We were invited to Simply South by Abhilash, a friend and fellow food enthusiast. Having spent some time in Hyderabad, he had visited the outlet there, and outlined to us what kind of food the restaurant served, and his experiences. So yes, despite it being in New BEL Road, a Saturday afternoon – this small gang from HSR Layout packed into a car, and set course. A long ride and a small nap later, we reached the place, nice place and brand new. Simple décor with frames on the walls, beautiful serve-ware and cutlery, and a menu that bore the character of the place and the chef who conceptualized the menu – Chef Chalapathi Rao. Unfortunately, on the day of our visit, Chef Rao was traveling and we could not meet him, but we were taken care of quite fabulously by the chef-in-charge.
So Simply South’s menu features delicacies and traditional dishes from all the five South Indian states – neatly categorized. Our meal started with Kozhi Rasam – a nice and flavorful chicken soup, as we discussed the nuances of the food, and his experience at this new outlet with the chef. The meal then took off in a delicious spice route with Telengana Kodi Roast and Tala Gosht. The Kodi (Chicken) Roast was well marinated and roasted with whole spices – didn’t look too rich, but tasted great. The Tala Gosht had caught my attention earlier as well, these morsels of mutton were beautifully done, soft and succulent – inspired from lanes of Charminar. Next came the fresh off the pan Iddiappams with Prawn Moilee and Pachha Kari Stews. I had the Moilee Stew for the first time, the prawns were soft and simmered in the coconut gravy flavored with turmeric and ginger. It is delicious, and opened up all the simple flavors so well. The vegetarian stew was creamy and very nice to eat, but my heart was already set!
Our mains were followed – and yes, we did request from Hyderabadi Biryani as well! The Kozhi Tharakkal was a Chettinad styled dish from Tamil Nadu, was quite tasty but somehow didn’t pack quite the spice punch for me. The Palleteru Mamsam however, was an absolute success. This rustic preparation of lamb had a very nice balance of flavors, keeping the meat nice and juicy.
The Hyderabadi Kache Gosht Ki Biryani was a disappointment for me, I was waiting in anticipation for this dish, but neither did it have the aromas nor the flavors. The lamb pieces were spicy, yet that did not permeate to the rest of the biryani at all.
The desserts were success all the way, and that (almost) made up for any disappointment for the previous course. The lineup was serious, but the execution made it the stroke of perfection. Gasgase Payasa, Parupu Pradhman, Sheer Korma, Elaneer Payasam, Badam Halwa and Khubani Ka Meetha – phew! I am going to pick my top 2. Okay 3 – this isn’t easy, you know! The Badam Halwa – this was an unbelievable dessert – generously loaded with ghee, rich and sinful in every bite! Gasgase Payasa – Poppy Seeds Payasam – first time, liked it. We use poppy seeds in various preparations too, so was really intriguing to try! Khubani Ka Meetha – stewed and sweetened apricots glazed and sparkling – one of the best I have ever had, definitely worth trying here.
From an experience perspective, I loved the dishes – different and distinct flavors, presented with simplicity and prepared very well. The biryani should be probably re-looked at, in my opinion – lacked the flavors and zest. The menu showcases South Indian cuisine quite well, especially Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. It is a long way off, but worth the drive for the food.