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Saravana Bhavan - A ramble

Saravana Bhavan - A ramble

The photo is not from Saravana Bhavan. In Chennai, very few restaurant chains are debated so much. Lots of Chennaites, think this place is crap, a whole bunch of others swear by this place. But in the preceding week, three incidents happened and in two of them, I had to have lunch here. First. My friend who came down from the US was telling me that his and his wife's families wanted to go out for dinner to a 'nice place' and I casually asked him where they were going and the answer was Saravana Bhavan. WHAT? People go to Saravana Bhavan for a nice family get-together dinner? Really?  Second, we had a business meeting and three people flew down from Bombay. Two of them landed first and the the third guy landed after 3 hours. The first two were reasonably adamant that they wanted to eat 'Only at Saravana Bhavan. ' While we were having lunch there, the third guy calls and when we asked him if we can get him some sandwich or something to eat, he immediate reply w

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Kapila Dasa, EA

Kapila Dasa, EA

Dasaprakash was a landmark that not too many Chennaites will forget, but strangely for me, the mention of Dasaprakash takes my memories to Mysore because during my childhood, the annual Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore holiday had the Mysore stop at Dasaprakash and I still remember the crisp masala dosa. Briefly there was a mini Dasaprakash in Kilpauk which folded off soon and to see the Dasaprakash in a whole new 'fine dine' avatar at EA mall was quite overwhelming. From English speaking staff to an elevated dining area within the restaurant to the expansive window side seating; everything was new about the place. And I had a few grouses as well. But the food, was excellent. Mysore Masala dosa, pongal  and sambar vada was our order and I quite liked them all, but I must add that I am used to a different 'Mysore Masala' and this one was a simple masala with lots of podi inside. Tasted good nevertheless. I am not a big fan of pongal, OK, I quite hate it, but I w

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Tryst Cafe, Gatsby Village

Tryst Cafe, Gatsby Village

The only other time I had something at the Gatsby Cafe was when there were present, I think, they lasted 10 minutes, on RK Salai, but the stuff was so good that I was craving for more. On the way to Mahabs on Sunday, we stopped at Tryst Cafe and I was quite wowed at their offerings. Tryst Cafe, apparently ships fresh bakes every day from Pondy, but I don't know if that is true. I did not expect a full fledged cafe and so the setting with a small but nice outdoor seating and a simple indoor seating actually took me by surprise. At about 130 in the afternoon, the place was packed with expats. From the bakes, I picked up a baguette chicken sandwich which I thought was quite yummy and I specially like the baguette which was nice and chewy. For me, if I see a croissant in a bake shop, I must try it, at least once. The one here was good, but the crunchy exterior was limited to the top part of the croissant while the sides were still soft. Not perfect, but not bad! Since th

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Krishnavilasam, House of Classics

Krishnavilasam, House of Classics

So after one Arabian Multicuisine Restaurant, my next stop was the 'Home of the Classics', vegetarian multicuisine restaurant! If you think that sounds absurd (the specialty multicuisine part, no my eating part), then I explained that in my previous post. OK, just to refresh, I think Chennai, which moved from the multi cuisine to specialty cuisine (not entirely, but it did move), is slowly moving back to the multi cuisine concepts, so even 'specialty' restaurants are adding some Indo Chinese and North Indian foods to their menu to tap the market. None of these are really upmarket specialty places but ones that cater to the 'family dining' concept that even MNCs like McD have adopted for India. OK, enough gyaan. We were here on a Sunday evening at about 830 and waited for about 20 minutes for a table. If we came in at 930, we would have gotten a table without waiting as friends who came in late found out. I wanted to stick to the South Indian

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Zaitoon

Zaitoon

I finally went to the revamped  Zaitoon ! Yay! Though slightly confusing, I think it is fair to say that Zaitoon is multicuisine restaurant specialising in Arabian food! Does that even make sense? For me, it is slowly starting to. Krishnavilasam is a multicuisine restaurant, specialising in Classic South Indian food. I think, slowly the concept of specialising in one cuisine, but having more options is becoming the need of the hour for restaurants to survive and invariably the 'Chinese', of course, Indo Chinese, is always there along with some North Indian food! The same with Zaitoon! The restaurant was packed that Sunday night and we waited for about 15 minutes for the table and there were families all over the place. So being a large group, we had to order quite a few dishes, but that way I got to sample a lot of them. The special Zaitoon shawarma, which had quite a lot of meat, but almost nothing else, started the meal for me. I would have liked more than jus

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Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

I've pretty much come to expect nothing from mall food. I mean, outlets that are generally good seem to just take mall crowd for granted and they get this, "You don't have much options so just eat the food without complaining," attitude. Slowly even the stand-alones inside the malls, the ones outside the food court have started to get this way. So as much as possible, I try not to eat in a mall, unless it is something I know is really good. A CPK for example! So, I don't know if it was the very low expectations or what, but the pasta and iced tea at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Phoenix Market City was quite good. The berry iced tea, unlike the diluted tea and berry essence in most 'mall shops', was quite good here. The balance between the berry flavour and the tea was just right! The pesto pasta with the garlic bread was quite enjoyable too. A place like this should ideally have a stand alone in the city, like in Nungambakkam! I would go more oft

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