We finally tried that Oriya restaurant near our place, yesterday. Wandering in the hot sun fruitlessly looking to purchase a particular brand of frying pan, we decided to console ourselves with a big lunch.
So Dalma on 100 Ft. Road, Koramangala, it was. It's very much a no-frills restaurant to be sure, the decor being mostly 'college canteen' in tone. But since this is precisely the kind of place that often turns out the most authentic food, we were hopeful. So J grandly ordered a prawn thali and I went for the rice with crab curry.
Verdict? Definitely interesting. Although the crab as usual left me a tad ill-tempered because of the amount of work you have to do to get just a little meat, it tasted fine. The prawn and the crab were in suspiciously similar-tasting curries, but we did determine that the prawn had more cumin. Still, the best tasting was in fact that bowl of dal on J's plate. It had pumpkin and potato, and was spiced with a familiar, homey blend of Bengali touches.
Finally, J surprised me by ordering for dessert malpua and gulab-jamun. The malpua he endearingly described as 'those little fried syrupy pizza-looking things I saw in the display case', and proceeded to polish off not one but two of them. It was rather good: it had a delicate hint of fennel and bits of coconut and was most delightfully syrup-drenched. It succeeded in becoming J's new favorite Indian dessert, and that is quite a feat in itself.
In the end, we decided that we would go back to this restaurant. We will be trying the fried fish and definitely the interesting eggplant and potato dishes on offer. One must have a strong stomach in terms of hygiene; not that it is filthy, but it has a certain unapologetic basic approach that might be too harsh for some. The service is prompt and the wait-staff is the usual sweet youths who appear to have recently migrated to Bangalore from the place of origin of the cuisine they serve- in this case, Orissa. (Or Odisha, pardon me, I don't know when that change happened.)