Sunday, 6 January 2013

 
With the weekend setting in and with absolutely no plans in the making, was wondering how to pass over the weekend. Just then get a buzz on Facebook from my oldest pal saying he is visiting Chennai (Yes, oldest!!! Our friendship dates to more than 18 years now). Asrar and I are friends since 2nd standard when I was studying in Saudi Arabia. I was more than excited at the prospect of meeting him as it was more than 4 years since we last caught up with each other. He was off to Germany to pursue his Ph. D  Yup folks, he is a Scientist in a leading research laboratory there. Yay, one of my best buddy is a Scientist. Cutting short on the history, it was agreed to meet over lunch on Sunday and have a hearty talk. 

Being a Sunday, the usual lazy waking up was customary. As my buddy was held up with some work, he informed me that he will communicate to inform once his work is done. This happened close to 2:30PM and all hopes of going to a restaurant for a lunch buffet came tumbling down. We met up near Citi Centre and were contemplating where to go to catch some grab. Me being the foodie amongst us, it was up to me to decide. Taking into account the locality, I suggested Mexican and his reply was "Kewl, lets do it!!!". Well if its Mexican and on Cathedral road, then it has to be Don Pepe.

Don Pepe though not new to me, have been here on earlier occasions predominantly for their amazing nachos. So was always wanting to find the right opportunity to try more from their menu and voila today was the day. We drove down straight and on entering Don Pepe, was completely taken aback. Something which is not at all expected from any restaurant leave alone one that is of the category of Don Pepe. They were in the middle of their power cut schedule and didn't have a backup generator. Result - No Air Conditioner. Only a fan to keep the place cool. Checked with my friend if he still wanted to continue??? Both of us being hungry and a slight hint that the food might be good, we decided to stick on (Must admit the temperature was pleasant so the necessity of the air conditioner was never really felt). 
(Mexican Dips)
Although it was close to 2:45PM when we entered, the place still had a decent crowd and people were still dropping in. As our hunger pangs were puncturing us, we instantly asked for the menu and started on the starters. What better starter than the famous nachos. We ordered a Chicken Nachos for the starter and were contemplating on the next course. After a good amount of discussion munching on the Chicken Nachos, we zeroed in on our Mains too. Talking about the Chicken Nachos, folks shall not get confused with the Nachos at Satyam/Escape Cinemas. The Nachos here are different and represent the original Mexican food. The Nachos are layered with chicken fillings and a delectable level of cheese. This is finally topped up with some veggies to provide the right amount of balance in the dish. We were also served with the traditional Mexican dips which included a Salsa dip, Cream Cheese and Sliced Jalapenos. Both my buddy and myself wiped the dish clean.
(Chicken Nachos)
(Chicken Nachos)
We were catching up with old stories and how the world has changed so much over the years alongside laughing over the frolicsome we did while we were kids. Our talks were briefly paused when we saw the mains coming. The mains that we had ordered were Chicken n Nut Sauce and Chicken Fajita (pronounced as /fəˈhiːtə/ or in simpler terms fa-hee-ta). We were wowed at the sheer brilliance of the dish and how colorful the dish and its accompaniments were. To start with, the Chicken n Nut sauce was perfectly flavored with the dish being not too spicy while at the same time not too bland either. Served with Crispy Potato Wedges and Mexican rice, the dish was a palate filler. A palate filler and at the same time nice and light too. 
(Chicken n Nut Sauce)
(Chicken n Nut Sauce)
My buddy was surprised on his dish. He was under the impression that the dish would be served as fajita wraps but to our surprise the fillings were served on a plate so we could customize the fajita wrap as per our liking. Once I completed my interruption of his lunch by clicking the dish, he instantly got into making the wraps. He also explained to me the proper method of wrapping a fajita. The fajita fillings had a sumptuous amount of chicken, along with a minced chicken tart, crispy potato wedges and Mexican rice. Three tortillas were provided in a sort of clay box. Based on his opinion, he seemed to have enjoyed the wraps and was too full to have rest of the accompaniments on his plate. Being best buddies, I for once did not hesitate jumping into his plate. The tart had the same chicken that was served in the nachos and served as a good quick bite.  Being too full for anything else, we called it a day and skipped the desserts. 
(Chicken Fajita Fillings)
(Chicken Fajita Fillings)
(Tortillas)
(Chicken Fajita Wrapped)
I would be of the opinion that the food served at Don Pepe truly resembles what I have known so far as Mexican food (haven't been to Mexico so have never really had the opportunity to taste authentic Mexican Food till date) and does justice to the quantity of food served as against pricing taking into account the dearth of Mexican restaurants in Chennai. If only they had their ambiance in order that day, it would have passed off without any disappointment. But overall, a good place to have Mexican cuisine and a meal for two shall not cost more that Rs. 1500.

Don Pepe is located on Cathedral Road just along the flyover. It is located on the same building as that of Hot Breads adjacent to Copper Chimney and Zaras. 

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