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QT Grills

QT Grills

United Tastes of America? Really? While the ads were quite catchy, it did catch our attention after an invite for desserts. Being with a bunch of foodies does that to you. Desserts can be followed by main course. After all, don't you eat the sweet first at a number of 'Elai Saapadus?' OK, so one night, we were a little hungry after eating desserts and after having seen the burger photo in the ad, we decided to drive down to QT grills and see what 'United Tastes of America' has to offer. The place is quite small. The menu is a little bigger than the place. The burgers are a little larger than the menu. The burger in the photo ad is the largest. After placing the order and waiting for almost twenty minutes, during which time the waiter was no where to be seen, one foodie prompted, "looks like there is only one server and only one cooker," but after the one 'cooker' cooked the two burgers and vegetarian dish that we ordered, we were quiet.

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Laham

Laham

I wonder why there is a sudden rush for Arabian like food in Chennai! It must be doing well and if the trend goes, we might soon has Indian Arabian, just like we have Indo - Chinese. None of the dishes are Arabian really, but, of course, one cannot open a restaurant for people who want authentic food and price it low. They have to play to the market and going by the crowd at Laham, with a simple but nice interiors, quirky posters, I think the owners have found the sweet spot. Three of us walked in and found that both brands, Laham and Tas Tea, belong to the same person. Tas Tea, is a bubble tea that I have had at Malaysia and I was keen to see how well they have fit the concept to the Chennai market. So we ordered for chicken shawarma, Shish Tawook and Chicken Sheekh Kebab. Apparently the restaurant had just opened and a lot of dishes on the menu was unavailable. The bubble teas came up first and though the 'bubbles' were similar to what I have had before, t

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Entree, E Hotel, EA Mall

Entree, E Hotel, EA Mall

This is going to be a tricky one to write about! When I first got the email with a complimentary meal for two at the Entree, E Hotel buffet, I didn't read too much into it. What was I going to do in a vegetarian buffet? I like vegetarian food, but a buffet for me? But when a friend of mine said that she quite liked the food at E Hotel, I was intrigued. So fixed a date and off we went! The lobby is quite nice, though small and the restaurant is right at the lobby! It was supposed to be 'World Cuisine' and I was looking forward to it! The spread was disappointing. I haven't been to any other vegetarian buffet, so I don't know what the norm is, but the spread was by no means representing world cuisine. The soup and starters were served at the table and the soup was wonderful! The bread that came with the soup was bad! Out of the two starters (I believe it changes everyday), the sesame gobi was excellent and the dhal kebab was outright bad. Wit

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L'amandier

L'amandier

So after a rather shocking incident at a restaurant in Adyar where we had a little photoshoot for a newspaper that was doing a story on food bloggers, three of us randomly landed our backsides at L'amandier without expecting much. A couple of friends had been there and didn't have much to say about the place, but little did we expect a cafe to be packed to the brim at 245 in the afternoon. Guests were leaving a big table and it wasn't ready when we were seated but cutlery and napkins were placed quickly. But before that, the look and feel of the restaurant was super quirky and real bistro types. Everything from the chairs to the paint to the French style windows was lovely and the ambiance was just perfect. The menu is currently a one pager, but the concept is nice. The menu has an a-la-carte option where you can choose from Starters, Salads, Main course or dessert or you can choose one from each for a meal priced at Rs. 475 (425 for veg) plus taxes. T

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Eclair Festival at Marriott

Eclair Festival at Marriott

Afternoon tea. A concept that I think originated in England and quite a few countries have taken into it, even if it means that it is marketed to tourists. Coming to think of it, the afternoon tea did have its place in India, at least in South India. As a kid, there was always tea time in the family, a concept that slowly waned away as we grew up. But the tea time did come back, albeit, in another form. Book reading. At times when I am done early, I sit and get some reading done at Amethyst or (very frequently) at Cha Bar, a place that I will miss forever. When I was invited by Marriott, I realised they are attempting to fill that gap and though I don't how well it will work, it was worth exploring. A typical bill for me at Amethyst will cross Rs. 400 if you get a sandwich and a drink. Marriott is targeting that price point. At Rs 399 plus tax which comes to about Rs. 450 odd, you get an assortment of 5 eclairs and a coffee of choice. Though available between 11 am and

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Mexican Griller

Mexican Griller

I have confessed my love for Mexican and Tex Mex foods many times and when I even remotely see something similar to Mexican or with the name suggesting Mexican, my entire body itches and pushes me towards that restaurant. So, you can imagine my brain reaction when I see a restaurant named Mexican Griller, not very far away for me. Imagine me having been there and not writing about it for so long....... So we had just two dishes - a nachos and a taco salad. The only thing that had the Mexican flavour was the corn tortilla and I am reasonably sure that the reason it had the flavour was because it was ready made. The guacamole wasn't great, the sour cream wasn't sour, you get the point? The taco salad had absolutely no Mexican flavour. Basically, except the name, I don't think anything else is Mexican here. The menu had some quesadillas, some nachos, no tacos and predominantly continental food. I don't remember seeing a burrito, but I don't know if it was an o

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Rajdhani

Rajdhani

At The Great Kebab Factory, you make one decision - veg or non veg and they take care of the rest. At Rajdhani you don't even make that choice! No menu, no ordering, no nothing. Sit and they will serve you. But I came out of Rajdhani with an overwhelming feeling of wanting to go back there, to a vegetarian restaurant! Tables are already set with the thali plates. And then, one after another, after another, after another, phew, they keep filling your plate. And you keep gulping food down. And they repeat and you repeat. And they repeat. And you repeat. The problem is when you stop repeating. After 4 rounds of roti and an unwritten competition between the waiter and me as to who is going to stop first, I lost. The waiter looks at me with a sad face. "Sir, ek aur lelo." "Bus, bhaiya, full hogaya." "Sir, ek aur. Kuch nahi hoga. Sirf ek." And the fifth roti landed on my plate. But little did I know that rice and khichidi were yet to come, s

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Hard Rock Cafe, Chennai

Hard Rock Cafe, Chennai

The burger is dry. There. I said it. It is off my chest. Phew. *Shakes shoulders*. Let's get on with my experience now. Hard Rock Cafe, finally, opens shop in Chennai at the luxurious Phoenix Market City. A little different from Bangalore, the Rock Shop is on the ground floor and the restaurant is located in a single level at the second floor with an exclusive lift from the Rock Shop. The ambiance is very typical of any HRC, with fancy guitars adorning the walls, an exclusive performance stage and nice friendly waiters. Chennai has been missing a place like this for a long long time and personally, I love the set up. So what prevented me from giving HRC, Chennai 5 stars? This might have been the first time I would have rated any place as 5/5, but that did not happen. So on my first visit, we ordered just three dishes, a fajita, a legendary burger and a cheesecake. The fajita was excellent with a nice round of sides and is a make-your-own-fajita type dish. There was a go

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Smoke House Deli, Bangalore

Smoke House Deli, Bangalore

Why? Why? Why? Why does Chennai not have more places like this? As much as I hate to admit it, Bangalore's eating out scene is much better, but when I happen to visit a place like this, the feeling gets rubbed in like crazy. Located on the Indra Nagar 100 feet road, the ambiance is very eclectic with a small outdoor seating and two levels of indoor seating all set in white. We were three of us and stuck to one dish each - I had the tenderloin steak, friends had a beef burger and a fettuccine in white sauce with grilled chicken. The first reaction to the burger was, 'Man, that's big!' The second reaction was, 'Better than Sandy's'. I can't help comparing, but the two burgers were a little different, but I quite liked the burger. The beef steak was excellent and I loved the sides and the beetroot sauce that went with it. The fettuccine was quite nice too, though the grilled chicken seemed a little under-flavored. In spite of being

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Spectra, Leela Palace! A ramble

Spectra, Leela Palace! A ramble

So, this is the first time I going to be rambling about an experience that was over long before it started! That is because this is probably the first time I have ever experienced this in any restaurant, leave alone a 5 star restaurant. I always believe that the way people respond when they screw up says a lot more good things about them than the way they respond when everything is going well. On New Year's, the extended family wanted to go for dinner and we reserved a table for eight people at the Spectra, Leela Palace. The table was confirmed and a few hours before the reserved time, the hotel called back my cousin to re-confirm the reservation. While the reservation was for a table at 830 PM, we walked in late, very late! Since we were late by 45 minutes, we fully expected to be told that our table was released and that we have to wait till a table is available. Time: 915. The response of the restaurant was a shocker. Three waiters briskly walked past us asking us a few

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Upper Deck, Fisherman's Cove

Upper Deck, Fisherman's Cove

For a city which has the second longest beach in the world, Chennai is woefully short of good beach facing restaurants. A trip down the ECR and way past the second longest beach will take give you glimpses of some restos, but not too many that will stick to your brain. The restaurant in Fisherman's Cove's far north beach is one that will stick. Their Sunday Brunch is supposed to be outstanding and I got a glimpse of it and it had lobsters and stuff, but since we went at the fag end of the brunch, we made a reservation for dinner. At dinner time, the place had only 7 tables of which 4 (including us) were full. It is a beautiful restaurant, perched on a small rocky surface with a beautiful sea view, which would have been way better during lunch, but the ambiance at dinner is not bad at all. The restaurant is manned by only two waiters, who, you might think own the place - that is the level of commitment and smile they have even at the fag end of a long day. T

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