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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... :)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa, Chennai


The newest kid on the block was open to public and all set to wow guests. Am talking about Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa on ECR, right next to the Crocodile Bank... Swanky new property, it has been open for less than 5months and joins the league with the others along the coast. 

The Reception/Lobby


The Pub
[Image courtesy: Kamalika]


At the Indian Chef awards event..



 At the Reef



Was there with a friend last week for their Go Cheese Indian Chef Awards event and must say the property is quite impressive. 

The first thing you see as you get off the car is the buffalo art piece right in the middle and the eye goes all the way beyond it to the blue ocean... As you walk into the property, the high ceilings and open spaces is what catches the attention. I loved that there was enough room to not only walk, but maybe even run around without bumping into things or people. On one side is the Reception and other side houses the banquet hall. The reception area has ample comfortable seating options and a cart with two drinks- Lemon soda and Apple tea , perfect for the warm days or after the long drive. 

We walked along the corridor, enjoying the attention to details, be it on the signboards to the restroom, or the light fitting outside them. The main materials across the property are wood and copper, which has been used not just outside but on the interiors as well. We were shown the pub, which has a huge wooden door, and the decor inside is very rustic, with naked light bulbs and a long wooden slab packed with different colour & shaped bottles above the bar. Comfortable sofas, sleek high chair all of which blend together well in this space. 

The restaurant beyond the pub was called "The Reef" and again spacious, with enough walking space between tables and the buffet counters. We had lunch at the restaurant and food was good, what I liked about the place was they did not have a buffet that stretched on and on, it had few dishes but they were packed with flavour. They had sourdough bread, fresh herbs, and quite a range of salads, one of which was with Fresh figs [parmesan cheese & fish- I pushed fish aside and took the figs which were amazing.. couldn't resist em].. There was also a live pasta counter. One of the desserts that stood out for me was the Fresh Figs on pudding topped with chocolate..[The chocolate melted as it touched the hot pudding below].. 

As for the rooms, a friend who I bumped into said they were quite plush. The rooms on one side face the crocodile bank, the others to the city and the third set to the ocean... Did not get a chance to get a glimpse of the room, maybe next time! 

The Indian Chef awards event happened in the main banquet hall with chefs battling it out across counters. They were given a set amount of time, ingredients and had to whip up a starter and a main. Some of the ingredients were quite exotic, like the lobsters, while another stall had stuff I love- Shiitake mushrooms, bok-choy and more.. There were also stalls by sponsors, showcasing their products... Was overall an interesting visit..

Walking out and heading back to the city, I kept thinking how amazing it must be to do a staycation here.. Hopefully soon~! 

Address: 280 East Coast Road, Vadanamelli Village 
Next to Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, 
Tamil Nadu 603104 

Phone: 044 3342 2222

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 :-)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Kandyan King's Repast- Srilankan Food Festival at Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola



Different kinds of Sambol and Pickles

The Rice options



Vegetarian main dishes..

Egg Appams




 Desserts


 The Chef with his books- the teeny tiny one and another slightly bigger book

Srilankan food to me is all about the lovely medley of flavours, the coconut roti in the road side stall, the appam stew and ofcourse Kiri Pani [ buffalo milk curd served with treacle].. At Madras Pavilion, they have brought down Chef Dr Publis Silva from Sri Lanka's Mount Lavinia Hotel to head the festival. He has spent not one or two years, but nearly 6 decades at this hotel and says this is going to be the beginning and end of his career. 

As always, I was quite curious to hear his story, his experiences and he clearly told us "after the meal, not before"  with a chuckle. Walking around the buffet spread, he told us of the various dishes, the base, the preparations... And what I discovered during the dinner was the dishes I had eaten during my Sri Lanka trip were just a teeny tiny percentage of the veg dishes. The one thing I remember from my trip was that people would blow us away with dishes the minute we mentioned "we are pure vegetarians", but we did have to mention no fried fish, cos they tend to sprinkle a generous handful on top of every dish..lol.. 

The dishes ranged from flavoured rice, unpolished rice, egg appams to koththu parota for the mains and the sides ranged from a raw mango gravy to long beans curry to a pumpkins cooked in mustard gravy. And then ofcourse there was a section of their sambol - veg and non veg versions, each one teasing our taste buds. The flavours were distinct, and we happily dug in, being greedy taking it all in. The food was cooked with simple spices, and it was interesting to note that the vegetables retained their colour and had a gentle bite to them [ just the way I like them] Chef mentioned there were 350+ veg dishes. Yam had about 56 varieties, similarly bananas and mango. So there was no dearth for vegetarian food. He also told us about the use of Goraka [Kodukkaippuli in Tamil] for many meat based dishes. The desserts were familiar flavours - vatalappam, the Kiri pani and another dish that was crisp and had a subtle flavour with every bite. We did finish off the meal with hot filter kaapi.
  
What had me fascinated apart from the lip smacking food was Chef's journey from Coal carrier to Director Culinary Affairs at Mount Lavinia Hotel. I did not visit the hotel, but remember boarding the train from the station near the place.  He has literally made his way up the ladder and has been conferred with President’s Award and, recently, the Deshabandu Award for distinguished services to the nation, by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. He has published over 23 books, one of which is a tiny one that found a place in the Guinness book of world records. He showed us the book that contains 40 recipes fit for a King [you need magnifying glass to read the text on it] and then there was another one slightly bigger in size. He wants the Sri Lankan food to be remembered and cherish much after his time as well, that is is only dream~! 

It is fabulous how ITC Grand Chola keeps doing new things, bringing down Chef's from specific regions thereby giving us an opportunity to not only savour different flavours, but listen to stories and experiences from world over.. 

This festival is on till the 16th September for dinner. 
Approx price is Rs2200 + tax [per person]

Address:
ITC Grand Chola 
#63, Mount Road, Guindy, 
Chennai,TN,600032 
Ph- 044 2220 0000

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 :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Food Exchange at Novotel Chennai Chamiers



Yes, you read it right. There is a new kid in the block, err a new Novotel in the city, that too on Chamiers Road [ almost adj to Times Now office].. Was at dinner at their resturant Food Exchange [the name had me surprised cos in other Novotel hotels, the restaurant is called The Square] .. The minute you walk out the elevator, you are greeted by giant doors that lead the way into a restaurant that is large, spacious with multiple sections and different kinds of seating options. All along the walls are shelves lined with interesting knick knacks, with one wall carrying different sauces and condiments used in the restaurant. 

Right in the middle of the place is the open kitchen [ a good sized space, but they should relook at their exhaust system, there were moments we were coughing cos of the smoke coming from the Tandoor]... 

Coming down to the most important part, the food, the Chef at the helm of things is Chef Kalaiselvan who is here after working across Dubai and various other places..  Over the weekends you are in for the Buffet while other days it is a la carte. The bar is just being set up- Gourmet bar, and they are yet to get booze license, so we settled for mocktails. The first drink I was served was an Almond milk based coffee which wasnt that great [ maybe I am just not the almond milk kinda gal], but the second one was good - Delicious Sour [made with peach, apricot, lemon and soda] which as my friend noted, came without a garnish... 

Going on to food, am going to let the photos do the talking.... [Comments & inputs along with the photograph]



 The open kitchen

The Almond milk coffee drink...not really my thing..

 Delicious Sour- refreshing and light..

Chilli honey lotus stem- was crunchy and chewy [maybe fried too long]

Paneer Tikka served with green chutney- good and familiar flavours.

Burnt garlic veg soup- Loved loved the burnt garlic flavours.. perfect if you have a bad cold

Mushroom velouté with porcini oil- you know me, you know how much I love 
Mushrooms. This was yummilicious 

The bar menu... 

Gnocchi with basil pesto, shaved Parmesan in Sage butter sauce - It was heavenly, pillowy and melt in your mouth...

Mushroom ravioli with garlic bread  - perfectly cooked ravioli , good flavour of mushrooms and simple sauce...


 The garlic bread- it was soft and crisp on the edges.. Loved the bowl it was served in

Veg pizza- red olives, basil, simple tomato sauce and mascarpone cheese

Jasmine rice with Thai green curry- My absolutely favourite food in the whole wide world and it was delicious... non veg folks have red prawn curry to dig into..

The dessert platter - Brownie,  tender coconut payasam parfait; 
Oreo cheesecake and Double chocolate mousse[the one with ring on top] - was a mixed bag of flavours and textures, but overall found most of them tad too sweet for my liking [ am more the dark bitter chocolate kinda person]

Next time you are in the city and looking for a new place to explore, you should hop into Novotel and Food Exchange... Apart from the Thai & Italian cuisine, they also offer a range of Indian dishes ... Go ahead, give it a shot and let me know how your experience was..

Address: 
Novotel Chamiers 
11, Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar Rd, 
Rathna Nagar, Nandanam, Chennai- 600035
Phone: 044 2430 2333 

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 :-)


Thursday, August 2, 2018

'Tashi Delek' - Tibetian popup at Ashvita Bistro, Chennai





Food in reverse order... :-)

The dessert- Banana & oreo ice cream

The main course

Thupka- Soup

The momos
[photograph courtesy- Kamalika]

A friend pinged and asked if I would like to join her for the Tibetian popup lunch.. It was then I discovered she was referring to the three day event scheduled at Ashvita Bistro, Bawa Road... 



Chef Esha Sahor Lepcha from Bombay was here in Chennai and offering 'Tashi Delek' (blessings and good luck) through food... It was our chance to experience Tibetian food..  I have had this cuisine/dishes in the hills, during my Leh and Sikkim trips and so was curious to see how similar/different the flavours were. I quite love this cuisine cos it has very little to no spices/masala and yet packed with flavours. 

Saturday afternoon, we landed at Ashvita and waited for our meal. They had a Veg and non veg menu, since both of us were veg, we opted for the veg menu.  You get to choose between Momo and Thupka [soup], and similarly each category had two dishes. We decided to order one of each so we could try them both.  

The momos were delicious, served with spicy red chilli sauce and peanut chutney of sorts [which was out of the world, we asked for refill] , we went in for a repeat order of Momos as well.  The Thupka was good, similar to the one I tasted in Gangtok. It had noodles, vegetables, and a clear broth. Here too the Thupka was low on salt [I was told that most places serve it salt free, allowing the customer to season as they wish]. 

Following this came the main course, which was served with Brown rice. Along with the rice came a dish made with vegetables and blue cheese that I loved, a Tibetian version of Daal along with two sides - Cottage cheese fries and spicy Shogo Khatsa[baby potatoes]

All this was topped off with freshly handmade ice-cream [Banana & Oreo] for dessert. Overall, it was a good meal. This was priced at Rs599/- per pax. 

Overall experience- While we enjoyed the food, the service left us feeling blah, and after we left the venue is when we realised that we had shared one main, but had been billed for two full orders..  Friend raised this with the owner of the place who said we could claim the due on our next visit.. I wish restaurants educated their staff better... We were also told that refills on all dishes were part of the offer, again something we did not know nor were we offered the same...  Its not just the food, it is the ambiance, the service that adds to the dining experience, atleast for me! 

Address:
#11, Bawa Road, Alwarpet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018
Phone044 4210 9990

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 :-)

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