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.
Flower drum has been in our hit list for quite some time for its Vegetarian Chinese Thai Food. Located in Egmore, it was just not forthcoming rather getting distracted to other restaurants once we hit heart of Chennai. Flower Drum opened their other restaurant at Namma Adyar near Aavin circle (above ICICI Bank). We are thankful to Flower Drum and the Chennai food bloggers community to have made it possible to have a firsthand tasting session at this new establishment. First thing we noticed is the ambiance. Few tables were arranged to have a circular seating accommodating 6 people and more. This has always been an issue when we go as a family for get-togethers.
The menu was exhaustive with good varieties highlighting Paneer, Corn, baby corn and Mushroom. For Tofu lovers, we had few items for you too. Now to the food we had –
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.
Barbecues (BBQ) is not a home term for vegetarians as it is involves grilling, roasting applicable more on non-vegetarian dishes. So we thought until we made a visit to the newly opened restaurant, Absolute Barbecues at Taramani, Chennai. We heard a lot about AB’s earlier and did not attempt with the thought that as vegetarians, we may not have many options. Absolute Barbecues proved us wrong – we had a range of starters and an interesting tasty vegetarian menu. For the comfort of vegetarians, separate section for preparing the dishes and even the crockery is distinguished by color red, green for vegetarians and Red for non-vegetarians. Another aspect is there was no heavy aroma in the restaurant that tends to put you off. Now to the menu –
OMR Food street located in Okkiam Thuraipakkam, is a haven for food lovers and caters absolute value for money food. This food review is unique in its own terms. When we scouted for food to cater to our different demands across cuisines from different parts of the world, we were mostly disappointed. The urge will sure die down faster looking at the distance we have to cover to move from one restaurant to another. By the time, we reached the second one; our interest in the food is gone. When malls came up, we were excited with the food court concept but sadly, for a vegetarian, it is not easy to walk into an air-conditioned floor where non-vegetarian food co-existed with vegetarian food. The aroma wafting in the air is enough to turn vegetarians off. Now to the subject, the Chennai Bloggers Club invited us for a tasting session at OMR Food Street, and it was a lovely time of fun, food and laughter. It is a small street with shops selling food on the either side and yes, we have a first floor too. We were astounded by the variety of food we got there and good number of options for vegetarians too. Now to the review –
We came across LunchPi through a Facebook post as we were looking for food to be delivered at home. What attracted us primarily was the pricing. It is not that we do not wish to pay more to eat good food but for a trial we always prefer pocket friendly ones. Luckily they had a Facebook page and browsing it we understood they have a set menu ( talking about 3 months back) which is posted in it in the morning.
It was already 10.30 am and generally the food caterers expect the order to be placed a day earlier or at the least previous night for the morning and morning for the evening. So quite hesitant and ready for a No mentally, we called up the number. We heard a friendly voice who confirmed that the order can be delivered. We were really surprised and as we were pure vegetarians, we had a hesitation as LunchPi serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. She confirmed the vegetarian food is prepared in a separate kitchen and the non-veg food in another kitchen. That is a great relief for a vegetarian and we can see many agreeing with us here.
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.
Phoenix market city located in Velachery, Chennai plays host to a number of eateries, ice-cream and juice joints in addition to donuts of Krispy Kreme and Momos of WowMomos. We usually visit Satyam’s ID restaurant for South Indian food , Rajdhani Thali restaurant for North Indian food and Kailash Parbat in the food court for chats. This time, we wanted to try out Jonah’s Bistro and surprisingly we saw Jonah’s goes to Japan with Momoyama tag. We have been looking out for trying vegetarian Japanese food and friends had advised us against it. We thought this is the right opportunity to try out and entered the restaurant located at the basement next to Dunkin Donut outlet. Take the escalator as you walk straight if you are entering by foot, if you are coming by car, head to the middle and take the escalator in the right. As you go down the escalator, you can see Jonah’s Bistro.
Chennai Bloggers Club fondly called CBC hosted a tasting session at ETC restaurant and café and as usual we decided to try out the vegetarian section. Normally in many restaurant serving both veg and non-veg, it is almost a dry run for vegetarians without much fan fare in the menu or the offering. For a change, ETC blew us over with their interesting vegetarian menu. Before we head on to talk about the food, we would like to talk about the ambiance. We, at Chennai Focus, love to talk about our forgotten culture and heritage and here we found a connection. We were taken to the first floor where we saw Giant Paramapadham on the wall and it was no painting, a live board with coins to play. We are sharing the pictures for you to understand and you can very well understand our urge to play it, climbing the stairs and zipping down on the snakes. Certainly a point of fascination and there were other games too.
One of these days, a friend of mine from abroad told me about her longing for a traditional Tamil Vegetarian meal served in plantain leaf with the impact of whiff of freshness on a hungry stomach. It made me contemplate on the meals we had of late where we felt it was just awesome, the contentment of having it full stomach, relishing the lingering food taste in the mouth and longing for more. Surprising to me, I had to think a lot to locate few and yet the feeling of absolute satisfaction was really missing. It almost became like a craving as we started getting feelers on food around the area from various people. Two places came close to what we wanted from the recommendations we got and one was Andhi Kadai, Velachery and other was Durga Nivas, Nanganallur. Since we were near Velachery, we decided to try out Andhi Kadai.