Monday, September 12, 2011

Restaurant Review - Crimson Chakra

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Cornucopia was my favorite restaurant at one point in my life. Anytime anyone suggested eating out, I would immediately say "Let's go to Cornucopia!". Most of my friends and family liked the place too, but none were as enthusiastic as I was. No matter what I ordered from their menu, it never failed to please! I have so many fond memories of that place.

When Cornucopia moved to Adyar and merged with Crimson Chakra, I must admit I was a little disappointed at first. I loved that old building with the paint peeling off the walls and the cracks in the ceiling. I missed it. But after one visit to Crimson Chakra, I got over my disappointment very quickly. I loved everything about the place - the building, the decor, the table in the pool (though I haven't had a chance to eat at that table yet!), and most importantly, the food!

Last week, I was invited by Chennai Food Guide to sample & review Crimson Chakra's new Indian dishes, and I was only too pleased to accept. I have tasted almost everything on Cornucopia's menu, and I was looking forward to trying Crimson Chakra's offerings.

We were first hit by a amazing array of starters. There must have been at least 10, I think, and I loved most of them. There were vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and I sampled each and every one of them. My favorites were
the Vietnamese Basa with the South Indian spices,
and the very spicy and fiery Andhra Chicken, which had peanuts which I loved! Among the vegetarian starters, I liked the crunchy baby corn, and the stuffed potato. The only starter that disappointed me was the Paneer Tikka which lacked a lot of flavor.

After I had gorged on the starters, I realized I didn't have much room for a main course. I managed to find some, of course. We had a Fish curry, a Chicken Curry and a Aatu kaal (paya) stew with Idiappams (string hoppers) and regular appams. Everything was really nice, and I especially liked the paya even though it was very salty.
But, the highlight among the main courses, and I think the savory dish of the evening for me, was the smoked rice! Wow... This dish really catches you off guard.
 It looked deceptively like a bowl of biriyani, and then you taste it and the smoked flavor hits you. It is really something unique and very, very special. There was a Chicken and a vegetable version, and while I tasted only the vegetarian one, I have no doubt that the Chicken one was just as good, if not better.

Then came the desserts. Man oh man! If you know me even a little, you know how I feel about desserts, and Crimson Chakra did not disappoint! There were three desserts that evening. I was very disappointed with the Mud Pie. I would suggest changing the name of the dish, because anyone who has eaten a real mud pie before, and expects that oozey, gooey, dark, chocolatey pie is sure to complain! I remember ordering this and complaining to my waiter.

But that night at the review, I couldn't care less. The other two desserts blew me away. I honestly cannot say which one I liked better that point.
The Mango Cheesecake (sorry about the shaky picture!) was as tart as it was sweet, and that was my favorite part. I've eaten so many overly sweet cheesecakes in my life, and this one was really, really good!

And that Elaneer (Tender Coconut) Souffle! I think I could eat my weight in that souffle (and that would be a LOT of souffle!).
This deceptively simple, and innocent looking bowl was so, SO yummy & flavorful, and will be without doubt my dessert of choice every time I visit Crimson Chakra. The only thing that can be done to improve the souffle would be to change the presentation. It was a very amateur presentation, IMHO, and a little more finesse in plating would perfect the whole sublime experience of eating this dish!

Since I was nursing a cold then, I accepted the restaurateur's recommended hot tea with mint and lemon grass, and it was very nice. But without doubt, the unanimous best beverage of the evening was the Iced Tea, which I think is the best I've had in a long, long time. Next time I'll be ordering that one - cold or no cold!

I am very grateful to Nikhil of Crimson Chakra for having us over, and after the review, I still love, love, love the food there. I would recommend it heartily! And if you are looking for a romantic night out, Crimson Chakra has a candle room where you and your sweetheart can dine in a private room, surrounded by a LOT of candles, eat an unlimited amount of anything on the menu, and have a private waiter who would come only when called.

Call Crimson Chakra at (044) 4211 5664 for more details and to reserve their Candle Room or Water Table. I know I want to!
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Three-Cookies said...

Very delicious and exotic sounding dishes

Jackie Hale said...


FreeSpiritEater said...

All of these dishes look so good, the names sound fun too. Sorry you were disappointed with the mud pie, but at least the mango cheesecake made up for it, sounds like something I'd like to make at home some time. Nice review and photos, thanks for sharing!

Gina said...

Sounds like a wonderful place to eat.  I love all those firey dishes and I'm so glad you saved all that room for dessert, I would have even if I was full with all the choices they offered.  Hope all is well with you and the family.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

great review! Only wish I lived closer to eat there:)

Kimby said...

What a flavor fest -- glad you got to try so many different things!  (And thanks for writing about all of them!) 

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Okay I'm ordering the chicken curry for sure, but then after reading about smoked rice, I'm so curious to try it out...only if the restaurant is here!  Too bad... but enjoyed looking and drooling over the photos. ;-)

Pudding Pie Lane said...

Ooh I love Asian food - especially the sound of the Vietnamese Basa (that is fish right?). You've made me very hungry for yummy aromatic spicy foods now :)

Christine said...

All of these dishes look so wonderful. Sorry you
were disappointed with the mud pie. Nice review and photos. Thanks for sharing!

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