Thursday, 30 August 2012

Spoonbill, Alwarpet

22:11:00

I was at Spoonbill for dinner, with a couple of my close friends ( Anand & Subash ) on a lovely rainy night. These guys were persistent that their names be mentioned here. Anyways we headed into the restaurant Spoonbill which is a global street food joint. It took us a while to understand their system of ordering the food and also to decide on what to order, since this was our first time here. I must personally thank the owner ( Charlie Singh ) for guiding us through the menu.

Since this is a self service joint, you order and pay for your food. You are given the bill and a very innovative pager, which vibrates once your food is ready. After which you swing by the counter and collect the food. A very nice and different concept from the regular self service joints.




Now coming to the food, Anand and I settled for a Chicken Doner Kebab ( Turkish ), while my friend Subash picked a Chicken Burrito ( Mexican ). As an after thought we also ordered a Chicken Currywurst ( German ). We picked up the food as they came up. Subash and I, chose the Iced Tea while Anand picked the Watermelon drink. The drinks are best described as 'decent'. The Chicken Doner Kebab had minced pieces of chicken stuffed in a nice soft bread with loads of veggies and sauce. It tasted brilliant and was a very filling dish. Since none of us have had doner kebabs before,  we were not in the position to say if this was the best or not. I took a bite of the Chicken Burrito. It was juicy, but I felt it could do with few more pieces of chicken. The Chicken Currywurst was outstanding. It was served along with a nice bread. The combo of bread, curry sauce and sausages was fabulous.


Once we were done with our main courses. We contemplated on skipping the deserts. But the crepes were really inviting, so we could not avoid it. I had gone for the Mango Strawberry Crepe, while my friends went with the Choco Banana Crepe and the Caramel Custard Crepe. All the crepes were heavenly. Spoonbill has perfected the art of making  proper crepes. So top marks for that.

The meal cost us Rs 1600/-. A little on the pricey side for a street food joint. But going with the recent trends in town the price seems on par with the rest. So no complaining here. All in all we had a fun time.

The menu is limited at this point of time. I sincerely hope more dishes are added soon.

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Service - Self Service
Price - 7/10

Spoonbill is located on TTK Road, above Cafe Coffee Day.

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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.








Sunday, 26 August 2012

Cafe Mela @ Indo-German Urban Mela, YMCA Grounds

17:23:00

 

 

 

 

 

I was out yesterday, with Mr.Chennai Foodie to check out the Indo - German Urban Mela. This is being held at YMCA Grounds between August 24th to September 2nd. Mr. Chennai Foodie had checked up the list of events which were on for the day from the website and we began discussing what we would see. On reaching there we realised that this was more an educational and industrial get-together of companies from Germany and also India, showcasing their technology and might. We went into a couple of stalls by the Corporate Giants such as BOSCH, SEIMENS etc show casing their technologies and goals. After that we decided to check out some of the events which were on for the day. To our bad luck, most of the events were scheduled from 5pm onward. Since it was only 3pm, we did not get to see any of them.

So we decided to do the job in our hands. We headed over to the Cafe Mela Counter. On entry, we were a little let down by seeing that this was run by TAJ. We actually expected to see some German Hot Shot chef wiping up German delicacies. Nonetheless, we headed inside to eat. The menu was not extensive. But it had some of the German food on it.

We ordered for a German Style sausage (Chicken) curry with Fries aka Currywurst (Vom Huhn) mit Pommes Frites , Grilled Chicken Breast with House Salad aka Gegrillte Höhnchenbrust mit Salat, Soft Pretzel Burger with Tenderloin and Cheese aka Laugenbrezel-Burger mit Rinderfilet und Käse and 2 Jacket Potatoes with Sour Cream aka 2 Foleinkartoffeln mit Sauerrahm.

The person who took our order was quite surprised with the number of dishes we had ordered. Since they had a token system of service, we had to wait for our food to arrive. The service was quick, guess they were pre- plated portions. The Chicken Sausages was well marinated in curry sauce. It had thick outer coating which made it difficult to cut with the absence of a knife. But one bite drove any misconceptions in our mind as to the food being undercooked. It was tender with amazing flavors to it, together with the fries and the mustard sauce it was delicious. Then we began tasting the Jacket potatoes with the sour cream. The potatoes had nothing great to write home about but the sour cream was perfect. After the mediocre potatoes we dived into the Grilled Chicken. The chicken was decent with good amount marinade to it. I have had better grilled chicken else where. Mr.Chennai Foodie too agreed on the same. Finally we dug into the burger. The burger had a tenderloin patty which was cooked to medium rare. I am not a huge fan of medium rare dishes, but this was outstanding. Loved the way the burger was made.

I would describe the food at the Cafe Mela as decent. Does it go well with the mela, that is for you to decide. The menu also had the usual suspects from the Indian end as well such as your Hyderabadi Biryani and the Dosas. It would have been great if it had some German Chef to educate and entertain the foodies.

Do visit this place guys, as a family. It shows us the extensive relationship which India shares with Germany. The rich culture and the 60 years of joint ventures.

YMCA Grounds is located in Nandanam

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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.

 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Ayna, Hilton, Guindy

17:01:00


First and foremost, I must say that I was sooper-dooper excited when I had an invite from Ayna, Hilton along with a few other select bloggers to check out their Kebab Festival which is on for a limited period of time. This feast is on from August 15th to September 2nd. If you are the kind of person who loves juicy succulent kebabs, then this is your heaven. The place has a lovely ambiance with excellent choice of seating and fine cutlery. The thing which I noticed immediately on arrival were the numerous mirrors all around. I later came to know that Ayna means reflection.


After we were seated in the lovely dinning area, we were served with a round of lassi. The lassi was rose flavoured and light. I would have liked a thicker lassi, but I later realised on seeing what was in store for us, that a thicker lassi would have meant a fuller tummy. While we were waiting for the tangy kebabs to arrive we were served with something called a pre-starter. This tasted more like a dokla, even the consistency was soft like dokla. Then came one of the best mojitos I have ever had - The Gulkhand Mojito. Aynas own creation! A mojito with an Indian twist to it. It reminded me of Paan-Beeda but with a magic touch to it.


As we sipped on our mojitos, the kebabs arrived. The Barra Kebab was lamb shanks, slow cooked on a tandoor with a slight hint of vinegar and yoghurt marinade. The lamb shanks were tender and tasted brilliant.

 


Ayna Nasheeli Tangri was rich and flavorful. The pieces were juicy and easy to bite into. Next I was served with Ayna Black Chicken Tikka. On my first look I thought it was more like a charred piece of chicken, but later the chef explained that the color is imparted to the chicken by a black edible ink, the name of which he would not divulge. The taste was blissful!


After the chicken tikka, I tasted one of the best kebabs which I have ever had. The Kakori Kebab. I have eaten the Goluti Kebab else where and this was just like it, but served on a small sized parotta. A very royal dish. The flavors were orgasmic. In a word, heavenly! This is one dish which one must never miss.


Then I sampled the Meen Varuval and Tulsi Jhinga. As the name imples the Meen Varuval was a South Indian Chettinad dish. I sought of liked the taste of the dish, inspite of it being a little dry. Others felt it was plain ordinary. Tulsi Jhinga was a basil and gralic marinated Prawns. The prawns were well marinated and rich in flavors.


Then I sampled a few pieces of Mushroom Jahanara and Bharwan Tandoori Aloo. Mushroom Jahanara had two pieces of Mushroom with cheese filled in between them and grilled to perfection. Mushroom was really soft. Bharwan Tandoori Aloo was soft scooped out potatoes marinated in various spices and cooked in a tandoori. Both the veg dishes were nice but the non veg dishes definitely over powered them.


After tasting some of the delicious dishes, we were served with Jafroni Parotta. Parotta was coated with poppy seeds. The parotta was soft and tasty. The combination of this parotta and Tangri was just fantastic.


 


We were also served with some grilled ghoat liver ( Machhli Ajwanni ). The liver was decent, but I would have preferred Chicken Liver. Finally we were served with Babri Sheekh. This was a chicken sheekh coated with pieces of egg white. This dish was lip smacking.


After a big round of juicy kebabs, we were all stuffed. We jumped directly into desserts. We were served with delightful Kulfi Ice cream, a tasty rasamalai like dessert and malpova. The Malpova was down right dry. But both the kulfi ice cream and the rasamalai get full marks.

All in all, the dinner turned out to be a gastronomic delight.

A plate of kebab starts at Rs 700/- and goes all the way upto Rs 1200/- If you are in the mood for a kebab-venture, head right here!. As I had said earlier the Kebab festival is on from August 15th to September 2nd.

Dishes which you must try are:
1. Barra Kebab
2. Kakori Kebab
3. Jafroni Parotta
4. Gulkhand Mojito - Drink

Food - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 9.5/10
Price - 8/10

Ayna is open only for dinner. So please do make reservations before you head over here.

Hitlon is located to Olympia Tech Park in Guindy

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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.



 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

BBQ Chicken, Shafee Mohammed Road

20:43:00


I was at BBQ Chicken post Iftar, with my family recently as my sister in law was feeling peckish. We just wanted to have something light, but it was not to be. For it turned out into a full fledged dinner. We entered BBQ Chicken which had the ambiance comparable with a Pizza Hut joint. I was surprised about the amount of seating available at the place, because I had been here when Movin Pick was operating in this very premise. BBQ definitely appeared roomier. We got seated in a nice corner of the restaurant which had plush seats and superb view of the TV broadcasting the Olympics.

The waiter handed us the menu. Since this was our first time here, we had to go through the menu thoroughly. The menu was vast. I began salivating seeing the pictures on the menu. We placed our order as soon as possible as we had started to become hungry all over again. We ordered for Buffalo chicken wings for starters and BBQ Chicken platter and Ganjeong Chicken for main course.




Buffalo Chicken Wings arrived under 10 minutes. My mom who loves spicy chicken wings started raving about the taste of the chicken after she took a few bites. The chicken had a thick batter, which was mildly spicy and had a lovely olive oil taste to it. A warning to people who do not like olive oil, most dishes on the menu are made using olive oil. Olive oil is much healthier compared to most other oils. It is really nice seeing restauarants with the practice of using olive oil.





After demolishing the Buffalo wings, we dug into the BBQ Chicken Platter and Ganjeong Chicken. BBQ Chicken Platter contained a piece of Jamaican BBQ and two pieces of Korean BBQ chicken. It also contained a portion of fried rice, bowl of vegetables and a dipping sauce. Both the BBQ were reminiscent of the respective dishes served in Sparky Diner. Both the chickens were cooked using olive oil and had deep flavors. The Jamican Jerk sauce predominated the taste in the Jamican chicken. While the Korean BBQ had a little heat to it. You could easily find the presence of soy sauce marinade. I also had a piece of the Ganjeong Chicken. It was served with spicy chips. The chicken was coated with a healthy dosage of red chilli and a sweet sauce. The taste was way too sweet for my liking. Not my favorite dish. But if in case you are a fan of sweet and mildly spicy chicken do try this.




Just as we were about to get done. My brother suggested that we try the Luxury Olive Chicken. So we placed an order for the same, along with some Garlic Bread. The Luxury olive chicken had the KFC feel to it, except this one was cooked in olive oil. This dish too, is served with the same spicy chips as in Ganjeong Chicken and coleslaw and olives. I loved the crispy crumpy outer coating. This was just delicious. A must try here. Also, a slightly healthy version of KFC. The Garlic Bread too was fantastic. The bread was soft and rich, with proper amount of garlic infused into it.

All an all, we loved our meal at BBQ Chicken. The meal set us back by Rs 1700/-. Would I return here. YES!!!

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

BBQ Chicken is located in Shafee Mohammed Road, next to Texas Fiesta.


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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.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Crimson Chakra, KNK Road

16:17:00

I have loved the food at Crimson Chakra in its original joint at Adyar. The food always reminded me of food very close to home cooked South Indian Food. The food always had a special corner in my heart whether it is their South Indian Food or their Cornucopia Menu with the rich Mediterranean food. I have also admired the ambiance there. Crimson Chakra at Adyar had eluded my camera and my blog, since it is far away from where I live. Now that it has opened closer to my home, has brought me great joy. I was at the new Crimson Chakra at KNK road for a CFG meet. The new branch has come at the place which housed Casa Picalo in Khader Nawaz Khan Road.

Crimson Chakra on KNK road looks a little modern compared to the old colonial design at the Adyar branch. But new design or not, Nikhil Moturi was present to make us all feel at home. After a bit of chatting with all the guests, we were served with the food for the evening. We kick started the proceedings with nice soft, mild Sutta Kozhi Soup aka Fried Chicken Soup or in quite literal translation, Gun-shot Chicken Soup (LOL!). The soup definitely would clear up some sore throat.


For starters we were served with Chef's Special Mutton Fry.The mutton had deep flavors of the ginger marinade and also was tender and deep fried. On the vegetarian end of the meal we were served with Paneer Tikka which was a soft, marinated and grilled to perfection. Then I sampled a bit of Mushroom Urundai or Mushroom Balls, which had a mix of vegetables stuffed in it and Paneer Urundai ( Paneer Balls ) which too was stuffed with potatoes and onion. The taste of both were good. But me, being a true blooded non-vegetarian can't really comment on the flavors. There was some Vegetable Crostni served. I decided to dive in and sample them. The garlic bread was soft and was loaded with cheeseeee, tomato and onion. It was delicious. It is a not-to-be-missed dish for the veggies on the continental menu. 


While we were eating some vegetarian dishes, the focus was brought back to the non-veg dishes by the entry Grilled Fillets of Fish. The fish had thick layer of marinade around it. The fish was fresh, tender and juicy and I loved it. The focus was now centered completely on the non-veg kingdom with the arrival of 'The Prawns'. The Prawns were well marinated in  heavenly spices and also they were oh-so-very fresh. This made it a really rich dish.


Then we were served with their star dish which was highly recommended by everyone- the Chilly Cheese Chicken Tikka. It had loads of cheese topped  on it. My God! It was divine. Please do not miss this dish. After a heavy round of starters, we looked filled out.

  
After a short break the onslaught continued. The main courses began to reach the table one by one: first a Chicken Stew and Mutton Roganjosh. The stew was light, with the right combination of spices and milk. It was fabulous with the Plain Appams which were served with it. On eating one appam we realized the deadly combination, some even went to a extent of getting an extra appam for the stew.

  
The Mutton Roganjosh was full of flavors, made spicy hot by red chillies. I sampled the gravy with a small piece of Mutton Roti i.e Kari Kheema Roti. The combo was enticing.


For the veggie, there was Cottage Cheese (Paneer) stuffed with Spinach. The paneer was soft, just like the other paneer dishes served that day. The dish had a mouth watering sauce to it. By this time I was stuffed.
  
Since there was a round of Chicken Pasta, I decided to sample a small amount of it. The Chicken pasta was light on sauce. The penne was properly cooked. But I would have preferred it to be a bit richer.


I also had a small spoon of the much raved about Smoked Chicken Rice. The rice had nice smoky aroma to it. Loved the taste. I just wished I could have had some more of it. But I was too stuffed to try another spoon of it. After this there was Beer Battered Fish. I skipped sampling as I had reached the tipping point.


Just as we were done with the main course and trying to catch our breath, Nikhil suggest he would load us up with some desserts and the brought out some the famous dishes at Crimson Chakra. First to hit us was Ellaneer Soufflé. Good thing the portions were small. So I started pushing the deserts in. Diehard regulars at the Adyar branch said there was a little difference in it from what is being served at the Adyar branch. Nikhil made a quick note of it.  





Then there was a small portion of Panchamirdham Soufflé which was similar to Belose which is a local banana bajji kind of dish. Also present was a couple of slices of Mango Cheese Cake. The cake was super. Wished I had more space in my tummy to push in a few more spoons of it. Finally we finished off the proceedings with a Apple Pie and Ice Cream. I am not a big fan of Apple Pie, so I would skip to comment on this.

The food served here was quite fabulous. With a multitude of dishes on offer and now in a new location, in the heart of the up beat part of Chennai,  Crimson Chakra on KNK Road, has the potential to become a lip smacking hit. A meal for two would anywhere between Rs 1000 to 1200/-. Would I visit again, YES!! with a big smile.

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Price -7/10

Crimson Chakra is located in Khader Nawaz Khan Road above Bang and Olfsen Showroom.

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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.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Jakob's Kitcken, KNK Road

17:49:00

I had wanted to go to Jacob's kitchen for quite some time. Finally an occasion called  for a visit to Jakob's Kitchen along with the family. My Uncle was heading back to the US after a brief vacation. So he wanted to give us a  treat. He asked me in particular for a South Indian Restaurant. So I suggested Jakobs Kitchen and he agreed. We landed there, at around 7pm -  a group of 9 people, all very hungry after fasting.


We were quickly shown to our tables ( thanks to the reservation ) and the waiter was courteous enough to give us the menu card quickly. The place had a nice and simple decor. Thanks to some help from Nishanth of CFG it was easy for us to place the order. For starters we chose Nei Kozhi Varuval, Kozhi Milagu, Kadipattinam Meen, and Meen Karandi. Before our starters were brought out to the table we were served with a nice welcome drink. It was a combination of Dry Ginger aka Chukku, Jaggery, Tamarind ( Puli) and Cardamom Powder.









The Kadipattinam Meen was fresh and tasty but the cut seemed really thin. The fish was almost as thin as a paper. The Nei Kozhi Varuval & Kozhi Milagu, seemed rich but we could not really enjoy the taste of the dishes as the pieces were very bony. It was almost close to the pieces being non-existent. We could not relish the dishes. Meen Karandi was the other dish which we had ordered. The 1st time they served it, we could not even get a hint of the fish in it. We asked him if he had made a mistake with our order So the waiter offered to give us another one. Even this was the same, there was no fish flavour to it. It was more like Egg Karandi. Disappointed by the dish, we dropped the idea of asking the waiter to replace it for us.











 After some disappointing starters we turned our heads into the main course. We chose to order, Mannpaanai Chicken Biriyani, Meen Soru, Nei Soru, Jaloor Paratta, Nandu Paniyaram, Egg Paniyaram, Kari Dosa, Railway Mutton, Burma Kozhi, Annakili Meen Kulaumbu and also some Plain Parottas to go with the gravies. Jaloor Parottas were the first to be served. They were fabulous. We loved the texture of the paotta and also the nice chicken filling in it. Following which we were served with Egg Paniyaram and Nandu Paniyaram. The Egg Paniyaram was nice, just the way it is served at home. The Nandu Paniyaram was a little disappointing to taste. It lacked the taste or the smell of the Nandu in it. Tasted very close to the egg paniyaram. Meen Soru was my favorite of the lot. Mixed with Annakili Meen Kulaumbu it was a great combination. Annakili Meen Kulaumbu was flavorful. In between all this eating we were served with the Kari Dosai. The Dosai was thick with loads of meat spread on it. The taste reminded me of my grandmom's cooking. After trying some good dishes we moved on to eating the Mannpannai Chicken Biriyani & the Nei Soru. The Biriyani was delicious, but its not the kind of biriyani which we are served in weddings. Nei Sooru had the ghee smell to it, but the rice was a tad under cooked. We sampled the Railway Mutton Curry and Burma Kozhi with the plain parottas. The Burma Kozhi was the favorite of the lot. The gravy was thick with nice small boneless pieces of chicken. It made a rich combination with the hot, thick, fluffy parotta. The Railway Mutton Curry was a little disappointing. The gravy was more a like a rich pepper gravy but the mutton pieces were very bony. Once we were done with our meal, there was one thing running in my mind. Are the pieces meant to be bony or did they have an off day.

The meal for 9 of us put us back by Rs 4127/-. Dunno if I would say it was worth it, but I would definitely like to try this place again as this place comes highly recommended by other foodies.

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

Jakob's Kitchen is located in Khader Nawaz Khan Road above Jaavids Kebabs and Kurries.


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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.