Southern Comfort

  • Aalok Wadhwa
  • India
  • Dec 30, 2011


The DLF Star Mall is not an easy mall to do business in. With a handful of shops and shoppers, survival can be tough. Among the few that soldier on here is Sankalp, an outpost of a successful Ahmedabad-based South Indian restaurant chain (which, incidentally, boasts of creating the Guinness World of Records’ certified biggest-ever-dosa). 

The interiors of this 120-seater restaurant are not striking. The place is well lit. After consulting Chef Kuldeep, a fair gent from Uttarakhand, I decide to start with the quintessential rasam (Rs. 60). Served in a soup bowl, it looks intense. It is spicy and sour, and has the great texture of grated coconut. While this rasam may not pass muster with the purists, it does make for an exciting start. The onion bhajji sampler is perfect, redolent of the lazy lingering memories of chai-bhajji with friends. 

The next dish I order is the humble idli (Rs. 85), a ‘simple’ dish that has been the nemesis of all NCR restaurants that have been brave enough to put it on their menu. None, however, have succeeded in replicating the softness and comfort of the homemade idli; and this restaurant is no exception. The accompanying vada also lacks the crispy fluffiness that makes it so enjoyable. On the positive side though, the slightly grainy texture of the idli is bang-on, the accompanying sambhar is light and flavourful, and the five accompanying chutneys provide an interesting variation to every morsel I eat.

The curiously named three barrel dosa (Rs. 160) has three mini dosas—plain dosa, pudina masala dosa, and Mysore masala dosa. While the plain dosa is good, the others are ordinary. The southern crispy fish fingers (Rs. 275) are a let down. 

Things change for the better with the main course though.

The first to arrive is mutton milagu curry (Rs. 275), accompanied by set dosa. Very few restaurants can manage to deliver a well cooked mutton dish. This restaurant does it to perfection. A melt-in-the-mouth mutton, with a peppery yet mild gravy, accompanied by soft set dosa, make for a perfect combination. A bigger surprise is in store with chicken chettinaad (Rs. 275). It is undoubtedly one of the best I have eaten in a long time. The accompanying appam is as it should be – soft in the centre and crisp on the sides. I finish the meal with a perfectly brewed Mysore filter coffee (Rs. 45).

Sankalp is a great option if you want tasty southern delights, especially the curries. I hope and wish it can survive the location, for it is a great addition to the Gurgaon culinary landscape.

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