Habanero - Phoenix Market City Food Bloggers Meet 2015

As a part of food trails at Phoenix Market City at Velachery a bunch of us were invited for an interactive session with Chef Dan Durkin at Habanero. Habanero claims to be the first authentic Tex-Mex restaurant in Chennai featuring veg & non-veg fare under Mexican, Tex-Mex and Texas influenced American labels.

The place is very spacious and vibrant. With stewards donning the tex-mex outfits, those big hats and the ambiance was very appealing. While waiting for the chef we had a couple of mock-tails. The musk melon bassed mock-tail was good and refreshing. Once the chef arrived and after formal talks, he straight away jumped into the demonstration of Zucchini fritters with warm Tomatillo relish. The entire demo was very clear and we learned a lot about how Mexican & Indian Cuisine showcase a lot of common herbs & spices. Shrredded Zucchini with egg whites, pepper & bread crumbs were pan fried and served with a spicy and tangy relish made of roasted green tomatoes.

The Chipotle Chicken Skewers glazed with Chipotle honey sauce was sweet & spicy. The other dish was the Mexican coastal speciality - Basa fish rubbed in spices, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled, served along with cilantro pesto. This particlular dish resembled our very own Meen Pollichadhu, both lookwise and tastewise. We ended the meal with eye pleasing Tres Leches Cake and warm Churros with chocolate sauce.

Altogether it was an informative and fun evening...

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

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Hard Rock Cafe - Phoenix Market City Food Bloggers Meet 2015

There is a general misconception that Hard Rock Cafe is a place where you drink to your heart's content and listen to deafening music. Well I too had the same idea until I started seeing the pictures of the food they offer. When they opened in Chennai at Phoneix Market City, Velachery, I wanted to try the food. Friends and family denied my suggestion of dining at that place "What does a pub have to offer on food?"

When I was invited for a food bloggers meet at Hard Rock Cafe at Phoneix Market City, I happily said YES. Occupying couple of floors, the ground floor is the Rock Shop, the biggest Hard Rock merchandise store in India. The upper level is a 7700 square feet cafe that can accommodate 120 guests and a live entertainment space that features Chennai's unique local music scene. I was early as usual and Sankar joined me shortly. While waiting for the others, we were offered mock-tails. I had a Mango berry cooler and Sankar had Strawberry based mock-tail. Mango berry cooler was a mix of mango, strawberry and pineapple and tasted refreshing. People started arriving and everyone seemed to enjoy their drink.

Mango Berry Cooler

Mint Cooler

Cranberry Mocktail
Shortly Chef Ganesh joined us along with Mr. Niranjan, Manager for South Zone. They were explaining how Hard Rock cafe was started by Issac & Peter in London and what was the motto of the cafe. They explained HRC was always about food and music & not only alcohol. We were handed over the offerings for that day and the chef gave an quick intro on their speciality. We learnt that all the seasoning and sauce are made in house. We started off with Jumbo Combo - a delectable array of HRC's most popular starters. It had Santa Fe Spring Rolls served with chipotle ranch salad, Chicken Wings with blue cheese sauce, Onion Rings with BBQ sauce, Potato skins with Bacon bits along with sour cream and Tupelo Chicken tenders. I loved the onion rings. It was crunchy and crispy and the best I've had so far. The chicken wings were good and the blue cheese sauce/dip was divine. The Tupelo Chicken tenders was well done with a crisp & crumb outside. We were also served Nachos with sour cream, salsa and diced chicken.

Later we were brought The Legendary Burger & Grilled Mediterranean Linguine with options of grilled shrimps/tenderloin along with creamy pasta with grilled chicken/cottage cheese. The Legendary Burger was truly legendary. With juicy & well seasoned beef patty along with bacon & crispy onion rings & cheddar cheese it was simply good. Next to the burger the Linguine stole my heart. Super light pasta with fresh greens & mushrooms in a garlic based sauce with olives & parsley garnished along with the grilled meat, it was super light and delicious. On the other hand the creamy pasta was damn creamy, screaming calories and was very heavy.

Grilled Mediterranean Linguine with grilled shrimps

Grilled Mediterranean Linguine with Grilled Tenderloin

We ended the meal with oh so chocolatey brownies with vanilla ice cream & whipped cream. The Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae was so good that we couldn't stop eating it. Be it the chopped walnuts or the fudge sauce or the chocolate sprinkles every element was contributing to the sundae.

After the dinner, we learned a lot about the functioning of Hard Rock Cafe. Initially I was wondering why an International Cafe has a temple like structure at the reception. It was explained by Mr. Niranjan, that every Hard Rock Cafe has its own resemblance of a monuments that is special to that region. Since Chennai/TamilNadu is famous for temples, this HRC is designed to resemble the temple doors. This is one of the 6M motto of HRC. We were also given a quick tour on the handpicked pieces of memorabilia from Hard Rock's iconic collection.

Since this was an invited dinner, I can't talk about pricing. But taking a look at the menu, I find the pricing, a little bit on the higher side. But given the portion size and the taste, I feel it will be definitely worth when dined in groups. Service was super attentive and the staff are well aware of their offerings and their suggestions on mocktail worked out very well.

Place                : Hard Rock Cafe
Location            : Phoenix Market City. Velachery
Cuisine              : Cafe with International Veg & Non - Veg dishes
Cost                  : A meal for two would come around 1800 approximately

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

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Bombay Brasserie - Anniversary Lunch

My idea of roof top dinner for our wedding anniversary was ruled out by hubby. He took the day off, but he had to attend some calls around dinner time. So we thought why not lunch? That too came with area restriction, as he was expecting some issues from office (Did I say that he took the day off? Well now you know what is "taking a day off" for him :P ). Since I've tried out almost all the places in Adyar and this place was the new kid on the block, I thought why not? And we landed in Bombay Brasserie for lunch.

Being located on Sardar Patel Road, with valet parking is a big big advantage I say. The looks from outside may be highly deceiving. Its a house converted into a restaurant and the rooms that keep popping up until you reach the large dining area explains that. We got seated in the large area, which was super bright. Thanks to the large glass windows on one side. The ambiance is top notch. White walls, adorned with colourful pictures and the splash of colours on the furnitures were simply amazing.

A foodie friend of mine, who happened to be friends with the owner, had informed about our visit there. I don't know whether the service is usually like this (as I found the other customers were also pampered like us). If it is so, woah!! u get to have a royal treatment :) The menu card is huge with lots of option of vegetarians as well. It takes quiet sometime to navigate through the menu. We chose to have Nariyal Aur Sabz Shorba - a soup made of tender coconut water and veggies. It was a thin soup with carrot and beans. It was very mild in flavour. Though I couldn't find anything wrong with the soup, it was not of our liking. Sometimes when we try new stuffs, it'll either floor us or will fail to impress us. This soup fell in the second category. For starters, I wanted to try the paneer. Hubby is not a big fan of paneer dishes. Also, I get to choose only the non-veg starters & the veg section is his. We got tandoori gobi & Murg Soola kebab. Both of them were excellent. The murg soola kebab was brilliant. Soft & juicy well marinated chicken was melt in the mouth kinda one. The tandoori gobi, marinated with green herbs was very different and well done. In both the dishes, the marination was perfect.

For main course, we had a romali roti, ulta tawa paratha, makhana methi mutter and Bombay chicken biriyani. Romali roti was thin and soft. The tawa paratha was very soft too with a mild saffron flavour. The methi mutter was creamy with good amount of peas and puffed lotus seeds. The peas was soft while the lotus seed gave a nice crunch to the gravy. The curry was good on its own. But it didn't go well with the breads. That's because of the mild spicy nature of the curry. We saw this coming while ordering and didn't care about it. 

The biriyani was just brilliant. I usually don't like what is served as biriyani in restaurants that specialise in North Indian. I feel they serve pulao as biriyani. Well at least for us biriyani is completely different. This biriyani was done as potli biriyani. The pot is sealed with a maida base and is cooked in the oven. Once the maida seal was broken, the aroma filled up in the air and I started salivating. The biriyani was in layers. I've never had meat that was so soft, tender and juicy and well marinated in biriyani so far. The chicken was perfectly done, that you could slice it up with a spoon just like cutting through a piece of cake. On spice level, the biriyani was neither too spicy nor less. The first serving of raitha was a bit watery but the second serving was perfect.

I also had a sherbet. The kache aam ka sherbet was good with the tangy-ness from the raw mango and the mild kick of heat from the spices. I was so full by the time. Yet wanted to try the desserts. So decided to have a amritsari kulfa. It's a fusion of kulfi and falooda. The presentation of the dish was the highlight. It came over a bowl of dry ice. The smoke put up a good show. But the dessert was just average. I didn't find it to be "to die for" kind as my fellow foodies were raving about it. Instead I loved the ras-e-aam, rosgollas with rabdi and aam ras to be too too good.

The overall damage was 2.3k, which is definitely on the higher side. For this price I would like to see little more on the plate (We always do that know :P). But for the service, quality and taste, it feels okay to pay that amount.

Place          : Bombay Brasserie
Location      : Sardar Patel Road, Adyar.
Cuisine        : North Indian Veg & Non - Veg
Cost            : A meal for two would cost 2k approximately

P.S : The write up is based on personal experience only. Bombay Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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