Home Chennai Grab drinks in the basement at Small World

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    The newest watering hole in town at J’s Five Two, beckons with bouillabaisse and cold beers

    When they decided to call it ‘Small World’, John Salvador and Arasu Dennis got it right. For once, we walked into a cramped space filled with leather upholstery and tables and didn’t think ‘gosh, this is REALLY small’. “That’s the whole idea,” laughs Dennis, who has moved from Illusions to present another watering hole for the city’s high spirited. “We didn’t want people to get an idea that there’s a lot of space, so the name sort of disarms them.” And that’s how RA Puram got its first neighbourhood bar, which isn’t ‘local’, as he puts it.

    J6Focus on the cards
    Set in the basement of J’s Five Two boutique hotel, owned and operated by Salvador, Small World is a 70-seater ‘work in progress’ that will crank up its service starting today. But first things first: like Zara and Illusions, this place doesn’t have a dance floor. “We’ve worked more on our menu than our bar drinks, because that’s where we believe we can make the difference,” says chef Chandru, whose continental skill(et)s were primed by everyone from Gordon Ramsey to chef Willi of Burgundy’s. The team has been bold enough to forge an exhaustive menu of continental mains, while throwing in the odd fusion starter. Fusion is a word we’ve come to taste with caution. And that caution is heightened when we’re given banana chillies (bajji chillies) topped with baked batter and cheese. A few bites in and it hits us — this would go swell with a cold beer. The chef smiles indulgently at the epiphany.

    Seafood specials
    Tucking into a creamy bouillabaisse, resplendent with garlic wedges and steamed baby octopuses, we’re on to a good thing here. And the euphoria of getting decent continental food in a bar continues as the breaded basa with coriander coulis arrives. Best part is, if you’re not into these ‘oomph’ mains, the kitchen will be more than happy to indulge you with some off-the-menu chilly chicken and kebabs, as well.

    Meal for two with dinner and drinks at Rs. 1,500. Details: 24362052

    -Daniel Thimmayya

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