I suppose all of us are familiar with the usual Andhra restaurant with its spicy and brightly food-colored Andhra offerings, coexisting peaceably alongside a North Indian spread and Ming’ling gently with the ever present ‘Ando Chinese’ cuisine, which is my name for Indo Chinese served in an Andhra setting.
For people who normally avoid this Ubiquitous genre of eating places, I assure that U’bi’quito’surprised … just as I be Quite Surprised to discover that the Nandhana group is definitely notches above its various counterparts that dot the city.
We were a group of seven friends and we chose the Kammanahalli location since it is the one closest to where we stay. Being a Sunday we decided to eat early … just like any other day 🙂 That turned out to be a good decision because we were able to find a table that ensured us privacy behind a partition and sufficient light from the nearby window and beat the crowds that arrived in droves and filled up the place in due course.
A cute little (ok not so little) doorman directed us to the first floor where the manager himself greeted us warmly as we entered, though we noticed that he did the same with every guest that came in. So much for our illusions of grandeur 😀 But he did turn us over into the capable hands of a pretty knowledgeable waiter, so we had no cause to feel any less grand. Seeing the camera in my hand and the determined look on my face, the waiter was tolerant enough to wait patiently while I clicked pictures of the dishes before he could serve. If only my companions (and usually my family) had that kind of patience !!! He even turned a Blind eye when I pushed the Blinds aside to place the mutton balls on the window sill to get a shot … Sill’y me !!! Thankfully they didn’t topple onto the head of some passer by !!!
With some help from the waiter and from the regular menu and from the ‘Specials of the day’ board which they had at the entrance, we chose our dishes and first indulged the vegetarians with Mushroom curry leaf dry, Nandhana Baby corn and Carrot 65 and then went on to the Mutton gongura, Mutton chops, Naati chicken roast(naati meaning country or free range and not referring to how naughty the bird was in its hey days), Chicken Kshatriya (probably made from really brave chickens who fought till the end), Chilly Chicken and Chicken pepper roast. The mutton was well done and tender with none of the fibrous chewiness that one usually finds. The naati chicken is an acquired taste/texture and while those used to broilers may find this tougher, there are also those who will eat nothing other than this variety.
The mutton kheema balls that are balls made from mutton mince and not er … must curb the urge here to be a Naughty chick like the naati chicken … were also very nicely done and literally melted in the mouth.
The Seer fish fry for the fish lovers (that would be me) was one of their best dishes, made with fresh fish that was deep fried and crisp on the outside and succulent on the inside (say Fresh Fried Fish really fast !!!).
The biryanis followed, with the Chicken Hyderabadi, Mutton Andhra and the Naati chicken biryani … The first two appealed to us more than the last one. And of course there was vegetable biryani for the herbivores.
They also serve their staple, unlimited banana leaf meals and one of the vegetarians opted for that and was not permitted to eat until I took a shot … both with my camera and with my mouth 😛
There is not much by way of desserts other than the usual Indian sweets. Some of us had the gulab jamun with icecream which was like … er gulab jamun with icecream of course 🙂
What appealed to me was that there was no added color in the dishes (to the best of my knowledge), the food was not intolerably spicy (based on my taste buds) and was not unduly oily, based on ‘Andhra restaurant’ standards.
Prices are moderate and portion sizes are reasonably good. We actually got to doggy bag some food at the end but then of course we do tend to order as if a famine is going to befall the land !!!
In addition to the food, all the Nandhana branches also have Bars for those who would like to douse the heat with cold beer or something stronger. And they have ongoing offers like two drinks for the price of one and other such temptations.
Sundays usually bring families and big groups to this place, so if you want a reasonably comfortable place with an affordable meal, this is where you could go. But be there early because we spotted people waiting for their turn and as you know, families and groups just don’t get up and leave soon !!!
For more pictures see My Facebook – Nandhana