The Park has a new culinary showcase, featuring sushi, tapas and some cheeky experiments.
WHETHER the party is on the rooftop or in make-shift tents that relive your childhood, you can count on hotelier Priya Paul to shake up a few fusty customs and redefine the idea of a celebration. Over 14 years ago, she introduced the lounge pool with cabanas, live music and fine dining to our city, courtesy The Park, and we couldn’t seem to get enough of it. Other hotels soon borrowed those ideas, but by then, her F&B team was flexing its culinary muscle with modern concepts and experiments. Edgy video installations rocked the lobby, a bar clad in leather drew the city’s best crowds and the languid Sunday brunch became interactive with the pop-up market. Sous vide, molecular gastronomy, heirloom grains, monofloral honey, even the wannabe cronut found a starring role here at some point or other. So it comes as no surprise that the lady with strong design aesthetics and an enviable art collection has decided to go back to the rooftop and start all over. This time, the setting is industrial (courtesy inputs from design pro Gunjan Gupta), the menu looks to both global trends and Eastern mainstays, and the name is simply, A2. “I am delighted to launch A2 at The Park Chennai, a new interpretation of Aqua indoors, a space to eat, drink and share,” begins Paul, who introduces the space with a private party today.
Her collaboration with product designer Gupta sees the place transformed with industrial water pipes, distressed wood, Potli stools and half kathran sofas. Water vessels in brass and terracotta offer visual cues and work with the aqua theme, also highlighted by a video installation by new media artist, Rajorshi Ghosh. As for the food, a live sushi bar looks to be the focal point, together with concepts like small plates, simple seasonal menus and sharing portions. Japanese-themed beverages add a twist to the proceedings. Rajesh Radhakrishnan, regional director and Acting General Manager, has impressed with cheeky food experiments in the past and promises not to disappoint. “We will have A2 signature maki and sushi selections, and ample options for vegetarians,” he adds. Inspired by urban experiments where chefs have given global food a unique Indian perspective, he suggests that we try the Bombay bheja fry bruschetta and desserts inspired by modern Indian flavours. Look out for local ingredients like the Pondicherry French bacon. And on the beverage front, mimosas, margaritas and pinacoladas can be turned into pitchers.Seasonal ingredients like aloe vera and ginger and homemade bubblegum vodka infusions await. And before you head out into the night, sample the signature A2 or Tiki Tiki cocktails in signature mugs or quirky jars. “Rustic industrial materials are used to create a space that is both sophisticated and edgy. I think A2 will be branded an ‘Anything But Ordinary’ place in Chennai,’’ Paul concludes.
Approximate pricing for two at Rs 2,000++ and Rs 3,000 ++ (with alcohol). Details: 42676000
— Rosella Stephen