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    The Park designs a bar menu of traditional Irish fare for St Patrick’s day

    When we heard that The Park was planning a St Patrick’s Day (March 17) festival, our curiosity was piqued, especially since Irish cuisine in the city is almost non-existent. Anshu Chhetri, director, food & beverage service, The Park, explains, “We noticed that lately, Chennai folks love concept dining, themed evenings and are open to experimenting.” At a preview to the festival that starts today, chef B Sai Chand, executive-kitchen at The Park and the brain behind the spread, agrees that Irish cuisine revolves around some staples ­— alcohol, meats and potatoes. Though some typical fare like the famed black pudding and Crubeens from the Emerald Isles have been given a miss, keeping in mind the Indian palate, expect bite-sized versions of other popular classics.

    Snack central
    At The Leather Bar, the recipes have been deconstructed into snacky versions. The traditional shepherd’s pie turns up as a platter of bite-sized croquettes, stuffed with mincemeat and potatoes. Meanwhile, the colcannon, originally an Irish variation of mashed potatoes, has been redesigned into shamrock-shaped nuggets, golden and soft-centred, with melted aged cheddar. The savoury mint mousse reminds one of a  yoghurt and mint chutney, while the mushroom and leek boxty turn out to be buttery little pancakes heaped with delicately-flavoured minced mushroom. The whisky barbeque sauce is an ideal accompaniment for the florets of ale-battered pork sausages. However, the lager-flavoured Irish stew with tender mutton cubes and softened slices of baby potatoes, are a move away from the snack segment.

    Green reigns
    Even if leaning towards American cuisine, the beer-battered fish fingers, all crisp on the outside and perfectly flaky within, has us reaching for more — especially when smeared with the green (touch of parsley) tartare. The shamrock vegetable burger, though wanting in flavour, is a visual delight with the miniature clover-shaped bun and the bright green patties (mash up of peas and broccoli) sitting on thin slices of cherry tomatoes. My drink for the evening, the Garden of Guavas, does not disappoint as a refreshing thirst-quencher. Meanwhile my companion steers away from the many interesting Irish whisky-based cocktails like the Midori splashed Irish Eyes and the ice-cream topped shamrocker, and opts for a beer — a glass of cold ‘green’ ale arrives (thanks to a secret ingredient, Creme De Menthe), tasting just like beer with a subtle minty twist — yes, the Irish theme is all encompassing.

    St Patrick’s Day festival is on till March 17. Meal for two at approximately Rs. 1,300 minus beverages. Details: 42676000

    -Sabrina Rajan

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