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Amdavadi, Gujarati Snack House.

Amdavadi, Gujarati Snack House.

Day 1 So, this colleague of mine and me were heading out for a fruit juice break as we had skipped lunch due to a very heavy breakfast. While walking towards Pazhamudhir on North Boag Road, we saw this Amdavadi - Gujarati Snack House and after giving each other a glance, we walked in. We saw a small pharmacy and a man gestured us inside and we realised that we were in the wrong building. We finally opened our mouth and asked for Amdavadi and he showed us the way, laughing. I could not have imagined such a nice looking restaurant there. No signs, I remember reading about it sometime, somewhere, but you can easily miss this place, if you don't know where it is. Since we were not very hungry, we asked for one sweet dhokla and one peas kachori, both priced at Rs 80 each. The menu is quite limited and the starters are priced between Rs 60 and 90 and the main courses are priced between Rs 90 and 100, while the desserts are priced similarly. The dhokla was sup

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CHAO - Chef's Private Dinner

CHAO - Chef's Private Dinner

CHAO, a very nice, South East Asian cuisine restaurant in T. Nagar, called a bunch of us from CFG over for a Chef Special Dinner. What this aims to do is to give people the option of having an exclusive dinner with stuff from out of the menu! With a small private dining space in the basement which can seat about 20 people, the restaurant is contemplating this 'by-reservation-only' model which gives you exclusivity, privacy and mostly good food! In a place with a cuisine like CHAO, where there is a real danger of every dish tasting very similar, the Chef's' dinner came as a pleasant surprise. The names of the dishes do not matter because you will not find them on the menu! If you decide to have an exclusive dinner for a team, then you will have to decide on the menu with the chef based on your budget. Our evening started with a fantastic Soup Ayum - perfect flavours of the East Asia blended in smoothly, the soup was excellent. The starter arr

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Chap Chay, Rain Tree

Chap Chay, Rain Tree

I have never thought too much about the food at Rain Tree hotels, but after Up North and now Chap Chay (pronounced Chup Chai), my opinion has changed dramatically. Specialty restaurants are finding their place in Chennai and I love it it that we are moving away from a singular Chinese Restaurant concept when China is much larger than India and therefore there has to be a difference like how Idly Sambar is different from Aloo Paratha. If you have tried the 'Mongolian Kitchen' type restaurants in the USA, this is very similar. Chap Chay positions itself as a Chinese/Thai restaurant with a focus on Stir Fry. Chef Peter Tseng, the executive sous chef invited me over and I was shocked to see a specialty stir fry restaurant in Chennai and was kicking myself for not trying it out earlier. I simply dismissed this place as 'another Chinese joint'. It was packed on a Wednesday (Thursday was Independence day) and after being seated, we were served their classic

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Food Personality by Shalini

Food Personality by Shalini

I came across this interesting read in THE HINDU on Friday and I thought I must share this. This is an article by Shalini Muthalaly who writes as the RELUCTANT GOURMET. The next time your fussy friend complains about eating at your favourite restaurant, she’s not being difficult. It’s just her PsychoCulinary profile You have a favourite restaurant, right? Of course you do. Ever recommended it to a friend, who hated it? Of course you have. It’s inevitable. People don’t always like the same things. Except for French fries.  Everyone loves them, right? Wrong. I know a man who hates potatoes. (It worked out great for me, admittedly. Every time we had dinner together, I got to eat his fries and mine.) Over the years, you may have noticed that certain friends ask you for restaurant recommendations. And certain friends don’t. It’s got nothing to do with how much they like you. (Though I have to admit, my best friend’s aunt still holds me responsible for a bad meal she had in

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Ox and Tomato, Harrington Road

Ox and Tomato, Harrington Road

There are some places that I have been 'meaning to try out', but never did and this is one such place. But after they opened up a new outlet at Harrington Road, I ran out of excuses for myself and landed there last week. The decor is quite confusing - a wooden theme with nice brick designed wall, but the chairs were the old style metal chairs - reasonably uncomfortable and did not blend with the interiors.  That night they were packed and apparently ran out of both chicken and beef lasagna, so we settled for a breakfast pie pizza, some potato wedges and a gnocchi in white sauce. The service was surprisingly quick and in a few minutes the wedges arrived with the pizza. You can't go wrong with the wedges and they did not, but the pizza was excellent. It was thin crust, had egg, chicken sausage, cheese and the pizza sauce and the flavour was almost like eating breakfast. I would love to have this for breakfast at 9 AM!  The gnocchi, though was not fantastic.

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Recipe Time - Beetroot Apple Soup in Sour Dough Bread Bowl

Recipe Time - Beetroot Apple Soup in Sour Dough Bread Bowl

So, recipe time, now! I love bread bowls. OK, I love bread in any form, but I have a special place for bread bowls filled with soup, but baking those bread bowls seemed like a hassle until I came across the autolysing technique in the CFG forum and life has changed for the better. For this particular recipe, I kept some of the dough in the fridge for about 4 days and then baked the bread bowl to host the beetroot apple soup and the result was a super hit at home! For a vegetarian dish to be super hit at home, it had to be reasonably good and I hope you are able to recreate this at your home too! The Bread Bowl: If you have heard about the autolysing technique, then, great, if not, you will be amazed at how easy it is to bake bread - you don't have to knead the bread! Yes, you, read it correctly and your eyes are not deceiving you. I baked four bowls, three of which I baked on the first day and reserved one portion of the dough to sour in the fridge, so the proportions ar

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HOT KATI ROLL SHOP

HOT KATI ROLL SHOP

My first tryst with Kati Rolls were as a kid when the uncles used to drive to Tic Tac - which was a small hole in the wall, opposite the Taj Coromandel. Tic Tac became a full fledged restaurant, then lost its quality, then shut shop, Tibbs Frankie came and has stayed with some 'Kati-Roll-Look-Alikes', but for me, the Kati Rolls did not match up to the ones during my 'non Chennai Foodie' days! And then this not-so-interstingly-named shop opens up on RK Salai, right next to a restaurant and it blows my mind! Wow! I tried just one - the anda chicken roll priced at Rs 85 is a value for money, tasty, juicy and near perfect Kati Roll. It was not made of a thin 'almost-chappati' that FRANKIE serves, but a full crisp parotta. I asked them to add a little potato to my Kati Roll and they did not charge for that - either they forgot or they were being very nice as a start up. It was quite filling for someone who fasted the whole day, but if you have 2 kati rolls, it

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Le Dupleix, Puducherry.

Le Dupleix, Puducherry.

Forgive me for spamming this blog with so many posts of restaurants outside Chennai, but I have been traveling a lot and courtesy Ramzan fasting, I have been eating outside of Chennai for quite a bit! But, hey, if you are traveling to these places, that's a heads up! OK, enough of defending my non-Chennai- writing! While in Pondy, the heritage hotel, Le Dupleix, is located in a quiet street and looks much more 'heritagic' than most heritage hotels in Pondy. I called in at about 4 PM to a table reserved for two at 730 and walked in at about 7 to find that we were the only ones there. Rains were looming and the waiter suggested that we sit inside, but we insisted on sitting in the open courtyard and said that we will move in if it rains; reluctantly, he agreed. The courtyard, though small, looks very nice and we wanted to eat there! They were having a Mango Festival going on with a special menu and we picked a couple of dishes from that! We started off with a pr

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Iftar @ Mosque Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore

Iftar @ Mosque Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore

Unfortunately the best place for Iftar is 350 km away! After my friend, Tasneem Aunty told me to try out this road for Iftar and was raving about it, I decided to try it after my work in Bangalore. I was able to smell food on the way and I thought we were near, but I was wrong and we were nearly half a kilometre away. That is the intensity of the street food smell and the sheer volume of the vendors made this a street food lover's paradise!!! I really did not know where to start and finally decided to go in search of the Pathar Gosht as suggested by aunty and after asking around, I found the guy making it. It was excellent and super succulent and the flavours were quite nice. I tried the haleem, but I was not too happy and I am glad the guy gave me a taste, but I picked up a lukhmi samosa and a keema samosa from his shop and both were excellent and they priced at just Rs. 10 a piece, compared to the Rs 25 a piece in Chennai! Then there was a flat grilled/fri

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