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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... :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5 Senses, Chennai

We walked in towards the lift in this new swanky restaurant 5 Senses on Khader nawaz khan road... A we entered the roof top, we were pleasantly surprised at the spacious interiors and exterior seating and of course the decor. The walls had posters from Hollywood classics. As i admired them, the waiter brought what looked like a huge diary, but which was actually their menu card, rather quite a large menu book. Flipped through the pages, tried to make sense of all that was written under each category and finally gave up.. but the information about the various towns, cuisines present was very interesting.. Wish they gave us a book to take home to read in leisure!!


We ordered a Tapas, that had about 5 little starters, 3 veg and 2 non veg.. They were each sinful and packed with flavour. And then for soup, i ordered a Broccoli soup, which the waiter served in a rather unique fashion. The bowl came with a little cake in the center around which green thick soup was poured. The center was infact a broccoli mouse cake. It was good.. very light!! A friend ordered Mushroom soup that was served with a long slice of toasted bread on a wooden platter, quite funky... The others passed up on soup and went ahead with the main course. 



Between us, we ordered a Chicken & Basil pizza[ Senor P added every possible seasoning on it and we managed to get a clear shot of that, but the whole pizza looked divine and the crunchy basil on top was delicious], a chicken salad, I ordered a dish that was an assortment of smoked vegetables, and finally there was the Mousakka... If one could satiate their hunger with just the appearance of the dishes, we would be full to our ears,  then this is where you should head... however, if you are a group of people and try to share the dish, you might feel the portions are too little... The Restaurant prides itself in being a Fine Dining, and so prices are high and portions are lesser than what you are normally used to...


Food did taste good, but apart from the pizza, the portions were fairly ok... Between us, we finished one and a half bottles of wine as well. And did order up a few Apple martinis that another friend had recommended...

Oh, and we werent done yet... We wanted to go all the way and have ourselves one hearty meal. For dessert, we just stuck to Chocolate Canaloni, that was served on a long white plate with a few slices of orange on one side, and two rolls, one hazelnut flavoured and other dark chocolate with rich cholocate filling on the inside.. It was to die for... divine!!  



Good conversation, amazing company and good food, all that made the evening quite a memorable one!We were on a high and so the night will remain a fun experience...

Ambiance 9/10
Food 7/10
Service 9/10
Price 6/10

Address:    
Oyster, No. 9, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam , Chennai -34
Just after Casa Picola... 
Phone: 044 -30062010, 30062020, 30062030

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Madras Kafe, Nungambakkam

The skies were having a party, and it was pouring non stop since morning. I stood in the balcony longing for a hot plate of Bhajji and coffee when the phone rang. It was my friend S..

S: Hello, Madras Kafe polama?
Me: Ennadu, enga irukku? [what? where is it?]

S: Come to Ispahani center nungambakkam and you will see it in the basement...
M: Ohh ok ok.. that new place near the Yoga place.... nice... give me half hour... and off i went battling the pouring rain towards Ispahani Center....

The Madras Kafe was located in the basement, near 136.1 yoga/fitness center. Brought back memories of days when we used to work out at Gymmania[that was once where 136.1 is today]. Going down the stairs, my eyes scanned the center to see if any of the old shops/cafes were still around. Noticed that Sweet chariot was gone.. sigh.... 

This cafe is a small place, no frills or fancy decor, literally. there were 3 walls, one of which i noticed was made entirely of thermocol [styrofoam], with images of drinks and food items stuck on them with colorful pins. On one side were small picket fences painted in white. 


My friend was already there, she had ordered a plate of Podi idli, which was a plate of mini idlies covered in milagai podi.. It was quite tasty and the idli was of the right texture [ i dont like idlies too much, leave alone hot idlies or ones that are grainy].. Apart from that, she had ordered a Lime chilly drink for herself, while i chose a Berry cooler.. The lime chilly was not spicy enough, and she wanted them to add more zing to it. My berry cooler was good, divine actually... I could taste strawberries in them, and the sugar was less, which made it yumm!

The next dishes we ordered were - a plate of Gumma kuthu idli [ sauted onion and tomatoes in which the idlies had been tossed around], and a plate of Fried Podi idlies [ same as podi idli, but fried, crisp on the outside and soft inside] ... 


 Chatted with the man who served us the food and brought our check. Somasundaram, he owns the place. Seemed like someone totally new to the cafe world, but yet was flagging off an idea his son, who works at a leading IT company had... Very humble, he told us in a soft voice " please do tell your friends about the place and if you are on Facebook, do like our page please". 

Overall feel good kinda place... Simple, neat and wallet friendly.

Ambiance- 7/10 - simple and neat
Food - 8/10 [shd do a 2nd visit to sample different items on the menu]
Price- 8/10 [very very reasonably priced, noticed it attracts lot of college, young crowd]
Space- can seat a max of 10 by the looks of it... 
Overall -8/10

Address:
Madras Kafe
Basement, Ispahani Center
Uthamar Gandhi Salai
Nungambakkam
Chennai-34

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cake Buffet at The French Loaf, Harrington Road, Chennai


So, i saw this "Cake Buffet at The French Loaf" ad in today's Hindu.. I wondered how much dessert can one eat? Even though it is unlimited, even though the buffet is only Rs249, how many cakes or muffins or tarts can one plough through? Before i was done wondering, i heard my phone ring.. It was from Burrp and they were asking me if it was possible to go check out a preview of this event? Whoa, did they read my mind? I replied "Yes".. Within few minutes, the PR person called and informed me that i could visit The French Loaf in Harrington Road between 2-4pm.... That was it! 



I remember how few years ago, this was a new cafe in our area and today, there are over a dozen outlets across the city.. wow! I walked into French loaf around 3pm, met with the PR team who spoke about the event, and how the whole concept was the 1st in South India and it sure was creating quite the buzz among foodies in the city... French Loaf had recently created a record by creating the longest cake as a "tribute to 75years of Tamil Cinema". It was displayed at Express Avenue.. Infact, if you were to ask me, it was French Loaf who revolutionized the whole Cakes should look much more appealing,"lets bring on the excitement and drool factor on 1st look concept!"

There i was at a place so familiar and yet i dint know what to expect when a man in white and white hopped over, introducing himself as the Chef- Bhupesh .. He shared with us the birth of this Dessert Buffet and the different treats that were in store for those who landed at French Loaf on 10th December between 4 and 10pm.. It was an Unlimited Dessert Buffet where we hope to introduce people to different kinds of desserts, beyond cakes, show them tarts, cheese cakes, pies, profiteroles, truffles, mousse, rum balls and some more

There were more than a handful Eggless desserts i noted [ the silent voice within my head jumped in joy thinking of my family, some of whom were particular about eggless]... 

The 1st cake that was brought out of the kitchen was a beautiful turqoise coloured Fish, with blue scales & brown fins.. it looked divine!! It was a Black forest cake but all i kept thinking was "i could never cut such a beautiful creation, leave alone devour it..  "



And then came this burst of red on a bed of white cloud, it was Strawberry Cheese cake, covered with fresh Strawberries... Ooh, yummm...


The grand finale was a cake that looked like it belonged in the garden, a simple cake with a beautiful decoration on the top, made completely with white chocolate. It was fascinated to see the wrinkles, folds that made the chocolate look like a sheet of fabric... 


There was also a Chess board cake on display, which will make its way to the buffet, but i couldnt take a shot of it, maybe when i go on Saturday i will share how the complete spread was, provided i can contain the excitment and flavours!! :-) 
Oh, forgot to mention the wide array of  delicious cakes that made it to our table for us to relish... There was a Blueberry cake with barbie photo on it that tasted divine, a strawberry cream cake, Black forest, Chocolate Truffle and the fresh pineapple cake...  What a treat for the eyes and soul they were!!

So, if you are in Chennai and have a Sweet tooth, head over to The French Loaf on 10th December... The buffet will be sitting waiting for you in Le Chocolatier lounge [1st floor, above French loaf, which also belongs to the same Oriental Cuisines Group]... 

Update:
A collage of cakes and treats that was up for grabs on the day of the Buffet....


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Anytime, GRT Grand- Cajun & Creole Festival

A few steps into the grand lobby and there it was, straight ahead. I noticed the Newspaper clipping collage with the board that said "Cajun & Creole fete" at the entrance to Anytime in GRT Grand. I was there on behalf of Burrp to enjoy the evening, and the experience!


My initial reaction on seeing the lavish spread  and the decor was "Wow, this looks interesting, i wonder what the cuisine is going to be like".. After a lazy stroll around the Buffet we were seated and bowls of Calabaza soup was served to our seats. It was a light soup filled with flavour and vegetables [Coloured capsicums, Brocolli and Zucchini], perfect start to the evening... 

Chef Srinath came over, introduced himself and gave me a sneak peek into what this festival was all about and how they were doing New menu every day. He spoke in length on The Creole & Cajun fest being a dedication of sorts to the different kinds of beans and rich vegetables along with a few special spice mixes. 



I quite liked the way the Buffet had been laid out.. There was the Non veg dishes on one side while the Veg sat on the other side.. And then came the short stroll towards the Dessert bar before heading over to the Coffee/tea counter and then the most interesting dessert of them all- Chocolate truffle Fritters... 

We were so tempted to dig into the main dishes that we made a beeline for the Salad bar 1st.. 
Ceasar Salad, Fresh garden vegetables with an assortment of Dips, Quennels of feta & brocooli in a cherry tomato salad, A duet of baby corn and  brussel sprouts and then there was the sinful Pineapple in cream sauce sitting on a bed of lightly cooked Beans with a walnut on top were some of the options we had. Each of these were served in small single portion dishes, which made it easy to serve and savour. 

There was also a wide array of cheeses to sample! There was also Thayir vadai, which was a tad too sweet for my liking...  They also had a choice of sauces, pickled olives, gherkins and other items that one could add to make their own salad. 

The starter counter next to the salad bar had the sweet crunchy Rangoon vegetables [an assortment of Baby corn, capsicums, tofu], a potato nuggets, fried wanton, Keerai bonda and interesting looking Bharwan Chi Chinga [Snake gourd stuffed with vegetables]...    I tried almost all and favoured the Rangoon vegetables and potato nuggets the most. Snake gourd rings were ok, not really my thing... 

Between mouthfuls i managed to chat with the Chef and sous chef on the festival and some of the dishes they had served up. It was quite a treat because not only was the food delicious, it was also low on spice but rich in flavour! Oh, how can i forget the Live counter- Mandzi, African Yam Ball With mango chutney and Morroccan Spiced vegetables. We tried the Mandzi [cardomon flavoured flour based little nuggets that were light as a feather and subtle in flavour] and the Morroccan vegetables[Coloured capsicums, green & yellow zucchini, brocolli, sprouts cooked with their spice mix]. 


The ambience was simple and comfortable, there were little touches here and there that added to the whole feel- A few jazz musician figurines, and a few photographs from the bygone era.. The waiters all wore Sombreros, though i wondered the connection! 

Moving on to the main course, i took a spoonful of the Pigeon Peas & Rice that was red in colour, with refried beans and tomato flavours leading the pack.There was also the Patatas a las importancia [Potatoes cooked in onion & saffron sauce] and Cajun Bean Cake with Creole Sauce that was like a hara bara kabab except it had a bang of flavour.. I noticed two bowls of chutneys near the live counter. 

The chef explained one was Mint chutney and other was Banana chutney, it was sweet and thick with banana pulp [an acquired taste am sure] 

Found it a bit strange that they served Indian Rotis on the table, because it kind of sticks out amidst the Creole & Cajun dishes. But then, when i did wander around the buffet, i discovered there were quite a few Indian side dishes on display as well- Dal Panchmela, Paneer Kali Mirchi Masala and Getti Kozhambu [Tamarind based South indian curry] along with vazhakkai melagu peratal [raw banana curry made south indian style]... 

I steered towards the non indian dishes, choosing the Noodles and Thai Vegetable curry for the main course. I've always loved the Thai Curry and this was quite a treat, loved it... For those whose meals ends with Curd rice, their wish is fulfilled here as well... :-) 


 Phew.. that was a lot of food, right? I was not done yet. Still had to test out the desserts, and between me and mom, we tried almost all the items on display.... Among the desserts on the menu, the Best were the Baked Blueberry Cheese cake, Orange Mousse cake and Lemon tart stood out. The Kiwi Eclairs, Almond Brulee, Prunes pudding  and the make believe Baklava were ok, some were missing flavour while others were thick & dense... Oh the Chocolate Truffle Fritters were the highlight of the evening, they looked like little lollypops and there was a burst of chocolate in the mouth as you bit into these little wonders.... 

What a way to end the evening... I now look forward to going back for the festival and on a normal day to experience the other dishes they have to offer. 

Food- 8/10
Ambience- 8/10
Service- 8/10
Price- well, it was for a review, so i cant really comment on this, but if one were to go for the Fest, the buffet is for Rs799 per pax. 
Overall Rating - 8/10

The Fest is on from November 25 to December 4, and will include Jambalaya, Spicy etouffee, Saucy Screole, Crispy Grillades and Grits, from 7.30 pm onwards
For reservations, call: +91 44 28150500

Thank you burrp for an awesome evening and thank you GRT Grand for a fun experience!! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pazham Pori [Banana Fritters]

"Try some Pazham pori", she said bringing in a plate of what looked like Hot fritters.. It had a light golden colour on it and aroma wafting along the way was divine.... 

I bit into it cautiously aware of how hot it was and i went "Mmmmm".. It was sweet, but not overpoweringfly sweet, it was soft, but not mushy soft, it was yumm... All i missed was a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream, and ta da, before i knew it there was a scoop of ice cream on the table... This is what i call sinful.... 

It has been quite a few years, but still the memory lingers on...  The last time i had these was during the houseboat ride in Coir village Resort near Allepey in Kerala, during the holiday a couple of high school girl friends took :-) [yes, it was yours truly travelling with her 3 BFF]

When i asked the guy at the resort how he made it, this is what he had to say....  [this is in case you dont have any friends from Kerala or Mallu land ;o) ]

What you need-
Giving measurements for 4 bananas!!

Ripe Nendram Banana -  4
Maida- 1 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tbsp (depending on the sweetness of the banana)
Salt - a pinch (optional)
Water- Enough to mix the flour in...
Oil - for frying

How to do it..

1. Mix the maida with water, salt and sugr to make a nice thick paste... [almost like Dosa batter consistency]
2. Cut the Bananas length wise into long strips... [2 slices off a banana]
3. Place a pan on the stove and add the necessary amount of oil, bring it to a good temperature [whatever is best suited for frying]
4. Dip the banana in the batter and fry till light golden brown


You can eat this as it is or with ice cream or chocolate sauce.... Bon Appetit!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Azulia GRT, Chennai

 'Marhaba Ma'am were the 1st words i heard as i hopped off the elevator and walked through the door into Azulia... This is the Greek/Mediterranean Restaurant in GRT, T Nagar. I have visited Copper Point in the ground floor numerous times, but this was the 1st time i was at Azulia.

 The grand entrance.... 

 The ambiance seemed like it had come out from  a movie based in Egypt or Turkey, there were beautiful light fittings and so were the other pieces on the walls. After being shown to our table, Chef Ethem Aydemir came over to say hellow and give us a brief into the cuisine and the dishes he served at the restaurant. Following this, we also got a bit of insight from the Restaurant Manager Ricardo and PR man Marc. The menu card, is more like a coffee table book, so elaborate- filled with pictures from the 10 countries [They serve the cuisines from Egypt, France, Italy, Morocco, Greek among others] spread across the elaborate menu, with nearly 160 dishes- from Soup, starters to desserts. 

 The arrangement in the table- bottle of water, olive oil+balsamic vinegar and the pepper mill which had light at the bottom 
Lost between the pages, we decided to give the task of choosing dishes to the Chef and we were not disappointed. I have had Lebanese/Greek/Arabic food earlier, and so i was prepared for what was being brought to our table.  The waiters and waitresses quietly went about putting an Apron on each of us, going with the custom of savouring this particular cuisine with ones hands. [Wish i had taken a picture in the Apron, felt like i was on Masterchef ;o)] 


The Turkish magic- a small pill when water is poured expands to a hand towel..
The lunch opened with the Cold Mezze platter- Pita bread, Hummu [Chick peas], Mutabal [Babaganoush-made with Brinjal, sesame paste, garlic and olive oil], Tzatziki [thick yoghurt with cucumber, onion and herbs] ,Tashi[ sesame paste dip].. followed by a plate of Dolmades ..

Before we were done sampling these, an array of Hot Mezze dishes made their way to our table- Falafel [chick peas, broad beans, red pepper, dill, coriander, garlic & chilies, served with  tartar Sauce],  Bourak Bel Jibneh [Cigar like rolls with 3 different kinds of cheeses that was simply sinful],  Fatayer [a kind of samosa with Spinach and pomegranate sauce filling ],  Kebbe Laktine  [a dish made with broken wheat yellow pumpkin and herbs]   



 Amidst flowing conversation, the food kept flowing to our table... The non veg gang got quite a colourful mix of dishes.. Castalata [Lamb chops] ,Fillet de poivre, Poisson a L'Estragon [Fish], Cannelloni al a Bolognaise, Yoghurtlu Kebab, Beef Steak and ofcourse the Chef's creation prawn marrakech with gnocchi....  

Lamb chops i heard was not cooked to perfection, and the gnocchi wasnt too great either, but i saw the others polish off their plates... :-)

We, the vegetarians got some interesting main courses -Risotto Tortufo fungi[rich risotto cooked with mushrooms] &Pasta Genovese Verde [mine with Asparagas and artichoke, while Nishanth's had sauce and looked different]... Along came the thin crust pizza loaded with vegetables- Olives, tomatoes, onions,mushrooms, liberally drizzled exotic herbs and olive oil, cheese and few mint leaves. The base used on the pizza was the authentic Arabic spice mix- Sumac & Oregano].


Before we could blink, it was time to wrap up the meal, but not before biting into the 3 desserts that were laid out on the table... The Chef was gracious enough to send out platters filled with the desserts- Baklava dripping with sugar syrup, Gateaux Fromage [Orange flavoured cheesecake] and Hot SoufflĂ© [which was almost like a lava cake].   The Baklava was good, but it was a tad too sweet, while the Hot Souffle was oozing with Chocolate and the Cheese cake had a strong Orange Flavour to it...
 

Subsequent to the lavish meal, we were given a tour of the kitchen and sneak peek into the various Spices, oil and flavours used in Mediterranean cuisine... There we were, a bunch of "educated in Mediterranean cuisine and their culture"... As we bid adieu to the staff and Chef, we were each handed a bag with an Apron and a little box with a Turkish Evil eye .. 


 What are you waiting for? Head over here if you wanna experience the Mediterranean in Chennai.... 

Food- 3/5
Ambiance- 4/5
Service- cant really rate it because it was a review meet! 
Price- Looking at the menu, it looks like a meal of 3-4 courses for a couple will work out to Rs3000 - 4000/- 

Address:
GRT Grand
120, Sir Thyagaraya Road,
T. Nagar, Chennai - 600 017
Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +91-44 2815 0500 / 5500
reservations@grtgrand.com 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shiraz Cafe, ECR, Chennai

Text from friend - Have you been to Moonrakers?
Me: yes, ages ago with you! 
Friend: Ah, would you wanna go again, this time with P in tow[her nearly 3yr old adorable brat]?
Me: yayy, lets go! 

I was at her house by 5.30, we were packed and ready to scoot by 5.45.. And as we wove around the city traffic, we caught up on "life this week" and during the conversation somehow chat steered towards Shiraz cafe and that i had not visited the place. We drove down till Mahabs, did a U turn and drove into the lane that houses the Cholamanadalam Artists village. 

I had visited the village with uncle aunt and cousin nearly a year ago, but the cafe was shut then. Last nite we parked near the Cafe entrance, and made a beeline for one of the comfy looking sofas inside. There was plenty of outdoor seating as welll, but it was dark and my friend preferred being in a lit place, esp with the little one running around... 


Shiraz Cafe is an Iranian Cafe where they serve up quite a range of Arabic,Greek, Lebanese- Middle eastern and Iranian food. 

The cafĂ© is run by Farhad and Nasrin  – a charming & friendly couple who hail from Iran, but have been in India for over 30years. Farhad mentioned that he took care of the art workshop  while Nasrin manages/cooks/plays the role off the perfect hostess at the cafe.

The bright yellow wall paper with the mosaic like patterns, the cute little tea pots, the vibrant red flowers in the vase, shelves laden with crockery, amidst which i spotted a tea pot, and right on top was  a toy Motorbike... and ofcourse the music flowing in the back ground was just the perfect mood and setting. There was a huge table with a glass top that had engravings of patterns in vivid colours, while mirror with adornments were found on the walls, each of which reflected the love for art and colours the couple had.. Not to forget the cute doggie- Topoli, that curled up and slept like a baby against the wall under a table.

As we walked in, we were greeted with star shaped cookies that just melted in our mouth. We were also offered a Granita kind of a drink made with Pink Guava, Barley water and Tulsi Seeds. It was such a refreshing drink...   

Nasrin told us they close at 8pm these days, and asked if we wanted to have dinner there [a fixed menu of veg food]... 

1st course was a thick creamy soup that was quite filling- i could taste onion, garlic, herbs, yoghurt and few other mysterious yet tasty ingredients.. Pita bread and hummus followed next, except here the Pita bread was toasted and looked like Nachos.. The Hummus was rich and quite delicious... 

 The Soup
As we chatted with some of the other guests, the waiter brought out our meal in cute little bowls- There were 3 kinds of rice- Sprouts and Candied orange peel rice; Dill rice; and plain rice. It was served along with quite an array of side dishes Black Dal curry; Potato peas and paneer curry and there was a brinjal dish[which neither of us liked much]. And then came the sinful Tzatziki of sorts- rich fresh yoghurt with Cucumber and herbs... 

It was a sinful delicious meal.. The food was just perfect, the gravies were not filled with masala or oil... 
We ended the meal with a taste of the Apple Cake and Marble chocolate cake and then a cup of hot Iranian Tea [mint, sugar, and lemon].. I actually asked Nasrin if the Tea had honey, but she sweetly smiled and said "no, it is the mix of Mint and sugar that gives it the richness, many ask me if it is honey, and i could simply lie and say yes, but i dont... am glad you like it.."

The meal for two costed us Rs735 [Rs700 +Tax-Rs35] which i thought was quite reasonable considering the spread they had served us. Apparently their Sunday buffet is a Must visit!! 

It is the ideal place to go chill, have some good food, enjoy music, or maybe a stroll after the meal around the village, down to the beach.... 


Ambiance- 4.5/5
Food- 4/5
Price- 4/5
Service 4/5
Overall Experience- 4.75/5

Timings:
Shiraz is open from 11am to 8p.m through the week. Sunday brunch costs Rs. 400 per head. 
Call Nasrin on 98405 72126 for reservations.
Address:
+91 9840572126
Inside Cholamandalam Artist's Village, Injambakkam, East Coast Road, Chennai 

Directions:
As you head down ECR, drive past VGP and keep an eye out for FOOD WORLD store on the left.. This is about 1km ahead of the ECR Toll booth.. Once you see Food world, turn left into the narrow path and drive straight down. You will see Cholamandal Artists village board on the main road and inside the lane as well. There is a seperate entrance to the Cafe, a small gate...


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mun Veedu, Adyar,Chennai

There is a friend who likes to visit new restaurants, experiment with cuisines, actually she likes Indian cuisines as Italian and Continental are not spicy enough for her!! :D So, one morning, she called me with excitment in her voice and asked if i was free to meet for lunch... I replied in affirmative and she then said , lets go to Munveedu[ pronounced: Mann veedu- house made of sand]

Apparently there had been news about the place in the paper almost daily and it had been lanched recently- Oct 28th, she went on.... Asked her for directions and got on with my day... 
It was 12.45 and i was just entering the road next to Malar-Fortis Hospital and heading towards Gandhinagar club, with eyes focussed on either side of the road looking for the restaurant.. Drove past the club and still no luck.. And then, voila, i spotted the small Terracota board on the right side with the name written in tamil. The security guided me to the entrance and there i found a dhabba express like restaurant- red mud/terracota interiors, with pots and people embossed on them. Comfortable cane chairs with foam stuffings, though they were designed to not hold a bag or a phone [they kept sliding off the surface]



Munveedu in Tamil means a home made of mud. And indeed, the restaurant has mud walls reminding one of a cosy houses in the villages..

There is also a bullock cart, minus the bulls standing outside, near the entrance. It does look nice, but doesnt do much to the service offered inside!!

The menu was extensive and listed down quite a few South Indian dishes from various parts of Tamilnadu – Chettinadu, Karaikudi, Coimbatore, Dindigul and so on- kinda like Karaikudi Restaurant.. It serves both vegetarians and non-vegetarians food. 

We finally settled for the Zameen Meals [Zameen in Hindi mean earth which is another word for Mun/mann-sand, bhoomi], which was Rs399 for veg and Rs499 for non veg.  My friend had ordered a non veg starter and veg soup which took forever to reach out table... To a point where we actually wondered if the waiter had forgotten about us... There was a couple in the adjacent table who were done with their meal, paid their bill and off with their doggy bag before our soup landed on our table..

The place mat with a thirukkural on it- in Tamil with the meaning in English...

The place is quite spacious, with enough tables scattered across the rooms, ranging from 2 seaters to 6 seater tables. I was quite amazed at the crowd that had piled in and the long queue of people waiting outside...

The soup was a kind of Rasam, with lots and i mean Lots, read Overdose of Coriander leaves and Curry leaves... I dint care for it too much... The starter my friend said was good- think it was Prawns! 

Our Zameen meals finally arrived.. it was quite elaborate- there was Idiyappam, a Parotta apart from quite a few side dishes... We were also served hot Appams and rice & ghee [optional]... 

Overall, the food was ok.. There was nothing exceptional about the quality or options available.. I would rather go to Karaikudi... 

Food-4/5
Price: 3/5
Ambiance -4/5
Service- 3/5
Rating-3.5/5
  
Address:
Mun Veedu
34/72A, 4th Main Road, Gandhi Nagar,
Adyar.
Ph: [044]4260 7475, 7299909494

Directions
Drive down the road next to Malar Hospital[Fortis], straight down past Gandhi nagar club side wall, and you will spot this hotel on the right side in a complex that also houses an office! There is a small board with "Mun veedu" written in tamil.... The entrance is on the side, near the Bullock cart... 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Strawberry smoothie

Bells were going off in my Tummy as it was breakfast time and i had completely forgotten to make Oats or Porridge in the morning frenzy.. Did what i do under such circumstances. Open the fridge, stand in front of it as if a light bulb will burst in my head and ideas will flow.. 

Well, lucky me! I did spot just what i wanted and voila, breakfast was ready in a jiffy... My eyes fell on a box of strawberries with a few left huddled up in a corner and a small tub of beaten curd.. Grabbed the ice cube tray and headed for the kitchen... 


Strawberry smoothie in a jiffy i call it.. :-) 

There was enough for the 3 of us, Grandparents slurped it up, and have since then been asking me how i made it, what was the secret to the richness and creaminess... 



Recipe
Strawberries - 3 per person 
Curd or yoghurt- 2 tbsp per person
Ice cubes- 2-3 per person
Mixer 
Sugar/Honey- optional

Method:
Take the mixer, put in all the ingredients and run the mixie for a few minutes till all blend together well. 
Add sugar/honey if you want.. It is nice as it is..

Tips:
Clean the strawberries, remove the leaves on the top 
Beat the curd a bit
Break the ice cubes if possible into smaller chunks for easier/faster processing

Pour into a glass and Enjoy!! 

You can make smoothies with bananas, figs, mango, and just about any other fruit you can think of!! Just avoid Pineapples :D


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Parfait3

So, finally i managed to visit the much hyped Parfait3, which is walking distance from home...  from the outside, it looked like a cafe, a bistro maybe...  but on entering i realised it is much more !!

The minimalistic decor and the colours are just perfect, adding to the experience... There was also an outdoor seating area, but we thought it might get hot. It is tucked away, and so one cant really see you while walking on the road...

The menu was damn interesting... I noticed you got yummy breakfast, and some Continental dishes as well. I tried their breakfast, pancakes and juice, while my friend tried the eggs... 

A friend who'd been here earlier recommended the hazelnut drink, which was sinful, and such a bang of flavours. I noticed they also had some Pastas, burgers, sandwiches along with fish n chips, and even mushroom pie... I liked the fact that they had a good mix of vegetarian and non vegetarian items on the menu.. 


Since i was there in the morning, i dint try any of the main dishes. The menu boats of an extensive Dessert list as well. From Shakes, ice cream, to cakes and cookies. 

We polished off the pancakes and drinks and walked out with a content look on our faces.. It was surprising to see the crowd in the morning... We decided to walk home, and on the way i noticed there was Arun ice cream and Cup o Cafe on the same road- both of which looked abandoned...

I am sure i would revisit Parfait 3 to sample some of the other dishes served. The cost i felt was just right, reasonable and it was a cool place to meet friends or just hang out on a lazy afternoon... 

When talking to the man behind the counter, i came to know they offer  Home delivery for places upto 3kms [Yayy, i sure do live within that radius]

Do visit here if you want to have something besides idli and dosa for breakfast!!

Ambiance- 4/5
Pricing- 4/5
Food- 4.5/5
Service-4/5

Address: 
No.16, manikeshwari road, Kilpauk,
Chennai-10.
They also have branches in Velachery (100 feet road) and Anna Nagar.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Fig


One bite and the little crunchy seeds start playing around in the mouth, the sweetness fills our senses and that is exactly why i love this fruit... The Fig!! 
 
Have also read that "The Fig tree is the symbol of abundance, of fertility, of sweetness"... Hmm... Interesting how such a simple looking fruit has so many secrets within!  

The Fig is such a popular fruit from the days of Jesus, infact it even has a mention in the Holy Bible...
When Jesus was leaving Bethany, he was hungry. On seeing in the distance a fig tree, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.Angered and disappointed,  he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.

The very first time i tried a dry fig, i knew there was no turning back. Since then, i buy them in bunches, stock them in the fridge, and devour 1-2 a day... Sometimes i defrost them in the microwave, almost til it gets nice and hot, which makes then sinful ... 

The other day, gramma and i saw a TV cooking show where the man made a Fresh Fig pickle.. Which gramma has recreated and it is quite good- not spicy, not fruity, but just perfect with those little crackling seeds all through the bottle....


  • Prevent constipation: There are 5 grams of fiber per three-fig serving. So, it helps in healthy bowel function and prevents constipation.
  • Weight loss: The fiber in figs also helps to reduce weight and is recommended for obese people. Take care - figs also result in weight gain, especially when consumed with milk.
  • Lower cholesterol: Figs contain Pectin, a soluble fiber. When fiber goes through the digestive system, it mops up globes of cholesterol and carries them out of body.
  • Prevent coronary heart disease: Dried figs contain phenol, Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Prevent colon cancer: The presence of fiber helps to mop up and usher out cancer causing substances.
  • Protection against post-menopausal breast cancer: Fiber content in figs give protection against breast cancer.
  • Good for diabetic patients: The American Diabetes Association recommends figs for a high fiber treat. Fig leaves reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic patients who have to take insulin injection. Fig is rich in Potassium. Potassium helps to control blood sugar. Fig leaves have anti-diabetic properties
  • Prevention of hypertension: People used to take more sodium in the form of salt. Low potassium and high sodium level may lead to hypertension. Figs are high in potassium but low in sodium. So, it helps to avoid hypertension.
  • Sexual weakness: Figs are known since ages for reducing sexual weakness. Soak 2-3 figs in milk overnight and eat them in the morning to enhance your sexual power. It also helps in gaining weight.
  • Strengthens bones: Figs are rich in Calcium. Calcium helps to strengthen bones.
  • Urinary calcium loss: People having high salt diet may be affected by increased urinary calcium loss. Potassium content in figs helps to avoid that.
  • Prevent macular degeneration: Vision loss in older people is due to macular degeneration. Fruits and figs generally are good for avoiding this condition.
  • Relief for throat: The high mucilage content in figs, helps to heal and protect sore throat
Psst... Taking too much fig can cause diarrhea. Dried figs are high in sugar and might cause tooth decay.

 A fig tree in Sringeri.. There is a board next to it that Forbids visitors from plucking the fruit.. Gramma says these trees attract snakes, which is probably why the board is placed!
Be it the fresh fruit or the dried one
Be it in a Fig shake
or Anjeer[Fig] burfi
it is divine... 
But it is an acquired taste.... 

So, next time you see one, do give it a try, you just might fall in love with it... :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Japan Fruit...

Me: Is it a different kind of tomato?
Gramma: No, it looks different... I havent seen this kind of tomato before
Me: Hmm.. it is in the fruit section.... Do you have any idea what it could be?
Gramma : [She looked at me perplexed...]
I then turned to the salesman behind the Apples counter and asked him what fruit it was..
Salesguy: Japan Fruit madam.. See that box next to it, it has the chopped fruit as well..


I instantly tweeted asking the kind souls out there if they had seen/tasted this fruit. Within few minutes, one of those souls replied saying "yes, have seen this before, it is also called Persimmon"

From Wikipedia- They are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses. Like the tomato, it is not considered a "common berry", but is in fact a "true berry" by definition.
We were tempted to buy one and try, but put it off for another day... I got home and did some snooping around on the net... What i found had me curious.. 

Health benefits of persimmon fruit

[Source:http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/persimmon-fruit.html]

  • The fruit is low in calories (provides 70 cal/100g) and fats but is rich source of dietary fiber.
  • Persimmons contain many health benefiting phyto-nutrients flavonoid poly-phenolic anti-oxidants like catechins and gallocatechins as well as important anti-tumor compound betulinic acid. Catechins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic (prevents bleeding from small blood vessels) properties.
  • Fresh permissions contain anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin-A, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Together, these compounds functions as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that plays a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus, helps prevent "Age related macular disease"(ARMD) in the elderly.
  • The fruits are also very good source of vitamin-C, another powerful antioxidant (especially native Chinese and American persimmons; provide 80% of DRI). Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • The fruit is good in many valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), thiamin...etc. These vitamins act as co-factors for numerous metabolic enzymatic functions in the body.
  • Fresh Persimmon fruits also contain healthy amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese (15% of DRI), copper (12% of DRI),  and phosphorus. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.

You bet on my next sighting of this fruit, i am going to grab one!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Escape Dine

When the food court is jam packed, and the restaurants are overflowing with people, the only place to head to is Escape Dine inside Escape Cinemas in the 3rd floor in Express Avenue Mall in Chennai.

My friend and i made a beeline for a table in Dine and since then the table seems to have become our spot. Everytime we visit, we are shown to the same table [and trust me when  i say we have been there plenty of times] :)

The rich wood furnishings and glass partition wall adds to the ambiance. It keeps away the prying eyes of those who are looking for movie tickets or walking in or out of a movie and gives the guests enough privacy. There is a buffet open during Lunch , with unlimited Biryani [both veg and non veg] along with a soup and dessert for about Rs299.

And if like us you dont think you do justice to the buffet, then go for the A la carte menu.. My friend loves Desserts, so she goes straight to the Dessert page in the menu card and promptly orders one for each of us before looking at the main dishes..

We normally skip the Starters and head over straight to the Main course. I have had their Vegetable Biryani.. Panneer Tikka Masala with Parantha or plain rice, and once tried the Mushroom based pasta.. All these dishes come pipoing hot and quite yummy..


 The portions are pretty huge, enough for 2 people, especially if you are going in for a dessert.  I also quite enjoy the Brinjal curry and onion raita that comes with the Biryani... 

My friend orders either a Mutton biryani or Chicken biryani with extra spice...Going by her expressions, i would say she too enjoys the food! 

And now for the dessert.. Many a times, we pick out one or two from the menu only for the waiter to come back saying they either dont have it or have run out of it.. Apparently the desserts come from Ecstacy in Satyam Cinemas and arrive here twice a day...

The very 1st time we ordered the Hazelnut mousse served on a ginger short bread [it was from Ecstacy by Mikeal Besse] and was divine... Actually, so are all the desserts we  have had here, that come with a scoop of sinful vanilla ice cream...

 The Blueberry Cheese cake...

Dark chocolate fantasy [dont remember the exact name]


Next time you are in Express Avenue and are looking for a quiet place for a meal, march straight into Escape cinemas towards the Dine!
Psst- Sorry about quality of images, invariably whenever i am here i seem to have only my Blackberry to rely on!!


Food 8/10
Service 8/10
Ambiance 8/10
Price 8/10 [A meal for two should cost between Rs500- 700.]

Timings: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 
Address: Escape Dine
3rd Floor [ inside Escape cinemas on extreme left]
Ph: 044 28464809 .

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cream & Fudge Factory, Chennai

So, finally the visit to Cream & Fudge Factory happened last evening. It is a fairly small place, rather narrow and long space located near Auroville and Cafe Coffee Day lounge on Khader Nawaz Khan Road.

I had read about the Cold stone concept and how they mix the ice cream with fruits and sauces before serving it to you, ergo, i was curious to taste the end result... As you walk in through the doors, the display of ice creams and waffle cones are the 1st thing you see, but not before the warmth in that area has you break out into a sweat.. it was really warm there.. but the seating area was cool/cold wherever the ac worked!. I was fascinated with the 4 kinds of waffle cones and cups on display.
Plain Waffle
Waffle coated with Chocolate sauce
Waffle coated with Chocolate sauce and colourful sprinkles and finally  the
Waffle coated with Chocolate sauce and nuts

[Pic courtesy: Cream & Fudge Factory website]


After scanning through the extensive menu card, i decided on the Apple Crumble ice cream.. They also had a choose the flavours and create your own ice cream option

I love Apple Pie, and basically anything to do with Apples and Cinnamon... :-) 


I chose the Waffle coated with Chocolate sauce and colourful sprinkles in Medium size and waited for the treat to arrive.. My Friend chose the Rocky Road in the same waffle cup... 
  
It was sinful.. The flavour of apples, cinnamon and sweetness was just perfect.. I relished it to a point where i was nearly done and remembered i have not taken a picture of the dessert :D


The ice cream no doubt was good.. but i dont really know what the cold stone did to the dessert, it tasted like someone had mashed up an apple pie with ice cream, and dolloped it. The vanilla ice cream is nice and full of flavour and so is the fudge sauce.. And another thing was we were unable to enjoy the waffle cup, it is just there, towards the end of the ice cream, i kinda squished the waffle like a dosa and gobbled it up!!

Ok, to update, i was here again in the same week when another friend took me over for a treat.. And this time, i was wise, actually both of us were- we chose the simple plain cup for our ice creams. I had the berry ice cream with Cherry pie and it was good!! There was no place to sit, so we walked around the road devouring our ice creams and catching up on our lives... Was fun!!  

Ambiance- 7/10[Ac wasnt working in the area where you place the order, but it was cool in the seating area, dont know if it was a deliberate thing]
Service- Nothing to rate here as it is self service
Food- Good 8/10
Price- 5/10 [And it is quite expensive.... Albeit, it was friend's treat, but i did notice the prices!! ] 
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