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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Dakshin at Park Sheraton celebrates 25th anniversary

Dakshin is a restaurant at ITC Sheraton Park hotel & tower, Chennai, known for its authentic South Indian food. I did have a lunch here during this Feb and and one of the clear instruction was to 'keep my stomach empty enough' because there'll be so much to explore.

Daskshin is probably the best place in Chennai to try out select cousins from each South Indian states. The entrance and and ambiance of the restaurant is carefully design to reflect South Indian traditions and culture. Doors to Dakshin reflect doors of majority of South Indian temples. The overhead lamps (chandeliers) are designed to look like a bunch of temple bells.
As we took our seats, the silver thalis and cups (Katoris) gave a feel rich feeling (Wealthy families in South India do use silver based utensils for food). Plus a brass pickle holder perfectly complements the Orange+White shade of the restaurant,  We met Chef Harish, who supervises the menu and food preparations at Dakshin. If you thought Chefs spend most of their time in the kitchen, then you're mistaken. Mr Harish and his team spends most of their time touring South India, visiting different cities, staying with the families, observing and learning about their food and then eventually introducing them in Dakshin. Branches of Dakshin exists in few other ITC hotels apart from Chennai as well and the Chefs keep touring them to stay updated or to train the staff.

 Above: Elegant entrance to Dakshin and Chef Harish
Above: Meter coffee at Dakshin, Above right: if you're a vegetarian, a green glass will be placed next to you, so that staff will never serve you non-veg, even by mistake
Shining brass handles on the door
If your idea of South Indian food is limited to Idly, Chutney and Sambar, do check out Dakshin without fail. I began my lunch with not one but 2 glasses of coconut water blended with honey. Subsequently tried over a dozen items in small potions- banana dosa, coconut milk rice, tomato pappu from AP, Bisibele bath from Karnataka, a set of Chettinad varities, Gundu Mullangi Kootu from Pondy and so on.

The servings are categorized into 4 parts or 4 courses
Part 1: Prarambham or starters - welcome drink and light snacks
Part 2: Sarvottamam or best of the best items from each South Indian states which are must try
Part 3: Annam or Rice based items which are stable food in South India, sort of Main course
Part 4: Madhuram or deserts

Each of these are served with love and care. Staff can explain in detail about their significance, how it is made etc. Although they need to stop one step short of revealing full recipe for obvious reasons.
Above right: Ganesha idol was carved from a single mango tree trunk
Below: Nataraja idol made of 5 metals (Pancha loham)
After heavy meals we really had no space left for sweets and deserts. But there is a saying- however crowded the street might look like, when King's elephant walks in, space will be made for the same. Under same logic, we did make some space for assorted ice creams and elaneer payasam (tender coconut payasam). We were served different flavors and were asked to guess the flavor. I could successfully identify jack fruit and mango in my ice cream, chickoo as the 3rd one.

An on site cooking counter, called Iyyer's trolly also exists in the dining area to serve live food. This counter is named in the honor of Mr Paramashivam Iyer, founder of Dakshin

ITC Dakshin Menu & Rates
A few sample ala carte charges below for your quick reference.

ITC Dakshin timings and reservations
Dakshin has decades of history and its own fan base. It started operations in April 1989 and has completed 25 years of operations. To celebrate the silver jubilee, month long celebrations have been planned from 3rd April till 27th April. Dakshin can seat upto 99 max at a time and is open all days a week for lunch (12 noon to 3.30PM and dinner (7.30PM till 11.30PM). For reservations call 044-24994101
File photo of Dakshin from Hotel PR kit
25th Anniversary Celebrations of Dakshin
For over 24 days, from 3rd till 27th April, different celebrations are planned. 8 different festivals- Mudaliyar Pandigai, Kodava Koota (Coorg Special), Franco Pondicherian (Pondy Special), Syrian Christian, Rajula Bhojanam (King's feast), Tanjavur Cuisine, Moplan Magic and Kanara Jevan. I tried to get details of the menu, but the hotel GM Mr. Krishnan told me that due to last minute changes, they are still not finalized yet. We should be knowing them in today's news ads.

Also read: Vijay Ganesh's review of Dakshin

Related: MICE facilities at Sheraton Park hotel * Review of new towers at Sheraton Park * What is unique in Sheraton Park 5 star stay?

1 comments :

Mahesh Divya said...

I like the way south Indian tea / coffee made :-)