How does one define a regional cuisine chef in the capital city of Delhi? In a city inundated with eateries and restaurants – Delhi has panned into a city with the possibility of nearly infinite new flavours and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.In the kingdom of South Indian cuisine, Kerala cuisine has its own cove and there are very few Chefs in Delhi who can give you the authentic Dravidian flavor with ingredients and seasoning and the amalgam of roasted spices. One Chef however holds his own and judging by the tables filled with gaiety at ITC Sheraton’s Dakshin you can be sure Chef Velu is one who can carry you into flashes culinary epiphany. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfYou are shown to your table, in the splendid lamp filled room, and you can begin with a glass of cold coconut water to cool down as the basket of papadums can be enjoyed with four different chutneys-tomatoes, coconut, tamarind tinged and herb flavoured mint. Chutneys which your grandmother may have served you with dosas or idlis in yesteryear — is not a bad way to start. Save your space for a feast with Chef Velu. He begins with a globular lentil fried Kuzhi Panniyaram which can be swiped with the coconut chutney to give you a sensory idea of granular flavours on the tongue. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIs the starter something you want to dip in a seafood sojourn? Sure, why not – the presence of Prawn Varathatha and the tamarind ginger chutney read into distinct designs in ingredients. Ever heard of the Fish Pollichatha, a grandmother’s recipe off the backwaters of Kerala? In case you haven’t, it’s tangy, spicy and flaky in all the right ways as you unravel the banana leaf inside which it has been steamed on a pan. The spicy, slightly – roasted fish schools you into the mysteries of the fish recipes. Velu is equally at ease with Syrian Christian, and Moplah recipes as he is with traditional Nair Hindu fare. While you are relishing the fish, Chef sends in a dark chewy, slivers of coconut chunked lamb known as Erachi Olathiya, the piece de resistance of the menu. Robust hints of roasted coriander, chillies and the ingenuous Kerala garam masala tantalize the tongue.Savour slowly – you have to save space for just a spoonful of Kerala par boiled rice with a mélange of prawn curry, a spicy fish curry and roasted spiced chicken curry that goes best with fluffy appams.” We get spices as whole and then create the masalas according to the recipes,” says Chef Velu who has won numerous awards for the ITC chain and wears his pedigree of two decades of fine regional cuisine, with modesty. His balance of spice and the smoothness of the gravies is what makes the curries splendid.What remain in memory are not just the flavour and the experience of authenticity that leaves you in a state of familial reverie, but the perfection of the curries and the seafood succulence can also be read as a statement of food principles: handpicked authentic ingredients, fascinating flavours, careful and experienced execution and a subtle signature of chilly.Does it mean anything in particular when a chef is identified with the most relished dishes in the South Indian repertoire? Chef VeluMurugan comes from the Mudaliar community, and Mudaliar cuisine is a culinary tradition developed by an intrinsically vegetarian community which started out as pioneering agriculturists during the time of the early Cholas. His Pineapple Pachadi, an amalgam of tempered yoghurt and cubed pineapple as well as his seamless pumpkin Elicherry stand testimony to his vegan roots. While Velu specialises in the cuisine of sub-communities of south India such as Nadar, Udipi, and Syrian Christians, his best memory is that of fish curry and Kerala rice relished on a banana leaf in the style of his ancestors.Velu is joyous in his hours in the Dakshin kitchen. He swirls even the desserts – an addapayasam into a delight served in a modest-sized brass bowl. Dakshin, a south Indian cuisine restaurant does that magical thing where it is impossible to tell where the perfection of its service and food ends and the satiety of the experience begin. There are strong, succinct signatures of hard work, research and multiple journeys into Kerala’s waterways and a wood fire burning kitchens with a quaint touch of history. In an age of obsessive fusion in cuisine, authenticity is obviously a relative construct – cuisines change all the time all over the world – but it becomes valuable as kind of a benchmark; a point of reference when you stick to the original. This is the hallmark of the ever smiling Dravidian genius Chef Velu Muruganof Dakshin.