Delhi is a melting pot of people from across the country but only in recent years have its residents become more experimental when it comes to food.
Today there are eateries that serve food from all the four corners of India and Sana-di-ge is joining the race to serve authentic and exquisite food from the West Coast.
Located in the upscale Malcha Marg market in the city’s diplomatic encalve, this fine dining eatery opened a year ago. It has two other outlets, in Bengaluru and Mangalore. It has 130 seats sprawled across two floors and an al fresco seating. The gold, brown and off-white interiors give it a very elegant yet traditional feel.
The term Sana-di-ge in Tulu (one of five major Dravidian languages) refers to a brass lamp lit on auspicious occasions across the coastal belt of Karnataka. The restaurant has one such lamp at the entrance decorated with flowers.
Sana-di-ge boasts of serving fresh seafood flown in from Mangalore daily. Their spice blends and cocktail syrups are all made in-house.
The restaurant had already set a fixed menu for me complete with soup, appetisers, main course and dessert.
However, to start this coastal sojourn, they served their complementary rice papad with six different chutneys of which the tomato and coconut stood out. The brass plates also had a banana leaf on it for a more authentic feel.
The drumstick soup could be given a miss: It tastes like something in between a dal and sambar.
There were six appetisers — anjal (king fish) tawa fry, chicken ghee roast, prawn butter pepper garlic, mamsa (mutton) pepper fry, mushroon pepper fry and babycorn butter pepper garlic.
The king fish, marinated with spices, was fried to perfection. Soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. It looked very spicy but the chilli content was quite low. When ordering this, make sure you share it since the portion is too big for one person.
The prawns were a little heavy for an appetiser but delicious nonetheless. Creamy and buttery, they felt fresh. In the vegetarian version of this dish, babycorn replaces the prawn. The chicken ghee roast was a little high on spice while the mutton was succulent and juicy.
Just a little word of advice, the appetisers here are all big portioned; so choose wisely before a main course.
Like the appetisers, there were six main course items: kori (chicken) kundapuri, Goan fish curry, Manglorean mutton curry, chemmeen ulariyathu (prawns in malabar-style curry), gola kadi and vegetable stew; accompanied by neer dosa and uttapam.
Out of the six, the three dishes that really stood out were the kori kundapuri, Goan fish curry and the vegetable stew.
The first is a speciality from the coastal town of Kundapur in Karnataka. It is a rich curry of coconut and homemade spices with succulent pieces of chicken. It goes perfectly with uttapam or rice. Mildly spiced and very flavourful, the Goan fish curry transports you to the beaches of Goa, and the vegetable stew, which is an amalgamation of milk and vegetable, is comfort food at its best.
But the best surprise came in the form of a green coconut. When I opened the lid there was a bowl of eleneer payasam which is dessert made of coconut cream and tender coconut pulp. The perfect way to end this coastal foodie trail.
Sana-di-ge also serves alcohol. I tasted four of their in-house special cocktails: coconut and pineapple margarita, raspberry and lemon spritzer, watermelon bramble and passionera.
Where: 22/48, Commercial Centre, Malcha Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Timings: 12 noon. to 11.30 p.m.
Price for two: Rs 2,500 (approx, with alcohol)
(The writer’s visit was at the invitation of Sana-di-ge. Karishma Kalita can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Karishma Saurabh Kalita