Two Argentinians have begun wooing Chennai with a contemporary take on South American food and drink
HE South Americans are warm, passionate and expressive people. How do I know this you ask? Being welcomed into the restaurant with a pleasant embrace and a jolly ‘Hola!’, I can vouch for it with all certainty! Friends Chula Barmaid, 28 (who interestingly adopted her own last name with the profession she absolutely loves) and Max Luqul, 29 are the Mixologist and Head Chef duo looking to surprise your tastebuds with flavours and textures typical of the dynamic foodie countries of South America. All this with a curious infusion of modern elements, trendy techniques and local inspiration. Located inside the compact Hotel Legends right opposite their competitor 10 Downing Bar, the investors are the hotel’s Chairman and MD Kanaka Subbu and Senthil Kumar, who have roped in Consultant Arasu Dennis for Sudaka. Even before I question Dennis about the name he clarifies, ‘‘The term by which South Americans are usually addressed in other Spanish speaking countries is Sudaka and perfectly sums up the concept of this resto-bar.” Luqul shares excitedly that they hope to create a unique experience. ‘‘We want to introduce the art and fun of drinking without getting you drunk,’’ adds Barmaid.
Insisting that the duo are artists here to bring to life flavour-bomb dishes and fresh intoxicating cocktails, the talented team have many a skill up their sleeve. Showcasing the myriad flavours of the many countries, Luqul is introducing speciality ingredients like Ecuador’s sweet chilli and the Argentinian smoked pepper powder in his Chimichurri sauce or even the aroma of Peru’s smoked Palo Santo wood. This is combined with ingredients and styles that best represent each country. Think corn in dishes from Bolivia, the slow cooked marinated lamb shanks of Argentina, and the latest food trends from Peru, which have immense Chinese and Japanese influences.
Barmaid to the rescue
Working in sync is mixologist Barmaid whose speciality is creating cocktails that are full of character from the inspired country. From Chilean egg-white sours in your whisky to a classic strong Argentinian Negroni cocktail, Barmaid’s potions have a dash of swagger. The backbone of these traditional foods with a modern edge is Luqul and Barmaid’s painstaking focus on the basics. Made in-house are not only foundation sauces like Avocado Mayonnaise, Pink Mayonnaise, Barbecue and Green tomato Salsa but also all the syrups in the bar which include an impressive array like the Cardamom honey, Chocolate-vanilla, Spice & chilli alongside homemade blends, bitters, base mixers and even Vermouth. ‘‘Gastronomically, restaurants in 2016 will be looking to create a wholesome experience that revives a sense of nostalgia and belonging, apart from the fabulous show of food and drink,’’ says Luqul. ‘‘We will combine big, bold and flavourful food with fusion cocktails and that is all about harmony!’’ wraps up the vivacious Barmaid, who is looking forward to being welcomed to the small yet growing club of women behind the bar in the city.
Avg meal for two: Rs 1,500 sans drinks. Details: 42004355
— Preeti GT