Myself and a friend finished a meeting in Nungambakkam and were headed back to Velachery. On the way back, we decided to have dinner and immediately my radar scanned the places around, that were on my to-do list. Nellai Xpress in RK Salai came up first and we decided to go there !
This place serves Tamil cuisine from the Southern region of Tamilnadu- ‘Nellai’. Basically, the various cuisines in Tamilnadu, so to say, Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Nellai, and so on, have subtle differences based on their traditional cooking practices that have been in use for many years now. Since we have a few places that serve the relatively popular cuisines, a restaurant serving food from the Nellai region is new in Chennai.
Have seen some very good reviews of this place earlier. The place was bang on RK Salai, a little away from Novelty Tea House. Parking probably is an issue, did not spot a valet, but we were lucky that one car just pulled out of the parking and we got a spot, just in time. The interiors were neat and the place was well-lit and very lively. It was quite late in the night around 10PM and still they were quite busy. The first floor was relatively free and we settled down there.
We were served a welcome drink as soon as we were seated. It was Nannaari Sarbath and it tasted pretty decent. If only it was a bit more chilled, it would have been awesome. There were two bowls on the table, one with peanut candy (kadalai mittaai) and one with a savoury (kaaraa sev). We were munching that until the food arrived! It was supposed to be an all-chicken meal 🙂 Ordered Naattu-Kozhi Rasam one by two, Chicken Chukka, and a Chicken Kari Omelette for soup and starters. The food was served in reasonable time. The soup was good, nice flavor and with a little pepper, it tasted very good. Chicken chukka was also tasty. Probably a little high on oil, but then, that added to the taste. Finished it off in no time. The Chicken Kari Omelette came a little late. Ordered the main course totally forgetting that the omelette was yet to come. We ordered a Chicken Kothu Parotta and an Egg biryani, and thats’ when then the Omelette arrived. Immediately we realized that we ordered a bit too much. Anyway, chicken kari omelette was good with generous pieces of chicken. Chicken kothu parotta is one of my favorites and it was very tasty and the raita complemented it very well. We couldn’t finish the Biryani, had to pack most of it after we had a small portion served to us. Nice flavor, long grain basmati rice, and the brinjal accompaniment (Yennai Kaththirikkai) was awesome! Meanwhile to finish with a dessert, we ordered a vatlappam. I knew this was a ‘steamed cake’ basically made with a mix of coconut milk and eggs, and lots of nuts and cardamom. I was expecting it to look something like a caramel custard – a wobbly ‘inverted bowl-shaped cake’ on a plate. Instead, it was a square piece of cake that came in a bowl, and that was a bit different than what I had imagined. It did taste very good and we liked it. They gave a small portion of Tirunelveli Halwa to finish the meal. It was too little, but was cute in an equally small squarely cut plantain leaf.
Overall, tasty food and a nice dining experience. The waiters were courteous and polite. They were a little too occupied with the Endhiran movie playing on the television 🙂 Wouldn’t blame them, who would not?!?! 😀 We were equally interested in the movie too 😉
The dinner set us back by a little less than a Thousand rupees and it was definitely worth the tasty food we had!