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. 


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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 :) 

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IceKraft, T.Nagar

After a disastrous lunch, with mountainous hope we went to Icekraft at T.Nagar for desserts. Located in G.N.Chetty Road, a few buildings away from Border kadai, they've outdoor seating option along with the high chair indoor seating where you can get to watch the ice creams being made and a comfortable dining area at the first floor. We placed our orders and paid for it and we were told that it'll be served to us at first floor.

Black Triple Threat Ice cream :

Watching this being prepared is quite fascinating. Even though I'm not a big fan of cold stone concept, I was pretty excited for the flavour. Charcoal. But taste wise it wasn't impressive. I couldn't get the charcoal flavour nor any other chocolate in the ice cream. The only thing that felt good was the crunch from oreo and chocolate chips. Left half of the ice cream as it is.

Black Chocolate Monster freak shake :

My previous two experiences with the monster shakes were too bad. Surprisingly I liked the monster shake here. Out of all our orders this was the only one which I managed to finish half of it. That's because of the predominant Nutella flavour and nothing else :P

Red Velvet Oreo fries :

Pure disaster. All I could feel was the taste of oil and nothing else.

Churro Pancake :

While Shab was deeply analysing the components of this horror and trying to figure out what was wrong with this, one bite of it and all I could think was how to spit it :( It felt like chewing uncooked dough. I don't want to talk more about it.

Paid 800 bucks for all these. 240 bucks for the ice cream seems to be pretty pricey. Overall didn't have a good experience. Since I tried only the black range, I don't want to comment on the place yet. Still the black range alone, I feel its just eye candy. 

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Catching up with my bestie/partner in crime after 3 months, we were looking for a place to talk. Even though I had lots of places in my bucketlist that has to be checked, relaxed-talking took the front seat and we decided to check out this new place in Adyar. Located next to Odyssey in Gandhi Nagar, this place was bright with about 3-4 tables. I remember reading about their games/engage in conversations kind of USP through couple of reviews in WCE. In spite of we being the only customers at that time, no one really bothered to explain their USP. Fine. At the end of the day we were there for food and nothing else.

Drinks :

Orange Soda & Berry Iced tea. The berry iced tea was a disaster. The powder wasn't dissolved properly and it completely spoiled the drink. And it also made the simple soda + orange syrup drink tasted great (Pure comparison mode).

Snacks :

A monk's glee. This is steamed chickpeas, roasted with masala. While I really loved the spicy masala, the chickpeas wasn't roasted properly. It was hard and chewy resulting in a painful jaw.

The Dog's Staff - Crunchy crumb fried chicken sausage. The only dish I liked out of all our orders. It had a good crunch to it and surprisingly the crumb layer carried a good seasoning to it. Both the dips didn't have any flavour and in that way both were identical. Asked for a spicy dip and was given a sweet-chilli dip which did help in finishing of the snack.

Smoking Hot Wings : I was wondering why these wings were served on such a heavy sizzler plate which was cold. Later while looking at the menu, which read the wings are served on a hot plate :O :O and we weren't asked preference for the sauce too. So not sure which sauce we ended up eating. The wings were decent and delivered a sweetish-tangy flavour.

Mains :

Ham & Cheese Sandwich - Grilled sandwich (herbed/olive focaccia bread) had few slices of tomatoes and ham with minimal cheese. I couldn't get to taste the Gruyere cheese as mentioned in the menu and could feel only cheddar. The basil in the sandwich was quite overpowering.

Couscous Dieting Roasted Chicken - This is roasted chicken served with couscous and a gravy of our choice. We opted for the brown gravy. Every single element in the plate was a bad news. The gravy tasted as it was concentrated broth (the maggi type ones). Way too salty. The roasted baby potatoes had no salt and or other seasoning to it and the olive oil was overpowering. Who serves tomato masala based couscous (tasted literally like our tomato rice) with roasted chicken. A simple herbed/garlic flavoured one would've been appreciated. The main focus of the dish. The roasted chicken. What a shame it was. A look at the picture would help you to understand the portion. Believe me when I say that we left the entire portion as it is. One bite of the meat, I decided I wont' even take another bite. Meat wasn't tender (forget the fall off the bone kind of roasted chicken) and certainly didn't feel fresh.

Service :

The worst / clumsy kind I've experienced recently. Serving hot wings in a hot plate and there was no separate plates given to us. How can one expect to eat it straight out of the dish. Cutleries weren't kept on the table and had to repeatedly ask them. When you've multiple flavours on an item, are you not supposed to ask the customer's preference/choice when they don't mention it? Customer leaves a main course untouched and you don't even care to ask why? So much of attitude for a new place :O

Paid 1400 bucks for these. Absolutely not worth the money at all. 

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Mezze, RA Puram

I remember a place called "Cedars" in Kotturpuram which used to serve a full fledged Mediterranean cuisine. That was some 10 years back. After that I haven't come across a place that's fully dedicated to Mediterranean cuisine. Mezze, a recent addition to the food scene of Chennai does that. We checked this place on a fine Sunday afternoon. Located in RA Puram, this is a small place with hardly 4-5 tables and a limited menu. We waited for about 10 minutes for the table.

Started our lunch with Falafel, hummus, harissa dip. Felt the hummus to be a tad bit salty. But liked the texture and it went well with the falafel and soft and fresh pitas. Falafels were pretty small but was packed with perfect flavours. I loved the harissa dip. The taste and texture was perfect and we had it literally with everything we ordered.

Chicken Lahmajoun was yummylicious. Cheesy and saucy with decent amount of meat on it. Shish Taouk, the garlic cream marinated chicken breast literally had no flavour even though the meat was tender. The Lebanese Garlic dip did help a bit to bring some flavour to the meat. The Hummus of the day and falafel sandwich tasted yumm even though it was kind of messy. Hummus of the day was hummus with sundried tomatoes. Since hubby doesn't like tomatoes much, we asked to make the sandwich the plain hummus. Our request was misunderstood and what arrived on the table was plain hummus alone. On pointing out the mistake, the reply was kind of a harsh advice on how to place an order. Like how a dad handles a hopeless teen. Thank god we weren't spanked :P :P 

Jalep, the dates drink was nothing extraordinary. Loved the strawberry frappe. Baklava was simply awesome with crisp phyllo pastry and chopped nuts.

Overall, a decent experience. I personally feel the portions to be less. Needs some tweaking here n there. Paid close to 2.1K for all these.

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Fish Curry & Idiyappam at a Kaiyendhi Bhavan, Thiruvanmiyur

I've had food at a handful of Kaiyendhi Bhavans across the city and not even once I was let down by the taste. I'm always amazed by the simple food and the humble people who cook it. Out of all the categories dining, I always find the service at Kaiyendhi Bhavans very caring and attentive. 

One fine day, I happened to see a drool worthy picture of Idiyappam and fish curry by a fellow Instagram-er. Enquired about the location of the Kaiyendhi Bhavan and decided to check them out. Yesterday myself and kiddo were returning from his classes and I was looking for a simple and pocket friendly dinner option. Was driving by the park near RTO and all of a sudden remembered about this place.

Location : When you take the left at RTO signal (while coming towards ECR), the first left, Bhagat Singh Road, the road before the park is where you can find this Kaiyendhi Bhavan.

Run by a sweet couple, this place serves idiyappam, idli, dosai varieties, chappati and eggs along with fish gravy/chicken gravy/ sambhar and two types of chutney. I asked for a plate of idiyappam (2 pcs) and idli (4 pcs). While serving the fish curry, she informed me that they have only podi meen (small fishes) and whether I would like to have them. I opted only for the curry. Super spicy, not so tangy, coconut based fish curry was super delicious along with the soft idlis and idiyappams. The gravy was like summa sullunu erudhu type. Perfect for the cold/rainy climate. Not the tangy thick ones we get here. That anna told me that it was Madurai style preparation. The chicken gravy was also very good with a strong masala flavour to it. Tried the Dosai too. Asked them to make a crispy one and they obliged. Loved it with the fish curry and the tomato chutney.

Paid 78 bucks for 2.5 plates of Idiyappam (Rs. 15 per plate / 8 per piece), 1 plate of idli (20 per plate) and 1 dosai (20 per dosai). The most satisfying dinner done within 100 bucks. Loved the couple's hospitality. They were very attentive and caring. Like parthu parthu serve panradhu.

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