I recently posted on Instagram a string of stories from my recent visit to a new restaurant in Hyderabad. Most people believe that South Indian food is all about Idli Sambhar and Dosa. What they don’t know is that every state has its own distinct dishes and flavours. And I won’t be wrong in saying that you’d probably need a lifetime to savour all the dishes the south Indian states have to offer.
Anna Native, a new south Indian restaurant in Hyderabad, aims to bring all the regional flavours to our plates. The team at Anna Native not only sent in a cute little invite but also ensured I had a gala time at their pre-launch dinner. So as always, this is going to be my Anna Native review blog post.
Why Anna Native?
I’ve been staying in Hyderabad for close to 7 years now and have got a hang of the language too. Anna in most South Indian languages refers to big brother while native means – homeland or native place. That was my understanding of the name the first time I heard it. I was glad that it meant the same when we spoke to the owner. They were looking for a unique name and after going through over 150 names, this seemed perfect.
Located in Sainikpuri – the land of cafes (if I can say so) – Anna Native is all about a good dining experience with authentic regional flavours. A casual dine-in restaurant perfect for families with a good spread. The interiors are nicely done and a lot of aesthetically pleasing elements are present. The teal colour which is the primary colour is so refreshing and calming.
Everything from the tableware to the paintings and the music, give out vibes of a proper south Indian restaurant. Though it isn’t a large restaurant, it can house a few families at once. And with the type of food, they are serving, I guess they need more chairs outside in the waiting area soon.
South Indian Flavours at Anna Native – Review
Since I was invited for the pre-launch dinner, we had a fixed menu that was curated from the main menu. Unlike my dining experience at AnTeRa, I was elated to see that the menu had maintained a balance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. They have quite a few dishes where they have mixed dishes from various regions into one plate. Chef Ismail is the man behind Anna Native and we were all set to relish some authentic regional flavours and that’s what I’ll talk about in this Anna Native review blog post.
Delicious & Unique Starters
Not often do we start a meal with a dessert, but we started out with Badusha (Balushahi) which was crisp, soft and sweetened to perfection. We were then served a tangy and fiery Tomato Rasam. The rasam was full of flavours and black pepper too, a few tears rolled down my cheek! It was served with puff corns which were different.
We then had Aratikaya Vepudu (Raw Banana Fritters) which was the best and unique starter that I’ve had. It was fresh fried raw banana chips tempered with onions, garlic and coconut. Crisp and flavoursome, a must-have. Next we had Sabudana Vada. These were some of the thinnest and whitest Sabudana Vada I’ve eaten ever. Plus the invisible chat masala on top made it more flavoursome. Not being a fan of Sabudana Vada, I liked this one.
The next dish that came in was a masterstroke by Chef Ismail at Anna Native. The Gongura Paneer Tikka. Gongura is a type of leafy vegetable consumed widely in this region. It has a unique, tangy and pungent flavour. Soft cubes of Paneer were marinated with a generous amount of Gongura which was simply outstanding. Would highly recommend this one to anyone. The next unique starter that I had was the Mokka Jonna Seekha Kebab – Sweet Corn Seekh Kebabs. Sweet and Soft kebabs were nicely done and the tomato chutney served was pretty good.
Classic South Indian Main Course
Like I mentioned earlier, Anna Native is all about bringing various regional flavours under one roof. We were served with Aloo gadda and Batani Masala with Uttapam along with Gutti Vankaya curry and Ghee Rice. Aloo gadda and batani masala (Aloo Mutter) was a typical south Indian curry with subtle flavours. It was served with mini uttapams. You can even have it with Appam if you wanted. It was a very balanced platter.
I am a big fan of Baigan (eggplant) (Comment if you are too) and Gutti Vankaya is a classic dish from the region. The creamy, coarse and rich gravy was flavoursome and the baigan was nicely cooked. I had with ghee rice and Malabar Paratha and totally loved it. In fact, I ordered an extra serving of it too. We also had Soyabean and Batani Pulao. A yellow coloured pulao with soyabean and peas. While it’s not a common dish at restaurants, this I felt was the pretty average dish of all the dishes I had in the day.
Delectable Desi Desserts
How could this Anna Native review end without the desserts? We were totally full by the time we reached the desserts. We requested them to serve only small portions of it so that we don’t waste it. We were served Anna Native Mango Delight and Anjeer Ka Halwa. The Mango delight was good. It had a good layer of pulpy mango topped with rabri that was sweet. I feel if they gave it a biscuit base, it would have tasted better.
The Anjeer Halwa on the other side was good not only on looks but on taste as well. If you are an Anjeer fan, you’ll love this. It’s rice, has a good, chewy mouthfeel and the vanilla ice cream just goes perfect with this. In terms of drinks, we didn’t have anything on the menu, however, you will get the regular carbonated drinks. I hope they add some regional drinks to the menu.
Final Verdict: Perfect place for regional flavours
Anna Native keeps the promise – it has focused on regional flavours and got them right. Being a vegetarian, I was happy that they have a good variety of vegetarian dishes also. The stars for me were the Aratikaya Vepudu, Gongura Paneer and Mokka Jonna Seekh Kebab. If you are a non-vegetarian, I’m sure the variety of fish and chicken will not let you down.
The menu isn’t overly priced considering the quality of food and the complete dining experience. Currently, they are serving only dinner, but in a month’s time, you will be able to relish lunch as well. In the land of cafes, Anna Native is a welcome place and I’m sure there would be a lot of takers for it.
For many, it would be far off especially if you are coming from areas like Gachibowli, Jubilee Hills. So in case you are in this part of the city and want to try some local flavours, Anna Native will not let you down. That’s about it from my side on this post. I hope you liked my Anna Native review. Do share your thoughts in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.