The South Asian restaurant at Westin Velachery beckons with colour-coded designer ware and a view to boot
The setting is soothing. It’s a triumph of the designer’s art. As you look out of the large plate windows onto the inner courtyard of Eest, the new South Asian restaurant at the Westin, Velachery, you forget that you are in the middle of Chennai’s latest urban disaster area. Waterfalls cascade over a low parapet wall and vanish into a channel. Above them, Frangipani trees stand like a row of Japanese fans in the darkness, illuminated by spotlights.
All in colour
“Does food taste better when it’s served on colour-coded designer-ware?” we ask John Paul, venue manager, as he explains the intricate code they have devised to alert the unwary diner as to which type of cuisine is being served. “Red is for Japan, yellow is for Thailand and the black tableware is for China,” he tells us, while alerting us to the fact that even their soft rolls of towelling for freshening the weary brow have been infused with different fragrances. “Since it’s Tuesday, it’s lemon-grass,” he tells us. “We tried Jasmine also, but people found it over-powering. We plan to have different fragrances on different days of the week.”
Thailand to Korea
The under-plate, if that is the term for it, is a circular disc of black striated faintly with red that rests on a stain resistant metallic tablemat. We also learn that “Eest means Elegant, Exquisite, Serenity, Triumph”. The first bowl is a yellow one. So we know we are in Siam with a salad of glass noodles made by their Thai chef. No surprises here, nor in the soup that follows of tofu and slices of veggies in a clear broth. The crispy corn is an idea borrowed from a well-known chain of restaurants started by a Kolkata entrepreneur. We raise our painted eyebrows like the last Chinese Empress. What’s new here? Then we get it. This is designer cuisine. It’s the swish tableware that makes the cut rather than the food. And believe it or not, even steamed rice looks better in a designer bowl. Eest will also serve Malay and Korean shortly.
Meal per head at approximately Rs 800 plus tax. Details: 22553366
— Geeta Doctor