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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

‘Taste of Italy’, by Chef Andrea Spurio at Hilton, Chennai

‘Taste of Italy’, by Chef Andrea Spurio from Hiton Molino Stucky Venice, where he will be presenting his favourites and signatures for Chennai. When an invite opens like that, it does pique my curiosity.. And so off I headed to Hilton to experience the menu put together. 

In the city for the first time, Chef Andrea has flown down from Hilton Molino Stucky Venice.  With his background and experience, he was here to kick off the Taste of Italy fest, introducing new flavours and dishes from the region around Italy. The evening kicked off with a Bruschetta Mista- a platter with three different toppings- fresh tomato basil, mushrooms and roasted peppers. Now that our appetite had been aroused, it was time to move on to the next dish which was the Caprese con Burrata - ripe tomatoes, burrata cheese with basil pesto and white balsamic vinaigrette. Oh my oh my, this was sinful. The cheese was heavenly. 

The dishes kept coming, and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of Mushrooms used in them. I was sure I was in some kind of heaven!! :-) 

I got to sample the orecchiette pasta tossed in smooth mushroom sauce along with slices of the fungi. This was the first time I was trying this pasta, it was like a tiny saucer and carried the mushroom flavour all the way. I did sneak in a spoonful of the Risotto [which had scampi in it, but I took just the rice and the lime flavour came through so beautifully]. 

Up and onwards to the main course we went... The veg option was simple but it stood out. Pomodoro confit con ricotta aromatizzata al miele e menta- now that is quite a tongue twister right? What it translated to was it was Tomato confit stuffed with cottage cheese and flavoured with honey & mint. That is it.. Sounds too simple? Well, you had to cut into it, and take a bite to know it packed quite a punch. The tomato was soft yet had a bite, the cheese honey and mint were perfect combo. 

And what would an Italian meal be without dessert. We had not one, but two.. One was Tiramisu that had strong coffee flavour with every bite and the other was Saffron Panacottta that was interesting [ not really my thing cos am not a fan of saffron]... During the course of the evening, while chatting with the Chef, we came to know they made the lady finger for the Tiramisu , he went on to tell us about how they have a concept similar to the Tapas of Spain.  He also told us of this island Burrano,an island near Venice where the houses were all different colours and the lady finger biscuits were made with coconut. 

This a la carte menu is available till March 20 [lunch and dinner], priced at Rs 4,500 (+ taxes) approximately, for a meal for two...

Address: 124/1, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
Phone044 2225 5555

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Chinese Feast at The Residency, Crowne Plaza, Chennai

The Residency- ah the name brings back such fond memories.. Atleast one Sunday in a month, we [our entire family] would land up here for the Sunday brunch buffet, it was excitement packed if we had a family member visiting from another town/country. Back then, it was Adyar park hotel and I dint know much about food, nor was I this aware of ingredients/dishes/cuisines etc...  But then, over time, things changed, food quality included and so we stopped our visits. 

Fast forward to a decade or more.... I was back at the restaurant last evening, the hotel is now called Crowne Plaza and Residency looks quite swanky and had live music playing [as always]... Yep, I was curious to sample the food, to see what was new... Given that the Chinese new year had just gone by, Chef Deva had decided to include some signature Chinese dishes as part of the buffet with Chef Dhodup Tsering who has flown down from Delhi just to curate the menu.. 

Clear veg soup

Groundnut and Lotus stem kimchi

Broccoli and almond crystal dim-sum- Was sinfully yummm

Mushroom and bok-choy bao - Loved this one... 

 Assorted mushroom salad- The star of the evening for me...

Crispy Potato Hunan style

Sautéed Chinese greens

Steamed rice

Veg Mopotofu

Must say it was heart warming to see the restaurant running to near full house last evening. Chef Deva commented that it was a peculiar trend, but one they are not questioning. The restaurants were all sold out for weekdays but weekends were not the same.. :)  Alrighty, coming back to the main focus of the evening- the food.. Since it was all about celebrating Chinese flavours, the dishes were true to the region. 

The meal opened with a simple clear broth veg soup, which was alright.. but what came next is what I loved the most in the evening. The almond broccoli dimsum and Mushroom bao.. Oh wow, these two were heavenly. The dimsum had the thinnest outer covering and the crunch from almond matched well with the soft broccoli. The bao on the other hand was heaven.. I have always loved these steamed buns, even though I was introduced to them only about a year ago at another restaurant in the city. Paired with the sauces [there was a spicy chilli sauce, soy sauce and a 5spice tomato sauce], they were delicious. 

As for the starters and mains, it ranged from a medley of mushroom salad to steamed rice served with Chinese greens [my fav bok-choy tossed with broccoli and sugar peas] and the mix veg with tofu side. Love how the Chef had used nothing but sesame oil and sautéed slivers of garlic in most dishes to add flavour. It was unlike any of the Indo-Chinese dishes we are served in most places. 

If you are the kind to end the meal with a sweet tooth, then make a beeline for the dessert section in the buffet and feast away.... I wish they had included atleast one Chinese dessert item there [even if it was just Darsan] 

This buffet is priced at Rs2200 and is on till the 24th Feb.. Go for it!! 

Crowne Plaza
132,T.T.K Road, Alwarpet

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hotel Dalama, Bhubaneswar

When travelling to a new town/city/country, I am always curious about their food and lifestyle. It is therefore fun to spend time with the locals, talk to them, visit their homes [if possible] and even eat some of the local dishes.... This time during my visit to Bhubaneswar, while I kept collecting notes on different local dishes, I got the opportunity to have a meal a few days into the trip. When I enquired with an auto guy and the hotel room service staff member, they both recommended this hotel called Hotel Dalma. 

On that day, when I was heading to the market place, the auto guy told me Dalma was in Unit 8, Madhusudhan Nagar, not too far from the market. The place looked small and nondescript, but then such places offer the best fares and so I went looking for the restaurant. It was located in a slightly run down building on the 1st floor. 

Walked in, found a table and asked for the menu... It had quite a few items, but then I went for the Special Thali with extra curd [surprisingly, in their Thali they don't give curd] I was served a plate with freshly made papad first followed by the thali platter. 

It had a cup of plain rice, yellow rice [ which I later discovered was peas pulao but quite sweet], Dalma [ dal with veggies], korma [tomato, drumstick brinjal], potato brinjal dry sabzi, another daal, bhoondi raita, and sabudana payasam/kheer [which was out of the world]. 

All the dishes were yumm, the spice factor was low and it was not doused in masala or oil... I was quite surprised at the flavours, each one tasted different and I quite enjoyed it. Do wonder why this region has a lot more brinjal than other cities....  This thali was priced at Rs180 and the place did not charge tax or service charge... I walked out smiling, ready to take on the rest of the day... 

Pretty much every table in the hotel had thali platters on it, and people were happily digging into their plates, and some even asked for more rice.. *gulp*

At another hotel, I ordered a dish that was a mix of potato and brinjal[both had been deep fried] and cooked with mustard paste in mustard oil.. Loved loved the flavours... :) 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Lavazza launches Il Mattino Vivace

What does Coffee mean to you?

* It is the first thing I reach for every morning. Only when I have had a hot cup of filter kaapi [as we say it in South India] does my day begin.

You better not talk to me till I have had my first kaapi 

Coffee needs to be strong, piping hot and have the perfect sugar. Love the way my husband makes it for me daily. 

Coffee - Ahh, don't ask.. My father in law wakes up first and puts the filter every morning. He will make himself a cup and one for me as well and wait. It is the time we spend together, talking about news and the daily menu as well. 

Kaapi reminds me of my father. He had specific taste on how his kaapi should be and it had to be made to perfection. He was the only one allowed to brew the filter and then would ask my mom to make him his morning cup. They would then sit watch tv, chit chat and drink their kaapi.. 

Well, these were some comments, bits and bytes I got when I spoke to a few people around me and asked them about their coffee/kaapi routine.  For many, it was a ritual of sorts and for others it was their wake up call , gearing them for the long day ahead. And each one had specific taste/brand preferences as well. We had one brand that we had been using for years now. But then, when I read about the new range of Coffee from Lavazza- Il Mattino Vivace, I got curious and decided to try it out.  Il Mattino Vivace, which translates to "the lively morning" sounded like it was just what I needed to kick start the day [esp since I had just come back from a holiday and wasn't ready to get back to routine]

It comes in a vacuum packed pouch and is specifically made for the Indian audience who love their Filter coffee. Lavazza has been around for a while, and quite renowned for their coffee, and this  is  a fine blend of Arabica and Robusta beans sourced from select plantations in Coorg and Chikmagalur regions in the hills of Western Ghats in India. I brewed it in our filter at home and the decoction had a lovely aroma to it. Added a splash of milk, a dot of sugar and voila, the kaapi was ready. It had good flavour and depth, but was not too strong neither was it too mild/watery. Gave a shot to gramma and she approved of it [she is quite finicky about her kaapi as well] :-) So, I guess it passed the test!! :D 

This coffee is available in leading modern retail outlets, it comes in packs of 200 grams and is priced at Rs. 150.

Find more about Il Mattino Vivace , visit