(Clockwise from top l): Chicken Lollipop, Chicken Kothu Paratha, Falooda, Paratha, Masala Fries at Malaikottai in Newark, Calif. (All photos: Vansh A. Gupta and Rohan Kumar | Siliconeer)
According to Wikipedia, the word “Chettinad” means a social caste specializing in the preparation of food. Consequently, the Chettinads are considered master chefs, and Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India.
Of the many Indian restaurants that claim to bring Chettinad flavors to San Francisco Bay Area, Malaikottai is one of the exceptional ones. Located in Newark, Calif., the South Indian non-veg restaurant has a satisfying selection of curries, dosa and breads, especially for those with a bolder, spicier palate, write Siliconeer foodies Vansh A. Gupta and Rohan Kumar. @Siliconeer Restaurant Reviews, #Malaikottai, #Fremont, #Newark, #SiliconValleyEats, #Chettinad
Malaikottai – Indian Chettinad Restaurant
Newpark Plaza, 5988 Newpark Mall Road, Newark, CA 94560
Phone: (510) 797-2166, (510) 797-2167
Cuisine: Chettinad, South India
Cost: $½. (Dishes are under $15 each)
✯✯✯✯✯ | Extraordinary
✯✯✯✯ | Superior
✯✯✯ | Good
✯✯ | Mediocre
✯ | Poor
The case of the missing spoon! Most of the dishes did not have serving utensils, which is weird considering it is one of the first things in the shopping list for a new restaurant, or was it deliberate? The staff is super nice, gives good recommendations, but because of a full house, the food takes time to get to your table.
Ambience: The restaurant has a bright and modern look with elegant decor. Adding to the food for thought are lamps above each table covered with pictures about pop culture and food from South India.
Non-Veg Appetizer (Chicken Lollipop): Living up to its name, the dish is a generous serving of chicken meat with a bone sticking out, just like a lollipop. The well-balanced taste of spices was a appetizing enough to make us devour the rest after eating the first one. This dish isn’t overly spicy, but not bland either, which was another good thing. We would recommend this for kids since it would be easy for them to eat it without the trouble of taking the bone out.
Veg Appetizer (Masala Fries): Imagine plain old fries with an Indian touch to it. This is what masala fries was. Since this is a simple dish, it doesn’t take too long to come out. It was well cooked since it kept the outside crispy but had a soft inside. Because of the rush, this was something good to munch on while waiting for the food. Again, recommended for kids.
Non-Veg Entrée (Pepper Chicken): Now, for the real deal! The Pepper Chicken was simply sharp. The dish lived up to its name, had an abundance of chicken and pepper. The entree looked like any other spicy chicken curry (in a good way). So dashing and flavorful, we were definitely impressed by this dish.
Veg Entrée (Paneer Butter Masala): Ever seen a BMW X6. It doesn’t look nice from the outside, but the inside is a different story. This dish wasn’t exactly a looker, but it sure had a rich taste. The entrée was spicy and zesty. Although it had a good taste, we think a little more paneer would be generous.
The Breads (Plain Paratha and Chicken Kothu Paratha): The parathas are something no one should miss. The plain paratha was crispy, fluffy, and buttery. It was a perfect accompaniment to the curries. Chicken Kothu Paratha looked like really pleasing and the aroma made us dogs. No surprises here, the taste was even better. It was spicy and the chicken, paratha, topped with onions and cilantro was surpassingly delectable. Both of these viands are worth trying, they are simply stunning!
Dessert (Falooda): The Falooda flabbergasted us with its debonair looks. The taste was poised as well. It had a lot of sweet components yet it was not too sweet. The five layers of fruits, ice cream, syrup, and noodles were really neat by looks and by taste. We just wished it could have been a bit sweeter, but it still passed as a satisfying dessert.
The Verdict: You guessed it right! The experience was unprecedented. The ambience was comforting and welcoming. The food was outstanding in taste. The appetizers could serve 2-3 people conveniently. The entrées can serve 2-3 as well. While the plain paratha serves only one person, the Chicken Kothu Paratha should serve 2-3 people conveniently. The choice of items is decent and very affordable. Barring some nitty gritty mishaps, the overall experience was exceptional. Definitely recommended if you crave spicy Chettinad Indian cuisine.
Vansh A. Gupta is an intern with Siliconeer. He is an avid foodie and likes to explore world cuisine. He lives in Fremont, Calif.
Rohan Kumar is an intern with Siliconeer. He is an avid foodie and loves to try out new places to eat. He lives in Fremont, Calif.