After doing the rounds of more well-known and upmarket restaurants, with their fancy buffets and spreads, it was time to venture into something more down to earth and modest.
Govardhan at Adchini was picked at random. After a 10-minute wild hunt for parking space, the doors of this unpretentious, pure vegetarian restaurant opened and the cool air-conditioned interiors beckoned. Simplistic and yet thoughtfully done, the restaurant evokes traditional warmth and home-grown simplicity.
The beautifully carved wooden panels and ceiling beams from Mangalore and the soft lighting lend the place a warm, earthy glow. Govardhan started out by serving what it is best at —South Indian dishes. But that was till the owner, I Subrahmanyam, succumbed to the temptation of popular North Indian delicacies as well as the ubiquitous 'Chinese cuisine' to cater to the varying tastebuds of his clients.
Wish he had stuck to good old appams and kurma. The Veg Manchow Soup — a clear soup with seasonal shredded vegetables should get Chinese food lovers started. There is less of chinese and more of Delhi in the flavour and texture. The veg spring roll was not exceptional. Ditto for the crispy shredded potato with chilly garlic.
The Chinese and North Indian dishes are nothing out of the ordinary; I had been warned long in advance. Heeding to the owner’s advice, I opted for the Iddiyappam with Kurma — rice noodles with curry. The trick is to savour the noodles with the sambhar, coconut chutney as well as the thick, flavoured kurma with chunks of vegetables in it.
But the Govardhan Special Thali is really special. Pulao, zeera rice, idli (you can't escape this one!) vada, mini dosa, a sweet chutney, sambhar, pickle and curry with dessert, wins hands down. The sheer variety of goodies placed in front of you and at such a reasonable price (Rs 85) is one of the favourites at this restaurant.
The vadas are sensationally soft and melt in one’s mouth. A rare treat from those rubbery vadas that plague the city. Needless to say, this place is patronised by families out for a meal and executives stopping by for a quick lunch. Meal for two would cost not more than Rs 400.