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Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!

2012 has almost ended, the world did not, so we have one more reason to celebrate the new year. What's in offer for this new year's eve and the new year? Here is a round up about some of the year end specials The first up is the brilliant new year's eve special at Marriott! It is brilliant because it is priced perfectly, almost the same as a regular Sunday brunch. I went through the menu for the New Year's eve dinner buffet and it is one huge buffer on offer, priced at Rs 1499 (1717 including taxes and Rs 2013 for the package with alcohol).  A very similarly priced new year lunch is also on with pretty much the same menu too! That is where a bunch of us have planned our new years. If set course and fine dine appeals to you, they have a specially crafted four course Italian meal at Rhapsody priced at Rs 1400 per person. Call 98844 09349 for reservations. Hyatt Regency on Mount Road has a whole lot going on for the new years eve. Spice market has a special buffet

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Christmas Special Menu

Christmas Special Menu

Christmas is around the corner and after earlier cake mixing ceremonies and having crossed the deadline for the world to end, we have yet another christmas to celebrate. For me, celebration is about, and only about the food!!!! So what's on? Following the Chennai Music Season's Sabha Trots, I have tried to compute a list of places with special christmas foods! My all time favorite has been making a trip to Blue Diamond to have their turkey! It is available only on Christmas, New Year's eve and New Years. They have everything from Full Stuffed Turkey, to biriyani and my favorite, the roast turkey (which I eat with cheese sandwich and romali roti)! Hyatt on Mount Road has a few exensive options! At Spice Market, you have a Christmas lunch for Rs 2399 plus taxes, at Focaccia, the Italian restaurant and Siachu, the Chinese Restaurant, both at Rs 3999 plus taxes. Benjarong has a special festive menu on from 21st Dec to the 2nd of Jan. Since it is a-la-carte, I am assumi

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Festive Special -Vani Mahal Sabha Lunch!!!!!!

Festive Special -Vani Mahal Sabha Lunch!!!!!!

Its the music season in Chennai!!!! Apparently, it holds the record for the longest music season in the world, a statistic that I am not planning to check and continue to hope that it is true. So the sabhas are full with music and when you come to listen to music and between sessions need a break, most of us will head out for lunch or snacks. So at lunch, snack and dinner time, during the music festival, the sabas serve lunch. But how do sabhas serve lunch? They out source it to good catering companies! The sabhas are visited by parents of the singers and many a times are on the look out for a suitable life partner for their children or already found someone and the wedding is around the corner. They come for lunch, check out the service and food quality of the caterer and presto, they book them for the wedding. So the caterers in the sabhas put their best food forward!!! People like us use this opportunity to get superb food! So a bunch of 18 of us from CFG headed out to Vani

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CHOP by Sandy and FINE DINE in Chennai

CHOP by Sandy and FINE DINE in Chennai

I love Sandy's on KNK Road, period. When driving around and not in the mood to experiment and I want a safe place that I know will definitely satisfy me, Sandy is one of the 'go to' places for me. During one of the food events at Fresca, I met Sandesh the owner and was fascinated by his knowledge of food and the industry. Having the fortune of meeting many chefs, food entrepreneurs and the likes, courtesy this blog, I am always on the look out for newer ideas and newer cuisines. When I heard that Sandy is coming up with a unique fine dine place in Chennai, I was more than excited. The second time I met him, the concept of CHOP was unique - conceived as a place for extremely difficulty cooking techniques combined with the best of ingredients across the world. Alaskan Salmon and Waygu beef were supposed to be on the menu. But with the apparent lack of market for fine dining and people to appreciate them, a small place will reduce the overheads and keep the project

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Sunday Brunch Ideas - Pancakes, Fluffy Omelette, Exotic Dressings and more.....

Sunday Brunch Ideas - Pancakes, Fluffy Omelette, Exotic Dressings and more.....

Lets face it, Sunday is one hell of a lazy day (ok, for me it is).  Keeping up with 'Use it or lose it', I have to put my hands to use in the kitchen to prevent my cooking skills (whatever is left of it) from rusting. Now let's face it (this time, I mean it), the pancake is an American Dosa!!!! When we can add podi, masala, take to Mysore and add Mysore Masala to the dosa and make it exotic, you can do the same with pancakes! I wanted to, but was too lazy! But, I did manage to complicate a simple breakfast like pancakes, omelettes, hash browns and fruits!?! Here is how! First, the omelettes. I am used to omelettes with onions and tomatoes and chillies inside. But what happens if you were to have a bland omelette and have a dressing for the omelette? This is what I tried. I added 4 teaspoon full of milk to one egg, added a pinch of salt for flavour and poured it into a hot pan with butter in it instead of oil. The milk is to make it fluffy!!! Omelette ready, but bla

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CHAO

CHAO

Ok, this post is pretty long! I am trying to match the claims with expectations, so read at your own risk!!!! Almost walkable distance from my workplace, I have been seeing the board of CHAO, FINE DINING everyday on my way back. Somehow, I don't like the words FINE DINING on the board of any restaurant, but that is my personal view. I believe that once you enter, you should be able to feel the food, the decor and the service, instead of implying it. And more often than not, the restaurants like that disappoint. But when the owner invited a bunch of us to try out the restaurant, almost everything that is fine dining was present. The interiors were done very very well. The quality of the interiors is there to see and everything from the cutlery to the decor was done with a lot of care. And this place easily qualifies for one of the best decor in a stand alone restaurant in Chennai!!! There are two levels in the restaurant and the basement is slightly bigger and

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Villa Christophe

Villa Christophe

I was very skeptical when I booked this place for a weekend getaway - normally you can make ordinary things look good with great photography, but Villa Christophe was an example of how immature the camera actually is!!! The villa was beautifully and tastefully decorated, the rooms were brilliant and our room was a masterpiece. There was a washroom on the lower level, while the bed was the level above. Nothing on the first level except the bed and a TV. There are just three rooms in this house and you can book the whole house if you want, provided it is free. The others rooms were equally tastefully decorated, but the bed on top was an attraction for me. There is one cook and one helper in the villa and there is no real check in of sorts. The cook made us a simple but brilliant breakfast, laid it out on the table and woke us up! If you buy some fish or prawns they will cook it up for you, but we ate out for lunch and dinner! With lots of wonderful places around the corner, t

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Festival Of Lights at Benjarong

Festival Of Lights at Benjarong

So I learnt that it is not only in India do we celebrate the Festival of Lights. Actually in India what is the festival of lights? Some say it is Diwali (or Deepavali), but last week I heard that Karthigai Deepam is the actual festival of lights! I am not sure if there is a similar confusion in Thailand, but apparently there is a festival of lights which like Diwali has its own set of foods and Benjarong is giving us a glimpse of it! So for starters we had the fish cooked in a pandanus leaf! I love the chicken version here (though, obviously, I thought it was way better in Thailand), the fish was excellent. It is called Pla Hor Baitaey, but that is the last of Thai names you will read, I will stick to English!!!! And then there was the spicy grilled chicken balls in skewers! Loved it and this is the first time I am eating balls (er, yeah) on skewers! The prawn salad, another simple and well thought out dish turned out super nice!!! Though the vegetarians were polite enoug

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Opal Inn

Opal Inn

What do you do when one out of the way lunch leaves you wanting more!?! You skip the routine, again, and land up at another restaurant for lunch. So after the BBQ Chicken episode which left two of us happy and two very unhappy, we decided to land our back sides at Opal Inn, a place that everyone is comfortable with! Again, we cut straight to the chase and ordered four main courses, each a meal by itself. While we were enquiring about the grilled chicken the waiter said "Its good sir, but you should try the fish, the grilled fish is better". I asked about the diamond grill, my one time favorite at Opal Inn and he said, "That is our specialty sir, but you should try the grilled fish, it is excellent". My friend asked about the Beef Goulash and guess what - the fish was fresh and so apparently excellent! Two of my friends kept the menu aside and said 'Ok, just get me the grilled fish', while I asked for the diamond grill and the other guy asked for t

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BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken

This is a rather difficult review, because of the difference of opinion of the four of us who were there last week for lunch. First things first though, BBQ chicken apparently stands for Best of the Best Quality chicken and not barbecue chicken, so do not expect barbecue there, they don't have it. Apparently all of it is cooked in olive oil only, so it is being promoted as a healthy eating option! Now to the situation, the four of us who go went there normally go for lunch to either Subway or Quiznos to grab a quick bite and get out, so to get rid of the routine we landed here. Since we were not attempting to try anything new, we went straight to the main course and ordered a grilled chicken in mushroom sauce, a jamaican grilled chicken and chargrilled chicken, while one other guy, who is currently undergoing a detox program and has food restrictions ordered a grilled chicken salad! I thought the food tasted good, very good in fact! My chicken was grilled well, served

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Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain

My work takes me to Bangalore now and then and having quite a choice to eat around my office helps, but one day, I was taking a walk and spotted au bon pain close by! Decided to step in for a quick snack and a drink and got in to be welcomed by two women in all smiles! The place was almost empty, except for the two people working on their Macs!!! It is a self service restaurant and I was suprised to see Bagels! I love bagels and had the chance to have some great ones abroad, so I was rather thrilled to try it out. However, by default, they did not have a bagel sandwich as they were out of stock with their regular fillings, but when I insisted that I would like a bagel sandwich, she offered to give me a sandwich filling inside the bagel for a small extra price and I was ok with it. The bagel turned out to be fantastic. Yes, not the best bagel in the world, but it was really nice. The filling was good, the chicken was succulent, the sauces were perfect and everything about it was

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Ecstacy, Satyam

Ecstacy, Satyam

It has been ages since I visited Esctacy and so when my friend and me wanted of catch up for dessert, we landed there pretty late, almost close to closing time. The fact that we were there the previous day only to see most of the stuff sold out and went away disappointed did not teach me a lesson to go early, but......... So we got ourselves a cheese cake and a dish which I don't remember the name of. The blueberry cheese cake was really nice, but somehow, I thought the one at Sandy was a tinge better, not by much, but just a tinge! Loved the way it was served though, in a nice glass bar! But the other dessert, a chilly chocolate mousse cake (I forgot the real name), but excellent. Just a tinge of chilly, lots of chocolate with the heat of the chilly just hitting you as it passes through your throat. Both the ice creams that were served with the desserts complemented them extremely well. A great place for some quick dessert. Oh yeah, I spotted actor Vikram there with his family and

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Kuttanandan Food Fest at Ente Keralam

Kuttanandan Food Fest at Ente Keralam

It's raining fests in Chennai, with the music season kicking in and restaurants do not want to be left behind! So it's been fest after fest for food and this time I was at Ente Keralam to try out their Kuttanandan food fest, by a special invite by the restaurant. Kuttanandan food is from the region around the Vembanad lake, mostly Kumarakom and Allepy and since I have quite an experience when I was there earlier this year, I was eager to see if it all matched up in Chennai We were given two starters to try out, a typical tapioca cutlet, and it was rather typical, nothing special. While karimeen polichadhu, a typical kerala dish in which fish is wrapped in banana leaf and cooked, is usual, we opted for prawn polichadhu, which is the exact same spices and method, but with prawns. It tasted great! The prawns were jumbo prawns, so there was quite a bit of meat and I love prawns, so, yeah, I loved it. For the main course, we had one kerala parota, one a

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Hyderabad Food Promotion at Ayna

Hyderabad Food Promotion at Ayna

I have made my love for Ayna pretty clear in my previous posts and an invitation to try out their new Hyderabad food promo was welcomed with open arms by me and my blogger friends who came along to revisit this wonderful Indian restaurant at Hilton. I was expecting my favorite gulkhand mojito to welcome me, but the chef refused! He said I have to try their new drink and all of us agreed and he brought out a winner! A drink, slightly milky, but watery enough to quench your thirst, with cashews, rose petals and a few more condiments, served chilled. It was like drinking melted kulfi ice cream. The first set had ice cubes in them, so if you leave it for long, the ice melts and spoils the drink, so if you plan to drink it slowly, ask for it to be chilled and not with ice cubes. But as usual the starters were stunners. The first one, a lal mirchi Jhinga, a superbly flavored tandoori prawn was loved by all of us, except of course the one vegetarian blogger who did not try it out. And there w

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Marina

Marina

I don't know about you, but I have had a tough time finding a specialty sea food restaurant in Chennai. And the very few around are not places I would recommend. It's sad that Chennai being a costal city has a dearth of specialty sea food. Yes, there are a few places that serve good seafood, but for great seafood, I will have to drive to Mahabs! Hopefully, with Marina, the scenario should change. An effort from the Mahadevan stable of restaurants, Marina is a concept seafood restaurant that promotes responsible fishing. They have adopted a fishing hamlet, given them boats, teach them hook fishing as supposed to net fishing, buy the produce from them and bring it straight to the restaurant. Yeah, concept is nice et all, but nothing will work if they don't taste good. But there is another concept built inside. You pick the seafood of choice, pay for it by its weight and you can take them home! Of you can get it marinated for a fee and then take them home and cook them. Or eve

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Parmesan grilled chicken with boiled corn, spinach salad and mashed potatoes.

Parmesan grilled chicken with boiled corn, spinach salad and mashed potatoes.

Parmesan cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. I love using the grated Parmesan in cooking and when it comes to eating healthy for Wellbeing, cooking at home tops it all. Grated Parmesan cheese is available in supermarkets like brown tree, amma nana etc, so it isn't difficult to get. So a couple of Sundays back, I had made the Parmesan grilled chicken with a little salad and here is the recipe! I used a leg piece, but of course, you can even use a boneless breast piece for this dish. In a deep dish, add two to three teaspoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of dried oregano, some pepper and salt to taste. Mix well and drop the washed and dried chicken in the dish and coat it well. Keep it aside for about 30 minutes to marinate, but you can leave it longer. While the chicken is marinating, boil some baby corns and spinach and potatoes. Once boiled, peel the potatoes, drop them in a deep dish, add about two teaspoons of milk for two potatoes, two teaspoons of melted butter, some

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Desserts at Ramee Mall

Desserts at Ramee Mall

Since the new Ramee Mall is walkable from my wellness clinic, there are times my colleagues and me take a walk for lunch and more often than not follow it up with desserts. It gives us a break from Subway and Quiznos which is our usual lunch and breaks the monotony. While the food court is certainly not the best in town (and neither is the mall), but two dessert outlets did catch my attention. In the food court, there is this small waffle stall, called Woops or something like that. They serve Belgian waffles (ok, shaped like Belgian Waffles), but pretty decent ones with a huge variety of toppings. Sadly they don't have either maple syrup or whipped cream, I think whipped cream makes a star appearance on weekends, but their caramel topping is first class. We usually have caramel topping with dusted sugar, bananas and vanilla ice cream and more often than not, we go back for a second waffle. The waffles are really small and really pricy, but they are tasty. At Rs. 160 fo

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Grand Siam, RK Salai

Grand Siam, RK Salai

When we decided to do a double date, the four of chose (ok, the two men chose) Grand Siam to spend the Sunday evening. After a slight struggle to even give the car to the valet driver, we got in and go seated in a nice comfy part of the restaurant. I really liked the spacing, you don't feel like salivating at the neighbor's table food and it sort of gives a decent amount of privacy which is a huge premium these days. We were presented with a festival menu, but we also asked for their regular menu to have more variety as this was a sea food festival that was on! We had just one drink, called Summer Chiller, which was coconut shaved well and dumped with honey and mint leaves. We picked a Tom Yum chicken soup and a prawn dumpling soup to share and asked for sticky rice to go with the soup ( I hope you read my Benjarong post, it tells you about the soup sticky rice connection). The Tom yum soup was a little too tangy for me, but tasted good. I was not born or brought up in china,

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Change of Ratings!

Change of Ratings!

Evolution is essential! As the eating out increases and you are exposed to different types of food, your understanding of food also changes. It has certainly happened with me and so this is the time to move to a radically different rating scale. So when you read a review, does the rating make sense to you? When I put in a rating out of 10, I know what exactly I mean, but as a reader, do you? What is the difference between a restaurant rated 7/10 and one rated 8/10. Some of my readers have sent me requests to have a more rational rating scale. Because there are restaurants that serve food which is almost the same as most other places in town and a rating of 7 or 8 really makes no difference, where as there are restaurants that serve very different and tasty food which land up getting the same points. So here is the new change. I am moving over to a 5 point rating scale. 0/5 means stay away, period! 1/5 means I don't plan on going back 2/5 means, food is below average compared to oth

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The Only Place, Bangalore

The Only Place, Bangalore

After another round of coffee at the Matteo coffee lounge on Church Street, we decided to go to The Only Place for dinner, because it came with very high recommendation from friends. So we walked down the road, then turned on Nokia maps and found our way only to realize that the place was rather packed! Since it was a little late and not having the mood to look for another place to eat, we decided to wait the ten minutes and were seated in a corner. It's a nice little joint, with bits and pieces of greenery around, almost like a shack surrounded by a small garden. We ordered an iced tea, my friend ordered a veg lasagna, as it was his weekly day off from meat eating and sins cleansing, the other friend ordered a beef steak, thinking I will help him eat it and I ordered a Irani burger! Food came out in about 10 minutes, but the portions were humongous. The burger was pretty large, nice soft patty, topped with grilled mushrooms and sauces which made it very very ju

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