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Marriott - Punjab Food Fest

Marriott - Punjab Food Fest

I have proclaimed my love for Marriott more often than once on this blog. From the first time I was invited by them, to all the times I am invited by them to all the times I go there on my own, somehow among all the buffets and brunches in the city, the Marriott is the one place that I seem to find the most comforting. I have found the reason for this - the spread is just big enough, not the ones that are huge with everything being mediocre, but this is a big spread, just big enough to ensure that MOST items are good and a few outstanding ones. So everytime I am here, there will three of four outstanding dishes and a few good desserts that make the whole thing worth it. So my colleague and me were here for dinner and we were welcomed at the Paprika by a number of colourful flags, a stringed cot, a milestone named Pindh and 'Balle Balle' music. This was a special Punjabi festival going on and most dishes in the menu were Punjabi. "We also have some contin

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Biriyani Files Part 1 - Anatomy of the Biriyani

Biriyani Files Part 1 - Anatomy of the Biriyani

I'll admit - I have been unfair to most biriyanis in town (or out of town), sometimes going to the extent of calling it Tomato rice - which most believe is the biggest disgrace to a biriyani or the dirtiest word in the dictionary to call a biriyani. Yes, sometimes, some of them deserved it and other times may be not, but yes, unfair would be an understatement! So I am out to discover the biriyani in its various forms. Let us accept the fact that biriyani has been around for so long that it is only natural that it gets localised, retaining just its essence! So what distinguishes the good ones from the bad? Which ones deserve to be called Biriyani and which ones deserve to be called Tomato Rice? After looking around at most possible sources, Biriyani seems to have originated from around Iran (modern day Persia)! Biriyani comes from the Persian word 'birian' or 'beriyan' which literally means 'fried or roasted before cooking'. However there is

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Aromas of China

Aromas of China

So another restaurant opens up on KNK road and this time as part of Chennai Food Guide, a bunch of us were there to test it out. After the usual hi and bye and everybody settling down, we waited for the first food to arrive which was the 8 treasure chicken soup! Before we get down to the food, this restaurant is part of the BJN group which has some fabulous ones all over India, but in Chennai it is a franchisee, the same one that owns Khansama right next door. A couple of weeks back, the food at Khansama was stunning and so this time I did go with some expectation. And needless to say, I was expecting Indo Chinese, but if they did try to throw some authentic Chinese, I was ready! Back to the food, the soup was outright bad! It lacked flavour, my friend added tons of soy sauce, chilli and whatever was on the table to try and bring out some flavour, but personally I would like it if the chef inside did that for me. And no, his soup turned out to be a brown soy soup, bu

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Madras Market - a dream food court!

Madras Market - a dream food court!

So you like many food outlets in Chennai! There are food courts all over the place - but I know of no food court that serves food from some of the best in Chennai and certainly no food court that has Sandy's or Nigar Sultana's Daawat Biriyani under one roof or even under many roofs! So if you think you would like to take some of Nigar's biriyani, wash it down with fruit yogurt from Spoonbill or maybe have some Bradwurst from Spoonbill and wash it down with some of the best dessert in town from Sandy's Chocolate Laboratory, then Madras Market is the place! My good friend, Sarah Natasha started a humble community on Facebook called Chennai Shopping - it is not humble anymore! It rapidly grew to over 25000 members before a blink, but it did something more than having just a few thousand members - it gave almost everyone with something to show the world - a platform to do that! Suddenly we had talented people displaying their stuff and selling them. There were home ba

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BBQ Cookout - A celebration of nothing!

BBQ Cookout - A celebration of nothing!

'I just called, to say, I love you' sang Steve Wonders, quite sometime back! The intensity of the words is quite deep - you can call somebody (ok, in his case it was his special someone) without any reason at all - just to say hi!!!  At the same time you can celebrate nothing - rather you don't need a reason to celebrate. Or you can create reasons to celebrate. The BBQ Cookout on Saturday was testimony to that fact! And when you celebrate nothing, the celebrations are grander - not by grandiosity of things, but of the souls. People just came in and contributed in more ways than anybody thought. There were no posters, no 'SPONSORED BY' boards, no one knew who brought the meat and who brought the garbage bags and who did what, unless they asked who made this wonderful cake or similar questions to know who did what. The theme was clear - don't expect to be fed, don't come ravenously hungry. You are going for a walk on the beach and you meet friends who e

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Marina

Marina

After the first visit to Marina sometime in October as a part of the tasting group, we went back to Marina when we wanted some good seafood. Marina is probably the only seafood specialty restaurant in Chennai (at least the only one I know of) and it is rather sad that being a costal city, we don't have a few restaurants dedicated to seafood. Is the fact that most of our wonderful fishes and prawns being exported the reason or is it being exported because there are no high end restaurants serving jumbo jumbo prawns? That is like asking whether the chicken came first or the egg - so let us leave at that now! Back to Marina - the aptly named specialty seafood restaurant and yes, there is no chicken or mutton or any other meat served here! So the two of us were seated in the only available table on a Saturday night as the restaurant was packed. We looked around the various fishes and chose a red snapper to be baked in Chinese style, picked 2 pieces of jumbo prawns and asked

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Darios

Darios

What was I doing in a vegetarian Italian restaurant? That too in a brand new one without any reviews to boast of? There was a time when Chennai Food Guide used to wonder if there are not enough restaurants in Chennai for us to review. The tables have turned and how!!!!! There have been more new restaurants in Chennai than ever before and so as part of the tasting group, here we were!!!!!! The ambiance is amazing. Nice semi outdoor setting, is a great cafe and it is a place perfect to take your book and read with a coffee or write your next big story types!!! And as we found out later, the food was just as good too! The salads and starters came together for some photo clicking. After all the photo clicking and letting food get reasonably cold, we devoured them.  The FUNGI DARIOS, a roast mushroom with nice Italian flavours was a good start to the meal, the one with a long Italian name, which I cannot retype, but it is a Spinach Greens Cheese balls - tasted just

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