Archive | December, 2012

Peaches Restaurant, Velachery – CFG Showcase

28 Dec

Back to my food blog with yet another CFG Showcase.  This time we were slotted for Showcase at the fairly new restaurant in Velachery, called “Peaches”.  Let me warn that this blog post will not have pictures…[Damn me!  Forgot my camera and that too for Showcase…clear signs of aging…huh..?!]

First attraction to vegetarians like me is that this is an “All-Veg” or should I say “Only Veg” restaurant. 🙂  That said, with initial greetings & settling down, we had Chef Koushik starting the introduction about the cuisine type and introduced us to two welcome drinks :

Melon Cooler :  Milk based drink with a fusion of nuts & ginger with melon balls immersed.  Supposedly a summer drink.  [Watch out for the ginger taste…not too hot don’t worry :)]

Deep Blue Sea:  A Citrus fruit based drink having the look like a blue curacua with sugar coatings on the rim of the glass.  Idea is if one likes to have it with sugar can drink so or avoid those edges of the rim if not.  Chef claimed that this drink is quite popular with the kids.

Of the two drinks, I personally liked the Melon Cooler.

Time for soup and we tasted Tomato soup – ok what’s the big deal about this? Well, it was tomato soup with Basil but we found Basil taste too strong on the soup.  Had some good bread pieces to chew in.  The thickness that you normally find in Tomato soup was missing….or should I say the richness…no it wasn’t watery either…but i felt it like thick rasam with Basil.  Personally, feel this could have been a lot better.

Next started our “Paneer Parade” — Lol – yes next 3 dishes are Paneer based starters.

Malai Paneer Tikka:  Nice texture of Paneer, bland in taste and had mild poppy seeds coating. [You will understand why i mention bland when you read further]

Achari Paneer Tikka:  Paneer marinated in Sathrangi Pickle (mixed vegetables pickle) with mustard oil & Kashmiri chilli powder.  Tricky part of this dish is — one needs to have a tongue for this.  Wondering why for Achari Paneer?  Well, it is the mustard oil — if you are not used to the mustard taste (oil or sauce types) you won’t like it.  Taste of pickle is evident.  Though I liked the mustard taste, the pickle tangy taste kind of killed me.  Yes some parts felt the spice level too.

Angora Paneer Tikka:  Thick & dehydrated paneer slices with raisins stuffed inside & cooked.  Sweet in nature yet felt tasty.

In all 3 Paneer starters, generously sized paneer were used.  Liked that aspect 🙂

Moving out of our parade yet staying in the starter zone, next dish was Vegetable Malai Tikka – different vegetables coated with malai & made as tikka.  Carrot appeared sweet (but that’s usual) and best was Broccoli – simply loved the malai coating & tikka make.  Malai coating is made with Cashews & white cream.

To break the taste monotony of malai / paneer based dishes, we were served “Chennai Kuchi Varuval” — before you get excited about the name it is nothing but our own French fries coated with spices / chillies.  Spice level was a bit high if you bit upon those small coatings of red chillies 😉

Well…before I thought end of Paneer – came the next dish – Paneer Phuket 🙂  This is named so as they tried to mimic a vegetarian version of Phuket Fish using Paneer.  [Now don’t ask me about Phuket Fish…have no clue!]  This was hard on the outer with soft Paneer inside.  Coated with some finely cut mix of onions, chillies etc, this dish did not suit my taste buds.  Coating doesn’t get soaked into the Paneer unless kept for sometime but by that time the outer layer gains hardness 😦

Now moving away from the Indian line up of starters (oh yea, we are still in starters) – next dish was “Cheesy mushroom tortellini” – a dish with oriental filling but continental sauce.  Nope I didn’t try it…so try it if name sounds interesting 🙂

Well…when they say “World on your plate” — surely there must be something “American” isn’t it ?!  Yea, it was “Crispy American Corn” – nothing much to say here again as it is one of those usual dish you find.

Did you notice all this while, there wasn’t much on the drink front except water.  Yea, was time for another drink and we had a great surprise with “Bovonto with Vanilla Ice cream”.  Instant hit with some of us.  Loved this totally.  Nothing about Peaches customisation here.  One can do it at home yourself.  Watch out – if you are not a fan of Bovonto you might not like it 😉

Filling ourselves with all these starters, sure we did have some space left to take on the main course.

Main course had varieties of Parathas / Kulchas introduced – Til Kulcha, Garlic Paratha, Methi Paratha et al.  Side dishes were Subz kohlapuri – mixed vegetables gravy and spicy one.

Dabhewale Dhal – Naming comes after the Dahl that is made on those Dabhas.  This was truly a hit cooked with rich ghee 🙂

Dhal was so tasty that we urged the chef to bring rice as the best combo to go with and hence were introduced to “Shahi Kashmiri Jeera Pulao” — It was Jeera Pulav but with taste of saffron & smell of rosewater.  Yes, cooked with those, the smell of rosewater can appear a bit too strong for some.  Rice with Dhal was a nice combo & quite liked it.

Then came Kofta Biryani which was a let down personally for me.  Biryani had cardamom taste dominating and the kofta was like cutlet in a small ball shape & salty.  This dish had two types of Raitha – Sev Raitha & Pineapple Raitha to go with.  Pineapple Raitha taking the sweet taste didn’t go well with this Biryani 😦

Then it was turn for World wide – main course which I never touched – had space left in my stomach only for the desserts.

Two Desserts were showcased – one was Carrot halwa stuffed samosa type fry with creamy sauce and another dessert was called Oppan Gangnam — don’t ask me what it was.  Didn’t bother to try.

Personally would have preferred the carrot halwa with creamy sauce without the fry.  But then it’s just my taste preference.

With that long list of items and lengthy showcase session, it was time to wind up & just head to bed.  This I felt, was one long session and so much to eat.

Located in Velachery By pass road, it is a small restaurant with good ambience.  Overall find it as a place where you can try it once and subsequent visits is up to your preferences.

RATINGS

Food:  7/10
Ambience : 7/10
Service : Nothing to write here as it was a showcase
Pocket Friendly : On the slightly higher end.
Suitable for :  Family Lunch / Dinner
Reservation Required? : Not Mandatory
Will I go there again? : Not unless someone takes me there. Distance stops me.

Additional Details:
Website:
FB Profile:  https://www.facebook.com/peachesrestaurant.velachery
Address:

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Tuscana – New Menu Launch – CFG Showcase

16 Dec

Tuscana is no new name to Chennaites when it comes to Pizzas.

As part of CFG Showcase, we were invited for “Launch of New Menu” in Tuscana.  There isn’t much that I am going to write about here instead just put up some pics from the Showcase.

Dessert Coffee Pannacota might not be every ones’ choice unless you are a “strong coffee” lover – it has espresso flavour – so beware before you order.

Gluten free again might not be every one’s choice.

Starters

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Pizza Variants

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Gluten Free Pizza

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Multi Grain Pizza

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Desserts – Coffee Pannacota & Vanilla Pannacota

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Madras Coffee House

15 Dec

It isn’t often you come across anything “Madras” anymore.  

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Name “Madras” attracted me first! It would have been apt had it been named “Madras Kaapi House” (True to typical Madras)…still no hard feelings there 🙂

Located in one corner of Bazullah road, in T Nagar – this sure grabbed the attention of passers by.  Passing through it day in & day out, never managed to stop by until one of those weekend work at office with no regular coffee supply, pulled me to get the taste of coffee at this place!  

Being a coffee lover and an ardent coffee drinker (not just Kaapi) thought to myself – this place better be good to impress me! 

I was for sure impressed with the Coffee here that these days after lunch, my taste buds starts to crave for it! 🙂  

Coffee can be had in typical Madras Fantasy – Dabara Tumbler or in Paper Cups.  And this is no “Instant” or “Machine” Coffee being served.  It is pure Filter coffee!

Note:  Paper cups aren’t too thick like CCD or Barista ones and with Coffee being too hot, watch out when you hold it!  

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As an add-on you can buy Small samosas or cookies.

Each coffee costs Rs. 15/- (as of today) and Rs. 10/- for 3 cookies.  Samosa costs Rs. 5/- each.  Samosa though shaped like Irani Samosa in a slightly bigger size, yet doesn’t match in quality 😦

Place also serves tea and other items like Sandwiches – do check out their menu, if you want to grab a bite but no seating place!

With no other quick eatery or coffee place in the near by, this place attracts many from air-conditioned corporate workers to representatives on bikes to passers by!

After tasting coffee in places like GSS, HSB, which is more costly, this place does win over.

Check out their website too : http://www.madrascoffeehouse.com/

Ashvita Restaurant – CFG Showcase – December 6, 2102

8 Dec

Ashvita Restaurant in R K Salai, has launched a new menu and CFG Bloggers were called for introduction & review.

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Ashvita is no new name in the city and some of items from their old menu like Chat Platter, Momos etc. are to be remembered 🙂

We, bloggers from CFG, were excited to check out what’s on their new menu 🙂   Reached there around 19h05 or so while scheduled was at 19h30.  I always admired the way leading to the Ashvita lawn area seating.  In the evening with those lights switched on, the ambience always impresses me.  Probably on a very hot summer day in Chennai, one wouldn’t opt to sit out however impressive it is …and that’s a different story 🙂

Greeted by Munira (who takes care of marketing for Ashvita) & joined by our fellow CFG member Fazil, we waited for sometime before others could join us.  Just skipping few reels, let’s now head to the start where Ashvita’s owner, Mr. Ashwin, greeted us and started us into the showcase.

Started in 2003, Ashvita always placed itself in Fine Dining category with Unlimited Starters, Buffet & Ala carte Menu.

The new menu that is launched now is a result of 6 months of effort, trying out new recipes etc. with primary focus as Asian & Kebab Kitchen.  Note:  Their menu doesn’t have anything continental.

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“Lounge” – a new brand of drinks is to be introduced through Ashvita and was also our first introduction to the menu.  Lounge comes in 3 flavours – Mojito, Margherita, Tonic Water.  Tried Mojito – with Fizz, the mint flavor was a tad bit too strong.  [Heads up! – this drink can be bought & taken home to be mixed with your alcohol…;)]

Their new menu boasts of

“Full Package” – like Punjabi breakfast which will be served all day long,

“Big Boss” – it is a compilation food that blends Tandoor with sandwich / burgers – kind of cross! 😉 [What goes behind the name “Big Boss” – is something I missed to ask!]

14 different starters – both Veg & Non Veg.

5 different Soups – Veg & Non Veg.

Main Course – a Buffet of Asian & Indian.

Additionally, they will have ‘pictorial menu’ – giving pictures of food being served.  I didn’t check out their menu – so this is more an info!

Introduction to Soups:

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 Tomato Soup:  Ok what can be different in a tomato soup anyways?!  This soup had pasta & egg pieces with an    asian flavor (I certainly didn’t find this flavor in my taste bud).  Soup is a bit spicy & a good starter if you have sore throat or common cold !

Mushroom & Garlic Soup:  Soup has coconut milk as base with mushroom pieces to bite into, giving a crunchy feel.

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Cream & Peas Soup: Green in color & bland in taste.  For those who can go gaga over bland soups without a tinge of pepper, this is for you 🙂  it does have pieces of peas to bite into.

Pumpkin Coriander Soup:  More a clear soup with coriander leaves & pumpkin pieces.  Obviously due to pumpkin, the soup tastes a bit sweet! Yes you do get to taste the flavor but kind of felt this could have been better.pepper, this is for you 🙂 It does have pieces of peas to bite into.

Out of 5, 1 soup that is not mentioned here is Non-Vegetarian one.

Introduction to Starters:

Crispy Spinach & Sprouts:  Crispy spinach has become one of my favorite starters despite the oil in it!  One might feel the sweetness but not something that you will dislike in a starter.

pappadMasala Pappad – Flipped (or should I say Coned?):  Nothing new here except that pappad is cone shaped.

Crispy Onion Rings: A difference possibly is the addition of flavoured salt otherwise it is our regular onion ring.  Watch out!  Deep fried & oily – which can make you feel full if binging on it as you wait for more 🙂

PunjabiBrkfastPunjabi Breakfast:  Comes with an Egg!  Of course, Vegetarians (non-egg eaters) can ignore the eggs as they are kept separately.  Starter made of roti with sweet taste (not too sweet…but a tinge of it).  There was & still could be a debate if this is really a Punjabi dish – one of our Punjabi bloggers claimed it as more Maharashtrian as the Roti was more of Puran Poli.  Of course, up to you to check it & decide for self.

Rice Corn Tikki:  Yet another deep fried starter with Butter drips out J  Good for taste with its sweetness.  Unless you are keen on avoiding oil stuff, just go ahead & binge J  Has a coating of chilly sauce too.

Fried Momos:  Not sure if you find a place where Momos are fried.  But here you do!  Coated with sweet & sour sauce, this was ok for the taste.  Couldn’t find anything great as the sauce taste was overtaking the momo taste [Do momos have taste of its own?! ;)]FriedMomos

Different types of momos are to be introduced in Ashvita such as Fried, Pan-tossed etc. They do have 8 different fillings with 6 vegetarian & 2 non-vegetarian fillings.  Check out the variants before you order yours.

Cajun Spicy Potato: Small potatoes deep fried with skin layered on top with mayonnaise & onions.  As any potato dish, this too will make you keep eating & wanting for more. J  This could fill you easily before even you can move on to main course.  To me, it appeared as perfect junk that you can munch.  I am not a fan of Mayonaisse but yea…it still was ok in this dish.

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Mushroom Paneer Jholiawala:  It is a Kebab of mushroom & paneer with a tinge of sweetness.

Mushroom Gotiya: This was one interesting dish in terms of taste palette 🙂  It had a coating of cashew & saunf flavor.  The Saunf gave a different taste to the dish.  Let me warn you that one must have a tongue for it.  So be watchful, if you are ordering this 🙂  Of course, doesn’t hurt to try once!

Kashmiri_2Kashmiri – Big Boss:  Absolutely true to its name – was a big boss in the sense of making it as a meal by itself.  This had base of roti (thick one) layered with vegetables, cheese, potatoes etc.   True to the name of “Kashmiri” the top layer had dry fruits – raisins, cashews and carried the sweetness for the dish 🙂

Personally, I liked it though tasted sweet and should say it was a riot of flavours.

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Paneer – Mushroom – Big Boss Another roti based dish layered with vegetables, mushroom, paneer & cheese.  I could feel the mustard sauce taste but didn’t check if it was really part of the dish or was it just me imagining 😉 the dish J  Personally, I liked it though tasted sweet and should say it was a riot of flavours.

With that our starter section came to a close.  It was time to move on to Main Course – a buffet spread of typical Asian / Indian.  Nothing much or new here and had the following vegetarian items in the Buffet :  Coloured Plain Safforn rice, Vegetable Jalfrezi, Pan Fried Noodles, Mushroom & Tomato Rice, Dal Makhani.

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Managed to taste few spoons of the rice & dal makhani, as it was getting late & I had to rush out.  I missed the Dessert section completely.
In all, the experience was a great one.

The effort behind the new menu is clearly seen through the compilation of ingredients & way it is done.  Menu in a way fits for each different type of taste palette and age groups.

There is something for everyone I should say.ce & dal makhani, as it was getting late & I had to rush out.  I missed the Dessert section completely.

One thing that I totally missed was anything spicy except for the tomato soup.

Thanks to Ashwin, the owner of Ashvita, who took time to explain each dish & also took our feedback then & there.  Thanks to Munira & Ashwin for the Showcase.  Hope to drop in to Ashvita for a leisurely binge soon 🙂

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