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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, January 25, 2014

Little Italy, Besant Nagar

Probably the 1st Pure Veg Italian restaurant in Chennai, Little Italy has held ground for decades, inspite of others restaurants coming up in the same zone. And now few months ago, they have opened a new outlet in Besant Nagar. It is a nice big bungalow that has been remodeled and converted to a restaurant. There is also an open space where candle lit dinners are organized. I have visited the Nungambakkam outlet twice, once just for the salad and other time was for dinner with friends. 

The small lane just ahead of Cascade in Besant Nagar is where you find this restaurant. Go down that road and turn 1st left and you will be standing in front of the restaurant. A small make shift well stands near the front window with water pouring down a small bucket of sorts [could be a Feng Shui thing], there is also a bench that one can sit and wait in. The interior is quite nice, brick lined walls and subtle lighting and art work on the walls. There are two banquet halls upstairs with a door that can shut off the noise/music from that area.

We were seated in the room on the right side, near the wall -nice cozy place. I loved the fact that the table was not cluttered with spices, sauces and other condiments. The evening began with a plate of their special Grande Nachos- lined with nacho chips with vegetables, refried beans and cheese sauce it was served alongside salsa. The nacho had a lovely bite to them, and was quite delicious. Following suit were two different kinds of crostini/garlic bread- one was an assorted crostini platter [aubergine& olives, zucchini, sun dried tomato & basil and simple cheese] and the other was masala garlic bread.  

The bread was crunchy yet not hard, the toppings were all bursting with unique flavours. My favorite was the one with sun dried tomato and basil. While we were talking about these ingredients, our drinks arrived. It is almost like they had read my mind as I was served a Berry drink made with kiwi, pomegranate and strawberries while few others got the Princess, which was a pineapple & grape drink. It was quite a tall thick drink that was filling as well. Once again, extra points for not making the drinks too sweet.

Moving on, we got to try their Salad that was just fresh, and had quite a range of vegetables- lettuce, cucumber, avocado, olives, tomato, red capsicum, mozzarella cheese and capers. What a delight it was!!
The thin crust Pizza that came next was pretty good, simple vegetables, very little cheese; the pizza was light and yumm. It also had broccoli and mushrooms on it!!

We were nearly full and so I requested that the main courses and desserts be brought in smaller portions. We got to sample 3 kinds of pastas- Spaghetti with pesto, penne with rich tomato sauce and then came ravioli stuffed with spinach & cheese in a creamy tomato sauce. They were all good, but my pick would be the pesto one maybe cos I love basil. How can we forget the Lasagna we tasted, it was literal melt in your mouth kind of dish, though personally I wished the vegetables had a bit of bite to them.

Just when we thought we were done, in came two plates with very different looking rice dishes. We were told one was the Mexican rice and the other was the Italian Risotto. Good flavours and textures.

Yayy, we knew all that was left to sample were there desserts. And boy where we in for a treat, not one but three desserts came our way- Tiramisu, Chocolate bomb [with vanilla ice cream] and finally the Pana cotta served with strawberry sauce.

Burp!! This is one restaurant that any vegetarian would love to visit and keep going back for more.   

An average cost for a meal for 2 would work to Rs 800 –Rs 1000.

Little Italy    
E-50, 17th Cross Street, 
[Behind Cascade & State Bank of Travancore]
Besant Nagar, Chennai -600090
Ph- +91 89392 95000

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, January 22, 2014

L'amandier, R A Puram, Chennai

You walk in around 2.45 and see the place is nearly full. Now that is a sign of a place is doing well or atleast has managed to attract patrons. We were at L'amandier on Chamiers Road. After the fun photo shoot for the Deccan Chronicle cover story, we went looking for an interesting place to explore when I remembered this bistro. Even though friends who had been here earlier din't rave about it, we felt it was worth a try. The tall windows with turquoise painted window panels, stoned walls and a very Bistro like decor, we were quite curious about the food. What was initially the plan to have desserts became a "let us try a few dishes" afternoon. 

There were also few tables outside and we were already dreaming of how lovely it would be to sit there relaxing with a book , esp since the road is fairly quiet over the weekends.

We were shown to a table on their mezzanine level, and there too we noticed nearly all the tables taken. This was a long table that they split for us. We were greeted by the owner Ridhi [hope I got her name right] who told us the menu changed on a weekly basis and they were still testing waters. The menu as of now is a one sheet thing- one side has a list of dishes under each category - Soups, salads, main & desserts while the reverse side held the set menu list, in this too there are the same 4 categories and dishes, only difference being the portion size.  While talking to her, we were wondering about the Tiramisu when she instantly offered to send us a portion to try. It was pretty good.

The set menu is priced at Rs 425 +tax for veg while it was Rs 475+ tax for Non veg.  Since we had eaten some food at Adyar, we spent time wondering what to order. I chose the Apple & Strawberry Crumble while the boys couldnt resist and ordered Prawn on skewers and Chicken Kiev. Oh, I must mention this other interesting thing- on the table was a small bowl with cut vegetables [ colour capsicums and cucumber] along with a small serving of Basil mayo [which was amazing]

The guys enjoyed the meats, I sneaked in the fork and stole a bok choy which was divine- smoky flavour and juicy. The chicken was sitting on a bed of mashed potato and few slivers of tapioca/sweet potato crisps on top. 

The crumble was WOW, we wished there was more and kept at it with the spoon till the bowl was wiped clean.  The bill for these came to Rs 805 [incl tax and they have it printed on their that they do not levy service charge]. 

Chennai sure could use a place like this and am sure I am going to be back there soon to try their veg dishes! 

Psst- they also have Service apartments above- Grey suites  

#57, Chamiers Road, RA Puram, 
Landmark: Right next to Cream Center 
Ph: 044 42827882

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Rice bowlz, KFC

Sunday morning, I was done with the movie and was wandering around the mall with a friend when he said he was hungry. I suggested we go to the food court or head out somewhere. But since he had a train to catch in a few hours, he said "let's just check what is here". So, we went back upstairs and were just about to hop on the escalator to reach the food court when he turned and walked into the KFC outlet [on the same floor as INOX]

He called me inside and pointed to the Rice bowlz on the menu and said they were good, proceeding to ask if I wanted one as well. Since I was planning on getting home to do a soup & salad lunch, I passed up on this opportunity.  He went ahead, bought a Veg rice bowlz and we got out of there homebound. 

[Image courtesy: KFC]

Seeing the black container, I remarked "How is that going to be enough for lunch?" and he said "it will hold for a few hours, shall pick up something on the train if am hungry". 

The Rice bowlz had a good portion of rice, gravy at the bottom and 2 fried veg fingers on top. I did get a taste and it was quite good, not the overpowering chemical taste I was half expecting. Priced at Rs 69, it is good value for money.  For an extra Rs 25 you get a bowl of extra gravy. 

And wiping the bowl clean, my friend sat back with a grin on his face while I went ahead to chop veggies for my soup and salad. !! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

QT Grills, Chennai

Norms are meant to be altered and true to the statement, we did just that. First came desserts, in the form of Eclairs [link to post] at Marriott and then came food. We were done at Marriott and hunger still lingered. So, a discussion on where to go, the new places around town we hadn’t tried and we pulled out our phones looking for addresses and reviews.  The 5 of us then hopped into a car, and headed towards Adyar, looking for Naidu Hall [that was the landmark given for this restaurant]. Where were we headed? QT Grills.

The place is tucked away in the building right next to Naihaa in the Adyar Service lane [along the Odyssey stretch]. I noticed there were quite a few other offices in the building. The name board was bright and bold- “QT Grill, United Taste of America”.. We walked in, saw the small place, the red sofas and the red décor and commented on how they had tried to replicate the American diner look and feel. 

The menu was attacked with vigor, read and researched. I was the only vegetarian in the gang. We decided to order 3 dishes and split them. The dishes ordered were The Cheese Burger [ Cheese version of the hamburger] and BBQ Beef Burger. I also chose a burger, but then changed my mind and went for the “Garden Medallion” [it was listed under the steak section].

 They have a small yet decent range of dishes under each category- salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, desserts and beverages.  

First came the BBQ beef burger, soon came the other Cheese burger. I began nibbling on the fries and the coleslaw served along the burgers while I waited for mine. And then came the waiter bearing a plate that had quite a bit of food on it and thus arrived my Garden Medallion. It was one gigantic vegetable patty sitting on a bed of mashed potato served with a side of sautéd vegetables [which was just divine], a hot dinner roll and the most amazing sauce ever. Even though it was an overdose of potato, it was delicious, everyone tried and loved it.

We were done, full and happy. Thus began the wait for the check, which was quite a surprise. It had worked out to Rs 571. We stared at each other, stared at the bill and sighed that it was total value for money. A place that dint stand out in appearance, but that worked well in terms of food & prices~!!

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

QT Grills
#25/51, Gandhinagar (Service Lane), 
Behind Naidu Hall, Adyar, 
Chennai - 20
Ph- 044 66949418

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  :-)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eclairs and Coffee, Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai

Biting into a sinful chocolate eclair topped with strands of orange peel while the protagonist in the book proceeds to solve the mystery and then picking up that cup of piping hot Ethiopian coffee has to be the best way to spend a lazy evening. Sounds dreamy, right? Well, not really. Courtyard by Marriott has launched their Eclair & Coffee fest which offers you exactly what was described above. 

"Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies..." ha ha ha...How true that statement is!!

A platter with not one or two but five different kinds of eclairs and a coffee of your choice [from the 5 varieties], all for a price of Rs 399 [excl taxes] is here to keep you buzzing during the afternoons. It could be a casual meeting with your girl pals or killing some time between meetings, or maybe just a rendezvous with a date, it is perfect for any occasion. 

Walk into Paprika, the coffee shop near the entrance, grab yourself a chair in one of the tables, order the Eclair & coffee platter, sit back and watch time fly by. 

These little treats are just perfect, each one filled with unique flavours, they are not too sweet and go well with any of the coffees.

 You get to dig into these 5 delicious eclairs
  1. The Classic Chocolate eclair
  2. Mixed berry eclair topped with fresh slices of strawberries
  3. Dark chocolate and orange eclair
  4. White chocolate and almond eclair
  5. Caramel and Coffee eclair that oozes with Mocha flavour. 
And for the coffee, you get to pick from 
  1. Kumbakonam coffee
  2. Colombian Supremo - This coffee has a nutty taste and is quite good without milk.
  3. Ethiopian Sidamo- This coffee has a roasted coffee flavour and is a tad bitter 
  4. Rakgiri pearl
  5. Coorg Blend

So, next time you are planning a coffee meet, you know where to head! The eclairs are big enough for a few bites and small enough to keep you going... :-) 

You can visit their Event page to know more.

#564, Anna Salai, 
Chennai, 600018 
Opp Kalaignar TV office
Phone: 044 6676 4000

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  :-) 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mast Kalandar- Home delivery

I was just getting done with my walk when a friend called saying he was coming home. This was such a surprise, it took me a while to comprehend it . I rushed home and within minutes he landed. Few hours later, we suddenly realized it was nearly 1 pm. While I pondered over what to cook, he barged into the kitchen asking if we could just sit back and order in lunch. I agreed after a bit of push. He is also a vegetarian and said he was in the mood for simple light north Indian food. It was then decided we would order from Mast Kalandar.  I have eaten at their outlets in Bangalore and in Chennai, and even though I wasn't too fond of their food, off late I find them quite good~!! 

I called their outlet in Teynampet [from where I'd ordered earlier] and proceeded to check on their combos. The guy on the line suggested "Lohri Combo" [ a new one on their menu keeping in with the Lohri festival that just went by]. 
It had-- 
Dal makhani, 
Channa gravvy
2 Lachcha parantha
1 portion of pulao  
2 desserts- one that tasted like a version of besan ka laddoo and the other was a small piece of peanut chikki 
Patiyala chaas
Fresh salad
This combo is priced at Rs179/-

Infact, this meal was good enough for the 2 of us!! Burp.. that was quite yumm... 

The amazing thing about this restaurant is that the food is tightly neatly packed and they are spill proof as well. The total bill rang to Rs 209 [Rs 179 for the combo + Rs16 for packing/container] . Friend was beaming after the meal, saying he was stuffed. Well, he is off to a meeting and I am getting back to work!! 

Well, they do have quite a few other combos outside of this and a few a la carte items as well. Do give it a try next time you are hungry and wondering where to order from!!

Phone - Teynampet- 044 42158381/42138381
Website- Mast Kaladar
Facebook:  Mast Kaladar