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Thick Shake Factory

Nothing gets the point across like saying exactly what you mean. Thick Shake Factory does that and does that well. No distractions. Just thick shakes. No distractions in the name, the interiors or anywhere.

While the menu has sufficient variety, considering that these are just shakes, the possibilities are endless with Shape Your Shake. That is what we got two of. First, a chocolate base, Level 1 mix in was Choco Pie, Level 2 was Hide n Seek (the biscuits) and the topping was Gems. The second drink had a base of Hazelnut, Level 1 was Ferrero, Level 2 was banana and topping was butterscotch nuts.

I know I got the gems topping but as I took my first sip, gems came through the straw. That for me was unbelievable. It wasn’t just a topping, but had boatloads inside. The chocolate ice cream was the strongest and the choice-pie, the weakest of the flavours. Honestly, I couldn’t taste any of the choco-pie. The second drink was similar with the Level 1 mix in. The hazelnut ice cream lent its nutty flavours, Ferrero was non existent and banana flavours shone through. Again, loads of butterscotch nuts that kept coming through the straw.

The portion looked small, but was terribly a lot, simply because of the consistency. I won’t be surprised if I held the cup upside down and nothing fell. It was super thick. We couldn’t finish the drink and it doubled up as a post dinner drink the subsequent night.

Priced between Rs. 140 and Rs. 190, Thick Shake Factory on KNK road is a fantastic new addition to Chennai’s grub scene. Unpretentious, clear goals and excellent shakes. I only wish they tweak their recipe a little bit to enhance their Level 1 mix flavours. I would have loved a little more choco-pie in my shake! 

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Where else can u get a #bread #omelette #sandwich with Vada curry? Royal Sandwiches of course! The bread omelette sandwich, probably unique to South India fused with a gravy made of Vada. Fab flavors. #chennaifoody #eat #yummyinmytummy #yummy #foodtalkindia #fbai #foodgasm #foodporn #foodphotography #food #foodie #foodblogger #foodblog #chennai #foodwriter #oneplustwophotography #followme #streetfood #egg #breakfast via Instagram

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Coast to Coast, Dining Room, Park Hyatt

If there is one restaurant in the city that lives by the ‘quality of quantity’ principle, it has to be The Dining Room at Park Hyatt. I’ve gone gaga over their breakfast many a times, but I was appalled that they too run a food festival via the buffet. When invited to try that out, I almost went there expecting the worst, but was super glad that they’ve stuck to their principles.

If you do take a chance and sit out by their Lotus Pond with mosquitoes for company, the live seafood action will catch your eye. A big boat with sand lobsters, mud crabs, king fish (that looked angry), prawns, lady fish and the likes, all waiting for you to pick and get cooked. Titled Coast to Coast, this is a celebration of coastal food of India, so there is variety right from Bengal all the way to Gujarat, via the coasts. Though what live counter you get depends on which day you go, they are happy to make something from another state if you ask. On Monday night, the focus was on Mangalore and Goa.

Susegado from the streets of Goa was our welcome drink, albeit (and thankfully for me), the sissy version! OK, that was mean, the teetotaller version. Cold and viscous with the lemony zest, it was both refreshing and slightly filling, though I wanted to keep going back to it right through the meal. I felt like having soup that day, something that I would normally skip in a buffet, especially a food promotion buffet, but I was glad I didn’t miss it. The Shorba, from Hyderabad was warm and toasty, but only when I finished did I ask why was it on the menu? Hyderabad is not on a coast, I said. We are celebrating the coastal states and Hyderabad is in a state that is on the coast, he said. With a soup as light and refreshing and packing the right amount of punch, I shouldn’t be worried where it came from and why it was on the menu.

Then from the live counters came the food that was, until recently on the boat. The prawns arrived with the fish and the crab came in next. With prawns and crabs on the table, I didn’t even attempt the fish, so sorry, I don’t have an account of the fish. The prawns were medium sized, with a red marinade that had gone well into the meat and thus ended up with a classical South Indian mild chilly flavour. The magic was how it was as comforting as home food, but something that would be quite difficult to replicate at home. The crab on the other hand was a completely comfort food flavour, with the usual dark masala mix that goes into most South Indian kitchens. You have to get your hands dirty for the crabs and you didn’t need anything to go with it.

Again, I did something that I normally wouldn’t do in a buffet, White rice. The mutter curry was uncanny in its appearance and it felt like it was asking me to taste it and I needed something for it, so I obliged and once again glad I did. Along with the South Indian stir fried chicken, the rice with the mutter gravy, which had the tangy tomato flavour along with the taste of peas seeping through was a great decision. It was only then that the sanas arrived with a Mangalorean gravy. Right at the end of the meal! I wish I had saved more space for it. I love sanas and all its variations. A fermented rice cake which is very similar to the Vattayappam of Kerala, for me, it is the fusion between idly and appam. When done well, it is soft and has a beautiful fermented flavour with a hint of sweetness for itself and pairs well with any red gravy. The sanas here was no different and it took away some of the space I had for dessert!

The festival is on till the 26th of Feb, 2017 and the menu changes everyday. If you want something from what you read here, simply ask for it. Priced at Rs. 1600++

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Coast to Coast, Dining Room, Park Hyatt

If there is one restaurant in the city that lives by the ‘quality of quantity’ principle, it has to be The Dining Room at Park Hyatt. I’ve gone gaga over their breakfast many a times, but I was appalled that they too run a food festival via the buffet. When invited to try that out, I almost went there expecting the worst, but was super glad that they’ve stuck to their principles.

If you do take a chance and sit out by their Lotus Pond with mosquitoes for company, the live seafood action will catch your eye. A big boat with sand lobsters, mud crabs, king fish (that looked angry), prawns, lady fish and the likes, all waiting for you to pick and get cooked. Titled Coast to Coast, this is a celebration of coastal food of India, so there is variety right from Bengal all the way to Gujarat, via the coasts. Though what live counter you get depends on which day you go, they are happy to make something from another state if you ask. On Monday night, the focus was on Mangalore and Goa.

Susegado from the streets of Goa was our welcome drink, albeit (and thankfully for me), the sissy version! OK, that was mean, the teetotaller version. Cold and viscous with the lemony zest, it was both refreshing and slightly filling, though I wanted to keep going back to it right through the meal. I felt like having soup that day, something that I would normally skip in a buffet, especially a food promotion buffet, but I was glad I didn’t miss it. The Shorba, from Hyderabad was warm and toasty, but only when I finished did I ask why was it on the menu? Hyderabad is not on a coast, I said. We are celebrating the coastal states and Hyderabad is in a state that is on the coast, he said. With a soup as light and refreshing and packing the right amount of punch, I shouldn’t be worried where it came from and why it was on the menu.

Then from the live counters came the food that was, until recently on the boat. The prawns arrived with the fish and the crab came in next. With prawns and crabs on the table, I didn’t even attempt the fish, so sorry, I don’t have an account of the fish. The prawns were medium sized, with a red marinade that had gone well into the meat and thus ended up with a classical South Indian mild chilly flavour. The magic was how it was as comforting as home food, but something that would be quite difficult to replicate at home. The crab on the other hand was a completely comfort food flavour, with the usual dark masala mix that goes into most South Indian kitchens. You have to get your hands dirty for the crabs and you didn’t need anything to go with it.

Again, I did something that I normally wouldn’t do in a buffet, White rice. The mutter curry was uncanny in its appearance and it felt like it was asking me to taste it and I needed something for it, so I obliged and once again glad I did. Along with the South Indian stir fried chicken, the rice with the mutter gravy, which had the tangy tomato flavour along with the taste of peas seeping through was a great decision. It was only then that the sanas arrived with a Mangalorean gravy. Right at the end of the meal! I wish I had saved more space for it. I love sanas and all its variations. A fermented rice cake which is very similar to the Vattayappam of Kerala, for me, it is the fusion between idly and appam. When done well, it is soft and has a beautiful fermented flavour with a hint of sweetness for itself and pairs well with any red gravy. The sanas here was no different and it took away some of the space I had for dessert!

The festival is on till the 26th of Feb, 2017 and the menu changes everyday. If you want something from what you read here, simply ask for it. Priced at Rs. 1600++

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Nasi and Mee

Take the dim sum out of the steamer. Dunk it in your mouth. Realise it is super hot and struggle to eat it. Then enjoy the second dim sum when it cools a bit! Right? Maybe, but when you have a curried dim sum, then it is a whole new ball game.

Nasi and Mee has been making waves in Chennai and I can see why. Promising Malaysian and Singaporean street food, the place itself is set up like a pub and the ambiance is inviting and laid back. With quirky stuff all over the walls and an almost Singapore hawker stall like feel albeit in a posh, up market set up, the place seems to have ticked all the boxes.

We were invited for the evening and were welcomed with a trio of welcome drinks, but nothing screams Malaysia more than Milo. Having a cult status in Malaysia and in parts of Singapore, the humble Milo maybe a health drink (a failed one at that) in India, but it is revered there. The Milo here was as good as the ones you get in Malaysia, chocolaty, a little dilute (since it is a thirst quencher and not a health drink) and chilled. The warm winter melon soup kicked off the proceedings and was a beautiful comforting soup, with large winter melons in a familiar Asian broth that my Indian palate was extremely comfortable with.

Then came the dim sum in question. I don’t remember having it before and so when the waiter said that the dim sum had soup in it, I was more than intrigued. I was asked to place the dim sum on a spoon,  poke a hole, let the steam out and slowly drink up the soup off the spoon and then dunk the whole dim sum in my mouth. There is a certain novelty value to the experience which over shadows the flavour of the craby soup, (yes, this is a crab soup in the dim sum).

The Nasi Lemak was the first main course to arrive. It looked very similar to the original Malaysian version, with the rice, peanuts and anchovies, but with an omelette instead of a boiled egg. The rice had the coconutty flavour while the anchovies were surprisingly and (for most of us, pleasantly) non-stinky, but the strong Belacan flavour of Malaysia was clearly missing in the entire meal. Now, this is not something that may go well with the crowd as the Belacan (shrimp paste) is what gives Malaysian food its strong pungent flavour, but there was almost no whiff of it anywhere in the meal. So this is a highly Indianised version of the Lemak. The Char Keow Teow is where I realised that Nasi and Mee is street food inspired at best and is not here to give you those flavours. A Char Keow Teow in the streets of Singapore will be a dark stir fried noodles and here it was no where close. The slightly burnt flavour that gives Char Keow Teow its distinct taste (with soy/fish sauce I think that is used by hawkers) was missing in its entirety. The Laksa arrived to much dismay as that wasn’t any Laksa curry that I’ve had. Not that I’ve had too many variations, but I simply didn’t know what it was.  The main course in general tasted excellent, but I felt like I ordered chilli chicken and was served an excellent butter chicken instead!

Dessert was definitely closer. I resisted from ordering a Chendol as I didn’t want to be served some payasam! Ice Kacang it was for me, while my friend ordered a fried ice cream. The Ice Kacang was excellent. It looked like the original and tasted very close to the ones you get in Singapore and Malaysia. It had the beans, the corn, peanuts, the green noodles and multiple flavours of ice. I should have ordered Chendol, I guess. The fried ice cream though is one of the best that I’ve in Chennai, with a crisp flavoured shell oozing out a nice vanilla ice cream. I believe they have multiple flavours for the fried ice cream.

The price point is killer. While I won’t be surprised if you asked to pay an entry fee to KNK Road in Nungambakkam, Nasi and Mee is priced extremely competitively. With most dishes priced around mid three hundred mark, a good meal for two at Rs. 1000 is doable with ease. With a nice ambiance and a street food inspired cuisine at a killer price point, Nasi and Mee should do well in Chennai. I understand that the restaurant needs to survive and do well more than making sure there was Belacan in your food, but I only wish that there were at least a few dishes (OK, at least 2 or 3) that could have retained the essence of the wonderful street food culture in those countries.

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Uncategorized

Nasi and Mee

Take the dim sum out of the steamer. Dunk it in your mouth. Realise it is super hot and struggle to eat it. Then enjoy the second dim sum when it cools a bit! Right? Maybe, but when you have a curried dim sum, then it is a whole new ball game.

Nasi and Mee has been making waves in Chennai and I can see why. Promising Malaysian and Singaporean street food, the place itself is set up like a pub and the ambiance is inviting and laid back. With quirky stuff all over the walls and an almost Singapore hawker stall like feel albeit in a posh, up market set up, the place seems to have ticked all the boxes.

We were invited for the evening and were welcomed with a trio of welcome drinks, but nothing screams Malaysia more than Milo. Having a cult status in Malaysia and in parts of Singapore, the humble Milo maybe a health drink (a failed one at that) in India, but it is revered there. The Milo here was as good as the ones you get in Malaysia, chocolaty, a little dilute (since it is a thirst quencher and not a health drink) and chilled. The warm winter melon soup kicked off the proceedings and was a beautiful comforting soup, with large winter melons in a familiar Asian broth that my Indian palate was extremely comfortable with.

Then came the dim sum in question. I don’t remember having it before and so when the waiter said that the dim sum had soup in it, I was more than intrigued. I was asked to place the dim sum on a spoon,  poke a hole, let the steam out and slowly drink up the soup off the spoon and then dunk the whole dim sum in my mouth. There is a certain novelty value to the experience which over shadows the flavour of the craby soup, (yes, this is a crab soup in the dim sum).

The Nasi Lemak was the first main course to arrive. It looked very similar to the original Malaysian version, with the rice, peanuts and anchovies, but with an omelette instead of a boiled egg. The rice had the coconutty flavour while the anchovies were surprisingly and (for most of us, pleasantly) non-stinky, but the strong Belacan flavour of Malaysia was clearly missing in the entire meal. Now, this is not something that may go well with the crowd as the Belacan (shrimp paste) is what gives Malaysian food its strong pungent flavour, but there was almost no whiff of it anywhere in the meal. So this is a highly Indianised version of the Lemak. The Char Keow Teow is where I realised that Nasi and Mee is street food inspired at best and is not here to give you those flavours. A Char Keow Teow in the streets of Singapore will be a dark stir fried noodles and here it was no where close. The slightly burnt flavour that gives Char Keow Teow its distinct taste (with soy/fish sauce I think that is used by hawkers) was missing in its entirety. The Laksa arrived to much dismay as that wasn’t any Laksa curry that I’ve had. Not that I’ve had too many variations, but I simply didn’t know what it was.  The main course in general tasted excellent, but I felt like I ordered chilli chicken and was served an excellent butter chicken instead!

Dessert was definitely closer. I resisted from ordering a Chendol as I didn’t want to be served some payasam! Ice Kacang it was for me, while my friend ordered a fried ice cream. The Ice Kacang was excellent. It looked like the original and tasted very close to the ones you get in Singapore and Malaysia. It had the beans, the corn, peanuts, the green noodles and multiple flavours of ice. I should have ordered Chendol, I guess. The fried ice cream though is one of the best that I’ve in Chennai, with a crisp flavoured shell oozing out a nice vanilla ice cream. I believe they have multiple flavours for the fried ice cream.

The price point is killer. While I won’t be surprised if you asked to pay an entry fee to KNK Road in Nungambakkam, Nasi and Mee is priced extremely competitively. With most dishes priced around mid three hundred mark, a good meal for two at Rs. 1000 is doable with ease. With a nice ambiance and a street food inspired cuisine at a killer price point, Nasi and Mee should do well in Chennai. I understand that the restaurant needs to survive and do well more than making sure there was Belacan in your food, but I only wish that there were at least a few dishes (OK, at least 2 or 3) that could have retained the essence of the wonderful street food culture in those countries.

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Drool Time

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Drool Time

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