Punjabi Food Festival at The Crown, Residency Towers

What is the one thing that could have you feeling like a King or in my case, Queen? A beautiful tiara.. Well, slight change of plans, we are gonna now say Crown.. And so when a restaurant sitting on the 20th Floor in the restaurant overlooking the city, you do feel Royal!  There we were, sitting in the outdoor seating area, watching the city glow beneath, the wind in our hair and stars lighting up the sky, all set to try the Punjabi Food Festival. Chef Sweety Singh also known as Harjinder Singh was flown in from Delhi for this festival. He told us he was from Amritsar but is a freelance consultant living in Delhi and the menu for this festival was all his, so were the recipes and he was the one cooking them.

We were given a menu neatly rolled up, it had a list of dishes that were going to feature at the festival. It started with the welcome drink which was lassi [thick and creamy, pure milk goodness]served in a traditional matka [mud pot]. Following suit were a few starters- mix of veg and nonveg. The 1st veg starter to arrive was the Mushroom palak de kebab which was simply divine- so simple yet beautifully rich in terms of flavours. And then we also had the Lahori Paneer [the paneer in itself was fresh, soft and melt in your mouth and it had been marinated in yoghurt+garlic+ajwain]. The non veg had a Meat seek kebab [lamb kebab] which the boys polished off with ooh aah at every bite. Infact, when one friend commented on how normally it is given a roll in egg to give it a crispness the Chef said he dint want anything extra and kept it straight forward and simple. Subsequently they also had a Chicken starter- Kapurthala shahi badami tikka which the boys once again said was good.


Enjoying the view, wondering about the flights flying overhead, we were in heaven that evening. And then came the main dishes- 2 kinds of roti- naan and missi ki roti, the veg gravies were a mixed veg dish, yellow daal, baingan bartha and sarson ka saag. I love sarson ka saag but unfortunately we don’t get the greens in Chennai, so when am in delhi I OD on it. The Chef mentioned he had brought them from Delhi, frozen them ahead of time for the festival and had cooked them fresh that evening. Man, they were to die for. He also offered to serve up Lachcha paranthas if we wanted, but we were quite full. The non veg side dishes were also good, going by the reaction. Overall, all loved the Sarson ka saag [for many it was their 1sttime trying that dish].. Phew, we were happy and full, but the dessert was due.  The dessert on the menu was a Kheer [made with rice and reduced milk with a hint of saffron]


The festival is on from 25th Feb to 9thMarch and Crown is open only for dinner, till midnight. The  weather is beautiful, so if you have wanted to do a dinner here, go on make your reservation already!!
For reservations, call: 044 2815 6363.

An average meal for 2 should cost close to Rs1000/- 

Address:
The Crown
20th Floor, The Residency Towers,
#115, Thyagaraya Road,
T. Nagar
Chennai- 600017
Ph: 044 28156363

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  🙂

10 day blogging challenge – Day 2

Compared to today’s task yesterday’s was a piece of apple pie.. err, meant to say it was fairly easy!! Ok, let me give it a go and see if I can come up with 9 things about myself..

1. Slow connections– I take time getting close to people. I might hang out, do a movie, casual meeting, concert etc with many, but there are very few with who I am extremely close with. And these are people I have known for years, or just felt comfortable enough to get close to. And if I am your friend, I remain your friend for life [unless you do something that goes against what I believe in or take me for granted and trample all over me]

2. Space– I value my space the most, and once again I am not talking about the physical space [well that matters as well] but am referring to my personal space. There are times when I want to just be, by myself, and then there are certain aspects of life that I am not comfortable sharing with the world and sundry. So, if you know me well, then you are an important part of my life and I value our bond.. 🙂

3. Dogs- Yes, I am crazy about dogs, they mean the world to me. I have one dog for now- Floppy [who lives at my grandparents house] and I miss him oodles. Seven years ago, on Pongal morning while I was walking to the nearest store, I spotted him standing huddled under a water lorry. I spotted him there after an hour, looked around saw none and brought him home.He is my sweetheart. As for cats, well, I dont really like them, but let them be as I have friends who are crazy about these felines.

4. Books – Give me a book and watch me drift away to la la land. I can spend an entire day doing nothing but reading. I used to be very possessive of my books, but now I am open to lending them to friends [again I am picky about who I lend to]. If there are any genres I am not into they are Sci Fi and Fantasy.

5. Travel – I recently discovered my love to travel. I have travelled quite a bit within our country, most of which was through school and college.  But since then I have been exploring quite a few places within Tamil Nadu and outside on my own, I admit that few were with company. I want to discover our country, I want to travel the world…sigh [ would someone like to sponsor my life?] . When I travel, I let go, I am free, I don’t care, I connect with locals, I love to learn the local culture, food and customs, and I am not one of those who needs a lavish resort to stay in. Give me a decent hotel with a clean bathroom and am happy!
6. Patient- For someone who used to be extremely hot tempered am now the epitome of patience. I seem to have bottomless pit of patience, esp with children. Sometimes am amazed at myself, but am glad I am so patient. I must thank Vipassana course for grounding me!
7. Time of the day – I am not a morning person, no way! You will not find me chirpy and peppy at 5 am, unless am travelling or going for a heritage/bird walk. I can stay up till 5 am and be happy and chirpy.. 🙂 There have been days when I haven’t slept a wink but been in a good mood come morning.

8.Google – I love to collect information, I love to ask 100 questions and learn about something new, and I do this all the time. There are a few friends who call me the local Yellow pages while others call me Google… I guess am just the curious kind who is constantly learning [not just about things/places around me but elsewhere as well]

9. Art–  I cannot draw or sketch to save my life. Mom is good at it, so is my sister, somewhere it skipped me. After years of being sad about this, I discovered Origami, courtesy a friend. And now I am taking baby steps in making Origami pieces… and am learning the art of DIY.. Yayy!!

Phew! Now that am done with it, it dint seem so daunting.. Until tomorrow.

10 day blogging challenge – Day 1

I am not a big fan of Tags and have managed to wiggle out of quite a few over the years. Today morning while reading a friend’s blog, I stumbled upon this tag and it looked interesting and so I am gonna give it a shot!!

1. Gils aka Vidhyasankar, a dear friend I met in the blog world about 6-7yrs ago got married today morning!! He is a guy who is full of life, funny, quirky and sweet.. Met the beautiful couple last evening at the reception, and I wish them all the very best in the years ahead… 🙂

2. Mom – There is so much I want to say, but I wonder if I should or just hold the silence… I wish you “listened” to me when i spoke/shared, I wish you expressed your feelings towards me, I wish you “told me” how proud you are of what I have done in life….

3. An – You are more than a friend girl, you are my pillar of support and I am blessed to have you in my life. I lost track of the number of times you have pushed me to do things, the days when you gave me a shoulder to lean on, the way you let me rant and rave…. Love you mach.

4. Ni- Another dear friend- well, I never thought I would find a soulmate in you.. I feel blessed to know you.. I do wish you stood your ground, and realised how proud we are of you, and how capable you are… I wish you were more confident and took pride in yourself. Hugss di..

5. P – well, I am lost for words. Whenever I see people around me talk about relationships, siblings it makes me wonder if we would ever have even 1% of that. Oh well.. as long you are happy, am ok with this!Just remember, I am not out to get you..

6. E- Uncle or bro, I dont really care.. I just wish we were more in touch dude…

7. Ar,Ap & Sr- Well, you are all ladies who have been in my life at various times.. Some longer than the others… I wish you well, and hope you know that friends are not just someone who you lean on for help, call to rant & crib and you dont take them for granted… ever…

8. SL – I have a mini battle going on in my head everything I think of you… It has been interesting being connected to you, I have learnt a lot – good & bad, but at the end of the day it kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth [I know more than you think I do.. and that hurts].. Good luck to you!

9. GQ- I just want to tell you that you are an awesome bunch- we do crazy things, we share, we talk, we cook, we eat, we party, we celebrate, we fight, we bitch but at the end of the day we are there for each other!! Kudos and may we always remain so..

10. AB- Well, my man- what can I say? It makes my day when I get a msg from you, and everyday I remember the little lessons you have taught me!

Until tomorrow..

Food Tales… Milk and comfort

The minute someone mentions the dish “paal satham [milk rice]”, my mind instantly looks around to see who is unwell. That is the dish i associate with fever and body ache. Why? Cos all through my growing years I have seen mom and gramma and others serve up this dish whenever someone was unwell. A plate with hot rice, hot milk and some sugar on it. 
 
And similarly, there is the bread paal [bread in milk] which is also something you eat when you are unwell. A few slices of bread in hot milk with some sugar on it. Today, whenever I am down with a bad cold or fever, this is what I reach out to. I dont know if it helps me, cures the fever or just something comforting during the situation.
Any such foods you have? Do share… 

Darios and new treats on the menu

A restaurant I love visiting
Heck, my entire family loves this place
Serving up some yummy Italian Pure veg dishes
They serve the most amazing Asparagus Risotto and lime cheese cake.

Enough or need more hints? Am talking about Darios in Kasturi Rangan Road.   I knew most of the staff, the Chef and the man who ran the place. So it was a place I was very comfortable and familiar in.

After a quick chat with Suresh, I learnt they are now in their 2nd year of operation and so far have been doing good. He was telling us there are days when they don’t expect a major crowd but were in for a surprise with the place packed to the brim. Apart from the indoor air conditioned seating area, they have quite a large space outdoors as well. He went on to tell us they have hosted a party of 100 people, where the meal was completely a la carte. “I don’t believe in Buffet- food isn’t hot and doesn’t do justice in terms of flavour, so we always take order cook and serve”. Impressive! They have a small hall upstairs that can hold about 30-40 people, which is where they held/hold their workshops.  When talking about their kitchen and staff, Suresh stressed how valuable his core team is and they have been together for about 7yrs now, and were reliable & loyal, while he has had quite a few issues with the waiting staff.




Oh and one interesting fact we discovered was that in Pune, there was a Darios outlet that served non veg. 
So, when Suresh was asked if they might include non veg into the menu, he vehemently said “NO, we are established as a pure veg joint and that is how we shall remain”. Way to go, I say!

Tonight he said I should try some of the new dishes, new soup, pizza[Oh and they have whole wheat pizza on the menu] and few other dishes.

The evening opened with a beautiful rich soup- Erba Cipollina [made with leeks, onions and potato], it was thick and filled with flavours. Following this came 3 different starters- Brichitto Messicano [Mexican nachos with cheese sauce], Fungi Darios [Mushrooms stuffed with garlic basil and cheese] and then there was Involtini Sanginiani [crispy spinach rolls filled with rice, sun dried tomato, bell peppers] served with a spinach & cheese sauce.

We devoured these dishes, wiping the plats clean when there came the Salad- Aranciazola [a mix of salad leaves including Rocket, fresh orange, spring onions, gorgonzola cheese, fresh herbs and olives]. It was lovely and refreshing, with quite a few different textures as well. A salad I wouldn’t mind having daily.
While we discussed the Mona Lisa on the walls and the fun we had at the workshops, we saw a huge plate with a thin crust pizza on it land on our table- Pesto Pizza [ thin crust base with pesto sauce topped with bell peppers, potato, sun dried tomato and parmesan shavings]. It was borderline bland, but I liked it, cos the pesto was the King of that pizza. We eagerly waited for the pasta- there was the Ravioli Zarba [ravioli stuffed with potato, cheese and olives served in a rich cheese, colour peppers, walnut sauce] , the showstopper of the evening and the Spaghetti Crastusi [ whole wheat spaghetti with spicy olives, broccoli and mushroom in a creamy tomato sauce], the spicy olives were a surprise, I hadn’t had these before and the Chef brought us a few to see – these were giant olives stuffed with red chillies and packed quite a punch… Wow, what flavours!! Kawobanga…

And then came the piece de resistence… We were served 2 desserts- Blueberry cheese cake[ yummilicious] and the Tiramisu [yumm as always]. What a meal, love the fact that the quality, taste and flavours are exactly the same every single time!


Apart from these, their usual dishes continue to remain on the menu!! If you are looking for a restaurant that serves Pure veg, Italian food, this is where you should head eyes closed.

Dario’s Address:
#11, Kasturi Rangan Road,
2nd Street,
Teynampet,
Chennai- 600018
Ph:             044-4919 3333      

URL: http://www.darios.in [you can not only read about the restaurant, but also see the detailed menu]

Landmark: Next to Ashwini Hospital [1st right after the Russian Cultural Centre]

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  🙂

The Bistro Story, Chennai

“We started our careers together and always wanted to have our own Bistro kind of a place. And since we are now together, working in our Bistro, the place is called The Bistro Story” said Ravi [one of the owners]. That was the clue- The Bistro Story is where we were for dinner last night.

If you know Gopalapuram layout, you will know where National Public School is, there is a lane bang opp the place that is Sadashivam Street. As you drive down the road, you will The Bistro Story on your right nearly at the end of the road. That is where we headed to.  They officially opened their doors a week ago, and it looked like a cozy place. It was around 7pm, and since we were the only ones and so got a tour of the place, including the small bar style seating area outside.

The main hall as you enter has a bright poster of a pop up art on the wall, while the other room on the side has an elaborate Worli painting on the wall [it apparently took the artist 5 whole days to complete it]. After much deliberation, we decided to sit on the stools near the kitchen area. Even though the counter space was tad less, it was still comfortable and we had a good evening.

We were introduced to the Chef, Vijay who spoke about his career and how his forte is French & Italian, but they have included Mediterranean and a few dishes with Indian touch on the menu as well. “He is a hard core veg, but cooks non veg dishes with panache” chimed in Ravi.


To start off the evening, we ordered a drink each- Aam panna [raw mango juice], Rose milk and Jal jeera. All of them were yumm to the dot. While we savoured our drinks, we waited for our Eastern bites platter to arrive- it is similar to the Mezze platter- Falafel, pita bread, Fattayar [mini samosa with spinach and cheese], feta cheese and 3 dips- hummus, tzatsiki and babaganoush. The Falafel was just wow, so was the Fattayar, and so were the others on the platter. They were all hot, fresh and filled with unique flavours. Big thumbs up for this dish!

The little one wanted Fries, but the Chef convinced him to instead try their Nachos and he promptly did. It was a plate of goodness- Nachos with a touch of cheese served with tomato salsa. Yet another good dish.

For the mains, we decided to do with 2 pasta dishes and one paneer. The paneer dish had 2 paneer triangles sitting on a bed of cooked lentils served alongside a cup of rice topped with okra fritters. It was alright, very Indian. The highlight of this dish were the Okra fritters [ I could have eaten a big bowl of just that]
The pastas- one with tomato, basil & burnt garlic sauce, while I went for the Pesto [basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and pistachio]. Both were yummy, but I loved mine more [am a sucker for pesto].

While we were busy enjoying our pasta, the little one went ahead and got a bowl of French Fries [he knew what he wanted and wasn’t leaving without it…] Kids~!!

Through the meal, we kept talking to the Chef [hopefully not distracting him much], and got a bit of insight into the kitchen and the things they created in that cozy space. Most of our dishes he cooked on the Induction stove, but there were huge burners which he said kicked into action when the place was packed or large volumes were needed. He also told us about how they relied on locals for their produce and did not import anything. For ex, their Cheese was from Pondicherry.

Phew, we were stuffed but well the lure of the dessert lingered. We chose the Sticky pudding with toffee sauce & vanilla ice cream while the little one chose the triple chocolate mousse [hope I got the name right]. I quite enjoyed my sticky pudding, but felt it was tad sweet and so sprinkled some salt  on the sauce and it made a world of difference, enhancing the taste…

The entire meal costed us Rs2041 [ incl tax and SC]

They are also going to be introducing breakfast shortly!!

Ambiance- V good, pleasing colours and décor
Price- Starters, mains and desserts are priced between Rs 120 to Rs 295 [giving you a rough idea of what the pricing is like]. 
Meal for two will work out to about Rs 800- Rs 1000
Overall experience- v good
Car parking- there is space for 3 cars right in front, and about 4 more along the road. They are looking at other options for parking as well.

Address:
The Bistro Story
24, 7, Sadasivam Street
Gopalapuram, Chennai -86

Phone- 044 4353 2934

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  🙂

Food tales – Growing years

This is a new series I am starting on my blog today, and just as everything starts at the beginning, am starting with my early years.



What triggered off this series/post is an incident that happened few days ago. Was out with friends at dinner when friend’s husband ordered a nonveg sandwich that came with a little flag that had the words “NON VEG” on them. A little bit of background- she and the child are vegetarians and she is against the child eating/being introduced to non veg.. Fair enough, right! 

Well, the child [4.5yrs] picked up the flag and called it a toy. I asked him to read what was written on it, when my friend instantly raised an objection. I countered saying it was just a word and the child did not even know what it meant, the husband joined in saying it is not a taboo and she shouldn’t stop him from reading. She was visibly upset!! I infact told her it is no big deal, and if she is going to hide and stop him from even seeing/read it, it just might push him to try it out [out of sheer curiosity] 

It got me thinking, does talking about something make someone want it or tempt them enough to try it? This holds true for anything, not just food.. So, here is a tale from my growing years.. 

We lived in Madurai, on the 1st floor. There was a christian family in the ground floor with 2 children- a girl and a boy. Every Sunday morning, I would run out to our terrace and stand watching down at them. It was fascinating for a little girl who had never seen anything like that before. The aunty would be sitting near the cloth washing stone and cleaning fish. She would wash it, remove the scales, wash again and then chop it into chunks before taking it inside to cook. We dint talk about non veg at home, we were pure vegetarians, in fact I don’t even remember mom making egg at home, but this activity of theirs had me fascinated. No No, I did not start eating fish or any such thing. 


When we went to Madras for my holidays, I would tell all at home that mom makes the yummiest meen porichakuzhambu [porichakuzhamu is a mix veg koottu kinda thing we make at home] and over the years it had become a joke of sorts [only now they have stopped imitating me and that statement of mine].. But there are a few family members who when we meet after a long gap, and have known me when I was small rib me with that statement 😀


Anyways, what am getting at is that just cos you see something or talk something, doesn’t mean you gonna do just that!! Agree?  

Until next time………………….