Showing posts with label Hyatt Regency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hyatt Regency. Show all posts

Friday, 18 March 2016

The food scene in Chennai has witnessed a tremendous growth in both varieties of cuisines and quality of produce being used over the last few years. However, one cuisine that has not scene a great explosion in terms of choice is Italian. Going above the regular pizzas and pastas, there are only a handful of dedicated Italian restaurants in the city and when it comes to fine dine, maybe about three odd restaurants. One that stands out truly amongst them is the one this review is about.


Focaccia @ Hyatt Regency, Chennai – Teynampet, Anna Salai

Focaccia is the first restaurant that you will see as and when you step out of the elevator at Hyatt Regency in Chennai. Being one amongst the few dedicated Italian fine dine restaurants in Chennai, it is always buzzing with culinary action and a reservation is a definite must on most days. 


Focaccia presents itself in a very rustic environment with a wine cellar welcoming you right at the entrance. While you adore the amazing collection of wines the cellar holds you are guaranteed to be hit with the aroma of fresh focaccia breads & pizzas being baked right across the cellar in the wood fired ovens. As you cross and head towards your table you get to witness the hustle bustle of the kitchen thanks to the vast open kitchen concept the restaurant embraces. You are also spoilt with choice of seating with options between next to the open kitchen or closer to the windows with a view over looking the busy Anna Salai.
(The Wine, Cheese & Chocolate section for the evening)

Focaccia is currently hosting an Italian Fair under the able guidance of Chef Alessandro Persico who is the Chef de Cuisine at the award winning Italian restaurant Celine at Grand Hyatt Mumbai. He is here in Chennai to showcase some of his signature dishes over a four course meal. The first thing that struck me on meeting the chef was how closely he resembled Chef Gusteau from one of my all time favourite movies, Ratatouille. I just couldn’t control myself that I went all gaga over it. It was more like meeting a super hero. This raised the expectations big time for the evening. And I must say that I was thoroughly entertained by his creations and his interactions with me. 
(Chef Alessandro Persico)
The evening meal started with ‘Ravioli di Barbabietola’ which was a beetroot ravioli stuffed with truffle goat cheese and served with a parsley salsa verde. This was my first time even hearing about a beetroot ravioli. Being a fan of beetroot I thoroughly enjoyed it as the goat cheese gave a very soothing balance of flavours and textures. The next appetizer was the ‘Anatra in salsa tonnata con cipolline brasate’. This was a duck confit salad with tonnata sauce with the salad being braised with pearl onion. The flavour was very distinct and full of joy but not being a great fan of duck felt the confit a bit over powering. The last of the appetizer was from the sea, the ‘rotolini di salmon affumicato con panna acida e caviale’, a smoked salmon stuffed with braised lettuce and topped with sour cream and caviar. Being a salmon lover, I couldn’t ask for a better combination of ingredients to savour the salmon.
(Ravioli di Barbabietola)
(Anatra in salsa tonnata con cipolline brasate)
(Rotolini di salmon affumicato con panna acida e caviale)
With the appetizers done it was time now for some pastas and risottos. The first pasta that travelled to our table was the ‘Penne Integrali con tonno in salsa puttanesca’ which was a diet conscious diners delight. Some whole wheat penne tossed with a tuna puttanesca sauce and green capers, it provided a great balance of flavour to keep the palate kicking. This was followed by the ‘Risotto con salmone affumicato, zafferano e limone’, a simple looking smoked salmon risotto with saffron and lemon. This was truly delicious and takes a big rank in my all time favourite risottos. This is a definite must have if you visit them. To bring this course to an end was the ‘Linguini con aragosta e rucola’, a very fresh tasting pasta. This refreshed the entire palate once again preparing us for the main courses. The lobster combined with fresh tomatoes elevated this pasta and also sort of acted like a palate cleanser thanks to the arugula that was also present in the pasta.
(Penne Integrali con tonno in salsa puttanesca)
(Risotto con salmone affumicato, zafferano e limone)
(Linguini con aragosta e rucola)
With the pastas and crunchy risottos done, we headed to the mains. The first mains to make to the table was the ‘Cannelloni di spinaci al forno’. The cannelloni was an oven baked spinach and ricotta stuffed cannelloni served over a bed of fresh tomato sauce. It was extremely cheesy and flavourful and along with the tomato sauce gelled well. This was followed by the ‘Tortino di patate e funghicon fonduta di caprino’ which was basically a mash potato flavoured with lemon and dished in the form of a basket loaded with grilled vegetables and forest mushroom. Although the mash was fantastic, felt the dish was slightly dull in comparison to the overall fare. Next up was probably my favourite mains of the evening, the ‘Scaloppine di pollo piccata’. This was an eggs chicken scaloppini with lemon caper sauce and some root vegetables. What made this dish fantastic was the lemon caper sauce over the perfectly baked chicken slices. Yumm!!! 
(Cannelloni di spinaci al forno)

(Scaloppine di pollo piccata)
(Tortino di patate e funghicon fonduta di caprino)
Next had to be the final course of the evening, the mighty desserts. We were served with two desserts with the first being ‘Zabbaoine con composta di fragole e Meringa soffice’ which is basically a champagne sabayon with strawberry compote topped with a soft meringue. Although the sabayon was perfectly dressed I personally felt the dessert to be a bit on the sweeter side. On the other hand, the second dessert was a clear winner with chocolate aficionados. It was a ‘Coppa Caprese’ which in simpler terms is a chocolate brawny sandwiched between layers of vanilla ice cream and a creamy chocolate ganache. To add a bit of crunch we had some chocolate tuiles. This dessert was truly divine and I kept nom-noming so much that I couldn’t believe that my portion was over even before I could realize it. But the ecstasy it left on my taste buds kept me recollecting it all through the night. Was a fantastic dessert. 
(Zabbaoine con composta di fragole e Meringa soffice)
(Coppa Caprese)

Being a limited time fare, this special Italian Fair menu by Chef Alessandro also comes paired with a unique wine for each course resulting in the course being relished in its true essence. This special menu should cost about Rs. 4,500 – 5,500 for two depending on the dishes being selected from the special menu. This is a limited time fest and is available till the 20th of March. So head there quick if you would like to savour the same.


Focaccia is located at Lobby level at Hyatt Regency Chennai. Located on the main arterial road of Chennai, Anna Salai, it is quite easily accessible from all corners of the city. I would strongly recommend a reservation so as to not be disappointed.

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

The food scene in Chennai is slowly transforming into one that will always provide a choice for everyone irrespective of their preference, thanks to the numerous food festivals that keep happening round the year keeping in line with the season and festivities. But one establishment takes their food festivals a notch above the others. Rather than having the usual type of festival celebrating the broader cuisine of a place, Hyatt Regency curate festivals specializing on a specific food family within the broader cuisine of the place.

And the latest in their festivals is the ‘Traditional Kashmiri Wazwan’ experience that brings to Chennai the authentic wazwan cuisine. For those wondering what does ‘Wazwan’ stand for, ‘Waz’ means Chef who has rare culinary skills that are passed on for generations within the family while ‘Wan’ stands for shops with a large selection of meats and delicacies. The Wazwan Chef is usually someone of high regards in the society and used to exclusively cook only for momentous events and special occasions such as Marriages.
(Wazwan Traem)
To rope in the authenticity, Hyatt Regency has flown down Waza Bashir Ahmed from Kashmir who will help provide the same experience along with the chefs here in Chennai. The traditional Wazwan usually consists of 36 courses with each having its own traditions. However, the meal that we experienced was a shortened version having about 16 different dishes. 
(Traem - Sharing Plate)
(Seekh Khabab)
For the starters, we had some ‘Tabak Maaz’ and ‘Seekh Kababs’. The ‘Tabak Maaz’ is sort of a signature dish of the Wazwan cuisine and is prepared by infusing Lamb Ribs with spices and milk and finally being fried in oil or butter. The Seekh kababs need no introduction and here they have an option of meat or veggie. 
The main course comprised of several curry dishes that were accompanied with a ‘Kashmiri Pulao’ and ‘Shirmal’, the traditional Kashmiri sweet bread. The two stand out dishes were the ‘Lamb Rista’ & ‘Chicken Daniwal’. The rista is spicy paprika based red curry while there was also another subtle version of the same lamb preparation called Gushtaba which uses a yoghurt base. The Chicken daniwal as the name suggests was a preparation using loads of coriander that infused the flavour well balanced to the curry. Being an avid meat lover and having sunk in the ocean of culinary richness from the curries, I decided to forgo the veg mains and indulge in some Qahwa, the traditional Kashmiri tea.
The desserts that were served helped tie all the dishes together in a celebratory style. The ‘Kesari Mango Phirni’ was truly outstanding with the flavours of mango, saffron and dairy complementing each other perfectly. The other dessert of the afternoon was the ‘Zarda Pulao’ also known as sweet rice. Had this been the only dish of the afternoon, then I would have raved but the Phirni just brought about the perfect closure to this wonderful journey of the Kashmiri Wazwan festival. 
(The Man behind the food - Waza Bashir Ahamed)
The Wazwan experience is being held at Spice Haat in Hyatt Regency and is part of their buffet spread. One can also savour the Wazwan experience in the authentic way by ordering for a ‘Traem’ which comprises of a large plate with rice heaped in the middle and surrounded by all the other elements of the cuisine. This is ideal for groups to indulge and share the love of eating from a single plate.

The festival is on till the 21st of June and is priced at ₹ 1550 plus taxes for the buffet while the Traem will cost about ₹ 1440 plus taxes for the non veg option and ₹ 1100 plus taxes for the veg option.

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

One of the iconic landmarks in Chennai is undoubtedly the tall triangle shaped building located in the heart of the arterial Anna Salai. Even from the air, this building is quite easily identifiable. Having been under construction for quite some time, it was great news for Chennaities when in 2011 it was announced that the iconic building was to be the Launchpad for Hyatt chain of hotels in Chennai. The ‘Hyatt Regency Chennai’ was opening its doors to Chennaities bringing with it some amazing restaurants. Being centrally located, it was an added advantage.

Over the years, Hyatt Regency has been a hotel that has been frequented by the family and myself as we share a lot of fond memories of family gatherings and functions. The food used to always make us feel better and never was there a complaint. Their all-day dining restaurant ‘Spice Haat’ is a regular fare for late night cravings. Recently, at a random discussion a friend told me that their Italian restaurant ‘Focaccia’ serves one of the best Tiramisu’s in Chennai. True to his words, it was divine when I got the opportunity to savour it.
Recently, the culinary department at Hyatt Regency has undergone a change of guard. The new executive chef at the helm of operations is Chef Subrata Debnath, who comes with a vast experience across Hyatt properties in India & South-East Asia. His best man who incidentally also joined recently is Chef Manvinder Singh. Coming from the food lover’s favourite city of Lucknow, this evening he wowed us with his arsenal. 
As part of the three year anniversary celebrations, Spice Haat recently had a ‘Northern Frontier Food Festival’. Banking on the expertise of Chef Manvinder, this food festival was all about culinary specialities from the regions of Punjab, Peshawar, Multan, Baluchistan and Kashmir. This region is also collectively known as the Indus region named after the famous river that flows through them. This food festival was also part of Chef Subrata’s ideology of incorporating culinary delicacies from this region onto their regular fare at Spice Haat.
The first dish to be served to us that evening was the vegetarian kebab platter comprising of ‘Bhatti da Paneer’, ‘Methi te Bhutte di Seekh’ and ‘Tandori Phaldari Chaat’. The paneer was soft and succulent while the tandoori fruit chat bought old memories back as this is something that many restaurants now do not have on their menu. The Seekh was crispy and had the right amount of flavourings to balance the kebabs on the platter. This was followed up with ‘Patiyala Shahi Machi’ and ‘Surkh Murg Tikka’. Not being a big fan of fish, the ‘Patiyala Shahi Machi’ on the contrary was perfectly cooked with the fish still being wet delivering on the flavours of the crispiness of its marinade. The Murg on the other hand delivered on all the flavours that one can associate with a Tikka. It was one of the best Chicken Tikka’s I’ve savoured till date.
(Veg Starter Platter)
(Non Veg Starter Platter)
With the starters done, the Main Courses started with an array of curries. The first to make its way was the ‘Thabe wala Kukkar’. It was a slow cooked Chicken curry with deep aroma of tandoor infused. This was followed by the ‘Keema Matar’ and ‘Masaledar Karele’. The Keema Matar was very delicate with juicy minced lamb while the Karele which is bitter gourd was creatively cooked and wrapped with veggies. The bitterness of the Karele was tantalizingly hidden with the flavoursome veggies that accompanied it. When its Indus cuisine, how can we miss out on the lentils. The ‘Maa Choliye di Daal’ is again a slow cooked dal. Chef Manvinder revealed that it is a common offering during Langars at the Gurudwaras. Just like the name says, it definitely had the feeling of mother’s touch in that it tasted absolutely like home food. The accompaniments for the curries were ‘Makke di Roti’ and ‘Meat wale Chawal’. The chawal was similar to the biryani but was different in that it did not have the usual spices rather was cooked in the stock of the lamb itself. The final gravy that made its appearance was the traditional ‘Sarson da Saag’. One difference here was that it was accompanied with Palm Sugar. Apparently in Punjab during the harvest festival, Sarson is served with palm sugar as Sugar cane is harvested at that time. I was puzzled on how the combination would work but it completely surprised me. The addition of the Jaggery gave it an extra dimension and elevated the dish in its entirety.
(Thabe wala Kukkar)
(Maa Choliye di Daal & Masaledar Karele)
(Meat wale Chawal)
(Sarson da Saag)
To bring a closure to this amazing North Western culinary experience, we were served with ‘Jalebi’ and a ‘Teele wali Kulfi’. The Kulfi was phenomenal with actual rose petals in it while the Jalebi was distinctive in its sweetness with a subtle and balance note to it. The highlight of this Northern Frontier Food Festival was also to identify the taste of Chennai in comparison to cuisine from this region as the dishes that have been accepted well will find its way on their regular buffer dishes. 
(Teele wali Kulfi)
For a price of ₹1450 plus taxes, one can savour a wide variety of International cuisines at the all-day dining restaurant ‘Spice Haat’ in Hyatt Regency Chennai located on Anna Salai.

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