Saturday, 28 April 2012

Coffeetales, Shenoy Nagar - Food Walk!!

10:19:00






After our blast at the Kettle, we decided to visit our final stop for the day, Coffeetales. We drove to Coffeetales as it was bit far away from Shanti Colony. Since it is a residential area we got parking rather easily. The place had a nice lounge like ambiance, with music on big speakers and disco lights. I selected the Cafe Mocha, nice soothing hot coffee and Karthick picked Chococafe which was a rich chocolate, coffee concoction. The coffees tasted similar to the ones you get in CCD. Diviyan had chosen the Apple Mint Fizz, it was full on mint, with just a fizz on your tongue.

After some drinks we decided to tryout an ice cream, since people were raving about it on the CFG ( Chennai Food Guide ) page. We picked the Tender Coconut Ice Cream ( TCIC ) , it was true to its name. It tasted every bit like soft delicious tender coconut pulp. After the TCIC, Manoj ( Owner of Coffeetales ) tempted us with a sample of coffee flavored ice cream. This made us very impulsive to order one. The coffee flavor was very distinct with a rich aroma to it. While we were almost done with the Coffee ice cream, Manoj made  us sample the unique Deshi Chaal Ice Cream, it was awesome. It was a Pan flavored ice cream, with small bits of betel leaves present int it. We immediately ordered one.of that too. The taste just lingered in the tongue even many minutes after having it. I refused to wash my tongue down with water. A fitting end to the day of  gastronomic adventures!

3 Drinks and 3 Ice creams put us back by Rs 480/- . I personally loved the ambiance of Coffeetales, because for a non-drinker, sitting in a regular pub can be a little annoying while others drown their spirits.  This is exactly the place for people like me. Kudos to Manoj for the lovely ambiance, I must mention that I loved the Comic leaf style ceiling.

Food - 8/10 ( Ice Creams ) 7/10 ( Drinks )
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Price - 8/10

Coffeetales is located in Shenoy Nagar behind Heritage Shopping Store.

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Friday, 27 April 2012

Kettle, Anna Nagar - Food Walk!!

10:53:00







After the two wraps from Petawrap we guys ( Karthick, Diviyan and Myself ) headed to Kettle. Karthick was a little confused as to which street Kettle is located, but he did find the place without much trouble. We entered Kettle at around 5:30pm. The ambiance of the place was very warm and welcoming,very tastefully done interiors. It gave a very cozy feel to the place. We had our minds fixed on a nice cool drink for each of us. I went with Peach Ice Tea, while Karthick picked Lemon Basil Ice Tea and Diviyan picked a Mango Smoothie. We also picked a Raspberry White Chocolate Cheese Cake and a Tiramisu.

The Cheese cake had a nice Oreo Biscuit bottom with a chunky layer of cheese and topped with white chocolate shavings. Raspberry jam was present mixed with the cheese and also a bit on the top. Even though the cake looked great, cheese tasted more like mousse than a cheese. The Tiramisu had a nice layer of soft sponge cake dipped in coffee with a thick mixture of mascarpone, egg yolk and cocoa on top of it. The consistency of the tiramisu was nice, but it lacked depth, in the coffee flavor.

The Mango Smoothie which Diviyan had, was made from Mango ice cream, the flavor was really pleasing, very similar to a real mango. The Lemon Basil Iced Tea which Karthick had picked, had a nice spicy after taste to it, thanks to the basil leaf. My Peach Iced Tea was very soothing and mild, definitely something which I needed after a good walk in the sun. After the refreshing drinks, the manager showed us the varieties of teas which they had in store.

The refreshment session put us back by Rs 580/-. Definitely a place to visit. Loved the ambiance, also heard the ice creams and food items are great. I hope to try this place another time.

Food - 6/10 ( Cakes ) ; 7/10 ( Drinks )
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Cost - 8/10

Kettle is located in 10th Main Road in Anna Nagar. Its in the lane opposite to LKS Jewelry.

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Petawrap, Shanti Colony - Food Walk!!

12:14:00



After having some delicious EMU we walked from Maya and Maya Emu restaurant to Petawrap. I have had Petawrap before and I loved it. We reached Petawrap quite soon because we had emu power in our belly.

We ordered for a Chicken Sheek Kebab Wrap and a Chicken Manchurian Wrap. On receiving them,we felt that the wraps had become a bit smaller in size. We sampled the Sheek wrap first, I felt it wasn't as juicy as before. After this I sampled the Manchurian Wrap, I simply loved it. It was spicy and juicy, just the things which we expect from a wrap. The spicy sauce which they serve with the wrap is very spicy, do have water close by when you sample it.

The Cost of 2 wraps was Rs 80 /-. Definitely worth every penny and a very decent meal on the go. We guys felt gutted that Varam was closed, since we missed some delicious Dosas.

Food - 6/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - It's an outdoor stall!
Price - 7/10

Petawrap is located in the Parking lot of Fish and Fresh. There are many more outlets in various locations.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Maya and Maya Emu, Shanti Colony - Food Walk!!

17:03:00



I had a  fun filled Sunday evening with CFGians Karthick and Diviyan. What started off as a  discussion on CFG community, ended in us having a food walk in Shanti Colony. We had talked about a couple of the places, which we should visit on CFG ( Chennai Food Guide ). When the day arrived, we set out as warriors in search of food. By the time I had reached the parking lot opposite Sundaram Medical Foundation, Karthick had some fun with the parking ticket vending machine. I parked my car and ran around for some coins to drop in the vending machine. We were joined shortly by Diviyan when I was trying to get my ticket. With the 3 of us having received the parking tickets, we started the food walk.

The first place we visited was Maya and Maya Emu Restaurant. None of us have, had Emu before so we went for it. Since it was around 4:30pm we guys where not interested in the rice items. As we wanted to visit some other places too, we settled for just snacks.

The Emu Cutlet came in first. It was soft and brittle with good amount of potato in it. It reminded me of Fish cutlets which my grandmom makes. Next up we had Emu Strips, which is very similar to chicken strips of KFC. I really loved the EMU strips. It had 3 pieces, which were even in size and thickness, with no unevenness.. It tasted similar to KFC chicken strips. It was just a bit harder than chicken. Then at last we had the EMU Pops. EMU pops were slightly smaller in size than the chicken pops which we get in KFC. It tasted nice and crispy, along with the mayo and tomato sauce.

When we had entered Maya and Maya Emu Restaurant, they were facing low voltage which had caused non functional A/C units. We paid Rs 225/-, for the 3 dishes. I liked the Emu meat and I would not mind having it another time. Also Emu meat is supposedly very healthy.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Price - 7/10

Maya and Maya Emu is located in Shanti Colony near Sundaram Medical Foundation.

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Monday, 23 April 2012

Bamboo Gardens, Besant Nagar

18:42:00




I have been requested repeatedly by my friends, to do a post on some of the cheaper restaurants in town, so I made a conscious effort to visit one. I went for a late dinner with my friends to Bamboo Gardens. As we entered the place, I was hoping that the food was good, as the place did not look really great. We were the only people to be seated. We sat down beside the TV and placed our order.

One of my friends, was very keen on having a soup to start the dinner, so we asked the waiter for his suggestion. He suggested Manchow Chicken soup. I did not get to taste it, so I am not going to comment on it. Then came in the array of starters. The Chicken Momos tasted good, but I felt the rice paper cover was a bit thick. Then we had gone in for Thaipai chicken, I have never had it in any other place. The chicken was tasty, with a nice crispy coating on the outside. Then we had a half portion of grilled chicken, which I felt was okay. Both Chicken Tikka Wrap and Reshmi Kebab Wrap were average. Felt that the roti which was used for the wrap was a tad under cooked.  But the combination of Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Manchurian tasted really yummy

Meal for 3 costs Rs 1100/-, which I feel is good value considering that we ate like a pig!!!

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Price - 7/10

Bamboo Gardens is located opposite Besant Nagar Beach, next to Murugan Idly Shop.

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

NH1, Pycroftsgarden Road

10:50:00









After spending a few hours on the shuttle court at Anna University, I headed out with a couple of my friends for dinner. We set our minds on NH1. I had read some positive reviews about the place, so I wanted to try it out. We entered the restaurant five minutes past 8pm, the restaurant seemed quite empty, with guests at just 1 table. We placed our order and sat back to watch the cricket match on the big screen. I am not really sure of the names, but I am guessing this is what we had ordered. We ordered Murgh Malai Chicken Kebab and Mushroom stuffed with cheese for starters. For the main course we had ordered Chicken Biriyani, Butter Chicken Masala and Mutter Panner with an assortment of Roti's to go with it. The dishes had fancy punjabi names which I am not able to recollect.

The 1st starter, which we got was the Murgh Malai Kebab. It tasted really yummy. It had us all going gaga over the kebab. The chicken was really succulent. Then we had to wait for a little while before the next starter could arrive. By the time it arrived, the vegetarians at the table became really impatient. I took a taste of the Mushroom stuffed with cheese, it was tasty but, somehow I preferred the Chicken starter.

The starters went into our belly in no time. We were kept waiting for our main course. The waiter placed the food and vanished even before we could ask him to serve us, not that we were bothered about it. This gave me a little while, to click some pictures of the food. My friends stared at me,as they became increasingly impatient with the waiting. Once I was done clicking, they jumped into the food. I had the roomali roti with both the gravies. The roti was nice and soft, also easy to break into small pieces. The Butter Chicken Masala was not to my taste, it was not really rich enough to be called a butter chicken masala. Even my friends felt the same. The Mutter Panner was a bit too sweet not that I would complain. But my vegetarian friends did not like it one bit. They ended up having the gravy which came along with the butter chicken masala. After a round of the roti, I took a sample of the biriyani. It was delicious, I loved the way it was cooked. It was flavorsome and better than biriyanis you get at most restaurants

Apart from the food the ambiance was really nice, but the service was a big let down. It was really slow and they were terribly under staffed for a Sunday. They had just one waiter, to run between all the tables. Water in our table was not refilled throughout the course of our meal. The place became really crowded by the time we left. At times they did not have anybody manning the restaurant, it was just us guests sitting. Seeing the place jam packed at the end of our meal, I wondered if we had not ordered the right dishes. So I wish to try this place some other day. The prices are slightly on the higher side, the meal for 6 of us was Rs 1900/-.

Food - 6/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Price - 7/10

NH1 is located on Pycroftsgarden Road, above La Shaakahari.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Kalakkal Cafe, Ranjith Road

12:23:00



Spl. Mugs and Spoon
Spl.Braille Menu

Closer Look at Braille

Donut and Veg.Sandwich
Hi guys. I was out the other day, with a couple of CFG members at a very special, one of a kind cafe called Kalakkal Cafe. This cafe caters to the needs of people very unlike us..the differently abled.

When I reached the cafe, Ricky and Satish had already met and they were waiting outside for me to join them. We walked inside clueless as to what to expect. This cafe has been modeled for differently abled people. It had ramps and slopes which facilitated the entry of the differently abled people.

When we went in and met the people we did not know how to interact with them.Thankfully, people over here are very friendly and they come up and talk to us. We spoke with Anuradha who is a teacher for spastic children and also the volunteer for the evening. She begun by explaining to us how this whole concept came up. She told us that the differently abled people found it very difficult to getting into the regular cafeteria and restaurants, the menu and also trouble with the food.

She explained to us the solutions which they have made, to make life easier for them. Accessibility - build ramps or slopes around the place, Menu - put pictures and also made it with bright and dark colours, also Braille for people who find it even more difficult, Food - easy to hold cups with two handles and also spoons with large handles on them. Most of the solutions seem very simple and can be easily adopted for use in regular cafeteria.

She further told us that the cafe is in a physiotherapy room which doubles up as a coffee shop on the 2nd and 4th saturday of every month. Most of the people who run it, are volunteers. We asked her if they had a tie up with any cafe or restaurant. She mentioned that this is a new concept which is being implemented for the first time in Asia. It made me really proud to know that, something of this kind is being started in Chennai. She informed us that Cafe Coffee Day is interested in adopting this concept into its cafe chain.

We made a couple of friends with the people present there. Santhosh who had finished his schooling a couple of years back, is looking to start a business with a couple of his friends. He is looking to make plates with the use of beetel leaves. We also met Deepak, who has finished his PG in journalism. He is totally into cricket, supports CSK in IPL and also a big fan of Sachin. Somewhere between making new friends and talking to Anuradha we were joined by Karthick Ganapathi and his family.

On the fun end of the Cafe, we saw a couple of volunteers who played music on the guitars and keyboards. They kept the people really happy and entertained. They played remixes of some popular songs.

The food at the cafe is sourced from Winners Bakery. I shared the food with Ricky and Satish. We tried the donut, veg.sandwich and the puff. The food tasted simple and good.

I actually went in for the food, but came out making some new friends. Definitely a great place to go if you have the heart to make a difference in these people lives. I was really moved by people in the cafe.

Kalakkal Cafe is located in No1, Vidya Sagar Formerly the Spastic Society of India, Ranjith Road, Chennai - 85.

They are open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month . Please do visit them. Also if you have the time, you can become a volunteer at this cafe.

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Friday, 6 April 2012

Kitchen Chronicles - 3 Cheese Cajun Chicken Burger

21:25:00

I have been a sucker for proper juicy burgers all my life. There has been a sudden drought of good burgers on this side of town with the closure of Gallopin Gooseberries and Sparkys. So if I needed a good juicy burger, I had to travel all the way to Bessi Beach to have burger from Pupil. With increase in traffic I have become fed-up of traveling the distance for a burger. So I decided and sat down and made recipe which would kick @$$ and also I saw this recipe being done on a program in TLC so I went ahead and did it at home.

3 ( No way related to the movie 3) Cheese Cajun Chicken Burger
Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients
1/2kg of Chicken Minced
 Burger Bun ( I got from Prima)
2 Spoons Cajun Powder ( Store Bought )
Cheese - I had gone with
 1. Cheddar
 2. Mozzarella
 3. Britannia Chilli Cheese
You can use any kind of cheese you want
Cabbage leaves
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 Onion diced
1 Tomato diced
Cooking Butter
Spoon of Olive Oil

How to make

For the Cheese
Grate sufficient quantity of the 3 cheeses and mix them together.

For the patty
If you are not able to get minced chicken, buy boneless chicken, cut it down to small pieces and drop it in your food processor with the salt, pepper, chilli powder and the cajun powder. Run the food processor a couple of times so that the chicken is minced evenly.
Now add a spoon of olive oil to the minced chicken and start making the patties. We should be able to make around 10 regular size patties.

Now add the 3 cheese mixture on top of the 5 patties and use the rest of the patties to close the patties with cheese. So you will end up having only 5 patties in the end.

Now toss the patty on a non-stick pan which has been bought to temperature with cooking butter. Close the patty with a lid on top of the pan. I went for a bowl and placed it on top of the pan. Allow it to cook for 15mins. You have awesome 3 cheese patties for you burger

If you have a griller you can use it as well. I used an Electric Meat Griller which gave me awesome grill marks on the patty. Please check regularly as different grillers heat at a different rates.

Now toss the burger which is cut into half horizontally on the pan in which you cooked the patty for a few minutes so that it is toasted a bit, also to make the bun absorb the fat left on the pan.

Now plate it up... Woalaaa!! you have 3 cheese cajun chicken burger. Bon Appetite!

Thanks to Kartick Ganapathy for asking me to post this.

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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Zaica, Cathedral Road

16:09:00












I have always loved the North West Frontier Cuisine or the Peshawari cuisine. This cuisine can be best defined as "rustic and robust". The highlight of the cuisine is the style of preparation, where large chunks of meat, seafood and vegetables are marinated sparingly and cooked in a tandoor making the meat very tender and juicy. I was at Zaica, Cathedral Road for the lunch buffet with a couple of friends. Its priced at Rs 480/- for the non-vegetarian lunch buffet.

The soup and the starters are served on the table, so we sat back in our chairs and waited as the food arrived. We were served with a plate of papdi chaat, I felt the papri in the chaat, was just too brittle and it kept breaking away by the time I could put it in my mouth. Also the sev and the papri felt a bit soggy and lacked the crispy and crunchy feel. Then we were served with the soup, Yakhni Shorba. The Shorba felt very light and felt like a mutton broth, I was hoping it to be a little thick and also wished it was a little hot. Then came in an array of starters, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Murg Til Tikka, Murg Malai Methi and Fish Fry from the non-vegetarian section and Gul Gul Fom Ki Panner, Beet Root Ki Tikki and Bhutiyan Di Sheek from the vegetarian section. The Fish fry was definitely fish and fried but it lacked spices in it, making it a very bland fry. Murg Til Tikka and the Murg Malai Tikka tasted very wholesome with loads flavors, the meat was very tender and nice to have. I personally preferred the Murg Til Tikka,it was nice and spicy. But the highlight was definitely the vegetarian starters. Gul Gul Fom Ki Paneer was very soft and well marinated. I loved this paneer. I had a couple of them. The Beet Root Ki Tikki was the most sought after item on our table. We even asked for a extra serving of the Beet Root. The tikki was well done, soft and had the right amount of spices in it. Bhutiyan Di Sheek is the veg version of the sheek kebab, it had a corn stuffing it. It was again soft and tasted wholesome with flavors. At the end of the starters we felt the Vegetarian starters had kicked the non-vegetarian starter all over.

After a good load of starters in our belly we went ahead to the main course. The main course was a little disappointing. There were only 3 non vegetarian dishes. I served myself with the Chicken Biriyani along with the onion raita, Mutton Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka Masala and Paneer Methi Malai. I took a few Lacha Parotta to go with the gravies. The Chicken Biriyani was sad, it could not even pass for a tri-color rice, neither did it have any chicken piece in it nor did it have any flavor to it. Chicken Tikka Masala had nice tender pieces of chicken, but the gravy seemed to lack something. Mutton Rogan Josh looked really nice. Mutton was nice and well cooked with good amount of flavor to it. I just hoped that the gravy was a bit on the thicker side. Paneer Methi Malai had nice big chucks of paneer in it, I felt that the panner did not have sufficient time for marination, as the taste of the gravy was not felt in the paneer. Lastly the Lacha Parotta were super soft and fluffy,it tasted great with the variety of gravies.

At the end of the main course I was a little too confused if the food was good or not. I went haltingly into the dessert course only to get disappointed even further. They had a Vanilla Ice Cream, Gulab Jamun, Rice Kheer and a cake. The cake tasted pathetic, Rice Kheer was very bland with no taste to it. Gulab Jamun was HOT and was a little firm,but tasted kind of okay.

I had received great reviews about this place from my aunt, who had been here for some kitty party. But I was left with disappointment. Paying Rs 480/- for a buffet with majority of the dishes turning bad is a bit sore. With many nice restaurants in the vicinity they need to improve vastly if they need to stand in this business.

Food - 4.5/10 ( Thanks to the Vegetarian Starters )
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Price - 6/10

Zaica is located in Cathedral Road next to Copper Chimney and China Town.

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