Avaratna is 14 months old. The restaurant has only 4 tasting menus, of 7, 9, 11 and 13 courses, in both a vegetarian option as well as a non-vegetarian option. There is no a la carte. The prices start at INR 2000 all the way up to INR 4500, all, obviously excluding taxes. We opted for two 9 course [Bela] and one 11 course [Jiaa] menus.
Chef Ajit Bangera who headed the team that developed the menu said in an interview “that he does not want to tart up or reinvent great South Indian classics. Instead, he wants to take South Indian flavours and masalas and pair them with a few staples (appams, dosas, uttapams, rasams etc.) to create a cuisine that is recognisably South Indian in the mouth, but is not gimmicky or show-offy”. He has also said that they have “moved away from traditional thalis, everything is plated in international standards. Presentation is an important part of the experience and once you dig into your dish, you will realise that it is undeniably South Indian”. Chef Bangera and team has certainly achieved this.
You did get the obligatory foam in a nod to Molecular Gastronomy. You also got a sorbet, which, like every sorbet we have eaten in India is simply too sweet. You also got several amuse bouche. Thus, all the boxes that have to be ticked by international restaurants were ticked here too.
Above: Orange & Ginger Sorbet
Continuing the cliché, a South Indian meal ends with a serving of Dahi Rice, pickle and a Papad or Applam. This is exactly what was done here. A beaker of not rice but Sago balls, Tapioca or Sabudana [all are the same] in cold Dahi, served with a Test Tube of tangy chutney, a fried Apalam and a classic fried Dahi Chilly. This dish was to my mind the defining Modern South Indian dish of the evening.
Above: Sago Yogurt, Tamarind & Dried Berry Sauce, Apalam & Chili
The rest of the food I am not describing. Here are the photos for you to drool over.
Above: A modern Paan. The filling was frozen Gulkhand Coconut et al