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    The week-old Mallus Junction offers no-fuss Malabar fare with some Indian-Chinese for variety

    It was out of sheer curiosity that we braved the traffic on LB Road this weekend. Our destination? Mallus Junction — the newest addition to Thiruvanmiyur’s food map. We had already learnt through Facebook that this was replacing the Chinese restaurant White Pepper (quite popular in the area since 2009) but to our surprise, were handed menus to both White Pepper and Mallus Junction.

    “White Pepper has a lot of regular customers, so though it has moved to Velachery, we are still offering the menu to customers who are not aware of the switch,” owner Sajid Koyiloth shares. Koyiloth is a second generation restaurateur who is also behind the Arabian restaurant chain Palmshore, and with Mallus Junction he promises ‘nostalgic Malabari food’. “It’s especially for the homesick ‘mallus’ from all the IT companies around,” he gingerly smiles.

    Placing orders has never been easier, thanks to their menu being just one page long. Amid the usual suspects we find a lot prominence given to the Thalassery region. Yes, they do have the Thalassery biryani — light, short-grain rice flavoured with cloves and cinnamon, and spiked with cashew nuts and raisins. The kappa and chemeen varatiyathu is addictive, with spiced tapioca (reminding us of the toddy shops where it is a staple side dish) and a simple tomato-based shrimp gravy, served separately, allowing you to mix them in to suit your palate.

    They also get it right with the roll of puttu arriving piping hot, wrapped in a banana leaf and accompanied by a fragrant kadala curry. Unfortunately, after the Malabar parathas and beef varatiyathu (spicy with just a hint of coconut and pepper), we’re left with no room to try the mackerel and settle for a small portion of ada payasam instead. With affordable, home style Malabar food, in fairly large portions, this is one junction that fans of the cuisine will want to visit.

    Meal for two at approximately Rs 300. They have a Kerala non vegetarian meal for lunch. Details: 43178366

    — Ryan Peppin

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