A new resto-bar in MRC Nagar pays tribute to the radio and vintage music
ALRIGHT, I have two words for you — Cherry Berry. Actually, let me start from the beginning. Where would you find great food, exotic cocktails, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and a bunch of old boom boxes under one roof in Chennai? To see for yourself, head over to Chennai’s newest restobar — the Radio Room, at Somerset Greenways. Walk in through the double doors and the first thing that strikes you is that neighbourhood watering hole feeling. The ambience is distinctly retro and there are many very original touches that give the place character. From the white-painted radios and stereos that form the bar and DJ console to the art work on the walls to the radio microphones converted to hanging light fixtures, the attention to detail is impressive. Our host for the evening, Zahir Naina, tells us that all the artwork has been done by young artists from South Chennai. He then takes charge of the serious stuff.
Time to pour
Radio Room is a resto bar so, duh, we start with the cocktails. We try five of the signature cocktails — Cherry Berry, Whisky Business, Smooth Criminal, Muddy Puddles and Melon & Cheese. Great names for some very nice drinks. The stand outs were the Cherry Berry (a delightful sweet’n’sour drink with scotch, marmalade and cranberry juice) and the Smooth Criminal. What is great about the signature cocktails is that they represent a fusion of kitchen and bar and it works. Muddy Puddles is a dessert cocktail that is going places. Try it.
Bite on sight
We get served practically the entire starter menu and the variety is incredible. Parmesan Broccoli Kebabs, Chicken Wings, Flame-grilled Peri Peri Prawns, Pork Steamed Buns, Mushroom Steamed Buns, Fish Tacos, Vodka Egg Fritters, Puffs, Mushrooms and Pork, Molaga Bhajji with Mozzarella (no kidding) and Corn Fondue with Garlic Bread. The portion sizes are perfect and presentation very original. But the clear winner was the Parmesan Broccoli. The egg fritters were exceptional and the prawns set off the fire alarm. All in all, the cocktails had the best possible company.
The main course, like we needed one, comprised Beef Sliders and Spicy Lamb Rolls. Once again, perfectly portioned and served with a minimum of fuss. Dessert was a Nutella Maltova Crumble and Half Baked Chocolate Cake that brought memories of the childhood beverage roaring back. While the service does have some teething issues, I cannot recommend Radio Room enough for the intelligently curated menu, warm ambience, superb food and drinks. When you do go there, ask for Zahir!
Meal for two at around Rs 2,000. Details: 8500005672
— Amar Devadason