FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Located on the first floor of the ITC Sheraton Hotel in New Delhi, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Dakshin, easily transports diners to South India with its ornate brass door, a mini lotus pool in a brass uruli from Kerala, traditional tableware, and most importantly, not a fork or knife in sight. But while the atmosphere certainly adds to the restaurant’s appeal – even the menus are miniature – the food is the reason locals and travellers alike keep coming back. Sitting back in a comfortable armchair and watching breads being cooked at the baker’s stand in the corner of the restaurant, one simply looks forward to this feast of four southern states of India.
THE FOOD: After extensive travel through South India, the WelcomGroup team of chefs created a menu of regional and community favourites beyond the dosas and coconut desserts the region is known for. Vegetarian specialties like kunni paniyaram (rice and lentil dumplings fried in a traditional pan) and paniyaram urlai varual (potatoes roasted with garlic cumin and aniseed) will tempt even the most carnivorous of foodies, while non-vegetarian options like kal yera thokku (lobster tails cooked in a spicy curry) and dry mutton will have you wishing you had room for more.
DRINKS: The wine list features varietals from South Africa, France, Italy, Napa Valley and beyond. With the large population of non-drinkers in India, there are a variety of non-alcoholic beverages as well.
SERVICE: Attentive and friendly, wait staff is there when you need them, but allow you to savour the food without feeling rushed. They will also recommend personal favourites. Your best bet is to let them lead the way.
PRICES: Lunch for two without drinks from US$57, dinner for two without drinks from US$80.
OPENING HOURS: Lunch is 1230 to 1445 and dinner is 1930 to 2345.
VERDICT: The chefs do not fail to wow your taste buds. Truly a one-of-a-kind restaurant in Delhi.
CONTACT: ITC Sheraton New Delhi, City Centre, India, tel 91 11 4266 1122.