OVER a month old, L’Amandier already has its share of repeat customers. There are corporates driving by for lunch from Mount Road, Boat Club walkers dropping in for an early breakfast, and scores of expats right through the day. In a city short on Continental breakfast options from standalone restaurants, L’Amandier scores on many fronts. It begins early (7.30 am), has a buffet breakfast, functions right through the day, has Wifi and is reasonably priced. How about Rs 299 for breakfast or Rs 475 for a four-course meal that includes zucchini and thyme soup, chicken kiev and Irish lamb stew?
Breakfast alone will have us going back for seconds, with eggs, ham, bacon, cold cuts, juices, a light pasta and more. And if the croissants are glum and unyeilding when we visit, we’re told a chef from Pondicherry will soon rectify this. As for dessert, the crumble is a big hit here, as is the molten chocolate cake, with the team walking a fine line between the ‘extra sweet’ Chennaites prefer and ‘mild to dark’ that expats request. Soon, they hope to have two versions of each, and the logistics is left to your imagination.
This tastefully appointed bistro is the result of a joint venture between Ramaniyam Real Estates and Absolute Homes. The latter, run by the globetrotting hotel management graduate Nidhi Thadani and her husband, are serviced apartments across the city. Manning the restaurant are seasoned chef, Prabhu Dhananjay (formerly at ITC Grand Chola) and German manager Katherine. But it is Nidhi who oversees every little detail, with a lot of mentoring from savvy consultant Regi Mathew (think Oriental Cuisines, Ente Keralam and Benjarong).
Plans are on for a creperie and a showcase of home bakers’ best. The bistro will accommodate 110 once they include basement seating. As for the name, it is inspired by an almond tree on the premises. ‘‘We were brainstorming, and it brought to mind Demophon and the almond tree from Greek mythology, my favourite story from school,’’ confesses Nidhi. Incidentally, almond croissants are making their way to the menu.
From 7.30 am to 11 pm at 52, Chamiers Road. Details: 42827882
— Rosella Stephen