Deconstructed…Dehydrated….Emulsified…Smoked..

are
terms that once upon a time used to go over my head.. Now I know what they
mean, and I know what to expect when a dish is placed in front of me. But then
there are times when I falter and assume what I see is what I get, well
those are times when am in for a surprise.. 
It is like the dish does a one up on me, giving me a jolt and shaking
things up a bit. 🙂 
Tonight
we were there to explore the newest restaurant in the block, Avartana. “
Avartana”, the name is  derived from sanskrit [means rhythm, mysticism and magic] 


As we walked along the familiar
corridor at
ITC Grand Chola towards the new restaurant [located near Towers
Lobby],
  I could not help but wonder what
Chef Ajit Bagera has whipped up.
    
We
had reached the end of the corridor and were guided towards the left, into the
restaurant.  The first thing I notice is the rotary evaporator sitting there on
the table. When enquired, I was told it was for rasam.. My mind was starting to
wander into the world of its own where food was similar to what I have read in
Willi Wonka’s Chocolate factory- fun & playful, yet true to the
flavours. 
The
carpet has banana leaf patterns, the walls have Kerala boat style lighting
etched on them, there are glass panels all around with banana flower styled
fittings on them, the lights on our table were inspired from the tender
coconuts… I could go on and on. It was amazing to see the attention to detail.
Oh and this is probably the only South Indian restaurant with an open kitchen.
We
had the privilege of being seated in the private dining area [it can
accommodate 10 pax, overall capacity of the Restaurant is 60 covers]. I see my
plate, and a green blob of sorts on my knife. I wonder if it is a macaron or
something else. Chef Harish Rao [ of Park Sheraton’s Dakshin] fame walks in
with a grin with a “gotcha, you guys did not know I am here now didja” ..  And thus began our WOW evening.
A
flower arrangement with what looked like macaroons on a stick, which turned out
to be Fennel & pepper Air with Avocado Fluff [the green blob from my knife]
that melted in our mouths… Tomato rasam that was poured into a French press
containing herbs, tomato and poured onto martini glasses- it was filled with
flavour and fun[ I would have happily had a pot of this]… 



Fluffy little idlies
served with a Sweet pepper & Eggplant stuffed Ridge gourd sitting on a
sesame & peanut curry.  The rice
& Madurai Chutney [ a version of Kuzhi paniyaram served atop hot red chilli
chutney] , Jackfruit and vegetable congee served with brinjal raita.. Butter
milk noodles dish, a take on our curd rice perhaps where the sauce was poured
on and it had a tiny pippet containing lemon pickle. To finish it off there was
Finger millet vermicelli served with tender coconut ice cream and caramalised
milk sitting pretty on a plate resembling a bird’s nest with some edible art
work around it…
Along
with the food there were a few interesting drinks- Mocktails & Cocktails as well. I had Mouth Road 63
[which is the address the property sits on] and Gooseberry Margharita served in
one tall glass, both of which were absolutely divine. For the others there were
a range of Mocktails- Nannari based, Paneer soda, raw mango drink served in a
traditional Bharani, mint-coriander and many more.
The
dishes were not only a treat for the eyes, but for the palate as well. During
the course of the evening, Chef Bangera shared the journey behind the
restaurant, and how the team has been at it for a while, working on the dishes
and presentations. He was clear he did not want to reinvent South Indian food,
but he was here to give it a twist and add a surprise element for the guests.
Well, must say he has done exactly that.
All
during the evening, I kept thinking of my granpa. He was one of those always
open to new flavours and would have loved this place.  He is one of those true blue South Indians
who will not tolerate any mucking about, especially with traditional dishes.  It also makes me happy to note that my city has now opened doors to such new restaurants and the fact that the restaurant is sold out the 1st few days is heart warming~ 
The
restaurant is open for dinner [7pm to 11pm] and 
offer only tasting menus.
Prices
begin at Rs. 2000 approx [per pax] for a 7 course-tasting menu.  
[All
you need to do is tell the Chef if you have any allergies or don’t eat certain
items.]

Address: No., 63, Anna Salai, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
Call 044 2220 0000 for reservations.
Website : http://www.itchotels.in/hotels/itcgrandchola.aspx

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  🙂