Sitting in the rooftop restaurant at Westin Velachery Chennai, sipping on some innovative cocktails and tucking into an amazing platter of mezze and Middle-Eastern grills, if a flying carpet were to come around, we wouldn't have stepped on it. Not until we were done tasting the mezze at any rate.
The Sunset Grill is one of my favourite spaces in the city. It's breezy, secluded and serves some really good food. This time, it's the Grills and Mezze promotion by the talented Chef Subimon from Sheraton Grand Bangalore.
|From left: fried pita; mast o khiar; pickled veg; baba ganoush; muhammara; hummus; burani spinach; breads|
Middle Eastern food encompasses the cuisines of Greece, the Levant, Armenia and Iran. A mezze is an assortment of breads and dips, hot and cold and sweet and savoury.
At Sunset Grill, they offer both a la carte and a 4 course set menu which is what we opted for. The meal started with little pots of pickled pink cauliflower and mast o khiar - tiny dices of cucumber in yoghurt which we scooped with fried pita triangles. Chef's mezze sampler was just a sign of good things to come. The hummus was one of the smoothest that I've tasted, the baba ganoush with its lightly smoked flavour was addictive but best of all was the beautiful red muhammara, a finely ground paste of peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs and Turkish chilli. It was spicy but that didn't stop us from scraping out every last bit from the bowl. There was more pita bread as well as a bun sprinkled with the delicious herby tangy flavours of za'atar.
|Soup e murgh|
The soup - Soup e Murgh was outstanding. More broth than soup, it had bits of chicken but the stock, thickened with carrot and celery puree, was so full of flavour and extremely nourishing.
|Veg skewers; cottage cheese subzi kebab; falafel|
The main course vegetarian platter has veggie skewers and cottage cheese that had been finished on the grill, giving it that characteristic smokiness. The soft cubes of cottage cheese were served with a chimichuri sauce that intensified the flavour and aroma. The falafel was well made, but as is its wont, a tad dry though the tahini sauce was good enough on its own.
|Chelo kebab koobideh; meigoo e kebab; mahi e kebab; shish taouk; zereshk polo; khoresht bamia|
The grilled cubes of seer fish on the non-veg platter were quite dry but the saffron-infused smoky prawns in zesty sauce was lovely. Tiny minced lamb kebabs - chelo kebab koobideh and the shish taouk were delicious, the Turkish chilli paste gave the chicken a soothing warmth. All the kebabs were lightly seasoned with typical Middle-Eastern spices, the composition of which is a little different from that used in Indian cooking, which allowed the flavour of both meat and veg to shine. Both main courses were served with delicious Iranian-style zereshk polo, a saffron flavoured rice with barberries. A serving of khoresht bamia, a lamb and okra stew, was the perfect accompaniment to the polo.
Dessert was omali and baklava. The omali, made with flaky dough, was outstanding, just the right amount of sweetness and the mild flavour and scent of rosewater made this humble sweet one to be savoured and relished.
|Real Touch with vodka, ginger & basil; pineapple & rum Ananas Mist; Midori, gin, coriander & chilli Southern Siren|
Balaji, Westin's mixologist has handcrafted 7 new cocktails and we tried them all. The ones that caught our fancy were Southern Siren with the familiar flavours of chilli and coriander and Skyy Valley served In The Rocks where the drinks are encased in balls of ice and to get at them, the ice has to be broken. We were loving the green drinks that night - anything with Midori was our favourite.
|In the Rocks - Blue Moon; Skyy Valley|
|Shooters - Alien Brain; Mind Eraser|
The Grill and Mezze promotion is on only till February 25, 2017.The set menu is priced at 1999/++ per head which includes 3 glasses of wine or 3 beers. As for the shooters, they are priced at 100/ each.