Madras Diaries – beyond just idli & dosa
Madras Diaries is here to make a statement
Madras Diaries started last year in the middle of global pandemic in the heart of Amsterdam right in between all the chique cafes and restaurants. You must think who does that when you would only serve south Indian food whereas your neighbour serves a fancy French dish. But Madras diaries took that challenge. And I am so proud and happy that they not just started in the heart of the city but are sticking to some really unconvential items on their menu.
I have spoken about Madras Diaries very often on my Instagram and even recently in my interview to Het Parool, I mentioned about how much I adore the food they serve and it just transports me back to my memories from Chennai, Hyderabad and my repeated travels to Kerala.
My love for South Indian food
South India has a huge place in my heart not just because I lived 6 years of my adult life there but also because I grew up with South Indian neighbours. I am often asked why is it that I am so very obssessed with their regional cuisine – here’s my response to that. I grew up eating rasam sadam (rasam – tamarind soup) with rice everyday at my creche and ignored what my mother packed in my tiffin box. That’s my early association and that’s where my obssession as a 2 year old began.
About their menu
Madras Diaries – well the name might suggest they would serve food only from Tamil Nadu but is a umbrella to serve several authentic regional cuisines from the entire south of India.
A few weeks ago in June 2021, I visited the restaurant in person and loved the ambiance. They have a lot of seating options and a great staff cooking some great authentic food. And let me tell you, don’t leave the place without trying their cocktails – some great options there.
I have also tried their food twice once in December 2020 and once in April 2021 but both the times they were take-away/home delivered.
I visited with my friend/colleague/fellow cookbook author Maureen Tan (author of De Bijbel van de Indonesische Keuken) and we loved everything we tried on their menu.
Starting with this Chilli Guava Margarita – it definitely isn’t spicy but has that good much needed kick + the sweetness of guava
For the starters, the head chef recommended us to go with Chicken Ghee Roast (which is chicken thigh (boneless) cooked with spices and ghee. It has the spice from black pepper but is definitely the foo-foo kind spicy. If you visit you have to try one and if vegetarian then Paneer Ghee Roast is perfect.
Dahi Beetroot Kola Urundai – It is a subtle sweet beetroot with lentils and nuts kofta. It literally just melts in your mouth. What an amazing treat this was
We decided to try not so common (here in NL) type of Idli (steamed rice cakes) called Thattu Idli – it is softer and fluffier than regular idli and is bigger in size as it can be made in a simple steel bowl rather than the regular idli mould. It was served with 3 types of chutneys , sambar and podi with ghee. If you don’t want to eat anything or just want a quick bite – totally can recommend trying only this
And we went with Gramathu Meen Kozhambu (which translates to Fish curry). It is simmered in spices and tomato and tamarind curry and is served with steamed Sona Masuri rice (a small grain rice – one of my favorite rice variety). This is a traditional recipes from coastal Tamil Nadu. We both loved it!
During Easter holidays we ordered the above meal box for 55 EUR which was said to be for 2 people but turned out to be enough for 2 full meals for 2 people. And we enjoyed every single item in the box.
Special mention to the Chicken Dum Biryani which was cooked to perfection. I only hoped I had ordered more of that and could have enjoyed many more meals just with the biryani. Because it was Easter special along with their regular drinks (rose milk or mango lassi) they also gave a huge carrot cake which lasted us for days. Okay the cake wasn’t of the best of the cakes I have eaten till date, but the rest of the menu compensates for that.
What to order from their menu – my recommendation
In the last few weeks, I have recommended a few of my culinary friends to try this restaurant (including a lot of journalists) and all of them only had good reviews to give.
If you don’t have a chance to order these festive menus, some of the dishes that you should order from the menu are:
- Paneer Ghee Roast/Chicken Ghee Roast
- Beetroot Kola Urundai
- Podi Bonda
- Egg Roast
- Kozhi Milagu
- Salmon Kutti Mirch
- Arachivitta Sambar – highly recommended
- Kozhi Chettinad
- Hyderabadi Gosht Dum Biryani
- Rose Milk
Ofcourse their regular Idli and dosa are great options but I feel the above mentioned dishes are very unique to this restaurant.
If you like to explore the true cuisine of South India this place is a big YES. And you might be disappointed to see no Madras Chicken curry on the menu (ah well there exists no Madras chicken curry, in reality – its is just a colonial spin).
This review is 100% my opinion and not sponsored. I wish to visit them once again and treat my taste buds soon.
If you have already visited them, what have you tried? Let me know in the comments below.
Till we meet again soon! <3