At Namma Kitchen, expect Indian and Chinese favourites at pocket-friendly prices
Abhinav Mathew is no stranger to the food industry. His South Indian coffee kiosk chain, Namma Coffee Kadai, has been doing quite well for itself since October 2013. It has grown to five outlets across the city, offering Chennai’s favourite drink with vadas, samosas, bajjis and even gulab jamuns! Now, Mathew, who is also into real estate, has taken his first step towards expanding his ‘Namma’ brand, by opening Namma Kitchen in T Nagar. And judging by the menu here, he seems to have got the right formula — Chinese, Indian and a selection of tandoor and grills.
When it’s time to place our orders, Mathew chips in with his recommendations. “We want to give customers dishes that they would otherwise only find at expensive restaurants. Like this one for example,” he says, pointing to the Phuket fish. The price on the menu reads Rs 190 and we must agree that’s competitive. But before we get to the fish, we must wade through our fully loaded hot and sour soup and tackle a dragon chicken. With lots of egg, spinach and vegetables to chew on, the soup makes for a good start to a hearty meal. And we like how the chicken has been diced into morsels that are just as big as the cashewnuts, in this sweet and spicy dish.
Then the Phuket fish arrives and we must admit it’s not much to write home about. In fact, the fillet of trevally is forgotten when the chicken satay and accompanying peanut sauce arrives. For mains, we go with a bread basket and a couple of gravies, but not before trying the chicken biryani Mathew insists on. The Chennai-style dum biryani is aromatic, light and has chicken that slides off the bone. Thanks to a refrigerator malfunction, we can’t try their fried ice cream. If only there were Namma Coffee Kadai’s gulab jamuns to round things off.
Meal for two at approximately Rs 500. Details: 9940099218
— Ryan Peppin