Not having too many ‘good’ Gujarati dining options in Chennai has always bothered me. Most restaurants in Chennai that claim to serve authentic gujju food actually serve a blend of Rajasthani and Marwari dishes. My recent visit back home led me to discover ‘Amdavadi’. Hidden amongst the hustle and bustle of North Boag road, chances are you will miss this place if you aren’t actually seeking it out.
As you walk into the alley that leads you to the restaurant you are greeted by a black statue of the goddesses resplendent in all her finery. Take a few more steps and you see the god known to be the remover of obstacles – Ganesha himself. Amdavadi could well be mistaken for a French bistro. If the weather gods were kinder, outdoor seating would be lovely. Unfortunately Chennai only has three types of climate – hot, hotter, and hottest.
Enter the restaurant and you’ll find yourself taken in by the chic interiors. The white walls are adorned with photographs that scream Gujarat. The proprietor Mr. Ranvir Shah is well-known in the Chennai art circuit, and Mr. Shah has infused his restaurant with a rich culture and tradition from Gujarat.
Amdavadi calls itself a Gujarati snack house. While we would have loved to order ala-carte the lack of time made us chose their newly introduced thali. When one visualizes a Gujju thali, the immediate picture that comes to mind is a large silver plate with those numerous little bowls, and the sheer number of dishes that are served. The thali at Amdavadi is a neat pre-plated assortment of few select dishes served in contemporary chinaware. The menu for the day which consisted of Chaas, corn and pineapple salad, khatta dhokla with green chutney, matar kachori with tamarind chutney, aloo-puri, masala khichdi, and moong dal halwa. It is refreshing to be told that they have a new thali menu for each day of the week.
Of all the things on my plate, the corn and pineapple, though nice, fresh, and crunchy stood out as I didn’t think it fit into the overall ‘gujju’ theme. I would have been happier with a tried and tested kachumber salad. The matar kachoris are exceptionally good. The kachori is crisp and flaky with the stuffing inside having just the right masala. I tuck into the dhokla next, the thing with dhokla is you have to get the fluffiness into it, unfortunately for me; the dhokla is a disappointment. The thali is served with four medium sized puris which were totally oil free. Though a tad bit spicy the aloo subzi is a hit and gets wiped clean from most of our thalis. Since the thali is pre-plated, by the time one starts eating the khichdi it has turned cold. Khichdi is best enjoyed piping hot with some generous serving of ghee on top. I personally find the masala khicdi to be the most satisfying part of a gujju meal, but I am left a tad dissatisfied. Priced at rupees 299 plus taxes this thali is certainly value for money.
Barely a few months old, Amdavadi has a long way to go and many small things to fine tune before they make it to my must-eat-at-everytime-in-Chennai-list. A visual treat to the eyes, with a little more effort this restaurant sure can appeal to the palette as well.
Rating out of 5
Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs. 600+taxes | Alcohol: No | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 11:00 AM to 11 PM
Address: Amdavadi, 23 A, North Boag Road, T.Nagar, Chennai| Telephone: 044-43313353
– Vidya Raja