Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Al- Najeeb, Medavakkam

17:22:00




Al-Najeeb was once our favorite joint for a quick snack and on few occasions dinner location in the early 2000's. But it lost its charm and quality of food service during 2005-06. That was it and I have never been back to Al-Najeeb ever since. So having a take away from that restaurant recently brought back many memories and also put into perspective on how much the cost has increased over time.

Food:
Since my brother wanted to have a quick bite to eat after Iftar, we took a small take away of Mutton Sheek Kebab Roll, Veal Fry and a Chicken Kalmi Kebab. Even in so many years which have passed by, I still remember the taste very well, the flavors and finally the price. Katti roll lovers must try-out the Mutton Sheek Roll here and its best had pipping hot. The mutton mixed with the pudina chutney wrapped with romali roti is just heavenly. The mutton just melts away in your mouth. I am pretty sure that one cant be satisfied with just one. Th flavors in every bite transported me back to the early 2000's when I sat in the resto with my bro and his friends and dined and relised the flavors. Veal fry is the best I have ever had from small shack. If you have not tasted it, I very strongly recommend you to try this. In spite of it being slightly oily its really tender and worth it. Finally the Chicken Kalmi Kebab, this is one dish which I am not able relate to my previous visit here. Maybe I have forgotten, Nevertheless it was really great - soft with great flavours.

Ambiance:
If you are the kind of person who looks for the ambiance, look else where. Its a small road side shack and I am still able to remember how the shack went from few tables and chairs to many. Also how we used to wait outside on the road for a seat.

Service:
Service is their motto, and you cannot beat them at that.

Price:
4 rolls plus a veal and the kalmi kebab cost us Rs 500/- and I still remember having the same plus a couple fried rice and dosa for Rs 200/- some years ago.

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 1/10
Service - 8/10
Price - 8/10

Al-Najeeb is located in Secretariat Colony below Abinaya Gym

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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


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

601, The Park, Nungumbakkam - The Buffet

17:44:00

A small budget get-together becomes a full blown buffet. I wonder how this happens time and time again. Do we lack the organization skills or have we become mad when it comes to food. Never have we, a gang of 4 undergrad batch-mates, ended up eating at the place we had planned. One such dinner get together happened recently. After careful and meticulous planning for weeks, we decided on a place which would be light on the wallet, but just as we started to drive towards our destination, the plan went hay-wire and we ended up having the dinner buffet at 601, The Park.

Food:
It has been a while since I had dined at the 601. The last time I dined here was well over 3years. Coming to food, I wanted to see if the food had improved or not. There had been many rave reviews associated with the Sunday Brunch, so I hoped that the Saturday dinner was just as good. Snap Deal coupons which made the price of the buffet drop from Rs 1700 to Rs 1200/- was the icing on the cake.




The soups, the pastas and the pizza were served on the table. We went with the Lamb Shorba, which was thick, with small but pieces of lamb. It was pretty decent. We drank a half bowl as we did not want to fill our stomachs with it. For the pastas we were given an option between Cream based and Tomato based versions and also the veg and non-veg options. Since we were through breed of non-veggies, we chose the later and both the variants. One on Penne and the other on Spaghetti. Both the pastas lacked flavor. The sauce and the pastas did not gel together. Between the two, the tomato pasta faired better, since it was a bit tangy. Coming to the Pizzas, we were given the choice between veg and Chicken only. So we chose the chicken bravely. They were New York Style pizzas, cooked in traditional wood fired oven. I would rate the pizza to be decent, and this cannot be compared to standalone pizza joints. I am pretty sure we had atleast four pizzas by the end of the meal.


After a few courses of the pizza, we went over to see what else was part of the buffet. There was  a lovely selection of cheeses and couple of varieties of breads. Me being a cheese lover tried them all on the different breads. My fav among the starters was the smoked salmon salad. The buffet also had a live Aapam counter with variety of toppings, which can be best described as decent.


The main course had the usual dishes which are part of many buffets in town. There was a biryani, which can be avoided. There was also Chettinadu Meen Kolambu, which was nothing to rave about. Coming to better parts of the main course, the Crispy Fried Beef and Hunan Chicken were fabulous. With the selection of roti which was served at the table, it was top notch.

After a small breather, we had the desserts. The word HUGE, best describes the dessert spread. It had the Indian Gulab Jamun, Jelabi and what not, and the chocolate cakes and mousses and the cheesecakes. Dessert spread fit for the royalty. I was really too full to try-out all of them. The few which I had were great.

Ambiance:
A typical 5 star ambiance, and crowded to the brim on a saturday night.

Service:
When you dine at a 5 star joint you do expect the service to be perfect, but I would not say that to be the case here. There were a few lapses here and there.

Price:
Priced at Rs 1700/- for the dinner buffet with many pit falls in the food and service, it would be hard to recommend, but then again it was crowded dinner service, which means I could be wrong.

Food - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Service - 6/10
Price - 6/10

601 is located inside The Park Hotel, on the Nungumbakkam high 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

Friday, 26 July 2013

Copper Kitchen - Iftar Pack 2013

19:02:00

 I have been trying out the Iftar Packs from different hotels, this Ramzan. I was stuck in college with a duty upto 8pm. This gave me the opportunity to the try the Iftar pack served in Copper Kitchen, Porur. I placed the order over phone and the person on the other end of the call was more than happy to explain to me about the contents of the box. Since Shawarma was not a part of the box I decided to order one separately. Also as I was eating alone in my car, I could not take proper pictures of the entire box contents.

The Box contents:
Fresh Juice - 1 glass
Bottle water - 200 ml
Dates - 2
Assorted Fruits - 1
Kheema Samosa - 2
Shawarma Sandwich - 1 Half
Tandoori Chicken - 1 piece
Haleem - 1 container
Chicken Kothu Parotta - 1 container
Mutton Biryani - 1
Sweet Sauce - 1 very small container
Mayo - 1 small container

The entire box costs - Rs 275/- net
First this box has a different group of target audience and I feel they might have just got the box right for the intended group. The box has a mix of both old school items such as Kothu Parotta and Biryani and a blend of the new such as the Haleem and Shawarma Sandwich which could tempt people to order them separately.

Good things first, the stand-out for me was the Sharwarma sandwich, which is the shawarma chicken packaged inside a two slices of bread and toasted. This is something new to me, because I am used to having it in a roll. It was a little soggy by the time I had it, but still worth it. The Kheema Samosa was nice. It was like having samosa in buhari hotel during the early 90's. The fresh juice which came along with the package was a fresh made watermelon juice, which was perfect and refreshing. The Tandoori Chicken was really juicy and very spicy and this is the right thing to serve for Iftar. Mutton Biryani was nice considering it was hotel made. I was also happy that they stuck to serving Tamil style biryani instead of the other variations. Now coming to bad side of things, the Chicken Kothu Parotta lacked flavor and the Haleem was a disaster, it was liquidy and was more like a mix of mutton and tomato.

Other minor elements, the package even had mouth refreshers and a couple of tooth picks which is a neat addition. Is it worth Rs 275, just maybe, since the intended audience might like it.

The Chicken Shawarma which I had ordered separately was huge, in-fact the contents were  about  to spill out. The chicken was creamy and juicy but it lacked authenticity. It was more like their own version of a shawarma.

Food - 7.5/10
Price - 8/10

Copper Kitchen is located in arcot road next to porur 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 July 2013

Blue Diamond - Iftar pack 2013

20:45:00



Iftar is the time when we dine together as a community, as one family and I believe in such a practice rather than heading to a restaurant. So I picked up a couple of Iftar boxes from Hotel Blue Diamond to break my fast.

The Box comprises of the following:
Juice - 1
Nombu Kanju ( Porridge) - 1
Dates -2
Chicken Cutlet - 2
Iddiyappa Biryani - 1
Assorted Fruits - 1
The entire box costs Rs99/-

Now this at Rs 99/, is a price which many restaurants are going to find it difficult to match. If you are thinking of  ordering this for a whole bunch of people,  it is the best option available. Coming to the contents:  The Nombu Kanji ( Porridge) is heavenly. Nombu Kanji is a spicy porridge with a bit of every thing in it, rice, dhal, vegetables and non-veg pieces. Nombu Kanji has been on the Iftar menu for years and years in Tamil Nadu. One full bowl of this porridge would satiate one till the next meal. Please note: Haleem a new entrant from Hyderabad is not part of this box. Coming to the Blue Diamond Iftar Box, the chicken cutlets in it, have the right amount of spiciness. A lovely delicacy for the people who have abstained from eating the whole day. The Iddiyappa Biryani, has a south indian masala twist to it which is decent in taste. Then there is a bit of  fruit salad, two dates, a sachet of tomato sauce and a tetra pack of cooling juice to wash all this down.The entire box is true value for money and one box is more than sufficient for a person.

Food - 7.5/10
Price - 9/10

The Iftar special box is available from 5pm onwards.

Hotel Blue Diamond is located on E.V.R Perriyar Salai next to K.J. Hospital.

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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

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Zaitoon - Iftar in a Box - 2013

18:37:00



I have had the 'Iftar in a Box' from Zaitoon, the previous year and I raved about it being worth the cost and one of the best budget friendly ways to break one's fast. So I wanted to check the Iftar box this year also to see what had changed. Has it become better or still remains the same?

The Box contained the following:
Bottle of Water - 1
Dates -1
Mutton Kheema Puff - 1
Chicken Shawarma - 1
Haleem - 1
Tandoori Chicken - 1 piece
Khubus - 1
Parotta - 1
Chicken Gravy - 1
Mutton Biryani - 1
Assorted Fruits - 1
Small container of Mayo
The entire box cost Rs 333/-

A few changes noted over the previous year seems like the deletion of the fresh juice, and smaller size containers for the mayo. Visibly much smaller amount of Haleem. Apart from that the box maintains the standards set the previous year. The shawarma is whole-some, something which was missed last year. The Mutton Kheema Puff had trace amounts of mutton in it. Chicken gravy was so spicy that if one finishes off the gravy, he/she would fail to fast the coming days due to gastric reflux. Also the mutton biryani was so-so. All the deletions in dishes plus the drop in standards and price higher at Rs 333/- before tax, this does not seem to have value-for-money  proposition which the previous year box had. Point to note Haleem still rocks!

Food - 5/10
Price - 7.5/10

The link to 2012's Iftar box
http://chennaisoru.blogspot.in/2012/07/zaitoon-anna-nagar-iftar-special.html

Zaitoon is located in Chintamani opposite to Natural Spa. There are various other outlets spread across town.

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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, 14 July 2013

Nandos, Phoenix Market City, Velachery - CFG Showcase

15:43:00


Whenever a new International fast food joint enters the town, there is much fanfare, with people wanting experience it's unique flavor. For some it might be just a visit to compare the Indian outlets standards with an International one. While for some it might be their first experience. For me it was the latter.






Food:
Before I start explaining about the food. I want to put this across. Nandos does not serve South African cuisine. They are actually a South African based company which serves Portuguese Peri-Peri style food. Peri-Peri or Piri Piri is a chilli which is the main essence of Nandos. The scale of spiciness can be customized. It ranges from bland Lemon and Herb to Extra hot. I personally would not mind the extra hot, since I am used to having really spicy food. But for the people who are not, please stick to Lemon and herbs or just a level up at the mild phase. Some would feel that the dishes are a bit lemony, but thats how it is meant to be.




When it comes to the food, I would recommend to stick to the signature dishes such as the Espertada Rustica - served on a long skewer drenched in the sauce of choice and the Cataplana. Burgers and the Pita wraps are fine, but you do not get to relish the deep flavors of the chicken. Also if you are a Liver lover, do try the Chicken Livers and Portuguese rolls. The flavor is simply awesome.







Ambiance:
Located in the ground level of the Phoenix Market City, this is the first mall based food joint to throw up an outdoor dining. The decor is posh and screams out luxury! With the furniture being funky and with numerous wall paintings, dining here can be called a luxury experience.

Service:
Since this was a Showcase event cant really talk about the service.

Price:
A meal for two should work around Rs 1000 to 1200/-

Nandos is located on the ground floor of Phoenix Market City.

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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