetarian meals spread by Nedungudi Muthu

The highlight of any function in Karaikudi is the famous chettinad food. Today was no different. The vegetarian meal spread on banana leaf was minimal in quantity but maximum in taste!

With Karu. Palaniappan annan

Dec 24, 2022

Merry Christmas !

  80 feet tall Christmas tree
 @ Phoenix Market city , Bengaluru

TELC Church of Divine Unity at Karaikudi - lit up for the Christmas eve service 

Dec 23, 2022

Sri Priya Mess at Kalanivasal , Karaikudi

Simple ambience
Today our drive from Bengaluru to karaikudi took longer than usual due to the Christmas holiday crowd on the highway. We had a late breakfast at Murugan Idli kadai near Krishnagiri and decided to try lunch at the famous Sri Priya mess after reaching Karaikudi. But it was nearly 4 PM when we reached the mess and were surprised to see it still open. This was my first lunch out at Karaikudi in 20 years. 

I came to know that Priya mess has almost a 50 year heritage and now there are two branches run seperately by the next generation. We went to the one at Kalanivasal road. The cusine here is obviously Chettinad. The interior ambience was  like any other small town eatery. 

Since it was almost closing time, few of their signature non veg dishes were not available. The non veg meal option was simple. It had rice served on banana leaf along with 2 vegetable dishes. Today it was yam and bottle gourd poriyal. Both tasted good.

Meals on banana leaf

Then came a variety of thick gravies to choose from...we tried country chicken, crab and fish gravies. The gravies were really delicious, rich in chettinad flavor with well balanced spices.

From the available side dish options we went for mutton kolas, Fish fry, Prawns and Goat liver fry. My picks were the liver fry and Prawns  that tasted perfect. The fish fry and mutton kolas were just OK. 

Side dishes
The rasam tasted fantastic and I ended with my customary curd and rice. The lady waitress was extremely courteous which is rare to see now a days.  
Banana leaf design on the table

Goli soda
We tried the Jallikattu brand Goli Soda in blueberry flavor. Nithila loved it to my surprise. 

Overall a satisfactory experience. We decided to visit again someday at proper lunch time and try out some of their famed non veg chettinad side dishes...!

VIP seats!


Dec 22, 2022

New Pattukottai Kamatchi mess @ Velachery

Non veg meals 

Yesterday I flew to Chennai on an official visit to our Phoenix Market city Mall at Velachery. Sabari Nath, the Mall's Centre director took me out for lunch to the "new Pattukotai" Kamatchi mess. It was at walking distance behind our mall on the Velachery bypass road. The cuisine was broadly Pattukottai + Chettinad style. There was a reasonable crowd even on a weekday which says something about the quality and taste of food here. The ambience was nothing special except for some interesting art depicting local Tamil culture and life. 
I ordered fish fry meals that was served on a banana leaf. Their karuvadu thokku (dry fish pickle) was simply lip smacking.. For starters we had crispy meat balls (kolas). The flavor was slightly different from the Madurai Kolas. Next we tried their Nalli (lamb bone) gravy that was highly recommended by the waiter. It lived up to the hype! The side dishes were served on environmentally friendly leaf bowls which is appreciable. The meal came with 5 gravies namely- fish, prawn, crab, country chicken and quail. I tried a spoon of each and found all of them equally good. We concluded with the super sweet Elaneer (tender coconut) payasam for dessert. It is a must try here.  
I will definitely come here for lunch on my next visit too... 

Fish fry

Meat balls

Lamb bone (nalli) gravy

Sabari enjoying his meal

Tender Coconut  (Elaneer) payasam 

Lively wall art

Funny vadivelu wall art

Cash counter

Warning: This restaurant is not for vegetarians ;)