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 for me to detail each and every one of them, but I personally loved the salmon, the prawns, the shredded tuna and the scallop sushi! For all of those, I didn't need too much of wasabi and soy sauce. Needless to say, I didn't even try the 'veg' sushi! My friend started with the mild ones, but couldn't stand a couple of other fishy ones. After one round of about 12-14 pieces, I was done with sushi for the day. I had exceeded by usual tolerance level of sushi for one meal!
The rest of the buffet was quite nice too. One thing I loved particular was the grilled chicken breast! Along with the herb roasted potatoes, I loved them as a meal. From the mediterranean side, I loved the hummus and the pita bread, but in general, the desserts were uninspiring. Meanwhile the Japanese chefs were showing off their knife skills, table after table. The head chef places a vegetable on your forehand and chops it. The vegetables were cut clean without leaving any mark on your hands. Impressive!!!!
And then we spoke to the Exec Chef, Mr. Daman and the Exec sous chef, Mr. Avinash. Both men were very nice to talk to. They were talking about the various challenges in the hotel industry and in general about food and we were discussing some wellness stuff after they found out about my profession. But while the top men are extremely dedicated to their profession and the hotel, Leela is having some service issues at lower levels and that was palpable even in an invited event with the waiters. But what we noticed while talking to the chefs was that we missed an entire section of the buffet. And then we went around seeing what we missed and realised that this might just be a humongous buffet. And this was not even the Sunday brunch, so I can't imagine what that would be. The lunch buffet is priced at Rs. 1550 plus tax, but I have my eyes set on the Sunday Brunch.
It will take some time to convince the family to ever set foot on Chennai Leela Palace again, but I hope I can soon, because I really want to try the Sunday brunch now!!!!!