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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Va Pho at Ampa Skywalk, Chennai

Now that you are done feasting on the dishes, here is a something about this restaurant... rather their new outlet! 

Va Pho, one of my new favourite restaurants has opened it's 3rd outlet, the 2nd one in Chennai [the other is in Coimbatore], the first week of April. What is different about this place? Well, just that it seems bigger, and has an extensive grill [Teppan] and sizzler dishes to the menu.  

The 70-seater is located adjacent to Seras the lounge. There remains the familiar vibrant interiors and the shelves lined with games and books.  There is also the long community style table with the main art work as the backdrop. Yes, the auto is also present here!! 

The evening began with the refreshing Blue moon drink, and in a while, I moved on to the much recommended Milo Dyno, which packs quite a flavour [am sure those who love chocolate and grew up drinking Milo will love this one], I got to try the Dim sum with a mix of crunchy & soft corn zucchini filling, served with a spicy sauce. And then came the two kinds of satay- Mushroom and tofu with a small spoonful of raw mango salad. The salad was perfect against the spicy satay.   

Then came the sensational Bao - Mushroom and Tofu. I have loved these from the first bite I took at the other Va pho, and recommend this to anyone who is going to the restaurant. Mind you, one is quite filling and packed with textures & flavours. I also tried the simple yet yumm stir fried Broccoli. 

I met and interacted with the Chef handling the Teppan [ he has had 8 years experience handling the Teppan at Benjraong]. he cooked up some veggies in a spicy sauce with a hint of garlic. For the mains, I tried the glass noodle salad { a favorite as it has wood ear mushrooms], the Thai rice, and parotta with creamy gravy. 

After a short break, it was time for the dessert..I had the cool Tender Coconut popsicle with sweetened coconut cream and sago pearls and a small taste of the sizzling brownie. Love that they have retained the true essence of the place, while adding to the existing menu [cos of space availablity]. If you feel like a drink, you can always hop in next door to Sera!! 

A Meal for 2 would cost approx Rs 800 -1000/- 

3rd floor, Ampa Skywalk [next door to where Landmark bookstore used to be]
No. 1, Nelson Manickam Road, 627, P H Road, Aminjikarai

Other outlet
Va Pho is located behind Hot Breads ,Copper Chimney and Sera Tapas bar. 
No: 6, Cathedral road, Chennai: 86. 
Ph: (044) 48566555.

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Antari- Mexican coffee buns and more...

[Image courtesy : Antari FB page]

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker's man 
Bake me a cake as fast as you can 
Mix it and stir it and bake it just right 
Good from the first 'til the very last bite

is what came to my mind when I heard there is a new cafe in town and best part was- it is in my part of town- New Avadi Road, Kilpauk!!

 Tandoor platter.. mushroom, corn, potato

 Three kinds of coin pizza, the dark base is the keto one..

You walk into the bungalow gates and are greeted by the sweetest pup Cookie.. This campus is home to Soul Garden Bistro, 196 Degrees Below, and the newest is the quaint Antari café,a small cosy room that can probably seat about 5 people. The open brick walls on one side are lined with shelves showing off their baked goods- breads & buns. And when standing there you cant miss the whiff of freshly baked buns from the ovens on the other side. Oh and the corner area is reserved to show off their Tea collection [They offer organic teas from Jalinga tea estate, Assam. Jalinga is the 1st and only carbon neutral certified tea estate in the world].. Coffee lovers need not fret, they serve some fine organic coffee as well. 

The beauty of this space is that all the food served across the three space is Pure Vegetarian & Eggless. They also have Vegan , Gluten free and what's more an exclusive Keto menu as well [ it lists down a break up of the nutrients in each item]

I met Jignesh Pujara back in Menchies, a brand he had brought to Chennai.. but even though that shut, it is good to see him keep at it.. He opened Soul Garden Bistro [Alwarpet & New Avadi Road], then went on to launch 196 Degrees below and now has partnered with Prabhakar to launch Antari.. A foodie, and a vegetarian at that, he believes in giving people good food, different flavours and healthy options as well...

I chose the Mexican Coffee bun served with Coffee Sauce & Butter Biscuit Crumbles. Essentially, the bun has a topping that it is baked with and then they add the additional topping before serving it up. It is hot, soft and packed with flavour. In the middle is a small surprise [shall not ruin it]

They have options-first you choose the kind of bun, and then the topping and if interested, you can go for a combo, which means the bun comes with a beverage- chai, coffee or Hot chocolate. The toppings range from White Chocolate with Red Velvet Crumbles, Chocolate Fudge with Fudge Brownie to Condensed Milk and Pistachio.

The basic bun costs Rs119, the toppings come at an additional cost of Rs30-60 and if you choose a beverage, depending on the beverage of your choice you pay around Rs249 or so.

The buns are served in beautiful platters [ very similar to the ones you see in Auroville], the coffee is served with three chocolates shaped like coffee beans. One thing I learnt about the place is they use/serve sugar that is organic [no sulphur is used in polishing it]...

Another item on the menu that caught my attention were the Churros.. Promptly ordered a portion, which was served with a spiced dark chocolate dip - heavenly...

I sat in the outdoor seating area on the side, and the evenings are still quite nice.. But when it gets hot, guess you can sit inside Antari or take them to Soul Garden bistro and enjoy them. There was a duo who entertained us with music,the guy played the guitar while the girl was the voice [they took requests and it was fun to sing along].

You can order their food through Swiggy or Zomato as well [not sure how good/fresh the buns will be when they make it across the city, stuffed inside a box], so its best to go experience them piping hot. Am definitely going back to try some of the other options and maybe take home a few buns [ one of them am curious about is the Charcoal bun, black in colour.. was told a tiny pinch of charcoal powder is used in the bun]..

No. 86 /59, New Avadi Road, Kilpauk, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600010
Phone: 044 4851 0161

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Nacho Bhel puri, Escape cinemas Chaat

I am someone who loves to experiment with food & flavours. Mix & match ingredients when I cook to see how it turns out and so far, it has been more hits than misses. Last week, when I had gone to Escape Cinemas in Express Avenue for a movie, I was quite hungry. It was lunch time, and I hadnt had anything. The chaat menu looked appealing and one item on that caught my eye. It was Nachos Bhel Puri.

Yes, I do get that sometimes fusion food can go so wrong, there is no redemption, but then throwing caution to the wind, I went ahead and ordered a plate of the Nachos Bhel Puri. Priced at Rs100 [same as the regular Bhel Puri], this one had Nachos instead of the crisps and a few mexican spices thrown in the mix as well.  There were a few stares as I picked up the order, one lady came close and asked me what it was and how it tasted..  Told her I hadnt tasted yet, but then I love Nachos, I love Bhel, so it cant be bad.. 

Must say, it tated quite yumm.. The Nachos on top were still crispy while the ones below had soaked up the sauces and had gone soft.. Used the ones on top to scoop up the chaat and savour it. Next time you are here, do give this a shot.

What is the one fusion food you tried [with a big dollop of scepticism thrown in] and ended up loving? 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Copper Chimney in Phoenix Market City, Velachery, chennai

 Strawberry chai based drink..

 Kadak Rumali roti

 Hung Yoghurt tikkis 

 Tawa Imli Aloo


 The menu... 

Achari mushroom 

 Paneer Tikka Chelo - basically rice cooked in butter & thick cream served with few pieces of tandoor paneer slices. 

Black Daal, Paneer Masala & a chicken gravy with a boiled egg on top [ordered by friend]

 Rumali roti [wheat flour based]

 Almond Phirni chikki crumble- Chilled rice pudding with crunchy chikki and slivers of almonds & strawberries on top

When a restaurant that you have been visiting for years opens a new outlet in the city, it is time to check it out, right?  Am talking about Copper Chimney... It also coincides with their 25th year in Chennai, quite apt that they open their  next outlet and that too at the newest most popular address in town- Phoenix Market City, Velachery on the 2nd floor.

Mumbai welcomed the first Copper Chimney in 1972. Founded by J K Kapur, 45 years back, Copper Chimney's 1st outlet was in Worli. I was told one of their Ustad's  [master chefs] has been with them for 44 years in this Mumbai outlet!! 

The Velachery venue is elegant and contemporary with wooden dado, tiled pattern flooring in patches and textured walls. Copper accents are juxtaposed against fresh wood tones and earthy cane, with bursts of colour and foliage, to create a warm, inviting vibe. Loved the open space, and natural light streaming in through the thick wall to wall glass windows. Theres even a little corner showcasing unique spice blends and artisanal pickles for sale, coming soon.

The first step in and you cant not notice the legacy stories on the wall and the giant copper bells installation. The absolute highlight of the restaurant interior is the very active live kitchen wherein the customers can enjoy the view of the food being prepared fresh in the kitchen.

The menu is extensive, the menu card is more of a magazine, with photographs of Ustads, cooking process and ofcourse the dishes as well. Each dish contains a little mention of the region from where inspiration was drawn.  

Their drinks menu includes some familiar flavours such as  Delhi Shikanji, Khatta Jaljeera and Lemon Chai Sherbet. Guests can unwind with classic mocktails, Indian inspired sherbets and fresh juices, to enjoy with their starter plates or grills after work or on the weekends. CopperChimney now offers a select range of high quality teas sourced from the finest sustainable estates across the country. The teas can be paired with our starter plates or be a perfect conclusion to a meal.

When it comes to food, the Tandoors are fired at first light, grills marinated for over eight hours and the signature dal is slow-cooked to perfection. Central to this process are the "Ustads or master chefs of Copper Chimney. These chefs are trained and nurtured for decades, gaining in-depth knowledge of ingredients, cooking styles and recipes handed down over generations.

The menu at the Velachery space features recipes that celebrate cuisines from Peshawar to Delhi. The Starter Plates and Grills are must-tries; Choose from the Tawa Imli Aloo, a North India street favourite, Chargrilled Cheese Mushrooms, a light and fresh Tandoori Chicken Salad and some Delhi-Style Fried Chicken.

The dessert menu offers quite the eclectic variety; like the interesting Almond Phirni Chikki Crumble – a chilled rice pudding topped with crunchy jaggery nut squares that we tried, or the exceptional Muzaffar - thick Lucknowi rabdi with golden, roasted vermicelli.

What was even more exciting was to see the place pack up for a weekday lunch within days of being open!! Shows how good their food is.. 

A meal for two should work out to about Rs1200 [excl taxes]... The restaurant is open for both lunch & dinner.. 

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)