How about Biriyani for Breakfast ? Hotel Pandia's, Washermenpet

How about Biriyani for Breakfast ? Hotel Pandia's, Washermenpet

On Sundays, I greet the Sun only after 10.30 am. If I am out of my bed "early morning 7 am" on Sundays, that would be only for food. I was craving for a good meaty breakfast and was ready to sacrifice my Sunday sleep for that. From one end of the city, drove all the way to the other end, picked up my PIC and came back to central. The place which I wanted to check out was closed on account of new moon day. Hey I am not a person who looks for full moon/new moon/ Tuesday/Friday to eat meat okay. Shab suggested that we check out Pandia's. More than that suggestion "Breakfastku biriyani irukkum" is what calmed down my murderous rage.

From Central, we went to Hotel Pandia's at Washermenpet. I was still disappointed and was worried that my sacrifice would go waste. Upon entering the place, we were shown the family room dining area. I was told that every Wednesday and Sunday they serve turkey biriyani. Alas it wasn't available when we asked for. Ordered a mutton biriyani, mutton korma, paya, idiyappam, mutton chops and egg dosai.

First to arrive on the table was the mutton biriyani. Not the usual spicy, fragrant biriyani. It was mild on spice and aroma, non greasy, nil irritants yet flavourful with melt in the mouth kind of meat. Every mouthful clubbed with the korma or paya it tasted absolutely delicious.

Mutton Korma won my heart instantly. Boy o Boy. Such a creamy, coconut-y smooth korma with soft chunks of mutton was such a delight to eat. Be it with idiyappam or the biriyani or egg dosai, I couldn't stop myself from having this beauty. Never had such a stunning dish in recent times.

Paaya was not like the usual ones I have had so far. This paaya had pepper dominating the palate. Even the gravy wasn't thick but it was absolutely delicious. Especially when had with the biriyani it was vera level.

Mutton chops was good. Again think gravy but spicy and tangy as well I liked it a lot. It went really well with the egg dosai. Egg dosai was huge, thin and well seasoned.

That was a sumptuous breakfast. Worth sacrificing the Sunday sleep :P and travelling all the way to the other end of the city. Service was slow and grumpy in the beginning, with the waiters fighting in between them about how they are over working. At the end of the meal, we were able to see them smiling. Paid 1200 in total along with a few take away.

Nellai Vairamaligai, T.Nagar

Nellai Vairamaligai, T.Nagar

Couple of weeks back few people notified me that VairaMaligai restaurant, a famous and iconic restaurant in Tirunelveli has opened in T.Nagar. Though they couldn't confirm the franchise/originality of the one in Chennai, they vouched for the taste at Nellai branch. Me and my PIC zeroed in this place for our dinner meet. This place is located on Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar opposite to Vidyodaya school. Brightly lit and a simple interior with about 4 tables at ground floor. I guess they do have dining space at first floor too, but isn't fully functioning yet.

Very limited menu could be a setback to get repeated customers. Few varieties of parottas, dosai and nattukozhi roast are the things available. They serve chicken gravy and veg kuruma along with what they call as chicken podi/chicken thokku/kuzhambu (yep. Three names from two waiters :P). We ordered Naatukozhi roast and cutting chicken. The big difference between both the dishes is that the former is the leg of the naatukozhi roast whereas the other one is the same cut into pieces (That meesai vecha chandiran, meesai illana indiran moment :P). Duh!! So much for variety eh? Well about the taste, all I could feel was the strong coconut oil flavour. Nothing else.

Regarding the parotta, it wasn't upto the mark for a place which claims to be specialist in parotta. The gravy too didn't have much flavours to talk about. Veechu Parotta was better out of all the stuffs we had. The ceylon parotta had the same nattukozhi roast as stuffing along with egg. Again except the coconut oil domination nothing home to write about. Salna parotta was decent with the parotta soaking up the salna very well. Egg dosai was okayish. Could've been nice to see some seasoning sprinkle over the egg. But that's my personal preference.

Service was quick and attentive. Total bill was around 700 odd bucks. Though the parottas works out cheaper than the other leading chain from Kutralam, I would prefer the later anytime for parotta and gravy. With limited menu and missing wow factor in their USP dishes, I'm not keen on going back again.

The Bohri Kitchen Pop Up at Ashvita Bistro, Chennai

The Bohri Kitchen Pop Up at Ashvita Bistro, Chennai

When my Partner in crime asked me about checking out the Bohri Kitchen Pop Up at Ashvita Bistro, I immediately jumped in. I missed trying their food couple of years back and didn't want to repeat the mistake.

By all means, this is my first experience with Bohri Cuisine. I was looking forward for the experience of eating from the Thaal. A form of communal eating, where a group of people share their food from a single large plate. While the arrangement at Ashvita seemed to be for five people eating out of a thaal, it was just the two of us sharing it. Didn't feel weird that way :P

Dinner was presented by Mr.Khadeer, CTO (Chief Tasting Officer) of TBK. He was patient enough to answer all those questions we kept shooting. As per Bohri tradition, we were asked to start the food with a pinch of salt which acts as the palate cleanser. The condiments like dry fruit & khajur chutney, pineapple & boondhi raita, kokum aloo, mint chutney, kachumber raita and raw onions were placed on the thaal. The kokum aloo and pineapple raita were too yumm. The Bohras start their food with desserts. But due to customer preferences/earlier experiences, they started with the Kharaas aka the savoury dishes. The first one to arrive was the Mutton Kheema Pattice. Smoked minced mutton stuffed inside a potato mash, dipped in egg and bread crumb deep fried tasted good with a subtle smoky flavour and spices. Breaking the pattice and squeezing little lemon over it as suggested by Khadeer did bring out the flavours well. The chicken Russian cutlets were too yumm. Soft cutlets made of shredded chicken, vegetables and white sauce was melt in the mouth type.

The beauty of the experience is the continuous change of flavours/textures in the courses. After the Kharaas it was time for Meethas. Beetroot Halwa was the sweet served to us. Halwa wasn't too sweet and beetroot dominated the dish as it should. The generous addition of nuts gave a wonderful texture to the halwa.

Pre Main course or Pre-Jaman was the Raan in Red Masala. Raan marinated for over 18 hours, cooked for about three hours starting with boiling then roasting followed by steaming. This tedious process of cooking results in the fall off the bone kind of meat in a lip smackingly delicious masala. While the description said that the raan will be served with salli wafers, what we got was the fries. It was indeed weird to eat fries with Raan but the awesome gravy made up to it.

Main course was the dum cooked mutton biriyani. A little dry, kacha style layered biriyani that was less spicy, nil irritants with rose water dominating the taste. May not be a preference for Chennaites, but I guess it's an acquired taste. We were served pink guava and alphonso mango gelatos from Ashvita Bistro along with lemon sodas.

We paid 3800 bucks for two of us. While I had no complaints with the food served, I feel it would be great to see one or two additional desserts and drinks in the menu for the price. Otherwise, unlimited food from a cuisine which we don't get to have in Chennai for this price, I don't mind paying it for the experience.

TBK Pop Up is open for lunch and dinner till tmrw (25-03-2018) priced at 1799 plus taxes at Ashvita Bistro, Alwarpet.

New Pattukottai Kamatchi Mess, T.Nagar

New Pattukottai Kamatchi Mess, T.Nagar

As a foodie, I've slowed down a lot in 2018 and to add to that, I've become lazy to pen down the experiences I had at the very few places I visited in the last two months. Hoping to shed that laziness and keep this page alive and cooking :P

So I had a lunch date with my brother and dad. Since dad wants to stick to South Indian meals most of the time, I decided to check out this place which has been receiving a lot of positive reviews consistently. In fact my PIC (Partner In Crime) was strongly recommending this place to me. Located in the by lanes, off venkat narayana road (google maps is your best bet) this place serves only lunch. If you are taking your car then you may have to wait for about 20 minutes to figure out where to find the driver for Valet parking. It was almost full by 1pm and we were shown tables in the first floor.

Non Veg Meals with different side dishes (like a combo) is the concept here. They claim to serve 9 gravies along with the rice, kootu and poriyal, karuvadu thokku and curd and a side dish of our choice. Side dish alone is limited. We settled for A Kadai sukka meals, mutton sukka meals and fish fry meals. Along with this we also ordered mutton kola and kari omelette.

Piping hot rice is served little by little and they inform that they have 9 gravies and they insist to try everything. Out of the gravies I had loved the prawn gravy (super spicy), crab gravy (fresh and lip smacking good), kaadai gravy and meen kuzhambu (very thing and tangy). Mutton sukka was more of a semi gravy type even though the mutton was soft and delivered a perfect peppery flavour. Quantity was also quite less. Kaadai sukka that came along with the meals was simply yumm. Melt in the mouth kind of meat with a nice roasted texture, I loved it. Fish fry was completely different from what I had tasted so far. The fish was fresh, thick & big slice, perfectly cooked with an amazing marination. Kola urundai was crispy on the outside and soft inside. Kari omelette was too good loaded with bite sized mutton pieces. A special mention to their karuvattu thokku which can be eaten as such :P

So everything was good about the meals? Food wise yes. But service was a big let down. It was as slow as it can get and we had finished about 3 gravies with rice before the sides came. We had to keep reminding them about our other orders. The entire floor (about 7-9 tables) were managed by just two people. One to serve rice and the other gravies. This led to a delay in serving the gravies. We really got fed up and moved to curd without tasting about 3-4 gravies. They are new and may be teething issues, but it is definitely annoying when u sit in front of leaf waiting for about 10 minutes for someone to bring the gravy you asked for. If they could fix this issue and pump up the service, this would be my go to place for non veg meals anyday :)

Paid 1200 bucks for all these along with one beeda.

Sri Sasthalaya Catering @ Naradha Gana Sabha - Sabha Canteen Roundup 2017

Sri Sasthalaya Catering @ Naradha Gana Sabha - Sabha Canteen Roundup 2017

Honestly, this year I'm not that keen in checking out the Sabha canteens the way I did for the last couple of years. Last year I found the food to be mediocre. But just to stick to the custom, I decided to check out Sri Sasthalaya catering at Naradha Gana Sabha, as last year during our sabha hopping I found them to be the best out of the four we tried.

First disappointment was no meals until 25th December due to restrictions from the sabha management. They were serving mini meals, dosa varieties and other quick bites. Settled for a mini meals and a plate of puliyodharai. Mini meals priced at 180 bucks has a chappathi, kuruma, 3 variety of rice (puliyodharai, sambhar sadham & curd rice) and a poriyal. Puliyodharai was the rice of the day. Everything tasted just average.

Vegetable vadai was hot and crisp. That's all about it. Vazhai poo vadai tasted more like the milagu vadai available in temples. Makkan peda was the new name given to gulab jamun. Carrot halwa was pretty good. Filter coffee was okayish. Paid 500 bucks in total for all these. Altogether the wow factor was missing in the food. An average fair, with spiked rates was not what I was expecting. 

Christmas Special @ Gossip Bistro

Christmas Special @ Gossip Bistro

Festivals to me is all about the mouthwatering food. Last year I was awestruck by the Christmas buffet at Gossip Bistro. This year, in addition to the buffet (on 24th dinner and 25th lunch) Gossip has come up with an awesome menu which will be served till the end of this month. The moment I saw their House special menu, I was eyeing the duck :) Made it for lunch yesterday and boy oh boy yet another satisfying meal at my favourite place.

Ordered a portion of duck, turkey and rum fruit cheesecake from the special menu along with double cooked mussels, coffee mutton and a baked lemon tart from the regular menu.

Roasted duck with orange and red wine jus served along with potatoes and vegetables. The meat was tender and juicy with perfect caramelisation and I loved the jus. The mildly sweet and perfectly orange-y jus complimented the meat very well. I could even drink that :P

Turkey rolls stuffed with mince and liver were served with cranberry jus. I don't eat spare parts and hence just tasted the cranberry jus alone which was very good. Friend gave thumbs up for the turkey

Right from the day, the new menu was launched (which is about 6-8 months) I was literally dying to try this dish. Coffee Mutton. Yep you read it right. Tender chunks of mutton roasted and served in a sauce made of filter coffee and rum. It was heavenly. The coffee kick was mild at the same time, did justice to the name. Loved it to the core. And this dish is going to be my regular order at Gossip henceforth.

Double cooked mussels was highly recommended by my partner and I wasn't disappointed. Steamed and batter fried mussels served with tomato chilli dip and tartare dip was as fresh as it can get.

The rum fruit cheese cake was X-mas in a plate. Loved the mild kick of rum in the cheesecake with the rum soaked fruit mixture on top and the oh-so-buttery crust. It was just mind blowing

The baked lemon tart, again recommended by Shab was the best I've had in recent times. The buttery tart complimented the tangy lemon curd filling very well. Perfect balance. My new favourite at Gossip :)

Paid 2400 bucks in total for all these and also I got to taste few more dishes which I loved absolutely.

Don't miss their elaborate Christmas buffet. The menu is just stunning with smoked salmon, crabs, beef and much more :)

Merry X-Mas all :)