Andhra food has been blazing a spicy trail in the capital off-late with new establishments offering stiff competition to the ubiquitous Andhra Bhavan. Tenali, named after a small town near Guntur and Vijaywada, might well be the hottest contender. Appointed in shades of yellow and granite, Tenali’s decor will remind my generation of Shankar Nag’s Malgudi Days show. The dining room is bright and purposeful with steel tumblers of Ghee, 'Velluli Karam Podi' and 'Curryleaf Podi' on the table to prepare you for what comes next. Tenali’s menu, a one-pager daily chart of sorts, is broadly divided into Thalis and à la carte with overlapping dishes. Daily specials are chalked out on the board next to the kitchen counter and my eyes lit up as I spotted 'Crab Iguru'. What followed was an intense two-handed feast with some of freshest crabmeat set against the firepower of Guntur chillies. My 'Vegetarian Thali sported Pappu' (Dal), 'Rasam', 'Tamarind Rice', 'Gongura Chutney', 'Kundru', 'Rava Kesari' and 'Sonna-masuri Steamed Rice' with homely flavours and authentic spicing. The 'Mutton Curry' with signature Andhra-style grainy texture and bright flavours bore tender bone-in pieces of goat meat. I finished with a bowl of pink 'Guava Ice-cream sprinkled with Chili Powder'.
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