Kokkarakko kondattam at Kodambakkam restaurant

I’ll be honest, I am not the kind of person who goes in search of restaurants and eateries, for I have a lovely mum who gets up early every day to cook wonderful food for my family.

So, going to restaurants is a bit of a no-no for me. But it does not mean that I do not appreciate outside food, it’s just that I get better at home. It’s that simple.

However, when I went to Kokkarakko, a south Indian multi-cuisine restaurant that is present at Kodambakkam, things were quite different, a bit homely.

I opted for the Kokkrakko virundhu which has over 61 varieties of dishes for under Rs 700 and all the while I was talking with Mad Chef Koushik, who is the culinary operations officer at Eatitude, and he graciously spent time with me, explaining the dishes and the background of why they were chosen.

The virundhu starts with panagam and then you can have vadam with any of four dips – traditional dips at that. My favourite was karuvepilai thokku from the palette of avakkai mayo, tomato thokku and mirapakai pachadi.

Then, for starters, there are eight dishes you could have with the Chettinadu bash potato, karuku muruku vendakai and paneer pepper fry being the yummiest of the lot. It is not like others were not tasty, but I kept going back to these three. Apparently, the ladies finger is how the chef makes it at home.

Then came the non-veg starters, oh yes the non-veg starters. If you ever head out to kokkarakko, try the butter fried chicken. I think it is the best way to cook chicken. Just forget your BP and cholesterol levels, it is a must-have. Then knock yourself out with fried chicken, kozhi vepudu, Nellore kodi tikka and lollipop and more.

By this time, one would have crossed 26 varieties, eased by the fact that there are four shots of drinks, traditional, of course, and the best was rose milk, with real rose petals inside and there was naval pazham to make it zingy.

If there is more space in your stomach, well you can go all out with 10 types of bread, including the Madurai bun barotta, veg and non-veg gravy, rice, accompaniments and six dessert varieties. Want Tirunelveli halwa with ice cream? you can have it. Prefer panjamirtham panacotta? Suit yourself. Oh, there is beeda, too, for those who want it.

All this while, I’ve been naming the dishes in Tamil and Koushik deliberately had named them that way. “I wanted to bring south Indian food back home. The names that I have given resonate with our daily lives. Thinks like ‘vedi murugan’ are names people can instantly connect with,” he said.

, I hear someone out there shrinking your nose, asking, what about the vegetarians? Well, they have 24 varieties of mouth-watering vegetarian dishes for just Rs 149.

Koushik is one of those guys who loves food, the reason why he is named the ‘Mad Chef’. The guy doesn’t even watch TV, giving the mind space to think more about food.

The ambience is welcoming, while the waiters have made-up names for themselves. For instance, they chose names like ‘Singam’ and ‘Virumandi’ and they feel happy being addressed like that.

What more? Well, Koushik is adamant about using farm fresh products in his food. So, the next day, even after having a heavy dinner, I had a light stomach and was able to take a 16 km trek. I think that sums up things nicely for the crow of a rooster to become a hit in Chennai. That’s Kokkrakko for you.

Praveen Kumar S