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Yet another Thattukada update [London]

Hello all,

Thattukada's going to be moving to a new location down the road and I felt I should give the old location the justice of an update. I'm going to be looking to get a Chowdown together for the opening day of the new restaurant as soon as I know the date (early January.) Email me if you're interested.

The menu is now quite a bit simpler than it was in the past. The enormous hidden menu that they had a few years ago has largely been included on the current one, abandoned or added to the specials board that they have up on weekends. Still, they may have anything on any given day so if you want Keralan crab curry on a Wednesday it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Recent additions that are quite good include the fish 65, the crab fry, the brain fry and the fish egg fry (though that's been around for a while.)

The fish 65 has become a particular favorite of mine. It's a very large portion of battered and deep fried fish covered in a similar spice mix to that of a chicken 65. It's basically Keralan drinking food (like a lot of the menu) but it's one of the fries at Thattukada that just takes it to another level.

Another thing that should be highlighted is just how good the basics are at Thattukadda. I rarely order their fancier stuff unless I go with a group and the meal plans I was on only included a set number of dishes so I'll elaborate on those a little.

The "basics" highlights are pretty much the beef curry with chapatti, fish curry with kappa and their veg meal. All three are literally as good as the Keralan food I've been getting at home almost every day. The fish curry has been varying from day to day lately, but they do an Indian mackerel one with massive amounts of kokum. It's incredibly smokey and pairs perfectly with kappa (mashed tapioca.) The beef curry is one of the single hottest dishes on the menu these days so it's not for the spice intolerant. Nonetheless that with chapatti is pretty much perfection. One of the single best things I've ever eaten at an Indian restaurant.

The chicken curry and mutton curry have both changed quite a lot over the years and I'm not a huge fan of either one these days. Their parathas are still exceptional though.

If anyone has any questions about practically anything this place serves (or could potentially serve) just ask it on this thread.

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  1. Excellent update! Actually I was wondering whether it's open on New Years Eve and if they have any specials on the day (even if it's just the regular Saturday specials). Probably wont spend the evening there but I take it now it's become the local Keralan bar that it would actually be quite a enjoyable way to while away a night?
    Also, since the people I'm taking aren't very spice tolerant, what milder options would you recommend? I remember the netholi fry being quite mild but not much else.

    2 Replies
    1. re: emusinthezone

      I'll ask them when I'm in there next. The only issue with the fact that it becomes the local Keralan bar is that it's hard to get a seat late at night and no one speaks English. A lot of people come up to me and I get loads of free drinks out of it, but it's not always the most welcoming environment. It is BYOB for hard liquor which I only realized somewhat recently. You'd have to book for NYE. I was there for Christmas Eve and it took me half an hour or more to get a table (and that was with the staff trying to hurry people out.)

      The fish 65, fish moilly, veg meal, fish curry, netholi fry and any other fried fish should be OK. Pretty much all of their veg dishes are quite mild though I usually just order the veg meal and see what I get rather than order specific ones (the veg meal also has a wider variety of veg dishes than the menu depending on the day.)

      Spice wise I think the biggest things to avoid are the beef curry, the beef fry, possibly the politchattus unfortunately and most of the other fry or deviled dishes. The rest should be relatively safe territory. The mutton curry should also be OK. The chicken curry and the beef curry are both very spicy though. The Thattukada special chicken is also very safe and one of the least spicy dishes on the menu.

      1. re: JFores

        The special chicken is actually covered in green chili - the 65 is much milder.

    2. Just a slight correction, Justin. Thattukada is not moving, they're opening another restaurant down the street, which will cater to families - whose business they haven't been getting in the original place - and it will be alcohol free, but the same menu. So, different atmosphere/same food.

      As to the beef curry, I ordered it tonight on your recommendation. This is my eighth time there and it never occurred to me to try the beef curry. You're right. Sensational. A half-portion of the 65 fish, beef curry with chapatti, and a large Kingfisher set me back 14 quid. How much better can it get.

      3 Replies
      1. re: efeinblatt

        I just wanted to add a note regarding the new location as I've gotten a few meals in there. The actual interior borders on fancy now. Yes, fancy in an Indian families way, but wow. Quite spiffy. Everything's served on banana leaves as well which is a cute little touch. The one real difference I've noticed so far (the quality between the two is practically identical; that surprised me) is that the thalis comes with more things at the new location. My fish thali today came with some pretty nice additions that I'd never had at the old Thattukada like extremely crisp deep fried karela (basically spicy karela crisps), a "curry" of small onions stewed in yogurt and rasam seems to come as a standard accompaniment whereas it's pretty rare at the original location.

        Cool stuff, fun atmosphere, but no booze. The male to female ratio at this place is also a massive change from the other one where the only woman to regularly enter the place is the waitress.

        1. re: JFores

          Walked past the new branch today whilst going on my very own little street snack crawl of the High St and Green St (will contribute to the chaat thread soon!). The new branch definitely does look snazzier. Was also intrigued to know if that place a few doors up with Chettinad in the name is any good or not. Not sure if anyone has tried it?

          1. re: Sharmila

            We had a little chowdown there a few weeks ago. I may have forgotten to post on it. Suvai Chettinad's the name. It's a pretty good Tamil non-veg place.

      2. I'm thinking of dropping in for my first time -- both at this place, and with Keralan fare. What are the current menu highlights?

        3 Replies
        1. re: guanubian

          Thattukada did have two branches but I think the old branch has closed now. I really liked the egg curry at the old branch, not quite as good at the newer branch.Beef curry at the old branch was really good not had it at the new branch. At the newer branch I normally go for mutton fry or chicken biriyani.

          1. re: Paprikaboy

            Hi both (yes I'm still alive),

            I've been going here quite a bit since the closure of the old branch. The kitchen has really picked up, at least from the quality of what I was getting over the last 6 months or so (possibly because I kept eating at the old branch.)

            Mussel fry, netholi fry and beef curry have all been excellent. Kappa was serviceable last night, chicken biriyani was above average earlier this week, and the Onam sathyam was fantastic a few months.

            I think the general ordering that's outlined in my older posts still sticks quite well, although I personally tend to eat differently these days. Also, the quality of certain breads (appam and parotha) is not what it used to be, but they're still better than pretty much anything you can get in central London.

            I haven't had many of the pricier non-fry seafood dishes since I started to come back here often so I can't really comment on the fish moilly, crab masala / Keralan crab curry, pollitchattu dishes, etc just yet. I'm hosting a large meal here with co-workers in the near future so we'll likely get to some of them then.

            1. re: Paprikaboy

              I'm pretty sure the kitchen crews have merged btw. One good thing is that one of the "old" chefs who I thought was long gone is working at the new branch and I strongly suspect he might be the old fry master in chief. The Keralan drunk food (to use a technical term) at the old Thattukada went way downhill at a certain stage and was then quite inconsistent.

              Frying technique has changed at the new branch. They seem to be using a slightly thicker batter and frying things for longer or at a higher heat. Last night's mussel fry was seriously crispy on the outside with a nice soft interior.