Pan Asian, ITC Grand Chola

I was looking forward to the day
like a child anticipating a special gift. The day was going to be packed, that
much I knew! The afternoon to 8pm was spent cheering CSK on at the Chepauk
stadium as they beat KKR in the IPL 6 tournament and then came the special
event of the day. I was heading over to friend’s house, to shower change and
head off to ITC Grand Chola for a dinner at Pan Asian. It was courtesy a
twitter contest I had won earlier the week. And since I was told I could bring
a friend along, i chose A.  She was ready
by the time I made it to her apartment, and it was nearly 8.30pm. A quick
shower and I was ready.


We reached ITC Grand Chola close to 9.15 and we were welcomed by their Marketing Manager. The last time I was here was in Dec when I had enjoyed a one night two day stay and a relaxed lunch with another friend of mine. This time I was indulging in a new restaurant that
had just opened up-
The Pan Asian.
But before we were taken there, we were given a tour of the place, including
the recently launched Royal Vega, the pure vegetarian restaurant on the 1
st
floor.


The restaurant is ROYAL, true to
its name. There are tables set up according to themes and one of them had
plates with covers that were heavy, and I mean heavy. They were embellished
with stones and what not. There was a secluded room that was ideal for a small
family gathering, and it was beautiful. There was a mannequin decked up in
traditional attire. The beauty was that the room could be split into two, to
host two small groups.
Anyways, before I wander off all
over the place, we made our way towards Pan Asian. The restaurant sports a
narrow passage way entry and you go around the bend to see the entire space. It
was huge, not a huge square but a long space. We were seated in one end of the
room, near the bar and the sushi counter. I wandered over to see the display
which showcased different kinds of mushrooms, cucumbers, and other meat that
were used to make sushi.

We were seated, and the Chef came over to introduce himself and gave a sneak peek into the menu at Pan Asian. The entire menu card could take days to read and decipher, but what I liked about it were the birds that adorned the pages, all of which were from the Oriental region of the world. The restaurant sported dishes from these regions as well- Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and so on. Most of the dishes names seemed Chinese and Japanese to us, and so we requested the staff who was serving us to help us decide.



First up was the amusebouche – a sampler of
sorts. It was a longish plate with 3 distinct items in it a small piece of tofu
with a pickled carrot slice, a pickled slice of radish and a slice of white
radish with a dollop of avocado cream on top. While we took in the
surroundings, the music and the décor, our soups and starters arrived.  I had chosen to try the familiar Tom Yum Soup,
but this was nothing like what I’d had earlier. A deep bowl with the vegetables
arrived, and then a tea pot of sorts was brought forward from which the broth
was poured from. The soup was delicious, subtle and flavourful. Then came our
starters. My friend had ordered for sushi while I wanted to try a dim sum. A
cane steamer arrived on the table and within it sat cute looking pumpkin like
dimsums. Even though these turned out to be pumpkin dimsums with custard
filling [almost a dessert] I loved them. Only thing that had me puzzled was the
texture, it was quite sticky.

Between courses there was a bit of a breather, allowing us to enjoy the surroundings and the ambiance. The décor is very retro, with concrete brick walls, and simple light fixtures. For the main course we were recommended the fried noodle basket with a Chinese stir fried vegetables and a pineapple spicy thai rice to go with it. Yes, I know, I have forgotten the names of the dishes. We polished them off with delight. And we pretty soon eager to see what was in store for dessert.



I chose the Green tea cheese cake
while my friend chose a chocolate dessert. Both of these arrived in style, the
plating was beautiful. we dint have the heart to cut into our dessert and spoil
the whole plating.  It was colourful, and
the desserts were quite large in portion size.  We chit chatted a bit longer with the staff
before bidding adieu. We were happy, content. Not only did we get to enjoy some
amazing dishes, but it was an evening worth remembering. More so since my
friend was soon moving away, out of the city.

ITC Grand Chola is more than just
rooms and food, it is an experience! I have been back here multiple times, with
friends and for events, and every time has been a memorable one!



A meal for two here would cost around Rs 2000 to Rs 3000/-
Address:
ITC Grand Chola
#63, Mount Road, Guindy, Chennai,TN,600032
Ph- 044 2220 0000

Daal Makhani Courtesy GITS

I went over to my grandparents place after about a week and noticed a package sitting on the side shelf where post is normally kept. It had my name on it and seemed to be a box of sorts. When i opened it, I discovered a big blue box that said “Ready to eat” Dal Makhani & Biryani from GITS. I had no clues where it was from, a mystery which still has me wondering. I did find a note inside from FBAI saying this was a review box and they had found me amidst the blogging community. 

There was a box of Dal Makhani which looked very tempting. Ever since I began living on my own, I have been creating one pot meals – salads, soup, pulao, pasta etc. But the minute I saw this box, I pulled out the packed of dosa batter I had in the fridge and decided my dinner. Dosa with Dal Makhani. 




I made 2 dosas and kept them aside
In a pan, I added a drop of oil and 2 tbsp of Dal Makhani and heated it up . 
Voila, dinner was ready.

The Dal Makhani was good, it was thick rich and yet not heavy [not loaded with butter/cream/etc]. I managed to use the packet over 4days, for brown rice, roti and 1 more round with dosa. Now, am curious to try the Biryani. 

One packet of Dal Makhani is priced at Rs 59/- For someone like me who enjoys the occasional Dal Makhani, but is too lazy to soak, boil, cook and eat, this is a good alternative!! 

Vijaya Forum Mall- The Food Court – Squeeze

After gorging on yummy food from Sbarro, Sammy Sosa and Moti Mahal Delux, we were all set to wind up for the evening when suddenly 2 glasses of chocolate milkshake appeared out of nowhere. It was from Squeeze juice bar [they also have outlets in Ampa Skywalk]. The drink looked thick and tempting, so we gave in and had a sip each. It was thick, creamy, rich and filled with chocolate flavour. I have had milkshakes and hot chocolates in many places, but this one was divine. The outlet also offers a variety of juices and shakes, and small eats as well. 



The Squeeze Juice bar is situated right in the middle of the food court, near the entrance… And well, with this we bid adieu to the food court and decided to walk off some of the calories we had consumed before heading back home!!  Oh, and just as I stepped out of the mall it stated to drizzle which turned into a downpour. What a beautiful evening it had been. 


Address:
Vijaya Forum Mall
183 NSK Salai, Arcot Road | Vadapalani, Chennai 600026
Right next to Green park and Vijaya Hospital


Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

Vijaya Forum Mall- The Food Court – Moti Mahal Delux

You thought we were done? No way… 
1st was Sbarro and then came Sammy Sosa, and then we attacked Moti Mahal Delux. I have eaten at the outlet in Nungambakkam and so was familiar with their menu and food. Therefore it came as no surprise that the food here was excellent as well. 
The first plate that landed on the table was… yes, you guessed it right- Achari Paneer, and it melted in our mouths. Their paneer is exquisite, like no other I have ever had. This one was a tad spicy and so I had to request for some water. The non veggies got the Tandoori Chicken which they dug into. before we were done with these, the main dishes arrived. The tray was overflowing with plates. It had a plate with Naan/Lachcha parantha and 2 side dishes- one was Butter Chicken and other was Paneer Tikka Masala. 
As always, the naan being hot was easy to tear and eat, otherwise it does get a bit chewy. The gravy was good, not too rich not too oily. Oh and how can we leave without trying their infamous desserts. The minute I mentioned Paan ice cream wee saw 4 cups of ice cream float onto the table. I requested for Kulfi since I dont like Paan ice cream and voila, there was a plate with a kulfi cut into neat pieces. 
The food here speaks for itself and needs no jazz.. I just pray they maintain the quality and keep serving up such yummy treats. Woah, we were stuffed. But there was just one more item waiting…. 
Address:
Vijaya Forum Mall
183 NSK Salai, Arcot Road | Vadapalani, Chennai 600026
Right next to Green park and Vijaya Hospital
Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

Vijaya Forum Mall- The Food Court – Sammy Sosa

After sampling the pizzas and garlic bread from Sbarro, next up was Sammy Sosa. The tag line in the stall said “Chennai gets its own Mexico”.I wondered how different the place would be when compared to Don Pepe. It was very different and I must say I liked the flavours. We tried the Mexi Skins and Fajitas aztec style. 
The Mexi skins were potatos with the skin on, stuffed with vegetables topped with cheese. It was served alongside curd and a salsa. We couldn’t get enough of it. It was amazing, and best eaten hot. As for the Fajitas, it was served on a bed of rice that had been cooked with refried beans and had salsa on top. The fajitas were like khatti rolls, tortillas stuffed with sauted veggie filling. One plate of this and you are sure to feel full.
Apart from these two dishes, the place offers quite an array of dishes, ranging from Soups, Nachos to Pizza, Virgin Margarita and chocolate desserts.
Address:
Vijaya Forum Mall
183 NSK Salai, Arcot Road | Vadapalani, Chennai 600026
Right next to Green park and Vijaya Hospital
Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

Vijaya Forum Mall- The Food Court – Sbarro

This was my 2nd or 3rd visit to Vijaya Forum mall, and 2nd visit to the Food court. The 1st time I was here with a friend and her son, we headed straight to Sbarro grabbed a few pizza slices and were on our way.  But this time, I was here to explore more than just this outlet, to see what more was in store in the Food court. I spotted ID, Moti Mahal Delux, Sammysosa, Kailash Parbhat and few other outlets. 
The 1st place to try was once again Sbarro. But this time, the pizza was hot and the crust was super thin and crisp. I tried the veggie feast slice while the boys dug into the super spicy Chicken Keema pizza. It was a good pizza, not soggy, not overloaded with tomato sauce. 

Apart from the pizza slices, we were also given two kinds of garlic breads. One was mini garlic rolls which resembled croissants and the other one was Garlic bread, long soft melt in the mouth bread. It was served with a different kind of tomato sauce, that was cooked with herbs and spices. 

The veg pizza slices are priced between Rs120 and Rs135 while non veg goes upto Rs170. They also serve pasta and soft drinks. So, if you are not ravenous and looking for a good option, then Sbarro is where you should head. 
Wait, this is not all we sampled. We also got to try food from other outlets… keep watching this space to read about them…

Address:
Vijaya Forum Mall
183 NSK Salai, Arcot Road | Vadapalani, Chennai 600026
Right next to Green park and Vijaya Hospital

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

[Recipe] Tawa pulao

Last evening while out walking, suddenly it hit me.. I knew what I was going to make for lunch today [monday]. I quickly walked across towards More supermarket and bought what I needed. I had seen and tasted this dish at Spoonbill when Kamalika made it, so there was no confusion on the process. What was I making? Tawa Pulao ofcourse 😀




Here is what you need:-
1 cup Rice
1 tbsp – Oil
1/2 tsp – Cumin seeds
1/4 Onion chopped
1 Garlic pod
1 cup Mixed vegetables – Yellow capsicum, red capsicum, baby corn – all chopped into chunks
2 tsp – Pav bhaji masala
1/2tsp – curry powder
Salt- to taste
Mint leaves/coriander leaves
Water to cook the rice and boil baby corn

Other Options for vegetables: Peas, cauliflower, paneer, and just about anything you can think of.


The process:
1. Take a pressure cooker and cook the rice [1cup rice =3 cups water- 4 whistles]- turn off stove and set aside
I placed the baby corn in a plate along with the rice and cooked it.
2. In a pan, add oil, jeera, garlic and onion. Once sauted, add remaining vegetables and the masala powder & curry powder. Let it cook till the raw smell of masala goes away. Add required amount of salt and let it cook.
3. Add the cooked baby corn to this and saute for a minute. Now add the rice and spread it amidst the veg mix and cook for 2-3 minutes till it evenly mixes.

Voila.. Serve with curd, pappad or onion raita. I had it with boiled beetroot and curd.


PS: Am using pictures taken at Spoonbill because today I forgot to take pictures as hunger had taken over my brain.. 🙂



Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 2

[Recipe] Quick Fix Pasta

I had been busy cleaning up the house, and other chores that it completely slipped my mind that I had to cook lunch. Only when I was talking to a friend who mentioned she was just winding up lunch did it hit me.  Walked into the kitchen knowing I had only a few items there..

An idea formed in my head and within 25 mins Lunch was ready. What did I make? A Quick fix pasta with the ingredients in my cupboards.

Ingredients:
Pasta – penne- 1 cup
Garlic- 1 pod crushed
Cabbage- few leaves finely chopped
Beans- cut lengthwise [1 inch long pieces]
Capsicum- 1/4- finely chopped
Baby corn- 3- finely chopped
Almonds or walnuts- 4 to 5 chopped up
Pesto sauce- 1 tsp
Sundried tomatoes- 1
Olive oil- 2tsp
Cheese- 1 small piece
Salt- to taste

The process:
In a pan, add enough water, a pinch of salt, a tsp of oil and allow pasta to cook  [al dente]. I went ahead and added the baby corn to this water to allow it to cook well [you can cook it separately]. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it out , saving 1 tbsp of the water.

In another pan I added 1 tsp of olive oil, the garlic and other vegetables, allowing them to saute for a few minutes. To this I added the pesto sauce, almonds, sun dried tomato and salt. Add the water [in which you boiled the pasta]  and finally sprinkle the grated cheese and serve hot..

It tasted good, even if I do say so myself…

Serving portion – 1
Cooking time- 20mins
Prepping time- 10mins

Moti Mahal Delux, Chennai

This was my 2nd or 3rd visit to the restaurant and I have always enjoyed the experience. As you walk/drive down the road next to Signoraa on Nungambakkam high Road, you will find Moti Mahal Delux on your left. I vaguely recall there being a furniture store on the ground, but now Sam’s pizza is located there. Anyways, you take the staircase beside the restaurant to reach Moti Mahal. For those who are lazy or old or cant climb stairs, there is an elevator as well 😀 
As you walk in, the dark wood interiors greet you, showing off the large seating area and the private dining area on the extreme left. There is the kitchen at the end of the hall, and seating area has been divided into sections. There are eclectic art work on the walls, which Maaria mentioned were done by a lady she knows- they were traditional paintings overlapped with digital imaging. 
We settled in the private area as we were 10+ in number and my eyes went straight to the water canister on the table. It was purple and very Mediterranean. I had seen it in several stores, but not bought one.  Anyways, chit chat around the table brought me back to reality. We were served lemon iced tea to start off the evening and a huge bowl of salad was placed in the center of the table. The iced tea was passe, I went ahead and ordered my saviour drink- Fresh lime soda salt, while many others followed suit with their drink orders. 
Having eaten here before, I knew their paneer was as tender as it can get and the daal makhani was to die for. We were served Paneer tikka, veg seek kebabs with mint chutney and the non vegetarians got their share of the meat to keep em smiling away. The paneer as mentioned was just divine, melt in your mouth and the kebabs were soft and good. 
Little bit about Moti Mahal Delux…. 

“The original Moti Mahal Delux restaurant was founded in 1975s by Sh. Amrit Lal Kohli in the tony Greater Kailash and South Extension regions of south Delhi. The restaurant has since become the most popular Mughal food destination, attracting guests and publicity from all over the country. Over the years, Moti Mahal Delux has achived numerous accolades and awards for its one-of-a-kind Mughlai fine dining restaurant. Many of the recipes are family recipes, handed down through generations, with the entrees served with innovative appetizers”[Source: Motimahaldelux]

Now that you are a tad enlightened, let us move on to the main course, shall we? The staff brought out a huge plate and we were all curious to know what it held. There were 4-5 different kinds of  Indian breads on it, am referring to Roti- there was a plain naan, pudina paratha, chilli roti, makki ki roti and few others as well. They were quite good in terms of flavour, but as always the naan and roti need to be had hot, else it becomes dry and chewy… They were served alongside 3 vegetarian gravies- Daal Makhani, Vegetable gravy and paneer korma [forgotten their names, pardone moi]. Each one had a rich texture and flavour. It was quite yumm and filling. 

 Within minutes I noticed nearly all from the table make a dash for the table placed on the side, realised they were all there clicking pictures of the Biryani. I waited for the crowd to settle down before sneaking over and taking a shot. It was indeed Biryani served in a mud pot. Looked good alongside the raita.

And finally, we were done. Ready for desserts. There was the infamous Paan ice cream, and since I dont eat paan or the ice cream, I opted for the Kulfi which was amazing, delicious and every other adjectice you can think of.

Oh and wait, I was in for a lovely thoughtful surprise as we were leaving.The Manager handed me a bag and said “here is a little something from us, hope you enjoy it”.. Any guesses? No? Well, they gave me the purple glass water canister 😀

What a fun evening it had been. Moti Mahal is a place you should head to if you are looking for good north Indian fare. Dont miss their Paneer dishes, Daal Makhani and Kulfi…


Address:
No 7, Jaganathan Street
Nungambakkam High Road
Chennai- 600032
Ph: 044 4213 7539

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂