Showing posts with label ice creams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice creams. Show all posts

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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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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Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Over the last few decades, a lot has changed in South India excepting a handful. These changes have bridged the gap that existed between the different cities and made us more united. But there are certain things which still strongly differentiate the four southern states. Standing strong amongst this list is the different cuisines of the individual states down south. No amount of evolution can change this scenario as being unique is their speciality trait. And if you have had the opportunity of tasting all the four different cuisines, then I’m sure you will be in agreement to my opinion of how each cuisine are so close to each other yet unique in their own ways.
(Exquisite Cutlery)
If such complexity exists amongst these cuisines, then imagine how challenging would it be to have a restaurant serving out such authentic South Indian cuisine. Now multiply this complexity manifolds for the restaurant I’m talking about is no ordinary restaurant and have been doing this amazing job of bringing cuisines from the four states devotedly since 1996. More so over, being part of the prestigious Taj Group of Hotels, this restaurant has to ensure its standards are the highest amongst the lot. For those who guessed it by now and for the others wondering which restaurant it is, I’m talking about none other than our very own ‘Southern Spice’ located at Taj Coromandel, Chennai. An epitome of the amazing work crafted in the kitchens of ‘Southern Spice’ stands testimonial in the fact that it finds itself a place in the “Top 100 Restaurants of the World”.

Having been to ‘Southern Spice’ on different occasions earlier, this was my first visit post their massive makeover that happened in 2011-2012. From the outside, I wondered to myself as the old traditional entrance was replaced by a sleek modern pathway. But was I not surprised when the pathway ended. The restaurant looked more grandeur now than before. It resembled like a Mandap of a carefully crafted Southern Royal Palace. The carvings on the roof were phenomenal so were the shiny silver pillars. However one thing that has now changed was the absence of live performance. The traditional dance performances that used to take place were one of the reasons for preferring Southern Spice during the earlier days.
(Exquisite Cutlery)
All the impressions that resulted out of the recent makeover culminated in the best possible way when I was told that today would be a degustation menu aka the “Maha Virundhu”. Now “Maha Virundhu” is something that royal families usually host to honour their guests. True to its theme, we were pampered from the start in a grandiose and royal manner. Being led to our private dining room, I was amazed by the cutlery that was laid out on our table. In coherence with the menu we were to taste today, even the cutlery had royal all over them as they were a mix of gold and silver plated cutleries and plates. After all the brief introductions, it was revealed by the Chef that we were to taste a 30 dish “Maha Virundhu”. I was aghast at this as this would be probably the first time, I’ll be savouring so many different dishes at one go.
(Refreshing Towels)
With all said and done, we were being prepared for the fare that awaited us. Wet towels to freshen up ourselves was first up. This was followed by the first dish of the evening, a small idly shaped flour ball with  a stuffing that consisted of dried raisins and other dry fruits. This was followed by two welcome drinks, the ‘Mysore Rasam’ and ‘Ginger Punch’. The rasam was unique as it had a tinge of coconut along with some jiggery that made it distinctive. There was no end to the number of servings we had of this amazing drink. For those wondering, Rasam did start out as a soup/drink and by evolution found itself as a side for steamed rice. But even today, at interiors of the southern states it is still had as a drink rather than as an accompaniment for rice. While we were busy gulping down the drinks, some crunchiness was added to the table in the form of ‘Vadagams/Poppadums/Crackers’ along with a deluge of Chutney’s.
(Stuffed Dumpling)
(Mysore Rasam)
(Ginger Punch)
(Vadagams/Poppadums/Crackers)
With our palate now all set for the bombardment of dishes to follow, the starters quickly starting coming up. First up was the ‘Melagu Adai’. It is a lentil pan cake that has a neutral taste to kick start the ‘Maha Virundhu’. Next was the ‘Banana Dosa’ which was an amazingly soft banana battered up and deep fried with flavours of jaggery and cardamom. This was followed by the ‘Injipuli Koshambri’ which was the south Indian take on salads. It comprised of tempered lentils on a bed of lettuce with a dressing of ginger-tamarind yoghurt. Once the greens were over, it was now time for the meat lover’s feast. Next up were the ‘Denji Rawa Fry’, ‘Kori Kempu’, ‘Vaigai Kari Sukka’ & the ‘Kair katti Yerachi Kola Urundai’. The ‘Denji Rawa Fry’ was one of my favourite dish and was the second time I was having the same meat in a span of few weeks. It is a semolina crusted soft shell crab which is deep fried until crispy. The soft shell crabs are a rarity in India and the one’s we had were imported. The ‘Kori Kempu’ were a bit similar to our regular chicken fried dishes but the seasonings had a great mix of chillies and hand pounded spices that gave it a unique flavouring when marinated with yoghurt and fried. Sukka being an all-time favourite for me, I was just anticipating if they would be serving it. It was exactly just then that we were served up with the ‘Vaigai Kari Sukka’. The dish made its entrance with the symbolic aroma that accompanies any sukka. The lamb was cooked perfect and had an amazing spice flavour. The last amongst the starters was the ‘Kair katti Yerachi Kola Urundai’. This is a unique dish whose recipe was donated to the kitchen of Southern Spice by one of the biggest families in Tamil Movie Industry. Yes, this is a household recipe of the great ‘Shivaji Ganesan’. It was both a delight as well as an honour to have this fennel flavoured minced meat dumplings wrapped in a banana fibre. The meat was amazingly crispy which made me wonder how it retained its shape until the fibres were removed.
(Melagu Adai)
(Banana Dosa)
(Injipuli Koshambri)
(Denji Rawa Fry)
(Kori Kempu)
(Vaigai Kari Sukka)
(Kair katti Yerachi Kola Urundai
With the starters all done it was now time to get into the Thali mode. Thali is the traditional way of serving food on a plantain leaf with all the curries and sides placed in small quantities and the center area for the rice and breads. Well the thali at Southern Spice’s ‘Maha Virundhu’ was a bit different for the leaf was replaced by a gold plated leaf plate. The curries that made up the ‘Maha Virundhu Thali’ were ‘Manathakkali Vathal Kozhambu’, which was a strong tamarind curry made with black nightshade berried. This was followed by ‘Arachivitta Sambar’, a traditional curry in almost all South Indian thali’s made with lentils, stone grounded spices, drumsticks and Madras onions. The next on the plate was the ‘Pookose Urlai Korma’, a combination of cauliflower and potato in an herbed coconut and cashew gravy. Following this was the ‘Kadala Gassi’ which is stewed black chickpeas in a toasted coconut chilli curry. Next up was ‘Pachakari Stew’, a mix of vegetables and potatoes with onion and green chillies simmered on some rich coconut milk to make the stew.

With all the vegetable curries gone, the first amongst the non-vegetarian curries was the ‘Royallu Iguru’ which consisted of some amazing prawns flavoured with a special Andhra spice mix and simmered in a rich coconut and cashew gravy. The next dish was also a prawn curry from the Kanada cuisine named ‘Mangalore Yetti Curry’. It was a flavourful prawn curry in a mix of coconut, chillies and grounded Mangalorean spices. This was followed by the ‘Scallop Pepper Stew’ which was a first for me. Not an avid sea food lover barring prawns and crab, I have never actually pursued the path to try out the different offerings. But boy was I not delighted, the scallops had a unique texture to them by itself and the black pepper infused coconut milk nailed the dish. The final gravy that made to my thali was the ‘Kozhi Malliperalan’, a speciality from Kuttanad. It was a cilantro flavoured chicken stew with succulent pieces of chicken. The one gravy that I gave a miss was the ‘Sankaraa Meen Kozhambu’ which I understood from my friends was a red snapper in a curry infused with fenugreek, tamarind and tomato. The accompaniments for the Thali were the ‘Asparagus Paruppu Usili’ and the ‘Zucchini Khaara Poriyal’. The sides for the thali comprised of ‘Parotta’, ‘Idiyappam’ aka Steamed String Hoppers, ‘Appam’ aka Rice Hoppers & some Steamed Rice with the traditional Paruppu Podi & Ghee.
(The Grandiose Thali)
Also on the offering was the ‘Bhejwada Kodi Biryani’ from Andhra Pradesh, a spiced chicken pilaf made with fresh cilantro and mint that provided a good spiced variant to the regular biryani that is available in Tamil Nadu. To sum it up all, the final dish was the ‘Thayir Sadam’, a must have at the end of any South Indian meal.

With the gastronomy tour that our palate had already encountered, we could just not wait for the desserts to hit the table. But then before the desserts were served came a very surprising drink. A ‘Curry Leaf Concoction’ was provided to us with an option for an alcoholic twist for those who preferred. Personally it was a complete new outlook to me. I used to be the kind of person who leaves aside the curry leaves during my childhood and here I am drinking a concoction made entirely of curry leaf. It was amazing a provided a must needed refreshment after the array of dishes that were served.
(Curry Leaf Concoction)
The line-up of desserts started with the ‘Godhi Bella Ice Cream’. It was a completely new flavour devised in house made with broken wheat, jaggery and banana to create a very creamy yet textural ice cream. This was followed up by the ‘Elaneer Payasam’, which the Chef revealed was from the house of the Mammens, the family behind MRF. It was a milky pudding made from chilled tender coconut. The final dish to commemorate an end to the “Maha Virundhu” was indeed a big surprise. When the dish was being brought on to our table, we were all wondering that the dessert looked amazing but nowhere resembled to an Indian dish leave alone South India. But the surprise was locked within the dessert. Named the ‘Chocolate Purnam Mousse’, the Chef asked us to break the top of the mousse to unlock the surprise. We were all taken aback as to how such a western looking dessert was indeed completely South Indian. The inside resembled almost similar to the Panjamirtham that is given out at temples. For those still not sure, it is a mixture of coconut, lentil and jaggery. This mixture was exotically filled in a chocolate mousse to bring out such an amazingly looking as well as tasting dessert. This was indeed a fitting climax to the ‘Maha Virundhu’ that was offered to us at Southern Spice.
(Godhi Bella Ice Cream)
(Chocolate Purnam Mousse)
The Thali’s at Southern Spice start from INR 2000 per person and can go upwards of up to INR 12000 per person. The higher priced thali’s also have exotica wines paired with the food. The ‘Maha Virundhu’ experience offered today is priced at INR 5000. They are more than happy to create a customized menu depending on your budget and preference. So if it’s a truly royal experience that you would like to have for that special occasion or to showcase the true tradition and authenticity of South Indian food to your friends and families from India and abroad, Southern Spice would be the perfect restaurant to do so.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

 When I was made aware that a leading international brand of Ice-Cream is all set to open their lounge in Chennai, I was curious and started my guesses. We already have Baskin Robbins 31 and Movenpick. I was hoping that the new one should be one of favourites, either Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry's. When my guess was confirmed, I was ecstatic to know that my favorite premium brand, Haagen Dazs was opening shortly. Where else can such a brand make a forte, yes the luxury road of Chennai - Khader Nawaz Khan Road. 

(Yummilicious...)
More good news started to pour in as the opening date was announced. Being part of the Chennai Food Guide bloggers team, we were invited for the launch. I was joyous beyond control. Then came the big thud. I had a very important engagement that day. There was no way I could have skipped it to attend the launch. Neither could I attend both as, the programme I had to attend was close to Chengalpet. With a deep sense of sorrow, I had to wait for atleast 1 more day to savor their yummy sundaes. But as it always happens, this another day never came. Was held up with some thing or the other and the days constantly grew more and more. 

One fine evening, I was determined to go on a kind of shop hopping. With a restaurant showcase event planned in Velachery, I had to spend close to 2 hours without any work as Velachery was close to workplace and made no sense to go home and come back. An idea suddenly popped and I sent an invite to all those coming for the showcase, if they would be interested in coming to visit the Phoenix Mall. Aa & Av instantly agreed and the rest had some work. So Aa, Av and myself met at Phoenix Mall and looked around this massive place finally settling in for a cup of coffee. Post which we headed to the showcase. The showcase was kind of not out of the roof and some of our palates were not sufficed by the desserts that were offered. Instantly another devilish idea, why not head some place for dessert. As different people had different routes back home, Aa, Av and myself were all one after the other. So we instantly decided to go to Haagen Dazs as Av and myself were already craving. Having gone for the launch, Aa was already looking forward to the next time at Haagen Dazs. 

(No Ice cream for poor mosquito)
Bang in two different vehicles we promptly arrive at Haagen Dazs close to 11 pm and the place was buzzing with people even though it was a weekday. First impressions, the lounge was beautiful and gave you that instant elite factor. Going through their exhaustive menu while sampling some of the ice-creams, we decided to go for a selection of 3 sundaes that formed a unique family on their menu. If i'm correct we ordered for a Strawberry Sundae for Aa, Cookies & Cream Sundae for Av and Chocolate Chip Sundae with Chocolate Chip ice cream replaced with Creme Brulee for myself. While we were waiting for the sundaes to arrive, we had to keep a few mosquitoes to ourselves for company. Av had to swat a couple of them something which we least expected to do in a place such as a Haagen Dazs lounge. Anyways, our orders were brought to us in about 10-15 mins. They were a true visual treat. They were worth every penny spent. 
As we started digging into our sundaes, Aa and myself realized something a miss. Our sundaes had been mixed up, probably because I had requested for a change in the ice cream. Aa's Strawberry ice-cream came with a chocolate sauce while my Creme Brulee came with a strawberry sauce. We immediately brought it to the staff's attention and they were apologetic for the goof up and instantly replaced the sundaes. Hats off to their customer service. I guess credits goes to the owner as well as to their manager. The ice-creams tasted divine and the sundaes were frankly self sufficient for someone like me who has a big appetite. All of us thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Haagen Dazs excepting for the mosquito menance. At a later date, I had the opportunity to speak with their owner and had explained to him about the mosquitoes. He promised to look into it on a priority and eliminate the issue. 
(Creme Brulee Sundae)
(Strawberry Sundae)
(Cookies & Cream Ice Cream)
The total bill for 3 amazing and filling sundaes came to about INR 1100/-. Aa was very courteous to extend a INR 1000/- gift voucher she received during their launch and thereby giving us such a wonderful treat. Thanks Aa. 

Haagen Dazs is located at Khader Nawaz Khan Road on the same building as Manmandir and Cascade. 


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Saturday, 8 December 2012


As the weekend approached, it was decided to hit a Thai restaurant for the Saturday dinner. With many options now available for Thai cuisine in Chennai, we decided to try the newly opened ‘Grand Siam’ at RK Salai. Being a regular at another Thai stand-alone restaurant, we were pretty apprehensive about trying a new place but having sampled Chef Murali’s produce at his other restaurant ‘CHAO’, I thought the gamble could play out well. Indeed, it did excel our expectations.

Knowing it was a Saturday evening and restaurants in Chennai can get crowded, we arrived promptly at the time we had made our reservations. The front-house was very welcoming and the interiors were given an oriental touch with loads of wooden furniture’s and wood carvings. An enormous Buddha fountain statue welcomed us into the dining area. 
The menu card was promptly placed on the table and the opening page had a very interesting story about how Thai cuisine and Indian cuisine have so much in common and so on. It talked about the history and ancient kingdoms which were responsible for the similarities in both the cuisines. The menu was exhaustive and was intricately detailed in what the dish constituted. This I feel is very important in oriental restaurants mainly because most of the dishes are described by their original names which can get us really confusing on what the dish comprises of.

First to hit the table was “Mien Khem”. Though have had this several times at other Thai restaurants, never knew the reason behind why it was served first. Upon enquiry, I was told by Chef Murali that, it is the Thai tradition of welcoming guests for food. It consists of all 5 flavours that are used in Thai cuisine. This was followed by the family’s all-time favourite Thai soup, “Tom Yum” soup. As usual, they had ordered the “Tom Yum Goong”, where ‘Goong’ means ‘Prawn”. The soup was extremely authentic and had a perfect blend of spices. Most of the times I have had this at other places, it is either too peppery that my eyes turn watery or it is bland with no spiciness at all. But it was just perfect to my liking this time.
(Mein Khem)
(Tom Yum Goong)
Following the soup, our next order came in. Called “Pla Tod Samunp”, it was a Raw Pumpkin salad served with dry fish cakes. The salad was both juicy as well as crunchy while the fish cakes had a tinge of the fish smell on it. I personally am not a fan of the fish variety in sea food mainly because of the smell associated with it. Due to this, I had to ignore the fish cakes while the salad was sumptuous. 
(Pla Tod Samunp)
Once the soup and salads were served, we were then dished up with the starters of the evening. We once again went with an all-time favourite starter, the “Gai Hor Baiteay”. This is a very common delicacy in Thai cuisine and is most often served either in chicken or fish. This time around we had gone in for the chicken version. The chicken is first fried and is then wrapped in Pandan leaves, and cooked. The dish is served with the leaves still wrapped over the meat to ensure the complete flavouring is infused into the chicken. The chicken was juicy, moist and had almost no oil residual on it. The next starter was “Pu-Nim Tod Nam”, which was a first time order amongst the family. It was a dish that was suggested to us by the manager and decided to go for it. It was a Soft Shell Crab cooked in a Spicy Chilli Paste. Having heard of a soft shell crab for the first time, was anxious to know if it can be eaten directly with the shell. I was reassured that it can definitely be. Immediately after my first mouthful, my verdict was out. It was just too good to be described. Never knew soft shell crabs were such a delight to the taste buds. Though they tasted similar to chicken, you could still make out a distinctive taste as you bite in the shells. The spicy paste was indeed a bit spicy but added to the overall glory of the dish.
(Gai Hor Baiteay)
(Pu-Nim Tod Nam)
With the starters done, we decided to go light on the mains. We ordered the “Jungle Fried Rice”, which we knew needed no sides as the rice itself would be packed with loads of flavours. It was as expected, the rice was indeed full of flavours and really kept up our expectations. It wasn’t too chilly unlike the previous time I had it at another place. We were also served with a Stir Fry Vegetable, complimentary courtesy Chef Murali, which livened up the flavourings of the Jungle Fried Rice. 
(Jungle Fried Rice)
(Stir Fry Vegetables)
Next on the table was the dessert. When it comes to desserts, it is always a riot ordering them. I often end up finding many a desserts that I would like to taste but eventually have to settle at the best choice at that moment. This time it was the regular “Tub Tim Grob” and the new try at Grand Siam, the “Shankhaya Fakthong”. For those who are not familiar with “Tub Tim Grob”, it is a must try at any Thai restaurant. It is basically Water Chestnuts soaked in Coconut Milk and chilled. No one can stop with just one serving. The other dessert of the day, the ‘Shankhaya Fakthong’ was a pumpkin custard served with Coconut Ice cream atop it. The pumpkin custard was more like a rocky road. It had a mixed texture of both crunchiness and smoothness. Overall it made a great combination together with the Coconut Ice Cream which tasted really fresh. 
(Tub Tim Grob)
(Shankhaya Fakthong)
Having tasted at many other Thai restaurants in Chennai, I personally feel Grand Siam is a good competitor to most of them. With regards to their pricing, they seem to be a tad lower priced in comparison to the other restaurants in their league. The evening dinner bill for the two of us was around ₹ 2200/-.

Overall, if you feel jaded with the same Thai restaurant you have been visiting for a couple of years now, Grand Siam can be a good alternate and is a must visit at least once.

Grand Siam is located at RK Salai (Cathedral Road, under the Mylapore Flyover) and in Anna Nagar (Behind Yesses Super Market).

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