The Diabetic Food Trail at Park Hyatt's Flying Elephant


World Diabetes day is observed on November 14th. The Diabetic Food Trail, conceptualised by Semora Entertainment and with the support of Britannia NutriChoice, Biocon and Zomato, has over 100 restaurants in the 4 metros across India taking part in this initiative. At Chennai, a group of us headed across to Park Hyatt Chennai's Flying Elephant restaurant to sample a diabetic friendly menu.

With inputs from wellness expert Dr. Waseem, Chefs Greg and Vamsi  have translated the concept into a menu that spans various cuisines and meets the dietary requirements of diabetics, pre-diabetics or those who just want to indulge (!!) in a healthy meal.  

We were not disappointed. Our menu had plenty of choices, the meal was high on flavor and what’s more, had the calorie count listed beside each item on the menu.

So what’s a healthy meal for a diabetic?  A plate of food that includes plenty of fibre, is low in carbohydrates, low in calories and has a low glycemic index. And of course, it has to be mostly sugar free.

Thin crust pizza loaded with toppings - 294 kcal

We started with a thin crust whole wheat pizza with the usual tomato and cheese topping and then it got interesting with ricotta, lots of aragula, superthin apple slices and a dusting of sumac resulting in a pizza full of flavor and crunch.  

Chicken wantan soup with spring onions and pak choy -184 kcal

The vegetarians in our group opted for the Turkish lentil and bulgar soup, spiced with dried mint and coriander. For the rest of us, it was a wantan soup. A flavoursome yet light broth with chicken wanton and pak choy, it was seasoned perfectly and the hint of sesame oil added to the warmth of the dish.

Quinoa pomegranate salad with orange and zucchini -92 kcal 

The salad had aragula, quinoa, pomegranate, orange segments and thinly sliced zucchini. The passion-fruit dressing was light and tangy, the pepperiness of the aragula toned down by the sweet orange segments.

Tandoori lasooni prawns -194 kcal

At 194 calories, prawns are allowed on a diabetic plate, the key is moderation. So we had juicy lasooni jhinga – smoky garlic flavoured prawns cooked in a tandoor. 

Chargrilled marinated veg salad- 130 kcal

A second starter was chargrilled eggplant with pear and radish slices for crunch. An interesting miso dressing and toasted oat crumbs added the finishing touches.

Mocktails ranging from 45 - 300 kcal

By then a trayfull of mocktails came around. We had a sip of everything but the one I liked the most was Flue, a mix of juiced carrots, spinach, orange, celery and beetroot. Only 110 calories!! 

Brown rice congee with greens - 232 kcal

The brown rice congee was delicious with the earthiness of shiitake mushrooms, pak choy and bits of gingery warmth. For me, congee is comfort food and this one definitely pleased. 

Steamed Chilean sea bass - 282 kcal

Another stand out main was the steamed Chilean sea bass in a clear tomato fennel broth. Perfectly cooked white fish with clean flavours served with edamame, carrots and cress. The dish and the presentation was a visual delight. There was also dahi methi murgh - chicken with yoghurt and fenugreek and served with steamed brown rice.

Cheesecake mousse with a berry compote; papaya; peanut butter fro-yo 

A trio of desserts was served and that included slices of papaya, a peanut butter yoghurt cup with oat and granola crumb and a lemon cheesecake mousse topped with a mixed berry compote. Very nice.

The Diabetic Food Trail will be on till November 30th at Park Hyatt Chennai. Do call 044 7177 1234 for reservations.

The Yakiniku experience at Hyatt Regency Chennai


Pop up restaurants seem to be the flavour of the season and the latest one is at Hyatt Regency Chennai, dishing out Japanese fare. Stand at the entrance and the amazing aroma of grilled food will draw you in quite effortlessly.

Housed in the space that used to be Biscotti, Yakiniku is like a bustling street-side restaurant. The space is really small, a sushi counter, a display case bursting with fresh produce and the grill dominate one half of the restaurant while the rest of the space is occupied by tables and chairs. Shelves on a wall near the kitchen are stacked with Japanese sauces. Can it get more authentic than this?

Origami in the wall niches

Panels like this one hung on the walls

I reached a little late and so missed the inauguration but the place was humming with activity. Busy chefs manned the grills and the sushi stations, harried service staff rushed about with orders and happy diners of many nationalities were busy tucking into the food. You know what - this is a good time to show off your chopstick skills!

Jumbo prawns, scallops and tuna

Going through the menu, we realised that several more visits would be needed to make a fair assessment! A friend was tucking into a plate of nasu dengaku - fried eggplant with miso and sesame seed sauce. Eggplant is not something I relish or even like but I tried a small piece and it was delicious. Loved the smoky charred flavour of the vegetable and the sauces. Asahi beer is on offer.

Chef Kenny from Hyatt Regency Guam

We watched Chef Kenny from HR Guam make sushi and sashimi. His hands were a blur of motion and in the space of a minute, 3 kinds of nigari sushi sat pretty on the plate.

My vegetarian friend had ordered a plate of California maki sushi. It was a large roll studded with toasted sesame seeds and the vegetables inside were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of crunch. However the wasabi was disappointing, lacking the characteristic "steam coming out of the ears" punch.

Niku tofu and okonomiyaki

Another friend joined us and he ordered niku tofu with thinly sliced beef and cotton tofu in a broth, chopped scallion, dashi and a sprinkle of chilli powder. The meat had been sliced wafer thin and it was a deliciously light and flavoursome dish. I found the okonomiyaki - a pancake made with flour, cabbage and carrot quite doughy and heavy but the thick tangy sauce and mayo it was served with were the saving graces.

We also got a platter of nigari sashimi that had two slices each of salmon and tuna on a mound of grated daikon and 2 scallops on a lime half. Once again, the wasabi disappointed with its mildness . The seafood sushi was average.

The seafood tempura comprising prawns, squid and fish was served with tempura sauce. I was a bit disappointed with the batter as it wasn't as crunchy as I've had at other places. However, the seafood was very fresh.

Grilled tenderloin

Our main course was grilled tenderloin. The tender cut of meat was grilled perfectly, lightly seasoned and sliced into smaller pieces and served with grilled broccoli, slices of pumpkin and tomato. And to dip in, there was the trio of sesame, ponzu and teriyaki sauces.

Chef Subrata 

Other Japanese favourites like tonkatsu, teppanyaki, octopus dumplings and soba noodles are also on the menu but we decided to leave them for another day and dive instead into the desserts

Almond jelly soup; fresh fruit with sweet agar and red bean paste

Three desserts were on offer. The almond jelly merely hinted at an almond flavour but in the fruit dish, the bean paste had been cleverly disguised to look like grapes; the slight chewiness of the paste was in beautiful contrast to the agar slices. But best of all was the green tea cheesecake with its neat layers of green tea sponge cake sandwiched with a cheese filling.

Experience the flavours of Yakiniku, open only for dinner till December 10th, 2015. A meal for 2 would be around 2600/++.
For reservations, call 044 6100 1234.

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