Home Chennai Into the Rabbit Hole

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    The team behind L’Amandier has a new lounge with an enviable selection of beers and malts

    WE slip downstairs from L’Amandier’s busy lunch service and head into a cosy little den called The Velveteen Rabbit — the new lounge in town, in a basement no less. Nidhi Thadani’s latest little fairy tale venture has a fine selection of international labels that stare back at us from across the bar counter as we enter — and no, I’m not imagining things, this really is Chennai (post prohibition scare that, too)! We find our seats, among a sofa and stools that pack the tightly furnished space, that has Beatles and Elvis’ hits resonating within. The ceiling has been left uncovered and the wall behind us bares its bricks. At the bar, we spot everything from Japanese single malts to Hoegaarden and Stella Artois beer. What a relief.

    Beer hideout
    We meet Arrzaan Jila, the unassuming marketing manager, who believes that word of mouth will determine the success of this 35-seater place. I agree with him. The space isn’t large and thirsty customers are sure to ferret out this watering hole sooner than later. Impressed with the selection of beers from across the globe, I pick a Belgian Leffe Blond, as my wife asks for a Sangria. Cold and crisp, the beer strikes a chord and goes well with Beer Batter Seafood.

    Best of the rest
    Chef Prabhu Dhananjay has acquitted himself most convincingly at the bistro upstairs, and his fingerprints are all over this menu here as well. Intrigued by the idea of Tandoori Blue Cheese Chicken Tikka we order a portion and I follow the beer with a Bourbon on ice. While a bar consultant from London is involved, Thadani has taken keen interest in what goes on the menu, we are told — thus there are little Lebanese accents to the kebabs and skewered snacks. Blue Cheese works well as a tandoori tikka marinade, we discover, and slices of figs sit well on a pepperoni pizza too. We’ll surely be scurrying back for more, especially the classic cocktails and Scottish whiskies.
    Around Rs 2,000 for two.
    Details: 90031338800

    — Niren Saldanha

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