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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, August 21, 2013

Nandos, Chennai

I heard of this place when they were about to launch, and there was a lot of talk about the Peri Peri chicken. Since i am a vegetarian, I ignored the thread but the franchise owner insisted they have quite a range of vegetarian fare. After a few weeks, while at Phoenix Mall with friends, we decided to head out to Nandos for lunch, mainly since the friend visiting from abroad wanted some meaty juicy food. We walked in, found a table near the entrance and got comfortable. 

I scanned through the menu, noticed that veg options were all around Paneer. Throwing caution to wind, I chose the Veg Espetada and for sides, i chose the corn on cob since a friend had already chosen the 3 bean salad and other chose the Mexican rice with her chicken breast. My dish arrived in style, it was a tall stand with a skewer and big chunks of paneer on it. The table had a range of Peri Peri sauces, and I had to slather the paneer with some of them to add some flavour. I ate maybe 2 pieces and I was about done.

I wish the waiter had warned me the size of the dish and what it actually was [since it was my 1st time there and I had no clues what to expect]. The sides were delicious- I could eat just the corn and 3 bean salad as a main course and would have been very happy. 

The beverages were good, we ordered 3 different drinks, one common thread being they all had pomegranate syrup/concentrate in them. Paid the bill and walked out not too pleased. 

I guess many places that are famous for non veg food use paneer as the substitute  and this kinda gets my goat! There is so much more than paneer to veg food.,..anyways, if you are a meat eater, then you should head to Nandos and enjoy some of what they offer!! 

I did like the interiors, art work on the wall and service was top notch! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Momos and Rain- perfect combo

I stepped out of home and it began to pour, not a gentle drizzle but furious downpour. I was loving it. Began walking further and then landed at the neighborhood vegetable store- Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam. My eyes are always roaming around, observing people and all that is happening around me. I noticed a couple taking shelter near the fruit juice stall from the rain [am sure they were riding a bike and so were going to wait till rain let up], there was another elderly lady struggling with bags when a driver rushed to her side and took the bags and came back with an umbrella. 

Amidst all this is when I spotted the "momo" stall. There was a north eastern looking guy plop on the stool and put his head down like he was tired. Before stepping into the store to buy veggies, I walked over to him and asked if he had momos. He answered in the affirmative after asking if I wanted veg or non veg. I told him "veg" and then he asked me to go get a coupon from inside. He had a box of 7 veg momos packed and ready with 2 packets of red sauce by the time I came back with the ticket.  Asked him if he could hold on to the box while I went shopping, but he obviously dint understand for he handed the bag and smiled a big one and plopped back on his stool. 

I spent a few minutes shopping for vegetables and rushed home in the gentle drizzle and dug into the plate of momos. I normally avoid the sauces and just gobble them up as they are. These momos were quite good, hot with plenty of filling and yummm... 

What a perfect snack for this kind of a rainy evening. I do make momos at home, but once in a while it is nice to just pick something up and dig into..

A pack of 7 momos- Rs 45 

Location: Outside any Kovai Pazhamudir nilayam am guessing- this was on Harrington Road.. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

ID, Sathyam Cinemas, Chennai

Many a sunday morning movies has been done at Sathyam. And they were all possible because we would grab a good breakfast at ID before the flick. We would all reach ID around 8.15, grab a table, and dig into the hot pongal or idli vada and gulp down a hot cup of filter coffee before moving over to the movie theaters. That is how good and reliable ID is.  And if you are not a coffee drinker, you can have a glass of fresh fruit juice to quench your thirst :) 

For as long as I can remember, we have eaten at ID- I enjoy their pongal, kasi halwa, and my alltime favorite is the keerai vadai. Apart from these, they also serve adai, and a MLA pesarattu which has upma stuffing. I love the chutneys they give, white coconut chutney, tomato-red chilli chutney and ofcourse the piping hot sambar. I have been here so many times that the staff know me by face. 

I have also visited their outlet in other malls and find the quality to be just as good! The most recent being a visit to Forum Mall where a friend wanted to grab a cup of kaapi when her son insisted he wanted idiyappam. He ate them plain and devoured them, which is a sign that the food is good. 

It is such a saving grace for movie goers and morning movie watchers like me and my group of friends! 

A big thumbs up for ID and Sathyam Cinemas!

Entree, Express Avenue

There we were in the mall, wandering aimlessly when hunger pangs began hitting us. We spotted Entree on the ground floor and decided to go check it out. The manager told us it was a pure veg place, and they offered both a la carte and buffet. We walked around seeing what the buffet had to offer, liked what we saw and chose the same. Priced at Rs 600, it is good value for money meal. The buffet began with a soup, going ot a range of straters spanning Indian, Italian and Thai, and then ofcourse came the main and desserts. I loved the noodles and thai curry, and salad options as well. They had a variety of premixed salads, extra olives, dressings that one can choose from

The dessert section had a few pudding, cakes and ice creams, along with payasam as well. Apart from this, friend ordered for a Tiramisu which arrived in style with a side of cut fruits. Overall, we enjoyed the meal. 

There are two entrances to this place- one from within the mall and other through the EA hotel entry!! 

Entree Located on the ground floor of Express Avenue Mall [in the luxury section] 
Ph: 044 28463333

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beyond Indus, Taj Club House

There was plans of lunch being made, and we were all quite excited- why? it was at a restaurant that not many of us had visited before. It was going to be at Beyond Indus, Taj Club House. Located on the road across from Spencers Plaza, this hotel is quite good. I enjoy the Weekend brunch at "Club house" restaurant and have also dined at Kefi on the rooftop. 

Beyond Indus is tucked away around the corner from Blend, the pub and oozes with luxury from the minute you walk in. We chose the table at the far end of the hall which had a sun roof and a majestic burgundy coloured chandelier. We were served a welcome drink called "Laughing Buddha", it was cranberry and apple fizz. It was delicious, so good that quite a few of us had more than just a few glasses of it. And we did manage to crack up, have a whale of a time through the lunch. Since it was a weekend, the atmosphere was quite relaxed and everyone was chilled out, no hurry.

The meal was a set menu, which began with a soup going on to dessert. The soup was fairly good, tomato based and light as well. Once we were done slurping the soup, along came the starter. The vegetarians got a platter that had Tandoor broccoli and coloured capsicums along with a slice of poached pear [or it was soaked in vinegar]. I quite enjoyed the peach as it had a bite to it and the vinegar's flavour was quite strong as well. I was glad to have got a vegetable and not the same 'ol paneer [quite fed up of seeing it as the substitute for meat for veggies]. Through the lunch, we kept asking for refills of Laughing Buddha till they had no more. This is when there came a twist to the meal. 3 of us went ahead and ordered a drink each- tropical sunrise, sparkling white wine and one more that was tequila based . They were all good and the Sunday just got better.......  :-)

For the mains, first came the plates, one oval shaped plate and another with a bowl of pulao and 3 cups in them with 3 different gravies-daal makhani, paneer butter masala and a kadai vegetable of sorts. The Daal makhani was just amazing. We were then offered different kinds of rotis, and I being the risk taker chose the methi laccha parantha which was quite good. Since we were quite a few in number, there was a lot of walking around and chatting as well. It was lovely as there were very few other guests in the restaurant that particular morning. 

Finally came the desserts- Kulfi, which I dint like too much. It had a weird sort of taste and texture, but I did enjoy the other platter they brought. It had a few dried apricots and prunes. I could have had a bowl of these and been happy! 

Overall, the meal was good, but nothing WOW about it. Priced at Rs600, it is a place you can go with family or friends and be assured of good quality North Indian food. I am however curious to check out their menu to see what else they offer.

Ambiance- 5/5
Food - 3/5
Price- 3/5
Service- 5/5

Address: # 2, Club House Road, Chennai, TN 600002
Phone:044 6631 3503 

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :-) 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kefi, Mediterranean Dining...

If someone had told you that you could dine under the stars, enjoy a Tagine, you might have looked at them as if they were speaking a foreign language. Well, it is possible. All you need to do is head over to Taj Club House and go straight to the rooftop restaurant- Kefi. You will see what we are talking about.... 

There is both an outdoor and indoor seating area, and if you are lucky and if the weather is good, you could enjoy  a glass of wine with the cool breeze keeping you company. Else, you could sit inside in the air conditioned area and dine in style.  

We got lucky during the Levantine lounge, the weather was pleasant and so we sat outside. But this time around, the days were proving unpredictable, there had been bouts of rain in the evening and so we decided to dine indoors. We chose the corner most table and got comfortable. Chef Siddiqui came over, introduced himself and explained a bit about the menu at Kefi. We noticed the staff bringing over plates of what is called “Amuse Bouche”. Name is amusing isn’t it? These are little bites that the restaurant serves, complimentary to get the evening started. Chef also mentioned that it gives the team some time to prepare the soups/salads/starters ordered.  We were served Cassis Reduced Melon with mint tabouleh[green greek salad made with different kinds of herbs, tomatoes and cheese]. It was quite refreshing. We then took time in ordering beverages and drinks. I opted for red wine, while the teetotalers chose mocktails.

Then came the Mezze Sampler, it consisted of Hummus beiruti [Hummus topped with onions, tomato and parsley], Moutabel (Char Grilled Aubergine with tahina sauce), Spanakopita (Baked pastry triangles filled with spinach, fetaand pine nut), Falafel (Deep Fried Chick pea) while the non veg eaters also got a Sambusek (pastry crescent filled lamb and pai nuts) These were served in large rhombus shaped plates, very neat and simple flavours. Familiar and refreshing! As the conversation flowed, so did the wine and laughter. We were busy clicking photographs, chatting up on life, and general yapping.

And then there was sudden silence. The waiters brought out trays with small dishes that had smoke floating everywhere. We were all curious and like little children sat there zapped and in wonder. These were palate cleansers- lemon sorbet. Once again, this is used to not only give the palate a break from the familiar flavours, but also to buy time for the chef to prepare the main dishes. It was delightful, so refreshing.

For the main dishes, the vegetarians were served the Aushak [pronounced similar to "Oh shuck"],Homemade leek ravioli sautéed mushroom and fennel. It was so light and creamy. Loved it. For the meat eaters, they had a  Pollo al chilindrón (Corn fed chicken with sweet paprika, red pepper, tomato), which they devoured with delight. 

And then came the part of the meal we look forward to, Desserts. We were in for a treat, a plate with various Desserts arrived on the table. There was a piece of Baklava, a chocolate tart, divine fig slice and an Almond cake. We were also asked if we would like to try the Greek drink called "Ouzo". We nodded yes, curious to try this drink. I had heard of it and an uncle has also mentioned trying the same during his travel. A small shot glass with clear looking liquid was placed in front of us and we were told it is typically had with desserts, to break the sweetness. A tiny sip revealed it was strong in flavour and quite a treat for the taste buds. Made with Star anise, it was strong, sweet and strong.. I know I said it twice, that is how strong it was. :-) Tequila felt like water after gulping down the shot.  Subsequently, to wind up the meal, we also went ahead and tasted the Turkish Coffee sans sugar [even though we were warned it would be quite bitter].

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bread upma with a difference

Ever since I moved to a place of my own, it has been fun in all ways. I enjoy cooking for Me. I have the freedom to make anything I feel like.  There are days when I eat cornflakes with fruits, and other days I make roti with a veggie side, or like today I make Bread upma and just add anything my eyes fall on. Here is what I made today,

7 grain Bread [multi grain]- 3 slices Onion- 1 Tomato- 2 Ginger garlic paste- 1tsp Mustard seeds- 1/4tsp Oil - 1tsp Egg-1 Salt- to taste Garam Masala powder- 1/2 tsp

In a pan, add oil, onions, ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute and then add tomatoes once the onions go golden,. Now add salt and garam masala powder and saute well. In a flat pan, toast the bread slices without any oil/ghee and once they are done, cut them up into small pieces and keep them aside Add the bread pieces to the masala and toss well. Break an egg and add to the mixture and scramble the same within the mix. 
Serve HOT!!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

California Pizza Kitchen

It was Saturday evening when a friend- Av popped in Whatsapp and announced that CPK was opening the subsequent Monday. For those who are unaware, CPK is California Pizza Kitchen. The two times I have been to Phoenix I noticed the huge banner with a “coming soon” on it. After our Bangalore trip, I learnt that CPK serves alcohol and so maybe they were waiting for license [just as HRC has been waiting]. But alas., they have given up or not pursued the same, for they are open in Phoenix Market City, Velachery.

So, coming back to the Saturday evening, this friend & I decided we will do Monday night dinner at CPK. Most others were tied up and we froze our plan. On Sunday evening, another friend announced she was at CPK and gave us feedback on the dishes and the place. Av who discovered they were opening on Monday was surprised they had opened on Sunday. But anyways, we stuck to our plan and Monday evening I was there in Phoenix around 7pm. Did some shopping at Big Bazaar and waited for Av to arrive.

The entry to CPK is from the outside. So, you can actually park, and walk all the way around the mall on the same side as Nandos and you will spot CPK right at the end. It is located near the children’s play area and near the dancing water fountain. There is also a huge monitor on top that was showcasing random sports events.

We walked in around 8 and the place was fairly empty. Chose a booth and made ourselves comfortable. The menu was brought and the waiter asked for our water preference and if we wanted a beverage. Av ordered Coke while I opted for the Strawberry Italian Soda [going against my usual fresh lime soda-salt] We also ordered the Lettuce Wrap. The drinks arrived within 2 minutes, followed closely by the starter. There was a plate with a few fresh lettuce leaves and another plate with peanut sauce and filling [it had paneer, seasonings, and sat on a bed of something that resembled friend rice noodles]. We had to place a few spoonfuls in the lettuce sheet, add some sauce, roll it up and chomp on it. I loved the flavours, and the crunchiness of the Lettuce was just perfect.

Spent a few minutes catching up on life and other things that dint matter, and Av shared her experience at CPK in the USA. Going with her recommendation, we ordered the Toastada Pizza [it is a hot & cold pizza, there is a thin crust base with black bean sauce on it, and above that is a healthy serving of shredded lettuce and tortilla chips] with a side of salsa that was divine. It arrived on the table and is possibly the ONLY healthy pizza i’ve ever had in my life.

The thin crust had a nice crisp texture and the hot & cold was perfect. Within minutes the plate was wiped clean and we were grinning. The only thing that kind of put us off a bit was the occasional bugs that found their way to the table- tiny mosquitoes [possibly because it was located near trees and water in the outdoor area]. Oh and it was a whole new experience having staff come over ask us how the drinks were, the starters and the main as well.

Since our friend had told us about the desserts, we opted for the White Chocolate Cheesecake. And it was delicious. With a healthy topping of grated white chocolate, the cheesecake was rich and perfect. Yes, it was different from others I’ve had but I liked this one.

Phew, what a fun evening it had been. We asked for the check, paid the bill and spent a good hour or two sitting on the bench outside yapping away to glory.

Price: This meal costed us Rs2100 [incl taxes]
Ambiance- Simple and elegant.
Service- Very good

California Pizza Kitchen
Phoenix Market City, Velachery

Ph- 044 65108888

Friday, August 2, 2013


How are you doing today?
Just peachy! 

Well, this is what came to my mind when I heard of the pure vegetarian restaurant called Peaches. But then, it was in the other end of the city, Velachery. Well, yes I do know it is not the other end, but for someone living in Chetpet, making the commute it sure feels like another corner of the city. However, now that I have moved to somewhere midpoint, it does not seem too far. And so, I braved the traffic and made the trip to Peaches that evening. I contemplated bailing out using the excuse of “I just got back to town today morning, am exhausted” but then decided to just go for it.  By the time I reached, most of the others were already there. After a round of introductions, Hi hello to familiar faces we all settled into the tables set aside for us.

Kaushik gave a brief intro to the place, the cuisine and also told us of the Burrito challenge they were rolling out. The challenge was to plough through a 2kg burrito within 30 minutes. A few brave souls took the plunge, but none were able to complete it, but then came the Man who was done within 18mins and set a new record. Anyways, I digress. Coming back to the evening, we were in for a lavish feast, what else would you call a meal comprising of 22 dishes. Yes, you read it right. There was a soup, couple of starters, few Indian main dishes, and few from other cuisines and then the desserts. Phew. Just listening to him rattle out the list was exhausting.

The evening opened with the Roasted Red pepper soup that was served with a slice of toast and cheese on top. It was interesting. I liked the soup, and like the croutons in the tomato soup, this slice of toast was a good break of texture for this soup. By the time we were done, I spotted a plate of onion rings land on the table. We were told these are traditionally cooked in beer batter, but here they were cooked with soda. They were light, a tad bland but tasted good with the chilli mayo dip. The Aloo tikki followed on the heels of the onion rings and this was divine. Served alongside the traditional mint chutney, it was yumm. Before we could gulp down a glass of water, a plate of breaded mozzarella sticks came dancing in front of our eyes. For those who love cheese, this is a delight. The cool thing about this place was they served us shots between every few courses. We had the Florida Sunrise [a nonalcoholic version of the drink] in a small cute glass. It kind of helped, we got to break the food train and get a different taste as well.

Wait, we are not done with starters. Told you we were in for a 22course delight right?! Next came the Aatish-e-aloo, very different from the aloo tikki. And then were the 2 Mushroom starters- Tapas Mushroom, mushroom stuffed coated and fried. This was my least favorite of the lot. There was also the corn cheese balls and  Sabz tandoor [carrots, potato, zucchini, cauliflower, capsicum] which was very good. We were told the spice factor was kept to a minimum and there was an extreme HOT version available if anyone dared. The next drink had us all excited like little children. Any guesses? It was bovonto served with a scoop of ice cream. We must have gulped through quite a few glasses of this. It was sheer heaven.  Hang on, what is your hurry? There were few more starters yet to be sampled. The Super spicy chilli  mushroom  and Phuket Paneer. The mushroom was alright, and paneer felt a tad chewy. It was a take off on the Phuket Fish. We looked around waiting to see if more starters flew from the kitchen, but luckily that was it. Phew. Suddenly, a waiter walked in with a tray of mini blue colour liquid shots. They looked good, and tasted quite good as well. These were called Deep Blue Sea, and were a take off on the Blue Curacao. I loved the fact that the glasses had salt on the rim. It helps in cutting the sweetness of the drink. Given a choice, I would do this to every drink in the world :D

Taking a break, we walked around; some took charge of the Burrito and attempted to eat it, while others cheered them on. And then, we were beckoned back to the table for the Indian mains. We had an array of Indian breads, of which the methi and black olive stood out. The Bharwani Mirchi Kolhapuri was interesting, hot chilli with sweet paneer stuffing, but then came the Bhindi khadi that swept us away. It was just amazing, perfect with plain rice. We tried the kofta Biryani and Ambur Soya [veg] Biryani with the Dabeliwali Daal and Paneer tikka masala.  These dishes are good, but I was busy licking the khadi off the spoon. J

Following these were the Lasagna and Enchilladas. However, I had a long night ahead and so had to leave. I missed these and the desserts, especially the Nuttella Wontons which I heard were quite good. Oh, well, always an excuse to come back for a visit, right?

This is one of those places you can walk in, and be assured there is something for everyone. Situated above Andhra Bank, it is about 1 km from Phoenix Market City, Velachery on the left side.

No.81, 9th Cross Street,
Rajalakshmi Nagar, 
100 Feet by Pass Road, 
Velachery, Chennai, 
Tamil Nadu 600042
Ph- 044 4201 9454

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :-)