Delhi NCR has very few good options when it comes to India’s most popular dish – the masala dosa. Or for that matter any of the vegetarian south Indian delicacies. So when I am invited by Kausstubh restaurant that offers over 30 different varieties of authentic dosas, plus a lot more of the iconic dishes from the four Southern states, I am both intrigued and excited.
I am met by Kunal Guha, General Manager of Kausstubh, who despite hailing from Bengal is very knowledgeable about the food from the region. He suggests that I try all the interesting, not so common dishes on the menu. I gladly accept, though I also request him to let me start with the basics – idli, sambhar and chutney.
The first on the table is cheese kuzhipaniyaram (Rs 165). Now paniyaram is one of my favourites but I have never had it filled with cheese. It is an innovation I should have tried earlier. Soon thereafter, idli sambar (Rs 95) arrives on the table. The sambar is true blue Tamil Brahmin sambar, and the chutney is how it should be – mellow, smooth and fresh. The idlis are competent, however not as fluffy as murugan idli of Chennai or even the Sagar Def Col idlis. Sambar vada (Rs 110) has nice crispy vadas. Next to be served is the idli Platter (Rs 275) which has podimas idli (idli mashed up and cooked like a bhurjee), Mysore idli where idli is tossed in spices,
mirapakaya (green chilly) idli, and idli cooked with Chettinaad spices. All these variations are a first for me, and most enjoyable. Bright red looking fried cocktail idli (Rs 130) is the last of the idlis to be served. Crispy and piquant, it is truly a cocktail snack.
It is time for the dosas next. I start with the Andhra classic MLA pesarattu (Rs 140) which is a green mung dal dosa filled with upma. The dish is authentic and most enjoyable. Veg kothu parota (Rs 200) is a dish popular in Sri Lanka. Here a Malabar parota is cut into bits and then cooked with onions, curry leaves and chillies, making for a wonderful dish. Garlic dosa (Rs 155) is a surprise, and the extremely hot mirapakaya (green chilly) dosa (Rs 130). I can see the face of my friend accompanying me turn to red and then maroon with the chillies. Fortunately I am more adept at handling chillies and enjoy the explosive interiors of this dosa. Kanchipuram dosa (Rs 105) is interesting, however the adai (Rs 110) is missing the rough texture that makes this dish so endearing.
For the main course, Kunal prepares a taster thali for me with many of the dishes served at Kausstubh. Bisi Bele Bath (Rs 155) is a bit dry and
is lacking the mandatory boondi on top. Urulu roast (Rs 250) or aloo masala from Tamil Nadu is spicy, crisp and enjoyable. Keerai Kuttu (Rs 280) or dal palak is green and healthy, and Chettinaad paneer (Rs 300) captures the taste of an authentic dish from Chettinaad. Kai kuruma (Rs 280) or veg korma from Karnataka is optimally spiced, and veg stew (Rs 300) from Kerala is snowhite in appearance and benign in taste. Tomato Pappu (Rs 260) or spicy tomato dal from Andhra is exciting. The breads served, appam (Rs 45), idiappam (Rs 70) and Malabar parota (Rs 40) are all professionally rendered.
Kausstubh is recommended for its sheer variety of dishes. Eating here can be an exciting adventure.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.0 | Ambiance: 3.5 | Service: 4.0 |Overall: 4.0