5 Senses, Chennai

We walked in towards the lift in this new swanky restaurant 5 Senses on Khader nawaz khan road… A we entered the roof top, we were pleasantly surprised at the spacious interiors and exterior seating and of course the decor. The walls had posters from Hollywood classics. As i admired them, the waiter brought what looked like a huge diary, but which was actually their menu card, rather quite a large menu book. Flipped through the pages, tried to make sense of all that was written under each category and finally gave up.. but the information about the various towns, cuisines present was very interesting.. Wish they gave us a book to take home to read in leisure!!

We ordered a Tapas, that had about 5 little starters, 3 veg and 2 non veg.. They were each sinful and packed with flavour. And then for soup, i ordered a Broccoli soup, which the waiter served in a rather unique fashion. The bowl came with a little cake in the center around which green thick soup was poured. The center was infact a broccoli mouse cake. It was good.. very light!! A friend ordered Mushroom soup that was served with a long slice of toasted bread on a wooden platter, quite funky… The others passed up on soup and went ahead with the main course. 

Between us, we ordered a Chicken & Basil pizza[ Senor P added every possible seasoning on it and we managed to get a clear shot of that, but the whole pizza looked divine and the crunchy basil on top was delicious], a chicken salad, I ordered a dish that was an assortment of smoked vegetables, and finally there was the Mousakka… If one could satiate their hunger with just the appearance of the dishes, we would be full to our ears,  then this is where you should head… however, if you are a group of people and try to share the dish, you might feel the portions are too little… The Restaurant prides itself in being a Fine Dining, and so prices are high and portions are lesser than what you are normally used to…

Food did taste good, but apart from the pizza, the portions were fairly ok… Between us, we finished one and a half bottles of wine as well. And did order up a few Apple martinis that another friend had recommended…

Oh, and we werent done yet… We wanted to go all the way and have ourselves one hearty meal. For dessert, we just stuck to Chocolate Canaloni, that was served on a long white plate with a few slices of orange on one side, and two rolls, one hazelnut flavoured and other dark chocolate with rich cholocate filling on the inside.. It was to die for… divine!!  

Good conversation, amazing company and good food, all that made the evening quite a memorable one!We were on a high and so the night will remain a fun experience…

Ambiance 9/10

Food 7/10

Service 9/10

Price 6/10

Address:    
Oyster, No. 9, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam , Chennai -34
Just after Casa Picola… 
Phone: 044 -30062010, 30062020, 30062030

Madras Kafe, Nungambakkam

The skies were having a party, and it was pouring non stop since morning. I stood in the balcony longing for a hot plate of Bhajji and coffee when the phone rang. It was my friend S..

S: Hello, Madras Kafe polama?
Me: Ennadu, enga irukku? [what? where is it?]

S: Come to Ispahani center nungambakkam and you will see it in the basement…
M: Ohh ok ok.. that new place near the Yoga place…. nice… give me half hour… and off i went battling the pouring rain towards Ispahani Center….

The Madras Kafe was located in the basement, near 136.1 yoga/fitness center. Brought back memories of days when we used to work out at Gymmania[that was once where 136.1 is today]. Going down the stairs, my eyes scanned the center to see if any of the old shops/cafes were still around. Noticed that Sweet chariot was gone.. sigh…. 
This cafe is a small place, no frills or fancy decor, literally. there were 3 walls, one of which i noticed was made entirely of thermocol [styrofoam], with images of drinks and food items stuck on them with colorful pins. On one side were small picket fences painted in white. 
My friend was already there, she had ordered a plate of Podi idli, which was a plate of mini idlies covered in milagai podi.. It was quite tasty and the idli was of the right texture [ i dont like idlies too much, leave alone hot idlies or ones that are grainy].. Apart from that, she had ordered a Lime chilly drink for herself, while i chose a Berry cooler.. The lime chilly was not spicy enough, and she wanted them to add more zing to it. My berry cooler was good, divine actually… I could taste strawberries in them, and the sugar was less, which made it yumm!
The next dishes we ordered were – a plate of Gumma kuthu idli [ sauted onion and tomatoes in which the idlies had been tossed around], and a plate of Fried Podi idlies [ same as podi idli, but fried, crisp on the outside and soft inside] … 
 Chatted with the man who served us the food and brought our check. Somasundaram, he owns the place. Seemed like someone totally new to the cafe world, but yet was flagging off an idea his son, who works at a leading IT company had… Very humble, he told us in a soft voice ” please do tell your friends about the place and if you are on Facebook, do like our page please”. 

Overall feel good kinda place… Simple, neat and wallet friendly.

Ambiance- 7/10 – simple and neat
Food – 8/10 [shd do a 2nd visit to sample different items on the menu]
Price- 8/10 [very very reasonably priced, noticed it attracts lot of college, young crowd]
Space- can seat a max of 10 by the looks of it… 
Overall -8/10
Address:
Madras Kafe
Basement, Ispahani Center
Uthamar Gandhi Salai
Nungambakkam
Chennai-34

Cake Buffet at The French Loaf, Harrington Road, Chennai

So, i saw this “Cake Buffet at The French Loaf” ad in today’s Hindu.. I wondered how much dessert can one eat? Even though it is unlimited, even though the buffet is only Rs249, how many cakes or muffins or tarts can one plough through? Before i was done wondering, i heard my phone ring.. It was from Burrp and they were asking me if it was possible to go check out a preview of this event? Whoa, did they read my mind? I replied “Yes”.. Within few minutes, the PR person called and informed me that i could visit The French Loaf in Harrington Road between 2-4pm…. That was it! 

I remember how few years ago, this was a new cafe in our area and today, there are over a dozen outlets across the city.. wow! I walked into French loaf around 3pm, met with the PR team who spoke about the event, and how the whole concept was the 1st in South India and it sure was creating quite the buzz among foodies in the city… French Loaf had recently created a record by creating the longest cake as a “tribute to 75years of Tamil Cinema”. It was displayed at Express Avenue.. Infact, if you were to ask me, it was French Loaf who revolutionized the whole Cakes should look much more appealing,”lets bring on the excitement and drool factor on 1st look concept!”
There i was at a place so familiar and yet i dint know what to expect when a man in white and white hopped over, introducing himself as the Chef- Bhupesh .. He shared with us the birth of this Dessert Buffet and the different treats that were in store for those who landed at French Loaf on 10th December between 4 and 10pm.. It was an Unlimited Dessert Buffet where we hope to introduce people to different kinds of desserts, beyond cakes, show them tarts, cheese cakes, pies, profiteroles, truffles, mousse, rum balls and some more
There were more than a handful Eggless desserts i noted [ the silent voice within my head jumped in joy thinking of my family, some of whom were particular about eggless]… 
The 1st cake that was brought out of the kitchen was a beautiful turqoise coloured Fish, with blue scales & brown fins.. it looked divine!! It was a Black forest cake but all i kept thinking was “i could never cut such a beautiful creation, leave alone devour it..  “

And then came this burst of red on a bed of white cloud, it was Strawberry Cheese cake, covered with fresh Strawberries… Ooh, yummm…

The grand finale was a cake that looked like it belonged in the garden, a simple cake with a beautiful decoration on the top, made completely with white chocolate. It was fascinated to see the wrinkles, folds that made the chocolate look like a sheet of fabric… 

There was also a Chess board cake on display, which will make its way to the buffet, but i couldnt take a shot of it, maybe when i go on Saturday i will share how the complete spread was, provided i can contain the excitment and flavours!! 🙂 
Oh, forgot to mention the wide array of  delicious cakes that made it to our table for us to relish… There was a Blueberry cake with barbie photo on it that tasted divine, a strawberry cream cake, Black forest, Chocolate Truffle and the fresh pineapple cake…  What a treat for the eyes and soul they were!!
So, if you are in Chennai and have a Sweet tooth, head over to The French Loaf on 10th December… The buffet will be sitting waiting for you in Le Chocolatier lounge [1st floor, above French loaf, which also belongs to the same Oriental Cuisines Group]... 

Update:
A collage of cakes and treats that was up for grabs on the day of the Buffet….


Anytime, GRT Grand- Cajun & Creole Festival

A few steps into the grand lobby and there it was, straight ahead. I noticed the Newspaper clipping collage with the board that said “Cajun & Creole fete” at the entrance to Anytime in GRT Grand. I was there on behalf of Burrp to enjoy the evening, and the experience!

My initial reaction on seeing the lavish spread  and the decor was “Wow, this looks interesting, i wonder what the cuisine is going to be like”.. After a lazy stroll around the Buffet we were seated and bowls of Calabaza soup was served to our seats. It was a light soup filled with flavour and vegetables [Coloured capsicums, Brocolli and Zucchini], perfect start to the evening… 
Chef Srinath came over, introduced himself and gave me a sneak peek into what this festival was all about and how they were doing New menu every day. He spoke in length on The Creole & Cajun fest being a dedication of sorts to the different kinds of beans and rich vegetables along with a few special spice mixes. 
I quite liked the way the Buffet had been laid out.. There was the Non veg dishes on one side while the Veg sat on the other side.. And then came the short stroll towards the Dessert bar before heading over to the Coffee/tea counter and then the most interesting dessert of them all- Chocolate truffle Fritters… 
We were so tempted to dig into the main dishes that we made a beeline for the Salad bar 1st.. 
Ceasar Salad, Fresh garden vegetables with an assortment of Dips, Quennels of feta & brocooli in a cherry tomato salad, A duet of baby corn and  brussel sprouts and then there was the sinful Pineapple in cream sauce sitting on a bed of lightly cooked Beans with a walnut on top were some of the options we had. Each of these were served in small single portion dishes, which made it easy to serve and savour. 
There was also a wide array of cheeses to sample! There was also Thayir vadai, which was a tad too sweet for my liking…  They also had a choice of sauces, pickled olives, gherkins and other items that one could add to make their own salad. 
The starter counter next to the salad bar had the sweet crunchy Rangoon vegetables [an assortment of Baby corn, capsicums, tofu], a potato nuggets, fried wanton, Keerai bonda and interesting looking Bharwan Chi Chinga [Snake gourd stuffed with vegetables]…    I tried almost all and favoured the Rangoon vegetables and potato nuggets the most. Snake gourd rings were ok, not really my thing… 
Between mouthfuls i managed to chat with the Chef and sous chef on the festival and some of the dishes they had served up. It was quite a treat because not only was the food delicious, it was also low on spice but rich in flavour! Oh, how can i forget the Live counter- Mandzi, African Yam Ball With mango chutney and Morroccan Spiced vegetables. We tried the Mandzi [cardomon flavoured flour based little nuggets that were light as a feather and subtle in flavour] and the Morroccan vegetables[Coloured capsicums, green & yellow zucchini, brocolli, sprouts cooked with their spice mix]. 

The ambience was simple and comfortable, there were little touches here and there that added to the whole feel- A few jazz musician figurines, and a few photographs from the bygone era.. The waiters all wore Sombreros, though i wondered the connection! 
Moving on to the main course, i took a spoonful of the Pigeon Peas & Rice that was red in colour, with refried beans and tomato flavours leading the pack.There was also the Patatas a las importancia [Potatoes cooked in onion & saffron sauce] and Cajun Bean Cake with Creole Sauce that was like a hara bara kabab except it had a bang of flavour.. I noticed two bowls of chutneys near the live counter. 
The chef explained one was Mint chutney and other was Banana chutney, it was sweet and thick with banana pulp [an acquired taste am sure] 
Found it a bit strange that they served Indian Rotis on the table, because it kind of sticks out amidst the Creole & Cajun dishes. But then, when i did wander around the buffet, i discovered there were quite a few Indian side dishes on display as well- Dal Panchmela, Paneer Kali Mirchi Masala and Getti Kozhambu [Tamarind based South indian curry] along with vazhakkai melagu peratal [raw banana curry made south indian style]… 
I steered towards the non indian dishes, choosing the Noodles and Thai Vegetable curry for the main course. I’ve always loved the Thai Curry and this was quite a treat, loved it… For those whose meals ends with Curd rice, their wish is fulfilled here as well… 🙂 
 Phew.. that was a lot of food, right? I was not done yet. Still had to test out the desserts, and between me and mom, we tried almost all the items on display…. Among the desserts on the menu, the Best were the Baked Blueberry Cheese cake, Orange Mousse cake and Lemon tart stood out. The Kiwi Eclairs, Almond Brulee, Prunes pudding  and the make believe Baklava were ok, some were missing flavour while others were thick & dense… Oh the Chocolate Truffle Fritters were the highlight of the evening, they looked like little lollypops and there was a burst of chocolate in the mouth as you bit into these little wonders…. 
What a way to end the evening… I now look forward to going back for the festival and on a normal day to experience the other dishes they have to offer. 
Food- 8/10
Ambience- 8/10
Service- 8/10
Price- well, it was for a review, so i cant really comment on this, but if one were to go for the Fest, the buffet is for Rs799 per pax. 
Overall Rating – 8/10
The Fest is on from November 25 to December 4, and will include Jambalaya, Spicy etouffee, Saucy
Screole, Crispy Grillades and Grits, from 7.30 pm onwards
For reservations, call: +91 44 28150500
Thank you burrp for an awesome evening and thank you GRT Grand for a fun experience!!