M’Bessy in Adyar serves wood fired pizzas, interesting cocktails and a deconstructed tiramisu
The only memory I have of Hotel Esthell in Adyar is that of a football match in a dimly lit bar called Pirates. That was long before its recent relaunch after converting that bar and reception into a duplex-style resto bar christened M’Bessy. Inside, we’re greeted by a pizza oven and bakery that will soon offer fresh baked breads on the go. Venture to your right and it’s fancy chandeliers, Victorian-looking furniture and a spiral staircase that leads to the watering hole upstairs. It’s 2 pm on a Sunday afternoon, so we insist on dining over drinking, but then give in and agree to try one signature, the Royal Tea Punch.
Our waiter places plates of tomato basil broth in front of us. Thin, mildly herbed and served with assorted breads, this is exactly how we like to begin. Then come starters from midget-size pizza slices topped with bits of barbecue chicken, basil and tomato, to balls of well-minced chicken in a crunchy, crumb-fried shell and rather bland slivers of tempura prawns too. Finally, a tea pot bellowing smoke through its spout arrives. Like in the rhyme, our waiter pours it out, into teacups filled with ice. This is our liquid nitrogen-treated tea punch, laced with vodka, spices and orange liqueur. We’re impressed.
Next comes a 12-inch thin crust pizza that’s one half barbecue chicken and one half caramelised onion, blue cheese and basil. The base is a bit bready, but still pliant, so we can’t complain. After four hearty slices, we get to work on the lamb chops served with an addictively smokey bbq sauce and opt for Baileys cheesecake and tiramisu for dessert. While the former is not much to write about, the latter leaves us pleasantly surprised. At first, I’m not sure about the deconstructed presentation. But given the freedom to scoop up the mascarpone, kahlua-soaked sponge and whipped cream in whatever ratio you like, we’ll agree that it’s not a bad idea at all. We’re convinced to return for a round of cocktails by their award-winning barman Karthik Kumar.
Around Rs 1,500 per head without alcohol. Details: 45510111
— Ryan Peppin