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Fusion of Chettinad spices and Italian recipes at Karaikudi restaurant


Fusion Bistro, off the Madurai-Karaikudi Road, springs a surprise with its blended tastes and flavours in Chettinad heartland

Fusion Bistro, off the Madurai-Karaikudi Road, springs a surprise with its blended tastes and flavours in Chettinad heartland

Tucked away on a side street inside Ashok Nagar in Karaikudi, this is one of the unlikeliest addresses for fusion dining. When you pull into the parking outside the 40-seater eatery, courteous staff rushes out with folded hands and ‘namaste’ on their lips and you instantly feel there is something different about the place; no wonder Fusion Bistro has turned into a hotspot for diners within a short period.

Step inside Fusion Bistro and the owner-cum-chef David Amirtharaj is all too eager to lay out his gastronomic adventures. Adventure it is, for two reasons. He was home on a holiday from Australia where he was working when COVID-19 struck and soon his father succumbed to the pandemic. “I could not leave my mother alone and return to my job,” says David. Embarking on a new venture seemed the best option.

Fusion recipe Baked vegetable augratin
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Combining the knowledge of home-grown flavorful masalas of Chettinad with his years of training and experience abroad – predominantly in Italian and a few other cuisines – David dared to offer variations in recipes that are both unique and familiar in his hometown. “In Karaikudi, both locals and tourists seek the native and spicy, non-vegetarian dishes, biriyanis and kozhambus. I chose to experiment,” he says.

The cosy and neat seating over the next one hour with the entrees and dishes presented before me were all fresh and fun fusion. The Japanese dynamite prawn marinated in an 11-ingredients (Chef’s secret) sauce lent a unique taste even as the prawn remained crunchy. Alongside, a warm bowl of coconut Thai curry lemon grass prawn soup was mild and delicious.

Fusion food Spicy tandoori oven-roasted lobster

Fusion food Spicy tandoori oven-roasted lobster
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Chettinad chicken ravioli pasta was a master-blaster of a fusion with a fantastic taste combination. The flavours of local fennel seed and peppercorn pounded and cooked to make the Chettinad chicken was stuffed inside smooth ravioli pasta tossed in spicy cream cheese. In the land of mutton biriyani, I sensed how David’s lightly smoked Hyderabadi dum chicken biryani has become a rage, as much as the lobsters and salmon to lal maas and kebabs. Every item is a treat. In desserts, the Coconut Bavarois, a creamy coconut custard with infused kaffir lime leaves was simply mouth melting.

Delicious dessert Coconut bavarois at Fusion Bistro

Delicious dessert Coconut bavarois at Fusion Bistro
| Photo Credit: Soma Basu

David charms diners as he attends to every table with care explaining the effort that has gone behind each dish. The symphony of spices and texture leaves you delighted, more so because you do not expect such stuff in the region. Treading on a narrow footprint, David has introduced a decent number of items from the kitchens of two worlds he has expertise in. And he successfully proves that when you have passion, nothing limits the quality or imagination that food preparation and presentation can attain.

How to reach

Travel time from Madurai to Fusion Bistro on Alagappan Ambalam, Second Street, Ashok Nagar, Karaikudi, is approximately 1 hr 45 minutes. Open all days, 12 noon to 3 pm and 6 pm to 10 pm. 



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