Noodle King - Food bloggers/Reviewers meet

After a cheesy chocolate-y Saturday, Murthabak and Malaysian parotta Sunday, Monday was the time to be in the Darbar of Noodle King. When we were invited to try out the new menu at Noodle King, I was quiet skeptical for two reasons. My previous encounters with Noodle King at Ascendas was not so satisfying/pleasing. Second, the meet was scheduled at their Pallavaram outlet. Travelling all the way to Pallavaram, wading through the insane traffic, I was thinking about attending it again and again. You know the thing with foodies. You may think, you are strong minded, determined and all. But when it comes to food, you surrender without putting up a fight. And I was driving all the way from Besant Nagar to Pallavaram with a fellow foodie.

Noodle King has been in the market for a real long time. The last time I dined in the express counter at Ascendas was some 6-7 years ago. The one at Pallavaram stands at 1200 sq.ft including the kitchen and can accommodate about 35-40 people. The interiors are anything like a chines restaurant should be. Bright red and black combination with a splash of golden/yellow decors was simple and neat. We arrived there by 7.45 and was waiting for another gang to join us (which took almost a hour). We were killing the time by going through the beautifully done menu card along with a glass of refreshing, cold and sweet lime mint cooler.

The first starter and the rest of the gang arrived at the same time. We were a gang of seven with a single vegetarian. These are the things we had.

Starters :

Prawn Salt N Pepper - Crispy prawns with a sautéed mix of onions pepper and celery. The first portion was too salty. While the second portion was perfect. The prawns were crispy and good.

Malak Fish Strips - The fish strips were juicy and succulent, perfectly cooked and the hot dry chilli sauce did it's job perfectly. Thumbs up.

Don Bok Chicken -  Crispy chicken coated with pepper sauce came with onions and bell peppers. I loved this dish as the pepper flavour was too good. I'll definitely order this on my next visit. Thumbs up.

Five Spiced Crispy Corns - American sweet corn made crispy and tossed with Chinese five spice powder. Crunchy corn with a bit of sweetness was well balanced by the spices.

Tai Chin Mushroom - Crunchy mushrooms in hoisin chilli sauce, failed to impress.

Honey Chilli Cauliflower - Deep fried cauliflower with honey chilli sauce. Though the flavour was good, I felt it was too oily. I mean too oily even for a deep fried dish. Majority of the gang loved it.

Soup :

We were served  a clear broth with sliced chicken and fried garlic. It tasted how a clear soup would be tasting. Nothing special to mention.

Dim Sum :

Fortune Chicken Suimai - This is a traditional open faced dim sum with chicken filling. The filling was very good. Instead of minced chicken, the filling had diced chicken and some vegetables. I felt the wrapper to be a bit doughy though.

Exotic Vegetable Dim Sum - The regular dim sum with exotic vegetable filling. The broccoli flavour was over pouring. Lacked some salt, but tasted okay with the accompanying sauce. 

Main Course :

Kwailam Fish - Yet another star dish of the day. Slices of fish cooked in chilli bean sauce was so good. Again the fish was very well cooked and the sauce was too too good. It was so good, that we took some extra sauce alone to go with the noodles and the rice.

Kung Pao Chicken - One dish the whole gang was waiting for eagerly. And when it arrived, the very sight of it put me off. I expected a nice stir fry and what came was a gravy which was tasteless. The chicken was soggy and lacked flavour unlike the crispy and fiery ones I've tasted so far.

Stir - Fried Chicken with Spinach - Chicken and spinach cooked in a hint of sesame oil. To be frank, this dish was a wrong choice in the whole menu. As all the dishes were medium to high in spice level, packed with flavours, this dish didn't fit in. Though the chicken was tender and cooked well, somehow it failed to deliver.

Stir - Fried Exotic Vegetables - Again, this was not liked much as there was less to zero flavour. Also the salt was very less in this.

Crisp Fried Baby Corn, Mushroom and Cauliflower in Black Pepper Sauce - The gravy was hot and the veggies were crisp and well done.

Rice/Noodles :

Hunan Fried Rice - Flavourful rice with eggs and chicken. It had a mild burnt taste and was hot with the chillies and Szechwan pepper and a kick from the ginger.

Chow Mein - A pretty decent noodles with veggies. Felt the sesame oil to be a bit dominating.

Mee Hoon Dry Chilli - An average tasting rice vermicelli with dry chilli flakes and chicken.

Corn, Spinach and Mushroom Fried Rice - This somehow didn't stand up to the mark. The rice and vegetables didn't go well together and definitely lacked flavour.

Dessert :

Fried Ice Cream - Taste wise no complaints. I always love the fried ice cream at Cascade. This one came very close to that. But plating wise it could've been done better. Some fried cashews and coconut flakes would've really lifted the spirit of the dish.

Date Pan Cake - Perfect-o !!! Usually  the pan cakes will have a thick layer of filling in between a oily pastry. But this one was bang on. Thin layer of date paste in between flaky pastry was absolutely yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The staffs were very polite and obliged to all our requests. Service was very very quick, that at a point we had to hold them, as the table was flooding with dishes. We had a chat with the Chef and the marketing CEO. They took the feed backs positively and was explaining how they are planning to serve authentic Chinese that will satisfy different taste buds. Chef was explaining, how much time it took them to fine tune and finalise the menu. They also said, they are looking on starting a new outlet in central Chennai. All the best for them, with the new menu.

To summarise, the food was a mixed bag. With few outstanding dishes, few of them were good and few of them were a flop. Just concentrating on the salt/seasoning, I'm sure it will do great. And cost wise they are affordable and competitive when compared with the another brand that operates on the same USP in Chennai.

A neighbourhood restaurant, serving Chinese food at affordable rates.

Place     : Noodle King
Location : Pallavaram, When u come from airport, this one comes before the pallavaram bus stand on the right side.
Cuisine   : Chinese - Veg & Non - veg
Cost       : This time food was on house. By looking at the menu I'm damn sure that it's very affordable. A meal for 2 should come around 600-700 bucks

P.S : The write up is based on personal experience only.

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Dipping Pot - A Food blogers/reviewers meet

After ditching the 3 days detox plan for burgers, now it was time to do the same for Fondue :) And I'm not going to try the detox plan in the near future. At least for the next 2 months. A fellow foodie's friend's friend has started this new place called Dipping Pot and a bunch of us got invited for Saturday lunch. My prediction on traffic went wrong again and ended up 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Located on the one of the most popular roads in Chennai, the TTK road, this is very hard to miss. Luckily one parking slot was free and happily took it. Within 10-15 minutes time frame, people started arriving. And now we've become one hell of a gang that was hungry and ready to devour whatever that is about to be offered.

The cafe is of duplex model. 2-3 tables in the ground floor and the first floor can accommodate upto 20-25ppl. Interiors are done with a splash of purple. Black furnitures beautifully match the rustic wallpapers. The first thing that catches your attention are the mugs. Cute moustache painted mugs are definitely an attraction.

Dipping Pot is a speciality cafe serving cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. Also they've introduced table service chocolate fountain for the first time in Chennai. Mr. Yusuf, who owns the place gave us a quick tour on his experience in the food industry, what to expect from the place and what goes into the dishes n all. We started off with a fruit punch, virgin mojito and a cappucino (made of 100% arabica coffee beans). All the three were pretty good.

Later we moved on to the steaks and other stuffs. To start with the buffalo wings in bbq sauce was just mind blowing. Tender chicken wings in a sweet, tangy and hot sauce was finger licking good. The steaks here are served with mashed potatoes, grilled/sautéed veggies and couple of garlic breads. First came the fish n chips. The bassa fish was perfectly cooked and I personally felt that the seasoning was a tad bit salty (passable though) and some more heat would've taken the dish to another level (The every spicy Indian palette huh!!). But with the butter sauce it tasted great. The mashed potatoes were decent (little bit grainy though). The garlic breads were yumm. Crispy buttery with herbs and garlic it was spot on. Next came the beef steak with pepper & mushroom jus. The sauce was pretty good. The meat lacked juiciness to it and was dry and chewy. The chicken steak is also served with the same sauce. Somehow it missed a zing in it. We gave our feedbacks and Mr. Yusuf said that he'll work on them. We were also served a veg penne pasta in pink sauce. The pink sauce was basically a mixture of creamy white sauce and a tomato base as explained by Yusuf. The pasta was pretty decent. Would've been more good with some more cheese/cream in it.

Fondue is a Swiss, Italian and French dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove, and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union. Later the name "Fondue" has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid (Information sourced from Wikipedia).

Fondue being the speciality here, Mr. Yusuf mentioned that they serve the classic fondue (two types of melted cheese (Emmental and Gruyere) served with an assortment of veggies like baby carrots/potatoes/corns/olives/mushroom/cauliflower/broccoli and bread cubes) along with the Dipping Pot special fondue which has the peri peri powder in the cheese mix and the accompaniments are chicken nuggets, fish fingers and French fries with peri peri powder along with garlic bread and plain bread cubes. This will be heavenly for cheese lovers. Thanks god, the management kept in mind people like me before coming up with the menu. The Dipping Pot special fondue was far better than the classical one. The baby potatoes and garlic breads went well with the peri peri flavoured cheese. I couldn't say more on this as this is not my cup of tea. As a tradition, wine is served along with the fondue. Here they serve non-alcoholic version of white and red wine. 

The chocolate fondue is served in two flavours. Milk chocolate and white chocolate. Even you can opt for flavours in milk chocolate like blueberry, strawberry n all. The chocolate fondue is served along with cubes of soggy brownies (I felt the brownies to be pasty), kiwis, bananas, strawberries and chocolate cigars. I liked the bananas and kiwis. Strawberry was dominating the chocolate flavour. Cigars and brownies were average. Another highlight being the chocolate fountain served on the table. The miniature fountains are imported from US. It is such a sight to see the chocolates bubbling and flowing. I controlled my urge to dip my fingers and licking it :D The fondue and fountains comes in different portion sizes serving from 2 to a family.

Food was "On the house". So cannot comment on the pricing or service. Though they are open to public, they are not operating on a full swing. Expecting them to be fully operational in a week's time or so.

The concept of fondues and chocolate fountains are unique. Apart from this they also serve pizzas, sandwiches, pastas and so on. As of now they are having red velvet cheese cake and nutella cheesecake as a part of their dessert menu, which are sourced from a homebaker. I'm sure the kids will have fun in having their specialities. Give this place a try for their uniqueness. And don't forget, if you drop your bread in the pot, you may have to buy drinks for all :)

This place is situated on TTK road, opposite to the Raj park hotel.

Place        : Dipping Pot
Location   : TTK Road, Alwarpet
Cuisine     : Specialises in cheese and chocolate fondues. chocolate fountains and other continental foods. Veg & Non-veg included.
Cost         : It may be on the higher side. A meal for two should cost around 1500 - 1800

P.S : This write up is based on personal experience only. Food was on the house.

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