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    Work up your appetite, as Restaurant Week India, a national event that encourages you to dine out, comes to Chennai

    Location counts
    RWI has chosen restaurants to ensure that you don’t have to travel too far for your meal. While Ayna at Hilton has the south west of the city covered, Eest at The Westin caters to the residents of Velachery. Even the folks on OMR and ECR are taken care of at Sian, The Gateway Hotel. You will also have a host of settings to choose from, as Kefi the rooftop restaurant at Taj Club House invites you to try its Mediterranean cuisine, while The Raintree at Vivanta by Taj-Connemara invites you to sample Chettinad fare amidst trees and a pond.

    En restaurants serving three-course meals at the same price for 10 whole days — it might not sound like much at first, but then we heard about the participants. For their first edition in Chennai, Citibank Restaurant Week India (RWI) by Desi Restaurant Week Events has rounded up the likes of Hip Asia at Taj Connemara and Ayna at Hilton, besides stand alone restaurants like Teppan by Oriental Cuisines. No doubt a meager 10 does not compare to the list of 25 plus restaurants that Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai have registered, but Chennai’s price tag doesn’t compare to theirs either. At `750 a meal per person (while other cities charge no less than `900), we have every reason to believe that RWI will make a stellar debut in the city.
    Book your table
    “We’ve tried to balance geography and cuisine while choosing the restaurants,” says Mangal Dalal, a food writer whoPolo al Chillindron from Kefi at Taj Club House introduced the concept with chef Nachiket Shetye in 2010. While the duo have added ‘signatures’ to the three-course offerings this year (for an extra `200), the unique feature of RWI remains that guests can peruse the menus of all participating restaurants, before making reservations on restaurantweekindia.com, the only way to book a table for the RWI. “Chennai has recorded one of the highest number of internet service and app users. Plus the organisers have worked out an extremely competitive price point and I think this gives RWI a very good chance of catching on in the city,” feels Mohamed Ali, founder of the Chennai Food Guide. It also helps that this sort of concept is not new to Chennai, the city having recently participated in Gout de France, and introduced the Chocolate Pairing Week (by chocolate taster L Nitin Chordia and sommelier Praveen Krishnamurthy), where select restaurants created special chocolate menus paired with wine.
    What to expect
    “Each course has three to four choices and we have also added an optional salad or soup to our menus,” says Aji Joseph, the corporate chef of Oriental Cuisines, whose Thai speciality restaurant Benjarong and Japanese restaurant Teppan are the only stand alone restaurants participating this time. Expect classics like the chicken in pandanus leaves and crispy tenderloin in roasted Thai chilly paste from the former, while the latter has its signature yaki tori and a variety of maki rolls on the menu. For a more rounded Indian meal, try Samudra, Trident Hotel, where you get coastal fare from across the country. With the local fishing ban beginning in a few days, all the seafood used at this restaurant will be flown in from Kerala and West Bengal. Chef Abhilash also promises plenty for vegetarians as most of their seafood gravies will be available in vegetarian avatars (paneer moilee anyone?). There’s just one downside to this whole deal. While you and me can begin making reservations only on April 12, Citibank cardholders get to start today!
    RWI takes place from April 17-26. Details: restaurantweekindia.com

    — Ryan Peppin

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