Kolam: Adding Spice To Newtown
For the past 15 years, owner Senthil Rajamani has been waking up Newtown’s population to the authentic cuisine of India at Kolam, a 65-seat restaurant on South Main Street. The restaurant is named for the age-old tradition in south India of drawing intricate patterns on the ground using finely ground rice flour.
The dining room is separated into two sections by a richly decorated, fabric-covered half wall. Tables draped with white tablecloths and colorful cloth napkins add a formal air at both lunchtime and dinner. The far end of the dining room is dominated during lunch hours by the popular buffet, drawing customers from all over the state.
Kolam has made a name serving regional Indian foods, including south Indian recipes not usually found on the menus of most Indian restaurants. A complex number of ingredients makes southern Indian cuisine stand out from other regions. There is a distinct cooking method for each region, explained Mr Rajamani.
More of an art than a science, many ancient preparation methods are in use at Kolam. Mr Rajamani says some of the dishes served have been learned from the families of the restaurant’s kitchen team.
Kolam is attentive to the health-conscious diner, cooking with a small amount of canola oil when needed, with very few menu items deep-fried, and adhering to the Indian tradition of using a lot of vegetables. Those who favor vegetarian dishes will find a wide array of suitable entrees.
The Kolam website, kolamrestaurant.com, explains benefits of various spices. Common seasonings in southern food include curry leaves, coconut, and mustard seeds, followed by red chilies, turmeric, and fenugreek seeds. Menu items are cooked to order, and spice levels or ingredients can be adjusted to meet diners’ preferences.
A courteous and friendly staff is happy to guide diners, both new to and more experienced with Indian cuisine, in making selections.
Small group cooking classes to learn about Indian cuisine and cooking techniques can be arranged by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indian-themed menus for corporations, clubs, organizations, and all private events are popular, and Kolam offers both onsite and off-site catering, with full service available. A full catering menu and prices can be found at the website.
A Sample Of The Menu
Appetizers: More than a dozen options, including the Subzi Platter, an assortment of vegetable bhajia (with eggplant, potato, cauliflower, spinach, and onions) and vegetable samosa for $11.95.
Soup: A popular soup of India is the Mulligatawny soup, made with lentils and vegetables and seasoned with black pepper, for $5.95
Tandoori and Kebabs: The Tandoori Jinga has jumbo shrimp marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, and spices and is cooked in a traditional clay tandoor. A mixed meat kebab offers a variety of meats and seafood cooked in the tandoor.
Seafood: Customers enjoy the Konkan Prawns from the Konkan Coast that consist of black tiger prawns cooked in a tangy coconut stew and flavored with ginger and curry leaves.
Lamb: Mamsam Koora is lamb chunks cooked with bell peppers and sesame seeds in a medium Hyderabadi sauce for $20.95.
Chicken: The Chicken Makhana has marinated chicken tenders that are cooked in tandoor, then simmered in a mild tomato sauce and cooked with onions and peppers for $17.95. Spice lovers go for the Kozhi Chettinad chicken.
Vegetable Specialties: Numerous choices include the Malai Kofta with vegetable and cheese dumplings served in a mild cashew and almond sauce and the Bombay Aloo with potatoes, cooked in a tangy tomato sauce tempered with mustard and curry leaves.
Rice and Breads: Choose saffron basmati rice or Chitrannam-flavored rice. Numerous Indian breads range from the puffed unleavened whole-wheat pooris to kheema naan, bread stuffed with spiced, ground lamb.
Children’s Menu: There are several child-friendly items, such as the cheese naan, and any of the kebab dishes are especially popular.
Beverages: Full bar, with specialty cocktails like the mango margarita. Wide selection of world wines to complement the cuisine; Indian and domestic beers by the bottle. Nonalcoholic mango lassi, a yogurt drink, or the mango lassi with rum.
All menu selections are available for takeout.
Kolam, 316 South Main Street (Route 25), 203-426-7143, serves lunch, Monday through Friday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and dinner 5 to 10 pm; lunch Saturday, noon to 3 pm, and dinner 5 to 10 pm; lunch Sunday, noon to 3 pm, and dinner 4:30 to 9:30 pm. Reservations are accepted for dinners only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Follow Kolam Restaurant on Facebook. For more information, a full menu, and special coupons, visit kolamrestaurant.com.