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About Me

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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... :)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Writer's Cafe, Chennai

When I first came upon an ad in the paper, I was instantly curious and excited. It is always such joy to read the word "writer", heck any word related to "books and words" gets me going. And so, the Writer's Cafe was a place I knew I wanted to visit. 

The place

As luck would have it, a friend and I decided to meet up and I picked this place as the venue [ sly me]. I was there ahead of her, took me a second to find the entrance [it is on the side] and as I walked in all i saw were books lining the walls on either side. It so happened that I visited the space twice in two days, the next day a bunch of us decided to meet her. It was a double whammy for me ! :D

There were tables in the middle. On the right side is another smaller room with the pastry shelves and a black board with more food/drink items listed down. The place has a warm feel to it. They have a floor above which is available for anyone who wants to hold a book club meet or any other literary event. 

This is  a venture between Higginbothams and Mr Mahadevan [Chairman of Oriental Cuisines- Hot breads, Copper Chimney and so on]..  

What sets this place apart from other cafes? Well, it is a CSR Initiative meant to help Burn victims learn baking and again a new lease on life. All who work here [about 7 women are employed here as of now] have been trained by Silke Stadler, a Chef from Switzerland. The profits earned by the cafe will be shared with International Foundation for Crime Foundation and Victim care. Mr Mahadevan is a name associated with several other such initiatives. 

The Food:
Well, the menu is offered on an exam pad, but if you want to see the dessert menu or beverages I would recommend you walk to the other side of the space and take a look. The desserts available are quite exotic..  

We tried the crispy fried spinach and corn starter along with a bruschetta platter as well. Both were good, I loved the crunchy spinach with corn in it. For the mains, we chose the Pesto Zucchini and olives Flammkuchen [really thin crust pizza with pesto and thinly sliced zucchini on top], it is simply out of the world and I highly recommend this to anyone who loves to experiment with food. 

A friend ordered the pickled beetroot and lollo rosso salad with roasted walnuts- there were more greens than the beetroot and it wasn't so great... Another opted for a chicken pasta in white sauce which he enjoyed going by how he polished the plate.

Moving to desserts, on the 1st visit, I opted for the Apple crumble [with chunky apple pieces] that was just yummy. Friend ordered the Tiramisu and Milkmaid cake, both of which were alright. The cake was more like a sponge cake, while Tiramisu lacked coffee flavour.  On the 2nd day, I ordered the Pancakes that are served with honey and cream, quite delicious. Friend ordered for waffles with Maple syrup but it was served with cream and honey [when we enquired, they apologised as Maple syrup wasn't available] We had cappuccino and on the 2nd day I ordered for Masala chai [unfortunately it was Dip tea, which was a bit of a let down]

But overall, it is a lovely place to catch up with friends or just to enjoy some sweet treats. The books lining the shelves are all up for sale- most of which were magazines and food related books. 

The Price:
It works out to about Rs200-300 per person [ again depends on what you order]

The Writers Cafe is at 98, Peters Lane, Royapettah, Chennai.. [lane ahead of Saravana Bhavan]
Phone: 044 4861 1604

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Colonel & Co Nachos in a box

When shopping in Nilgiris, I spotted these in the snacks aisle. Was instantly curious and picked up one packet.. Colonel & Co- Chip & Dip- "Peri Peri Nachos". Priced at Rs50, I picked it up thinking what the hell, lets give it a shot.

Got home and had it later in the evening and must say it was good, better than what I expected. The nachos and salsa are in two separate compartments, the salsa is sealed with a foil wrap which makes sure there is no spill or leaks... The nachos were crisp and the salsa was yummilicious...

They also have another option- Olive & Herbs Nachos. Spotted it on Snapdeal as well , but do check your local grocery store and grab one box...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Revamped menu at Cafe Mercara , ITC Grand Chola

A Hotel with restaurants that have always bowled me over with the dishes
A Chocolate Boutique that gives us an experience I am yet to see elsewhere
A coffee shop where meetings are fun, and music is always something I can hum along with. 
A Hotel that I have visited more times than I can count on my ten fingers
Well, as you can see, I can go on and on... 
Yes, I do have a soft corner for this property.. and it goes way back, when they had just opened doors to the world. 

And here I was back again to explore the new menu at Cafe Mercara at ITC Grand Chola. What made the afternoon extra special was the fact that the new menu was being launched Pan India at the same time with #TrendingatPavilion being the hashtag for the event. How cool is that?

The one thing that is visible across the menu was the "Caringly Selected, Mindfully Prepared" theme. Each dish has been hand picked, carefully put together and presented. Starting with the detox drinks to the Tulsi seed and Indian summer fruit Muesli to the melt-in-your-mouth quinoa and sweet potato kebabs, every dish has you feeling good- not just about what you are eating but also about the health aspect. Oh and be prepared to be surprised.. All you need to do is close your eyes and let the flavours play with your taste buds.. I assure you a fun ride ahead.  

Brace yourself and come along with me on this journey.... 

 The menu and the theme behind the same. 

 Tulsi seed and Indian summer fruit Muesli - Loved it, esp since this is very my kinda breakfast dish

 The three drinks- [L to R] 
Natural: Jamun and Mint 
Detoxifier: Apple Carrot and Ginger and the
                         Cleanser: Watermelon Beetroot and Mint.. My favourite was the beetroot drink. 

 Crusty Bread with house dip - Oh the dip was out of the world- herbs with cheese, couldn't get enough of it.

Carrot and Coconut Soup with carrot paper and croutons. Oh my, it was light, packed with the coconut milk flavour and clean.

 Burrata and Beet-For the uninitiated, Burrata is cheese..This dish had the cheese with Balsamic balls on top, red & yellow pepper puree drops, beet sauce base and fresh greens along with a crispy slice of bread on the side. Could have just had this dish and been happy.

 Vazhapoo Cutlet/Vadai- a local delicacy made with Banana flower. Love this one! 

Quinoa Shakarkandi Kebab ( from the Kitchens of India)- it was melt in your mouth and am not exaggerating. The quinoa and sweet potato combination Chef told us was something he had achieved after a lot of research. They went so well together. 

Brie En Croute from their world cuisine section. It was a parcel with Cheese that had caramelised onions inside. Oh man, the accompaniments on the plate were equally sinful and went so well with the cheese. 

Chicken Soltado again from their World Cuisine section was Rice served with stir fried chicken along with vegetables .. It had Chinese influences am guessing. 

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the Vegetarian main and desserts arrived, but did hear they were outstanding as well... always a next time :) The menu is interesting, it is divided based on categories and each dish has a simple explanation along with it. Overall, the menu looked very inviting and am already looking forward to the next meeting or tete-a-tete that shall have this cafe as the venue~! Kudos to Chef Nikhil and the entire team for their efforts and dedication to serving up healthy, delicious and interesting/quirky dishes. 

For more images and video, visit @Talesfromaaroo on Instagram 

For reservations, dial 044 30853758. It is a perfect setting for a fun afternoon with friends or a serious business discussion as well. 

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 App├ętit  :-)