South Indian food is not just about idli, dosa, vada and uttapam. It’s much more. To experience exciting flavours and enticing aromas of South Indian cuisine, step into South House at Ghole Road. You will find your staples — idli and dosa — and you can indulge in some fusion starters and a variety of dishes in the main course too. The menu has more than 200 types of dishes from different regions including Hyderabad, Chettinad, Andhra, Karnataka, Mangalore, Goa and so on.
We visited the place on a Sunday afternoon and the first thing that made us happy about this four-storeyed, four-month-old restaurant was the valet parking. Considering parking is a huge problem in Pune, especially on Ghole and JM Road, this service certainly earns brownie points.
Sundays are busy for most restaurants and this place too was full but we found a nice cosy corner overlooking the busy Ghole Road. After settling down, the young MD of the restaurant Sagar Poojari introduced himself and informed us that he runs the place along with his father Pandurang Poojari, who owns the place. His father also owns the iconic Shiv Sagar restaurant at JM Road. The 21-year-old youngster further told us that his father after running Shiv Sagar for more than 30 years, wanted to start something new. “We wanted to launch a place which people of our generation would connect with. Also, Shiv Sagar is a pure vegetarian restaurant, so we wanted to explore the other sector — a non-vegetarian restaurant — which is new for our family,” he said.
At South House, we decided to start our meal with Telangana Anar Murg Kebab and Chettinadu Chicken Tikka. After placing the order, I couldn’t help but admire the neat and beautiful interiors. Sagar even showed us the bar area on the first floor. The entire restaurant has glass windows so that people can enjoy the view outside. The interiors are done up with wooden panels which give it a classy look. Comfortable sofas and tables add to the cosiness of the place.
Our starters did not take much time to arrive and we absolutely loved the Telangana Anar Murg Kebab. Who would have thought that anar (pomegranate) and murg can make a delectable tasty keema patty? Medium spiced, it was something we hadn’t tasted before.
The Chettinadu Chicken Tikka was spicy and full of flavours. We loved the flavours of curry leaves and garam masala which gave it a distinctive taste, and the chicken was well cooked.
As we were relishing our starters, Sagar informed us that they had hired celebrity chef Shailendra Kekade as their food consultant and had several brainstorming sessions before deciding on the menu. “We have concentrated a lot on the fusion dishes, which include South Indian food with a quirkiness. So we have Chicken Keema Idli, Butter Chicken Masala Dosa, Thai Chicken Uthapam and many others. People are loving the fusion taste,” he said. Apart from the fusion menu, the restaurant also serves popular dishes like soups, pizzas, pastas, risotto, Punjabi dishes and so on.
He added that they are going to revise the menu again taking feedback from their customers. “We are already working on revising the menu, but we want to keep experimenting. People are loving the South Indian taste, especially the Appam, Neer Dosa, Chicken Chettinad, Goan Fish Curry, Prawn Balchao, which are some of the most ordered dishes,” he added.
For the main course, we wanted to keep it basic and simple, so Sagar suggested the Prawn Gassi with Appam and Neer Dosa. He said that Gassi is a Mangalorean dish which means thick gravy. The curry was cooked in thick coconut milk with onion, garlic and spices. It tasted yummy and went well with the Appam and Neer Dosa. The Appam was soft and cooked in desi ghee. The Neer Dosa was equally good.
Sagar said that a lot of hard work has gone into planning the restaurant, menu and training man power. “My father and I have personally looked into every minute detail of the restaurant, from crockery to glass windows. Besides, my father and I make sure that either of us are at the restaurant. We believe that restaurant business runs on customer satisfaction and we want our customers to be happy. Shiv Sagar has been running successfully because my father treats his customers as family,” said Sagar adding that the rates of the dishes are competitive.
For desserts, we tried Coconut Angoori Chenna Payasam which wasn’t too sweet but just right.
ST READER SERVICE
South House, 1203/4, Ghole Road, near Balgandharv Chowk, Shivaji Nagar. Timing: 11 am to midnight