New menu at Bombay Brasserie


The waiter poured out the soup from the aluminium kettle into a glass. For a minute, I was transported back to those halcyon days at college and the memory of the canteen man with his battered kettle, pouring what was, without a doubt, coffee that tasted like no coffee ever should. "Enjoy your soup, Ma'am". The waiter's words brought me back to the present with a jolt; the canteen man never called anyone ma'am 😄
The soup, by the way, is delicious.

Soul satisfying tomato soup

Bombay Brasserie has a new menu in place. Invited for the preview, I couldn't make it that day to the restaurant at Adyar but they gave me an alternate date. The restaurant has already decided what they were going to serve the both of us and that was definitely a relief.

The 6 chutney papad tokri

The papad platter had a big papad that had been roasted and shaped into a basket (how do you even do that) filled with aloo papads and sabudana papads with homemade chutneys, onion slices and mint chutney. Here's a tip - the mango chutney is delicious. 

Aam papad paneer - paneer with lotus stem &Amritsari street food spices. Too tangy & could do with more lotus stems.

Kashmiri naan kebab

The Kashmiri Naan Kebab scored on the audacity of presentation as well as taste. You could order it as a one dish meal, quite a filling one too. The meat of the kebab was finely ground and flavoured with the aromatic kebab chini. The whole kebab was placed on a saffron-brushed naan. The walnut chutney was served in a wooden spoon with onion slices on the side.

Bootlegger blues (mocktails of course) in quarter bottles - Go Gone Goa & Jaipur Gulabo with poha mixture  

Rajputana murg soola kebab

A bit of theatre on the dining table never goes amiss when a whole fillet of chicken, the Rajputana murg soola kebab was torched at the table. This final finish gave it a beautifully smoky aroma and it tasted spectacular.

Gunpowder potatoes

Gunpowder potatoes is a tribute to Madras. It had gunpowder or podi masala powder tossed through cooked potatoes. With onion and capsicum strips, curry leaves and grated cheese, it could pass off as this city's interpretation of chaat! However, it was rather bland; the masala would have done better with more spice.

Love the chandeliers
Busy chef

Bombay Lunch - home veg curry and banana leaf rice

Coast-to-coast chicken with mixed seed roti

The mixed veg curry was served in a jar. Stuffed into the mouth was fried rice vermicelli. To eat with it was a banana leaf packet with steamed fragrant coconut milk rice. The vermicelli was mixed into the curry and it tasted just like idiyappam but I couldn't quite figure out why rice 2 ways was being served. However, it was tasty.

Chur chur paratha

30 ingredients in a spice mix?! BB's Coast to Coast chicken was dark, aromatic and absolutely delicious. A little too tangy too but it was perfect with the mix seed roti. Both our main courses came with papad. To mop up all that delicious gravy, we had a flaky chur chur paratha. It is one of the Brasseries's specialty breads.

Bombay ice cream sandwich

The dessert platter was ingenious; a conversation piece and designed to bring out the child in everyone!

The food at Bombay Brasserie has always been a family favourite and the new menu is going to make it even more so. The presentation, the food and the quirky way of serving will make diners leave with a smile on their lips.

A meal for 2 at Bombay Brasserie could be about 1500/++.     

Bombay Brasserie
Villa 77, 1st Main Road, Gandhinagar, Adyar.
Call 044 24913443 for reservations.

On The Plate, On The Rocks


There's an air of elegance about On The Rocks. The split-level restaurant at Crowne Plaza, Chennai is quiet, the seats are comfortable, the setting romantic, lights are focused on the centre of the tables and there's an awesome selection of wines and great food. Now, it has introduced a new concept called On The Plate which I had been invited to preview.

OTR's signature focaccia rolls with garlic oil & dip

Cheerful chef indeed!

Pomo Cino
Sommelier Anand Krishnan at the wine vault.
Pic credit: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

From the cocktail menu, I chose Pomo Cino and it was a stunner. A mix of cinnamon-infused vodka with pomegranate juice and lime juice, it tasted like a refreshingly spirited pomelo juice.

Mixed leaves, cucumber, feta, pomegranate with maple dressing & candied walnuts

Salad is a good place to start a meal and I've become such a fan of the restaurant's maple syrup dressing. The salad was colourful with torn frisée and arugula, sliced cucumber, feta, pomegranate and candied walnuts.

Juicy chicken thigh with bbq sauce and blue cheese sauce

Smoked duck from Thailand. The skin has been scored before being grilled

Executive Chef Deva.
Pic credit: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

On the Plate has been curated by Executive Chef Deva. You can opt for either the 3-meat course which has chicken, Australian lamb and filet mignon or the 5-meat course which has the previous 3 meats as well as smoked duck and jumbo prawn. Each of these meats has a dry rub and is brushed with a special marination that Chef Deva cannot reveal! They are grilled and brought to the table on skewers. All the plates are served with a side of buttered vegetables, mashed potatoes and a selection of sauces. The staff will tell you the best sauce pairings with each kind of meat.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sommelier Anand Krishnan had chosen Sula wines to go with the meal. With poultry, he selected a Sauvignon Blanc. It was a good choice, loved its crispness and slight acidity and a perfect pairing for both chicken and duck.   
Australian lamb

Filet mignon on a skewer

Plum red Cabernet Shiraz

Both the Australian lamb and filet mignon were deliciously tender. To dip in or smear over the meat were little pots with chimichurri and smoked tomato salsa dips. Sula Cabernet Shiraz was the accompanying wine that was medium bodied with a slightly oaky taste. Since the bottle had just been opened, Anand poured it through a wine aerator. Unfortunately, the video I took was too dark to make out anything much.

Whether you order the 3 course or 5 course meats, it is unlimited. How done would you want your meat? I had asked for mine to be done medium and it was pink in the middle. To be able to treat meats with this level of skill is remarkable. 

Tiger prawn cooked just enough to retain flavour

Coco Passion with lemongrass ice cream paired with a glass of Chenin Blanc 

Chocolate mousse entremet with more chocolate 

I find most dessert wines too sweet but Sula's late harvest Chenin Blanc hit the right spots. It was fruity and well balanced and had a lovely finish. It was the perfect ending to, not one, but 3 desserts. All three were spectacular so different from each other. Torching the Espresso Crème Brûlée brought the meal to a dramatic end.

If you liked the existing menu at On The Rocks, the good news is that it is still in use.

On The Rocks
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
TTK Road, Alwarpet.
 044 24994101 

Flavours of Sri Lanka at Vasco's


The hoppers that Chef Tulitha Neranjana brings to the table are fluffy; the scalloped edges look like the petals of a flower. The only difference between them and appams from Kerala is that the centre of the hopper is not as thick as an appam's. However, it is soft but I can't taste what it has been leavened with. He tells me that it's because it has no leavening!


Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Sri Lanka's similarities to South India surprised us. Driving from Colombo to Kandy a few years ago, lush green paddy fields and swaying coconut trees reminded us of Kerala. And like the food of Kerala, rice, spices and coconut are the backbone of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Chef Tulitha Neranjana

Sri Lanka's cuisine has been influenced by the Dutch, Portuguese and British who colonised the island nation. Dishes like lamprais and frikkadels have Dutch origins, the Portuguese introduced chillies and pao or bread while the English influence resulted in cutlets, puddings, meat and of course the love of tea. They too have appam but call them hoppers, there's also string hoppers or idiappam. Chef Tulitha says though they use the same spices as in India, SL curries taste different because their curry pastes are wet, whereas Indians use dry curry powders.

Kothamalli saaru - a delicious digestive
made with coriander, ginger & lime juice 

Seafood curry soup

"The Flavours of Sri Lanka" is on ongoing food festival at Vasco's. In the two weeks that he will be here, Chef Tulitha, from Hilton Colombo Residences is showcasing his country's vibrant colours through authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. The bright red seafood curry soup was so flavoursome but the taste of curry was missing. The coconut roti with grated coconut  served with a trio of condiments was lovely and made up for the soup.

Coconut roti

Must try condiments esp. the caramelised onions

Sri Lankan pork curry

While Chef Tulitha busied himself with filling little bowls with the curries, I had a quick look around the buffet spread. There were many achars, condiments like seeni sambal and surprisingly, an almost black pork curry. It looked like the Coorg-style one but minus the kachumpuli or kokum.

Stir fried prawn and squid

From top: fish stew; lime pickle; cucumber curry; okra; beef curry; beetroot, sambal & chutney; veralu & yellow rice

Sri Lankans love rice and curry, grains of turmeric coated, mildly spiced rice took centre stage. Around it, like colourful satellites, were bowls containing delicious yellow fish stew, Malabar cucumber curry with a hint of mustard, okra fry, a beef curry, beetroot fry and more chutneys. There was also pickled Ceylon olive or veralu. The marble-size fruit was pleasant to bite into. Strips of rice sticks, reminiscent of papads are always served with rice. 

Desserts - watalapam; coconut taffe; kalu dodal; bibikkan

The watalapam is delish but what takes the cake is the halwa-like kalu dodal. Made with rice powder and jaggery, it can take something like 14 hours to make.

Back in college, we had a Sri Lankan girl in the hostel who used to bring us delicious milky toffee every time she came back from a trip home. I mentioned this to the chef and he disappeared only to return a couple of minutes later with some toffee and coconut candy. How touching was that!

Milk taffee; coconut candy

Flavours of Sri Lanka will be on till July 24th for dinner only at 1845/++ per head.
Vasco's is at The Hilton Chennai.

*This was an invited review 

An evening with OMG!


OMG! It's not what you think - it stands for Oh My Ganna!! Hilton Hotel Chennai and OMG! curated an event that starred ... yes... sugarcane juice.

What's in a bottle of OMG!

Sugarcane juice is what childhood memories are made of. But back then, it also came with dire warnings of the unhygienic way in which the juice was extracted and served. And it was a seasonal indulgence to boot. Not anymore because Nurticane Beverages has done plenty of R&D and come up with a way to extract the juice, bottle it and give it a shelf life of 6 months without refrigeration.

Mocktails; Karumbu Chaaru; OMG Magic; OMG Jelup

Cocktails: Puli Tithipu; OMG Magic; OMG Cooler

Dipin Kumar, Director and Co-Founder of Nurticane Beverages told us his company was able to bottle this natural thirst quencher, thanks to the FreshFusion processing technology it employs.

The bartenders at the Vintage Bank were up to their usual tricks. They created 6 drinks, 3 cocktails and 3 mocktails, each with a base of OMG's sugarcane juice. Additional flavours came from ingredients like lime, ginger, basil leaves, black salt, pomegranate juice and even cotton candy! In the case of cocktails, we found that vodka and rum and sugarcane juice make great cocktails.

OMG Magic with Absolut Blue vodka, OMG sugarcane juice,
pomegranate juice, basil, lime juice and cotton candy

Chef Manish and his team has been equally busy creating finger foods to go with the drinks. We nibbled on dainty food on sticks like chao tom, meen kaidina, lamb pinwheels and asparagus Caroline.

Veg mantou buns; asparagus Caroline

Lamb pinwheels

Chao Tom on sugarcane sticks; meen kaidina

Methi pappad ki seekh

OMG! has 3 variants - Cumin Crush, Lemon Love and Ginger Groove. They come in sleek bottles and are best when chilled. Priced at 40/, they are available in select stores in the city.

OMG Cooler. Served with a paper straw.

  • Bake Tales © 2012