Kudos to Kalpaka

Kalpaka, as many of you know, is the Kerala food eatery on RK Muth Road close to Music Academy. Its on the first floor and has been run by a family for many years now. The mother supervises the kitchen, the dad the stores and overall operations, while the son manages the cash counter. I used to be a fairly regular customer when I worked at Mudra on Lloyds Road, walking distance from Kalpaka. So when my wife and I had to decide on dinner close to the Music Academy so that we could pick up our daughter after a show there, I suggested Kalpaka.

We were going there after many, many years, so the level of anticipation was high. We parked on the usual side street opposite and a little way down, and crossed the road to walk back towards the Music Academy and the restaurant’s entrance. The first thing that had changed was that there are now many roadside eateries at the entrance to Kalpaka. The sidewalk is crowded with chairs with young men wolfing down Parottas and curry, with the Parottas being made practically on the sidewalk. One has to negotiate through sizzling and sputtering hot plates, chairs, motorbikes and people to reach the narrow entrance to the restaurant.

Having run the gauntlet, we ascended the steep, narrow stairs that are not recommended for the old, weary and arthritic. Being none of these, we ascended quickly and entered Chennai’s Kerala food nirvana. It was very much as I remembered it. Sparkling clean, no nonsense chairs & tables, brightly lit, and now, mostly air conditioned. We found a free table and sat down after meeting a good friend who’d also had the same idea, only she was doing a take away of Syrian Fried Beef. The waiter appeared, a new guy, although I recognized one of the old hands at the next table, and we placed our orders.

I was having Parottas with Syrian Beef Fry and Chicken Curry, while Abha had rice with the Kerala Fish Curry. The veg meals (Rs 36) are only served at lunch time, when one can have a full meal with rice, two vegetables, chutnies, papadams, sambhar, rasam and the Kalpaka buttermilk. One can supplement this with side dishes of chicken or mutton (mostly Rs 60-65) or Syrian Beef Fry (Rs 35). Its probably one of the best value for money meals in the city, and the lunch time rush attests to its popularity. The crowd is also very nice; guys, gals, middle class families, IT types, advertising types -all with one thing in common- they all love good food!

We dug into the food to find it was as good as we remembered it. Having eaten our fill, we ordered one more Syrian Beef Fry as take away for our daughter before calling for the bill. For all that, we paid a sum of Rs 150, and had a very enjoyable meal and overall experience to boot. Kalpaka is definitely the place for those who enjoy Kerala non-veg food at an affordable price. Its clean, air-conditioned and absolutely no-nonsense. You’re going there for the food, not the ambience or d├ęcor. If you’re OK with that, this is the kind of restaurant to which you can go time and again. In shorts, T shirt and chappals if that’s what makes you comfortable. For its like eating at home.

5 Comments so far

  1. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on August 9th, 2006 @ 10:50 pm

    Sounds like a place worth visiting!

    But… The Music Academy is on the road that takes its name from the MA’s founder President (I think…): TTK Road. RK Mutt Rd is some way away in Myalapore.

    As you mention nearby Lloyds Rd, do you mean TTK Road?

  2. vinod (unregistered) on August 9th, 2006 @ 11:45 pm

    yes, kalpaka indeed is damn good… i love their fish fry…

    thad, it is gowdiya mutt road (g k mutt) and this is the road that goes from music academy towards royapettah…

  3. nandhu (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 6:51 am

    i recommend their syrian beef fry. awesome. and kappa on weekends. grt.

  4. suppamani (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 11:43 am

    As a pure vegetarian and from South Kerala side, I am longing for a good kerala vegetarian meals and tiffins – can any body recommend a good vegetarian malayalee mess or eatout.

  5. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on August 13th, 2006 @ 1:19 am

    Thanks for the road details. Would feel more confident of finding it now :)

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