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    Newly-opened Le Tandoor, on one of Pondicherry’s busiest streets, plays the Indo-Chinese card

    Mission Street, one of Pondicherry’s hot and happening lanes, has seen some of the town’s best restaurants in the last few years. The latest to join the list is Le Tandoor, ideal for those hunting for multi-cuisine options in a quiet setting. On the first floor of a commercial establishment (opposite ICICI Bank), the 45-seater is the brainchild of NR Narendran, a hotel management graduate from Vel’s University, Chennai, who has worked in several restaurants in and around Pondicherry. Having toyed with the idea of opening a conceptual fine dining restaurant, he partnered with his friend Nicholas, from France, to come up with an inventive menu featuring the best of Oriental and Indian cuisines.
    The Phuket connection
    The blue-themed restaurant’s simplistic decor, along with its candles and instrumental music, sets the mood for a relaxing dinner. The menu features a variety of popular dishes like kebabs, Indian breads, Oriental noodles and seafood.We start off with the lemon-mint cooler, an instant refresher. With masala papad as appetisers, we decide to skip the soups and tuck into the starters. The chicken kebab platter from the Indian section and the chicken sizzler from the West make their way to the table, while the chef recommends Phuket fish and tiger prawns from the Oriental menu. The chicken sizzler, served on a bed of fries and salad, is crisp. The generously portioned kebab platter—featuring malai and reshmi variants—is juicy and easily voted the star dish of the day. The Phuket fish, with sauces spiced up to suit the Indian palate, and the prawns tossed in Oriental sauces, are both executed well. For the Indian main course, we go with the chef’s recommendation—chilli-flakes stuffed wheat parottas and Kashmiri naan paired with chicken dakota, a gravy that, despite its name, impressed us with the richness of Indian spices balancing the flavour of Eastern sauces. From the mains, we sample the Le Tandoor special mixed fried rice. With a balance of meat and seafood, it hits the spot.
    Grand finale
    We are too full to sample the desserts featured on the menu, like the date cake and tiramisu. Narendran informs us that they also have fresh Italian natural ice-creams from Auroville. With an open-air lounge coming up soon, and the hotelier’s plans for a dedicated cocktail bar, we’re definitely visiting them again to try their chef’s specials like the mango fish curry.

    Meal for two at approximately Rs 1,000. Details: 0413 4300042

    —Mani Prabhu

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