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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... :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Eight Treasures at 5 Sen5es, Westin Velachery [till 30th June]


5 Senses at Westin, Velachery is back with another food festival flagged off by their Executive Chef Yatendra Rawat... This time they are promoting the dishes from 8 prominent regions across China -- Sichuan, Guangdong (Canton), Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangsu, Fujian, Shandong and Anhui.  What is interesting to note is that apart from Sichuan and Hunan [where food is quite spicy of weather], the others are all located along the east border.  As with everywhere else, the cuisine and flavours varies with the demography, weather and other factors of a particular region.
  
Here is what you can expect at this 8 Treasures Food Festival that is on till the 30th June... While most of the mains were non veg, the Chef did whip up something veg for me, there were three sides in all - of which I loved two. 

The Menu



The fried dough crisps and kimchi to kick off the evening..

Chinese sticky fried rice- was absolutely delicious.. 

The thin wrap that was served with duck, but I had it with potato and some sauce..

 Red cooked chicken, Dezhou Stewed Chicken and one more dish that had lamb cooked with baby corn and snow peas..


Sichuan Shredded Potatos - simple humble dish

Stir Fried cabbage in garlic sauce was just WOW [image courtesy: www.creatikaa.com]

Eggplant tossed in hot garlic sauce- actually had me reaching for second and third servings, it was really beautiful.

 and then came the yummilicious dessert- Pumpkin pudding [ which is not part of this menu but their main menu and is a must have when at this restaurant]

Overall it is a festival meant for those who love playing with flavours and open to experimenting.. So if you are headed to that side of town, make sure to explore this festival. 

A meal for 2 would cost around Rs 4000/- approx [without alcohol]

Only for dinner, between 7 & 11 pm.

Address:
Westin Chennai Velachery154, Velachery Main Road, VelacheryChennai 600042.


Do call 044 66333777 for reservations.

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 App├ętit :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Chocolate Irish Dinner Banquet at On The Rocks, Chennai

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” 


Even though am not a big fan of Chocolates, the promise of an elaborate meal laced with chocolates, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Food was enough to have me salivating!!-All three were coming together at dinner at On TheRocks, Crowne plaza.. You read it right.. These words were all it took for me to reply with my confirmation. 



The restaurant is hosting a lavish 6 course meal, the highlight being each dish is infused with the unique Earth Loaf chocolates  and a splash of the Jameson Whiskey as well. All this has been curated by Chef Prakash along with David Belo [the founder of 'Earth Loaf' chocolates]. The unique thing about these chocolates is that they are dark bitter chocolates made with palm sugar, which was perfect cos I hate the regular sweet chocolates. 











The evening began with an Appertivo  [something to kick off the evening with, a small teaser of sorts] called 'Jamie in Brooklyn' (spicy homemade Vermouth with a hint of bitter orange, orange flower water, Ladhaki Apricot Kernel syrup and Jameson Whisky- phew hope i got all the ingredients right, i sure asked about it enough times). It was a drink that would wake you up from the deepest of slumbers and have you raring to go.  

Not to forget their signature Focaccia bread drenched in freshly squeezed garlic oil, brought back memories of my earlier visit to the restaurant and how we asked for a repeat of this.  The menu for the evening is quite extensive, and I was quite surprised to see there were more Veg appetisers than non veg, and so we asked for a portion of each. 

The second drink to arrive on our table was the 'The Mango and Capsicum Toddy- warm and strong, it was served a small cup that had a slice of lime with a clove in it. It sure had my taste buds doing the tango. Following on its heel was the Roasted Squash and infused with Chilli Chocolate soup that was simply divine, it was served in a small cup and was packed with flavours. Pumpkin is a vegetable that hasn't yet received its due, it is so versatile and beautiful~

Among the starters, I fell in love with the Soft Polenta with wild mushrooms and Creamy Chocolate Sauce  and the Grilled Asparagus, Peas, Blue Cheese with White Chocolate Hollandaise. There were two others which were good but not wow!

As the conversations flowed, we noticed the food kept coming.It was either the Bitter Chocolate and Mint Sorbet -a palate cleanser of sorts or the Sage and Berry Fizz [Jameson whiskey with flavours of Sage , berry marmalade, mint, lemon juice and nutmeg with a hint of black pepper. Just when we thought the bar had been set quite high with the food we had so far, the mains came along. I was served the show stopper veg dish- Single Origin Dark Chocolate Ravioli with Mint and Green Pea Puree with Sage Beurre Noisette .. Oh my, every mouthful was heavenly. So much so that we asked for a repeat serving of this dish for the others to enjoy~ There was a mixed bag of reaction from the guys on the Non veg mains- Salmon, Lamb and chicken based. 

As my eyes wandered around, I noticed the bar tender was doing some sort of smoking downstairs  He was smoking the glasses with a blow torch and wood chips. Soon after, we were served the 'Smoke & Mirrors' which had a medley of flavours-  Charred Pineapple, apricot kernel syrup, lemon juice, raisins, paprika and Jameson Irish Whisky.. garnished with smoked Lapsang Soughing..  

Before we could get on to the desserts, I spotted a table in the far corner where a drink was being made, there was fire and I could smell cinnamon.. I made a beeline to observe how the  'Jameson Blue Blazer'  was being made. It was a cocktail invented back in the 1860's and consisted of Flamed Irish Whisky taken to a whole new level with spices, lemon and orange zests, cassia, pepper, nutmeg and apple slices. It was served with a piece of Earth Loaf Artisan 'Himalayan Fruit and Nut Chocolate'. I was told to take a sip of the drink and a bite of the chocolate to enjoy the experience

Are we done yet? No way.... Jameson and Chocolate Granita, a pre dessert came along bringing with it the desserts-  Swiss Chocolate and Jameson Brule.. This was followed by 'Petit Fours' and 'Irish Coffee'... and with that the evening was a wrap~



Priced at INR 2999/- per person, the festivities are on till the 26th June
Only for dinner: 7.00 pm onwards

Address:
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, 
TTK Road, 
Austin Nagar, Alwarpet, 
Chennai
Ph- 044 2499 4101

Friday, June 3, 2016

Street food- Jhalmuri in Haridwar

It was our second evening in Haridwar and we were headed back to Har Ki Pauri as friend wanted to do some shopping and we wanted to catch some of the street food available out there. As we walked towards the bridge, we came upon a Jhalmuri vendor standing near the steps along the river Ganges. 

You don't need to be hungry for street food, right? So, we went ahead and bought two packets of it. It was priced at Rs20 each and was quite a large portion. The man said he had been making it there for years now and promised us we would love it. His puffed rice barrel said "Ghalmudi Bhelpuri" on it..  I thought maybe thats how the called it around these parts of the country and left it at it.. 




From what I knew, Jhalmuri is similar to Bhel Puri, just slightly different with a different name. The street food snack originates from Kolkatta and is quite popular in that state. Like its close cousin Bhelpuri, this is made with puffed rice as well. The puffed rice is tossed with potato, raw mango, cucumber, tomatoes combined with a medley of spices and sauces. The one thing that stands out in this chat is the use of mustard oil. 

It was fascinating watching him put it together, a sharp small knife was used to chop up the veggies, he had a number of boxes hanging from the side of his cycle that held the various condiments that went into the dish and bottles that held the sauces. He even added a few pieces of raw mango and sweetly held off on coriander cos I requested the same. There was one container that held wooden spoons as well.. What a fun set up~






Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Top 3 favourite places for breakfast in Chennai

Breakfast like a king, right.. But what about the times when you don't have anything exciting at home or even the boring cornflakes box stares at you with is stiff empty face. Best to head out and have a good breakfast. No better way to kick start the day than with a masala omelette or a good toast with jam and a cup of hot cappuccino. Or maybe your thing is a hot masala dosa and filter kaapi, well whatever be your thing, go for it~ 




On the other hand, there are a few places in the city that offer weekend brunches, which are good,but then those are ideally for a lazy weekend, when you are up late and you look forward to a relaxed day ahead with no agenda. You can then get dressed and head out to one of the five star hotels for a lazy lavish brunch around 11.30am/12pm, and wind up by 3 or so...  But that is not what this post is about. I shall share the top 3 places where I love to have breakfast in Chennai during weekdays... 


The distinct black compound walls, the simple white structure is what you will see as you step into the space.  On the ground floor are two stores- Anokhi & Amethyst, where you will find a collection of clothes, jewellery and knick knacks. As you go up the flight of stairs, you will see the Chamiers store and the cafe adjoining it.  The cafe opens at 8am and is a small cozy one at that. 

I have been going here for years now and must say it is one place that I enjoy going back to. There have been days when I would have a few hours between work or meetings, and I end up working out of this cafe. They do offer Wifi as well, just need to ask for the password! [for a small charge]


Cheese and jalepeno waffle..

Sundried tomato sandwich..

Spanish breakfast...


The food- Their menu is quite elaborate and there is a wide range available for vegetarians.  

  • Sandwiches- the sun dried tomato, mozzarella is their best
  • Waffles- they have chocolate and savoury waffle with jalepenos and cheese, both of which are highly recommended.
  • Potato wedges, hash browns are a few sides that have been tried and approved as well :D
  • Cappuccino
  • Hot chocolate
  • Masala Chai
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Healthy drinks- Green colada [spinach based] or Carrot orange juice are an option. 


For those who eat egg [like me], they can whip up Masala omelette with a side of toast or you could try the Spanish Breakfast- potato braves with color peppers and egg on top [ I had it during a recent visit and loved it] 

Beverages:
Take your pick from the range offered.  

Falooda- During a recent visit, friend ordered the falooda which came with mango ice cream.. It was sinful~

Portions-
The portions are huge, so you can be assured of a full happy tummy which will make sure you have a good day ahead~ 

Price:
Rs300-500 per person

Note:
Everyday they place a special menu on the table, make sure to give it a glance before switching over to the menu card!

Address: Old #79 New #106, Chamiers Road, Nandanam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600028
Phone:044 2431 1496

2. Jonah's Meets Chef Willi


Tucked away inside Kasturi Rangan road, on the 1st floor, Jonah's is a new entry in this area but a good one at that. As you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by plush interiors, lush blue coloured sofas and wooden panels. Not to forget the shelves between the rooms with a whole bunch of books and art pieces.. Some of the books are quite good, perfect reading while you wait for your dishes to arrive[ for someone who is a book worm like I am]..   

Onto the food, their breakfast menu is not extensive but it is impressive. There are enough options for both sides of the fence- Vegetarians and Non vegetarians. I am a veg, and i picked the mushroom on toast from the menu along with a cup of hot coffee.  The dish came with Italian Soda bread, the name had me curious. 


The portion sizes are fairly large, so if you are not ravenous or really hungry, make sure to just order one and share with your company. Mine came looking beautiful and generous. The bread was wow- it had a rugged look, and taste was quite unique, none like what I have had before. The coffee was piping hot, with just the right amount of froth! 


Recently we were here over a weekend and discovered they have launched a breakfast buffet, priced at Rs399/499.. It was quite good, not too many items and the ones that were there was good.. well worth the price.. The desserts are from their standard bar [from Bakers street, pondicherry], and are yummy as ever.. 






Portions-
The portions are very generous , so you can be assured of a full happy tummy which will make sure you have a good day ahead~ 

Price:

Rs 500- 600 per person

Address: No.29, 1st Floor, Kasturi Rangan Road, Poes Garden, Alwarpet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018
Phone:044 4305 3030


3. Sangeetha /O Kadey's, R A Puram

There are times when you crave for a good dosa or vada and those are times we head straight to one of the Sangeetha's.. Invariably it has been the one in R A Puram, which is convenient for most people. We have had breakfast at the adjoining O Kadey's as well and must say their food quality is phenomenal [across locations]. 

My favourite here are
1. Masala Dosa
2. Sambar Vadai [ i make it a point to tell them to hold off on the coriander.. i don't like it]
and what  visit is complete without the hot filter kaapi... 

Portions-
Total value for money, the portions are good and sides are yummy as well- chutneys and sambar .

Price:
Rs200-300 per person





Address:
#10/2 4th Main road, 3rd Cross Junction,R.A Puram Chennai- 28
Ph- 044-24934403, 24956034


What else would you add to this or what has your experience at any of these places been like? Would love to know.. do share in the comments.. 

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