Home Columns Anantha Narayan Wit and the city

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    I have a simple test for measuring the IQ of a city. Just put all its restaurants under the microscope and evaluate them for evidence of wit. The wackier the names, the smarter the city. Given this premise, one must admit that Chennai is way superior to its peers in the sheer cleverness of its spread.
    OCD is a starter with which I’d like to make my case. It’s the name of a little bakery in Shenoy Nagar. In case, you didn’t get it. It’s meant for people with the Oreo Compulsive Disorder. Cut to The Velveteen Rabbit in RA Puram. It’s a cool-sounding lounge bar inspired by the children’s classic written by Margery Williams, about a stuffed rabbit that yearns to be real. Then there’s Craveyard Café in Adyar, showcasing its deadly dishes with a touch of dark humour. Wrapsody, the joint on ECR that specialises in wraps, is as good with its wordplay. Fusilli Reasons, the pasta place at Kilpauk, however, tops the punster’s charts by giving you a whimsical excuse for trying their food.Jonah’s Bistro, the brainchild of entrepreneur Sam Paul, and ostensibly named after his son Jonah, has rolled out a series of restaurants that feel like adventure movie titles. Jonah’s goes to Japan, Jonah’s meets Chef Willi, Jonah’s goes to West Coast, and Jonah’s goes Fishing are some of his finely christened culinary sequels.
    Among the ones that project an authentic aura is Batlivala & Khanaboy, a Parsi restaurant floated by a non-Parsi. The acoustics of B&K conjure up the vision of a collaborative venture between two mad bawas.
    Even celebrity restaurants here have a touch of imagination. God-ka by Simran on ECR is a telling example. Instead of riding solely on her brand equity, she chose a fusion name. Godka is what one gets by mixing Gin and Vodka. Also God-ka is a Hinglish way of implying a divine taste.
    The self-deprecatory I Fake for an ‘almost authentic’ restaurant; the very 60s Love Peace Karma for a hookah lounge; the in-your-face Eggsclusive for a roadside eatery; the exotic Bolizza for a snackery peddling the South Indian boli; the catchy Biri Biri for a biryani joint; and the spoonerism Bake My Day, just go to prove that when it comes to ingenuity, Chennai takes the cake.
    Found a wackily-named eatery
    in Chennai? Serve your finding to anantha@albertdali.com

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