Opening a new restaurant in Chennai nowadays is becoming similar to a new movie release. Somebody runs trailer in food groups (mostly FB), and there is a lot of expectations created on the restaurant. Some of them stand to the hype. Some fail miserably. This one restaurant had similar ravings in Facebook. I wanted to try this for a long time (since the opening). Yesterday decided to have dinner here with dad, bro and my kid. Did it stand up to the hype or not? Go on. Read and find it out :)

Pleasant and beautiful interiors, tasteful cutlery and a menu with exotic dishes (atleast by name and description) it passed the first round. We ordered Nattukozhi soup with egg drops, Kayiru katti kola urundai, mirapakka kozhi, vanjiram fry and chettinad bashed potatoes to start with. The soup tasted good. Bro and dad felt it was not hot enough and above all Junior found couple of bones. I've never come across bones in soups, don't know whether its acceptable. The kayiru katti kola urundai was exccellent. Tender meat with right amount of spices that melts in ur mouth. But i find the kayiru aka thread a bit messy. Removing them and eating the urundai is one hell of a task. The mirapakka kozhi was okay. I felt the chicken was not marinated properly and it was not at all spicy as the waiter mentioned when we were ordering. The potatoes were good and the dip that came along with the potatoes was too good. Instead of serving them as whole (baby potatoes), i feel it would be better if the slice them in two and serve it. This way the spices will blend very well. Just a thought. The fish fry i didnt like it. It was hard and rubbery (maybe overcooked??!!). Of all the places i've had fish so far (and that'll come around 4 or 5), I love the vanjiram fry in Junior Kuppanna. For a person who is just trying out with fish, i felt the ones served in JK is juicy and tasty.

Along with the starters, we also ordered a couple of drinks. One was the panagam which was way below average. It lacked a punch (of lime, cardamom and sukku podi) and it tasted simply like a jaggery water :( The other one was Bovonto with icecream which was okay. Being a bovonto fan I can handle it in any form :)

The best of the whole dinner was the main course. I saw this guntur chicken gravy in the menu and was inquiring the same with the waiter. When he told it will be too spicy, I just told him how the starter was. Then we ended up ordering plain aappam, egg aappam, kari dosai, poricha parotta along with nattukozhi kulambu and mamsam pulusu (mutton gravy). There were three chillies mentioned next to the mutton dish and I asked the waiter "Idhuvadhu karama irukkuma?" (meaning atleast will this be spicy?). He left with a smile. Then came all the dishes. Man!! The mutton graving was damn hot. It was very spicy, tender meat and paired up well with the poricha parotta and aappam. Dad was teasing like "U should've not made that comment about spiciness. I think they added extra chillies for you". LOL.

Every item we ordered in the main course was excellent. At this time we were completely full. How can we end the meal without desserts. We ordered Jigirthanda and Maplai style thirunelveli halwa. The jigirthanda came in glasses that were little larger than shot glasses :) Taste was ok. But not like the one I had in Madurai (famous jigirthanda and other shops). The other one was tirunelveli halwa deconstructed. Tea kadai style butter/salt biscuits topped with sticky peanut brittles and on top was sitting a dollop of halwa. Three such beauties served with whipped cream, it was truly heaven.

We also had two plain parottas, veg kuruma and 2 jigirthandas parcelled. All these set us back by 3700 bucks. Though its okay for a fine dining, i felt the quantity can be increased a bit. Particularly on the starters and jigirthanda. For 40bucks u get a tall glass in madurai, which is more than twice that is served here.

And to mention two things i absolutely loved here. This resto plays tamil songs. That too good collection. When i was mokkifying poricha parotta with mutton and chicken gravies i was foot tapping for "Yathe yathe ennacho". I loved it. And secondly, almost all the waiters talk/understand tamil, which is becoming rare in Chennai fine dining scene. Overall experience was good, but was not upto the expectation set. Will I go back? Yes! Sometime later to see hows their lunch menu.

Place : Maplai
Cuisine : South Indian - Veg and Non - Veg
Location : Sterling avenue, Nungambakkam. Opposite to Loyala college.
Price : A complete meal for two may cost around Rs. 800 - 1000 approx

P.S : All opinions are based on personal experience only.


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Sunday brunch at Little Italy

Its been raining in Chennai for the past few days. Junior's school was working on Saturday to compensate the extra holidays due to rain during diwali season. Felt very sad as half my weekend was already taken away from me. So decided to have a soul lifting Sunday. What else cheers me up other than good food. This time it was Little Italy in Besant Nagar. We opted for the Sunday brunch as it seemed to be better than the price tag bomb in ala-carte menu. Wise decision it was ;)

We were asked to choose between two soups minestrone and red pumpkin. The later one was lip smackingly delicious. Junior cleaned his bowl in minutes. We had strawberry mocktail and sweet lemon juice as welcome drinks. I had the strawberry mocktail which was very good. Two plates of starters arrive. One had bruschetta, crostini and garlic bread with a dip. The other one seemed to be a mexican platter with nachos and cheese sauce, quesadillas and cheese corn balls. Nachos were thin and crisp. The star among the starters was the cheese corn ball. Take a bite, soft corns and oozing cheese it was the best I ever had.

The spread was decent. From bread basket with different two types of butter, mini salads, bite sized starters, cheese platter everything was good. They also had enchilladas with beans, parmejan, basil rice and thai curry. Enchilladas with beans was very good. With a live pasta counter having penne, fusilli and sphagetti and a wide spread of veggies to choose from. The cream sauce was too bland and tomato was so so. The pizzas were absolute delish. Thin crust with good amount of cheese and toppings i liked them more than the pastas.

The dessert counter was a bit disappointing. Not on taste. I personally felt a couple more things would have been nice. But u cant keep asking for more as there's a price tag for everything rite :) There was tiramisu, pannacotta, chocolate cupcake, caramel custard and ice-creams (strawberry and vanilla) with a large array of toppings. I had tiramisu, panacotta and caramel custard and liked all the three :)

Overall a wonderful experience.

Place : Little Italy
Location : Besant Nagar, off 2nd avenue, diagonally opposite to words and worths
Cuisine : Italian - Only Vegetarian
Price : The brunch is priced at Rs. 699 inclusive of taxes and for kids (aged between 2-10 years) it is 499.

P.S : All opinions are based on personal experience only. 


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