Showing posts with label home made. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home made. Show all posts

Friday, 26 September 2014

What does one think of when the name of a hill station is suddenly mentioned? It would definitely be the weather, the scenic beauty and the flora & fauna that surrounds such places. But when it comes to foodies, we tend to vary slightly and think of the tea/coffee plantations and the selections that one might find there. This is primarily because the food is often an adapted cuisine from the lower places. 

This was my impression until very recently. I stumbled across a food festival that was being celebrated at ‘Taj Club House – Chennai’ centred on a cuisine which so far was just the name of a hill station for me. Yes folks, their restaurant ‘Clubhouse’ has a ‘Kodava Food Festival’ that delivers some mouth-watering delicacies from the hill district of Coorg. Chef Naresh, their cuisine specialist from ‘Vivanta by Taj – Madikeri’ has pitched tent in Chennai to bring us a true blend of Kodava dishes.
(Meen Cutlet)
(Kari Bale Cutlet)
(Koli Chuttadh)
 The evening started out with a variety of cutlets namely the ‘Meen Cutlet’, ‘Kari Bale Cutlet’ and the ‘Kummu Barthad’. As the name suggests, the first was a mixed seafood mince made into a cutlet and shallow fried. The Kari Bale were roasted banana patties while the Kummu Barthad were juicy with chilli spiced mushrooms. All three though being clearly distinct on the platter resembled a close similarity in the way they were cooked. Moving away from the cutlets, we were also served with ‘Koli Chuttadh’ which were good portion sized morsels of chicken well-seasoned with spices and then griddled to perfection. 
(Attukal Soup)
With the appetizers done, next arrived the famous ‘Attukal Soup’ which is the traditional peppered lamb shank soup. This particular soup is like a biryani and can take multiple avatars depending on the person who is preparing it. The variant of spices that one uses depends on their preference and how it has been handed over time to them. I found the soup here to be delicately spiced to hit the right notch unlike others that are either too hot or too bland. 
(The Mains)
The mains that followed were quite simple in stature but strong on flavours. The curries comprised of a simple ‘Koli Curry’, ‘Molai Kuru’ and ‘Toppu Palaya’ while the accompaniments were ‘Tarkari Pulao’, ‘Kadam Puttu’ and ‘Akki Ooti’. The Koli curry was a chicken curry cooked with ground spices and worked on with cream and coconut oil. The chicken had a strong infused flavour that clearly highlighted the dish. The Molai Kuru seemed to be the perfect dish for those who are health freaks as it packed a punch of healthy sprouts well made as a dry curry. The Toppu Palaya was a traditional Kodava curry made using double beans and exotic spices. 

The Tarkari pulao was the Kodava take on how a Veg Pulao needs to be and mind I say that it infact was quite interesting. The other two accompaniments for the evening were both relatively well known to me as they were similar to the ones that usually forms part of the Kerala cuisine. The Kadam puttu is very similar to the tall cylindrical puttu that we get in Kerala while the Akki Ooti was again very similar to the pathiris while being slightly thicker. This so reminded me of traditional meal days at home when such delicacies are home cooked. But the fare that evening was as good as home food can be. 
(Cardamom Custard)
To bring closure to this wonderful trip down Coorg’s traditional cuisine, we were served with a ‘Cardamom Custard’. This was quite tricky as there was a clear battle between the senses. The sight kept beating that it was a Caramel Custard while the palate kept rebelling because of the strong infusion of the Cardamom flavour. The dessert was over before the battle could be completed but the verdict definitely is that this is a must try as the intentional overdose of cardamom is to bring the Kodava feel into the dessert. The overall experience was clearly a pleasant on the palate.

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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.

P.S: Unfortunately my email subscription list had some bug because of which the updates were not getting delivered. It has now been resolved, request you to kindly click Subscribe by email on the right hand side at the top of this page to re-subscribe to keep yourself updated on new reviews.

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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Talk about chocolates and tell me who doesn't love them. Gone are the days when chocolates were associated only with children. It is very common now for everyone to indulge in the fantasies of chocolates. Today's blog is about a sweet's story that is 'The Sweet Story'.

It was a regular get together of a few foodies at Pizza Republic and assuming that I would be indulging only on pizzas, I was at Pizza Republic totally unprepared for what was in store. In due course of the evening, I was informed that today would be the launch of a new home venture by Chestha Malik. Known as 'The Sweet Story', it indeed led to a very sweet story about how the rest of the evening transpired. 
(Rocky Road)
'The Sweet Story' is an attempt at making different dishes mostly with a single core ingredient. Almost every offering from The Sweet Story makes use of this ingredient in one form or the other. I'm sure you would have guessed that wonderful ingredient by now, yes Chocolates.

After having relocated to Chennai from New Delhi, Chestha Malik and her husband have followed their long time passion of sharing joy by means of dishing out different dishes made up of chocolates. The concept behind The Sweet Story  is that you can not only order for home made chocolates but take it a step further by also ordering home made desserts based on chocolates. 

Arriving a little behind schedule, this team of husband and wife instantly got on with the preparations for the launch of The Sweet Story. While the foodies were anticipating what was in store for us, Mr. Ramki from Pizaa Republic delighted us with another of his specialty. Keeping in theme, he dished out a very unique Dessert Pizza with sauce of chocolate and other sweet toppings (More on than at a later post).

(Dessert Pizza/Courtesy: Bharani Shivakumar)
Once the offerings from The Sweet Story were aesthetically arranged on a make shift display table, all we foodies pounced upon each other to see what was so special. Boy were we excited. The entire table was filled with delicacies that had the chocolate stamped all over it. Even a chocolate hater would have converted to an ardent chocolate lover. No wonder Chocolates are aphrodisiac. This was the moment I truly regretted for not having my camera with me. But that did not stop me as the spread was so tempting and a review worthy. So I ended up borrowing the camera from Chestha's husband to start with the clicks. 
(The Sweet Story)
To begin with, let me first list all the desserts that were presented to us.
  • Rocky Road
  • Fruit Trifle
  • Boozy Coffee Pana Cotta
  • Watermelon & Blackcurrant Cup Cakes
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Chilly Chocolates
  • Berry filled Chocolates
  • Sweet Hearts
  • Chocolate enrobed fresh Strawberries
  • Marzipan soft centered chocolates in Water Melon, Blackcurrant & Caramel
  • Ginger Pineapple Pudding
(Boozy Coffee Pana Cotta)
(Cup Cakes)
To start with, the Rocky Road was just as the name suggests, a real rocky road with a different taste with every bite. The Rocky Road was also the name banner for The Sweet Story. The Fruit Trifle was a nice dosage of fruits with a small quantity of chocolate and was indeed very refreshing after the pizzas. The Boozy Coffee Pana Cotta were infact boozy. It had an almost impeccable balance between coffee and chocolate and was served in a beautiful miniature cup. Though didn't personally taste the cupcakes, heard from peers that it was mind blowing. 
(Chilly Chocolate & Berry filled Chocolate)
(Chocolate Mousse)
(Chocolate enrobed Strawberries)
Coming to the Chocolate Mousse, it was so rich and creamy that I had instantly fell in love with it. It will probably be one of the best mousses I've ever had. In regards to the different flavored chocolates, the chilly really took me by surprise as this was the first time I was indulging in one. It had a tinge of the chilly which was complimented by the smoothness of the chocolate. The Marzipan's were really chocolaty and the caramel one that I had was very subtle with the taste of caramel along with chocolate. The Chocolate enrobed fresh Strawberries was probably the closest competitor to the Chocolate Mousse. I guess that reveals how yummy they were. The strawberries were not too sour but were of the right taste. After this enormous indulgence with the different chocolates, decided to skip the pudding. I heard good opinions about this too from the other foodies gathered there.

If just reading the review made you yearn for chocolate, then wait no further. You can also begin your indulgence in yummy varieties of chocolates immediately. All you need to do is mail Chestha Malik at or call her on +91 98405 99101. You can also check out their facebook page at

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