When the task of giving the eclair an Indian twist fell upon executive chef Swapan Kumar Baidya, his initial choice was to play with tamarind — that indispensable South Indian ingredient. The team back at Starwood’s Asian headquarters in Singapore were pleased with his hazelnut and tamarind creation and approved it as the signature eclair for Le Royal Meridien Chennai as part of their Worldwide Eclair Program that was launched last year. By this programme, each Meridien property will feature six eclairs available at any given time on their menus. “The eclairs will be available at all the property’s restaurants and will have a mix of classic and local flavours,” says Baidya, who wanted to capture the true essence of Chennai and came up with two more crusty eclairs that were recently launched at the hotel.
So what could represent Chennai in all its glory, we wonder. “We have created a golden eclair, made with saffron and a filter coffee eclair,” says the chef, in response. In addition to these, expect classics like vanilla, choco truffle, rum and raisin, amaretto and orange, fig and cashew, among others, available in miniature (two for `80 plus tax) or jumbo (`80 plus tax each) variations. Made with imported ingredients like mascarpone and blueberries, these eclairs will be available for lunch and dinner at Le Gourmandise, and for breakfast and lunch at Cilantro. Details: 22314343
— Ryan Peppin