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Plantain leaf pleasures

ADITI DE



RR Restuarant, the City's original doorway to Andhra cuisine, sets the tastebuds tingling.

IT'S THE onslaught of chillies that sets the tastebuds tingling, the senses on fire, at first bite. It triggers palate memories of the subtle Andhra Biryani that lingered on the tongue for days, the mouth-watering aroma of the Gongura Mutton redolent of Guntur and Nellore culinary secrets, and the irresistible call of the avakai pickle.

If that has you raring to go, you have cause to celebrate. For RR Restaurant, Bangalore's original doorway to Andhra cuisine since 1977 with its Gandhinagar and Church Street branches, had closed for the past 3 years. But it re-opened on July 6, to the delight of families seeking a home-style meal and office-goers alike. It was once the favourite haunt of the late cine star Raj Kapoor.

In its new avatar, RR's ambience is a far cry from the dark interiors, the cheek-by-jowl tables that have come to connote Andhra restaurants to us. The two-floor RR, revamped by Siraj and Renu Mistry, presents everyday fare on plantain leaves on its first floor, atop ceramic inlaid spice motifs on imported beachwood tables, accentuating the lemon-mint green upholstery, while light floods the air-conditioned interiors through airy blinds mounted on a mock wall.



RR Restuarant, the City's original doorway to Andhra cuisine, sets the tastebuds tingling.

For diners in search of a more upmarket experience, the second floor serves Hyderabadi and north Indian fare, including traditional mutton dishes like Dum ka Gosht, Lamb Pudhina Korma and Bhuna Gosht.

The nawabi cuisine finds expression through Murgh Methi Malai, Tangri Kali Mirch, and Raan Sikandari. Vegetarians can choose from Chana Paneer Rasamissi, Dhingri Mutter, Bhindi Masala, and other more standard fare.

But for RR loyalists, all its signature dishes are back on the first floor tables.

This was evident at a media preview last month. The Andhra Biryani renews its call to all non-vegetarians.

You'll probably recall its spice-drenched geerasamla rice, each grain plump from dum cooking with four succulent pieces of chicken (Rs. 69) or mutton (Rs. 89) to a serving. Its impeccable rendition is still guided by RR's famed biryani chef for over 25 years! He hasn't lost his touch.

The non-vegetarian menu is irresistible. Especially its lauded Gongura Mutton (Rs.85), its tender meat swathed in pungent, sour gongura leaves, Guntur-style. Teamed with ghee-laced steaming rice, it is a veritable invitation to gluttony.

Other choice picks include Mutton Pepper Fry (Rs. 85), redolent of fresh pepper in a curd marinade, roasted dark to camouflage its juicy plumpness, sprinkled with green chillies.

The chicken dishes at RR are gastronomic dynamite, too. Especially memorable are the reddish, boneless Chicken Sixer (Rs. 75), made of six slivers of piquant chicken breast, garnished with curry leaves and chillies, an invitation to the eye, as to the tongue.

And the RR Chilli Chicken (Rs. 65), guaranteed to set your mouth afire, with its secret mix of spices, tempered with - you guessed it - green chillies! Of the seafood selection, fresh prawns cooked with tomatoes in a spicy gravy make Prawn Masala a dish to delight in.

But vegetarians need not despair. The RR meal (Rs. 49) made its reputation as much as the Andhra Biryani did. Its special treats include tongue-teasing avakai mango pickle, gongura or brinjal chutney, or a chutney podi of channa dal and chillies.

Mixed with ghee rice, it prepares the palate for the flavours to follow. These include seasonal vegetables prepared according to grandmother's recipes, including Guttiwankai or brinjal stuffed with spices, or an Avial of mildly-spiced vegetables in a curd-simmered gravy, or even an Akukora of lentils with greens. Like any traditional south Indian meal, sambhar, a dry vegetable pallya, chilli-spiced rasam and cooling fresh curds accompanies the array of dishes.

At RR (named after its founder K.V. Ramana Reddy), a reasonable price line has always been the key to popularity, more so today than ever before.

An a la carte non-vegetarian meal for two would average Rs.225-250, a vegetarian one Rs. 150-175.

The ghost of Raj Kapoor would certainly have asked for a second helping. That's reason enough to give the revamped RR a first try.

RR Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. 55, Church Street, above the Benetton outlet, Ph: 51122323/ 2424.

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