Showing posts with label Mylapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mylapore. Show all posts

Thursday 11 June 2015

With more and more people travelling abroad now, international food chains have felt the need to start their outlets in India more so than before. I don’t know why the case is so, the irony is that Chennai never gets to witness the bloom of any international brand. More so these brands come to Chennai only after establishing at least a couple of outlets in places like Mumbai, Bangalore, etc, which can take anywhere between 6 month to a year. I’m sure there are several reasons to this equation but being an ardent foodie nothing gives me immense joy than knowing that an international chain has finally chosen Chennai as their launch city. 

After establishing a niche for themselves with over 50 outlets across half the world from Oman to Japan, the famous speciality sea food restaurant ‘The Manhattan Fish Market’ has opened up their first outlet in India in namma Chennai. Bringing us the American style of sea food cuisine, this place created quite a pre-opening anticipation thanks to the early announcement of their arrival along with some great social media buzz.

Coming to the experience of the evening, first things first. The restaurant is situated across two floors with the first floor has a live kitchen space in addition to the tables while the second floor consisted of a few tables and around 3 private dining areas. The ambiance was on the lines of the food they dish out. Once we were seated, the person waiting on us explained their elaborate menu to us. To put it in a nut shell, the seafood on their menu can be cooked essentially in five different techniques, viz. Deep Fried, Poached, Baked, Grilled and their signature Flame style. As we were in a group, we decided to order a couple of platters to experience their different cooking styles and also savour most of their offerings. As we had a vegetable loving friend, we needed to cater to her requirement too which wasn’t much difficult considering there was only about four vegetarian dishes on the menu. 
(Creamy Mushroom Soup) 
(Garlic Herbed Mussels)
(Fried County Mushrooms)
The first up was the ‘Creamy Mushroom Soup’, which turned out to be a different interpretation of the classic Mushroom Cappuccino. Nevertheless, it tasted quite good but personally felt the cream to be a bit heavy along with the saltiness of the mushroom being a dominant flavour. For starters we had ordered, ‘Fried Country Mushrooms’ and ‘Garlic Herb Mussels’. Being a very choosy seafood eater I only eat sea food that are placed on the opposite ends of the spectrum, either Sushis or Crustaceans, along with the occasional Salmon. So I gave the Mussels a miss while I thoroughly enjoyed the fried mushrooms. It had a very light batter that elevated the flavours of the mushroom right enough to strike a chord in making you forget you were consuming a vegetarian dish.
(Fish N Chips) 
(Flaming Manhattan Star Platter)
(Flaming Manhattan Star Platter)
(Grilled Flaming Lobster Platter)
With the starters done, it was time for the mains. I couldn’t go past the page that had ‘Fish N Chips’ as this was my only source of seafood protein during my stint in UK. On rare occasions that I wanted to have something different, I would head to the corner place and pick up a take away of some Fish N Chips. Just love the way, we get it in UK with the fish wrapped in a parchment paper that would drip with oil. Having made up my mind on ordering this, I left the other mains to the choice of my buddies. After some deliberations, it was decided to also order a ‘Grilled Flaming Lobster’ & ‘Manhattan Star’ platters. The Fish N Chips arrived first and on initial looks didn’t resemble my corner shop one. But it aint’ fair to expect that as I’m sure people will run screaming oil, oil if the same is served here. However the flavour of the fish and batter made it up. Probably my preferred choice now in Chennai for Fish N Chips. With regards to the ‘Grilled Flaming Lobster’, it was a visual treat to experience the way it was being served. The platter comes with a serving of Grilled lobster, some garlic mussels, Fried calamari and fish fingers. The waiting staff that brings an industrial size blow torch and turns the heat up in the room flamboyantly by flaming the lobster. I leave it to the photos to do the talking. I loved the Calamari and the lobster over the fish fingers while I chose to forgo the mussels. On the other hand, the ‘Manhattan Star’ platter consisted of a Grilled Calamari, Fried Oysters, Poached Mussels, Flaming Prawns and Baked Fish. My palate preferred the fried calamari over the grilled version while the flaming prawns was just too good that I had to fight for more portions with my friends because I had to skip the mussels. Overall the star platter provides an opportunity to savour all five cooking techniques in a single platter.
(Manhattan Mud Pie)
(Tuscan Tiramisu)
(Oreo Kaboom Shake)
To bring closure to the evening, we decided to order their signature ‘Manhattan Mud Pie’, ‘Oreo Kaboom’ shake and a ‘Tuscan Tiramisu’. The mud pie lived up to the expectation by being the best dessert of the evening. The shake unfortunately lacked the characteristics of a shake and felt more like an Orea Coffee flavoured drink while the Tiramisu definitely did not par to the original Tiramisu as it again seemed to be their own interpretation and had a different twist. But we fell in love tremendously with the mud pie that we decided to order another portion to offset the mild disappointment with the other desserts.

Overall, The Manhattan Fish Market would be a paradise for ardent sea food lovers looking to savour and experience the best of catches using different cooking techniques. Joining the ranks of just a handful of stand-alone speciality of seafood restaurants, I’m sure this fish market is bound to last long in namma Chennai and provide us with this differential experience.

The Manhattan Fish Market is located on RK Salai opp to Marvel Wedding cards. A meal for two should cost you around ₹ 1500 if it’s the regular fare. If lobster is a preferred choice then be prepared to splurge as the Grilled Lobster platter is priced at ₹ 2490 but is worth every penny.

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Saturday 11 October 2014

When you hear the term infusion, the first thing that hits you would normally be a tea or drink which has been infused with something. This is quite normal but it does definitely become unique when a new restaurant pops up in town and claims to be the first do the same with chicken. We have heard of deep fried chicken, roasted chicken, grilled chicken and even our own famous tandoori chicken but what is this infused chicken. To be honest I was assuming that it would be something similar to roasting where some herbs and masala are used while the chicken is in the oven.

With all these assumptions and curiosity, we decided to visit this new resto called 'Tovo Infusions' as the second choice for the night having had a not so filling meal at an earlier restaurant the same evening. Albeit being located on the main road, they had plenty of parking space which is a boon as this is becoming a trouble at many new places. As we entered, we were seated promptly although we didn't have any reservations. The ambiance looks like a steakhouse but unfortunately no steaks here, just chicken. As we took our seats, the question in my mind about all the infusion was somewhat answered by looking at the plate mats on the table. They had a pictorial representation of their unique method of cooking which was the infusion method. 

The waiter who attended to us briefly explained the concept and from what I could gather was that the chicken is not cooked with any oil or water but is rather secretly injected/infused with the choice of our toppings and is cooked by the water content already in the chicken. This they claimed to be unique and to me was also quite unheard as even for grilling or roasting we use some oil/butter. The waiter also insisted we try their 'Chicken Gourmet Bun'. A friend of mine and myself kept asking him if it was a burger to which prompt came the reply that this is the original version and the burger was the shortened version. We couldn't keep the amuse to ourselves but still gave brownie points to the guy who convinced us to order the same.

The way you order your meal is what the infusion is all about here. So first you choose what Mains you prefer and then the original infusion sauce from a choice of Buttery, Chilli Peppery and Cheesy Herbs followed by the toppings from a choice of Chettinad, Kashmiri, Mogul & Hyderabadi spice. The next customization was on the level of seasoning and it varies from Low to Top Notch. With so much combinations available it was quite a task to do the order but eventually settled for a 'Chicken Gourmet Bun', 'Quarter Chicken' & 'Chilli Garlic Rice Crepes'. 

(Chilli Garlic Rice Crepe)
(Quarter Chicken)
The first on the table was the rice crepes, which we ordered on the advice of a fellow foodie who was here for the second time. This was sooper spicy and will hands down win any Andhra meal with loads to spare. In fact the other two of us were just gulping down water to cool the heat. The next up was the chicken of which the combination we had ordered was Buttery and Hyderabadi spices. For once we thought the chicken was not cooked well because we noticed a few pink spots but upon close inspection it was all ok. At most places the meat is white and dry inside void of any flavour but here it was the opposite. The insides were moist and flavoursome just as they claimed with credit to their unique concept. The chicken can be tricky at times so its best to check it twice and be assured that it is well cooked. And most importantly make your selection of toppings with care, as it can make or break your palate.This aspect has lead to a lot of mixed reviews about their chicken.
(Chicken Gourmet Bun)
Having tasted their core dish, we were looking forward to find out what the Gourmet Bun was all about. It indeed made a grand appearance as we could spot the burger leaving the kitchen from the far end of the restaurant. It was humongous, most probably the biggest, meanest and juiciest burger I've ever seen. I leave the picture to do all the talking. If getting dirty with your hands is your way of appreciating good food then this is all for you. It took me two full hands and a mouth opened as wide and as high as possible to take a bite of this yummylicious burger. Straight forward one of the best in the city today. Again it all depends on the combination of toppings but the chance of it going wrong is much less with the burger. The burger was so great that I made another visit to them before writing this review but unfortunately was slightly let down as they served it a bit cold. But the taste was the same and I brushed it off as an one off day for the folks at the kitchen.
(Praline and Butterscotch Smoothie)
With the mains down and the gulping of the enormous burger, we needed something sweet to wash down the guilt. What better way to kill guilt with another guilt and so we ordered for a Butterscotch and Praline Smoothie. Yes, a smoothie with loads of indulgence. The smoothie was precisely what we wanted as it had a delectable amount of praline that made it more like a divine butterscotch milk shake rather than a healthy smoothie *pun intended*.

This is definitely a place that I would visit again for their burgers and the smoothie but the chicken still gives me a scare that I may get a wrong combination and spoil the show. The total bill for the starter, two mains and dessert came to about ₹ 850/- inclusive of taxes. 

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Saturday 12 January 2013

(Mylapore Post Office)
The continuous stretch of holidays that most of us in Chennai anticipate once the New Year starts was right round the corner. Yes folks, the Pongal holidays. This time with Pongal falling on a Monday, it was time for some celebrations with 4 days of continuous holiday. As it is to be, the Chennai Food Guide had also simultaneously planned for a ‘Food Walk’ in Mylapore to coincide with the Mylapore Festival which has happening during that weekend. What better way can one ask to begin their holidays. 

(Kalathi Newspaper Shop)
(Rose Milk)
The Mylapore Food Walk was scheduled to start at 2:45PM on Saturday from none other than our very own Mada Street. Hunting for an assembly point, our primary guide for the walk, Shiyam ji had instructed CFGians to assemble at “Kalathi Seithithaal Kadai” (Translation: Kalathi Newspaper Shop). This shop located at the corner of East Mada Street & South Mada Street is best known for its ‘Rose Milk’. The entourage was informed that the shop has been selling Rose Milk for the last 33 years and the consistency has been maintained and not even an iota of change in their taste was ever noticed by the frequenters till date. An interesting point to be noticed is that, 33 years ago they charged Rs. 1.50 for a glass and today they only charge Rs. 12. Yes, you got it right. The term ‘Value for Money’ has no relevance here. I guess someone should come up with a better term.
(Old Building Landmark)
(Old vs New)
(Mini Gully)
With everyone energized by the awesomeness of the Rose Milk, the next designated pit stop was the age old famous mess in Mylapore, the “Rayars Mess”. Located at a short walking distance, you must begin your walk from the Kapaleeshwar temple towards Kutchery Road and ask for Arundale Street once you cross the Mylapore Post Office. Keep walking down Arundale Street and you are supposed to locate a really old house (See Pic for Landmark). Once you locate this house, bang opposite to it you can see a mini gully and yes your guesses are correct. The famous and renowned Rayar’s Mess is located inside this mini gully. 
(Mini Gully)
(Traditional method of Eating)

When we walked inside the mini gully, everyone in the neighbouring houses were looking at us in awe as we all looked like some press people with huge cameras and stuffs. I’m sure people must have got intimidated by Dilip’s 100-400mm lens too. It was then that we came to know that the place was so small that out entourage had two eat in two shifts. Being eager to taste their offerings, I took a place on the first turn and promptly found a stool to sit on. What began next was an awesome food experience that I will remember all through my life. We were asked from a pre-set menu what we would like to have. The choices were Gulab Jamun, Potato Bonda, Onion Rava Dosa, Kal Dosa and Filter Coffee.

(Gulab Jamun)
(Potato Bonda)
(Bonda being savoured) 
(Onion Rava Dosa)
(Dosa being savoured)
(Dosa being Savoured)
(Inside of Rayar's Mess)
(The owner at work)
I wanted to taste as many dishes as possible and ordered for everything except the Kal Dosa and Coffee as I didn’t want to overeat lest I miss out on the other places. The ‘Gulab Jamun’ that arrived was pleasantly sweet and had the right textures on it. The ‘Potato Bonda’ was very crispy and wasn’t at all dripping with oil. Along with the Chutney and Sambar, it was simply yummy and a perfect evening snack. After a small delay considering that the owner was making all the dosa orders himself, came my ‘Onion Rava Dosa’. The dosa was served fresh from the hot plate with the onions as juicy as they can get. The feeling of eating a hot delicious dosa with amazing accompaniments in such an ambience is can never be expressed in the form of words. You need to visit the place to experience the feeling. The total bill for 20 of us was only Rs. 800.With a very satisfied look on everyone’s face, there was some contemplation with regards to the next pit stop. Whether to head to “Jannal Kadai” or “Mami Tiffin Stall”. But it was promptly decided to head to Mami Tiffin Stall considering that the location of Jannal Kadai was in the midst of the Mylapore Festival. 

(en-route to Mami Tiffin Stall)
(Mami Tiffin Stall)
(Inside of Mami Tiffin Stall)

Mami Tiffin Stall is located on the street diagonally opposite to Kalathi Newspaper Shop. This place is supposedly to be famous for their ‘Coffee’ and ‘Bajji’. We had each placed an order for coffee and couple of plates of bajji’s. The coffee was just too good and especially after an amazing lunch at Rayar’s mess felt like a much needed after food drink. The Bajji’s too tasted amazing but I didn’t feel much of a difference on comparison to those available elsewhere. Being already 5 PM, it was decided to wind up the Food Walk for the evening and head to Kalakkal Café. More on Kalakkal Café will be posted in a separate blog post.

(Traditional Coffee)
This being my first food walk with CFG provided me with an insight to hidden eateries that are being there in the city for ages but less discovered mainly because they are content with the customers within their locality. But this has reinstated the faith in me that such localized eateries are always better as their serve authentic and original food as compared to fancy outlets. If you happen to be in and around Mylapore, please make sure you visit these eateries.

And now for yet another of those gif's. This time the sambar being poured at Rayar's Mess...

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