Fuji, Japanese Restaurant comes to Chennai

Looks like the city has caught the Japanese fever.. First it was  pop up Japanese restaurant, then came the Japanese food festival and now a new Japanese restaurant opens doors. Hmmm.. Interesting and exciting! For someone who loves experimenting with food, this is a happy thing! Years ago, if someone had told me Japanese I would have scrunched up my nose and said “raw fish?yewww”.. But over the years, I have learnt there are quite a few veg dishes in Japanese cuisine and some of them are quite umm as well. That apart, Japanese food is quite light, most are steamed and very healthy as well. 
Well, this new restaurant is on Chamiers Road  [few doors down from TOI office if you are coming from Chamiers road side, and if entering from Nandanam, just after Aavin booth on left side, take a right cut and it is there]
The interiors are simple, wood based and quite Japanese. They have table chair seating on the left and floor style seating on the right side. As you walk along the corridor, towards the rear side, is a private room of sorts for large groups. 
The restaurant is as authentic as it can get, with a Japanese chef, and manager as well. Having established a name in Delhi & Kolkatta the management has decided to make an entry here in Chennai. 
An extensive menu, most of which goes over our head, it is best left to the restaurant team to order for you… There are quite a range of veg dishes, some of which i enjoyed- the Tempura, the Brinjal in Miso, fried tofu and ofcourze the dessert. The Soup I did not like at all, it felt like hot water with a few pieces of brinjal & tofu- was lacking any kind of flavour. I also got to taste the Japanese omelet and it was sinfully yumm..so was the broth that came as part of the non veg soup. 

Next time you are looking for something different, give this restaurant a shot!
Meal for two: Rs 2000 [approx]
Fuji
Address: Old 10, New 134, Chamiers Road, Nandanam, Chennai
Phone: 044 33011577
Cuisines: Japanese/Korean

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂

Japanese fest in Anytime , GRT Grand…

Looks like Japanese is the flavour of the season.. One by one restaurants are all following suit in either coming up with something around Japanese cuisine… First it was the pop up restaurant at Hyatt Regency and then came GRT Grand with their Japanese fest.. 

Tye had brought down Chef Jajos [she is half Burmese,Half Indian and been into Pan asian esp Japanese cuisine for nearly two decades]. She is now a consultant living in Shimla!! 

The evening at Anytime began with a good chat with the Chef while she told us how Japanese cuisine is famous for the live stations and all their dishes are simple, yet filled with flavour and quite healthy as well.  She went on to tell us it wasn’t a good idea to have Japanese dishes as part of a Buffet cos they lose the freshness and textures, which we discovered was true.. 

Our dinner began with the Chef sending out a plate of grilled vegetables for me while friend got Chicken dish. I loved mine as it was fresh, the vegetables had a bite to them and the flavours were delicious. Following this we had Sushi… I am quite liking Sushi, this one had crunchy tempura pieces inside… 

For the mains and dessert we were shown to the buffet, where we found quite a few vegetarian dishes and a few non veg as well. I tried the noodles, tempura and rice as well, but they were all just about average. The noodles felt overcooked and mushy,while the rice was sticky and nice.. There was also a mushroom based side which I enjoyed. Moving on to desserts, there was just one from the Japanese section which was a semi solid cake of sorts made with Red bean which was quite nice… 

Good to see the city welcoming other cuisines and giving people an opportunity to try these flavours… As long as they stick to their guns and don’t Indianise things, am happy!! 







GRT Grand
Hotel url: http://www.grthotels.com/chennai


Address

120, Sir Thyagaraya Rd, Drivers Colony, T Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600017
044 2815 0500


The Diabetic Trail, Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt, Chennai [till Nov 30th]



If you were among those
who thought healthy food was boring food, then here is a surprise for you..
Park Hyatt has launched a Diabetes Food Trail at Flying Elephant (this
started on the 14th Nov and goes on till the 30th Nov)

Conceptualised
and presented by Semora Entertainment Works; this unique initiative has been
supported by Britannia NutriChoice,and that is where the trail begins!!




The food
trail features 120+ Top Restaurants, whose Chefs have designed a special
diabetic- friendly menu, just for people with diabetes.  At Park Hyatt,
Chef Greg and Chef Vamsi have come together in creating this menu that is not
only healthy but filled with amazing flavours as well. No, am not exaggerating
or lying.. After having got the opportunity to taste the dishes that are part
of the menu I can say with conviction it is anything but bland…  What is
more, the calorie content is mentioned against each of the dishes  on the
menu, giving you insight into what you are eating! 

Another interesting trend am noticing is that the veg food seems to shine brighter over the non veg dishes.. 🙂 

Some of the dishes I tasted last evening was,

Turkish Lentil and burgle soup, chickpeas, dried mint and coriander (131 calories)

Quinoa and pomegranate  salad, orange slices, spinach, zucchini, celery with passion fruit dressing (131 calories)

For the mains, which were mouth wateringly yummy,

Brown rice congee, stir fried greens [bok choy, broccoli as well], shiitake mushrooms, ginger, spring onions, and sauteed garlic on top. I could happily just dig into a big bowl of this and be the happiest bunny around.. 🙂 (232 Calories)


Whole wheat pizza, thinnest base, ricotta cheese, parsley, sumac, rocket, apple  and quinoa as well- the base was super thin and it was just WOW… (294 calories )



Braised lentils,poached egg, steamed swiss char, onion escabeche, parsley pesto (252 calories)


While the non veg gang dug into the steamed Chilean seabags fish and the rice with chicken side, I eagerly waited for the desserts [ which are a slight variation from the diabetes trail, but healthy nevertheless]

The Desserts we dug into were, 

Lemon cheesecake mousse with berry compote served alongside two slices of fresh papaya (342 calories ) and Peanut butter frozen yoghurt cups, oats, granola and pomegranate.. [ Doc advices that no matter what dessert we have, it should be partnered with a fresh fruit]

Ah, what an evening it had been… So, if you are looking for a restaurant to have some delicious  food and keep it healthy, this is where you should head to..A lot of the dishes reminded of the Salad festival they held few months ago..

Address
Park Hyatt
39, Velachery Road, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
044 7177 1234
URL: http://chennai.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂

Yakiniku, pop up restaurant, Hyatt Regency Nov 14 – Dec 10

Hyatt Regency in Teynampet has come up with a new concept, one that is quite interesting.. They have introduced for the first time ever in Chennai, a pop-up restaurant by a five star hotel that will deliver extraordinary Japanese fare at “Yakiniku”.

 Biscotti, their pastry shop has been converted into a Japanese restaurant, from decor to staff to the food and even the cutlery..  They even had a few origami pieces on display… 





It is where you get to taste some amazing Japanese dishes, all made with ingredients that are as Japanese as they can get. Some of the options available are – Niku Tofu (Sliced beef, tofu, dash stock,
green onion, chili powder), Takoyaki (Octopus dumplings, tonkatsu sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed),
Salmon Chanchan Yaki (Salmon, cabbage, onion, mushroom, carrot, sweet miso), Nasu Dengaku (Fried Eggplant, miso sauce, sesame seed). Also, available would be Sushi and Sashimi live stations. 

I also spied the staff working on Vegetarian and non vegetarian Tempura. Oh and they have a few options in soups as well — Miso and Potato & crab meat soup…  While the menu was conceptualised by their in house Chef Subrata Debnath, a Japanese chef was brought in to teach the authentic methods of cooking and serving. Apart from the food, the decor too will feature heavy Japanese influences. “We want the diners to have the feel of being in an authentic Japanese restaurant,” says the chef.    We also got the opportunity to witness Chef from Grand Hyatt Guam make sushi, and damn he was fast! 

The list is endless.. While I was there for the launch, I got to try Japanese Beer- Asahi and a few vegetarian starters- The Sushi and Nasu Dengaku, both of which left me curious for more… I am not someone who enjoys Brinjal but the sauce and the way it had been cooked was amazing, had me asking for a 2nd helping!  The Sushi was delicious, and quite filling, I had it with a good dollop of wasabi, soya sauce and pickled ginger as well. 

When you are done trying out the starters and mains, do keep some space aside for their desserts- Green Tea Tiramisu, Jelly Soup, Rice  noodle, brown sugar syrup, vanilla ice cream to name a few! 

Well, if that doesn’t have you drooling, I don’t know what will.. All I would say is make a visit to the pop up restaurant before December 10th.. 

Experience Yakiniku from 14th November to 10th December 2015. 

Open only for dinner (7pm to 11:30pm)

For reservations and more information, call 044 6100 1234 or +91 9962000619.

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂

[Recipe] Padhir Peni

I am not sure when my romance with the Padhir Peni began, but must be a decade ago.. Since it is a Karnataka based dish, I must have had it at a wedding/function held there or in someone’s house there or someone who is from that state.. Anyways, that doesnt matter.. This is a dish that I love, it resembles a giant puri of sorts but is quite flaky.. 

In weddings, I remember the staff putting a separate plate near the banana leaf, placing the Pathir peni, another guy sprinkling some powdered sugar on it and then finally a good cupful of hot milk/badam milk is poured on it. You then wait for a few mins for the peni to soak up the milk before digging in. Infact, I remember skipping meals and just having one yummy peni.. 

It has become an unsaid rule in my family that anyone who goes to karnataka or knows someone from there shall bring back few of these for me [well I do share it with all] 

Last week, one evening gramma was glued to the TV watching a cookery show, Revathi Shanmugam when I happened to look up from the laptop and noticed she was making Padhir Peni. I always thought it was a complicated thing to make and did not bother finding out recipes. But when I saw this show, I realised even though it involved a long process, it wasn’t complicated or rocket science..

A few days later, thanks to the incessant rains, we decided to give it a shot and must say it came out quite well… Here is how it is made,


For the dough

Maida [you can alternatively use Chiroti Rava]- 1 cup 
Water  – enough to knead the dough
Salt a pinch

For the Paste:
Rice Flour-  2 tsp
Ghee – 2 tsp

Others
Oil for Deep frying 
Powdered sugar 

The Process

In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the dough and make a smooth dough [ almost like what you make for roti] – set this aside , covering with a cloth or cling film

In another bowl mix the rice flour and ghee to make a nice paste [ shouldn’t be too thick or too runny]
Now take the dough, make balls – roll them out like rotis – you will need 4 for each batch. Once the 4 have been rolled out, apply the paste between layers.

Once done, roll the entire thing like a swiss roll[ long log] and cut into pieces. 

Press them down flat so you can see the layers and paste from the top. 

Gently roll them out into thick puri like things. 

Take a pan, add oil and let it heat up.. Now deep fry these once by one on gentle flame till they are cooked all through

Sprinkle generous amounts of sugar and eat it as it is or with hot milk.. 





[Shared] Making of Soan Papdi

Every time any of us got back from a trip to Bangalore, there would be expectant look on everyone’s face at home. They werent looking for fancy gifts, they were looking for that signature white plastic bag with a box that contained nothing but melt in your mouth Soan papdi from K C Das.. before they discovered K C Das, uncle used to buy soan papdi in lose form from Nilgiris.. And before that they used to get it form the street hawker who had a distant bell sound, i still find him on our street these days.. Has a big glass dome under which is some divine soan papdi..

And the amazing thing is that after a day or after being open for a few hours, it becomes chewy and then in a couple of days it becomes dry and weird… 😀

But, the very first time I saw how they made this sweet was on a  TV Show years ago.. Left me baffled.. Why on earth would someone go to such extents and who on earth discovered this sweet/process..

Well, today I once again stumbled upon a site showing a video of how this sweet is made.. Once again the same questions came flooding into my head.. lol.. If any of you know the answer, do let me know.. For now, go watch in awe..

Do you like this flaky soft delicate sweet? where do you buy it from? 

Hoppipola – The Spring Hotel, Chennai

The first thing that hits you is the winding staircase and then you are hit with a burst of white.. the walls are white, the chairs are white, the metal structures are white… the ceiling is white.. 😀 

Not something you associate with a pub, but then Hoppipola is quite different.. Underneath the staircase is a beautiful shelf of sorts with books lined all the way through. And then there are the board games, the giant Jenga, mini golf which lure you in hook and thread and everything thrown in.. 

This is a pub with a difference, and quite cute at that! The walls have metal stands with candles on them, little planters with real plants in them and visible pipelines on the ceiling as well. 

Oh and there is an entire wall fitted with the good ol boomboxes, and wait there is more. On certain days women guest are invited to open one cassette slot and who knows you might get lucky and win yourself a drink or two.. Wait, there is more.. The tables double up as blackboards, there are chalk pieces in the little box on the table.. It is one of those places where you can look forward to an evening of fun.. You should just switch off your phone and have some fun!

Wednesdays are Creative Wednesdays where guests get to go behind the bar and create their own drinks.. Similarly, they have different themes for each day of the week.. 

Now getting down to business, I had a Watermelon – Basil Caprioshkas and it was quite good..  They have a simple but decent selection of drinks [yet to get Imported drinks license though].. Apart from this, they also have a range of cocktails.. their Pina colada was divine!  



Now that the drinks were down, we had to order some food right.. Here are some of the dishes we tried that evening,



Cheesienos, which was essentially a crisp fried cheese sticks with Jalepenos


The Burger [non veg] that friends had


Four  ways Pizza [that was served Half & Half- one half was veg-Margarita and Cheesie Pizznezz and other non veg-ambretta and Jerkin Around. ]



Moving on to Desserts we had Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream Cake and Molten Chocolate Lava Cake served along with a Vanilla Ice Cream.  



Price: Rs 1500 – 2000 for 2..  including a round of drinks. Please note No Stags allowed.. 
Address: The Spring hotel, Kodambakkam High Road [ near Palmgrove hotel]

Website: http://www.hoppipola.com/reach.html

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂

Mushrooms at home..

Few weeks ago while walking outside mom spotted this Mushroom in the garden. She immediately called me and asked if I saw it.. It was large, white and beautiful. What was surprising was that it stayed that way for a good week before turning brown and becoming shrivelled.. 
I have always had a fascination towards these fungi that grow in the wild. Often wondering why these were considered poisonous. During a trip to Hoysala/Bangalore, i spotted quite a few kinds of mushrooms along our nature trail.. What delight…
I know these are not edible, but one of the ingredients that I love eating/cooking with are Mushrooms.