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 if you want to host a party, this could be great, provided the restaurant allow it, I am not sure if they have thought about it. How the fine dine will be maintained in a party is questionable right now, but I would certainly work this out if I was them!
The cuisine is typically East Asian, so there is influence from Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore! The Chinese that we fondly call 'Indo Chinese' is generally more Singaporean than Chinese, so I could relate to them a lot better, I love Thai and having had some of the best dishes in Thailand, I could relate to that too, but I have never had Vietnam food and I don't think we were served anything from Vietnam, so I will leave that out.
I said almost everything was fine dine, because, typically a fine dine restaurant (especially one that has fine dine on its name board) is a restaurant with a dedicated meal course! That was completely missing and that was something I knew is rather difficult in Chennai, but I was hoping, at the back of my mind, that I would get, but alas.
The food itself was good, very good in parts!!!! Since we were 15 of us, there was lots of food, so I will try to do justice to all of them. The green mango salad, a superb Thai dish has been replicated brilliantly here! Two thumbs up for that! The satay prawns, the grilled prawns and the chao thai grilled fish were all outstanding! The wasabi prawns, though tasted good, was more mayo prawns with a tinge of green than wasabi. The name disappointed, the dish was not bad! I love potatoes and so the devil potato was something I was munching through the dinner, but it did not catch the attention of the fellow vegetarians, while the corn in basket seemed to have The devil chicken was bad! Both the chicken and the veg dimsums were average!!!
The Singaporean Bee Hoon, which is fine rice noodles with bean sprouts was outstanding, while the sambal fried rice was not far behind. The jasmine rice was served with Thai Green curry and I definitely thought that it did not make the mark, but it was not bad at all!!!! We had two lovely desserts - a waterchesnut in coconut milk which is my all time favorite Thai Dessert, but there was a pumpkin pudding that totally caught my attention. Maybe it reminded me of my late grandmom's vatalapam (details later), but that dish was lovely. We shamelessly asked for multiple helpings. There were many more dishes that I cannot recall, but I know that in general, the food here was good that night! Yes, not fine dining good, but certainly good!
To put it in a nutshell, this is a restaurant with good food, fine dine decor and fine dine prices!
The 15 of us had a ball of a time, but I would want to go back there and try more Vietnamese cuisine in a more relaxed setting.
CHAO is located on North Boag road, which allows only one way traffic, so you could come from Residency Towers or come from Mount Road, take Vijayraghava road and take a right. You will find it on your left!
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