Thanjavur Virundhu - A Sensory Southern Odyssey
At a distance of 330 kms from Chennai, Thanjavur (Tanjore) is not just the ancient capital of the mighty Chola kingdom, but also one of India’s most underrated gastronomic destinations. The region’s cuisine has been influenced over the years by traditional Brahmin, Mukkulathor, and Maratha communities. One of South India’s most soulful gifts to the world – sambar – was said to have originated in Thanjavur when the Maratha royal army – looking for a replacement for their native, tart kokum – added tamarind to a spiced, heady broth of lentils and vegetables. The sambar and other Tanjore legends come alive in Vivanta Chennai’s exceptional Thanjavur Virundhu dining experience. Presented under the stars by the pool deck, this four-course feast is aimed at all your senses, offering a privileged peek into the traditions of South India’s most culture-rich province. Your guide and raconteur on this epic journey is our Executive Chef Jaffar Ali, whose lively, insightful stories and recipe breakdowns add another dimension to the stunning dishes presented in each course. Sip on a glass of champagne coconut-water punch infused with fresh skewered fruit chunks as Masterchef Jabaraj – a descendent of the chefs who ran the royal Thanjavur kitchens – sends forth a meal fit for royalty, including mango pachadi, kutti urulai vathakal, kathirikka poricha curry, kozhambus and seafood delights like vral (snake head fish), venginam meen (seer/Spanish mackerel), white bait and milk shark. At the end of the feast, Chef Jaffar gifts each diner a small treasure box of his secret spice mix, a charming keepsake from a most mesmerising gastronomic experience.