Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Every restaurant keeps coming up with some sort of festivals on a monthly basis and often end up not doing justice to the festivals as a result of poor research. However, a handful of them ensure all efforts are taken to recreate the classics. I’ve known of Chef’s who had brought down experts from the relevant cuisines, brought specialised cooking tools, ingredients and so on.

One such restaurant that takes their food festivals seriously is Madras Pavilion’ at ITC Grand Chola’. Being the finest of luxury hotels in Chennai, any festival from their restaurants have a huge expectation. Having taken a break from attending festivals for a long time because of the lack of originality, I made my mind to check out the Tulu Nadu festival this time around.

The land of Tulu is not something new to me as I’ve a couple of friends from this region of South India. Tulu is in fact an ancient language that has been around for a few centuries with majority of the Tulu speaking population concentrated around the Western coast of Karnataka including regions such as Mangalore, Udipi and also extending into Northern Kerala encompassing the district of Kasaragod. The food here is supposed to be typically home style with a strong emphasis on simplicity and flavour.
(Bana Baraida)
The meal begun with a Bana Baraida’, which was basically a drink made by blending tender coconut and well ripped bananas. To complement this, we were also provided with a traditional Alai’ which is a blend of buttermilk with ginger, chilli and mint. I personally preferred the Alai more as I knew I could keep having it side by side along the courses of meals that were coming since it felt very comforting on the palette. 
(Natia Kori)
(Sajja ke Tairai Roti)
Next up was the Saaru aka Soup. Saaru in Tulu as well in Tamil typically refers to the juice that is extracted from lentils and tamarind. The saaru here was a Bele Saaru’ which was made up with lentils and spiced with Cumin and Pepper. The best of the evening was the Natia Kori’, succulent morsels of chicken cooked in ghee and chilli paste. I just couldn’t get over with this, as I kept asking for more and more as it made a perfect accompaniment to both the Sajja ke Taarai Roti’ as well as the Mamsam Biryani’. To add further to our mains, we had a fantastic pineapple based gravy known as the Pineapple Gojju’, some famous Kori Gassi’ that already had the roti soaked in it. The sukka made using shrimps was another highlight of the evening. Both the Pineapple Gojju and Yetti Sukka were paired perfectly with the Neer Dosa’. A special word of mention for the Mamsam Biryani as it was unique yet amazingly flavour. The lamb was so tender that it fell from the bone with the least effort required. 
(The Full Course)
To bring the delightful experience of Tulu Nadu, we were served with a Bele Payasam’ which was almost similar to our Paruppu Payasam and a Ragi Manni’ which was more like a fudge made using Ragi & Jaggery.
(Desserts)
Like I’ve mentioned in the beginning, ITC Chefs take special care when they create a festival and an extensive research is made before the festival launches. This is evident from the fact that I felt completely light at the end of the meal albeit being fasting the entire day which ensured that I needed to provide my system with a sufficient amount of food. 

The Tulu Nadu festival is on till the 25th of June, 2017 and is available as part of the Buffet at Madras Pavilion located at ITC Grand Chola, Guindy, Chennai.

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Saturday, 10 June 2017

It has been quite a while since I've been active here. Several new assignments really kept me hanging for time and wasn't really able to devote dedicated time to write here. But realised that I was missing writing about things that I love the most, something that really kept my stress levels down. So here I'm back again.

So to give a twist, my return post is about my recent holiday in London. Albeit being a family holiday, I managed to take some time out to explore a few must have desserts in London. Out of them, two were standouts.

On a usual gloomy rainy afternoon, I was nearby Oxford Circus and felt the need for a dessert to forget the weather. I remember reading about a small restaurant hidden in one of the alleys of SOHO called Spuntino and how one dish over there was highly talked about. What was intriguing was the fact that the dessert sounded very primitive so was curious to know what was so special in it. Called the 'Peanut Butter & Jelly' sandwich. A sandwich for dessert, guess your thinking the same thing that went through my mind too. 

But when the dish arrived, I knew what was in the making. A gorgeous looking dish on a rustic plate appeared in front of me. There was no bread for starters. What was indeed in front of me was two perfectly sliced sections of Peanut Butter ice cream stacked in between with a Berry Compote. First bite and it dawned upon me as to why this dessert was talked about so much. There was a perfect balance between the ice cream, compote and the crunchies that was sprinkled on top. Each bite brought back a distinct memory of the PB&J yet in a more refreshing way.
(Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich)
If you happen to be in London, ensure you visit Spuntino. It is located at Rupert Street, Soho and is hardly a 10 minute walk from the Oxford Circus Underground.

The second dessert shop was based on a close friend's recommendation. She constantly kept buzzing me to check if I did visit the place. After having a cold dessert on a rainy day, I sure wanted something to make me feel warm. And this dessert shop also being in SOHO, didn't want to give it a miss. Said was a small chocolate cafe that looked very teeny weeny from the outside. When I entered, I saw the place was full and had to wait for a table. A glance over the counter and I realised the reason it was full. Everything on the menu had a chocolate element and was drop dead gorgeous.

Since my friend had already told me what I should not miss ordering, decided to order that first lest I fill my palate. The order was for a 'Regular-Milk-Hot Chocolate'. Wondering what would be very special here, my eyes popped the moment my order was being prepared. The drink cup was first dripped early with all three forms of melted chocolate, Dark, White & Milk. Thinking this was to provide it with a complexity what followed was more intriguing. Since I had ordered for a Milk chocolate variant, the same melted chocolate that was used to drip the cup was poured into the cup. Yes, the hot chocolate at Said is a more of a melted chocolate drink.
(Hot Chocolate)
The drink was definitely sinful and has taken the top most position in my list of hot chocolates. And I reckon its definitely going to be there for a long long time.

Said is located at Lexington Street in Soho and is a 5 minute walk from Oxford Circus Underground.

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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Having evening meetings during the Holy month of Ramadhan can be a bit tricky. Often the meeting venue needs to be a place where some soothing food can be had to break my fast. On one such occasion, I had to have a meeting close to Taj Coromandel. I remember Anise at Taj Coromandel having an Iftar two years back and checked if they had one this year too. The answer was in the positive so fixed today’s venue for Iftar at Anise.

Place:

The Iftar menu at Taj Coromandel is served at Anise, their 24-hour coffee shop. For a change, the Iftar menu is available both as a standalone offering as well as an add-on along with their regular dinner buffet. The quirky and cliché setting makes Anise a perfect place to catch up for a quick meal at any point of the day.

Food:

The Iftar traditionally begins with dates and water. We were served a nice platter of two varieties of dates along with some almonds to reign in the natural sweet from the date fruits. This was followed by a platter of mixed fruits to bring the freshness and set the palate up for the meal after a fast of 14 hours. To soothe the parched throat, two drinks are served. A Roohafza to bring in instant energy and a Banana smoothie to relax with.
(Dates Platter)
(Fruits Platter)
(Chilling Roohafza & Refreshing Banana Smoothie)
This was followed by a small mezze platter with some Hummus, Cous Cous and a tomato salsa to go with some crispy Falafels and Pita bread. Tomato salsa in a mezze platter was something new to me and didn’t really understand how it would go with any of the other flavours. Nevertheless, I managed to make a wrap with the Falafel and Hummus that was bang on with flavours. Next up were starters from the buffet, a Chicken kebab and a Mutton Sheekh. The Chicken kebab was Yumm from the word go as it was soft and moist and succulent. The Sheekh though flavourful, I felt it to be a bit dry. 
(Falafel and Pita)
(Mutton Sheekh)
(Chicken Kebabs)
With the starters done, came a big big surprise in the name of Haleem. Haleem is usually served in a bowl but wouldn’t it surprise you if it was brought in a platter. Yup, the Haleem at Anise is a variant to the original Hyderabadi Haleem. It differs in both texture and colour from the original. This Haleem has a few additional spices added that took it to a whole new level. Probably the best variation of the Haleem I’ve savoured till date and the presentation with all the condiments around it made it all the more elegant. This is a definite must try.
(Haleem)
Being really tired I decided to skip the buffet completely as I didn’t want to task myself with an overdose of food either. So heading straight to the desserts, I picked up a very comforting dessert which had Lychees soaked in condensed milk topped with some pistachios. It provided the perfect finish to an Iftar menu.
(Lychee Dessert)
Price:

The Iftar menu at Anise is priced at Rs. 850 plus taxes for the menu that includes starters and desserts from the buffet. If you would like to go for the full buffet, then the Iftar comes at no additional cost as you pay only for the dinner buffet which is priced at Rs. 1985 all inclusive.

Location:

Anise is located at the far end of the lobby at Taj Coromandel in Nungambakkam. The Iftar special is available everyday till the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan which is around the 7th of July.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

It’s that time of the year when piousness and festivities go hand in hand. Yes, I’m talking about the Islam’s Holy month of Ramadhan where Muslims across the world indulge in fasting from Dawn to Dusk. One of the key events during one’s fast is the Iftar, which is the breaking of the fast at the moment of Sunset. The Iftar is often a celebrated time every evening with households trying to dish out their best dishes to be savoured after about 14 hours of fasting. And for those who would like to indulge out of their homes, this is the perfect time with restaurants all over Chennai having Iftar Specials.

A trend that is catching up over the last few years across Chennai is with many 5 star properties curating their own Iftar menu. The latest to catch the bandwagon is a restaurant from one of the jewels of Chennai, the ITC Grand Chola. 

Place:

The Iftar Menu is served at Café Mercara Express, the coffee shop at ITC Grand Chola. In my opinion, Café Mercara Express seems to be the idealistic choice as the décor reflects a lot of middle eastern touches albeit not being designed to look like a middle eastern restaurant. The subtle lighting also provides the perfect ambiance to reflect back on the true intention of the entire fasting and the importance of this Holy Month.

Food:

As is customary, the Iftar starts with some Dates fruit. Dates is a fruit that looks appetizing enough in its natural form, then how do you make it more elegant? The Chefs wowed me by topping each of the dates with some edible gold leaf. This was just out of the box and was quite unexpected. To quench the thirst, a concoction of Sherbet and Roohafza was poured into a magical looking glass. The drink had both the richness to fill the tummy while at the same time the freshness to wake up your senses after a tiring fast. I just couldn’t get enough of the drink as I kept asking for more and more servings, which the waiting staff obliged with a big heart. To prepare the body for a more indulging meal that was to follow, a platter of assorted fruits aesthetically cut were brought to the table.
(Gold Leaf topped Dates)
(Sherbet Drink)
(Assorted Platter of Fruits)
With the fast being broke and the body getting the much need refreshments, I took a small break to complete my prayers before the next course of the Iftar was served. Gosh, that break really helped me to whole heartedly relish the dishes that followed. First up was the famous Hyderabadi Haleem that has now become completely associated with fasting in Chennai. While Haleem is usually available in most of the stand-alone restaurants, it being served in a 5-star property is the first I’m hearing of. This is mainly due to the process that goes in making it as a lot of physical work is involved in breaking down the lentils and mutton. So I was quite sceptical when it was served because a Haleem has to be perfect in many sense especially the spice and texture. 
(Hyderabadi Haleem)
After garnishing the bowl of Haleem with the regular condiments, the first spoon sealed my opinion. There was no need to give work to my taste buds as this was clearly by far the best Haleem I’ve ever tasted in my life. Yup, I’m sorry to say but honestly I felt this to be much better than the original ones from the streets surrounding Charminar. I just couldn’t stop wiping the bowl down and was even prepared to ask for a second serving. But I wanted to hold back as I was keen on what the other dishes were.

The Haleem was followed by another phenomenal dish, the Classical Gosht NIhari. Served along side a bread of your choice, the Nihari was fantabulous as the spice levels were perfectly matched to a palate of a person who just opened his fast. Not too spicy or choked with Masala but just enough to have a good hit of the flavour. The mutton on the other hand was falling out of the bone and was absolutely stunning. The curry was so Yumm that I resorted to spooning the remaining curry as I didn’t want to gorge on more breads.
(Gosht Nihari)
With such richness in the dishes, I was wondering on how the next dish is going to turn out. Well the next up was indeed the King of Rice dishes, our own Mutton Biryani. Although I’ve had biryani’s before for Iftar, for once it was always least preferred by me because the spice levels tend to be a little harsh on the system after the fast. But that was not the case this evening. The Chefs were precautious to this fact and balanced the biryani in a way that is completely spot on for the system. With absolutely zero oil and a very refreshing aroma of the spices, the biryani was in one word, Perfect. I was so engrossed in savouring the Biryani that I didn’t even bother to click it. That’s how delectably it was cooked.
(Phirni)
With a full and content stomach, we moved on to desserts. A known fact is that gorging on huge amounts of sugar is ideally not good for the system after such a big break. Taking this into account, the dessert on the menu was a simple Phirni. A scrumptious way to end the Iftar, desirable yet content. To give my honest verdict in a single sentence, this is by far the best Iftar I’ve ever had outside in a restaurant.

Price:

Keeping in line with the 5-star standards, the Iftar is priced at Rs. 1250 plus taxes with all the dishes served as a square meal. The square meal by itself is completely filling however if you would like to indulge in any of the dishes more, they would be more than glad to serve them again.

Location:

Café Mercara Express is located at the Ground floor of the iconic ITC Grand Chola in Guindy. The Iftar special is available everyday till the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan which is around the 7th of July. The best part is its just not available at the time of Iftar but is available all through the evening from 6pm till 4am, which is the time of Suhoor (the Pre-Dawn Meal before the fasting begins again).

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Monday, 23 May 2016


Over the last few years, Chennai has witnessed the dawn of several International food brands. Most of these chains prefer to open shop in malls with Phoenix being the most preferred destination owing to it being the latest amongst the other gamut of malls. For folks who lived in the main parts of the city, it was always a long drive. Thankfully, the latest entrant in the International food brands, Chili’s made an exception. Opening up adjacent to another leading International food outlet, Chili’s is right at the heart of the city located at Express Avenue.

Ambiance:

Chili’s Chennai provides the same look and feel to that of their other outlets. The décor is uniform and gives the impression of being in one of their International outlets. With an overall rustic feel to the dining area, the outlet also has a long bar counter where the liquid concoctions are crafted. There is also a large screen that was screening an IPL match when I was there.

Food:

Being midway between lunch and dinner, I was confused on what to eat. The menu was exhaustive and for sure knew, I had to make multiple visits to do justice to the different sections that were there. Not in the mood to have a heavy meal, I thought I’ll go in for a ‘Triple Dipper’ which basically is a pick and choose combo amongst their appetizers. I picked the ‘Boneless Chicken Wings’, ‘Original Chicken Crispers’ and ‘Southwestern Rolls’. After placing the order realised that they had ‘Onion Rings’ too on the menu and being a sucker for Onion rings, ordered a separate portion of the same too. As I waited for the appetizers to come, I ordered for a ‘Mango Chile Margarita’. It was very intriguing to see how Mango and Jalapenos can go hand in hand in a drink but the barista’s here did a pretty great job in obtaining the right balance.
(Triple Dipper)
(Mango Chile Margarita)
To start with, the Boneless Chicken Wings were just too good. The highlight of the wings was the ability to get them in a boneless avatar and the addition of the amazing tangy Buffalo sauce that was drizzled on it. I couldn’t prevent myself from gorging on it. This was followed up by the Original Crispers which was equally good. However, the Southwestern Rolls, though tasted fresh, I felt it lacked a punch in comparison to the other two appetizers. The Triple Dipper came with three different sauces to match each of the appetizers. Coming to the Onion Rings, glad I didn’t miss it. It was perfectly seasoned and was crispy to the point. Chili’s just became my preferred destination for the best Onion Rings in the city.
(Onion Rings)
(Philadelphia Melting Cheese Steak)
Having had a great experience with the appetizers, I wanted to skip the mains and go for a dessert because I was reaching my threshold. However, one item intrigued me from the menu. After some thought, gave in to my gluttony demands and ordered the ‘Philadelphia Melting Cheese Steak’. When asked how I would like the steak, I requested for Medium, which often is my preferred choice for steaks. The steak was promptly brought to my table in about in spite of ordering it after the appetisers. I tasted the cheese sauce first and it was like swimming in pleasure. Perfect sauce together with the sautéed onions and mushrooms, rendered it full of flavour and aroma. However, the first strike on the steak and realised that something was amiss. Upon slicing, it dawned that the steak was done a little too much and had crossed the upper thresholds of medium and dwelled into well done tenderness. Nevertheless, the steak was seasoned apt and the cheese sauce made a great accompaniment to the steak with the only let down being the textural difference because of the tenderness. 
(Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie)
Having had so much meat, I couldn’t resist the temptation of a dessert. A glance at the dessert menu and I knew what I wanted. I asked to be served the ‘Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie’. With high expectations, I eagerly waited for it to be brought to my table. First glance and got more excited. I’m a sort of person who can go weak in my knees with desserts in front of me. The first bite and oh me!!! The pie was great in flavour and the warm caramel sauce coupled with the cold vanilla ice cream, gave a welcome relief from all the meat that was consumed. The dessert provided a very warm feeling to the entire meal and helped complete the meal with a smile on my face. I’m very sure to keep popping in every now and then whenever I visit the mall to savour this dessert.

Price:

Although being located in a mall, the prices are slightly on the higher side with a meal for 2 costing anywhere between Rs. 3000 – Rs. 4000 inclusive of taxes. However, one has to also take into account the portion size as they are humongous. So on the whole I feel the price to be apt as there is a sure Value for Money involved both in terms of quantity and quality of dishes.

Locations:

Chili’s first outlet in Chennai is located on the 3rd floor at Express Avenue Mall in Royapettah. It is located adjacent to Burger King and is right in the middle opposite to the Main Atrium.

To be updated on my latest reviews, do subscribe to the feed by leaving your email address in the subscribe section on the top right hand side of this post. If this article interested you, please share it so others may be interested and benefited too!!! For quick reviews, ratings and yummylicious images, follow me on Instagram at @FoodInChennai. Request you to also visit our Facebook page Food In Chennai - Facebook and share the page with a Like amongst your friends and also follow us on our twitter handle at @FoodInChennai. You can also follow us on Google Plus at Food in Chennai-GooglePlus. Please also feel free to g+1 this post so others may be benefited too. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Very few cuisines can tingle the childishness in you and for me Thai is one such cuisine. Being introduced to mainstream Thai half a decade ago by my wife, I took an instant liking to the cuisine. Barring one or two, most restaurants in Chennai produce what I call ‘Fake Thai’ cuisine as they buy curry powder or paste and do the rest claiming it to be a Thai curry. April being the month with the Thai New Year aka Songkran, many restaurants wanted to catch the Thai bus. As always the handful always prevailed to be the best till the festival started at Park Hyatt. 

True to their standards, Park Hyatt had flown down  Chef Supattra from Park Hyatt Dubai who happened to be a Thai and has been dishing out Thai food for the last 23 years. This intrigued me as all restaurants in Chennai do not have a Thai chef but rather talented chefs trained in Thai.

Place:

As usual, the festival took place in the ever vibrant and vivacious restaurant in town ‘The Flying Elephant’. Being a restaurant where most cuisines get closest to authentic, I kept my expectations very very high. This time around, we got to sit next to the Chef’s studio and mistake me not, it resembled like a high end street food cart that one can see in the streets of Bangkok.

Food:

The thing that impressed me the most was how precise and coherent the entire festival menu was. The menu was divided into different categories such as Wok, Salads, Noodles, Grilled, Claypot, Steamed, Fried and Desserts. Basically in the streets, each of these would form a cart by itself. 
(Tom Yum Goong)
To start the evening, we went in for the ever classic ‘Tom Yum Goong’. This is one soup that is quite synonymous with Thai soups yet most restaurants fail to hit the mark. But the soup here was probably even better than most places in Bangkok. Couldn’t think of anything else as I kept sipping the soup because it truly put me in a state of trance.
(Sea Food Salad)
The soup was followed by a ‘Seafood Salad’ with Scallops, Prawns, Fish, Thai Celery and Tomato Cherry. The salad was screaming of freshness every bite. The salad had the perfect balance of chilliness and sourness that instantly hits the mark. If the flavour was to be compared on a scale, the balance was right in the middle, Spot on.
(Pad Thai Prawns)
(Minced Beef with Basil)
Next up was from the Wok section. First dish that made its way was yet another Thai classic, the ‘Pad Thai’ with prawns and bean sprouts. Being a big fan of Pad Thai, I was quite kicked to dig in. The first mouthful truly brought back memories of my first Thai meal which incidentally happened to be in Bangkok. The flavours were amazing and each element complemented the other in a harmony. Following the Pad Thai was the ‘Minced Beef in Basil’. This dish had no complains at all. It was very refreshing in the mouth courtesy the strong infusion of basil along with a very tender minced beef.
(Shrimp Toast)
(Shrimp Toast)
Just to bring in some crunchiness, we were served a plate of toast. Yes, a ‘Shrimp Toast’. This was a completely new dish for me and was an instant hit. Its basically small triangles of croutons deep fried with a layer of shrimp paste on the top. The triangles by themselves were too yummy however when dipped in the accompanying apple sauce, the flavours accentuated many-folds.  
(Thai Green Curry)
Following this, it was time for the mains and in true Thai style ordered for a ‘Green Chicken Curry’. To be honest, I would rate this green curry as the best tasted so far in my culinary journey as it was just mind boggling. Together with sticky rice, the curry was just fantabulous. No amount of praise can justify the emotions. My next visit to Dubai will definitely have a pitstop at Park Hyatt Dubai at least to savour this curry again.
(Tub Tim Grob)
(Sticky Rice with Mango)
Having had a very gratified savoury session, it was now time to do the finishing touches. The desserts we went in for the evening were again the classics. A ‘Water Chestnut Dumpling’ aka Tub Tim Grob. Tub Tim Grob ranks way high in my list of all time favourite desserts that I took the initiative to learn how to make it by myself. And must I say, I can replicate it close to 90%. The Tub Tim Grob here had a small twist to it. There were slices of Jackfruit that were added to keep in with the season. This additional sweetness did provide a unique taste and was very welcoming. The next dessert was the ‘Mango with Sticky Rice’. I’m pretty sure nothing can go wrong with such a simple dessert. The sticky rice was well drenched in coconut milk and the perfect sweetness of the mango provided for a very subtle end to the meal.

Price:

The icing on the cake at this Thai festival was the pocket friendly prices. With dishes priced from Rs. 495 – Rs. 895, a meal for two should set you back by about Rs. 2500 – Rs. 3000 for two.

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.

To be updated on my latest reviews, do subscribe to the feed by leaving your email address in the subscribe section on the top right hand side of this post. If this article interested you, please share it so others may be interested and benefited too!!! For quick reviews, ratings and yummylicious images, follow me on Instagram at @FoodInChennai. Request you to also visit our Facebook page Food In Chennai - Facebook and share the page with a Like amongst your friends and also follow us on our twitter handle at @FoodInChennai. You can also follow us on Google Plus at Food in Chennai-GooglePlus. Please also feel free to g+1 this post so others may be benefited too. 

Friday, 18 March 2016

The food scene in Chennai has witnessed a tremendous growth in both varieties of cuisines and quality of produce being used over the last few years. However, one cuisine that has not scene a great explosion in terms of choice is Italian. Going above the regular pizzas and pastas, there are only a handful of dedicated Italian restaurants in the city and when it comes to fine dine, maybe about three odd restaurants. One that stands out truly amongst them is the one this review is about.

Place:

Focaccia @ Hyatt Regency, Chennai – Teynampet, Anna Salai

Focaccia is the first restaurant that you will see as and when you step out of the elevator at Hyatt Regency in Chennai. Being one amongst the few dedicated Italian fine dine restaurants in Chennai, it is always buzzing with culinary action and a reservation is a definite must on most days. 

Ambiance:

Focaccia presents itself in a very rustic environment with a wine cellar welcoming you right at the entrance. While you adore the amazing collection of wines the cellar holds you are guaranteed to be hit with the aroma of fresh focaccia breads & pizzas being baked right across the cellar in the wood fired ovens. As you cross and head towards your table you get to witness the hustle bustle of the kitchen thanks to the vast open kitchen concept the restaurant embraces. You are also spoilt with choice of seating with options between next to the open kitchen or closer to the windows with a view over looking the busy Anna Salai.
(The Wine, Cheese & Chocolate section for the evening)
Food:

Focaccia is currently hosting an Italian Fair under the able guidance of Chef Alessandro Persico who is the Chef de Cuisine at the award winning Italian restaurant Celine at Grand Hyatt Mumbai. He is here in Chennai to showcase some of his signature dishes over a four course meal. The first thing that struck me on meeting the chef was how closely he resembled Chef Gusteau from one of my all time favourite movies, Ratatouille. I just couldn’t control myself that I went all gaga over it. It was more like meeting a super hero. This raised the expectations big time for the evening. And I must say that I was thoroughly entertained by his creations and his interactions with me. 
(Chef Alessandro Persico)
The evening meal started with ‘Ravioli di Barbabietola’ which was a beetroot ravioli stuffed with truffle goat cheese and served with a parsley salsa verde. This was my first time even hearing about a beetroot ravioli. Being a fan of beetroot I thoroughly enjoyed it as the goat cheese gave a very soothing balance of flavours and textures. The next appetizer was the ‘Anatra in salsa tonnata con cipolline brasate’. This was a duck confit salad with tonnata sauce with the salad being braised with pearl onion. The flavour was very distinct and full of joy but not being a great fan of duck felt the confit a bit over powering. The last of the appetizer was from the sea, the ‘rotolini di salmon affumicato con panna acida e caviale’, a smoked salmon stuffed with braised lettuce and topped with sour cream and caviar. Being a salmon lover, I couldn’t ask for a better combination of ingredients to savour the salmon.
(Ravioli di Barbabietola)
(Anatra in salsa tonnata con cipolline brasate)
(Rotolini di salmon affumicato con panna acida e caviale)
With the appetizers done it was time now for some pastas and risottos. The first pasta that travelled to our table was the ‘Penne Integrali con tonno in salsa puttanesca’ which was a diet conscious diners delight. Some whole wheat penne tossed with a tuna puttanesca sauce and green capers, it provided a great balance of flavour to keep the palate kicking. This was followed by the ‘Risotto con salmone affumicato, zafferano e limone’, a simple looking smoked salmon risotto with saffron and lemon. This was truly delicious and takes a big rank in my all time favourite risottos. This is a definite must have if you visit them. To bring this course to an end was the ‘Linguini con aragosta e rucola’, a very fresh tasting pasta. This refreshed the entire palate once again preparing us for the main courses. The lobster combined with fresh tomatoes elevated this pasta and also sort of acted like a palate cleanser thanks to the arugula that was also present in the pasta.
(Penne Integrali con tonno in salsa puttanesca)
(Risotto con salmone affumicato, zafferano e limone)
(Linguini con aragosta e rucola)
With the pastas and crunchy risottos done, we headed to the mains. The first mains to make to the table was the ‘Cannelloni di spinaci al forno’. The cannelloni was an oven baked spinach and ricotta stuffed cannelloni served over a bed of fresh tomato sauce. It was extremely cheesy and flavourful and along with the tomato sauce gelled well. This was followed by the ‘Tortino di patate e funghicon fonduta di caprino’ which was basically a mash potato flavoured with lemon and dished in the form of a basket loaded with grilled vegetables and forest mushroom. Although the mash was fantastic, felt the dish was slightly dull in comparison to the overall fare. Next up was probably my favourite mains of the evening, the ‘Scaloppine di pollo piccata’. This was an eggs chicken scaloppini with lemon caper sauce and some root vegetables. What made this dish fantastic was the lemon caper sauce over the perfectly baked chicken slices. Yumm!!! 
(Cannelloni di spinaci al forno)

(Scaloppine di pollo piccata)
(Tortino di patate e funghicon fonduta di caprino)
Next had to be the final course of the evening, the mighty desserts. We were served with two desserts with the first being ‘Zabbaoine con composta di fragole e Meringa soffice’ which is basically a champagne sabayon with strawberry compote topped with a soft meringue. Although the sabayon was perfectly dressed I personally felt the dessert to be a bit on the sweeter side. On the other hand, the second dessert was a clear winner with chocolate aficionados. It was a ‘Coppa Caprese’ which in simpler terms is a chocolate brawny sandwiched between layers of vanilla ice cream and a creamy chocolate ganache. To add a bit of crunch we had some chocolate tuiles. This dessert was truly divine and I kept nom-noming so much that I couldn’t believe that my portion was over even before I could realize it. But the ecstasy it left on my taste buds kept me recollecting it all through the night. Was a fantastic dessert. 
(Zabbaoine con composta di fragole e Meringa soffice)
(Coppa Caprese)
Price:

Being a limited time fare, this special Italian Fair menu by Chef Alessandro also comes paired with a unique wine for each course resulting in the course being relished in its true essence. This special menu should cost about Rs. 4,500 – 5,500 for two depending on the dishes being selected from the special menu. This is a limited time fest and is available till the 20th of March. So head there quick if you would like to savour the same.

Location:

Focaccia is located at Lobby level at Hyatt Regency Chennai. Located on the main arterial road of Chennai, Anna Salai, it is quite easily accessible from all corners of the city. I would strongly recommend a reservation so as to not be disappointed.

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