Showing posts with label T Nagar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label T Nagar. Show all posts

Sunday 21 December 2014

If one were to ask me which would be your favourite style of cooking, the reply would be instant. I just can’t get over grilling and reminds me of my childhood days in the Middle East when during winters the best feeling would be light up the coals and stay around it soaking in the beautiful aroma of chicken and mutton being barbequed. However as time passed, this slowly faded away and in today’s fast paced world it is quite difficult to huddle together a set of friends to plan a BBQ night.

However a few years ago, a restaurant brought this concept on to the table top in Chennai. You could do the grilling right on your table. I was fascinated and was a regular their until a little later when they started to compromise on quality and hence decided not to visit them again as they weren’t doing any justice to the concept. A couple of imitations opened up and all failed miserably.

Coming to present times, the only option of enjoying the passion of grilling was informing friends in advance and doing all the prep work a day ahead so as to enjoy the moment as it comes. This was possible only around once in a few months however it was fun. And then one evening, while as a group of friends we were driving through city, one amongst us spotted this new restaurant called ‘Absolute Barbecue’ which was opening up and had the same table grill concept. He instantly told was that this was a great eat-out in Bangalore with amazing hospitality and is a must try it once they open.

So once they opened a visit was instantly made. In fact the number of visits stands at three with the first being an invitational one by the owners who hunted a couple of us through our Zomato profiles, the second one was with family and the third again an invited visit but this time through a food group. I’m sure this should be enough to let you know how much I love this place. The three visits are reason enough to ascertain that their service and hospitality are amazing irrespective of how you visit.
Coming to their fare, Absolute Barbecue is a foodie’s paradise. One place where their cannot be any discrimination between the vegetarians and the meat lovers. The menu is same throughout the week with changes only in the dessert section. Once you settle down on your table, the dedicated waiter arrives and informs you about their concept. The first concept is the same wherein they keep bringing the starters to your table and you can grill them to your liking. The second concept is where they claim to be India’s first. Yes, they have a concept called the Wish Grill which has an exotic collection of meats and vegetables that can be paired with regular vegetables of your choice followed by the either a combination of rice or noodles with a sauce from a selection of five sauces. This is probably the highlight of their offerings.

The first starters that made its way to the table was the beautiful and succulent ‘Tangdi Kebab’ and this was followed by a juicy ‘Mutton Sheekh’. Both these starters were served on the plate as it would be a difficult task to do this by ourselves on the table. This was followed by a bombardment of kebabs on skewers that we are supposed to grill to our perfection. The skewers were of ‘Asian Chicken’, ‘Garlic Fish’, ‘Prawns’ and another variant of mutton. I loved the Asian chicken and with a dash of the pineapple sauce that accompanies, it was just amazing. The tangdi and mutton were the other favourites.
(Tangdi Chicken)
(Mutton Sheekh)
(Meats on the Grill)
(Meats on the Grill)
The vegetarian starters comprised of ‘Grilled Paneer’, ‘Assorted vegetables’, ‘Acahri Mushrooms’, ‘Grilled Cinnamon Pineapple’, ‘American Cheesy Potatoes’ and ‘Coconut Peanut Kebabs’. The paneer was delicately soft and was a yum along with the coconut kebab. I was in love with the American cheesy potatoes so much that during all visits insisted I had atleast four servings of the same. The highlight of the entire vegetarian fare is their grilled cinnamon pineapple. Oh my oh my, this was one combination that I’d never tried in my life and thanks to AB (Absoulte Barbecue as they are known), I’ve started experimenting the use of cinnamon on a lot of my cooking. Savouring this is more of an experience rather than calling it eating.
(Coconut Kebab)
(American Cheesy Potatoes)
(Cinnamon Glazed Pineapple)
(Cinnamon Glazed Pineapple)
(Cinnamon Glazed Pineapple)
With so much of starters, I’m sure most of us would be compelled to skip most of the other courses but hang on and don’t give up on the wish grill. The wish grill consists of exotic meats such as Rabbit, Quail, Shark, Squid along with a seafood medley and Duck. In total they have a combination of 16 exotic meats and vegetables. Once you select your main ingredient, the remaining procedure is quite straight forward. You need to select your vegetable, rice/noodles, spice level, seasonings and sauce. Once you hand over this to the grill master, they hand over a small token that you need to give it to your waiter who will bring you the dishes once they are ready. In the time that we waited, I had order for myself one of the best mocktails I’d ever had in a standalone restaurant. The ‘Mango Blaster’ was super extraordinary and can quench the thirst of anybody however mind it as it is quite heavy on the palate. After a wait of couple of minutes, the wish grill items begun to appear. No wonder they started to come, they were being completely wiped off. Such was the intensity that I hardly got a chance to click pictures.
(Wish Grill)
(Wish Grill Tokens)
(Mango Blaster)
With the wish grill section completed, we hardly had any space for mains. But from what I’ve heard from my companions, they were a delectable fare as well. With around 9 veg and 5 non veg courses including a crab gravy, a beautiful paneer and a filling kofta gravy along with their signature dal dish. The accompaniments include Biryani, Steamed Rice and a variety of breads.

The reason that I mostly avoided mains was to ensure I had a feast at the desserts counter. AB’s is probably the only restaurant to have a live cold stone ice cream counter and serving one of the best ‘Paan Ice Cream’. The highlight of their dessert counter is the customizable ice cream along with a hot counter that served gulab jamuns and jelabi’s during my visits. The other desserts are the regular fare such as Chocloate Gateaux, Mango Cheesecake and a summer pudding. Their Phirni and Moong Dal Halwa deserves a special mention too.
(Paan Ice Cream)
The best aspect about AB’s is that both their service, hospitality and food is excellent and they make sure that the customers are satisfied at all times. The waiter keeps coming to you after every serving to check on how the food was and if they could do anything more to better it. This is the same I’ve heard from folks who have visited their other outlets in Bangalore and Hyderabad as well. Hope it continues as I would love to keep coming here again and again.

They follow a system of variable pricing depending on when you visit and if you select vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The price per person is as follows

Rs. 555 Lunch - Veg (Mon-Sun)
Rs. 666 Lunch - Non Veg (Mon-Sun)
Rs. 585 Dinner- Veg (Mon-Tue)
Rs. 695 Dinner- Non Veg (Mon-Tue)
Rs. 695 Dinner- Veg (Wed-Sun)
Rs. 835 Dinner- Non Veg (Wed-Sun)

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Friday 12 April 2013

TGIF!!! End of another tiring week!!! Your party mood is at its highest. Well technically you have nothing that’ll prevent you from partying hard & safe. But what next after the great party. Does your stomach go grrrrrr and roars like the Chennai Super Kings? Your great after-party mood is being disturbed by the hunt for a place that is pocket friendly so that you can have a proper meal after all the liquids. Have no worries anymore. Why go for a meal when you can go in for a sumptuous buffet. Yes, party goers and midnight mongers, you now have a place to gorge of amazing food at late hours.

Our very own MainStreet restaurant located at Residency Towers has a Midnight Buffet special on Friday’s & Saturday’s. Starting only at 11PM, they have a complete spread from soups to desserts that is sure to keep you full till brunch next day. A few foodie friends and I decided to check it out and hence begun the midnight food trail for us at Residency Towers, T Nagar. 
(Welcome Drink)
Upon being seated at our table, we were provided with a welcome drink. It was a Pineapple juice aesthetically masked like a mocktail. Nevertheless as we weren’t on fluids prior to the buffet, all of us decided to attack it. Following the drink, we were served a refreshing Hot & Sour soup which although nothing special did feel nice at that point of time. The pack then decided to go check out the offerings on the main spread and boy were we not delighted. The salads started comprised of a Thai Mango Salad, Pasta Salad, Dutch Potato Salad and Mushroom & Broccoli Salad. The Pasta Salad was my favourite followed by the Thai salad.
(Assorted Salads)
(Pasta Salad)
The next on the main were the usual Veg. Pasta on Cream Sauce, a Fish gravy, a Chicken curry, Kadai Paneer, Mutton Biryani and Indian breads. Since the salads and non-veg made my tummy fill at that juncture of time, I did not venture out much into the vegetarian side of the spread. The biryani was mention worthy and at that point of time, one of the best that is available. I couldn’t just wait for the others to finish the mains as MainStreet is of the best places to gorge on desserts thanks to their usually wonderful and large spread of desserts. I was not let down this time either.
(Pasta on Cream Sauce)
(Mutton Biryani)
With a spread comprising of Gulab Jamun, Payasam, Caramel Custard, Orange cake and Lime Mousse, this should be heaven at this point of time. Being the dessert maniac, I did not leave a single dessert and had small servings of all that I was able to lay my hands on. The payasam was fabulous so was the gulab jamun. For caramel custard fans, you can just simply spend your full time on it. With the end of the desserts we were wondering what to do next as the time was close to 2 AM and we were all energetic after the amazing midnight food bash.
(Caramel Custard)
(Midnight Surprise)
MainStreet is located at Hotel Residency Towers, T. Nagar. Priced at Rs. 555/- inclusive of taxes, MainStreet is a perfect place to end up after some hard partying to satisfy your hunger pangs. Just a word of caution, the midnight buffet is available only on Friday and Saturday nights. So all those complaining of no fun at night in Chennai, now you know where your next weekend destination is.

Happy Partying. Most importantly safe Partying.

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Tuesday 22 January 2013

If you ask anyone to name a place for food in Residency Towers, the first to be named is quite often either Mainstreet or Bikes n Barrels. But tucked away in the corner of the main lobby is a less known restaurant known as Southern Aromas. The last time I remember dining here was close to 6 years ago when one fine Sunday evening we were hunting around Chennai for a place to have dinner as most places were packed. The waiting time was close to 45 mins to a hour almost everywhere. Having hopped into close to 4 restaurants, we decided to try Southern Aromas. Believe it or not, we had to wait for the same amount of time here too. Being tired driving around, we decided to wait as it was our first time. But the experience wasn't too great and didn't motivate me to visit again soon. Coming to the present, I day I get a call from the Chennai Food Guide asking me if I would be interested to take part in the Bloggers Meet at Southern Aromas. I had an instant flashback and thought this should be a good opportunity to give them a chance once again and immediately confirmed my participation.

I was to meet with 4 other fellow bloggers for the meet and was told that we would be having an interaction with the Chef too. Southern Aromas is a south Indian restaurant serving up dishes from the 4 states in south India namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka. The best part is that they have some of the traditional dishes from these cuisines too. Arriving in time and having introduced ourselves to the team at Southern Aromas, the dishes started to arrive one by one.
(Welcome Drink)
The first to arrive were the welcome drink and papads. The welcome drink was nothing southern at all. It seemed to be an ordinary fusion drink so didn't pay much attention to the same. The papads were brought in a very stylish cone shaped plantain leaf. It was accompanied by an array of Tomato and Coconut chutney's. The papads were crisps and the chutney's finger licking yumm. 

The first of the dishes to be served was "Malli Vada". This is one of their fast moving signature dishes. I was assuming the vada's to be the usual shaped but was taken aback when it was placed on the table. Each of the Malli Vada were triangle shaped. The Chef told us that they are steamed first so that the shape holds. Although the texture seems to look hard, the vada was super soft and was just mind blowing, no wonder it is their most selling dish. 
(Malli Vada)
The next dishes were the Mutton Roast Kerala Style and Jumbo Prawns Andhra Style. The mutton were packed with curry leaves flavour and the meat too was very soft and juicy. Mind you if you did not feel the flavors immediately as I too was wondering the same. But the moment it hits within a few seconds, it makes itself worth craving for. On the other hand you could tell from the looks on the Prawns that they were Andhra style. Rich red in color  it had a superb level of spice which complemented the prawns perfectly.  Having a prawn lover in our group, you could see a gleaming smile on him once he savored the prawns. That by itself is a strong evidence that they were amazing. This was then followed by the last starter of the evening, the Coriander Chicken Fry which incidentally is again from Kerala. The chicken had a good crispy texture to it as the main ingredient used in marination was not the Coriander powder but was the Coriander seed itself. This really changed the dynamics on the palate. 
(Mutton Roast Kerala Style)
(Andhra style Jumbo Prawns)
(Coriander Chicken Fry)
With the starters all done, next was the line up of the mains. The first to make it was the Tamil Nadu style Mini Podi Idly. Frankly, why would I order this here. Adding to it, I felt the dish tasted very similar to what we get in most places. But I guess it targeted at customers who are not from Tamil Nadu for whom it may be a wonder dish. This was followed by an array of dishes. The Chicken Kothu Parotta was something different to what I've been having all this while. It was very low in oil and had a good crispiness on the parotta. 
(Mini Pody Idly)
(Chicken Kothu Parotta)
This was followed by a continual service of Dosa, Appam and Idiyappams (String Hoppers). To complement these, the gravies that were served were Poondu (Garlic) curry, Vegetable Stew, a south Indian Dhal and a Mutton curry. The Poondu curry and Vegetable stew were a perfect combination with the dosas while the Mutton curry gave a good booster dose to the idiyappams. The last to be served was the Ambur Biryani. Having tasted the real Ambur biryani, I for once knew this was not anywhere close to the original. But on the contrary, it did have a good flavour which was very unique for a biryani. It was definitely a winning dish as it was absolutely something that had never struck me before in any form of Biryani.
(Vegetable Stew)
(Mutton Curry)
(Poondu Curry)
(Ambur Biryani)
The desserts were the finale and we were served with the traditional Payasam. Being too full with just sampling the dishes, I just had a taste of the Payasam and sure it was nice. Especially after all those spices, it was really soothing. 

Southern Aroma is located at Hotel Residency Towers, T. Nagar. A complete meal for 2 can put you back by anywhere between INR 1500 - 2000. But you can be guaranteed of some good south Indian food.

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Thursday 22 November 2012

It was yet another Thursday but this Thursday was none like before. This Thursday was the perfect setting for a CFG Showcase at the newly opened fine dining restaurant in T.Nagar called CHAO. Thanks to the courtesy extended by Mrs. Shalini, Mr. Jagadish & Chef Murali, CFGians were invited to CHAO to sample and review their fare. CHAO is a fine dine South-East Asian restaurant serving up cuisines from Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. 
Upon entering the restaurant the first thing that struck me was their exquisite interiors. It was definitely a fine dine restaurant. The restaurant has 2 floors of seating with a private lounge for customers who want a sense of privacy probably for those with celebrity status may be. Great level of attention has been taken to ensure the interiors were hand in glove with the food being served. There was a complete feel of being somewhere in Thailand or Cambodia with all the Buddha statues and artworks. 
Once all the folks for the showcase had arrived, we were then introduced to Chef Murali who gave us an insight about his career and the spread that we were to sample today. A short while later we were also met by Mr. Jagadish and his co-partner who welcomed us to CHAO.
(Corn Tartlets)
(Devil's Potato)
(CHAO Thai Grilled Fish)
Shortly after the formal introductions were over, the traditional Lemongrass Tea was served before the food started to come in one by one. We were first served with the Corn Tartlets. Rather than calling them as starters, it may be rightly called as a pre appetizer. They were very crispy and the flavoring on the corn mixture was just right to be not too heavy. Following this, we were dished with Devil's Potato and CHAO Thai Grilled Fish. The devil's potato was just as apt as the title, a spicy dish with potato and topped with sesame seeds. Although not being a great fan of sea food, I decided to try the CHAO Thai Grilled Fish. I was told that the fish used was a Royal Basa. The fish tasted perfect. It was just rightly cooked with the right flavorings infused and made for a good and heavy starter.
(Veg Dimsums)
(Devil's Chicken)
(Chicken Dimsums)
(Wasabi Prawns)
Following the grilled fish, the next starters to be presented were the Veg Dimsums, Wasabi Prawns, Chicken Dimsums and Devil's Chicken. To be honest I was not able to make out anything extraordinary in the Dimsums. I guess this could be because, Dimsums are very simple in nature and nothing can go wrong except for the wrapper which can at times be sticky. But both the veg and the non veg Dimsums at CHAO were excellent. Devil's Chicken was more on the lines with its vegetarian counter-part except for being a little too rubbery. This was the feeling amongst a few fellow CFGians too. Maybe the chicken was a tad over cooked or must have got a bit soggy in all the devil sauces. Coming to the star dish of the evening, the WASABI PRAWNS was truly an unique dish in its own ways. The prawns were coated evenly with the in-house special Wasabi sauce which is indeed a scaled down version of the original Wasabi sauce mixed with Mayonnaise. The plates kept getting emptied that more servings were being continuously ordered. This is in fact the Signature Dish at CHAO. True to its status, it is a must have. This was followed by a further 2 more starters, the Mushroom Pepper Salt and Satay Prawns. The Mushroom Pepper Salt was a bit high on the pepper quotient while the Satay Prawns were more of the grilled prawns kind. We couldn't really savor the taste of any more starters as the Wasabi prawns kept hitting us hard again and again.
(Satay Prawns)
(Mushroom Pepper Salt)
Post the starters, we were presented with an awesome serving of Green Mango Salad. The mango was sour enough to taste perfect with the dressing. Coming to the mains, the entourage was provided with 2 types of rice, viz. Jasmine Rice and Sambal Rice accompanied by a Thai Green Fish Curry, Singapore Bee Hoon, Basil Chicken and Cashew Garlic Garden Greens. 
(Non Veg Mains)
For those wondering about Jasmine rice, it is a special preparation of white rice with an aroma of Jasmine infused in it. The Sambal rice was really nice with a great variation of spices with both high's and low's. The Thai Green Fish curry was outstanding. Take it from the words of someone who is probably having a Fish curry after a couple of years. Together with the Jasmine rice and the Sambal rice, the green curry was the perfect accompaniment. Though the taste was slightly modified to suit the Indian needs, it still tasted authentic to me. The Basil Chicken had a strong Basil flavor in it which dominated over the other flavorings in it. But the chicken was cooked better this time around in comparison to the Devil's Chicken. The Singapore Bee Hoon and Cashew Garlic Garden Greens were left to my fellow vegetable lovers to savour. I'm sure they tasted great too as I did not hear any negatives on them.
(Tub Tim Grob)
(Pumpkin Custard with Coconut Ice Cream)
Now coming to my favorite aspect of dining at a restaurant serving Thai cuisine, which is of course their desserts. CHAO had the usual desserts such as Tub Tim Grob, Fried Ice Cream, Dates Pancake with Ice Cream and so on. We were provided with Tub Tim Grob and an amazingly beautiful Pumpkin Custard with Coconut Ice Cream. The Tub Tim Grob tasted just like the usual one. It was kind of difficult for me to make out any impressive changes comparatively to those served at other Thai restaurants in Chennai. But what really stood out was their Pumpkin Custard with Coconut Ice Cream. In fact, orders for more servings kept flooding the kitchen as it was just amazing and out of the world. A few fellow CFGians were literally at arms when the last serving came out. Arms in hands with their cameras post which with the best weapon to one's gastronomy, the mighty spoon. 

The showcase overall presented us with an overview of the different cuisines served at CHAO and a look at some of their exceptional dishes like the WASABI PRAWNS and Pumpkin Custard with Coconut Ice-Cream. The place has wonderful decors and is an apt place for a proper fine dine experience. In relation to the price point, be prepared to pay for the amazing food plus the fascinating experience you are bound to encounter at CHAO. 

Final verdict, very tasty but a bit pricey but well worth for its experience and variety of cuisine.

CHAO is located on North Boag Road, T. Nagar opposite the Singapore Consulate.

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