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    Chapattis turned tortillas and the biggest nachos in Pondicherry — LesChefs has experiments drawing the crowds

    Close to the French quarters and a stone’s throw from the sea,LesChefs opened their doors earlier this week on Ellaiamman Koil Street. Walking into the cosy 35-seater restaurant—instantly endearing with its old-fashioned red oxide flooring, creamy walls and lanterns swinging over wooden tables—we get a table with a view of their live kitchen. Started by friends-turned-chefs Karthik Raj ­­(a former chef with the Oberoi group of Hotels) and Chera Pandian ( from the Mexican chain of restaurants,  Margarita, in Singapore), the four-day-old restaurant specialises in Indo-Mexican cuisine.
    Mixed menu
    There’s a dearth of Mexican food in the city, with only Celine’s Kitchen giving any competition. The two chefs, both originally from Pondy, take us through their launch menu that boasts Mexican and Indian fare, besides the typical Continental cuisine and a selection of wood-fired pizzas. Their Mexican platter comprises burrito bowls, enchiladas and an Indian fusion salsa to go with “the biggest nachos in Pondicherry”. “When a guest plays it safe and orders an Indian curry, we always suggest a Mexican dish that can complement it. For instance, veggie — stuffed tortillas taste great with mutton curry,” says Raj. The restaurant boasts a grill counter that is already “a favourite with the crowd.” And don’t miss their calzones, prepared on live counters, with stuffings like seafood, chicken and vegetables.
    All for one
    We note that the chefs and stewards are dressed alike. Raj says that, true to the name of the hotel, they don’t distinguish between the wait staff and chefs. The two chefs often take turns with orders and re-filling glasses. Speaking about their Indo-Mexican fusion, Pandian says, “We ensure the flavours of both cuisines are not compromised. Cumin seeds are a common ingredient and I’ve experimented with it in my dishes. I’ve also replaced tortillas with chapattis.”  Their fusion fare has our undivided attention: tortillas stuffed with lemon rice and quesadillas served with an Indian preparation of cabbage, capsicum and red onions.Nevertheless, classics have a following too. “Our Hyderabadi dum biryanis are very popular,” says Raj. From the dessert platter, we pick the cheese and dry-fruit stuffed gulab jamuns and their signature orange and kiwi cake as our favourites. Only glitch: the restaurant is yet to get a bar license.
    Meal for two at Rs 700 onward, Details: 0413  4302626

    Niranjana Hariharanandanan

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