Sarah Todd was discovered as a model at a very young age. This enabled her to spend most of her career traveling the world and working for high-end fashion labels such as Gucci, Hugo Boss, Pantene, and Seafolly. It was during these travels that Sarah discovered a love for food she had never known to exist in the first place. Exposure to so many remarkable cuisines sparked her imagination and took her to a place there is no coming back from. She discovered food. It takes you on a journey that you just cannot believe until you’re on it yourself, but Sarah going on this journey really has left the world a better place. She’s now classically trained in French cookery from Le Cordon Bleu and has gained experience alongside Michelin star chef’s Neil Borthwick and Angela Hartnett at Merchant’s Tavern in London, hatted restaurants Tonka and St. Crispin in Australia and was even pinned as the favorite to win Season 6 of MasterChef Australia. She built her own restaurant from the ground up in Goa and loves all the different food that India has to offer. As is customary in the culinary arts around here, one has to truly indulge in everything to truly comprehend the beauty that is Indian Cuisine. As she was giving in to the mysticism of Indian Food, we had the Celebrity Chef over at our Ashok Nagar outlet in Chennai recently to taste our legendary biriyani along with other dishes and give us her take on the food along with the overall experience. This is what she had to say about the various dishes she tasted…
“This place is amazing! I’ve been hearing all about this biriyani of theirs. We’ll get to it in a moment as they’ve got some very interesting dishes with some authentic flavors too!”
Crispy on the outside, with succulent meat on the inside. Great take on the classic Meatball! This seems to be their version of the Galoti Kebab – nice smooth texture to the overall bite inside with a crunch on the outside. Really enjoyed this one!
There seems to be a lot of western influence that has gone into this dish mainly with the use of the bread crumbs. The Thalappakatti touch is the authentic local spices that really do take the Indian Sea Bass to another level without losing any of its fluffy fish texture. Marinated on the outside to hit you with a blast of flavor right from the first taste. This is the only fish dish that I tried and it has to be one of my favorites. The use of the bread crumb gives it a texture that you wouldn’t normally get. It is a well-balanced dish overall.
This has to be one of the first Indian words I’ve learned. It’s good that I learned that quick because we’ll definitely need more of this for the heat. I think it has some jelly, almond, and raisin. There’s a really nice texture to this – and it’s got a bite! The best part is that although it looks like it, it actually isn’t too sweet. In the heat around these parts, you need something to cut the heat, and this might just be it!
This dish is something like an Inverted Scotch Egg. It’s light, nice and surprisingly fluffy. Made in a ladle or spatula, I think. Has a nice bowl shape, which is not an easy thing to do. This really is an interesting take on the classic.
Black Pepper Chicken
This dish has a whole host of interesting flavors. It is very peppery and extremely tender. I think it may have been marinated for a long period of time time. I really liked that one. You have to try the Black Pepper Chicken in Thalappakatti, and maybe the South as a whole. You don’t see the utilization of pepper in food that way in almost any other place in the world. You don’t get that in a lot of dishes or cuisines. It just goes to show how diverse India is. The flavor coming through from the bone was incredible!
The Thalappakatti Special Biriyani
This was saved for the main event and it really was the hero of the day – The Thalappakatti Biriyani. A brand that has almost become its own legend over the course of the past 60 years. You can see why this has grown to define the identity of Thalappakatti. I won’t be surprised if this has won multiple best biriyani awards.
This is such an old recipe as well. It is the owner’s Grandmother’s recipe. It still survives, and people still love it. It brings food trends back to their roots. The main reason why it lasted for over 60 years is that it hasn’t wavered from its roots – its traditions. The Seeraga Samba Rice really is unique in both flavor and texture. The name itself is kinda like a tongue twister. The rice is cooked along with the meat so the true flavor of the stock comes through.
This biriyani has its own fan following. You’ll find that almost everywhere else, but this is amazing. The name Thalappakatti itself was given by the people. The recipe comes from Dindigul. The owner’s grandfather was the one who wore a turban. People all around used to say, “If you go to Dindigul, try the biriyani from the man with the turban.”
If it’s good enough no way it doesn’t get attention. Having branches in multiple countries speaks for itself. Over the years, they’ve done a great job to keep the authenticity of the food and keep the brand alive. The biriyani may be THE dish they’re known for, but they’ve got a lot more to offer. The food scene around these parts is beautiful and I’m sure that’s what will make everyone fall in love with the food around here.
If you come to Chennai try the Thalappakatti Biriyani. In fact, try everything they have to offer. Most of the time we go to restaurants and we don’t explore the menu at all. We order what we like and stick to it. Next time, order something you’ve never tried – even if it is something completely new that you’ve never heard of before. But, never forget to have the legendary Thalappatti Biriyani – You will love it and you will forget everything else. It is delicious. And it is amazing. So, yeah, when you travel to new places, always try new things!
You can find the video for the review here.