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    Mount Riviera’s first restaurant comes late, but is letting its global barbecues do the talking.

    IT TOOK a year for Triplicane’s Mount Riviera hotel to open its first restaurant. The occasion, marked with a soft launch earlier this week, was well attended. I find the 90-seater restaurant, Grill O’Phillic, packed with friends and family of owner Mohammed Ali Jinnah, before I head to the kitchen to catch up with their head chef, Saikh Raja, about all things food and sundry.
    The unassuming 32-year-old, who hails from Orissa, candidly tells me that he has never enrolled for a hotel management course in his career spanning 17 years. The self-made chef has worked at properties like the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi and Lemon Tree Hyderabad. At Grill O’Phillic, he has introduced barbecues from Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and more, besides desi kebabs, in their buffet menu.
    The live grill at my table (ala Barbeque Nation) is laden with skewers of mushrooms, paneer and chicken. My first option, the paneer, doesn’t hold my attention for long as it is rather chewy. But Raja has me back on track with a basa fish sizzler, served with vegetables and jasmine rice (rather bland). Meanwhile, Jinnah tells me to expect dishes like Thai khao soi, tom kha kai and others to be the top draws soon. I wrap things up with a deliciously sweet rabri.
    Buffet from Rs 450 onwards. Details: 7667777864

    — Karan Pillai

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