Saturday, 12 August 2017

Flavours of Independence - Anise, Taj Coromandel, Chennai

11:07:00

Ever wondered what people of India ate in restaurants about 40 years ago. Ever wondered what the affluent had on the eve of Indian Independence in 1947 . Taj has dug through their archives and found the menu which was served 70 years ago for dinner, on 14th  of August 1947 at their Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.

They have recreated the menu which was originally written in French by French Chefs along with Indian Chefs of Goan or Bengali origin. The menu has been slightly altered to suit the current tastes but the core ingredients and flavours remain the same. Portion sizes are also the exact same size  as people had a voracious appetite back then. Also there was no concept of ala carte dining - only set menu.

Food:
The images below are the dishes which are recreated for the special 1947 menu.
Veloute d'Amandes

Consomme al'Indienne

Delices al'Hindustan - Tandoori Jhinga, Zafrani Murgh, MuttonSeekh Kebab

Delices al'Hindustan - Palak ki Shammi, Kasundi Broccoli, Kali mirch ka paneer tikka
Poularde shuffle independence Legumes varies

Vegetable fricassee with herb pilaf

Vacherin de Peches liberation


Finally the best picture - Lord Mountbatten in front of Taj before he bid farewell to India.
Price:
This wonderful meal experience is priced at Rs 1947 + taxes and is available at Anise, Taj Coromandel for dinner until the 14th August 2017 .

Disclaimer : Invited Review

Anise is located inside Taj Coromandel, Nungumbakkam.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Flavours of Tulu Nadu @ Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola, Guindy, Chennai

19:48:00

If there is one hotel which just keeps reinventing the food scene in Chennai, then it has got to be ITC Grand Chola. Every time I am here, I am simply blown away by the food.

This time I was here after a while for the Flavours of Tulu Nadu food festival. Tulu Nadu is a small region between northern part of Kerala and a wee bit of Karnataka. The amount of ground work done by Chefs at ITC needs to be lauded. My prior experiences have been restricted to Pure Kerala / Karnataka or Goan cuisine. So this Tulu Nadu was all new to me. But whatever I had tasted was simply sensational.


Food:
The dinner started of with a nice soothing Buttermilk and Banana Bairada Juice  - Ripe Banana mashed with coconut water was a killer. For soup we had Bele Saaru which was a cross between traditional Tamilian rasam and a dal sorba.




Here the dinner took a adventurous twist. Main course was served on EXTRA LARGE Vaalai Ellai, even larger than the ones used in South Indian Weddings. These Ellais should easily accommodate a meal for two. The first dish served was Natia Kori - mildly spiced chicken with a dash of ghee was simply sensational. Infact I went on to have a second, third and fourth helping of the same.

Next was Sajji Ke Taarai da Roti - Coconut pancakes - was a cross between fat dosa and adai. Errai Da Meen was Seer fish marinated with mild spices similar to the chicken and grilled which too was simply irresistible.



Here on I decided to plate up my Vaalai Ellai for photography.

(From top left to bottom right)
- Errai Da Meen
- Yetti Sukka ( Prawns marinated in mild spices and coconut )
- Pineapple Gojju (rich tart pineapple gravy with select karavali spices)
- Kori Gassi with Kori Roti ( Rice Roti soaked with Mangalorean chicken curry)
- Kadla Belai Kootu ( Channa Dal with Mustard, curry leaves and loaded with spices)
- Meen Pulli Munchi ( Makared cooked with Mangalorean spices)
- Spinach Garlic Dal
- Steamed Rice
- Neer Dosa ( Thin, light dosa)
- Dappa Dosa
- Mamsam Biryani ( Not pictured here was sensational )

All of the above were WOW!

Finally Payassam and Ragi Manni ( Jaggery fudge) to finish of this sensational dinner course. I am simply out of words to explain the entire meal. With no dish to fault, this could be the best food festival every foodie should visit.

Price:
Priced at Rs 2200/- + taxes for a person.
The Flavours of Tulu Nadu are on till June 25 at Madras Pavilion

Flavours of Tulu Nadu -  a must visit for every South Indian food loving foodie.

Disclaimer : Invited Review

Madras Pavilion is located inside ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Avartana, ITC Grand Chola, Guindy, Chennai

21:53:00


Contemporary Progressive Cooking has been in vogue for a while now and most common with Mediterranian Cuisines. Chennai has its own set of restaurants which serve such food. During one such experiences, I along with other foodies, wondered when South Indian food would get such a makeover.

Vola! Two years down the line from such a discussion, ITC Grand Chola takes the bold decision of serving up such an experience at Avartana - Contemporary Progressive South Indian Dining in Chennai.

I had the opportunity to dine here for a preview dinner. The entire meal was a MasterChef level experience. I was blown way by how a normal South Indian dish with humble origins could be made into a contemporary dish with such zeal and flair.


Food:
The meal started off with a amuse bouche -  Air like Fennel & Pepper with Avocado Fluff.  Indeed,  just like air, it vanished.



Next Herb Infused Tomato Rasam - Yes the simple rasam becomes a drink - served in Margarita Glass!


I love Brain Pepper Fry. Have had them a couple of times at Chettinad joints. But here it gets a twist as Lamb Brain Dumplings Wowie!





Cocktails and Mocktails too, have been given a treatment to suit the south indian fare - Mount Road 63, Nannari Slush & Raw Mango Coriander with Chilli.


Then the vegetable which I rarely consume - The Bitter Gourd, gets a modern twist which made the taste so irresistible. Dehydrated Bitter Gourd with Potato & Sauce


Stir Fried Lobster with Chili & Garlic, looks and feels very much like a Podi Idli


The veggies had Kulipaniyarum with Madurai Chutney which was simply delectable


Then one of my all time favourites- Iddiyappam & Stew with Asparagus & French Beans. The Stew was so delicate and at the same time reminded me of traditional south indian flavours


The Pepper Chicken served with Malabar Parotta & Sweet Meringue was the show stopper. Soft Malabar Parotta with Spicy Pepper Chicken reminded me of my grandma's cooking, but the platting was totally reimagined.


Lamb Congee served with Aubergine Pachadi was simple yet tasty.



Finally the piece of resistance every south indian meal should have - Curd Rice / More Kulambu with rice, here in a different avatar - Butter Milk Noodles with Pickle.




Finishing off with Birds Nest - Finger Millet Vermicelli with Coconut Ice Cream & Caramelised Milk - Yumm!

Beeda Time - but here it takes a new route with Nitrogen - Winter Paan.

Ambiance:
Common South Indian interiors but reimagined. Carpets resembling banana leaves and wall motifs like Kerala Boats finally a open kitchen -a first for a south indian restaurant. The restaurant also has a private dining which can seat about 10 people at a time.

Price:
Avartana offers tasting menus ranging from Rs 2000/- and upwards for a seven course meal.

Calling this experience 'mind-blowing' would be an understatement. Having a Masterchef style experience from a south indian cuisine will have you raving. Avartana is here to redefine the food with simple and humble origin into Michelin experience.

Disclaimer : Invited Review

Avartana is located inside ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in quality and quantity of the food, the service, and the staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


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Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Roll Factory - Swiggy

16:59:00

Just another lazy night post work. My wife and I decided to have a light dinner at home in front of the TV watching some random flick on Amazon Prime. Zoom! Swiggy to the rescue! After a few minutes of scrolling through Swiggy we settled on The Roll Factory.


Food:
We had the Egg Bhuna Chicken Roll and the Reshmi Chicken Tikka Roll. Both the Rolls were delivered in a neat packing and were HOT!



My pick between the two would be the Egg Bhuna Chicken Roll. It was a tad spicier than the latter. But not spicy to the level were you would be reaching out for some water. The best part about the rolls were the Whole Wheat Base Roti which was soft and slightly crispy. Big thumbs up!

Ambiance:
NA

Service:
Swiggy again does a fantastic job the delivery. Pipping Hot food.

Price:
The price for this meal was Rs 270/-

Food - 8/10
Service - 10/10
Price - 9/10

Disclaimer: I paid for the meal

If you wish to do the same head over to your App Store / Play Store and download the Swiggy App and get goodies delivered in a Jiffy

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Friday, 10 March 2017

Dhaba By Claridges, Ishpahani Center, Chennai

10:05:00

Dhaba By Claridges has been my on cards ever since they opened shop in Chennai. I decided to surprise my wife with a Valentines day dinner here. So I made my reservation for a table on Feb 14 and we walked into the restaurant only to be declined a seat. The manager informs me that the reservation made was a temporary reservation and it would take another 45 minutes to get a table. So we decided to walk off and celebrate our First Valentines Day elsewhere.

Putting this incident behind, I still wanted to dine here and see what the fuss was all about. So we walked in,  the following week and got our seat.



Food:
We started our innings here with the Virgin Paan Mojito. Yes! I am a sucker for Gulkand and Yes! it was refreshingly tasty. I had recently introduced my wife to Galouti Kebab at Bombay Brasserie, so she was keen on having it, as she had glanced through the pages. So Galouti Kebab it was! She absolutely loved it. I on the other hand found it just above average. It seemed to miss the mark of a kebab and landed more into the cutlet territory in terms of consistency.



I being a Chicken lover settled on Murgh Malai Tikka. Cheesy juicy delights they were. This was followed by Mutton Seekh. I must say I was blown away. The best I have had thus far. They were juicy, tender and absolutely mouth-watering.


For mains we settled on a Chitta Butter Chicken and a Amritsari Kulcha. A single large Kulcha was cut down into 4 pieces. The Kulcha was served piping hot and the combination with the Chitta Butter Chicken was simply divine. By the end of the mains we were too full, so we skipped the desserts

Ambiance:
Dhaba by Claridges interiors looked and felt like a Dhaba with modern twist. Zing Zang Bling lights and quirky colourful interiors

Service:
Full marks here. Our waiter for the day Mr. Vincent was exceptional. He knew the dishes like the back of his hand and was able give valuable inputs

Price:
This rich experience cost us Rs 2435/-

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Service - 10/10
Price - 8/10

Disclaimer: I paid for the meal

Dhaba By Claridges is located inside Ishpahani Center, Nungumbakkam

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Thursday, 9 March 2017

Midnight Snacking - Cocojaunt1728 - Swiggy

08:32:00

There are times I decide to skip dinner and just head to bed only to realize that I am hungry after all. Now this just ruins my very much needed sleep. Finally I have found a fix, thanks to Swiggy. They give you the option to dine at home from your favorite restaurants which remain open till 11pm but which do not do door delivery.


Food:
I chose to have the What a Bomb Burger and Grilled Chicken & Feta in Pita Bread.

Chicken was tender, served with fried egg and a big serving of mayo made it a proper greasy burger. Only grouse was that the bun just did not hold together till the end.


I was hoping for a pita pocket filled with the Grilled Chicken & Feta, but this was more like a deconstructed wrap. Filled to the brim with Grilled Chicken, Black Olives & Lettuce. The soft pita bread made the dish a delight.

Ambiance:
NA

Service:
Swiggy did a fantastic job of delivering the lovely mid-night snack way past 12am in the night. The deliver tracker is a boon.

Price:
The price of the midnight snack was Rs 390/-

Food - 8/10
Service - 10/10
Price - 9/10

Disclaimer: I paid for the meal.

If you wish to do the same head over to your App Store / Play Store and download the Swiggy App and get goodies delivered in a Jiffy

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in quality and quantity of the food, the service, and the staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Roll Over, Anna Nagar, Chennai

08:40:00

Chennai is a city which is strategically situated, which makes it have a peculiar climate. We have the Hot season followed by the Hotter season and then the Hottest season. So any ice cream parlor or juice joint is always welcome. One such recent entrant is Roll Over at Anna Nagar.

They serve up lip-smacking Thailand's famous Ice - Cream Rolls. It is an experience you do not want to miss.

Food:
We had the Lychee Rush, Mango Madness, and Roll Over's special Chocolate Karma. Lychee Rush had  Lychee flavored ice cream rolls with nice chunks of canned lychee pieces served with chef special cream sauce. While the Mango madness had Ice cream rolls drizzled with mango syrup and had the same chef special sauce. Both had similar taste. But my pick between the two would be the Lychee Rush just purely for the chunks of fruit which was served in it.






Finally the Special Chocolate Karma. It is a dessert, one would not want to miss. It is a treat visually and tastewise. When served it looks like a dessert straight out of the MasterChef kitchen. Ice cream rolls plus the Chocolate sphere served on a bed of brown sugar with hot chocolate sauce accompaniment. It is a true chocolate lovers' delight and one which you would relish.

Ambiance:
Neat decor which lets the dessert do the talking.

Service:
Self Service

Price:
The three desserts set us back by Rs 600/-  which was well worth the experience.

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Service - N/A
Price - 8/10

Disclaimer: I paid for the meal

Roll Over is located next to Santhosh Super Store in Anna Nagar.

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in quality and quantity of the food, the service, and the staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


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