Friday, April 23, 2010

BM Review: Dalma

Last Sunday, I visited Dalma, a restaurant that specialises in the cuisine from Orissa, located in Koramangala. Needless to say, I was thrilled at visiting a restaurant which had food of a cuisine about which so little is known about. The review can be read here. Thanks to Ruth for delivering me with the guests for the review.

Here's what I made of the entire experience. The food served is simple, yet awesome. It really is home food, and is probably one of the very few 'fancy' (I hate to use the word fancy here because it'll give the impression that it's expensive) restaurants that serve home food. Don't be fooled by the 'fancy' word - it's NOT expensive even though it's situated in Koramangala. One of the other restaurants (that I am aware of) that serves quintessentially home food is Kudla.

My guests suggested that the pakhal thali is a must as it is one of the best examples of Oriya cuisine. It comes with a large bowl (read cauldron) of rice mixed with curds and water (with a few curry leaves and cumin for good measure) and is accompanied by a few veggies and a mixture of fried & dried onions and garlic. The rice is sometimes left for a while and allowed to ferment, but the one served here is the 'straight' kind.

Pakhal thali

From the vegetarian dishes, the ghanta, pronounced ghon-tuh, was a medley of several vegetables. According to my guests, in Orissa, this is made only on special occasions, and is supposed to have all the known vegetables in Orissa! To hell with that, it tasted great, and it reminded me of something that's made in the countryside around Mangalore, which includes some of the same ingredients like the dark brown channa-like pulse, and another vegetable that's called dondekai in Kannada and manoli in Tulu.

Ghanta

We also ordered the dish, the namesake, dalma. This is nothing but lentils, or dal, that is cooked with some spices. Along with that, we also ordered another 'classic' of sorts, the alu-potal rasa, which was potatoes and, well, excuse the excessive use of Indian languages here, but I really don't know the English name of this vegetable, parval (in Hindi). Awesomeness I say. Going back to the food, it was good.

Alu-potal rasa

To represent the !vegetarian dishes (ha ha, {evil grin}, I had to sneak in something to show that I'm an engineer), we had the chicken kassa, mutton kassa, and chungudi malai, which was prawns cooked in coconut milk. All three dishes were wonderful because of the minimal use of over-powering masalas, and the taste of the meats were quite easy to find on the palate and wasn't lost in the midst of the masalas.

Chicken kassa

Mutton kassa

For desserts, we weren't lucky enough to have the rasgullas or the chennapoda. The rasgulla , for long and even till date, is attributer to the state of Bengal, but actually traces its origins to the state of Orissa. Later, during the 'renaissance' in Bengal, rich households employed brahmin cooks from Orissa and the dish 'migrated' to the neighbouring state. Years later, a young mand called Krishna Chandra Das, popularly known as K C Das, started canning and selling them. The rest, as they say, is history.

The chennapoda means baked cheese, and is nothing but cottage cheese, or paneer, that is baked for hours until it develops a thing brown crust. In some cases, sugar and cashew nuts are also added. We settled in for the kheeri, or kheer, and it was great as well. Not quite like the wheat payasa we have in Mangalore and parts of South Canara in terms of texture, this one being more smooth.

Kheeri

Drop in for some simple, yet delicious 'home food', Orissa style.

Food: Simple and wonderful.
$$$: Cheap! Meal for two should cost you about Rs. 300. The rice in one thali is more than enough of two people, so thali + 1 side dish could well be less than 300!
Service: Decent
Verdict: Must visit.

Dalma, #37, 100 Feet Road, 6th block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 41660921

1 comment:

snigdha said...

'Thanks' is an understatement to express how elated n grateful I felt to visit this post of yours. Why ?? I am an Odia and have had the great opportunity of having tasted the wonderful variety of cuisines from almost all parts of our country and of course, a lot more of foreign origin. While I like savouring all kinds of tasty, but simple n healthy food, my heart always ached to find how little is known outside about cuisines of Odisha, which are undoubtedly very simple, healthy and awesome in taste PLUS very balanced in terms of nutrients. Plus the variety is so large that no one restaurant can really capture it. Having travelled a lot, I know of what great value Odia cuisines can be to roaming people, for lunch n dinner, just like South Indian dishes are great for breakfast !
I sincerely hope, more number of entrepreneurs happen to deliver and spread the flavours of Odisha!

And yes, do try Chhenapoda if u ever happen to be at Puri from Agadhu's shop in Dolamandap Sahi- u will forget everything else .