The Tanjore Tiffin Room
Step through a traditional Tanjore door on a busy street in seven Bungalows, Versova into a charming garden courtyard that houses The Tanjore Tiffin Room. The decor is quirky but with a folksy charm. To provide respite from the Mumbai heat, there is an air-conditioned indoor space that looks quite homely, its walls adorned with vintage family portraits… But we preferred to sit outdoors.
The bar serves up a bevy of cocktails, I tried the Garden Galata, basically a gin and tonic with the addition of passion fruit syrup, rose petals, orange slices, star anise and cucumber. Innovative as the drink was, I felt it lacked enough acidity to cut through the cloying sweetness of the tonic and passion fruit syrup.
A quick scan through the menu reveals that this is a restaurant that has its heart set on Tamil recipes. From quick street fixes like Marina Beach Sundal, Parrupu Vada, Egg Bonda to dishes gleaned from traditional kitchens, like the Mutton Korma, Shark Kozhambu and Ennai Kathrikai, the kitchen here seems to offer a comprehensive culinary exploration of the Southern State. Preparations like Madurai Style Roast Chicken Wings, Mushroom Pepper Fry, Padmini’s Mutton Cutlet, Kasturi’s Puli Kolumbhu, Kootu, Uma Athai’s Meatball Curry feature on the menu, each with the promise of a story to tell, and enticing enough to plan multiple visits to TTTR. The menu holds equal allure for vegetarians, with the added inclusion of even a non-native ingredient like paneer, stirred with Chettinad spices!
From the appetiser menu, we ordered the Jackfruit Cutlet, Pankajam’s Lamb Chops and Karaikudi Fried Prawns upon the recommendation of the co-owner of the restaurant, Prashanth Pallath. The four mutton chops served were meaty and tasty, cooked in a coriander-mint masala. The Jackfruit Cutlet, a scrumptious panko-crumbed exterior holding within itself a spicy paste of raw jackfruit flakes made for a great appetiser too. The Prawn Karaikudi Fry, we felt came a distant second to the mutton and fish, weighed down by the thick batter that seemed discordant to the ginger and curry leaf spice mix it was tossed in.
But the best part of The Tanjore Tiffin Room has to be the curry sampler presented to each table while taking the order for main course. Fed up of having to explain the various curries, stews and kozhambus to his Mumbai clientele “who at times were quite confused with the cuisine”, Prashanth, came up with this concept. A brass thali with 12 tiny katoris bearing an assortment of curries, kozhambus and rice is presented to diners with a quick five-minute orientation on the flavours and what meats and vegetables they would work best with.
Go for: Great Tamilian food
Don't go: If you’re looking for a butter chicken fix.
Thumbs up: The curry tasting platter!
Needs work: The service is friendly enough to look over the rough edges
From the curries, we ordered the Pomfret in Yellow Curry and a Chicken Kozhambu. The curry was pleasing but I found the fish lacking in flavour. The home-style kozhambu on the other hand was a stunner. Robustly spiced, we scooped this delicious curry with appam and an egg appam.
There are few restaurants that seem to have their heart set on showcasing traditional cuisine than succumb to the lure of commercial please-all formats. The Tanjore Tiffin is one such restaurant, and a wonderful ode to great Tamilian cuisine, hitherto unrepresented in the city.
Average spend for two: Rs. 1800 (excluding taxes)
The Tanjore Tiffin Room, Jewel Mahal Shopping Center, Seven Bunglow, Ratan Kunj, Versova, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400061; tel: +91 98200 50591
Tags : chicken kozhambu, Egg Bonda, Ennai Kathrikai, Food, Kasturi’s Puli Kolumbhu, Kootu, Kripal Amanna, Madurai Style Roast Chicken Wings, Marina Beach Sundal, Mumbai, Mumbai Restaurants, Mushroom Pepper Fry, Mutton Korma, Padmini’s Mutton Cutlet, Parrupu Vada, Review, Shark Kozhambu, Tamil, Tamil Cuisine, tamil nadu, Tanjore, Uma Athai’s Meatball Curry, Versova, Yellow pomfret curry