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Dastarkhwan-e-Hazratganj, Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola

Dastarkhwan-e-Hazratganj, Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola

If you didn't understand the title, don't worry. No many do. Let me try to explain it to you. Hazratganj is a place. The other word has something to do with 'feast' and ' daawat ' where lots of people get together. If you are still confused, think of it as a Lucknow Food Festival at Madras Pavilion in ITC Grand Chola. It is a feast like food festival where kings are showcased. Where there is a palanquin in the middle of the restaurant. Do you know the palanquin? Where the royals sit and the not so royals carry them? Yes, I can read your mind now. Among the food family, it is reserved for our king. The Biriyani! When it is the Awadhi Biriyani, even the exec chef of the restaurant will carry him around in a palanquin and make the first set of guests cut open the screen to reveal the king. As if he is queen. Only queens need to be given that glamour, right? Why is this guy being treated with so much fuss? As for me, I am this p

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Coffee Tasting at Starbucks

Coffee Tasting at Starbucks

Nope, that is not a starbucks employee sneaking away coffee!!  Did you read the first line? Great! If not, scroll back up and come back down! Any exercise is good! So, here I was quaintly sitting and sipping my usual coffee at Starbucks, when a guy in a green apron walked up to me and asked me if I'd like to participate in a coffee tasting! Why would I say no? I kept my book down and waited for a few minutes, but the guy disappeared! After a couple of minutes, I went back to reading my book. He reappeared after about 10 minutes with a tray in hand! My eyes went to the cookie, but that is a different story! Seating himself in front of me and with the outlets Coffee Master accompanying him, I thought I would amuse myself. How wrong I was! These guys taught me much more than what I knew of coffee and if you participate, so will you. He was also quick to say that since I keep ordering the cold coffees with milk and essences and whipped creams a

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Marwari Food Fest, Park Hyatt

Marwari Food Fest, Park Hyatt

How do you get excited by a Marwari Pop Up restaurant? Especially when everyone invited were hard core non vegetarians!?! Having had a Marwari bestie during my growing years, it is not new to me. But certainly doesn't rank up among my all time favourites. But one dish used to. Their home made rotis. While rotis at home were simple wheat, I've tasted various colours of rotis at their home. And long beans. The Marwari food festival at Park Hyatt brought those memories back. Clearly, this is aimed at their in-house guests looking for home food! That is probably why it is hosted in their Dining Room rather than the flashy, modern, unbelievable Flying Elephant! Quaint, slow and peaceful Dining Room. However, for me this is one concept that will be tough on a buffet. You can request for a thali served on the table and that is how we did it. Being a very homely food, I wouldn't want to get up and go for every course! Simple dokhlas with chutneys and a beautiful m

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New Chef, New Menu, Classic Italian at Prego, Taj Coromandel

New Chef, New Menu, Classic Italian at Prego, Taj Coromandel

Would it be right to say that fine dining is now associated with minuscule portions of food, plated to make the eyes pop out of their sockets? Maybe. Not always, but for the average us, that might be the first thought at the mention of fine dining. With good degustation menus, that maybe over stating, but if when there is no degustation menu involved, a blob of rice or a thin piece of chicken may not be shareable. While the eyes may pop out of the socket, will the tongues wag after tasting the food? Maybe. Maybe not. That is set to change. One of the finest Italian Fine Dine places of Chennai is making a U turn! Going against the tide. Challenging the norm. Doing......well, you get the idea! The new chef, Alessandro Bechini is set to take a step back. "Food for the tongue. Not just for the eyes." The word 'just', in this context speaks a lot. He is not taking plating for granted, food still looks good. But the focus is on classic Ita

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Jackie Chan comes to Teppan!

Jackie Chan comes to Teppan!

Yup, that is what the new chef, a South American returned, Philippines national calls himself. Jackie Chan! He may be Jed Ursal by birth, but he likes to be called Jackie Chan! He may not be the greatest Hibachi chef around with this tricks. Some were good, some were usual, the noises were typical of a Teppankayi, some missed eggs, some mistakes! Thankfully, this guy's food is lot better than his tricks! The new menu is exciting and we didn't order anything from the old menu! He had us at our first dish, the SHIFFUDO MAKI. Unlike what I am used to in sushi with a single protein, this one is a mixed seafood, with some kind of vinegary rice topped off with some tobiko (fish eggs)! This was a stunning new experience for us and we loved it. There was some crunch and though it didn't feel too Japanese, with slightly more sauce than usual, it was a great package! The next sushi was the Scandinavian Maki, with salmon and stuff. It was nice, but was

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Street Food Night Out, Mannady, North Chennai

Street Food Night Out, Mannady, North Chennai

There is a separate world out here. A world where there are traffic jams while on foot! Places packed with shops. A world on its own. Where I can't even give you the address. Just vague directions! Park your car on NSC Bose Road, near Parry's Corner after 6 PM, when there is ample parking and walk on one of the lanes on the opposite side. And just keep walking. Our first stop was a nameless, address-less place that doles out awesome beef and chicken fries. The best part? You pay for the weight. Rs. 30 for 100g of beef fry and 10 bucks for two pieces of Idiyappam (string hoppers). Yummy, deep fried heart attack on a plate! How do you find this place? Ask for Firdous, a popular sweet shop and this little shack is opposite it. Customer service is limited to the guy not shouting at you while your beef cooks. Get to Firdous to get a the Fruit Malai to wash down the beef. And move on. Nothing more there, unless you fancy the awesome Makkan-

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Abid's, Chetput

Abid's, Chetput

And then comes an Iftar that is so difficult to write about! I've been hearing this Abid's name quite a few times in social media. It took me a while to figure out where the place is, but then I found them incidentally one day and decided to take a look! The place is sort of new and still getting their act, but this is a first impression. Stood in the non-existent queue and hustled my way to getting one haleem, a couple of Lukhmi, a chicken cheese cigar roll and and yummy looking Ande-ka-meeta. Drank some water, ate one lukhmi and drove home to devour the rest. Needless to say, I was really hungry! I think I might have a problem with the names! So, I saw a lot of references to Hyderabadi Haleem/Biriyani. This is not Hyderabadi at all, but that takes away nothing from the haleem. There was much lesser meat, but the flavours were very homely.  The haleem itself was of good consistency, no bones which made the eating experience a lot better and the fried onions a

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Iftar Food Trail in Hyderabad

Iftar Food Trail in Hyderabad

Iftar in Hyderabad is everything it is cut out to be! While in Bangalore, there are places dedicated for food, here there are pockets where there is everything. Food, clothing, jewellery, accessories etc. Multiple such places all over the city and more so towards old city! At 11 pm, it took us a long time to reach Charminar, the epitome of Hyderabad! But it was worth every bit of it just to see the culture! However, my iftar started off with Sarvi! My local Hyderabadi friend said that all of his friends like Sarvi and that is why we started off there. So, basically, Hyderabad has three main varieties of haleem . The Irani Haleem, the Pista house haleem and Old Style (traditional?) haleem ! Sarvi was the Irani type and boldly mentioned all over! Irani Haleem was darker than the traditional haleem ! Nice depth of flavour, the usual nuts and bolts on top and yummy. But bones! Yes, lots of it. Every plate has about 3 large bones and a few small bones. I thought

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