Wow! Two restaurants that I am not very fond of, surprised me this week! I had written about Focaccia and now its The Crown! Writing about the The Crown, is very difficult, but quite easy! Yes, the contradiction comes from the restaurant itself! With easily the best outdoor seating in Chennai, set amidst a roof top water pool, brilliant lighting in the outdoor area, the restaurant has all the ambiance to be a wonderful restaurant, except the rather forgettable indoor. And, sadly, so is the food! So, sometimes, its like a one line say! "Great ambiance, average food." For a food lover, though it is not so easy! If you are particular about the food and believe that the ambiance is to enhance the food, then more often than not, you will be disappointed! My previous trysts with The Crown, both invited and welcomed, has always ended that way!
For the first time, all of us came out feeling that the food was excellent. It was so simple that it was excellent! They have flown down a Punjabi chef from Delhi and a chat with him revealed that he had to fly back and bring all the spices with him because he didn't find what he wanted in Chennai! A punjabi will definitely be a better judge of the food, but as guests eating Punjabi food, we all quite liked it.
The meal started off with sweet lassi and 4 starters. Lasooni paneer and a mushroom palak kebab were served first and though not a big fan of paneer, I quite liked the paneer, while the mushroom kebab was excellent. The badami chicken kebab was excellent too and was followed by another excellent sheekh kebab which finished off the round of starters. All of us were starting to get exhausted with the starters and nothing was left on the plate!
Before the main course was served, the chef presented us a platter of pickles, which he was proud to say that he brought from home. Without realising that the main course was yet to come, we started eating the pickles. This was followed by four gravies served with a platter of Indian breads. I liked two of the gravies and didn't like two of them. The chicken masala and the Lamb gravy were both excellent and I forgot the name of the other two! I also sneaked in a paratha with the outstanding pickles! I wish there was one aloo paratha and curd just for the pickles!!! We finished off the meal with a simple kheer!
Chef Sweety Singh, who has worked with a number of 5 star hotels, including ITC in Delhi, is now a consultant chef flying around the country promoting home style Punjabi cuisine! Without being intrusive, he showed us his version of Punjabi home style food and took pride in saying that his cooking is 'unadulterated to suit the market.' So finally, we quite enjoyed the meal at The Crown!
A meal for two should cost you about Rs. 1500 without drinks and this food festival is on till the 9th of this month! The Crown is the roof top restaurant at Residency Towers, T. Nagar.