Sanjeev Kapoor needs no introduction. From cook books to the longest running television show, Khana Khazana, this chef has attained celebrity status with many a restaurant to his credit. With the recent opening of his chain The Yellow Chilli (TYC) in Nungambakkam, Chennai is the first in South India to have one of the chef’s signature restaurants. “Our aim is to spread our wings across India and abroad. We strive to have our presence in every city, including Bangalore in due course,” chef Kapoor tells us, ahead of his visit to Chennai, to launch TYC. The restaurant serves specialities “selected from across our country” with a few of Kapoor’s signature items thrown in.
Dine like royalty
Located on the third floor of HM Centre, the 110-cover restaurant is well lit, to say the least, with a glass wall overlooking the greener side of Nungambakkam and another dedicated to art. We ask chef Kapoor for recommendations for first timers and he is happy to share. “Start with the Masala Adraki Chaas. For vegetarians, the Lalla Mussa Dal and Baghare Baingan accompanied by the assorted bread basket. And for non vegetarians, Lawrence Road Tandoori Murgh or the Raan Buzkazi.” For dessert, their Gulab-e-Gulkand, the size of a small fist, would satiate any sweet cravings. But has the cuisine been tweaked to suit the Chennai palate? “This I normally do for all my restaurants, whether in India or abroad,” Kapoor admits. But that’s not the only reason TYC Chennai stands out. They have a free standing amethyst table (the Emperor’s Table). With exclusive tableware, it is available only on advance bookings at approximately over Rs 2,000 per head.
The green way
“Our next venture down South will be in Coimbatore,” says the chef about his plans for South India, adding that we can also expect his channel FoodFood to expand into the regional genre and move to international markets as well. “USA is the near term focus,” he adds. This could be a move towards achieving his goal of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world. “I feel this will happen in the next 10 years. It will be consumed by people not only for the great taste, but also for its balanced approach and healthy outlook,” he predicts.
Meal for two from approx Rs 1,500 onwards. Details: 7299923457
— Ryan Peppin