Showing posts with label Anise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anise. Show all posts

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Having evening meetings during the Holy month of Ramadhan can be a bit tricky. Often the meeting venue needs to be a place where some soothing food can be had to break my fast. On one such occasion, I had to have a meeting close to Taj Coromandel. I remember Anise at Taj Coromandel having an Iftar two years back and checked if they had one this year too. The answer was in the positive so fixed today’s venue for Iftar at Anise.


The Iftar menu at Taj Coromandel is served at Anise, their 24-hour coffee shop. For a change, the Iftar menu is available both as a standalone offering as well as an add-on along with their regular dinner buffet. The quirky and cliché setting makes Anise a perfect place to catch up for a quick meal at any point of the day.


The Iftar traditionally begins with dates and water. We were served a nice platter of two varieties of dates along with some almonds to reign in the natural sweet from the date fruits. This was followed by a platter of mixed fruits to bring the freshness and set the palate up for the meal after a fast of 14 hours. To soothe the parched throat, two drinks are served. A Roohafza to bring in instant energy and a Banana smoothie to relax with.
(Dates Platter)
(Fruits Platter)
(Chilling Roohafza & Refreshing Banana Smoothie)
This was followed by a small mezze platter with some Hummus, Cous Cous and a tomato salsa to go with some crispy Falafels and Pita bread. Tomato salsa in a mezze platter was something new to me and didn’t really understand how it would go with any of the other flavours. Nevertheless, I managed to make a wrap with the Falafel and Hummus that was bang on with flavours. Next up were starters from the buffet, a Chicken kebab and a Mutton Sheekh. The Chicken kebab was Yumm from the word go as it was soft and moist and succulent. The Sheekh though flavourful, I felt it to be a bit dry. 
(Falafel and Pita)
(Mutton Sheekh)
(Chicken Kebabs)
With the starters done, came a big big surprise in the name of Haleem. Haleem is usually served in a bowl but wouldn’t it surprise you if it was brought in a platter. Yup, the Haleem at Anise is a variant to the original Hyderabadi Haleem. It differs in both texture and colour from the original. This Haleem has a few additional spices added that took it to a whole new level. Probably the best variation of the Haleem I’ve savoured till date and the presentation with all the condiments around it made it all the more elegant. This is a definite must try.
Being really tired I decided to skip the buffet completely as I didn’t want to task myself with an overdose of food either. So heading straight to the desserts, I picked up a very comforting dessert which had Lychees soaked in condensed milk topped with some pistachios. It provided the perfect finish to an Iftar menu.
(Lychee Dessert)

The Iftar menu at Anise is priced at Rs. 850 plus taxes for the menu that includes starters and desserts from the buffet. If you would like to go for the full buffet, then the Iftar comes at no additional cost as you pay only for the dinner buffet which is priced at Rs. 1985 all inclusive.


Anise is located at the far end of the lobby at Taj Coromandel in Nungambakkam. The Iftar special is available everyday till the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan which is around the 7th of July.

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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Continuing in line with the Ramadhan (Fasting) month, today’s post is again an Iftar special but with a huge difference. During my childhood days, when I used to be in the Middle East, every Ramadhan we usually head to a couple of restaurants located in luxury hotels for Iftar. Each of these restaurants used to have a lavish spread of dishes and was truly a feast for the palate after about 16 hours of fasting. Keeping in line with the grandeur that Arabs exhibit, the spread used to have exotic fruits to wide range of meat cuts and summing up with an extra-ordinary variety of desserts. Moving over to India, this was always a miss, the sheer opportunity to sample around 50 dishes in a single go. Remember, I said sample not devour. ;)

A key question that I kept asking myself all these years was why hasn’t luxurious hotels caught up to this market yet. If cost was the only excuse then I can definitely vouch that it shouldn’t be. Again this year the same thought was crossing my mind when I suddenly stumbled upon what I’ve been wanting for ages. ‘Anise’ at ‘Taj Coromandel’ have finally decided to distinguish themselves and raise one notch above their counterparts. Yes, finally an Iftar special from a restaurant in a luxury hotel.

The iftar special at ‘Anise’ is meticulously crafted by the Executive Chef of Taj Coromandel, Chef Alok Anand and the outcome has been a deliciously nutrient rich menu following the traditional Iftar route yet having an own personality of its own. The Iftar Special is a Set-Menu beginning with ‘Iranian Dates’ served along with ‘Jallab’. Jallab is the Middle Eastern take on Rooh Afza aka Rose Milk. It is a drink made up of Dates, Rose water and with a topping of Pine Nuts minus the milk. This was followed by a big fruit bowl that set a perfect tone for the rest of the evening.
(Iranian Dates)
(Lassi & Jallab)
(Fruit Bowl)
With the fruits dusted, we were asked for a choice of a ‘Shorba Laham’ and ‘Lebanese Style Lentil Soup’. The mutton shorba had a strong flavour but was a tad too spicy for being served during Iftar. The Lentil soup made up for the shorba in a big way. Perfectly tempered lentils that provided the soup a completely different dimension in terms of texture. With the soups done, next up was the ‘Garbanzo bean and mint salad with Grilled Chicken’. The vegetarian alternative to the chicken salad was the classic ‘Fattoush’ salad. The salad was perfect in terms of portion size and had a very unique lemon dressing to it that captured the mood of Mediterranean in the right spirit.
(Lebanese Style Lentil Soup)
(Garbanzo Bean & Mint Salad with Grilled Chicken)
For the mains, one has an option to select either Chicken, Mutton, Fish or Vegetarian. The mutton being the ‘Gosht Biryani’, I decided to opt for the ‘Dejaj Mashwi’ to carry on with the authentic experience. The Mashwi was a portion of lemon roasted chicken with a Dill butter and served with some Horse Gram rice along with a vegetable ragout. The highlight of the mains was the intricate way in how it was balanced. The rice was very unique and together with the combination of chicken and ragout, made for a wholesome experience. As I enjoyed savouring my chicken, my friend went in for the Gosht biryani. The aroma of the biryani was so strong that I couldn’t resist its temptation. How can you have an amazing biryani sitting in front of you and not devour the same, hence I decided to take a go at the Gosht Biryani too. Honestly, it was the best possible biryani I’ve ever had at a restaurant in a 5 star hotel. Tender and juicy mutton pieces with a strong flavoured rice helped it stand apart from the other very average rice aka biryani that is available elsewhere. While the mains were being served, a glass of sweet rich lassi was bought to the table.
(Dejaj Mashwi)
(Gosht Biryani)
To bring closure to the Iftar menu, a portion of ‘Oum Ali’ and ‘Basbousa’ were served for the desserts. Oum ali is a form of milk pudding baked using condensed milk, nuts and puff pastry. Coming to the Basbousa, it is my favourite Mediterranean dessert and one that I’ve mastered baking myself at home. So it was a pleasant surprise to be served one. Basbousa is a semolina and coconut dessert sweetened with rose water and orange blossom. To balance the overload of sweetness, a small array of fruit platter accompanied the desserts, the perfect way to end the gourmet Iftar.
(Dessert Platter)

The Iftar Special Menu is available at Anise in Taj Coromandel till the 28th of July, 2014 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The four course set menu will cost you ₹ 1,250 plus taxes.

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