5 Star, Asian, Chennai, Eating out, Japanese, Slider, Sushi

Pretty as a Japanese

What do you do with a plate of food that looks pretty? I mean, like not just pretty, but a little too pretty. Like really really pretty! It took a while for me to take my eyes of the plate and think about all the things on it. The salmon looked beautiful. With nice fat lines this clearly was an expensive salmon. I don’t know where it stacks up on the world’s best, but while it may not be the best, it appeared to be among the top few. A pretty pink slice on tuna shone through. A couple of more sashimi, half a dozen tuna maki sushi, some pickled radish along with the ginger and wasabi completed the really pretty plate. I might have gotten full simply staring at it.

It felt like tearing into a piece of art, but once I was convinced that the art was how the food tasted and not how it looked, taking that pair of chopsticks was slightly easier. When something looks as pretty as this, you might be forgiven for judging it well even if it tasted a notch lower, but the chef at Leela clearly didn’t leave it to that. I’ll have to rephrase that. This is something that the chef’s had little role to play, since it was great quality sea food that wasn’t adulterated by anything. Not even the chef. The chef only made it look pretty and I must admit that he did a great job of making fish look pretty!

The single piece of salmon left me wanting for more. While I am a terrible eater of fish, sushi and sashimi, though paradoxically, are things that I’ve really learnt to enjoy. This salmon was simply brilliant. There is no other way to describe it. The flavours of the sea were intact without even a whiff of fishy aftertaste. The fat lines made sure the flavours were enhanced beautifully. A tamogoyaki, a kind of rolled omelette, was just the perfect thing to break the monotony of the sea. The pink, almost untouched tuna was beautifully fleshy!

The platter of sushi and sashimi simply took everything away from the rest of the meal. Yes, the tempura vegetables were nice, yes, the miso soup with the sticky rice was comforting, yes, the salad was fresh and had the Japanese flavours ticking the right boxes,no, the fish in the main course wasn’t my favourite, but the Bento box at Spectra, Leela Palace is simply about the platter. Nothing more, nothing less.

Priced from Rs 1200 onwards depending on what main course you choose, I would be super happy to simply get two such platters instead of a main course. 

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5 Star, Asian, Chennai, Eating out, Japanese, Slider, Sushi

Pretty as a Japanese

What do you do with a plate of food that looks pretty? I mean, like not just pretty, but a little too pretty. Like really really pretty! It took a while for me to take my eyes of the plate and think about all the things on it. The salmon looked beautiful. With nice fat lines this clearly was an expensive salmon. I don’t know where it stacks up on the world’s best, but while it may not be the best, it appeared to be among the top few. A pretty pink slice on tuna shone through. A couple of more sashimi, half a dozen tuna maki sushi, some pickled radish along with the ginger and wasabi completed the really pretty plate. I might have gotten full simply staring at it.

It felt like tearing into a piece of art, but once I was convinced that the art was how the food tasted and not how it looked, taking that pair of chopsticks was slightly easier. When something looks as pretty as this, you might be forgiven for judging it well even if it tasted a notch lower, but the chef at Leela clearly didn’t leave it to that. I’ll have to rephrase that. This is something that the chef’s had little role to play, since it was great quality sea food that wasn’t adulterated by anything. Not even the chef. The chef only made it look pretty and I must admit that he did a great job of making fish look pretty!

The single piece of salmon left me wanting for more. While I am a terrible eater of fish, sushi and sashimi, though paradoxically, are things that I’ve really learnt to enjoy. This salmon was simply brilliant. There is no other way to describe it. The flavours of the sea were intact without even a whiff of fishy aftertaste. The fat lines made sure the flavours were enhanced beautifully. A tamogoyaki, a kind of rolled omelette, was just the perfect thing to break the monotony of the sea. The pink, almost untouched tuna was beautifully fleshy!

The platter of sushi and sashimi simply took everything away from the rest of the meal. Yes, the tempura vegetables were nice, yes, the miso soup with the sticky rice was comforting, yes, the salad was fresh and had the Japanese flavours ticking the right boxes,no, the fish in the main course wasn’t my favourite, but the Bento box at Spectra, Leela Palace is simply about the platter. Nothing more, nothing less.

Priced from Rs 1200 onwards depending on what main course you choose, I would be super happy to simply get two such platters instead of a main course. 

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5 Star, Chennai, Eating out, Haleem, Iftar, Ramadan, Ramzan Specials

Step in to an Iftar World

My dislike for buffets has been well documented. Especially if I am off to a food festival that ends up being part of the buffet. But there is the odd buffet that steps up its game and surprises me. With a Ramzan that started reasonably terrible with respect to food, the last couple of weeks has been a saving grace. With Cafe G at Holiday Inn serving iftar, I was looking forward to another nice set menu and once again I was a little skeptical when I found out that it was a buffet. The one at Taj was a poor excuse for a Iftar buffet with the only thing iftarish about it was that it began at 630 PM.

Thankfully, Holiday Inn has got it near perfect. Priced at Rs 1250 plus tax (ends up at Rs. 1500), the price is a shocker for a 5 star buffet. Eat the food and I was left wondering if they make any money off it. While it is certainly not the biggest buffet in the city, it is definitely one of the few buffets with almost a-la-carte quality food.

A plate of fruits, dates and a green drink was presented to us to kick start our feast after the fast. The green drink was a beautiful chilled milk spiced perfectly with cardamom that was soothing for the fasting tummy. The haleem was also served on the table. While I would have preferred classic haleem, that is not going to be possible in a 5 star kitchen, but what the chef has done here is commendable. The liquid fat on the haleem here was ghee, but to make up for it, it was served with a nice Sheermal and onions. Having the haleem with sheermal was brilliant. The meaty flavour of the haleem was shining through and it ended up being a side dish for the sheermal. I wasn’t complaining.

The mezze platter that arrived next had three dips. The hummus, the tzatziki and the beetroot dip. The hummus was excellent and one of the best available in a Chennai buffet as of now. Beautifully thick, olive oil floating and smooth, we licked the glass bowl clean!

The bread basket didn’t have any naan or roti and I loved that! It had sheermal and varky paratha, a form of sweet paratha flavoured by honey, from the Lucknow region. While I had the sheermal, this time with the gravy and dhal from the buffet, the varky paratha simply didn’t need anything to be enjoyed. We had it with the gravy and then realised that it was a dish by itself. Super soft, flaky and moist with ghee and honey, this was the hero dish.

Biriyani was a disappointment. Clearly, the focus on the other dishes didn’t allow any space for focusing on a dish like the biriyani, but being an iftar buffet, it was there. The live counter had a beautiful looking chicken roulade that looked a lot better than it tasted.

There was a large dessert counter and a lot of them were disappointing, but three excellent dishes made up for the rest. The strawberry basbousa was soft, deeply flavourful and melt-in-the-mouth consistency. I could have eaten a dozen of it. The Wattalappam, though wasn’t perfect (I mean home style authentic), could pass off as a good dish and the baklava was yummy. Without a glass breaking top, the blueberry creme brรปlรฉe was a mushy mess!

While the ITC’s Iftar meal is the best sit down meal this Iftar, G Cafe’s buffet is lot more value for money with its killer pricing, a wonderful spread of dishes with a good focus on Iftar based meals and kurtha and skull cap clad waiters carrying off the theme rather well! I wish I had known of this earlier as I had to entertain a few guests for iftar early last week and this would have been the perfect place for that. Knowing what the chef is capable of in a buffet, it would be interesting to see if Holiday Inn opens a specialty restaurant soon! I hope they do and I hope they retain this quality of food in the buffet!

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5 Star, Chennai, Eating out, Iftar, Indian, Ramadan, Ramzan Specials

Nihari to the rescue!

With the iftar offerings going from bad to worse, and haleem and nombu kanji competing for the worst dish awards, I almost forgot about a dish that won me over last year. Served at the ITC Grand Chola, the Nihari was new introduction to the city’s iftar palate, but one that was poorly advertised. I checked with ITC and it was available this year too, so come Sunday, the family iftar eat out happened at Cafe Mercara.

It was as set menu. We were offered a choice between haleem and nihari for one dish and choice of breads for the second main course. A platter of fruits, dates and a rose sherbet arrived first to help the stomach ease into the next course.

There was no next course. All three courses arrived together in a neat set menu, similar to the Welcome meals served at ITC hotels. Since we were four adults (and two kids, their drinks came free), we were able to sample both the haleem and the nihari (and four different breads in each of our plates). Biriyani and Dhal Makhni completed the well plated platter.

The Nihari, a slow cooked broth with lamb marrow, had meat falling off the bone with ease, with some saltiness of the broth adding a nice flavour tone and the pink meat giving out all the flavour notes of a beautifully cooked lamb. Dhal Makhni at ITC hotels are usually spot on and today was no different. Four pieces of naan and butter naan and garlic naan and roti simply eased into the tummy.
The biriyani was all meat with a little rice here and there. Seriously! Every plate had good portions of succulent meat that the kids also enjoyed as there was so much to share. I also gulped down some haleem from my sister’s plate (and sneaked it into the photo)! Thankfully, the haleem was good as I had given up on haleem in Chennai. Thankfully!

A saffron phirni in a mud pot served chilled and thick with saffron dominating the plate completed an excellent iftar meal for the first time this Ramadan. We paid Rs. 6004 including all taxes for four adults with enough food to share with the two kids. This is probably the only place in Chennai serving a sit down iftar meal, appropriately priced! 

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5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Italian, Restaurants in hotels, Specials

An Italian conquers Chennai.

“What’s the secret?” I asked the sous chef.

“He doesn’t measure anything. He takes a handful and puts them in. Everything. Cheese. Butter. Rice. Herb. Everything is a handful.”

“He does have a large hand,” I said.

“Yes. He does.”

We were talking about Chef Gustav from Ratatouille. Sorry, Chef Allesandro who has flown in from the Mumbai Grand Hyatt. The resemblance is uncanny, so……. If you remember, this chef’s food festival last year at Hyatt Regency was one of my best meals of the year. He came, he floored us, he left. Not this time. Now he came, he conquered and he left. Within the grand Flying Elephant, with his own menu and his own seating, he has truly conquered. A small piece of real estate, but he has conquered.

The brand new Italian menu at the Flying Elephant has chef Allesandro written all over it. He may have left, but I hope he has taught the rest enough to keep this menu going. We were then when the man himself was around. Smiling, pranking and of course throwing fistful of stuff into the stoves.

Green pizza. Thin crust, crisp and pesto instead of tomato! Beetroot salad was a treat to both the eyes and the palette. Then there was the gorgonzola balsamic risotto that made my friend cry last time. Nobody cried this time around, but that is because we are used to it. A duck ravioli with nice sauce made its appearance.

But there was one dish that was worthy of tears. If my crying friend was around, he would have cried for this too. The liver pate. I hate offal and am not a big fan of liver though I have had it at times. This particular one was brilliant to say the least. Sandwiched between two fried croutons, a stick sticking out from the pate placed on a bed of caramelised onions, some pomegranate and micro greens, this was a stunner of a dish. Yes, the fried croutons and the caramelised onions were dominant, but they beautifully over shadowed the liver pate, which played a good second fiddle. For me, I was perfectly happy with this arrangement.

Fried cheese cake and a cone inspired from the streets of Hyderabad made up dessert.

While I hope that one day Chef Allesandro moves to Chennai, this is a great first step in that direction!

The new menu is now available at Flying Elephant, Level 1 at Park Hyatt, Velachery. 

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