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Old 28th February 2011, 08:58   #391
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Default Re: A Guide: Eating out in Chennai

Ha ha eating is one of the few things I do well .

By the way I discovered on my recent trip to Madurai and Thanjavur that the quality of south-indian food is still there, down south. Only Chennai seems to have lost it, somehow. Maybe the dominance of foreign (non-Tamil) cooks & workers dominating the industry had a role in it? (thinking so because the north indian cuisine is getting better & better here). Or, maybe Chennai people want a different menu? Not sure.

If you ever happen to go to Madurai, do eat in two places: Murugan Idli Kadai (veg) and Amma Mess (non-veg).

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Old 28th February 2011, 15:35   #392
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I am very fond of Chennai. I did, after all, move 5,000 miles to come and live here! But, I am afraid that its standards are slipping in many ways, not just food.
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Old 28th February 2011, 16:04   #393
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^^^Agree whole heartedly that the standards have come down.
Last decade we had restaurants that were known for their authentic flavor to food. Now what they do, start branches everywhere, with no plan / process on maintaining the taste of food, but increase the prices Result: The food quality goes down. They do business only on past glory. Examples: Ratna Cafe, Murugan idly Kadai (the original one in Madurai), Palimer.
In fact, me and my wife make it a point to eat at restaurants which are not part of a chain. No HSB, VB, Hot Chips, A2B for us unless we cannot help it.
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Old 28th February 2011, 17:48   #394
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@jeevmenon: Never knew the Kumarakom was still open. I think they'd closed down the Velachery one for a while. That's a good place. Even on weekends, when other Kumarakom hotels (Anna Nagar, Nungambakkam, Adyar) are teeming with people, this one would have only a manageable crowd. I've never had to wait for more than 5-10 minutes compared to 30-45min at Adyar. Seating and service are better too.
Pramod, you dont see much rush there because intially the service was pathetic and the food was horrible. Thats why most of the people dont feel like going there. I am not sure of they have changed, but after two instances of having horrible tasting food, I decided enough is enough.
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Old 1st March 2011, 15:44   #395
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OK. ElantraGT. Assuming you are a mallu, whats are the top 3 mallu food restaurants in the city? I will try them all. If you arent mallu, dont bother answering the question.
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Old 1st March 2011, 17:10   #396
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OK. ElantraGT. Assuming you are a mallu, whats are the top 3 mallu food restaurants in the city? I will try them all. If you arent mallu, dont bother answering the question.

Jeev though I am not a mallu, the following are the dishes I love

* Kozhi Varatharucha Curry
* Chicken Mappas
* Egg Aapam

I dont take fish, but I have heard lots of good reviews on Karimeen masala.
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Old 1st March 2011, 17:27   #397
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Default Re: A Guide: Eating out in Chennai

Guys around Velachery, do try Haven Sampoora. I loved the food, quick service and taste was great. Its in the bye-pass almost at the end near the check post. Its next to the TVS service station in velachery bye pass.

Haven Sampoorna (Sampoorna Global - renamed), Velachery Road, Chennai, Outdoor Caterers,Restaurants - burrp! Chennai
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Old 1st March 2011, 19:23   #398
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OK. ElantraGT. Assuming you are a mallu, whats are the top 3 mallu food restaurants in the city? I will try them all. If you arent mallu, dont bother answering the question.
The new Kudumbam restaurant (opposite Palmgrove hotel) in Nungambakkam is definitely worth a visit. You can also try the established "Ente Keralam" at Poes Gardens.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 10:41   #399
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OK. ElantraGT. Assuming you are a mallu...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElantraGT View Post
Jeev though I am not a mallu...
Hari, being a foodie has its own effects, eh?

Alright, jeevmenon, here are some of my picks (and pricks too)

Kerala Hut at Royapettah. USP is of course meals. Chicken stew used to be good. I've heard beef is really good, but haven't tasted it since I don't eat beef. It's small, so I would advise going there at 12-12:30 itself if going for lunch. There is no place to sit outside and wait (used to be so), so waiting there will not be a good idea.

One more, There's a hotel on the OMR, a couple of blocks after the Thoraipakkam Cognizant office (TCO it's called). Forgot its name. I used to frequent that place since my office was just after the overbridge that comes immediately after the toll gate. Aavoli fry, karimeen and njandu (crab) fry are tasty (don't expect the crab to be really big).

I think I've mentioned before in this thread, about Thampuran. It's near the Wipro office in Sholinganallur. Really tasty dishes. Loved the fish fry.

There used to be a mallu restaurant named Tharavaadu in Besant nagar, near the SBT office (The last time i visited Chennai, there was another Mallu hotel by the name of Nandanam in the same building in Besant nagar). It got shifted to Tiruvanmiyur beach. Try to avoid that place. Food is only average quality, but exorbitantly priced (Puttu-kadala costs Rs.120). The only reason for this pricing could be that foreigners visit the place, seeing their hoardings that say "authentic Kerala cuisine" etc.

Oriental cuisines runs a South Indian specialty hotel named Kokum in MRC Nagar. Tried their Goan cuisine during a Goan food fest. Food was tasty. I haven't tasted Goan food before, so I can't say whether it was authentic. However, service was not so great. The waiters couldn't tell us what to expect - the names of the dishes wouldn't let out any clue about their nature, and the menu card did not have any info on the items either. However the waiters were well versed with other south Indian delicacies - Tamil, Kerala dishes especially.

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Old 2nd March 2011, 12:06   #400
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There used to be a mallu restaurant named Tharavaadu in Besant nagar,
I used to be a regular at this place during bachelor days.
That was one of the best places for authentic mallu food in chennai.
Don't know whether they still maintain those standards as i haven't gone there for years.

Annanagar has some decent mallu joints.
Thallasery- North kerala cuisine. Tasty food but a bit oily.
Kumarakom - average taste but good ambience
Kairali - Guess these guys are related to the besant nagar tharavad, as i've seen the same faces here too. Food is ok.
Kayal-quite authentic but the place is a bit dingy.
Seashells- a "gulf- mallu" restaurant. You get lots of arabian dishes also. Heard it's jointy owned by actor Arya.
Quote:
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Oriental cuisines runs a South Indian specialty hotel named Kokum in MRC Nagar.
these guys have their hands on too many things..most of their so called authentic restaurents are no where close to how the original taste is.

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Old 1st April 2011, 10:54   #401
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Looks like Amethyst coffee shop is closed ? Was passing by that area and noticed a board saying property of some Sugar Mill. Not a regular there but was sad to see another old place disappear
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Old 1st April 2011, 11:18   #402
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Any restaurant showing CWC finals on big screen and the rates of admission? Pubs are ruled out as I have to take my son along.

How is the food at Thalappakattu biryani place on Venkatnarayana road? Anybody been there?

@Thad
I have five decades experience of eating out in Chennai! And I do think the taste of TN fare offered at many places is nowhere near what it used to be, though the frills and cost have gone up a lot.

The one veg eatery where I feel the taste has remained the same (more or less) over a decade and a half is HSB at T'nagar.

I have a benchmark for testing the food at any place. Wherever my dad (79) eats and doesn't get a tummy upset is great in my book. He has a delicate digestive system (mine is more like a concrete mixer!). HSB has passed this test consistently. Vasanthabhavan Mylapore did not.

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Old 1st April 2011, 11:29   #403
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By the way, Vasantha Bhavan and Ratna Cafe are not what they used to be, IMHO. I used to frequent these to places in the late 90s and early 2000s, and their food used to be out of the world! Now it is not that great.
Vasantha Bhavan is costly IMO, very true their taste is not that great nowadays.

I would prefer hot chips any day, believe me their idly is the best among AAB, VB, HSB & Sangeethas. Though I am not in a veggie, I fall in for a plate of good idlys
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Old 1st April 2011, 11:52   #404
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Bottle, Amethyst has moved to a place near the express mall. I'm sad to see that too. I haven't been to the new place yet, but from what my wife told me, it sounds like prices have risen. If they have sold that old house (palace!) for development, they could probably be feeding the whole world for free on the profit!

Gansan, in my wife's five decades of eating here, she has never liked Saravana Bhavan. Interesting that you pick one branch for praise, though.

We don't even eat like that at home, so, apart from knowing that a dosai should not be soggy, it is hard for me to judge. It's true that my wife is quite critical of Vasantha Bhavan food, but we find it comfortable, hassle-free --- and we get to park the car for the whole of our Mylapore shopping trip <blush>
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Old 1st April 2011, 12:43   #405
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Gansan, in my wife's five decades of eating here, she has never liked Saravana Bhavan. Interesting that you pick one branch for praise, though.
That is because we have never eaten in any other HSB, so even though quality should be consistent in all branches, I thought I would qualify my statement.

Their food has an authentic south TN flavour. And in spite of some foods being oily, it does not affect the stomach - goes to show the quality of their ingredients! It is a different matter what it may do to our cholesterol levels, but then rich hotel food should only be eaten as a delicacy once in a while!

If you look at their menu, all the Dosas will be of the "roast" variety which will require a liberal dose of Ghee or edible oil. If you tell them in advance you don't want a roast and prefer less oil, they will oblige!
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