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Copper Kitchen, Porur

Copper Kitchen, Porur

When I see a foodie friend post photo after photo on Facebook and rave about a rather small joint, it does intrigue me. I'm sure it would intrigue most of us. What so special about a restaurant that looks like a run of the mill multi cuisine restaurant? When I had to meet a couple of people, we ended up going there unplanned and thus I got to taste their food, finally. One of the partners of the restaurant was there and would have skewed the service to a higher level, so I will leave that out. I quite liked the Chef Special soup that we started off with. It was a bisque type soup flavoured richly with lamb and all three of us were quite at home and it tasted like liquid haleem . That it had the small cheeslings biscuits, which I adore, certainly added to it. The Arabian salad was blah! The grilled tiger prawns served with kubus was rather nice and we all loved the complex flavours rubbed on it and char grilled, while the stuffed Tangdi kebab was blah. Something wa

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Om Sai Skanda Dosa Camp, Bangalore

Om Sai Skanda Dosa Camp, Bangalore

We all know street food has its own unique flavours. The Mumbai Vada Pav, the street kebabs in Delhi, Golgappa in Kolkatta, even the Indian kebabs in the streets of New York, the Tacos in Mexico, Currywurst in Germany.....I could go on and on. They have flavour that can rarely be mimicked under any other setting. Rarely do sit-in-restaurants get these flavours right and there are many imitators and bad versions of the same even in other street joints. Somehow, South India doesn't seem to have a street food scene. Or maybe I haven't encountered them anywhere yet and maybe they exist in some form that I am yet to unearth. Street foods in South India seem to be toned down versions or spicy versions of regular home foods. Or restaurant food. Think about it. Is there anything in Chennai that is Chennai street food? On the street, we get idly, dosa, paratha and gravies, north Indian imports like vada pav and pani puri, but are they really street food?Maybe the Besant Nagar be

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Spectra Brunch, Leela Palace

Spectra Brunch, Leela Palace

So where do I start? With the mixed fruit punch that was so refreshing and I was dying to find out what went into it? Or the Satay with the perfect peanut sauce? Or the round of sushi that I had, again? With an extra helping of Salmon sushi. Or with the superb fried wonton with chilli sauce? Or the corn fritters? Or the stir fried potatoes that we matched with the grilled chicken? Or the very nice chicken dim sums? Or the American Chopsuey with a twist like you see in the photo? The crispy noodles as a base and the sauce inside it, made to perfection? Or the round of Indian snacks? The nice sundal  in a leaf? Definitely not the  pani puri, which was average. Or with the main course? The fantastic dhal makhani , or so I thought and it turns out to be dhal Khandari . Or the very nice biriyani? Or the Thai fried rice that we ate with the superb chilly fried beef from the Thai counter? Or the Thai sticky rice that we ate with the outstanding Thai Green Curry?

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Absolute BBQ, Bangalore

Absolute BBQ, Bangalore

So buffets sell. OK, big buffet priced reasonably sell. OK, if located near some IT company, they sell well. Take all of this and add discovery channel to the buffet and it is bound to take off extremely well. BBQ Nation thrived on treats and office lunch types. Take that and pump it with steroids and you can then imagine what Absolute BBQ is all about. Located a little away from the Eco Space building that houses more than handful of employees from over 10 corporates, Absolute BBQ has hit the sweet spot and throws something extra. Essentially, you have the grills on the table with unlimited starters, a wish grill located at one end of the restaurant which has exotic meats like Emu, Rabbit, Octopus, Quail etc and a buffet at the other end. The starters were a mixed lot. I didn't like the lamb sheekh kebab as it was too dry, I didn't like the chicken grill, but the prawns, the fish and another chicken was quite nice. The cinnamon grilled pineapple was a nice add

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Masters of Food and Wine, Park Hyatt

Masters of Food and Wine, Park Hyatt

Imagine. That's the only way, I can even try to communicate that evening! Imagine. Imagine. A dinner. A dinner event. You walk in without any expectations. Advertised all over at Rs. 3500 all inclusive for, supposedly, great dinner and wines. OK, you walk in expecting a gala dinner. As you step in, waiters keep bringing you finger foods like these. Almost everybody is dressed to kill. The GM of the hotel is here and making conversation with everyone. Seasons. The marketing and communications manager talks about seasons. The flavours of this season, she says. This term, I thought, was limited to the fashion industry. But she talks about the wines of the season. Food like these start coming along. Small portions, great taste. The wines are already flowing, but I have to make do with a mocktail. I thought this is how the evening is going to be. Lots of good finger foods, but no. I was so wrong. I came here, thinking I will spend sometime before heading off to a movie premi

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Sushi @ Spectra, Leela Palace

Sushi @ Spectra, Leela Palace

So, after the nasty debacle at Leela on New Year's, I was not considering going back there! Didn't even think of the place after we left, feeling unwanted. When Spectra was hosting a sushi festival for a day followed by sushi making classes for chefs, my friend was invited to be a part of the proceedings. For someone who had never eaten sushi, he was going bonkers, but I was more than happy to tag along and that is how I went back to Spectra, putting the incident behind me. After a nice round of pleasantries, we started with the sushi. The chefs from Japan had been to various fish markets in the city to pick some fish, while there was some imported stuff too. My friend, who has never had sushi before and was quite hesitant, decided to start of with the mildest and the best ones, the Salmon! My plate was loaded though. The salmon, imported, was outstanding. You could see the fat lines on the fish and just the look was mouth watering. There were too many sushi

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Habanero

Habanero

What better name for a Tex Mex Restaurant!?! A chilli, an exceptionally hot chilli, produced largely in Mexico today and used extensively in Mexican cuisine. While Tex Mex is the Texas version of Mexican cuisine, there is quite some similarity and large differences between the two. OK, what's there in a name? The rose would still smell the same under any other name, isn't it? Now, who is the poet who said that? Never mind. OK, Habanero might be a better name for Mexican and a not so apt for Tex Mex. Moving on. We were in a hurry, but I was adamant. I haven't had good Mexican flavours in a while and so we decided that we will get one dish each and leave. So we tasted only two dishes in the restaurant and while that is no way to judge any place, we quite liked it. So which two dishes? There was a buffet priced at Rs. 499, with a live Taco counter et all, but we stuck to a-la-carte. Remember? Time only for 2 dishes. So we narrowed it down to Nachos and Fajita. The n

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Avenue 195

Avenue 195

The most common question I get about eating out in Chennai is, "Where is the best buffet?" Before I answer, there are conditions to the buffet. Lots of non veg dishes, great quality food, good ambiance, good spread, some live counters and if possible with alcohol. As my mind starts wandering, the next condition comes in. "Max budget is Rs. 500." So when Ashwin used this oft repeated problem in his stand up comedy, it came as no shock. "Dude, you have to create one yourself," will be my thought process. But looks like one dude has actually made it happen. Apparently 195 countries are registered with the United Nations and therefore the name, Avenue 195, the brain child of Chef Vijay, who has been cooking around the world and has finally decided to bring his skills to Chennai. He couldn't have found a better place than the khana road of Chennai and has set up shop amidst various restaurants aiming to serve world cuisine. His menu is

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