Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dakshin - Disaster

Rest : Dakshin
Meal : Dinner
Loc : ITC Grand Maratha, Near the Airport.

I am a big fan of South Indian food, dine out regularly for thalis at Ramanayak, Mani's amongst others. Am also a fan of the ITC hotel chain because they are unique amongst 5 stars in trying to promote Indian cuisine with their restaurants.

My Venezuelan born, American educated and Germany employed friend Edgard, who is a bit of a world traveller was in town for a day and i thought i would take him for a taste of something he is least likely to get anywhere else outside of India. We settled on Dakshin as North Indian cooking is easier to find compared to South Indian. Unfortunately my experience at ITC though was less than stellar.

Dakshin is one of the big ITC brands with multiple outlets across India. As the name suggests they do a cross section of dishes from across the South, recently they added the Coastal moniker to the brand. My previous visit is here although I have eaten there this was the first time i opted for a Thali.

Things meal began typically with chutneys, the tomato being the best one, the garlic second best, the coconut and green were okay.

The poppadums were nice, the traditional white ones were best, the rest were way too oily.

The Rasam was okay. More like a vegetable soup than a tomato rasam, certainly not in the league of a Ramanayak, Mani or even a Cafe Madras. Disappointing.

they serve molgapoddi, gun powder and other mixtures to which one can add ghee and have it with plain old rice as well as with the other dishes.

There is something they call the Iyer trolley, where they serve mini versions of Uttapams which was okay, one of them was a sweet banana based which i completely avoided.

The two starters were Vadai which were again, fairly basic and dry. The second was a some fried veggies which actually reminded me of something i would get a Chinese joint in a small town.

The other items in the thali were an eggplant curry which i did not like much, roast potatoes which were nice. The appams were okay.

The tomato pappu was a tomato gravy with lentils etc, it was decent, there was the tendli vegetable which i did not enjoy much, the stew was pretty good.

The curd rice was quite a disappointment, they did not have any lemon pickle but the garlic pickle they served sort went with.

The Payasam was actually the better dessert and was liked by all on the table.

Overall, the ambiance of the place is okay, the service is top notch, informed, prompt and eager to serve, although i will dock points for the hard sell on wine.

Now, the food was just average, compared to a Ramanayak or a Mani, the food is not even in the same sport, let alone league. You get a great deal of starters, which is a definite contrast to RN & Mani's. However the starters aren't that great and ruin your appetite for the mains (which in turn are also pretty weak, a total loss-loss)

Of course the setting is opulent and the service completely unhurried but when it comes to the food its just not up to the mark. They even scrimped out on yoghurt and buttermilk, which you would get as standard with any south indian meal. When you consider the price 3000+ taxes on the veg thali and 3500 on the non veg, it was not only downright stingy it was bad form.

Dakshin needs a fundamental re-think of their offering. Get a Ramanayak cook to come in once and show you how its done.

I know we don't go into 5 stars to have cheap meals but even by 5 star standards the ITC pricing is outrageous, Konkan cafe, at the Taj President, serve a Konkani thali which is a ball park offering for Rs.1200.

Now i have no problem paying up, hell i pay the prices at Kebabs n Kurries, provided I get good food. At 3000 + taxes even a good meal wont do, I want a GREAT meal.

Shame on me though, i could have a fantastic thali for 120 bucks, i chose, this. Can't blame anyone else.

Food : 3/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 9500+ tax for 3 without booze.

PS. There was also an unfortunate incident with a paan, the paan they served was pretty bad, all three of us were in various state of discomfort almost immediately.. Mrs. Jain had a messed up throat and could not taste or eat anything the whole of the next day, besides she also had some ulcers in her mouth. I had some ulceration and couldn't taste a thing pretty much the whole of the next day.


Reema Prasanna said...

Ramnayak that good eh? Must try must try!

Gaurav said...

anything is better than this !

The knife said...

might have mentioned this to you before but try the sadya at deluxe at fort pitha st

Gaurav said...

Hi KK, ive been meaning to check out Delux, that will be my port of call at some point next week.

Curry Badger said...

I would stay away from ITC, Hyatt and The Hilton. In fact don't even go near the airport lol

Bhairav said...

Dude! Dakshinayam even! Bonus - it's closer to home!

Gaurav said...

@ Bhairav indeed. No good deed goes unpunished.

@ Curry Badger, plenty of good stuff near the airport. including at the ITC

desh said...

This now seems much bigger a disaster to me than the one you described :)...

too costly too, next time parcel from MAtunga and dine at home :)

CurryBadger said...

@Gaurav, It may be that I stayed there for too many months in a row. By the end of my stay I was spending any free time I had in Powai or South Mumbai.

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