Text from friend – Have you been to Moonrakers?
Me: yes, ages ago with you!
Friend: Ah, would you wanna go again, this time with P in tow[her nearly 3yr old adorable brat]?
Me: yayy, lets go!
I was at her house by 5.30, we were packed and ready to scoot by 5.45.. And as we wove around the city traffic, we caught up on “life this week” and during the conversation somehow chat steered towards Shiraz cafe and that i had not visited the place. We drove down till Mahabs, did a U turn and drove into the lane that houses the Cholamanadalam Artists village.
I had visited the village with uncle aunt and cousin nearly a year ago, but the cafe was shut then. Last nite we parked near the Cafe entrance, and made a beeline for one of the comfy looking sofas inside. There was plenty of outdoor seating as welll, but it was dark and my friend preferred being in a lit place, esp with the little one running around…
Shiraz Cafe is an Iranian Cafe where they serve up quite a range of Arabic,Greek, Lebanese- Middle eastern and Iranian food.
The café is run by Farhad and Nasrin – a charming & friendly couple who hail from Iran, but have been in India for over 30years. Farhad mentioned that he took care of the art workshop while
Nasrin manages/cooks/plays the role off the perfect hostess at the cafe.
The bright yellow wall paper with the mosaic like patterns, the cute little tea pots, the vibrant red flowers in the vase, shelves laden with crockery, amidst which i spotted a tea pot, and right on top was a toy Motorbike… and ofcourse the music flowing in the back ground was just the perfect mood and setting. There was a huge table with a glass top that had engravings of patterns
in vivid colours, while mirror with adornments were found on the walls, each of which reflected the love for art and colours the couple had.. Not to
forget the cute doggie- Topoli, that curled up and slept like a baby against the
wall under a table.
As we walked in, we were greeted with star shaped cookies that just melted in our mouth. We were also offered a Granita kind of a drink made with Pink Guava, Barley water and Tulsi Seeds. It was such a refreshing drink…
Nasrin told us they close at 8pm these days, and asked if we wanted to have dinner there [a fixed menu of veg food]…
1st course was a thick creamy soup that was quite filling- i could taste onion, garlic, herbs, yoghurt and few other mysterious yet tasty ingredients.. Pita bread and hummus followed next, except here the Pita bread was toasted and looked like Nachos.. The Hummus was rich and quite delicious…
As we chatted with some of the other guests, the waiter brought out our meal in cute little bowls- There were 3 kinds of rice- Sprouts and Candied orange peel rice; Dill rice; and plain rice. It was served along with quite an array of side dishes Black Dal curry; Potato peas and paneer curry and there was a brinjal dish[which neither of us liked much]. And then came the sinful Tzatziki of sorts- rich fresh yoghurt with Cucumber and herbs…
It was a sinful delicious meal.. The food was just perfect, the gravies were not filled with masala or oil…
We ended the meal with a taste of the Apple Cake and Marble chocolate cake and then a cup of hot Iranian Tea [mint, sugar, and lemon].. I actually asked Nasrin if the Tea had honey, but she sweetly smiled and said “no, it is the mix of Mint and sugar that gives it the richness, many ask me if it is honey, and i could simply lie and say yes, but i dont… am glad you like it..”
The meal for two costed us Rs735 [Rs700 +Tax-Rs35] which i thought was quite reasonable considering the spread they had served us. Apparently their Sunday buffet is a Must visit!!
It is the ideal place to go chill, have
some good food, enjoy music, or maybe a stroll after the meal around the
village, down to the beach….
Overall Experience- 4.75/5
Shiraz is open from 11am to 8p.m through the week. Sunday brunch costs Rs. 400 per head.
Call Nasrin on 98405 72126 for reservations.
Inside Cholamandalam Artist’s Village, Injambakkam, East Coast Road, Chennai
As you head down ECR, drive past VGP and keep an eye out for FOOD WORLD store on the left.. This is about 1km ahead of the ECR Toll booth.. Once you see Food world, turn left into the narrow path and drive straight down. You will see Cholamandal Artists village board on the main road and inside the lane as well. There is a seperate entrance to the Cafe, a small gate…