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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, March 17, 2017

Avartana unveiled, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

are terms that once upon a time used to go over my head.. Now I know what they mean, and I know what to expect when a dish is placed in front of me. But then there are times when I falter and assume what I see is what I get, well those are times when am in for a surprise..  It is like the dish does a one up on me, giving me a jolt and shaking things up a bit. :-) 

Tonight we were there to explore the newest restaurant in the block, Avartana. "Avartana", the name is  derived from sanskrit [means rhythm, mysticism and magic] 

As we walked along the familiar corridor at ITC Grand Chola towards the new restaurant [located near Towers Lobby],  I could not help but wonder what Chef Ajit Bagera has whipped up.    We had reached the end of the corridor and were guided towards the left, into the restaurant.  The first thing I notice is the rotary evaporator sitting there on the table. When enquired, I was told it was for rasam.. My mind was starting to wander into the world of its own where food was similar to what I have read in Willi Wonka’s Chocolate factory- fun & playful, yet true to the flavours. 

The carpet has banana leaf patterns, the walls have Kerala boat style lighting etched on them, there are glass panels all around with banana flower styled fittings on them, the lights on our table were inspired from the tender coconuts… I could go on and on. It was amazing to see the attention to detail. Oh and this is probably the only South Indian restaurant with an open kitchen.

We had the privilege of being seated in the private dining area [it can accommodate 10 pax, overall capacity of the Restaurant is 60 covers]. I see my plate, and a green blob of sorts on my knife. I wonder if it is a macaron or something else. Chef Harish Rao [ of Park Sheraton’s Dakshin] fame walks in with a grin with a “gotcha, you guys did not know I am here now didja” ..  And thus began our WOW evening.

A flower arrangement with what looked like macaroons on a stick, which turned out to be Fennel & pepper Air with Avocado Fluff [the green blob from my knife] that melted in our mouths… Tomato rasam that was poured into a French press containing herbs, tomato and poured onto martini glasses- it was filled with flavour and fun[ I would have happily had a pot of this]… 

Fluffy little idlies served with a Sweet pepper & Eggplant stuffed Ridge gourd sitting on a sesame & peanut curry.  The rice & Madurai Chutney [ a version of Kuzhi paniyaram served atop hot red chilli chutney] , Jackfruit and vegetable congee served with brinjal raita.. Butter milk noodles dish, a take on our curd rice perhaps where the sauce was poured on and it had a tiny pippet containing lemon pickle. To finish it off there was Finger millet vermicelli served with tender coconut ice cream and caramalised milk sitting pretty on a plate resembling a bird’s nest with some edible art work around it…

Along with the food there were a few interesting drinks- Mocktails & Cocktails as well. I had Mouth Road 63 [which is the address the property sits on] and Gooseberry Margharita served in one tall glass, both of which were absolutely divine. For the others there were a range of Mocktails- Nannari based, Paneer soda, raw mango drink served in a traditional Bharani, mint-coriander and many more.

The dishes were not only a treat for the eyes, but for the palate as well. During the course of the evening, Chef Bangera shared the journey behind the restaurant, and how the team has been at it for a while, working on the dishes and presentations. He was clear he did not want to reinvent South Indian food, but he was here to give it a twist and add a surprise element for the guests. Well, must say he has done exactly that.

All during the evening, I kept thinking of my granpa. He was one of those always open to new flavours and would have loved this place.  He is one of those true blue South Indians who will not tolerate any mucking about, especially with traditional dishes.  It also makes me happy to note that my city has now opened doors to such new restaurants and the fact that the restaurant is sold out the 1st few days is heart warming~ 

The restaurant is open for dinner [7pm to 11pm] and offer only tasting menus.
Prices begin at Rs. 2000 approx [per pax] for a 7 course-tasting menu.  
[All you need to do is tell the Chef if you have any allergies or don’t eat certain items.]

Address: No., 63, Anna Salai, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
Call 044 2220 0000 for reservations.
Website :

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  :-) 

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