If you ask me to pick my top 3 restaurants in Chennai, not a single Indian restaurant makes the cut. In the top 5 maybe, but personally, the benchmark will be so much higher because we are so used to Indian food and all of us believe that our moms and grandmoms were fit to cook for the kings! And then there comes a restaurant that calls itself Khansama, which, is the name given to the Royal Chefs of the Mughal era. And today, the Mughal cuisine is almost considered Indian cuisine around the world, which may not be true because South Indian cuisine is true Indian cuisine! But that is a different debate altogether and maybe a different post, but Mughal cuisine has been around long enough to justify its Indian-ness as much as Taj Mahal belongs to India, which also belongs to the Mughal Era.

And when you are a part of a group in a restaurant, the good times you have can make the food taste better than it actually is. Some of us have been doing this long enough to know the difference, but all of us succumb to it at some point or the other. Coming back to the restaurant - Khanasma - The Royal Indian Master Chef hit us so bad, that this is one evening that will be hard to forget! True to the name, the restaurant is set up in an exquisite manner.

The soup - a veg corn shorba served in a glass was amazing. The fact that I like Mexican is now an open secret, but this reminded me of the flavours of true Mexican food and I have never thought of this particular flavour as Indian. Every body echoed the same thoughts about the shorba (the tasty part, not the Mexican part) and if you visit Khanasma, you should order this!

And then we had a fancy chicken kebab which was served in the tandoor, complete with coal, for it to continue cooking when it arrives on your table. Juicy, cheesy and mildly flavoured, this was another super hit. The vegetarians were busy enjoying their mushrooms and tandoori paneer tikka, which were superbly flavoured (yes, we took a bite of that too). And then if you think you want more variety with starters, ask for their platter. The full platter is one big meat fest and every kebab on it was brilliant. Seekh kebabs tend to try out in most places, but here it was super juicy. The prawns melted in the mouth and the chicken and fish on the platter were perfect.

We asked for some lassi to wash down the spice overload and it helped a great deal. And then the main course arrived - we had a thick chicken gravy, the name of which I forgot. The lamb roganjosh was a little watery but tasted pretty decent and the both the naan and the tandoor rotis were nice. I don't think you can go wrong too much here and they did not. I was stuffed to the nose. We were served some veg biriyani, it was nice and flavourful to smell. I could not eat a morsel more, but just took a small half mouthful. Would love to go back and try their mutton biriyani.

The dessert turned to be even better.  After a few burps, a little bit of space freed up, just enough to taste the two desserts - a chikki kulfi and a baked fig! Oh my God! I so wish I had come late just in time  for dessert. Amazing!!!!

But I was stuffed and almost had a stomach ache. Spice overload and food overload! But no regrets!

The experience here was 4/5

The ambiance is very nice. I mean look at the size of the finger bowl - you could wash clothes in that thing. I kept the huge copper glass to give you an idea of the size! This is Indian Fine Dining at one of its best and I say one of the best because as far as Indian Fine Dining goes, Ayna at Hilton has the best ambiance for Fine Dine Indian restaurant, but the food at Khansama is more Royal Indian food than regular Indian food. Pricing is obviously premium for the setting and the food and the road on which it is on.

I sincerely hope they maintain this quality!

A meal for two should set you back by about 1500 or so!!!!

Khansama is located at Khader Nawaz Khana.......sorry Khader Nawaz Khan road!