For those who enjoy ethnic cuisine, another southeast Asian option has been added to the menu.
Varuvel Bread Co. opened two weeks ago in a former Huddle House location off Jimmie Dyess Parkway and Interstate 20.
The restaurant focuses on traditional recipes of the Tamil, an ancient civilization centered mainly in the southern regions of India and Sri Lanka, owner Sivakumar Jayabalan said.
"It is traditional, authentic and freshly made," he said.
Jayabalan, a biochemist, moved to the United States from Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India, in 1999 to do cancer research at the Medical College of Georgia. Now also a businessman, he owns the Aiyan Diabetes Center in Evans, which his wife, Dr. Janaki Sivakumar, manages; a health care consulting business; and two businesses in India.
"I thought, why don't I share the heritage of the Tamils?" Jayabalan said. The idea for the restaurant was inspired more than two years ago by his wife's cravings for traditional Tamil cooking during her pregnancy.
Jayabalan said Tamil cuisine is very different from traditional Indian recipes.
"The seeds of the spices we use are entirely different than what the traditional Indian restaurants use," he said. "They don't use curry leaves at all. They don't use tamarind (an Indian date). They don't use coconut in cooking."
The restaurant offers a varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including vegetarian meals like rice and five curry sauces and a sweet sauce; uttapam, Indian pancakes with a variety of toppings; vada, Indian doughnuts; a variety of American and Tamil-inspired pizzas; and meat dishes, breads, appetizers and soups.
Jayabalan said Tamil cuisine resembles Thai food and also has strong influences from Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.
The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. each day.
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