Saturday, November 26, 2011

Knock Knock

Pin It
I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Whew! What a crazy couple of months it’s been! I am happy to report that we have found a new place, are almost settled in, and are falling more and more in love with our new home.

After living in an apartment for so long, the first week at our new home felt like vacation. This house comes with a yard, a driveway, backyard with trees, dried leaves to kick through, flowers, fruits, butterflies, caterpillars and all the other things that a 2 year old loves! Makes me happy too :)
Here are some pictures of our two babies in our new home.
I have done a little baking in the new place, and will start regular posting in a couple of weeks.If you've noticed, I did some restaurant reviews in this last couple of months that I published earlier today.

Thanks to all of you who wrote to me to see how things are going. I really, really appreciate it! 

You guys are the best! I can’t wait to get back in touch with all of you... Hugs! Look out for recipe posts in the next couple of weeks! Thanks for your patience... 
Pin It

Restaurant Review - Azulia

Pin It
I was impressed from the moment I walked into this restaurant. This Mediterranean restaurant in GRT Grand Days Hotel has been on my “must-eat-at” list for a while now, and somehow we never got around to it. When I got an opportunity to review it, of course I could not miss the opportunity.

The first thing I must mention is that the ambience and experience of eating at Azulia is just lovely. It is one of those places that make you feel welcome, warm and you settle right in. The decor is lovely too, as is the silverware and crockery. The attention to detail is really good. And I loved these  lamps!

The menus are absolutely like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Designed to look and feel like a coffee table book, the book is chock full of beautiful pictures, history, facts and other interesting things. I think you could spend an hour just reading the menu! The most difficult part of lunch was trying to decide what to eat! With a menu of 165 dishes from 10 countries in the Mediterranean, everything sounded so yummy!

To make things simpler, we asked Chef Etham to just send over some of his best starters, and he delivered! 

I have always been a sucker for a good Mezze platter, and this was one of the best I’ve had. The tzakziki, hummus, babaganoush (which they called mutabal) and moussaka marakkech were all really yummy.

While we were busily digging into the dips with our pita-like kubus breads, we suddenly went, “oh something smells fabulous.” After sniffing a few dishes on the table, we discovered that the source of the aroma was a fabulous plate of crispy fried chicken wings sautĂ©ed with garlic & cilantro among other fabulous smelling ingredients. I thought it was really yummy!

The other stand-out starters were the filo pastry cigars (I liked the cheesy vegetarian version better than the lamb filled ones) and an olive-loaded manakish pizza. The only starter that I was disappointed with was the Fatayer. The description of a spinach and pomegranate filling in a baked pastry sounded really good, but failed to impress. The pastry wasn’t great, and the filling tasted under seasoned. The way the spinach was cooked left an unpleasant after taste in my mouth.

As soon as we were done with the starters, the staff brought around a passion fruit sorbet as a palate cleanser. Oh boy! I could eat a lot of that sorbet. It was pleasantly tart, just sweet enough and absolutely refreshing and delicious. 
After poring through the menu, I finally decided on the lamb chops for my main. The main courses came around and unanimous favourite (among the meat-eaters) were a plate of perfectly cooked, deliciously spiced Marakech prawns. The gnocchi served on the side was just average, but those prawns were just absolutely, positively mouth-wateringly good.

My lamb was well seasoned and tasty, but sadly a little undercooked. I ate a couple of them that were done right, but the other two chops were too rare for my palate. And the red wine sauce on the side was good enough to eat with a spoon! Chef very kindly offered to re-fire my lamb chops but I was already filled up with the yummy starters and was content with just the two that I had eaten.

The other yummy mains were a very messy looking but tasty Yoghurtlu Kebab and a well-cooked beef steak with a pepper sauce.

And then it was time for dessert. I am sorry to say that I was not a fan. This was probably the only part of the meal I didn’t enjoy. They served something called a ‘hot souffle’ which reminded me of a chocolate fondant/lava cake. I don’t know about you, but I like my chocolate fondant to have a thick, gooey filling. The filling in this hot soufflĂ© was way too runny for me. I realize that the way Baklava is made in different countries in the Mediterranean may be different, but I like my baklava crisp & light. This baklava was very juicy, a little doughy and sooooo sweet. There were some people who liked it though. So it’s just a question of taste. The orange cheesecake had a nice texture, but the orange flavour tasted a little fake and over-powering. 

I would have been exceedingly happy to have that wonderful passion fruit sorbet again for dessert. 

All in all, I loved Azulia. The staff is well trained, most of the food is good, the ambience is just cosy & the decor simple and tasteful. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a taste of the Mediterranean in Chennai.
Pin It

Restaurant Review - Burgundy

Pin It
This was a review I really looked forward to. As a big fan of Tuscana & Kryptos, I really looked forward to eating at this restaurant from the same chain.

Burgundy is located in a beautiful building of serviced apartments in a nice part of the city. The restaurant itself is large, bright - tons of natural light, and airy. I love the open plan layout, and it looks like an absolutely lovely place to enjoy a casual lunch/brunch with the girls.

We were reviewing a buffet lunch, and the restaurant was pretty busy for a weekday lunch. I thought that was a good sign of things to come.

The starters were brought to the table and the variety was what struck me. I did not expect to start with Chaat. You don't often see this street food in a fine dining restaurant's buffet. The Dahi Papdi chat was nice enough, but to be fair, I don't think a restaurant can ever match the roadside vendors when it comes to this sort of food. There were Chicken Tikkas too, and they were very tasty.
I had an issue with the pizza. Tell me if I am alone on this one, but while I absolutely loved the thick generous slices of roasted chicken on my pizza, I did not like the chunks of vein-y, almost raw cabbage that was on there. It may be a question of personal taste, but I had to remove a few very large bits of cabbage from my mouth. I think you can see one of those bits in the picture :).
At the buffet counter, there was a huge spread of food. I loved the portioning of the salads, starters and even some of the mains. They were beautifully plated in small individual portions, and were very nice to look at. I tried a Marinated Shrimp dish, and was pretty disappointed. I felt there was absolutely no flavor or seasoning in the shrimp. I love dips, and the Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tzatziki and Guacamole (the Guacamole sorta doesn't belong, right?) were very nice.

Among the main courses, I tried a Potatoes Lyonnaise which was nice. The roasted vegetables were really well done - there was zucchini, carrot, pumpkin and eggplant. They were well seasoned, slightly caramelized like a good roast should be, and had tons of fresh and dried herbs. Absolutely yummy!

 I then tried a Stuffed Chicken, Braised Fish on crispy noodles, and some Stir-fried Beef. The Stuffed chicken was very, very good. It was Roulade placed over a bed of beautifully sweet, caramelized onions, and topped with a roasted carrot. The sauce on it was yummy too.
 The stir fried beef was very nice, but nothing to write home about. The fish tasted pleasant and was probably perfectly cooked when it came off the grill, but after sitting under the harsh, hot lights of the buffet counter, the fish probably continued to cook. Despite the good flavors, I couldn't get over the fact that it was overcooked.

As always, I looked forward to dessert, and like so many places, I was quite disappointed. I am not a fan of coconut in desserts, but after that fabulous coconut dessert I had at Crimson Chakra, I was really excited to see the Thai Coconut Custard on the menu.  Unfortunately, the custard, while it tasted decent, had an awful, grainy texture that I couldn't get past. The other desserts were fine, but nothing that made me go 'Wow!'. I was really so surprised because I love the desserts at Tuscana and I expected the same standard here as well.
To give Burgundy the benefit of doubt, it is a different spread on the buffet everyday and maybe the other desserts are better.

Overall, while I liked a lot of the food, I didn't leave the restaurant feeling like that was a memorable meal. I can't help but compare, but the food at Tuscana always impresses me, and maybe after a few more visits, I might feel the same way about Burgundy too.
Pin It
Real Time Web Analytics