Thanksgiving at Focaccia, HRC


If it's Thanksgiving, there's got to be turkey and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is an American tradition, one that is celebrated in many other countries as well. At Focaccia, Hyatt Regency Chennai, the day was celebrated with a fine dinner that included roast turkey.

Focaccia with a tomato dip 

Smoked duck breast salad

The appetiser that Chef Sakeer Hussain's created for us had slices of smoked duck, poached pears and salad greens. Perched on top was a fried quail egg. The dish was fresh, light and wholesome, a beautiful balance of smoky meat, sweet fruit and piquant dressing.

Bartender Jiten's cocktail with lychee &basil infused vodka

Porcini mushroom soup with mascarpone foam

Porcini mushroom soup looked dull and boring and that's why you should never judge a book by its cover. It had oodles of flavour, slices of mushroom for texture and drizzles of olive oil for a gleaming finish. The mascarpone foam added an ethereal lightness.

Soft cheese risotto with sweet paprika, pumpkin and rosemary

Risotto is a difficult dish to perfect, this one was bland. The pumpkin too was bland and even the soft cheese failed to lift the flavours. A pretty plate, no doubt, finished with rosemary and a flower.

Roast turkey with sauce and veggies

The main course was sliced turkey served with a deep and dark leek and button mushroom sauce, buttered vegetables and stuffed potato. The turkey was tender and cooked with  the skin on which helped keep the meat moist. What came as a relief was that there were no bones to deal with. Even the roasted potato, with its topping of cheese, was delicious.

Mascarpone pumpkin tart

There's something about many elements on a dessert plate, even better when they are bite-sized. There was a whiff of strawberry sponge cake which had to be eaten quickly or your breath could send it across the plate! The other was with chocolate and cardamom and, of course, a slice of pumpkin pie. And ice cream on a crumb base with a berry compote.

Alley shooter

Jiten brought us a couple of Alley Shooters in a martini glass --- because you can't fit ice cream in a shot glass. With half the rim dipped in chocolate sauce, the glass held a concoction of vodka infused with coffee, Baileys, a shot of Jameson and a scoop of ice cream. What an apt nightcap!

*This was an invited review 

Healthy options at Fabcafe


 At Fabcafe, you can order momos and papdi chaat, parathas with Punjabi-style saag and follow it up with a walnut tart for dessert. So what's new you ask? Well, just that the momo wrappers are made with jackfruit flour hence gluten-free, the paratha is made with 6 kinds of grains and the tart shell, with almond flour and the filling is sweetened with honey and gur.

Fabindia is well known for its range of handcrafted textiles, jewellery and home furnishings. There are two Fabindia Experience Centres in Chennai, at Besantnagar and at Alwarpet. When hunger strikes in the midst of shopping, it's Fabcafe to the rescue. Described as an inspired Indian bistro, it has an all-day dining concept and serves quite a range of healthy food.  So here's the kicker - you can have a guilt free meal at this cafe as they have paleo, vegan, dairy free and wheat free options on their menu. Oh... they do not use refined sugar, not at all.

Ajwain croissant

Chef Sunil Chauhan's menu is quite innovative, a lot of R&D must have gone into it as the range of organic and healthy ingredients form the core of the dishes. So you can have biryani, one made with brown rice or red rice uttapam. Or even the croissant flavoured with ajwain; it wasn't flaky like croissants usually are but more like bread and slightly dense. The little bursts of ajwain were a nice touch.   

Glow Hydration (coconut water, aloe vera, orange, pineapple & chia seed); Vanilla Lemongrass soda (delish!)

Chicken momos

The wrapper for the momos is made with jackfruit flour and root starch. Skillfully pleated, what gives the game away is that it is chewy. There's a generous amount of filling stuffed in and it is quite a tasty dish.

Mutton Galouti on mini kuttu bread 

The mutton galouti kebabs were delicious, the meat was smooth, the spices, in perfect proportion. The kuttu bread, however, was quite limp; there was hardly any difference in texture between the meat and the bread. Crisper bread would have been a better choice.

Veggie crisps with cashew cheese

Everyone's dehydrating their fruits and veggies now. On Fabcafe's plate, it was the ladies' finger that took the ...err...cake. It was crisp and had a beautiful lightness. The beetroot slices too were crisp around the edges with a bit of a snag in the middle. The cashew cheese with the hint of mint was lovely and a perfect dip for everything.

Shakarkandi Chaat Salad

Shakarkandi chaat salad was stunning, the sweetness of the roasted potatoes was beautifully balanced with the tamarind sauce and pomegranate arils. The missing arugula would definitely have added another dimension to the dish.

Punjabi Saag with Paneer

If it's a hearty meal you want, order the Punjabi saag with paneer and like us, you'll find the flavour of ghee adding to the creamy mouthfeel. We had it with 3 kinds of breads.

Coorgi Pandi Curry

Coorg pandi curry! Now how often would you find that on a Chennai restaurant menu? The meat could have been softer; the taste of kokum was too subtle. However, the well-toasted spice mix was very nice and infused an earthiness to the gravy.

Indian breads made with quinoa flour, jackfruit flour, 6-grain flour & mattar paneer with cashew cheese. The jackfruit chapati was a little bitter, no complaints about the rest! 

In a pickle - chilli; green papaya; beetroot

Home-made icecreams

After all those healthy options, it would have been a shame to skip dessert. We watched the group at the next table try the ice creams but it was the cheesecake that we went on to order.

Baked Strawberry Nolen Gurh Cheesecake with strawberry compote

As cheesecakes go, this was a very nice one. They didn't stint on the cream cheese and yup, no wheat in the crust either. The compote was very nice though the flavour of the gurh was quite dominant. Still, it was a very nice cheesecake.

Caramelised Banana Cake

We let our friend devour this cake since she loves bananas. Made with banana flour and ripe bananas, I think she was in banana heaven for a while.

Fabcafe locations at Chennai:

New 390, Old 225, 3rd Floor, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai.

T-25, 7th Avenue, 3rd Floor, Opposite Santosh Hospital, Besantnagar, Chennai.

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