“Aahar” – Restaurant Review, Chennai, India

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Thanks to Aahar’s Management for having CFG team.

Before you understand it for the Aahaar restaurant in Hotel Shelters, let me tell you this is NOT. This is a newly opened “Pure Vegetarian” restaurant in the same locality Mylapore. It is diagonally opposite to Sanskrit College or Yellow Pages.
The name confusion is something possibly owners of this new restaurant have to address and even google points to the one in Hotel Shelters.
Restaurant is located in the first floor and ground floor becomes the Car Park. Second & Third floors are yet to be fully functional. Third floor is the roof top aimed at Barbecues.

Settling down with the CFG group, first stop was to look at the Menu. We were greeted with Orange Juice as welcome drink. Their menu boasts of South Indian, North Indian, Chinese cuisines, and Tandoor & Chat items. One interesting item we found on the menu was “Dry Fruit Rava Dosa”, but we didn’t try it!
Our starter course had Cucumber-Onion Salad, Chilly Vegetables, Noodle Salad, Paneer Tikka, Baby Corn, Paruppu Vadai along with Tomato / Mulligatawny Soup.
Mulligatawny Soup is a good start and finely cut Cucumber-Onion Salad is a safe bet.
Chilly Vegetables had mix of vegetables like Cauliflower, Capsicum etc. It included some hard and soft vegetables. Cooked together with Sauce, some of them tasted a bit hard while some soft! This didn’t have anything “Chilly” about it!
Noodle Salad is a cold salad with slightly crispy & soft noodles with vegetables. Has a slight tinge of sweet (guess that is because of the sauce used). This is supposedly their Signature Dish and a good bet to try.
The consistency of their Paneer and the marination done in Paneer Tikka was good. Baby corn in Sauce again tasted a bit sweet and was tender.
Paruppu Vadai was with Coconut Chutney – an ideal combo for tea time snacks. Vadai was a bit extra crispy. Wish it was a bit soft.
From the Chat items, had the chance to taste Bhel Puri.

Next course started off with Podi Dosa served with 2 varieties of Chutneys and Sambhar. Sambhar didn’t taste like the “hotel sambhar” which we sometimes crave for L
Moved on to Mysore masala dosa and found the masala quite good.
Then followed Butter Naan and Paratha accompanied by two side dishes – Rajma Masala and “Milijuli Subji” and Shahi Paneer
Rajma Masala, I should say, was typical south-indian style of making and Milijuli subji was a mixture of vegetables in green gravy. Tasted ok! Shahi Paneer was the best among the dishes. Good side dish for Roti / Naan / parathas.

As part of the main course, we also had rice items – Vegetable Briyani which was matching the expectations.

Taste of Chinese cuisine included Fried Rice with Vegetable Manchurian (Gravy based), both vouching to the name “Chinese”.

After tasting and relishing those different courses, it was time for great dessert round. We relished Gulab Jamun, Carrot Halwa, Basundi and Vanilla Ice cream. Sweets tasted good and with Vanilla ice cream combination with the sweets topped it. Wish Basundi was a lot thicker in strength.
Ambience & décor was simple and service was quite fast from the time we started the courses, we had continuous servings. Pricing is also reasonable and doesn’t hurt your pocket.

In all, this restaurant has a good potential to move up the ladder if they continue what they are doing good and improve on their small deltas.

Soup
Tomato Soup
Mulligatawny Soup

Starter
Paneer Tikka
Chilly veg
Lovely babycorn
Masala Vada

Salad
Green Salad
Cucumber salad
Noodle salad

Main Course
Plain Dosa
Podi Idly
Mysore Masala Dosa
Paratha
Tandoori Paratha
Butter Naan
Stuffed Kulcha
Veg Biryani
Podi Dosa
Veg Fried Rice
Veg Manchurian Gravy
Rajma Dhall
Paneer shahi Korma
Mili juli Subji
Dall Panchrangi

Dessert
Carrot Halwa
Gulab Jamon
Basundi

Coffee

Soft Drinks
Fresh Lime Soda

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The Crown – The Residency Towers, Chennai, India

The culinary fare served here is fit for royalty and customers get no less a treatment.

Isn’t it then apt to name the place The Crown ! Yes we are talking about the crowning glory of The Residency – the first – of – its – kind roof top restaurant in the metropolis.

Combining an ambiance that it at once regal with a colonial touch, The Crown’s signature element is the high dome supported by stately columns. While ornate fittings add finesse and class to the architecture a tongue tickling menu awaits to tease and satiate your palate.

The Crown boasts of a menu that is a classic combo of an Indo -Western cuisine in addition to Kebabs as its primary offering. To beat the monotony there are seven different menus for each day of the week. Be it the Chutney Firdausi Aloo or the Ramgari Paneer Tikka or the Chocolate Mud Cake every dish has a distinct flavor that makes you crave for more.

Chef Gopal, a Culinologist par excellence, explained the procedures behind the stringent quality control adhered to in procuring raw materials and finished products.And all this comes at very nominal prices. At Rs.679/- for a veg meal and Rs.798 /- for a non – veg meal one cannot complain much! From the welcome drink to starters to the main course to the desserts every thing is served at the table to your stomach’s fill which makes the experience more endearing.

Cake Mixing Ceremony – GRT Grand

Age old ceremony of Cake Mixing starts few months before Christmas and is said to be a harbinger of good tidings and happiness.

This year, GRT Grand had its cake mixing ceremony on 17th November for the 13th year in succession.

Planning for the event started six months ahead with checking samples of ingredients, narrowing down suppliers, quality checks, ordering of supplies etc.  A months’ time is required to mix the cake and check for liquor soaking, textures etc.  Standard recipes are being followed and this year was no exception.

About 15 varieties of dry fruits weighing about 420 Kgs and 60 full bottles of liquor are used along with dry ginger, cinnamon, flour etc. as per the recipes to make the cakes.  This traditional ceremony of cake mixing in such volume is done in a very hygienic way with extreme care and under the complete responsibility of Executive Chef, Mr. H. Balachandran.

These cakes are then sold through their Cake shops and also form part of their Buffet spreads.  The cakes are also sent to guests, customers, known circles.
These Cakes can be ordered from GRT Cake shop and as of now their standard volume for sales is 500g and 1Kg.  Any different volume should be ordered 10-15 days in advance.

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In case you want to grab those cakes before it is too late, here are the contact numbers:
GRT Grand Chennai
Ph: 044- 2815 0500, 044 – 2815 5500, 044 – 2815 1617
Mobile: 99520 54816

Tanjavur Mess, West Mambalam, Chennai, India – Review by Archana Srinivasan

Although a very famous eatout situated at a very good place in West-mambalam, we had quite a bit of a difficulty finding it out. Its quite close to the Mambalam Railway station and is put up at Subbu street (Subba Rao Street), off Lake view road. Only when we were quite close to the place, we stopped to take directions and everyone in that area knew about it.

My husband enlightens me a bit about west mambalam being one of the hot-spots for mansions hosting a lot of bachelors. I found the same crowd in the mess when I entered. No family crowd at all.

There were only benches and stools laid out with the quintessential banana leaf or vazha elai. I feel this is the best way to serve customers in hotel. One neednt waste water to clean plates or waste electricity to sterilize spoons. Only leaves have to be chopped off the banana tree and is biodegradable too. Ambiance was also typical like a mess, where you sit, eat and get going.

We did not want a heavy breakfast, so ordered 2 idlys + 1 vadai each. Items are served by hand, which I found quite normal in such places. One just has to ignore such trivialities in life. Immediately we were served with the items together with unlimited chutney (coconut & tomato-onion) and hot sambar. It was pure yumminess. They keep refilling the chutney and sambar till you finish. Still not satiated, we ordered 1 saadha dosa and 1 kal-dosa. Both were really good, again served with unlimited sambar n chutney.

We returned home with our stomachs full & smiling and wallet happy (cos the same items at HSB would have costed us double the bill). And we are definitely going to come back with better planning for a heavy breakfast may be on a sunday and skip lunch that day

The Madaras Kafe

Think Madras and you can’t help but think of Carnatic music and Kanjivaram sarees; Temples and Malli poo; hot Idlis and Filter Kaapi. The city that has transformed over the years – right from its name, now Chennai – to keep up with its more ‘Modern & Hep’ counterparts across the country, still retains its affiliation to tradition and culture. This is why it is still considered to be safe, cautious & balanced in its approach to and acceptance of western influences.

In terms of cuisine The Madaras Kafe, a new restaurant, is a perfect reflection of this mixed culture the city sports. Situated in the basement of the plush up market mall, Ispahani center, Idli Sambar gives way to newer versions – Fried Podi Idli [ mini idlis fried in oil and tossed in ‘Molaga Podi’ ] Gummang kuthu Idli [ mini idlis mixed in a spicy paste of tomato and onions] and more such remixed versions.

The menu has something for all. The ‘Urulai kucchi chips’ [French fries] for the light snacker; a smattering of milk shakes and sandwiches for a casual snack; the desi version of pizzas with Manchurian and pannier fillings for a feel good lunch.

For those with a sweet tooth you can choose between brownies with sauces or the traditional sweets like boli that are imaginatively and cleverly named to tempt you to try them.

The highlight perhaps is the filter Kaapi and the variety of ‘Chai’s they serve in traditional ‘dabara tumblers’. Be it the Masala Chai or the Inji Chai or the Masala milk the taste is excellent.

If you want to meet a friend and chit chat for a bit while you snack away in a quiet and nice ambiance The Madaras Kafe is the place for you.