Maplai restaurant is quite popular for their virundhu (feast) and their curated selection of dishes from the Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka region centric cuisine. Right now, Maplai is celebrating Andhra Pradesh food festival during the month of July 2017. The Neelangarai unit is new but we could see a good footfall on the Friday we were there. We arrived early and was well received by Mr. Vinu Shankar, Marketing Manager of the establishment. It was interesting insight onto the process and the honesty in claiming their approach to being near to the authenticity of the dishes to the traditional way of making it. We arrived early and hence could not participate in the virundhu (feast) but did partake various items in the menu.
Phoenix Market City (Phoenix mall), Chennai is celebrating its 2017 edition of Culinary Quest through the month of July. The specialty of this food festival is the introduction of new items in the menu by participating restaurants and a 15% discount on the bill, a bonus at the time we are facing the brunt of GST in our food bills. We visited the Punjab Grill, a participating restaurant to check out the offering for the culinary quest.
Punjab Grill has always been specializing on Punjabi food and justifies its contribution to the food lovers with its quality and service. It was something to look forward to when we came to know that Punjab Grill is working on bringing heirloom recipes for the Culinary Quest this time. We love such food festivals happening occasionally because it makes the restaurant expand its menu and embark on identifying food that lies hidden in our age old culinary treasure. As a foodie, it gives me immense pleasure to see new items being offered to beat that familiarity with the food in their menu but it is no ordinary task to go in search of heirloom recipes and bring it onto our table with the perfection to make sure we enjoy it. Thanks to Punjab Grill Chef team, it was a job well done and we enjoyed the food at its best.
Authentic! Traditional! That 90s touch! Old street taste, inviting aroma – Few phrases we use to locate that specific food that will take us back to those golden days when each dish with that one common main ingredient tasted so different and unique. Those days, the chef signature was imbibed in everything and whatever we try at home, we will go back to him for that specific flavor. These days, most of the times when we eat out, we end up feeling better making the dish at home and let me tell you, at times it is much better. Take for example, tomato soups at restaurants taste almost like Maggi soups we make at home. Where is that signature that makes us drool and walk in to the restaurant for that experience? We happily had one such experience with Copper Chimney at The Great Indian Kabab Festival happening now till April 14th 2017.
Pizza mania just like the Biryani Mania today had seen a big surge in Pizza offerings. We can see Pizza in every fast food joint but then innovations have not been much forthcoming from them but from the leading Pizza joints such as Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut claims to have the tastiest pizza, with the dough, vegetables prepared freshly every day. They also claim to use only hundred percent mozzarella cheese. We always found the normal crust a bit boring with its doughy nature since the middle gets the best of cheese, sauce and the flavorings. Nevertheless, it is the filler but having the crust filled with gooey cheese or masala vegetables is a nice twist. Pizza Hut never fails to impress us with their new varieties. Same applies to their new stuffed crust, which comes in two exciting options, Veg Kebab for the vegetarians and masala chicken sausage for the non-vegetarians. They have introduced Cheese Maxx- where the crust is stuffed with full load of cheese to cater to the cheese lovers who just do not bother about those extra kilos, being a foodie and getting diet conscious just does not work together. 🙂 Another interesting aspect of Pizza Hut Pizza is the 100% herb infused sauce to add extra freshness to the Pizza.
Focaccia, Hyatt Regency Chennai’s Italian restaurant has revamped their menu based on the expertise of well-known Chef from Milan Chef Mauro Ferrari and we could not be more excited to taste the vegetarian dishes out.
For us who are familiar with spicy pastas and pizzas as Italian food, it was surprising to see that authentic Italian food more on moderate spices with lot of vegetarian options.
Phoenix Market City known as phoenix mall has become a landmark in Chennai as a Multiplex and shopping mall in the southern part of Chennai in Velachery. Living close to it, it is our usual haunt for get-togethers, shopping and a day out with family and friends. Our activities always involved food and Phoenix Market City Chennai (PMCC) has food court and restaurants offering global Indian cuisine. We are vegetarians and so we stick to the Vegetarian food at Rajdhani, ID and Kailash Parbat at the Food court. Though we had seen so many restaurants tempting us to try them out for Vegetarian offering we never tried it out. Just then we got an invitation to be a part of the Food Crawl event with Celebrity foodie Kunal Vijayakar at Phoenix Market City. It was a great opportunity extended to us and we would like to thank Chennai Food Guide for including us in it. We are foodies and anything that spells food has its own connotation in our dictionary.
On1y Spices and Herbs is the product of Jayanti, a Kolkata based Tea business of Jayantilal Shah in 1940s. Jayanti has evolved with the business scenario and has expanded globally and into multi business conglomerate. Jayanti is one of the main players of herbs and spices, decaffeinated tea and natural caffeine in the Indian market. We were invited to get a personal rendezvous with their spices and herbs and it was a lovely session in close proximity to the gentle aroma and practical application of the seasonings and its value addition.
On1y Spices and Herbs are sourced from the countries of origin in its purest form and processed in India in Coimbatore and Ahmedabad and brought to us in its pristine form. Once we heard this, the immediate thought was its pricing. Surprisingly the beauty of the On1y Spices and Herbs is its pricing. It was a surprise to note that the costliest product in the list is Black pepper sourced in India.
We heard few of our friends talk about Tawa 9 in Mandaveli and decided to check it out. Located near the State bank of India branch of Venkata Krishnan Road (Near Mandaveli Bus Stand), Tawa 9 is a decent vegetarian restaurant. We met the owner Maitri and got to know her recommended items to try it out. We were a mixed group of South Indian and North Indian / Continental food lovers and this place had items to cater to our various needs. We were there at lunch time and we saw Tamilnadu and North Indian meals available.
Having been in the southern part of Chennai, we did not have much opportunity to visit Express Avenue Mall after the Phoenix and Grand Malls were inaugurated. We decided to check out on the EA mall and after checking out the various outlets, we decided to have dinner at the newly opened Chilis restaurant and as usual the vegetarian aspect of it. Chilis serves Tex-Mex cuisine and is located in the 3rd floor of EA mall as an independent restaurant and not in the Food court.
Rajdhani is a vegetarian thali restaurant serving meals with Gujarati and Rajasthani dishes. It is known as a Khandhani restaurant where food recipes are collected from villages just like our grandma recipes and then is explored in the kitchen by Maharaja (Master Chef) for volume production and then gets introduced in the menu. We were invited to taste the special dishes to be introduced this season, Mango specials. It was awesome spread of dishes made of raw and ripe mangoes and the Maharaja stood next to us and explained the dishes and its ingredients in the way we could understand. These special dishes would be rotated to the customers as the part of the regular thali during this season.
If you are wondering about the reach of mango in the cuisine, you are in for a surprise. Right from salad to dessert, mango is there in each and their inclusion in the dish is so natural that we do not feel it as an obstruction to the flavor of the dish, in fact in many cases, it enhanced the flavor of the dish – one of it is the mango jalebi.
VB Signature from the house of Namma Veedu Vasantha Bhavan is all set to take you down the memorable culinary experience ofcourse Vegetarian in its newly opened restaurant at Nungambakkam High Road – Opposite KFC, Next to Univercell showroom. Invited for a tasting session, we went there wondering what to expect from the typical South Indian restaurant and we were in for a surprise.
Greeted by the Chef Vignesh, we were given the menu which sounded much like a typical fine dining experience. We grew quite curious as we set onto order a drink and the options we saw made it clear that it is going to be a experience of a different kind. We began our food tasting with Ilaneer Inji Soda and VB Signature Filter Coffee Soda. The other options available were Curry Leaves Mojito, Home Made Chai Soda, Aam Panna, Bovonto Black Mojito and many more options.
Chocolates, the word that can make amends, energize, form relationships, celebrate friendship, and all we need is just a reason to grab one. Who does not love chocolates? Chocolates in India started its journey in the form of colorful Gems, Eclairs and Nutrine. People in the late 70s and 80s can very well connect to the term chocolate from our times. Over the three decades, chocolates have undergone a transition and opening of boundaries and we saw emergence of 5 Star, Kit Kat, Dairy Milk, Bournville, Temptations and imported chocolates such as Ferrero Rocher, Toblerone and so many other international brands at our local stores. The same time, we also saw emergence of Ooty chocolates with the home made tag.