Bloggers' meet at Cafe G, Holiday Inn Chennai OMR

Holiday Inn Chennai OMR IT Expressway is a property most folks travelling on the OMR would have seen at the SRP Tools junction. One end of the property resembles the bow of a ship, as if in whimsical tribute to the Buckingham Canal, once known for inland transportation between Madras and Andhra Pradesh, that flows [sic] right behind.

Pitbull's rap, "We at the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn..." was playing through my headphones (I know...I know...old song but somehow appropriate in that situation) as I walked into the lobby. To greet me were 2 small, cute carved elephants, the lobby store just behind has more such handicrafts.

Cafe G

The hotel is 9 stories high, has 202 rooms and the entire 3rd floor is where the 3 restaurants are located - The Lounge which includes a deli and patisserie, open till 2 am, Score, the sports-themed bar and our destination, Cafe G, the all-day diner, open till 11 pm.

Dessert station

What catches the eye lies at the other end of the room. It's an unusual light fixture with panels depicting Bharatanatyam dance poses. Under it, on a circular table is the entire dessert section!

Live stations

Make your own salad station; the rasam pot

The view out of the large, long windows is that of non-stop traffic and lights of the OMR and unless you strain your ears, you can't hear any sound from outside.The layout is spacious and luxurious; the buffet section has its own alcove, a rather large one too. To one side is the live wrap station and an Asian counter. There's also a salad station where you can make your own salads.

Breads & dips; wild mushroom soup

We started our multi-cuisine meal with a selection of soft breads and 2 house dips. The tomato-red pepper dip is particularly nice, loved its mellow taste. The wild mushroom soup was fabulous, the sprinkling of porcini dust and truffle oil heightened the savoury notes of that mix of mushrooms.

Tuna niçoise; caprese; crudité Caesar salad

Cafe G's interpretations of 3 salads arrived next - tuna niçoise, caprese and Caesar crudité. Fresh ingredients are the mainstay of any salad and none of the ingredients disappointed. Neither the niçoise nor the Caesar had anchovies in the dressing (for some reason, I thought there would be) and I liked the presentation of the Caesar salad - strips of toasted bread, shavings of Parmesan, pulled chicken, romaine and dressing, all in a glass. Easy to eat too.

Sandwiched paneer; murgh tikka mirza hasnu; buffalo wings

The vegetarians had an interesting cottage cheese sandwich with prunes in between and baked in the tandoor. Murgh tikka mirza hasnu was a dish with amazingly tender cubes of chicken. Buffalo wings with Gorgonzola cheese are the result of Executive Chef Satej's stint in the US and the sticky glaze on the wings, along with the dabs of cheese, positively hummed with flavour and aroma.

Black pepper prawns; kung pao chicken; mutton sukka; yeral melagu

Other starters were Chinese-style black pepper prawn and kung pao chicken, mutton sukka (dry cooked lamb) and yeral melagu (prawns in pepper). Nothing really to write home about though the meats had been treated with the respect they deserved.

Cartoccio sea viral; penne Mamma Rosa

Main courses included cartoccio sea viral - fillet of fish and vegetables cooked in parchment. A beautiful idea but I would have liked the fish to have been more zesty. Penne Mamma Rossa with its tangy creamy sauce and briny bursts of capers more than made up for the fish.

Lamb osso buco with risotto Milanese

Murgh Punjabi biryani with raita

Lamb osso buco with risotto Milanese was impressive; the shank, sprinkled with gremolata was super tender, the long slow braising had condensed and caramelised the flavours into a beautiful claret-coloured sauce but I missed the creamy mouth-feel of the rice. We asked for the smallest portion of Murgh Punjabi biryani - if we were not that stuffed, each of us could have finished one portion each of that light, deliciously fragrant and flavoursome biryani. 

Textures of Chocolate

Dessert was an overindulgence called Textures of Chocolate with the attendant theatrics - chocolate brownie, cold chocolate orb, hot chocolate sauce and a filling of mascarpone and white chocolate. The raspberry coulis was not there just for show - how beautifully it cut through that sweetness. Every element of this dessert was worth every extra calorie.

Holiday Inn Chennai OMR has introductory offers on their buffets - breakfast @ 550/- ++, lunch @ 950/- ++ and dinner @ 1100/- ++.
For reservations, do call +91 44 6604 6604.


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