Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Marina, Egmore

22:10:00
If there is something amiss with the Chennai food scenario, it is a PUCCA seafood resto. Apart from a few exceptions which are a little away from the city, nothing per se  has tempted us sea food lovers. So this new restaurant The Marina is a heaven sent joint for people like us. I was here sometime ago, with a couple of CFGians to tryout their menu before it's launch.

This restaurant is the brain child of Mr.Mahadevan of Oriental cuisines and from the looks of it, he has taken pains in making this joint stand out. First and foremost is that the fish served here are very fresh, and caught with a  hook and not by nets. For this he has adopted a fishing village, given them new rides and taught them the art of hook fishing. Finally he buys the fresh produce and brings them straight to the kitchens of 'The Marina.' How is that for the tenacity of the super hotelier!

The restaurant too has a new concept. You choose the fish/prawn/squid/crab and "buy" it by weight. Then you have it sent  it to the kitchen where it would be prepared as per your orders. To facilitate this, the restaurant is equipped with 3 chefs ( Indian, Conti and Chinese) with vast experience in their fields. Or if not, you can buy the seafood and take the fresh catch home like you would do at a market. Or if you want it marinated, you could do that as well for a fee and then take it home and cook it when required.

Food:

Once the team of CFG Avengers had assembled at the restaurant, the service began with a Prawn Tom Yum soup. The soup was very average. Later we were informed that it was the chefs take on Tom Yum soup.

Next up we were served Corn in Rice Baskets. The taste of this was reminiscent of wontons in Wangs Kitchen. In short, very tasty! There was  grilled prawns which was drizzled in lemon which many people raved about. Sadly I did not get to taste it being one of the disadvantages of sitting at the end of a large table.
Next up I was served with Squid Fry. People around me felt the squid was a wee bit rubbery. But mine was spot on. There was also a Fish Lassoni Tikka which I missed because of my position at the table.
We were served with Pepper Prawn Fry. This dish had finely chopped pieces of prawn mixed with a healthy helping of onions and ground pepper. Loved the deep flavors of the dish. Superb dish on a rainy day.
Next I had a serving of Fish Chingari ( I suppose that is the name, not quite sure about it) it was a nice thick chunk of fish drizzled with a bit a cheese and herbs and grilled in a tandoor served with freshly cut onions and tomato. Fish was perfectly cooked, soft with right amount of spices.

After some tandoori's and fries we served with a Crab Kerala Masala which was outstanding. The masala had rich flavors. The combination of the crab with the Ghee Rice was too good.
But to me the standout dish was the Mango Seer Fish Gravy which I had with the ghee rice. There was some curd at the table, which I mixed with the gravy and rice. The taste was divine. You end up getting a taste from two different end of the spectrum. An absolute gastronomical delight, an absolute must try if you guys do not mind mixing flavors.


Finally we were served with the lip smacking Karimeen Pollichadu in a banyan leaf wrapping. Fabulous presentation, excellent aroma, super soft fish. But it was more like their take on the Karimeen, nevertheless it was great. If all goes well this resto could be my idea of a seafood heaven.

Ambiance:
The restaurant has a nice contemporary design to it. An open counter with a large selection of the daily catch on display, with huge bulbs hanging on top of them. Excellent touch.

Price:
Since this restaurant works on a different principle, you pay for the choice of seafood first by weight. Then you pay for the preparation in per head charges, which is Rs 250. So its better you head here in a large group, since it evens out the price and you get to have large assortment of dishes. A meal for two would cost anywhere between Rs 1500 - 2000/-.

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

The Marina is located next to Pink Fitness Center in college road.

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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.

The Coronet, Adyar

15:09:00

My search for biryani took yet another turn. This time around I was hunting for biryani in Adyar. After taking some valuable suggestions from people of CFG, I narrowed down my choices between The Coronet and The Runs, since both had a rich heritage and have stood the test of time. The only deciding factor for me was the availability of parking space. Since I could easily locate a parking for my vehicle near the Coronet, it clinched the deal. A nice group of 9 people decided to dine in the A/C section of the restaurant.




Food:
We kick started the lunch with Dragon Chicken, Chicken Tikka and Spicy Fish for the non-vegetarians and Gobi 65 for the vegetarian. The first dish which I tasted was the Dragon Chicken. One bite and I realized this could not be a dragon chicken for any point of view. It had a Manjapodi (Turmeric) taste to it. The Chicken Tikka was decent, with some pieces being slightly charred. Spicy Fish did not feel spicy, had the same Manjapodi taste and also it had the old fishy smell. I hoped it would be better with the Vegetarians, who too gave the thumbs down to the Gobu 65. After a disappointing round of starters, one could just hope that the main course would be better.




For main course we had gone in with the Mughal Mutton Biryani, Tandoori Roti, Butter Chicken and Kadai Chicken for the Non-vegetarians and Chennai Veg Parotta and Aloo Paneer for the Vegetarians. The round of main course was a total disappointment. The biryani was more like colored rice. The Butter Chicken lacked any of the qualities for it to be one, this dish too had the same Manjapodi taste to it. Finally the Kadai Chicken was a full blown Manjapodi dish. I enquired with the veggies if they had a better stint, only to receive a thumbs down. The entire meal was a disaster after disaster.

Ambiance:
The A/C hall was light with yellow LED lights with a inclusion of Blue LEDs here and there, giving the entire hall a blue yellow theme. Not very up market I would say.

Service;
Service too was a little disappointing, with the waiters being very slow to respond to our requests.

Price:
Now coming to the price, the entire disaster cost us Rs 2700/-. For meal like this?????... Would I go back, You must be crazy!!!

Food - 3/10
Ambiance - 5/10
Service - 5/10
Price - 5/10

The Coronet is located in Adyar next to the L.B. Road signal

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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, 24 October 2012

The Crown, Residency Towers, T-Nagar

19:04:00

Looks like Chennai has got caught in an alternate weather paradigm instead of its hot, hotter and hottest weather. This new found weather makes the evenings really pleasant. I have found dinning outdoors in the usual Chennai weather to be a pain. I end up sweating all over, which makes me look like a drenched buffalo. With the weather becoming better, I was about to find out if this has changed my outdoor dinning experience.

I was at the Crown, Residency Towers for CFG Bloggers Meet, along with Deepa and Aarthi to try-out their revamped menu and their new Set-Meal. This new set menu is on till the 28th of October and is available in both The Crown and the Southern Aromas. The Veg set- menu is priced at Rs 500 and the Non Veg at Rs 600. For this price you get a soup, choice of either chicken/fish/mutton prepared in either Indian or Continental style, roti and herbed rice, dessert and a choice of either a Non Alcoholic/ Alcoholic drink.

We started off by chatting with the chef Sakthivel, who gave us a preview, as to why this menu has been launched. He also explained to us the future plans for the Crown. He was really interested in knowing how our reviews are done and also the criteria with which a restaurant gets a thumbs up or a thumbs down.




Food:
We kick started the evening with a masala papad, while we waited for our drinks. I had gone in for a mock-tail   (bartenders choice)  which I did not regret. An orange drink with a hint of pineapple. The perfect drink for the perfect weather.

While I was sipping on my drink, I was served with a Non-Veg Platter. A Non Veg Platter all for myself, since I was the only non vegetarian at the table. The platter is priced at Rs 950/-. The platter had a solid 7 different kebabs - assortment of chicken, mutton and fish. This platter is not part of the set menu, but this is the one you need to go in for, if you are a kebab lover. I started digging into them, one by one. The Chicken Tikka was soft with perfect marinade. The Mutton Goluti Kebab was served along with a small parotta. The parotta looked really cute, the goluti was super soft, it was like breaking apart a vegetable cutlet. The combination of parotta and goluti was fabulous. It just vanishes in the mouth in no time. Next I tucked into the Tangri Kebab, this was delicious with nothing going against it. It had good flavor, with the nice tandoori aroma to it. I sampled a bit of a chicken which was made with curry leaves. A very different kebab, which had a wholesome flavor. But I am not a big fan of the curry leaves, so this did not get me going. I also sampled the Fish Tikka, the flavours of which were fine, but overall a little dry. By the time I was done gorging on the kebabs, there was only one thing on my mind: the heavenly Goluti Kebabs!
After taking a small break, I dug into the prawn, which were dusted with bread crumbs and fried and served along with tartar sauce and cheese bread sticks. The prawns were king sized, soft and grilled to perfection with a bread crumbs. This is the kind of dish which I like. The tartar sauce was an added bonus. The chef latter informed me that the panko bread crumbs were used in making this perfect dish. Panko is a variety of bread crumbs used mainly in Japan, which is of much smaller size than the regular crumbs, which coats the meat evenly and imparts a better taste.
We were quite stuffed after the array of starters, so we requested the chef to serve us a sampler for the main course. For main course I was served with Cajun Fried Chicken and Fillet of Fish. A few bites into the Cajun Chicken I realized it had a sharp flavor to it, which could not be rated as Cajun. It lacked the late spicy feel to it. The mashed potato which was served along with it was more like mashed rice.Wish it had been better. But the Fillet of Fish was outstanding. Sear fish was marinated in olive oil and lemon juice, perfectly grilled and silky smooth. Since the company was raving about the garlic naan, I had a bit of the naan along with the fish. Brilliant combination, I must say.





Finally for the deserts, the chef suggested he would give us a desert sampler. First to arrive was a platter of deserts  consisting of  a Blueberry Cheesecake (not so great, more like blueberry mousse), Kala Jamun with a drizzle of Rabdi (my favorite, more rabdi would have helped), Apple Crumble ( the company raved about it, me not a big fan of apple crumble) and finally Chocolate Mud pie (not the best). Next we were also served with a Rasmalai which was perfect. Also worth mentioning about is the cup in which it was served in. The cup was crooked in an interesting funky way. The last dessert to arrive was a sizzling brownie, which I am disappointed to say, was salty and less on the chocolate ratio.

Ambiance:
The Crown has both indoor and outdoor dining. The outdoor dining seats you in the top floor of the hotel which gives you a beautiful view of the city. The open air dining, plus the infinity pool all around and awesome Chennai skyline with the fantastic weather- what more would anyone want? The perfect ambiance for a perfect date.(Guys take note)

Service:
Since this is an invited review, I would not be rating the service.

Price:
The set meal is priced at Rs 500/- for the veg and Rs 600/- for the non-veg. But apart from the set menu, the rest of the menu seems to be priced in par with the rest of the fine dinning restaurant in town. But the thing which sets it apart from the rest of the joints, is the ambiance.

Food -7.5/10
Ambiance -9/10 ( This outdoor would work against them if it were to be raining, or during the hot summer)
Price - 8/10

The Crown is located on the top floor of Residency Towers, which is next to Globus in T-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.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Kebab Street, Landons Road

21:26:00
After the CFG meet back in June I had not been to Kebab Street, a restaurant which was very close to my home. But now suddenly, it has become my favorite. On my previous few visits to the place I had not carried my  trust cam along with me to click pictures. This time around I made sure that I had it with me. My bro, his friend and I set out for dinner to Kebab Street yesterday. We entered the place around 9ish. The restaurant was mostly vacant with just a few people waiting for their take aways.



Food:
As I have already mentioned in my earlier post on how they operate, I am going directly to talk about  the food. We placed an order for a Cheesy Malai Kebab, Stuffed Tangri Chicken and the Shawarma combo each. The Cheese Malai Kebab was the 1st to reach our table. It was a proper, well cooked, super soft malai kebab with a drizzle of cheese on the chicken pieces. A little bit more of the cheese would have been even better, but then it is just my opinion. 



The Stuffed Tangri Kebab is in an another league all together. Chicken drumstick stuffed with Chicken Keema, served along with a soft roti. Tastes just delicious. It felt much better than on my 1st visit here.


Finally the Shawarma Combo. This combo has a piece of grilled chicken, served along with roti and mayo and an heavenly shawarma. The shawarma here may not be thick and heavily loaded as the ones we get at other joints. But this thin long gooey centered shawarma is lip smacking. One of the main reasons for this fantastic taste is primarily to the soft roti  used. A person with a decent appetite will be able to gobble down two of  these with ease. The Grilled chicken served here is a little different again, when compared to other restaurants. While most of the places have a peppery spicy feel to the chicken, this has a chili spicy feel to it. A little different but the taste is quite brilliant. When consumed along with the roti and mayo, the taste is up by a few notches.

To round up the delicious dinner, we chose to have Phirni. The phirni was a little low on sugar, making it a bland dessert. Not a great way to end the dinner, but then since the rest of the dishes were spot on we overlooked that. The taste of the food served here has taken the route up the ladder since my first visit here.

Ambiance:
The ambiance at the restaurant is very modern and  good to dine in. But this is no fine dinning restaurant, so do not expect outrageous levels of comfort.

Service:
Since this restaurant works  in a semi self service  concept, you will not have an annoying waiter standing near you to disturb you.

Price:
The meal for 3 cost us Rs 990/-. which is good value considering the food is in par with most fine dinning restaurants. The menu here is very limited, so this might put off a few people. But then, they are good at what they have mentioned on the menu, so this works as a plus. So if you guys are in mood for some juicy kebabs and delicious shawarmas, do try this joint.

Food - 8/10
Service - 9/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Price - 8/10

My previous visit : http://chennaisoru.blogspot.in/2012/06/kebab-street-landons-road.html

Kebab Street is located in Landons Road, Kilpauk.

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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, 11 October 2012

Crimson Chakra - Tex Mex, Adyar

21:12:00
I was at Crimson Chakra as a part of the CFG Diners Club to tryout their new Tex-Mex cuisine which is in the process of being introduced into their menu here. I usually associate Crimson Chakra with high standards of food and  CFG Diner's club with great company. So I was pretty much excited about the get-together.

As always I stuck to the Non-Veg section of the food. I did sample a few of the veg dishes. But I am not really the best person to give an opinion on veg food. We started of Diners Club dinner with Nikhil giving us a short talk about the Tex-Mex menu. 

I am not a big fan of Tex-Mex cuisine. Its because I mostly relate the food to Indian food. Somehow every dish seems to  resemble an Indian dish.



Food :
We kick started the food with Onion and Potato Basket. The dish was a photographers delight. I clicked a couple of pictures of them and found it really difficult to decide on which picture to put up here. The baskets looked cute with small eggs shaped balls of potato. The taste was akin to the Indian Bonda. The basket was crispy fried in oil and the dipping sauce making it more delicious.



Next we had a choice between veg and non-veg Potato skins. I was rather happy to dig into the non-veg skins. The potato housed the chicken stuffing and a layer of cheddar cheese and baked to perfection. This is my kind of starter. It has all the rite ingredients to gain a few pounds.


Next we were served with the Chimichanga. To me Chimichanga resembles a deep fried katti roll. The flour tortilla was loaded with rice, cheese and shredded chicken then deep fried. The chicken pieces were a little small to identify, in spite of which the taste was spot on.


While I was digging into my Chimichanga, I was offered a Quesadilla. Since this was a veg Quesadilla, I thought twice before I picked a piece. The quesadilla was dominated by the use of tomato with a slight hint of onion. Overall the dish was a little sweet thanks to the obvious ingredient - tomato! The sour cream and salsa dipping were definitely A-Plus. The sour cream  complimented most of the dishes. Also the salsa dipping was top notch. Some salsa sauce feel like cheap tomato sauce, but this red sauce was perfect in every way.


After  a few rounds of starters I was beginning  to feel a little full, but there was still more to come. Then we were served with Nachos with a dollop of sour cream. The Nachos were fresh and crisp, way better than the packet nachos and it was complimented with the amazing flavors from the sour cream and diced vegetables. A must try dish for nacho lovers.


Finally came the last starter Tacos made of crispy wheat tortilla with a load of tomato & sour cream sauce. By the time I was done clicking pictures of the Taco, the tomato sauce had imbibed into the tortilla, making it a little soggy. But the flavors were spot on. Should try this out on another day when I am free to just eat  and eat.


Finally with the starters coming to the end we were served with the soup. I decided to split the non-veg Tortilla Soup with Nish! The Tortilla Soup had a nice fresh tomato soup base with loads of pieces of chicken, tortilla, green & red bell peppers and onions. I had a few sips of the soup just to get the taste of the flavors. The soup was a tomato soup with a Mexican twist to it.


After the soup we had a few minutes of a breather. Then we jumped to the main course. For main course we were first served with Chili Con Carne which is a spicy stew with chilly and beef pieces in a tomato sauce. The beef was perfectly cooked and well marinated in the tomato sauce. By this time it was becoming an over load of tomato. So I am not sure if I would give the thumbs up to this dish. Maybe with a  cleaner palate I would be able to judge it better.

The main course which I sampled after that was the Fish Veracruzana. This dish too like the chili con carne, was based on tomato. The dish as such was perfect. But again I dunno if it is a thumbs up.
Then there was Chicken Fajita, with the tortilla and the chicken being served separately. This de-assembled version looked awesome and this way you save the tortilla from becoming soggy. An excellent way to serve the dish. The Chicken was a welcome change from the over dose of the tomatoes. The grilled chicken strips was heavenly with the chicken being grilled to perfection. The combination of tortilla with the chicken was rustic. I skipped the Enchiladas though they looked very tempting, but I had reached my bursting point.


Inspite of the full belly I decided to sample the deserts. First there was the Crepe Banana with Walnuts and a drizzle of Honey. If you love the flavor of honey and banana together, then I am pretty sure there would be no complaints against this desert. The crepes were soft and went with the golden silky smooth honey syrup making it lip smacking. We were offered  another dessert. I decided to split the dish with Nish again. Pecan Rosita Banana Grilled Chocolate, this was a sweet basket with banana, ice cream and a heavy dose of chocolate sauce.  The basket had a taste of sweet paniyarum ( Local Sweet Dish ) and the toppings just added calories to the tasty rich desert. A perfect way to end a fabulous dinner.

Ambiance
The ambiance at the Adyar Crimson Chakra is slightly better than the Nungumbakkam Branch. The restaurant has an old colonial house feel to it. Also there are loads of photos on the wall, which are for sale. Another plus here is the availability of parking space.

Service
Since this was Diners Club event where we tested the food, I would not be rating the service. But from my previous experiences here, the service has been top notch.

Price
We were charged an amount of Rs 1000/- for the Diner Club meet which is fantastic value for the type of cuisine and the amount of food I had gorged on. All in all a very enjoyable experience. I wish Nikhil the very best with the Tex-Mex Cuisine. Hope to see these fabulous dishes added to the menu soon.

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

Crimson Chakra is located in Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, next to Gandhi Nagar Club.

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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, 4 October 2012

BBQ Chicken, Shaffee Mohammed Road - Round 2

21:58:00

The last time I was here at BBQ Chicken, during the month of Ramzan, I had sampled a few of the dishes and loved the food. One month down the line I am back at the same place to see if they had been able to maintain the quality and standard. This time around I was here with a bunch of hungry souls, which meant more dishes to try out.


Myself and one other friend reached early. While we waited for the other two to join us, we placed our order. Since some of the dishes which we had ordered were the same as the ones explained in the older post, I will be skipping them. I ordered  a Garlic Bread, Chicken Satay and Buffalo Chicken Wings for starters. The Chicken Satay was a little dry but nevertheless tasty.








Coming to the main course we had asked for Luxury Olive Chicken Platter, BBQ Chicken Platter, Burger Platter and the Chicken Waffle.

The Luxury Olive Chicken Platter had fries, and pasta salad as accompaniments. Coming to the Burger Platter. I think this dish will satisfy most people. It had a Chicken, Fish, Beef and a Vegetable Burger. I think that solves the problem if you have people who want different things and its all there. Since I was busy clicking the food, I was stuck with the veg burger. The veg burger was more like a simplified chicken burger with crispy outer covering for the patty. The thing to note is, the buns remained soft and did not break down, thus giving the burger a very good feel. I did not get to try the other burgers as the company was busy munching them. Chicken Waffle was something totally different and also something which I would have done if I had had a waffle maker at home. It was a nice beautifully made waffle with chicken. The chicken had a tuna salad like consistency. The waffle closed into  half to make a waffle sandwich. The waffle was a bit cold by the time it reached me. I am guessing this was down to the slower service.

Service began to slow down as the place became packed. Hope they could improve on this a  bit. The food held on to the same standard as was served on my earlier visit. All in all we had a great meal. The meal cost us Rs 3200/-.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7.5/10
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.