Mar 29, 2019
First things first, the Jalapeño Cheese Idli was the dish that dragged me to Madras Diaries! And, I discovered a gem. As I entered, I got a warm traditional vibe with the wooden entrance, but as I walked my way to the outdoor seating, the vibe completely changed. The turquoise and yellow chairs along with brown wooden and white marble tables lightened up the place. It was vibrant. And, thank god the light was just perfect for good pictures.
What did I order?
Jalapeño Idli with a Cheese Fondue, Ragi Idlis, Multigrain Idlis and Tomato Rasam with Vada.
My experience with the Jalapeño Cheese Idli Fondue:
Truthfully, I went there because I was tempted to try out their Jalapeño Idli with a cheese fondue. I was rejoicing on the fact that I’m going try something I’ve never tried before at any south Indian restaurant ever. What a revelation it was! So obviously, I waited in anticipation for it to arrive.
When it landed on the table, I was quite disappointed. I’m one of those people who eat with their eyes first and plating does matter a lot to me. First of all, it was nowhere close to a cheese fondue; if you can’t dunk the idli in a pot of melted cheese it invariably goes against the concept of a fondue! So, at large I was just sitting there, nursing my deflated eagerness to try something new.
However, after I reluctantly dug into it, it was pretty good. The utter crispiness and crunchiness of the mini idlis that were deep fried was executed with perfection. Although the cheese dip was clearly not a fondue, the jalepeños in the Idli spunked up the dish to another level with it’s cutting edge hotness. Basically, you could forget the cheese dip and enjoy the idlis all by itself.
Accompaniments at its best!
The next thing that wowed me was the 4 different types of chutneys that could probably lift up the most boring foods in the world if paired with it. Idli only tastes good if it’s paired with a perfect chutney to go with it and I think this place does justice to chutneys overall.
Beetroot Chutney: It added the right amount of sweetness but had a beautiful hit of spice that I could feel in the end at the back of my tongue.
Pineapple Chutney: Oh-so-sweet and very much deserved a place on the chutney platter as it cleansed my palette after all that spiciness.
Tomato Chutney: A classic mustard seeds and curry leaves tadka with tamarind and spicy tomato flavours brought together this condiment.
Turai Chutney (Ridged Gourd): It’s surprising to serve a vegetable chutney in a restaurant but it is not so uncommon in South Indian cooking. I think it was a clever way of making me eat a vegetable after all. I thought it tasted bitter and bordered on a distinct umami flavour.
Best way to eat healthily!
Ragi and Multigrain idlis seemed like the perfect idea as I had cheated on my diet the entire week and needed to feel less guilty about it. Specks of deep red colour across the Ragi Idli was a sight for sore eyes. But, having a taste of it, it felt quite dry. So, I might just skip that one next time I visit them.
On the other hand, the multigrain idlis were soft, moist and easy on the palette. My deliberate attempt to eat nutritious food paid off with this perfectly fluffy rice-grain cake, where every bite was full of flavour.
And, then why not have some rasam just because:
First things first, this rasam tasted like an authentic version of a rasam made in any South Indian household. The tomato rasam was an utter delight to taste and the tanginess brought out the tomatoe-y flavours. The tiny vada in the rasam elevated the entire dish as it soaked all the goodness of the rasam, juices oozing out with each bite.
PS: If you’re a fan of spicy food, you cannot miss the delicious Sambar. It is high on spice and every mouthful felt like a South Indian spice cabinet! I haven’t tried the Kara Paniyaram Idli ( since I’m intolerant to spicy food) but I was told that if you’re ready to show some sweat theatrics then this onion, chillies and molga padi masala tossed with mini Idlis is a must try!
Do not forget to hydrate with the refreshingly cool, minty buttermilk that helps wash the strong, pungent flavours that are synonymous with the food at Madras Diaries.
PS: All in all, you must try the Jalapeño Cheese Idlis and as I did, try not to get disappointed because there’s no cheese fondue. Binge eat.