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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... :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen at Vidya Bharati Kalyana Mandapam

It was Saturday, the day after Christmas.. I had decided to give Sabha Lunch a shot. Waited for the clock to chime 9:30 [cos that is when puliyogare travels would share the menu ] to decide where to head. Each sabha [hall] has a different caterer and there are meals from Breakfast, lunch, evening tiffin and dinner as well. So, it was such a treat for people here to go explore the treats across the sabhas during the one month. This is a trend that has picked up over the last few years, earlier the sabhas were renowned just for their evening snacks. Now, there are people who go to a sabha not for the concert but for the food.. ;o) 

Coming back, I saw the menu shared [ the toss was between Music Academy and Vidya Bharati Mandapam], asked a friend if she wanted to join in for Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen's sappaad at Vidya Bharati Kalyana Mandayam and she agreed.Mount Sreenivasan of the famous Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen is the man behind this company.. Few minutes later mom called asking about something, and I mentioned this plan and instantly she said she too shall join us! So, the plan was made and excitement was building. 

We landed at Vidya Bharathi Kalyana Mandayam close to 1pm, it is tucked away in a narrow lane and was quite an adventure getting there. While I waited for the friend, mom went and checked out the menu. I then went ahead and picked up three lunch coupons and made a beeline for the empty chairs. 

The menu for the day was [right side column],

The food was piping hot, and though it was weird eating on a banana leaf somewhere outside of a wedding/function, it was a good experience. I bumped into a few familiar faces, also saw how people came in groups and alone to enjoy this meal. Food was served at a good pace, there was repeat requests and servings. The meal was quite filling and for the 1st time in my life the leaf was clean when I got up . We also grabbed a cup of coffee to finish off the meal.

Priced at Rs275 it was total Value for money... 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mamagoto Comes to Chennai

Founded in January 2010 in Delhi, Mamagoto literally translated from Japanese means “to play with food”, and that is the very ethos of the concept – to make Asian eating fun, unpretentious and casual. So it was quite exciting to see the sigh board "Mamagoto" on Khader Nawaz Khan road..  

I have heard quite a few rave reviews about this place from friends- the signature bowls, robata grill, asian salads, dim sum, wok dishes and curries – experimental flavours from China, Thailand, Japan and South East Asian combine with the super quirky manga inspired graphic design decor. Here in Chennai, they had quite a quirky interior design, colourful vibrant and one that has you looking all around, including the ceiling. Oh and I loved the mason jar lighting above the fruit juice bar.. Wonder if they will serve alcohol in the coming days/months?!

There is also the teppanyaki grill that makes it’s debut in Chennai,located at the far end of the restaurant with a few chairs along the counter. 

I havent eaten at this restaurant and so was very open to the experience. The food was beautiful- pan asian flavours which I have come to love.. some of the dips were quite spicy, one intact was a red chilli paste which all of us took a liberal spoonful of thinking it was sweet garlic chilli paste, only to have our tongues on fire.. :D 

I went ahead and asked for a Wasabi Mary [a twist on Bloody Mary] while the guys ordered different drinks. We tried some of their starters- including the lotus stem dish which was wow.. That apart there was also a mixed vegetable tempura of sorts, which was crispy and light.

As the evening wore on, we decided to try some of their signature bowl dishes- one was a vegetarian Thai rice and curry which was outstanding. I loved the spices and flavours. We also had the Flat noodles, which was steaming hot and packed a punch. A friend kept talking about a fun menu they have in Bangalore. But when we spoke to the lady who was the Food Director, she said they have done away with the menu and might just introduce a few unique dishes into the menu to see how the response is and take it from there.

Moving on to desserts, we tried two desserts- the Banoffee pie which just blew us away so much that we asked for a 2nd serving.For someone not too fond of bananas, I couldn't stop eating this one. The Soft warm sponge cake with sauce was also amazing.

We left the place with a promise to return and explore their menu some more.. For now, all i can say is Pan Asian[ esp Thai Flavours] is my kind of food and so this restaurant sits right on top with my other favourites. 

Shop No. 9, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai 

Meal for two - Rs 1200- 1500

For Reservations call: 044 33999610

Friday, December 18, 2015

Food is all that matters- Chennai Floods IV

"Thani oru manithanukku unavu illai enil jagathinai erithiduvom"  said Bharathiar.. 

[Meaning- If there is no food available for even one individual, we will destroy this world.]

How true! 

During the weeks when it poured like there was no tomorrow, the only thing on everybody's mind was "do we have adequate drinking water and food".. The bunch of us who were working on providing relief were also focussed on the same thing! We realised, people might be stranded, might not have power, phones were down, so was internet, but the one thing we all needed was clean drinking water and three meals a day.. 

The two weeks was sheer madness, figuring out who was doing food packets,who was collecting water packets/bottles. All we did was run from pillar to post, collecting as much of these as possible and getting it to people who were stranded. 

A friend of mine who lives in Pallikaranai, one of the severely affected area said he got food courtesy a chopper one noon. I can't even imagine what it must have been like. And then there were others struggling with little ones and no milk/biscuits/bread even..

We saw people make a grab for anything they could get their hands on. The minute they saw a car or truck come by, they knew it was relief materials and would attack instantly. People fought, there were words exchanged, children who came to pick up stuff were getting squished. 

One of those days when we were on OMR, we discovered Fathima Child Welfare centre, the place had a good 2-3 ft water. The lady in charge, came out in that to meet us at the gate. She told us they got lunch courtesy the local counsellor but they had three centres in all and did not have enough water or other things, including medicines.  We gave her a bag of water, some medicines,and sanitary pads as well .. One of the kids from that centre was sent to show us the way to their other two centres, and he was one spunky kid. Said hot food was sent over daily, and he had been there for a few months now.. There were little ones at one centre, where we gave quite a few biscuit packets.. There were teen girls who sheepishly took the sanitary pad packets, some refused to come out and had friends picking up stuff for them. 

There were moms in some areas who were happy to pile in as many biscuit packets as possible, and some even gabbed the Glucose boxes we had. They said there were few old people who were zero on strength and this would help them..

Food packets given by a team in Anna nagar.. 

Relief material at Hyatt Regency 

Just 10% of what we loaded that particular day.. we were all to track in this lorry but it was overloaded with stuff that we drove in cars..

While it made us happy to help people, we also noticed a few being rowdies. They would take food packets, inspect the content and either chuck this to eat the one they had received earlier or chuck that and eat this... Biryani over lime rice.. you get the drift... and one or two were trying the sell the food packets they got to people who had no energy to make it to the trucks.. we also stumbled upon a few who graciously turned us down saying they had already received food, and asked if we had few other times..  

Another interesting moment to be shared is - we had hired this lorry and had gone to give out relief material.. Friend, her husband , son & I were in one SUV.. We had stopped in one place, loaded stuff onto the cars and went to distribute. The kid saw the lorry driver pick up a food packet and dig in.. few minutes he grabbed a bottle of water when loading and gulped it down.. this continued through the day. The kid got peeved. He kept saying "how can he just like that take and eat/drink.. not done... ". We smiled and told him "its ok, as long as hungry soul is fed, we are doing good.."

Tough times teach you to survive, it also teaches you it is survival of the fittest.. 

Well,all said and done, the relief centres were all whipping out food packets and relief materials by the millions.. each packet hopefully reached the hungry souls, giving them hope to get through the day!! 

The other posts in the Chennai flood series can be read here,
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -I

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -II

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -III

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fuji, Japanese Restaurant comes to Chennai

Looks like the city has caught the Japanese fever.. First it was  pop up Japanese restaurant, then came the Japanese food festival and now a new Japanese restaurant opens doors. Hmmm.. Interesting and exciting! For someone who loves experimenting with food, this is a happy thing! Years ago, if someone had told me Japanese I would have scrunched up my nose and said "raw fish?yewww".. But over the years, I have learnt there are quite a few veg dishes in Japanese cuisine and some of them are quite umm as well. That apart, Japanese food is quite light, most are steamed and very healthy as well. 

Well, this new restaurant is on Chamiers Road  [few doors down from TOI office if you are coming from Chamiers road side, and if entering from Nandanam, just after Aavin booth on left side, take a right cut and it is there]

The interiors are simple, wood based and quite Japanese. They have table chair seating on the left and floor style seating on the right side. As you walk along the corridor, towards the rear side, is a private room of sorts for large groups. 

The restaurant is as authentic as it can get, with a Japanese chef, and manager as well. Having established a name in Delhi & Kolkatta the management has decided to make an entry here in Chennai. 

An extensive menu, most of which goes over our head, it is best left to the restaurant team to order for you... There are quite a range of veg dishes, some of which i enjoyed- the Tempura, the Brinjal in Miso, fried tofu and ofcourze the dessert. The Soup I did not like at all, it felt like hot water with a few pieces of brinjal & tofu- was lacking any kind of flavour. I also got to taste the Japanese omelet and it was sinfully was the broth that came as part of the non veg soup. 

Next time you are looking for something different, give this restaurant a shot!

Meal for two: Rs 2000 [approx]

Address: Old 10, New 134, Chamiers Road, Nandanam, Chennai
Phone: 044 33011577
Cuisines: Japanese/Korean

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 :-)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Japanese fest in Anytime , GRT Grand...

Looks like Japanese is the flavour of the season.. One by one restaurants are all following suit in either coming up with something around Japanese cuisine... First it was the pop up restaurant at Hyatt Regency and then came GRT Grand with their Japanese fest.. 

Tye had brought down Chef Jajos [she is half Burmese,Half Indian and been into Pan asian esp Japanese cuisine for nearly two decades]. She is now a consultant living in Shimla!! 

The evening at Anytime began with a good chat with the Chef while she told us how Japanese cuisine is famous for the live stations and all their dishes are simple, yet filled with flavour and quite healthy as well.  She went on to tell us it wasn't a good idea to have Japanese dishes as part of a Buffet cos they lose the freshness and textures, which we discovered was true.. 

Our dinner began with the Chef sending out a plate of grilled vegetables for me while friend got Chicken dish. I loved mine as it was fresh, the vegetables had a bite to them and the flavours were delicious. Following this we had Sushi... I am quite liking Sushi, this one had crunchy tempura pieces inside... 

For the mains and dessert we were shown to the buffet, where we found quite a few vegetarian dishes and a few non veg as well. I tried the noodles, tempura and rice as well, but they were all just about average. The noodles felt overcooked and mushy,while the rice was sticky and nice.. There was also a mushroom based side which I enjoyed. Moving on to desserts, there was just one from the Japanese section which was a semi solid cake of sorts made with Red bean which was quite nice... 

Good to see the city welcoming other cuisines and giving people an opportunity to try these flavours... As long as they stick to their guns and don't Indianise things, am happy!! 

GRT Grand
Hotel url:

120, Sir Thyagaraya Rd, Drivers Colony, T Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600017
044 2815 0500

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Diabetic Trail, Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt, Chennai [till Nov 30th]

If you were among those who thought healthy food was boring food, then here is a surprise for you.. Park Hyatt has launched a Diabetes Food Trail at Flying Elephant (this started on the 14th Nov and goes on till the 30th Nov)

Conceptualised and presented by Semora Entertainment Works; this unique initiative has been supported by Britannia NutriChoice,and that is where the trail begins!!

The food trail features 120+ Top Restaurants, whose Chefs have designed a special diabetic- friendly menu, just for people with diabetes.  At Park Hyatt, Chef Greg and Chef Vamsi have come together in creating this menu that is not only healthy but filled with amazing flavours as well. No, am not exaggerating or lying.. After having got the opportunity to taste the dishes that are part of the menu I can say with conviction it is anything but bland...  What is more, the calorie content is mentioned against each of the dishes  on the menu, giving you insight into what you are eating! 

Another interesting trend am noticing is that the veg food seems to shine brighter over the non veg dishes.. :-) 

Some of the dishes I tasted last evening was,

Turkish Lentil and burgle soup, chickpeas, dried mint and coriander (131 calories)

Quinoa and pomegranate  salad, orange slices, spinach, zucchini, celery with passion fruit dressing (131 calories)

For the mains, which were mouth wateringly yummy,

Brown rice congee, stir fried greens [bok choy, broccoli as well], shiitake mushrooms, ginger, spring onions, and sauteed garlic on top. I could happily just dig into a big bowl of this and be the happiest bunny around.. :) (232 Calories)

Whole wheat pizza, thinnest base, ricotta cheese, parsley, sumac, rocket, apple  and quinoa as well- the base was super thin and it was just WOW... (294 calories )

Braised lentils,poached egg, steamed swiss char, onion escabeche, parsley pesto (252 calories)

While the non veg gang dug into the steamed Chilean seabags fish and the rice with chicken side, I eagerly waited for the desserts [ which are a slight variation from the diabetes trail, but healthy nevertheless]

The Desserts we dug into were, 

Lemon cheesecake mousse with berry compote served alongside two slices of fresh papaya (342 calories ) and Peanut butter frozen yoghurt cups, oats, granola and pomegranate.. [ Doc advices that no matter what dessert we have, it should be partnered with a fresh fruit]

Ah, what an evening it had been... So, if you are looking for a restaurant to have some delicious  food and keep it healthy, this is where you should head to..A lot of the dishes reminded of the Salad festival they held few months ago..

Park Hyatt
39, Velachery Road, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
044 7177 1234

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, November 16, 2015

Yakiniku, pop up restaurant, Hyatt Regency Nov 14 - Dec 10

Hyatt Regency in Teynampet has come up with a new concept, one that is quite interesting.. They have introduced for the first time ever in Chennai, a pop-up restaurant by a five star hotel that will deliver extraordinary Japanese fare at "Yakiniku".

 Biscotti, their pastry shop has been converted into a Japanese restaurant, from decor to staff to the food and even the cutlery..  They even had a few origami pieces on display... 

It is where you get to taste some amazing Japanese dishes, all made with ingredients that are as Japanese as they can get. Some of the options available are - Niku Tofu (Sliced beef, tofu, dash stock,
green onion, chili powder), Takoyaki (Octopus dumplings, tonkatsu sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed),
Salmon Chanchan Yaki (Salmon, cabbage, onion, mushroom, carrot, sweet miso), Nasu Dengaku (Fried Eggplant, miso sauce, sesame seed). Also, available would be Sushi and Sashimi live stations. 

I also spied the staff working on Vegetarian and non vegetarian Tempura. Oh and they have a few options in soups as well -- Miso and Potato & crab meat soup...  While the menu was conceptualised by their in house Chef Subrata Debnath, a Japanese chef was brought in to teach the authentic methods of cooking and serving. Apart from the food, the decor too will feature heavy Japanese influences. "We want the diners to have the feel of being in an authentic Japanese restaurant," says the chef.    We also got the opportunity to witness Chef from Grand Hyatt Guam make sushi, and damn he was fast! 

The list is endless.. While I was there for the launch, I got to try Japanese Beer- Asahi and a few vegetarian starters- The Sushi and Nasu Dengaku, both of which left me curious for more... I am not someone who enjoys Brinjal but the sauce and the way it had been cooked was amazing, had me asking for a 2nd helping!  The Sushi was delicious, and quite filling, I had it with a good dollop of wasabi, soya sauce and pickled ginger as well. 

When you are done trying out the starters and mains, do keep some space aside for their desserts- Green Tea Tiramisu, Jelly Soup, Rice  noodle, brown sugar syrup, vanilla ice cream to name a few! 

Well, if that doesn't have you drooling, I don't know what will.. All I would say is make a visit to the pop up restaurant before December 10th.. 

Experience Yakiniku from 14th November to 10th December 2015. 

Open only for dinner (7pm to 11:30pm)

For reservations and more information, call 044 6100 1234 or +91 9962000619.

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 :-)