Showing posts with label chocolates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolates. Show all posts

Friday, 11 March 2016

I’m sure most of us associate chocolate with our childhood memories. The first thing that may come to us would be the chocolate bar which used to be divine to us and even today can bring back old memories. Personally, I’m a big cocoa lover and a dessert without cocoa in some form or the other never completes a meal for me. If this is the case, imagine a brunch completely themed around chocolates. When I came to know about this special Chocolate brunch, I was ecstatic. Couldn’t wait for the Sunday to come by. 

As part of a special promotion, Park Hyatt Chennai and Cocoatrait joined hands together for the first time to bring a complete Chocolate Sunday Brunch. If your guessing how, don’t be amused. The brunch had elements of chocolate across all courses. And the chocolates were paired precisely to the menu that was crafted. The brains behind this Special Chocolate Sunday Brunch were Chef Greg & Chef Vamsi from Park Hyatt Chennai and Nitin from Cocoatrait. 

Place:

The Flying Elephant @ Park Hyatt Chennai – Guindy

The Flying Elephant has been making waves ever since they opened 3 years ago. In fact, even before they opened, it was one of the most anticipated restaurants as it’s the only multi levelled themed restaurants currently in Chennai with the entire restaurant spread across five different levels each offering its own comfort space. Needless to say, the doors never close as after dinner service on weekend nights, it transforms into the most happening place in Chennai.

Ambiance:

The restaurant itself looks very spacious and accommodating thanks to the multi-level seating that it has to offer. Be it next to the kitchen or overlooking the pond or on the balcony or if you prefer a quite space then the top level is your ideal space. Being a Sunday brunch, the restaurant had its own share of entertainment in the form of all staffs dancing periodically along with some fun for the kids with cartoon characters and a Balloon artist keeping them busy. With loads of natural light flowing into the restaurant it was a great place to be on a lazy Sunday. Also the brunch at Flying Elephant is quite unique as most of the dishes are ordered to your table with a hand full of them spread across counters where you can pick them up. This ensures that the food served is always at the right temperature.

Food:

The brunch started with soup which was called ‘Sopa De Abobora E Coco’. Yes, a very long name indeed so much that made a note of it as its too much to remember. It’s a butternut squash & coconut soup topped with some pumpkin seeds and coconut cream cilantro. Are you wondering where the chocolate? The entire soup was garnished with an Award winning pure Ecuadorian Lemon grass chocolate. The soup was just extra ordinary with the flavours of the lemon grass chocolate accentuating a good soup to and awesome one. The soup was followed by some sushi of salmon, prawns and crabs.
(Different Chocolate based Mocktails)
(Sushi)
Next up was another chocolate speciality dish from the charcoal grills section. We were served with a ‘Grilled Polenta Cheese Cake’ which was made using Ghana Dark Chocolate and served with a cute little pomegranate salad and a honey balsamic reduction. The polenta which we are used to seeing in its natural colour gave a very unique appearance in the chocolate form and had a good texture as we sliced into it. However, it was a good dish it failed to wow me. 
(Grilled Polenta Cheese Cake)
When I proceeded with the menu, I was lit up like a flood light as the next dish that I ordered was the dish I’ve been curiously waiting to savour ever since I sat at the table. And guys don’t be shocked for the dish I was waiting for was none other than the ‘Madagascar Dark Chocolate Paneer Tikka’. Paneer and Chocolate, two of my favourite ingredients paired in a single dish, what more could I ask for. The traditional paneer tikka was stuffed with a chocolate filling made of 70% Madagascar Dark Chocolate. One word to describe this creation was heavenly. I couldn’t get over it that I ordered for several repeats. It was just too good to describe. 
(Chocolate Paneer Tikka)
(Chocolate Paneer Tikka)
Once I finally decided to proceed to the next dish on the menu, I couldn’t be happier for it was another favourite use of chocolate in a savoury dish. It was a ‘Chicken Pizza topped with 88% Gold Colombian Chocolate’. Truly outstanding medley of ingredients. Another of my favourite of the day so far. To go along with the pizza, we had also ordered for another speciality dish of the brunch, a chocolate flavoured risotto. The risotto was a ‘Cauliflower & Vanilla Bean Risotto’ with 100% Gold Venezuela Chocolate. The Risotto was fabulous too with the right ratio of ingredients and brilliantly topped with some mint oil and hazelnut to elevate our senses. 
(Chicken Pizza with Chocolate)
(Cauliflower & Vanilla Bean Risotto)
Stuffed with all the chocolate inspired dishes, decided to just savour a few others from the menu. The Tenderloin steak is mention-worthy mainly due to the perfect way it was grilled so was the rotisserie chicken which was again grilled to perfection with the chicken retaining all the flavours within it. Skipped most of the other dishes as I wanted to head to my favourite section, the DESSERTS. 
(Cheese section)
(Rotisserie section) 
(Chicken all set up)
How can one miss desserts on a brunch that is completely themed around chocolate. The dessert counter felt like a wonderland for me. The amazing array of chocolate based desserts was fantabulous. The majority of the dishes were based on chocolate barring a few for the minority non-chocolate lovers. The desserts that wowed me were the ‘Silk Log’ made using 70% Madagascar chocolates and the ‘Mocha Macaroons’. A special word of mention for the Mocha Macaroon as this was the closest in all aspects to those that are from Ladurée, which is world renowned for being the best Macaroon in the world. The other desserts that were also equally good were the ‘Chocolate Rasamalai’, a ‘Chocolate Fondant’ made using Italy 66% Prendine and the ‘Banoffee Pie’.
(Chocolate Silk Log)
(Mocha Macaroons)
(Chocolate cake with Sea Salt)
(Chocolate cake with Sea Salt)
(Chocolate Rasamalai)
(Banoffee Pie)
Price:

The Non-Alcoholic Sunday brunch is priced at Rs. 2295 plus taxes with options for both alcohol and champagne also available at an additional cost.

Location:

The Flying Elephant is located at Park Hyatt Chennai in Guindy adjacent to the Raj Bhavan. I would strongly recommend a reservation for meals on weekends.

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

The food scenario in Chennai has recently seen a plethora of International brands setting up outlets presenting us with their signature specialities. The latest non-contemporary brand to join this list of International brands is ‘Menchies Frozen Yogurt’ from USA with the Chennai outlet being their second location in India. FROYO (FROzen YOgurt) as it is commonly referred to is an absolutely perfect healthy substitute to those staying away from ice creams.
(Froyo Dispenser)
There are a couple of things that makes Menchies unique in comparison to other dessert places. First and foremost, you can completely opt for a hands on experience on creating your own version of FROYO. All you need to do is pick up a waffle/cone/cup and head to the froyo dispenser and dispense your choice of flavour from about 10 flavours that are changed on a daily basis. What is more surprising is that the flavours are paired as couples such that in case you need a mix of 2 paired flavours, you do not have to make the effort to dispense each flavour as you can use the middle portion of the dispenser to provide a mix of both flavours amongst the pair. There is no restriction on how much you would like to fill your serving size as the froyo is not priced based on flavour or size rather on the total weight. So feel free to have as little or as much as your palate desires.
(Toppings Counter)
Once you have picked the flavours, next is to add toppings and sauces to enhance the flavours. They have a choice of about 16 toppings to choose from and another 6 sauces to choose from ranging from fudge to Nutella to honey. Once you have created your dream combination, you just need to take it to the staff nearby who will weigh in the froyo. I honestly believe that this methodology of serving desserts gives the customer the flexibility to have a guilt free experience as they are not bound to over consume under the disguise of not wanting to waste the same.

During my visit, I got to taste a combi of Mint & Chocolate and also another combi of Mango & Vanilla. The Mint-Chocolate froyo resembled the famous chocolate “After Eight”. The lightness of the froyo made it very easy on the palate and made us wanting for more as there was absolutely zero guilt. Having sampled the other flavours (Yes!!! You can sample as many flavours as you want before you make up your mind), I wanted to try the classic combo of Mango-Vanilla which is my opinion was the most divine combo on offer that evening. The flavour of Mango was perfect to elate it in comparison to the vanilla yet wasn’t strong such that it was over-powering. Overall, Menchies frozen yogurt is truly a great replacement for those who want to avoid ice creams without compromising much on taste or texture. 
(Mint-Chocolate Froyo)
(Strawberry Waffle Cone)
(Mango-Vanilla Froyo)
‘Menchies Frozen Yogurt’ is located on Khader Nawaz Khan Road and should cost you about ₹ 150-200 per serving depending on the quantity and toppings you choose. The charge per gram is ₹ 1.30 + taxes plus any additional for waffles or cones. 

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Monday, 10 March 2014

When it comes to movie stars, I'm sure most of us believe that they have a very strict diet regime. But have you ever wondered as to what they would indulge in on those days that they set aside to binge without any restrictions? What could be the dishes your favourite movie stars like? If you have such questions, then you should head straight to California Pizza Kitchen. The pioneers in California-styled pizzas have introduced a limited time special menu that encompasses some of Hollywood's favourite dishes. The last time I was at California Pizza Kitchen, they wooed me their amazing pizzas & pastas. You can read the review here. So when I was invited to try their Hollywood menu, the expectation were quite high.

The special menu comprised of 2 Mocktails, 5 Pizza's, 2 Pasta's, 2 Speciality dishes and 1 Dessert. Once we were showed our way to the tables, we were briefly told about the why this special menu. Apparently CPK wanted to give their Indian diners a little peep into the life of Hollywood & what their celebs eat at CPK. It was all about showing the home of Bolly/Kollywood the food of Hollywood. 
(Hawaian Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Pizza)
(Jamaican Jerk & Chicken Pizza)
(Rustica Pizza)
(Spicy Sonora Pizza)
The first dish on the table was the 'Hawaiian Chicken & Grilled Pineapple' pizza. This is one pizza that had already made it's way into Chennai since the first pizza chain opened up, probably because it is a classic recipe. The next up was 'Jamaican Jerk & Chicken' pizza. This was more of a healthier pizza option as there were ample amount of spices, a unique pizza sauce, roasted peppers and the famous Jamaican Jerk Chicken. This was followed by the only vegetarian pizza in the special menu, the 'Rustica Pizza'. This ain't the same old Italian rustica but was more of a take by CPK made up of grilled zucchini, white mushrooms and olives over a very very thin crust. The penultimate pizza which was the ultimate pizza for me was the 'Spicy Sonora Pizza'. This was probably also the most favoured pizza amongst all of us. The sauce is a lime cream sauce with roasted corn & black bean salsa and some spicy smoked chicken along with cilantro. The last pizza to be served was 'Deli Style Bistro Pizza' which I had to skip as it contained bacon.
(California Peri Peri Chicken)
(Spinach & Paneer Malfati With Milan Sauce)
Once the pizza shower was over, we felt a quench and decided to try out their mocktails. Against the choices of 'Mango Mint Ecstasy' & 'Pineappe Twister', I went for the Ecstasy. Although the flavour of mango was somewhat present, the mint had a very overpowering effect thereby making it a minty drink. The next mains to be served were from the specials section. The 'California Peri Peri Chicken' was again a crowd favourite. The boneless chicken was grilled in their secret California peri peri marinade and then baked in a creamy sauce. We loved the dish so much that we went to extent of asking for one more serving of the same. This was followed up by the vegetarian special which was the 'Spinach & Paneer Malfati with Milan Sauce'. This was a Paneer-Spinach Gnocchi cooked in a creamy caramelized onion sauce served with roasted corn kernels and flavoured with Garlic and Feta Cheese. 
(Spaghetti Carretierra)
(Mediterranean Roasted Mushroom Spaghettini)
(California Delight)
The first pasta of the evening was the 'Spaghetti Carretierra' which was yet another CPK's twist of the Italian classic. Although it doesn't have any chunks of meat, this is a non vegetarian pasta as the creamy sauce is made use chicken broth. It also comes with bocconcini which are small ball shaped mozzarella cheese. The alternate vegetarian pasta on the menu is the 'Mediterranean Roasted Mushroom Spaghettini' made of roasted mushrooms, garlic, chillies, Mediterranean herbs and tossed in olive oil. It tasted similar to the pasta Aglio e Olio. To finish the evening, Hollywood's special dessert was served. Aptly named 'California Delight', it was a trio of white chocolate, strawberry & dark chocolate mousse with cranberries along with some almond praline to give some crunch.

A meal for two should cost about ₹ 1500 and the Hollywood Special Menu is up until the 16th of March, 2014.

California Pizza Kitchen in located on the ground floor of the swanky Phoenix Market City in Velachery.

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

(For the Love of Coffee Platter)
Who doesn't loves having pastries during mid-day breaks, more so if you can tag along a few friends for a small get-together. On the other hand if you are the one who would prefer some serene and calm from all the bustling activities that your busy work day throws at you and all that defines a perfect break is to spend some me time listening to music and munching away some sinful desserts, this could be for you too.

Chennai being synonymous with Coffee, Paprika the all-day dining restaurant at Courtyard by Marriott has introduced a new offering called “For the Love of Coffee”. Available throughout the day, this concept brings you 5 Classic Éclairs paired with a choice of coffee from some of the finest coffees around the world.

The Éclairs that form the platter are
  •          Classic Chocolate Éclair
  •          Mixed Berry Éclair
  •          Dark Chocolate and Orange Éclair
  •         Chocolate and Almond Éclair
  •         Salted Caramel and Coffee Éclair

(Éclair Platter)
(Dark Chocolate & Orange Éclair)
(Classic Chocolate Éclair & Coffee Éclair)

(Mixed Berry Éclair)
(Chocolate & Almond  Éclair)
The Éclairs are all served together on a single platter and are quite a bite size. My favourite of the lot was the Choco-Almond one and the Coffee éclair. I just couldn’t resist with one such that I flicked another one from my friend’s plate.

On the other hand, the coffee options are
  •          Kumbakonam
  •          Colombian Supremo
  •          Ethiopian Sidamo
  •          Rajgiri Pearl
  •          Coorg Blend
Having savoured the Indian coffee at various occasions earlier, I decided to go with the ‘Ethiopian Sidamo’. As is well known, Ethiopia is commonly known as the birthplace of Coffee, so why not try some coffee that was grown and harvested from the birthplace itself. The coffee felt very light yet packed a good punch of flavour. Together with the éclairs, the evening felt like a full-fledged dessert expedition.

The ‘For the Love of Coffee’ is available all day at Paprika, located on the Ground Floor of Courtyard by Marriott on Mount Road.

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

For those of us who lived in the Europe, the concept of Pub food would bring in vivid memories of our experiences there. Personally for me, some of the great food memories of my time in the UK are characterized by the food that used to be part of our weekend feast. Often then ever, it evidently ends up in something that is available only in the Pubs. But be assured that food in British Pubs are one of the best pub foods you will ever get to savour.

Having been away from the pub food scene for quite a few years now, was uber excited when I came to know that Courtyard by Marriott was organizing a Pub Fest. When I was told that it is no ordinary pub food but instead a celebration of British Pub Food, I was determined to visit. The visit happened soon and was I not disappointed. The dishes were so authentic that it took me back to my old days in the British Land.
Upon taking our seats, we were met by Chef Sridhar, the Executive Chef at the Courtyard by Marriott. Having a great amount of culinary experience in the Europe, Chef Sridhar came about the pub food concept to showcase the same to the people of Chennai. My expectations were quite high especially on dishes like Chips and Pies. The first dish that was served to us was the 'Vegetable Burger with Hand Cut Chips'. The other vegetable loving friend savoured the burger while I was busy savouring the chips. They were one of the finest chips I've had especially being triple cooked. The advantage of being triple cooked is that the flavours are all preserved while the chips is still crunchy and wholesome. This was followed by the 'Vegetable Lasagna' accompanied with some Garlic Bread. I gave a miss to this dish as I was eagerly awaiting the dishes to follow.
(Vegetable Burger with Hand Cut Chips)
(Vegetable Lasagna with Garlic Bread)
Next up was one of my all time favourite pub food, the Cottage Pie. We were served a dual dish on a single platter with a sizeable portion of 'Cottage Pie and Mashed Potato' and 'Lamb Liver in an Onion Gravy'. The first mouthful of Cottage pie threw me instantly tumbling down the memory lane. It felt like I was dining in some restaurant in the UK. The blend of flavours and consistency were much much better than some of the best pubs there too. They meat was succulent and was filled with flavours and the mash topped it all. Being aversive to Offals, I generously donated my share of the liver to another friend of mine. But I did have a go at the gravy and the veggies. The gravy was again packed with flavours but my only regret was not being able to have the meat. The vegetarian version of the pie was a 'Onion, Cheese & Potato Pie'. Having tasted the Cottage Pie, I was in no mood to split the after taste and hence gave the veg pie a skip. Having thoroughly enjoyed the hand cut chips, we requested the chef if we can have another serving which was obliged in a grandiose manner. This was again a clean sweep.
(Cottage Pie & Lamb Liver)
(Onion, Cheese & Potato Pie)
(Hand Cut Chips)
(Hand Cut Chips)
With the mains done, the desserts were slowly reaching our table to our awe and wonder. The desserts arrived in style and by style, I mean real style. They were so creatively plated that we couldn't resist tasting all of them. The first dessert of the day was the 'Apple Crumble Pie'. This was a de-constructed version of the traditional apple pie. It resembled a lot like an apple muffin. This was followed by the a very unique yet weird named dish called 'Spotted Dick'. Yes that's why I mentioned weird. But trust me, this was the best dish of the evening. It is quite complicated to describe but imagine a dish that is a combination of a cupcake, muffin and a scone. This served with some thick custard made one helluva dessert. The next up was the 'Treacle Tart' topped with a cone shaped tuile. The last dessert and dish of the evening was a 'Chocolate Pudding' which was thick and chocolaty with some generous shaving of nuts. 
(Apple Crumble Pie)
(Spotted Dick with Custard)
(Treacle Tart)
(Chocolate Pudding)
Overall I had an amazing time tasting some of the traditional British Pub food that has been recreated true to the sense of the original ones. The British Pub Fest at Courtyard by Marriott is on till the end of November and is priced at ₹ 800 plus tax for Beer, Mains & Dessert.

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Thursday, 31 October 2013

For anyone across the globe familiar with Indian cuisine, the first thing that strikes their mind when you mention the word "Thali" is the large variety of dishes served on a single plate. This is different from a platter as the Thali is not shared amongst others on the table and is is usually ordered one per person and often forms a complete meal own its own. The usual components of an Indian Thali consists of 3-4 different currys, some short eats, Indian breads, rice and desserts. The Thali's do differ dramatically between North and South India and savouring one is an experience all by itself. 

Now, if the Thali's are so accustomed to Indian cuisine then take your imagination to the next level to what could be available at Tuscana on Chamiers, an Italian restaurant based in Chennai. I'm sure you might have guessed it by now. Yes for the first time in Chennai, we now have an Italian Thali. This innovate concept was the brain work of those behind Tuscana on Chamiers. In the right spirit of what a Thali should constitute, the Italian Thali available here have all the elements a conventional one would have such as salad, starters, mains & desserts. 

On offer are 5 different Thali menu with 2 options for the vegetable lovers and 3 for the carnivores out there. Being a group of three in which I was the only meat lover, I decided to go in for the Thali with Chicken as the main course while my peers decided to order both the vegetarian Thali so as to have a complete experience. While we were waiting for our Thali's to make their appearance in style, we were informed that Tuscana on Chamiers has also started catering to the Jain community by making Jain friendly pizzas. Now thats a big step for such a restaurant as it is quite challenging to dish out a Jain dish without losing the flavours that you would get in the regular version.
(Stuffed Capsicum - Jain Style)
(Another Jain dish)
(Jain Pizza)
(Jain Pizza)
After a few chit chats, the Thali's made their grand appearance. The moment I saw my Thali, I was taken back with the large portion sizes for each of the component. They were humongous and big a big eater, felt it would be too much even for me. My Thali had a 'Pan Seared Chicken Escalope' for mains and they were accompanied by a portion of garlic bread, salad, pasta and a dessert. The dessert was an 'Apple Pie with Vanilla Sauce'. Savouring the Thali was an wholesome experience in total as the different elements provided the right oomph factor for a complete meal. The vegetarian Thalis had Risotto Cakes & Crepes for their main dishes while the accompaniments were a soup of mushroom or tomato along with a portion of garlic bread. The other desserts that were part of the Thali options are the dense Chocolate Fudge cake and a walnut cake with honey syrup.
(Chicken Thali)
(Vegetarian Thali with Crepes)
(Vegetarian Thali with Risotto Cakes)
How can one visit Tuscana and not savour their amazing Tiramisu. And precisely for this reason even though we had reached our threshold, we went ahead and ordered for a portion of the yummylicious Tiramisu. As always it never disappointed us. Along with the Tiramisu we were also given another fantastic dessert available here, the Panacotta. To end up the evening, we were told we had a surprise dish. When it brought into the room, all of us had to heave a heavy sigh. It was a dessert pizza. The base was spread with Nutella topped with caramelized bananas and chocolate chips. With absolutely no more room for anything related food, we still couldn't give up the temptation and dived into it straight. It was just mind-blowing. If it was served earlier on during the evening, I'm sure I would have gorged upon two such pizzas. Just can't wait to go back for another one.
(Panacotta)
(Tiramisu)
(Tiramisu)
(Chocolate Pizza)
So if you need a twist to the contemporary Thali that you have been savouring for all these years, head straight to Tuscana on Chamiers to try their twist on Thalis. The Thalis are in the price range of ₹650 to ₹850 plus taxes. But mind you, it is a complete and filling meal so its worth every penny spent.

Tuscana on Chamiers is located on Chamiers Road opposite to Hotel Park Sheraton.

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