ibis at city's centre

The ibis is a medium size wading bird. It has long legs and is found mostly in wetlands and coastal areas.

There's a brand new ibis that's landed right in the middle of town and it's called ibis Chennai City Centre. This is the budget hotel's second property in the city and the location just couldn't be more perfect - on Anna Salai, as Mount Road used to be called. Older residents of the city would have gone to catch a movie at Anand Theatre. The entrance was through a narrow passageway, just wide enough for a car to get through (the theatre was eventually pulled down). Well, you need to see ibis CCC today to know how large the area  actually is.

The foyer of the hotel itself is quite unpretentious but when the lift doors open at the fifth floor, one steps out into a functional lobby. At the press conference addressed by Jean-Michel, Senior VP AccorHotels, JB Singh, President and CEO InterGlobe Hotels and Rajesh Gopalakrishnan, GM of the hotel, we learnt that the 155 room hotel represented both simplicity and modernity in terms of design and concept. A visit to one of the rooms revealed just that - the 'sweet bed' with impossibly comfortable bedding, flat screen TV, a work desk, storage space and a bathroom fitted into a corner of the room, all in 17.86 sq. m of space. Compact or what?

ibis' signature restaurant, Spice It offers a multi cuisine menu. Head chef Praveen Kumar who has more than a decade's worth of work experience, has a few signature offerings in the pipeline. Most definitely, sitting through a press conference needs plenty of concentration and that has to be rewarded with a good meal.

A view of Anna Salai from ibis

Spice It has large windows on either end of the room. One overlooks the bustling Anna Salai; in the daytime, the view outside is anything but pretty but I guess at night, it must be almost magical.

Spice It

Half the restaurant space is occupied by the buffet counters while the seating, done in vibrant shades of orange and cream occupies the other half. Banquettes run along an entire side.

The Hub

The lobby bar, The Hub serves non alcoholic beverages as of now while it awaits its liquor licence Sliding doors separate it from the restaurant and affords privacy to guests.

An open kitchen demarcates the buffet counters from the kitchen and one can see busy chefs at work.

Carrot slaw; sweetcorn with spring onion; German potato salad

On a trough of ice are salad platters that include a carrot coleslaw, sweetcorn with spring onion in an orange dressing and a particularly nice German potato salad.

Garlic bread, pesto bread

The menu is mainly Continental, Oriental and Indian. There was a platter of garlic bread fingers and pesto toast and a live pasta and noodle counter.

Sweetcorn chicken soup; penne with pesto

The meal started with soup - sweet corn and chicken and it was a very nice soup - flavourful stock, bits of egg white, chicken and corn. For vegetarians, they had a classic minestrone.
My serving of penne with pesto sauce was delicious - easy on the garlic and topped with grated Parmesan cheese. Yummy!

Roast chicken with mushrooms; grilled fish in lemon butter sauce

Roast chicken with mushroom and shallots was delicious; there was also grilled fish in a lemon butter sauce. Wish they had used any fish other than basa.

Murgh malai tikka; lamb shammi kebab

At the Indian section, starters included tender chunks of murgh malai tikka and lamb shammi kebab.

Chicken biryani; rogan josh; Alleppey fish curry

There was also fork-tender lamb rogan josh that paired well with a spicy chicken biryani and Alleppey fish curry made with basa. Indian breads are made to order and come hot off the griddle!

The vegetarian menu was quite interesting as well.

Chilli ginger corn; potato croquettes

Kadai subzi; paneer methi chaman

Ennai  kathrikai; lemon dal

Believe me, the ennai kathrikai (eggplant curry) is a particularly tasty accompaniment to the vegetable biryani.

Fresh fruit slices; badushahi; milk Mysore pak

Desserts included local favourites like gooey Tirunellveli halwamoong dal halwa, badushahi, milk Mysore pak and fresh fruits. Thankfully, there were no cream filled cakes but there was a delicious tiramisu made with real mascarpone cheese. Espresso soaked ladyfingers would have made a world of difference but all the same, it was very nice.

Tirunellveli halwa; moong dal halwa

Tiramisu meets Tirunellveli halwa

By no means is it an elaborate menu but the chef has evidently played to his strengths and worked on quality over quantity. There were minor hiccups in service though things are still in the teething stage.
The meal ended with a nice cup of cappuccino (a confession - it was my second cup - yes it was really good).

For early bird guests, the restaurant offers breakfast from 4 am to noon.

The breakfast buffet at Spice It is 600/ per head, lunch and dinner at 800/ all inclusive. À la carte is also on offer.

ibis Chennai City Centre
684 - 690, Anna Salai
Block 6, Thousand Lights.
Chennai 600006.
044 71225588


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