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    Chef Akshay Nayyar’s new venture Kopper Kadai  is high both  on looks and taste

    A s we settle down at this new casual diner at Koramangala, we are told how their customers like to first take photos of their food before devouring it. We bought this claim as soon as they brought us their Patialey Wali Lassi (available in salted, sweet, kesari, mango, or berry flavours). It arrived in a mini toy truck, along with an icecube box. Its quick service meal section has a chandelier made of 172 spoons, which represent the 172 spices used in their kitchen!
    Gimmicky may be, but all this works well with their food and drinks portfolio, which is inspired by the kitchens of villages across Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The menu has been put together by co-owner and chef Akshay Nayyar, of the Foodshala TV show fame, and this is his first venture in Bengaluru. He has also introduced a few of his great grandmum’s recipes, and his own signature dishes to contribute to the lexicon of North Indian cuisine, beyond galautis, butter chickens, and seekhs.
    The drinks complement the Indian platter. Chatmola Fatafat will take you back to your childhood. It is a mix of khata meetha (digestive tablets), cola, lime and jaljeera. Made from smoked raw mango, gooseberry and green chilli, and served in a tall glass, Kiwi Amba Panna is another refreshing drink.
    You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to starters. Vegetarians can delight their tastebuds with Challi Kolmi Kebab, while non-vegetarians can savour their signature Ganna Chicken. The former is a crispy, juicy potato corn kebab, encased in spring roll sheets, and served on bread sticks. The latter is a minced chicken kebab over a finger-sized sugarcane stick.
    The trick is to bite the chicken and sugarcane together, to get the contrast of spicey and sweet flavours in one mouthful.Mutton Hatodi Parchey is another highlight, where tender kebabs are served on a hammer.

    Main business
    Cooker Mein Kukkad, part of the main course, takes the cake when it comes to presentation. An ancestral recipe, it’s a home-style chicken curry that is served right out of a whistling pressure cooker onto your plates. Warqi Dal E Dastaan is another family secret, and equally comforting. It’s slow-cooked with black eyed peas, chana dal, yellow dal, white dal, green chillies, hing, and green cardamom for 12-14 hours, then mashed with a wooden spoon, until the lentils release their juices. Mastawa, a take on haleem, is another of their signatures. It’s a preparation of lamb, urad dal, ginger, onions, cooked for 28 hours over a tandoor, with the addition of almond paste.
    And desserts? Now that monsoon is upon us, you would like to indulge in their batessa cake, and nutella dodhalava, which are served warm. The latter is a milk barfi, filled with chocolate, and garnished with dry fruits, and silver foil, and is rather sinful. They will soon start an evening snacks menu of samosas, aloo patties, and more.

    Rs 1,200 (for two). At Koramangala. Details: 65657515
    — Barkha Kumari

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