Monday, 31 March 2014

Tiffin Bar, Alila, Whitefield, Bangalore

17:45:00


I have always felt that the food scene in Bangalore is better than Chennai. Loads happening, new concepts tried out and people are ready to aceept the new concepts. Chennai is far conservative but is slowly beginning to open its doors to new culinary ideas. On one of my visits to Bangalore I got to dine at the Alila Tiffin Bar for a lovely live BBQ dinner.



Food:
The food spread was huge, with different counters and a live grill right next to marinated items. 5 different counters each representing a different location of the world. A good mix to show the unity among the different regions of the world. There was a ALL VEG counter with atleast 10 items to please the vegetarians who come to the buffet. I skipped that section and moved ahead to the rest of the spread. The next on line was Asian ( Chinese & Korean ) which had 6 items for the non-vegetarians and 4 for the veggies which was the same at the Western, Arabic and the Indian counters. Except for the Indian, the other three had Beef and Pork.




I just could not decide which spread I liked the most. My favorite of the lot was the Lamb Ribs and Beef Grilled from the Western section. From the Arabic board, the pita bread was just divine. Add it with a little of the grilled chicken and Hummus it was a an absolute decadance. The Indian delicacies had the usual subjects such as the Chicken Tikka, Hariyali Kebab....

If you are a sucker for the BBQ dishes like me, you would love it. Everything was fabulous. I would most definitely recommed this to all.

Ambiance:
Set outdoor in the lovely garden of the hotel and the Bangalore weather was a huge plus at 19 degrees. I doubt the 19 degree outdoor ambiance can be replicated at Chennai, but I sure wish the rest is.

Service:
It is more like buffet where we need to walk to respective counters and order what we desire. It was most definitely in line with most star hotels.

Price:
This stunning BBQ feast is priced at Rs 1100/- for a person which includes your choice of Alcoholic beverage is worth every buck. Lucky for us, one of my friend had discount card which knocked 30% off the bill. Yaay!!! for us

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

Hotel Alila is located in Whitefield.

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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.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Paprika, Courtyard Marriott, Anna Salai - Eggs-Xcellent Menu

22:13:00



Courtyard Marriott has introduced a new short eat - short time menu at Paprika for the beer lovers called Eggs-Xcellent Menu priced at Rs 350+taxes. You get to choose any dish from a selection of 10 eggy delights and a big mug of beer to go with.

This short eat menu maybe available upto 31st of March so go on and treat yourself to some tasty eggs.

We got to sample a small platter from the menu of 10.
My pick of the lot were the
- Egg Pakoda
- Egg Salt and Pepper
- Bread Chutney Omlette.

The concept of eggs and beer definitely seem to have captured the desire of the South Indian loving to have eggs with their "DRINKS" and taken it to whole another level. So do check this out.

Courtyard Marriott is located on Anna Salai.

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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, 25 March 2014

Avenue 195, Shaffee Mohammed Road

21:59:00

Finding a good buffet south of Rs1000/- has become a difficult nowadays. Even if you find one which is good, it maybe good only in parts. Either starters rock or the desserts do but the main course is very mediocre. So when I was invited to this new restaurant on KNK and Shafee Mohammed Road junction I was eager to see how it fared.





Food:
Food comprised of 14 starters on weekends. Yup you read it right is 14, which keep changing everyday. The meal started of with Nachos served with a helping of baked beans. I definitely missed he sour cream on it. Nevertheless it was tasty. Then there was a round of Chaat which was decent according to buffet standards. I quite loved the tandoori paneer which was soft and fresh. We were also served with a veg sushi which I thought was good. There were numerous starters and I am finding it quite hard to remember.



For the mains there were 4 non-veg dishes and around 7 veg dishes with various gravies. I was too stuffed from the round of starters to even sample the gravies with Indian bread. There was a live pasta counter, where you could chose the vegetables, the noodles and either chicken or fish, which would be then made with pesto or the creamy white sauce or tomato. I chose the tomato sauce, which was quite nice. The others who accompanied me had the pesto and creamy sauce. They gave rave reviews about  those also.

Moving to the desserts, it was just mediocre fare compared to the rest of the buffet. I liked the Rasagolla though.

Ambiance:
Nice simple decor, which works. Should seat around 80 odd people.

Service:
NA

Price:
For a weekend buffet priced at Rs570/- plus taxes, I most definitely feel it is worth it. On weekdays it becomes a few bucks cheaper, but then a few dishes get knocked off the menu. If you are looking for a buffet which does not burn a hole in your pocket, then this place is for you.

Food - 8/10
Ambiane - 7/10
Price 8/10

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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, 12 March 2014

California Pizza Kitchen, Phoenix Market City, Velachery - Hollywood Menu

21:03:00


Hollywood has come to Chennai! Sorry for the confusion. The food loved by the Hollywood stars are here in Chennai as a part of the menu at California Pizza Kitchen. The hollywood menu is really small with only a selection of dishes. This special menu is on upto March 16th. This is my first visit to California Pizza Kitchen here in Chennai. My previous visit was to an outlet in Bangalore. Personally I feel that the Bangalore outlet is more upmarket than the Chennai outlet.







Food:
First to be served was the Hawaiian Pineapple and Chicken Pizza. Guess this pizza has crossed many borders, because I very distinctly remember the 1st ever pizza I had was the Hawaiian pizza at Pizza Deli many many years ago. This pizza was simply delicious in its tradiontal crust. The next pizza to arrive was the Jamaican Jerk and Chicken Pizza. I wonder how Jamaican figures in a Hollywood menu? Anyway it was flavorful and tasty. Next was the Deli Styled Bistro Pizza. I skipped this pizza as it contained Pork in it. People who had it were raving about it. Then came the only Veg Pizza on the menu Rustica Pizza on a thin crust. I felt really felt bad seeing the vegetatrians waiting for their pizza, that I decided to let them eat in peace. Finally came the Spicy Sonora Pizza, which we all loved. Infact we asked for another helping of the same. 



The next course was the Pastas. The first to be served was the  Spaghetti Carreterra which is actually a Veg Pasta cooked in Chicken Broth making it a non-veg dish and a dash of crushed pepper finally a handful of Fresh Mozzerlla. The pasta was stunning inspite of lacking pieces of meat. Next was the Mediterranean Roasted Mushroom Spaghettini which was a proper veg dish. But this was the only disapointing dish of the day. It lacked depth of flavor and seemed like a simple overload of Olive Oil. I may not be the best to judge this dish, as some could like it.




After the pasta course was the speciality round. First to be served was the California Peri Peri Chicken. This was a boneless grilled chicken with a good helping of CPKs own version of Peri-Peri sauce. Peri-Peri is known to be a Portuguese item, but this own twist was great Infact I licked the plate clean of the sauce. An absolute must have! Finally for the veggies, they were served a Spinach and Paneer Malfati with Milan sauce, which is actually spinach and paneer dumplings served along with corn. It was soft and every bit divine.


Finally to finish off the meal was a star studded Chocolate Mousse which was simply fantabulous.

From a non-veggies point of view the menu is simply stunning, but for the veggies it leaves big void which needs to be filled. The menu is a mix of dishes from various parts of the world. Guess thats what  best describes the mixed bowl which California is. In my book I would rate the food with top marks.

Ambiance:
Comparing the ambiance between the CPK at Bangalore and Chennai, one would clearly see the difference. CPK Bangalore is more upmarket than Chennai's outlet.

Price:
Each dish on the special Hollywood menu is priced at around Rs400 to 500. So a meal for two should about Rs2000/-

California Pizza Kitchen is located inside Phoenix Market City in Velachery

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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, 2 March 2014

The Bistro Story, Gopalapuram

19:28:00

It's becoming increasingly hard to keep track of the restaurants and cafe's opening up in Chennai. One of the most recent entrant into this space is the The Bistro Story. The formation of this place is a story by itself. Created by 3 college friends funded by their raw passion for food and beverages. This puts a interesting spin to the place.



Food:
I entered the joint, late one evening and eagerly waited for the arrival of my friends. But as I waited I decided to sip on some coffee. My choice beverage plus a running nose made me choose the Cafe Latte. A dash of demerera sugar, a few stirs and wola!!! it was ready. Nice deep aroma with a rich earthy flavour, just the way I would like. Just as I got done with my drink, my friend entered with the words hunger and passi! He took the waiters sugestion and picked the Red Curry flavoured Chicken Burger with Hot Chocolate, while I ordered the Grilled Smoked Chicken Panini and we picked a Crispy Farm Cheese Parcel. While we waited for the dishes to arrive, my friend's drink arrived. He did like his drink, but he wished it had a extra dose of chocolate. 



The next to be served was the Crispy Farm Cheese Parcel. It was a gooey cheese packed into a parcel with filo pastry served along the side with chili chutney and green salads. It is best had when it is pipping hot.



The Red Curry Flavored Chicken Burger and Grilled Smoked Chicken Panini were served together. I did not get to sample my friends burger. But I just watched the juice flow right out of it when he took his first bite. I must say, that was the first time I had a Foodgasm!! The Smoked Chicken Panini was a world apart. I have had so, so so many smoked chicken sandwiches, infact I pick smoked chicken sandwich over the others. This sandwich was by far the best I have had at a cafe. It is on par with the 1000 bucks sandwiches served at big joints. One minor grouse, I really do hope they shift to homemade potato fingers. Both these dishes were served with a chutney of sorts and finger chips. The burger had a bonus of onion rings. I am most definitely going back for the burger. Can't wait for another foodgasm!!

We were also offered a complimentary Sticky Dates Pudding. It was quite delicious, but we both were quite stuffed to even dig any further.

Ambiance:
Tucked in cloistered road. I am pretty sure finding this place could be difficult. The Google Maps has this place spot on, so go ahead and use it. The cafe has 6 parking spaces as well, so no worries  about parking your vehicle. On entering the cafe, the open kitchen concept shows where most of the money was spent and I am darn sure that they have done the right thing here. The place can seat 30 people at a time. Decor is simple but utilitarian.

Service:
The cafe is maned by a single person, but apart from that, the 3 friends who joined to create such a venture are here to take care of the rest.

Price:
The pricing is on the moderate side. The meal cost us Rs 850/- Best bang for the buck I would say.

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

After finishing the meal we went about chit chatting with the owners, listening to their story. Now I do understand the story behind The Bistro Story!

The Bistro Story is located in Gopalapuram on the road right next to Axis Bank.

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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.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Koala Joe's Cafe, Mylapore

20:48:00

One of the most recently opened cafe in Chennai is the Koala Joe's Cafe. It promises to bring in the true Austrailian experience. So this was the call I was waiting for. I had looked up for the location on Google Maps and it showed somewhere near the Marina Beach. After a couple of rounds in the area, I called up the cafe and found the correct location which was behind the Nilgiris on Radhakrishnan Salai right next to Illusions Pub.



Food:
On entering the restaurant, the first thing which brought down the expectations was the decor and the next was the empty counter. But then the cheerful person behind the counter welcomed us and assured that most items on the menu was available apart from the Quiches. We had a look at the menu, the sandwiches were priced at Rs 160 odd which we did not mind and went about ordering. 



I ordered a Banger Sanger and a Cafe Latte while my friend who had accompanied me ordered a Grilled Chook Sammie and Hot Chocolate. The Banger Sanger and Grilled Chook Sammie were the first to arrive. One bite into our sandwiches was just enough to redeem the place of all our hasty presumptions which we had in our mind. I did not sample my friends sandwich but he assured me it was rocking. My Banger Sanger was simply devine, it was like A R Rahmans melody in my mouth. It reminded me of the sandwich at La Boulangerie. The Latte was a regular affair nothing special  and I would rate it on the same scale as CCD.


Ambiance:
The place can seat at a max 12 people and it lacks parking facility. But you are blessed with a nice residential neighborhood so finding a parking space may not be difficult. The interiors most definitley could have been worked on. With really delicious food comes the responsibility to sprue up the ambiance. I really do hope they do some work on this front.

Service:
With only a single person maning the entire operations, I feel it is a bold move. With so many corporate offices near by, I have a feeling this could turn out to be a regular hangout joint.

Price:
The pricing front is the biggest USP for this cafe. This meal costed us Rs 485/- I would most definitely would love to return here for the lovely sandwich.

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 5/10
Service- 7/10
Price - 9/10

The Koala Joe's Cafe is located in the road between Nilgiris and Indian Oil Bunk on Radhakrishnan Salai, right next to Illusions Pub.

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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.