Category Archives: Chennai Restaurant Reviews

The French Loaf

After a couple of years of being regulars at The French Loaf, a not-so-pleasant experience this time.  It was my Dad’s Birthday, a totally homely affair, and hence apparently no big damage.  It could have been worse if it was a Birthday Party with guests and so on.

We were just four adults and two kids in all, so didn’t want a really big cake.  Stepped into the Madipakkam outlet and ordered for a 500g Strawberry Fantasy cake.  Looked wonderful, and just right !  Packed it.  Went home, a totally informal setting, dad cut the Birthday cake and we made it into pieces and started to eat.  A couple of bites and it was very clear that the cake was NOT OK.  It was definitely ‘on its way’ to the waste-bin.  An unwanted moisture read as ‘wetness’ in the cake, and it was a clear indication that the cake was not fresh.  When cakes get spoilt, there is this strange nail-polish remover smell, don’t know from where. 🙂

A small 500g cake, already cut into 6 small pieces and each one of us took a bite or two, to come to a consensus of how spoilt it was.  So we were left with about 30% of the cake.  I wanted to give it a shot and packed that and went to the store.  Strangely, It was not as bad as what I expected, as a customer in India.

The manager/in-charge at the store agreed that the cake was indeed well-past an eatable stage, however he still maintained that the cake was delivered on that day.  As I have seen earlier, the cakes are delivered to the outlets at around 10:00 or 11:00AM.  I went to the outlet roughly around the same time.  If it was fresh and just arrived, there was no way that it could have been so bad.  Anyway, he profoundly apologized and offered to replace the cake with an Irish Fantasy that was available.  The consolation was that I got my money’s worth.  This was DEFINITELY a fresh cake, absolutely delicious, and how a cake is supposed to be from The French Loaf!  So we had another round of cake cutting at home 🙂

Since it was a completely homely affair, we didn’t mind it so much.  Had it been a bigger cake, a lot of guests and a ‘proper’ birthday party, we would have been screwed !  Had the manager been a little more proactive in taking a call if the cake should be disposed or not, it would not have resulted in this not-so-pleasant experience.  It is worth mentioning that I have never had any such experience from the Taramani Road (Velachery) Outlet.

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Katti Kebab Company

A recent visit with family to Katti Kebab Company and it was wonderful !  2 Paneer rolls and a Chicken Shami Egg Roll.  All of them were wonderful.  The rolls were ready in less than 10 minutes and yummy too.  Again, seating was the only thing I felt could have been better.  It was 19:30 in the evening on a weekday, and the place was empty. Probably they have to market themselves better to attract people.  Overall, wonderful rolls.  I would like to try the home delivery option next time.

Visited December 2013

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Velachery Venkateswara Poli Stall

Velachery Venkateswara Poli Stall has been here for quite sometime and is a favorite to many. They are located in the Velachery Main road, diagonally opposite to the Nilgiris and the RAMS Flats. Recently, they got a makeover and also started a bakery in the same premises, merging with the adjoining shop. So facility-wise, bigger, airy, more space for customers, etc. Hopefully, they do not lose their quality in an attempt to diversify.
You can see a steady stream of customers always during the evening, pretty much starting at 3PM. They have various bajjis, bondas, samosas, etc typically all items you find in a Poli stall. If you are there at the right time, i.e when a batch of Bajjis are taken out from the oil, you will get to eat piping hot bajjis. That is done in turns, as and when the demand arises and stocks are getting exhausted. So you can expect hot Bajjis all through the evening.
The price is nominal and quality is good. I have eaten here many times, but today when I decided to write about this place, the molaga bajjis were ordinary, nothing worth bragging about :). Normally, they have always tasted good.  However, the aloo bonda was good and the small samosas, very yummy !
Overall, a must-visit on a rainy day 😉

Tuscana Pizzeria

A lunch at Tuscana was something pending for so long.  A couple of visits to Kryptos happened, but Tuscana didn’t.  At last, had another strong reason to push myself to go to Tuscana in addition to their wonderful food.  I was the winner of 2nd prize in the DSLR category of the pizza photograpy contest and received gift vouchers for INR 3K. 🙂 So decided to use them.  We were four adults and two children in all.

We reserved a table for 14:00 and stepped in just about the right time.  The table was reserved and ready as soon as we came in.  The ambience was nice and classy.  Already having been to Tuscana on Chamiers and Kryptos, in a way, knew what to expect.  I should say the restaurant was packed being a Sunday afternoon.

Coming to food, it was absolutely wonderful !  We loved everything we ate except for some very minor personal choices here and there.  Each dish truly lived up to its name in terms of quality.  There was nothing you could really complain about.

We ordered Minestrone soup and a chicken clear soup, Bruschetta pomodoro, baked mushrooms and a salad for starters.  Salad was just plain lettuce with cheese.  Probably we didn’t get the description rite, we expected some veggies, olives and stuff and not just lettuce 🙂 . I am no big fan of salads, so the others ate that.  Baked Mushrooms was delicious with a nice flavor.  For the main course, we ordered a very spicy veg pizza, the last one on the menu in the veg section and an Americana for non-veg.  The waiter did warn us that it would be very spicy, and sure it was 🙂  Struggled a bit to finish that, but managed to.  We also ordered Penne with Mushrooms in white sauce, and a chicken lasagna.  Loved the lasagna.  This is probably one place where I have seen lasagna the way I remember it outside India.  Quite full already, proceeded to the desserts.  Already had Tiramisu and Panacotta in mind when I entered Tuscana and so ordered that.  Also ordered something which was a shot of expresso with whipped cream.  That was good too.  A black coffee to end it all.  The desserts were simply awesome!

Overall, all of us relished the lunch and loved the food.  No complaints whatsoever, but have to mention that good food comes with a hefty price tag.  Used the gift vouchers for 3K and in addition, had to pay as much.  So for me, this place is a sure-shot on my list, but for some nice occasion and not just a casual meal now and then.

 

Hotel National

I have eaten here a couple of times and this is a very nice place for good food.  They have an AC Hall on the first floor and it is clean, and good.  Their signature dishes ‘National Special Biriyanis’ are very good.  They have all the variants in Biriyanis – chicken, mutton and so on.  Have ordered some chicken dishes and we were pretty satisfied with them too.

This time, We were a group of five friends.  A couple of them opted to have Biriyani here in this restaurant, while we decided to have Burmese food, a few blocks away from this hotel.  So after finishing our lunch, we joined them for a Falooda.  It was good and tasty.

If you are visiting Parrys, this is one of the nice authentic places to eat Biriyani !

Burmese food at Parrys Corner

This is probably the second or third time I am eating at this place.  This is one of the several shops that serve Burmese cuisine in Parrys Corner, opposite to the Beach Railway Station.  There are about five or six places here and most of them open around 5PM.  This is the only place I have seen serving lunch.  So obviously all the times, this has been our choice.

The most common items here are Atho, Fried Atho, Mohinga, Kowse, Peijo.  Atho is vegetarian, while Fried Atho has egg in it.  Atho is eaten with plantain soup.  Some outlets serve a fish soup to go with Atho.  Masala egg, called “Muttae-Masala” in Tamil is a boiled egg sliced partially with fried onions in between and little oil and to be eaten in one mouth. 🙂 There is chicken fry and chicken leg pieces that you can buy separately.  Overall, I liked the different taste of the food and few of my friends are regulars here too.  Also I should mention that few of them refused to eat here considering the hygiene of the place. 🙂

Please be informed that this is a street food stall.  There is no seating here.  This is just a road-side fast food shop.  For a while, please set your hygiene standards aside, otherwise you may not be willing to eat here.  I am used to eating in such places once in a while and have not had any issues with my stomach 🙂 If you are experimenting for the first time, take care.  Good to carry a bottle of water, do not drink water from any of these places.

Rayar’s Mess

As a kid, I have eaten in a few authentic places, not restaurants, but more a ‘mess’ managed by families generation after generation in Thanjavur and Kumbakonam.  It has been quite a while since I experienced something like that.  When you hear the word “mess”. the first place that obviously comes to your mind is Mylapore and then West Mambalam. Thanks to some friends in Chennai Food Guide who suggested a few names like Karpagambal Mess, Maami’s Mess, Rayar’s Mess, Jannal Kadai, Sukanya nivas or vilas and so on.

Decided to try out Rayar’s mess and overall,  it was a kind of mixed feeling.  As we entered, it was a narrow lane leading to some apartments and on the way, found the name board which seemed as old as the mess itself.  First impression was not very positive, the entry, the narrow path was dark.  We had to wait for just a few minutes and managed to get a table for four.  The place was packed and there were only three tables in all, two with four chairs and one with six chairs. So at a time 18 can eat.  The kids had a shock as they did not consider this even close to a restaurant 🙂 .  As we were closest to the kitchen, it was very warm inside in spite of the fan going in full speed.  So definitely not the most comfortable place to eat.

Now coming to the food 🙂 – Normally they serve three items for breakfast it seems – Pongal, Idly and Vada, and to our bad luck, pongal was over for the day.  Idly is probably my last choice for breakfast, but had to pretty much eat that, as it was the only choice.  We were waiting for about 5 minutes while the idly was getting ready ! Meanwhile got chutneys and molaga podi served on the plantain leaf.  Then came the idlys , piping hot and soft as sponge!! It was truly awesome.  In spite of all the hatred for idly, it tasted good.  Next followed vadas – crispy, and tasty.  So almost forgot about the pongal and began to relish the breakfast.  Steady stream of people coming in, both to eat and to take away.  The waiters were North Indians, talking in Hindi, but seemed helpful.  Asked for coffee and had to settle down outside as people were waiting for the table.  Filter coffee was good too and the fresh breeze outside was welcoming after about 20 minutes in the close-to-dungeon kind of a place.  That made the coffee taste even better.

Bill for four of us came to around Rs 300.  I was wondering if the prices were as cheap as the place looked.  Probably not.  Undoubtedly the food was good, no complaints about that, but will I go there again? Definitely, not with my kids.  I would definitely be better off sitting at a comfortable place with little more time to eat.  If I am alone, I would definitely not mind tasting food in one of these authentic places again !

Amdavadi Gujarati Snack House

This has been on my to-do list for quite sometime now and at last, I can tick it off !  Have been hearing about this place quite often in food groups, among foodie friends, and so on.  It was Friday, we had some work in T-Nagar, and so made up a plan to combine dinner at Amdavadi along with it.

I knew exactly where the place was located and so I did not have to search for it.  The restaurant itself was located a little away from the main road, i.e the entrance is on the main road, and there is a long narrow passage through which you have to drive , and most importantly, only one car at a time.  There is a valet parking facility and that is a big relief.  We entered the restaurant and were pleasantly surprised – The restaurant was well-lit and bright unlike many places where you can neither see the food nor your friends clearly ! I was pretty impressed with the ambience.  The walls were done well with paintings and a brick-red finish.  overall, nice and neat.

Now the food :).  I have eaten Gujarati food a few times, but I am no expert in  judging the authenticity of the same.  I love North-Indian food, and being in Chennai, I consider anything to the North of Hyderabad as North-India 😉 . The menu was a laminated sheet, so just 2 sides to it meant limited choices.  We asked the waiter to suggest some starters and he started off with Bhelpuri and Samosa.  That, I thought was quite common and even with a Gujarati twist, wouldn’t be as different as I expected.  So I started to order for all of us – Khaman Dhokla, Sabudana Vada, and palak muthiya for starters.  All the three were tasty and clearly different from the ‘normal’ starters elsewhere.  The accompaniment for all of them was the same green mint chutney and that was a bit boring.  Could have been better with a couple of other chutneys.  We ordered Rajwadi Chas and Khas to drink and they were good too.  I would have liked them cool or at least with ice, but they were served at room temperature.  For the main course we ordered alu puri, masala khichdi with kadi and Methi Thepla with jamfal sakh.  All of them were tasty and yummy.  The guava gravy was a little too sweet for my liking, but the rest of them were very good.  To end the dinner with a sweet, we ordered a plate of jalebi and gajar halwa.  The jalebis were crispy, hot and yummylicious.  The carrot halwa was good, but probably since we ate it after the jalebis, it was more a neutralizer for sweet.  Couldn’t relish it as much.

Overall, the rates were very nominal and food was very tasty.  It was a very memorable dinner and we all loved it.  What was surprising was that it was a Friday evening and the time was around 7:30 PM and I was surprised to see only one other table other than ours occupied.  Guess they have lot of work to do in their Marketing department to showcase their offerings and fill the empty tables.

I would certainly have this restaurant on my list of favorites.

Nandos

A visit to Nando’s for dinner and as always, the food was good.  Need some reason to dine at Nando’s other than their yummilicious peri-peri chicken and here it is 😀  Recently, won some contest on facebook and received a Rs 500 gift voucher from Nando’s.  So we decided to make use of it.

As always, the food was tasty and we all loved it.

Two things worth mentioning –

We ordered for the ‘Altogether Now’ from the appeteasers section.  That included the first three items from the same section.  Some veg dip, pita with hummus and olives.  That, I felt was not so impressive.  I mean the pita bread is still the same quantity and that should have been a little more, to go with the veg dip and olives.  Didn’t feel the olives or veg dip added any value to the pita and hummus..for an extra 130 rupees.

A small miss this time with our order.  The waiter missed the potato wedges that we ordered along with the main course.  We got it after we reminded them, when we almost finished our dinner.  Somehow we couldn’t get hold of the person who took our order, explained to a couple of other waiters and they were sort of clueless.  Never mind, one off incident happens.  Rest was all fine.

Overall, a good dining experience as always.  Will definitely recommend to others !

Visited November 2013.

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Port Lounge, Anna International Airport, Chennai

Port Lounge in Chennai International Airport was definitely welcoming in terms of the comfort it offers.  I was not there for food, so didn’t taste all the items.  Pakora was great with beer :).  Chilly Chicken was good too.  Considering that there aren’t many lounges that allow access for a payment of a fee, this was a good option.  I would be more than happy to make use of this facility during my trips abroad.