The new chef at On The Rocks showcases specials from a meal enjoyed on the Titanic
Recreating the last meal of the Titanic has to be an unusual way for a new chef to announce his presence, but chef Vijay David Niranjan at On The Rocks, Sheraton Park, almost pulls it off. The famous 11-course meal consumed by first class passengers on the night the ship sank has been edited down to an option of a five or three-course meal that manages to be memorable enough. On the other hand, the question of a�?whya�? doesna��t find a satisfactory answer. Restaurant manager Namrata Bhalla Kapahi almost convinces us with her explanation: ita��s an exhortation to enjoy life and live in the moment, regardless of what may come in the future.
The meal, pegged as Epic Dining, consists of dishes from the original menu and chef Niranjana��s tweaks to recipes go a long way in relieving some of the heaviness that the originals must have boasted. We try the three courses. First is soup a�� mine the Consomme Olga, and my companiona��s vegetarian version, mushroom a�� served in tureens. The mushroom soup is a temporary stand-in for the Cream of Barley Soup from the original menu. The consomme is a rich broth with scallops and may not be to everyonea��s liking. I am served a lovely Saute Chicken Lyonnaise as my main course. The chicken is tender and flavourful. Some parts of the dish have a concentration of salt, a problem my vegetarian companion also encounters in her Vegetable Farci (rice-stuffed zucchini served with Thai curry). For dessert we are served a lighter take on the Waldorf Pudding that still manages to be extraordinarily sweet. The Punch Romaine (`950 plus tax) makes up for a lot though. In all, an interesting but not especially spectacular meal. Chef Niranjan, who was executive chef at the Grand Mercure and worked with chef Abhijit Saha at Flava in Bangalore, returns to his hometown after 12 years away. His passion for Mediterranean cuisine and experience in molecular gastronomy are promising.
Non vegetarian dinner at `1,950 plus tax for three courses and `2,750 plus tax for five courses. Details: 24994101
Vadodaraa��s Barbeque Grill opens its second outlet, at Phoenix market City
The two-week-old Barbeque Grill at Phoenix Market City is quite packed when we stroll in for dinner on a Sunday night. The concept of the 95-cover restaurant, which first opened in Vadodara in 2012, is similar to Barbeque Nation and others in towna��a grill placed on the table with meat on skewers and a variety of marinades with which diners may play around. Also on offer is the familiar concept of unlimited starters served at the table and a buffet main course and dessert table.
However, not all the items on the starters list are to be grilled. We get a mutton seekh kebab and chicken tangdi served on the plate, while the pesto prawn, chilli garlic chicken and lemon fish tikka come as skewers. Of the vegetarian starters, we try the hara bhara kebab and the onion-heavy pahadi aloo. The starters are fine, but not anything to write home about.
The main course offers a fairly wide variety of options with the butter fish in particular being good (creamy and light), but the mutton dum biriyani is nondescript, with barely any meat on the bones. The chefa��s special crab curry and the chilli pepper chicken would have hit the spot if there had been some steamed white rice to go with it. Though my companion falls in love with the vegetarian pasta, with green and yellow capsicum in white sauce, it is inexplicably sweet for my palate.
Dessert is a hit and miss affair. The baked itemsa��like chocolate brownies and honey nut crunch a��are acceptable, but then there is a gupchup apple (apple slices covered in cream and sprinkled with cornflakes) that fails to impress. Whipped fresh cream with a tinge of flavouring, masquerades as a kiwi mousse and a mango pudding. My companion decides to eat her pasta for dessert.
Vegetarian lunch and dinner is Rs.599 and Rs.699 respectively, Monday to Thursday, and Rs.649 and Rs.749 on the weekends. Non-vegetarian lunch and dinner is Rs.699 and Rs.799, Monday to Thursday, and Rs.749 and Rs.849 on the weekends. Details: 60505557
Promising speedy delivery and more outlets by the end of the year, Faasoa��s rolls into town
Fanatic Activism Against Substandard Occidental Shit (Faasoa��s) was started in Pune in 2003 by Kallol Banerjee and Jaydeep Barman, two IIM graduates bored with their jobs and nursing an entrepreneurial itch. It took longer for that dream to bear fruit than they must have expected. Meanwhile, penniless students like me would frequent the then neighbourhood wrap-joint avatar of Faasoa��s and eat our fill of greasy, tasty katti roll-esque wraps at friendly prices. A full decade later, I stumble into a hip, colourful fast-food incarnation of my old college haunt in my own city. Between 2003 and 2011, Faasoa��s was a dream stuttering in production. In 2011, with an investment from Sequoia Capital, Faasoa��s took off. Apparently marrying some of the production practices of the vendors of said a�?Occidental Shita�� with the quality and flavour of the katti rolls of Kolkata, Faasoa��s has expanded rapidly with about 85 outlets across Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Bangalore. Its first outlet opened in Chennai last month in Besant Nagar and two more are expected in Velachery and OMR. Hyderabad and Mysore are next on the agenda, with plans to be in 15 cities by the end of next year.
But what really sets Faasoa��s apart from its competition? Quality, consistency, hygiene and speed, says Raghav Joshi, VP South India operations. We try their Bhuna Chicken wraps served with a spicy Teekha Chaska powder. The wraps are competent, and perhaps, most appealingly, light and non-greasy. They can be converted to a a�?serve on ricea�� option which, Joshi says, is extremely popular. Other than the desi stylings, there are a few cheese and mayo options as well. Faasoa��s also introduces new items to their menu every few months including season-specific wraps. The food is freshly prepared to your order and prices range from Rs.50-Rs.130 for the wraps and Rs.85-Rs.120 for the rice a�?feasta�� options. We strongly recommend you order the Faasoa��s brand of soft drink, Swig (Rs.30 green apple/jal jeera), if you need something to, err, swig. Faasoa��s other USP, according to Joshi, is their speedy delivery: a guarantee of 20 minutes or a Rs.150 discount on the order (within the locality). You can also tweet for a delivery or order through their website and foodpanda. Details: 7812023839
a�� Ranjitha Gunasekaran
Bangalore-based Habanero brings their brand of Tex-Mex to Chennai at Phoenix Market City
The popular Bangalore-based Tex-Mex restaurant Habanero just opened in Phoenix Market City and fans should be pleased. a�?a�?You should open in Chennai!a�� is a comment wea��ve heard for years in Bangalore. Travellers, business people, and other restaurant guests with ties to the city have encouraged us to come here,a�? Elizabeth Bowden-David, of the husband-wife duo behind the brand, explains. Billed as authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, Habanero offers a warm atmosphere and friendly menu that introduces newbies to the cuisine.
We wander in on a Tuesday afternoon and meet Gopal, restaurant manager and Sajad, their chef. Between the two of them, they ensure we partake of what feels like half the food in the kitchen, but hopefully isna��t. The salsa (three kinds a�� spicy, mild and seasonal fruit-based) comes first, accompanied by nachos. As we dip in, the duo tell us of the Chennai-specific additions to the menu, namely in the form of chicken and vegetable options to some of the dishes. Gopal recommends we start out with a mini-platter of their popular Muchos Nachos (nothing mini about it, Rs.325). The scrumptious pile of cheese, chicken, salsa, guacamole, sour cream goes down well with the Virgin Mary (Rs.165) and Tamarind Margarita (Rs.170, non-alcoholic) we order. The Virgin Mary in particular is delicious, packing a distinctive punch (that leaves my companion spluttering towards the end of the drink a�� in a good way).
Gopal brings on an array of starters: Jalapeno poppers (Rs.275, oddly dough-y), a delightful pork green chilli stew (Rs.225) that melds a raw fire with subtle creaminess and a vegetarian habanero fiesta salad with quesadilla (Rs.250) that my companion enjoys (I am not a fan of salads with mayo). For mains, squelched, my companion has the beef burger (Rs.325) that is juicy and hits the spot. I try the chicken fajitas (Rs.425): Assembly is idiot-proof and satisfaction is guaranteed. For dessert, Gopal and Sajad intimidate us with a sample of four of their best: We love the milk-soaked tres leche cake but I would give the caramel cheesecake a pass (Rs.225). Habanero has introduced an eggless dessert in the form of a snickers-chimichanga (Rs.225) that we are served with ice cream. I find it terrifying as a concept, but my companion has no such qualms and enjoys it. The restaurant is looking into offering home deliveries (yay!) and will soon have live salsa and guacamole counters, Gopal says. Details: 42791314
a�� Ranjitha Gunasekaran