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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... :)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aamlicious - Mango festival at Khandani Rajdhani

Its that time of the year,  Summer is here and that can mean only one thing- it is the season for Mangos. And along with it comes the Aamlicous- Mango Festival at Khandani Rajdhani.  What started in the 2nd week of April will go on till 15th June in the restaurant across the country.  The food at Rajdhani is always good, rich and filling, now with Mango flavours added in, it gets that much more exciting. The freshest mangoes are sourced to bring out the best traditional recipes that will not only tantalize your taste buds.. 

One can experience the rich culinary heritage Khadanji Rajdhani through the various dishes such as the Mango Jalebi, Mango Dal Dhokli, Fajeto, Raw Mango & Onion Bhajia, Mango Pulao, Goonda Kairi, Mango Curry, Aam ki Lunjee, Raw Mango Samosa, Mango Pulao, Mango Curry, Raw Mango Raita, Amrakhand, Aamras-Poori and amongst others dishes & accompaniments like Kairi Chutney and Mango pickles.

This is a restaurant where you walk in, find a place, sit down and let the staff just floor you with amazing dishes. Be warned- cos the dishes will keep arriving and you will feel pampered and stuff before you know it~! 

Here is a glimpse of all the dishes on a thali, all at once... 

Need I say more? Time to book your table and head out to have a feast~!! And all this is priced very very reasonably as well.. 

Address:Phoenix Market City Level 1-2nd Floor [just below Luxe., opp Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf],
Velachery main Road, Velachery, Chennai , Tamil Nadu – 600 042
Ph: Mr. Ezhilarasan.J 9003738125, 044-30083311/12

Level - 3, Express Avenue Mall, Whites Road, Royapettah, Chennai - 600014
Ph: Mr. Manigandan S +91 9962683666, 044 - 28464422/33

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hola, Besant Nagar, Chennai- Crazy evening Part I

"Are we all meeting today?" is how our evening chats invariably begin... and then it transforms into a plan while many a times it just fizzles out as it is and dies a sad death. But that evening, I was determined to step out, uncle was at home and so I knew gramma wouldn't be alone. 

Another friend was home and quite frustrated .. there was one more in our gang who was angry/mad and more cos his car AC had conked sometime back and wasn't getting sorted out and then there was one final element who was doing alright, he was busy till 8 he said. 

"Am in", will come over to your house by 7.30?
"where should I come..." asked the other.
And then it was decided.. we would all descend at F's house by 8 and then figure out where we were headed... 

All it took me was a short 10-11min walk and I was there at F's house.. Went in and plonked under the fan before F took out a pot of kulfi and handed it to me.. Yummy it was... I was down a few spoons when another friend walked in and took over the pot.. And finally, the one who claimed to reach in 15mins landed.. 

Where are we going for dinner?
S: Majestic 1952.. It is renewed and been getting rave reviews.
Other 3: Where is it?
S: Next to Audi Showroom 
Other 3: Whaa.. that far? Ok, lets go
We piled into an Audi and took off in search of this elusive place..
In about 40mins, we had reached the Audi showroom... 
Ah, there it is, lights ablaze... The security guided us to a parking space few doors down. We made our way to the restaurant, were shown upstairs by a staff and there we came upon the buffet.. Took a quick peek and decided it was not what we wanted to eat ever...  Oh and the name of the place is Majestic 1963. :D 

Got back into the car, riled S for quite a while and ended up towards Besant Nagar after quite a bit of dilly dallying. 

Hola- a restaurant that 3/4 hadn't been to, located above Maalgadi store opp Cozzee. I knew the place was good cos a friend had said good things about it. Made our way up the 2 flights of stairs, got a table near the window and got comfortable. There were just 2 staff, and we heard they had a seating area upstairs as well [open air]. 

We ordered two kinds of soup - Tortilla soup and Broccoli cheese soup. Ours was the Broccoli soup- though it looked light, it tasted good. The Tortilla soup was also good, but felt little heavy. For starters, we got a plate of Nachos which was alright. We were hungry and so dug into without waiting much. The one thing I missed in Nachos was guacamole and the big splash of refried beans. But then, hey I aint complaining! While contemplating on whether to order a main or not, the guys went ahead and ordered a portion of Mushroom starter and a Cheese chicken thin crust pizza, which was actually quite good.. I picked out the meat and enjoyed a slice of it. Had a lovely garlic flavour, plenty of cheese and the sauce was also rich. The mushroom dish was delicious- loved it... 

With other plans in mind, we asked for the cheque and made a bee line out of there!  The bill worked out to Rs 2447/- .. Hoping to go back and try their pastas one day... Where did we end up? What else did we eat that night? When did the night end? ... more to come....... 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

[Recipe]- Mangalore Buns

It was Saturday afternoon, we had just finished lunch and I plopped on the sofa with my laptop to finish up some work. Turned on TV and began surfing channels when I stumbled upon a cookery show on Vijay TV... Few minutes in it struck me that this is the show gramma raves about. Cooking with Venkatesh Bhat. She has been raving about his recipes, and keeps writing them down promising to try some soon. 

As I opened Word to type a blog post, I heard the mention "Mangalore Buns". I looked up to see the Chef list out the ingredients and talk about how it is slightly sweet, which is why a spicy chutney was a perfect combo. 

I looked back to my computer screen to see a few links open, all on furniture and handmade designs...  My attention wavered back to the TV show and I noticed Chef put in two bananas with a spoon of sugar in the blender. I continued to type a post about latest trends, I heard Chef mention the recipe  also had yoghurt[1tbsp]  and maida[1-1.5cups], with a pinch of salt and cooking soda as well. Watching the show out of the corner of my eye, I continued typing, searching for images and saving them simultaneously. In a matter of minutes, he had kneaded the dough and it looked like the puri dough. 

Continuing to proof read, I saw Chef set the dough aside while he went about making the Chutney. He took coconut, Pottukadalai [Roasted Gram], Garlic pods, salt and blended them all with a spoon of water in the blender. I had to change a few words, they dint sit well in the closing para.. That is when I heard Chef talk about tempering- oil+mustard seeds+urad daal+ curry leaves and a  red chilli and serve the chutney up! [It sounded a lot like my favourite chutney, only difference was I add some tamarind to it]

Just as I was closing up the doc, I did a last round of spellcheck, I spotted Chef roll out the dough into small puri like circles, he did mention these need to be thicker than puri. He had also got the oil in the pan heating up. He mentioned the oil shouldn't be too hot, since we need to cook this on low flame and will take a few minutes. Otherwise the buns will turn dark brown outside but remain uncooked inside.  

The puris were plated up along with the chutney and Chef proceed to break open one showing us the empty pocket inside. It looked good.. *slurp*

That evening when gramma was wondering what to whip up for dinner, I quietly went to the kitchen and got the dough ready for the Mangalore Buns! Let it sit while I went and checked mails and finished a client call. Got back to complete the puris and they were amazing. For someone not very fond of bananas, this was delicious.  Instead of the chutney, we chose to eat it with a variety of pickles and thogayal... 

The Mangalore Buns fresh out of the pan..

Go on, give it a shot~!! But remember, it is all about guessing the proportions of the ingredients.. and don't add any water to the dough.. Damn, I still have some dough sitting in the fridge, maybe will do it again tonight... :-) 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Global S’treats’ Food festival at The Kitchen, Raintree, Anna Salai

For someone who is crazy about travel, the Global S’treats’ Food festival at The Kitchen, Raintree, Anna Salai was like a culinary tour around the world in a few short hours..  

It began as I stepped into the hotel and was greeted by the live chaat counter near the entrance of The Kitchen. You order a plate of Bhel Puri or Dahi papdi chaat and waltz into the restaurant to be greeted by steaming hot Momos [veg & non veg]. There is also a pot with sticky rice, in case you are curious! Pop one or two in your plate, dribble some sauce on top and get ready to order up a Pesarettu in the next counter. It comes with onions and tomatoes and is served along side few different types of chutneys.

On the right was the beautifully laid out buffet, starting with soup [I had the veg soup which was light and quite nice], salads [some of the salads were wow, esp one with cheese topped with grape compote], the cheese and cherry tomato tossed in basil, and egg salad. There is also an array of olives, pickled onions, capers and few others as well.

As you walk along, there are the mains- Aloo pulao, steamed rice, quite a few options for main side dishes – lobia daal, dum aloo, plain daal, kadai sabzi, paneer gravy, sautéed veggies, a philo pastry with vegetable filling, a sautéed brinjal & tomato semi gravy which was really good and few others. The non-veg sides were on the other side, near the Shawarma counter.  When you reach the end of the counter, you are greeted by a burst of colours from the desserts- Mango gateaux, Tiramisu, Chocolate fudge, Jevvarisi payasam, Kheer, Baked yoghurt with blueberry compote, mango choux pastry with a fresh slice of mango on top and quite a few others as well. Oh and they had two amazing drinks as well – fruit punch and grape juice.

Oh wait, the tour isn’t over yet, stick with me for a few more minutes. Another right turn and you hit the Burger counter. Simple sliders with grilled chicken and veg options sit beside an Italian bread waiting to become a sandwich. And then there were the cheese on sticks, which were cooked in a sauce that was sweet and tangy [these tasted more like paneer sticks grilled lightly]. 

If these don’t fill you up, you can order up a Buritto or Taco in the Mexican stall or opt for a pasta or Risotto in the next counter [ risotto flavours were good but felt it was cooked little more than al dente]

Phew.. Now that was quite a trail, right? You have visited so many different countries, tried quite a few of their local street food and stuffed yourself till you can…

All this will have set you back by Rs1550[net].  So, if these had you drooling, you should head over to The Kitchen in Anna Salai Raintree before 23rd May and have a go at it~!

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, May 15, 2015

Manhattan Fish Market

Yes, you read the name right. What was I doing here is the question running in your head right? I sure was a fish out of water, pun unintended… lol

Rewind to few hours earlier….

“So, we all meet at 7pm at Manhattan Fish Market” beeped the message.
I stared at it for a good 2 seconds, and another 2 more before opening the browser to check out their menu online.
I noticed there were 2 starters, 1 soup and 2 pastas, which were Veg.
Bracing myself for a night of being the odd one out [not that it was new to me] I said “Aye, will be there” [ I knew I was going more for the company than food]

Coming back to the present…

Few seconds after the clock struck 7, I reached the place. Waited outside while my phone threatened to die on me. I had been out all evening, had a long client call as well and so had requested one of the guys to bring me his power bank…. more of threatened… groveled… begged. You get the drift, right? And I had to make do with clicking pics on my phone... 

Anyways, we made our way to the 1st floor where we looked around wondering which table to attack. And that is when we were told they had a floor above as well. Curious, we went upstairs to find a couple of private rooms and we promptly picked one. It had a long wooden table, red funky chairs and a black board apart from few doodles on the wall. Oh and there was also an Apple TV in the room with remotes for us to play with.  Within an hour, we noticed two other large groups occupy the other private rooms. Impressive! Seeing such a crowd on a weekday evening.

One of the staff came over with the menu and took us on a quick tour of the menu. The jist of it being- the different kinds of cooking methods they followed-Poach, Grill, Flame, Bake and Fried; the range of seafood they offered and of course the dishes that were highly recommended.

Oh damn, how can I forget the most important of them all. This is only Manhattan Fish Market in the country. They do have outlets in quite a few South Asian countries- Oman, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and few others…

I announced I was veg and instantly the waiter said “ma’am, we have 1 soup, 2 starters and 2 mains in veg” with a sheepish grin…  “Yes, I noticed “ was all I replied.

The evening opened with Lemongrass iced tea followed by Gummy bears & Citrus Mint. They were quite refreshing. The soup was also good- it was Mushroom soup [ not the traditional cream of Mushroom], but then as we were winding down for the evening I was vexed. The veg starter was Fried country mushroom served with honey mustard dip and my main was veggie Olio [it was spaghetti tossed in olive oil with few colour peppers and a good portion of sauteed mushrooms on top, it is cooked without onions or garlic (wonder why though)]- this inspite the fact that the waiter suggested this pasta against the Creamy Mushroom Penne saying the it was once again with mushroom! My Spaghetti was dry, had no flavour and it was a challenge enjoying it.

While the others enjoyed the sea food dishes, we finally got around to desserts The waiter suggested we try the Tuscan Tiramisu and the Mudpie…. Both were alright.. 

I know I crib about how some restaurants have nothing but paneer as an option for veggies, but here it was like they had discovered mushrooms were veg & went all out. I love mushrooms, but this was too much? It is almost like non-veg restaurants hire chefs/create menus with no thought towards the veggies. 

Agreed, I wouldn’t pick a hard core non veg restaurant for a meal, but when in a group there is bound to be someone who is veggie...  Oh well, some you like, others you don't.. C'est la vie :-) 

A meal for two should set you back by Rs1200-1500 [also depends on how elaborate your meal is, if you order Lobster, then add few hundred more]

The Manhattan Fish Market
94, RK Salai,
In the lane opp Marvel Cards/Yellow Pages

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 :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Food tales.. Sweets filled with memories

Last weekend from Chennai Food Guide we had organised a Farmer's market of sorts and one of the stalls was managed by us. It contained products from various places in the south, things that most of us had grown up eating. During the course of the few hours, I discovered that 90% of the people who came over for the market had such fond memories with these things as well. 

There was Tirunvelveli's infamous halwa... Palgova.. Injimorappa [ ginger candy], then mittai.. Mittais[ a sort of jangiri like sweet but white in colour and one piece had about 3 pieces joined together]. Apart from these, there were products such as Muscat halwa. Tirunelveli Kara sevai.. Tuticorin Macarons, Chillu karuppati and so much more.. There were a few who asked if we could bring down javvu mittai, paruthi pal next time around~  Strange how such memories are always a welcome sight.. And then there were those who were excited to introduce these items to their children.. 

During my days in Tirunelveli, there are times when we would all step out head over to Town, where you had all big shops and hotels. Dad would buy a small packet of halwa, some karasevai and it would last us a good 2 weeks or so. Infact these were so popular, there were a few packets every time we visited Chennai. 

Now as I bite into a karasevai all these memories come flooding in.. The crowd, the noise, the dark dingy roads are all forgotten. 

What is your fondest childhood memory? 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sonargaon from Bengal at Beyond Indus, Taj Club House, Chennai

Plush interiors, comfortable seating and quiet ambiance is what comes to my mind the minute I hear "Beyond Indus at Taj Club house". This is my 2nd or 3rd visit to the restaurant and every visit has been wow! 

They had a festival going on this time around, tad deviation from their signature menu but an interesting one nevertheless. 

It was about celebrating the rich dishes from Sonargaon, Taj Bengal’s iconic restaurant headed by Chef Rajib Mohanta . And what is more, the dishes are all inspired by “Jomidari Bangla Ranna” - the jamindari food has been influenced by the British Raj, Islamic cuisine and effects of partition.

The meal opened with the refreshing Aam Porar Sherbet [A drink made with roasted Mango pulp, flavoured with Cumin]. It was perfect start to the evening, considering the day had been very hot- agni nakshatram [peak summer] had begun yesterday. 

Soon after came an array of starters, 2 for veg and 2 non veg. The veg starters stole the evening- we had Hara Matar Bhutte Palak tawa Kebab [ Kebab made with corn kernels, green peas, spinach and spices] that melted in our mouth and was accompanied by a tamarind based chutney. The next one was Vegetable Chops [ a cutlet of sorts that was made with mixed vegetables and peanuts] served with mint chutney. The non veggies got their share of starters, but I did notice they enjoyed the veg starters more.. :-) 

During the flow of the conversation, we got to meet Chef who told us how he had brought down some of the spices from Kolkatta, especially Panch Phoron, literally meaning “five spices"-  jeera, black onion seed, methi, saunf and radhuni. He went on to add, “Bengali food is quite simple and filled with flavour. Most of the dishes have been made in mustard oil, rather than sunflower/refined oil.”  He had been flown down to Chennai exclusively for the festival and is here only till the 10th of May. 

For the main course, we got different kinds of naan - one with chilli and olives, the other was chilli only- both of which were soft and fresh. For the sides, the veg dishes are Badi palak [ Fresh vegetables cooked with spinach] which was my favourite of them all, Narkel Diye Chholar Dal [ Channa daal cooked with cumin, ginger and coconut shavings]I noticed coconut is Narial in Hindi and is Narked in Bengali [ quite similar]- the dal was heavenly and light. And the other dish was Khus Mehak Paneer [ Paneer cooked in tomato gravy that was flavoured with fresh rose petals and spices]- this gravy was very very different from any paneer dish I have tasted, it also had a slight pungent bitterness to it. Wasn't really my kinda dish.. 

And for the meat eaters, there was the Beckti Macher fry [ a deep crumbed fish fillet] and Murg Chakori Kebab [ char grilled star anise flavoured chicken morsels]. I did see the guys polish them off as well. We did get to sample the Basanti Pulao [ Basmati rice cooked with saffron and raisins]- perfect combo for the Badi Palak. 

The evening wasn't just about savouring the dishes we were served. We chit chatted so much about food, Taj properties, the Chefs, recipes, bengali food and the region, that I knew I had to make a trip there soon. Time flew by and that is when we noticed the desserts arrive in style. The dessert for the evening was Patisapta [fresh coconut cooked with jaggery that had been filled and rolled in rice pancakes] and a portion of delicious Kulfi as well. 

Burrp.. it sure was a meal fit for a Queen/ King.. And we felt pampered at the end of the night. A meal for one would cost around Rs1000 [ not incl beverages]. 

Remember this festival is on only till the 10th May.. So hurry up if you want to sample some amazing offbeat interesting food.. Oh and the main menu is quite extensive, this was just a slice from the bigger pot of Mishti Doi  ... :-)

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

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 :-)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Menchies- Frozen yoghurt desserts, Chennai

I like ice creams, well I prefer them to be sour/tart/not too sweet.. What kind of ice cream is that, right? Maybe that is why I prefer the frozen yoghurt kind, which offer all that I seek in a cold dessert.  My 1st experience was at a friend's Fro-yo outlet but alas that dint last long.. And then there is Pinkberry which has limited flavours which are good, alas they are all the way across town in Phoenix Market City. 

And so when Menchies, a California based brand of Frozen yoghurt desserts opened in Khader Nawaz Khan road, it was such a blessing in disguise...  Brought to chennai by Jignesh Pujara, who  shared that his daughter loves the frozen yoghurt which is what prompted him to bring the brand down to Chennai a few months ago. 

The minute you walk into the outlet, a burst of colours welcome you, there are cute images on the walls with quirky captions, the billing counter in the centre with the ice cream dispensers behind it. and then there are gazillion toppings and sauces on the side and a seating area yonder as well. Infact, that side of the store is a secluded area perfect for birthday bashes as well. They have a projector through which they project games for kids on the floor- burst balloons, chase a bunch of crazy characters an so much more. 

The ice creams are all stored in containers behind the wall and all you see in front are the levers to fill the cups/cones and names of flavours written above them. Before you pick up a flavour, you can taste as much as you can- small cups are available at the counter , and you can play around with the flavours available before deciding on your order.

They have waffle cups, waffle cones[strawberry, swiss chocolate, butterscotch & mango] and you can choose the size of the portions as well. How are they priced? Well, it is Rs1.30 per gram [excl tax] and then there is the additional charge for toppings as well. 

It is like a dessert playground for kids & adults alike, we play around with the flavours, toppings, sauces and can't wait to dig into the ice cream using the super cute Menchies spoons.  And for stationery freaks like me, they have a selection of buttons and pencils available for sale as well..  

What is more, they have a cool theme for every day of the week - Waffle Wednesday, Thank you Thursday, Fun Friday.. etc.. each day comes with an offer as well. 

I have been here twice and quite love the place and my favourite flavours are all about berries :-)) This time I tried the strawberry waffle cone as well.. It was yummilicious.. 

The flavours for the week starting 1st May are -- 

      [image courtesy: Menchies FB page] 

Here is a cute video featuring a child confused and trying to decide between the various Waffle options

Avg price of one cup of ice cream- Rs150/- [ also depends on what all you add to your ice cream]

Shop No.3, 
Old no.28, New no.10, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Thousand Lights West, 
Chennai - 600006
Phone- 044 4514 5433


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 :-)

Home cooking - Bhindi Khadi, Millet rice and Mushroom curry

Gramma and I have been experimenting a lot these days, one such was Bhindi Khadi, millet rice and Mushroom curry that I made for lunch few weeks ago. 

The Bhindi khadi is from the net, have linked the recipe..

Millet rice was just normal process- cooked the millet in pressure cooker with tempering of mustard seeds, red chilli and some Asafoetida. 

Mushroom curry- 

1 packet button mushrooms - chopped up
1 Tomato- chopped up
Gharam masala- 1 tsp
  • In a pan, add the oil, salute the tomatoes and then add the mushrooms till they are well done.
  • Add salt towards the end along with graham masala powder
  • Cook for a few mins and serve hot! 

Since then, we have done quite a few new dishes, shall share them in the days to come...