Sunday, August 30, 2015

Big Bang Theory, Kodamabakkam (3/5)

Been staying in and around the locality of this bar since birth and have seen the property undergo a sea of change - starting from woodlands in the early 90s to maharaja inn (a north Indian restaurant) in the late 90s and early 2000 and Brownstar hotel thereafter. The less successful restaurant at Brownstar was revamped along with hotel renovation and is now what you see as Big Bang Theory.  The most pleasing fact is that my neighbourhood now has a fancy looking place. 

The place attracts a decent crowd and you might want to visit them on a party night. 

Ambience (4/5)
The interiors is the biggest plus for this resto-bar. They have pictures of Einstein, UFO's and a lot of space related objects that adorn their walls. The seating is well planned and I found the D shaped sofa's very comfortable. 

They also have an attractive bar counter, DJ area and a covered smoking room. Perfect set-up for a good classy bar. 

Pricing (3.5/5)
Their food and drinks are priced reasonably when compared to few of their counterparts. But on a non-relative note- I would grade the pricing as moderate. 

Service (3/5)
Their service was quite slow and they took forever to serve some of our starters. The drinks were however served pretty quick and the staff were timely in clearing the dishes. 

Food (1.5/5)
We tried two starters and a dessert, all of which were terrible. The dishes were however well presented. 

1. Paapad potato fry - the potato fry standalone might have tasted relatively better; the paapad coating made it blah for me. 
2. Paneer fingers - crispy coating and tasteless/bland paneer. It was served with green chutney and they were a poor combination. Would have been much better if they offered an alternate dip (barbecue, flavoured mayo, etc)
3. Churros - after a perfect churros last week in Bangalore, this was intolerable. The sugar coating on the churros was not consistent and overall very low standard churros and chocolate dip.  

Drinks (2.5/5)
Of the three of our cocktail orders, only adult oreo milkshake would classify as a worthy cocktail. Despite the overpowering oreo milkshake taste, this drink was unique and had a strong vodka flavour. 

Our other orders were: 

1. orange basil caprioska - overdosed with sugar. Was too sweet for me! 
2. Sex on malibu beach - I do not know what happens in Malibu beach, but I definitely like my SOTB thicker. 

The place has everything going right for them except the two most critical items: their food and drinks. With alterations to the same it could potentially be the next most happening thing in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Singkong, Lavelle Road (4/5)

Was at Singkong with a couple of friends and we were planning to sit by the bar area, have a couple of drinks and starters before heading elsewhere for dinner. However, the starters impressed us to stay longer and what happened was a long evening with the boys and some good drinks and food to accompany. 

Ambience (4/5)
Every joint at the restaurant zone in UB City has similar, yet classy ambience. Breezy evenings are the best times to be here and yesterday was one such evening. 

We sat at the bar area - which is common between sanchos and singkong; the high rise bar seats were comfortable and the ambience was otherwise decent. However. if you ask me whether they have the look and feel for a pricy fine dining - I might disagree. 

Service (5/5)
Mr. Hirak- the staff in charge for our orders and also the bar-man at singkong, mixed up some nice mojito variants. He also took special effort in guiding us with the orders and most of his suggestions were spot on. Also. he was kind enough to replace a drink which I did not like.

The food was served pretty fast and the empty plates were cleared quickly. The restaurant also had staff deputed to consistently maintain the trash and hygiene of the restaurant - impressive! 

Pricing (3/5)
I found the liquors over priced. The food though pricy was relatively more VFM. 

Food (3.5/5)
1. Starters: 
- Stir fried chilli basil chicken 
The dish had tender boneless chicken pieces spiced adequately and with healthy flavours. The dish was however a little too oily! 

- Indonesian chicken satay - served with spicy peanut sauce
Not a fan of satay's usually because of lack of penetration of flavours in the way certain restaurants serve them- but this was an exception. The dish was no comparison to the other chicken starter, but was definitely a good chicken satay. The peanut sauce was spicy and combined as a great dip. 

- aromatic spicy chicken dumplings - was ordinary and might not be a dish I would recommend. 

- wasabi prawns was crispy and yumm!

2. Main course 
Thai green curry with chicken
The last week has been perfect when it comes to thai green curry orders and this one just upped the game. Loved the thickness of the curry and the spicy flavours of the dish. In addition to the white rice, it also combined great with our noodle order.

3. Cocktails (3.5/5)
Of the three cocktails which we got two of them were good quality stuff and were bartender special mojito variants. The other order was a wasabi mojito and we did not like it - it was replaced by the staff. 

The drinks are however overpriced and not really VFM.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Etc, Nungambakkam (3.5/5)

Etc is located off Rutland gate in Nungambakkand is easily accessible from Nungambakkam high road. I haven't got a chance to visit the restaurant but visited the cafe twice. 

Ambience & seating (3.5/5)
The cafe is themed in vibrant colours and their interiors are fun and welcoming. They have board games, tables with ludo board and snake and ladder patterned walls which might be a fun way to spend time with your friends and re-live those childhood days. 

Most of their seating options are however uncomfortable and not too comfortable if you are looking to sit around for a while. 

Service (4/5)
The staff are friendly and service is quick. 

Pricing (3/5)
The pricing is slightly expensive; however, some of their dishes are good VFM. 

Food & desserts (4/5)
Almost all of my orders have been of good standard Have tried the following items:
1. Ultimate cheesecake
2. Oreo Shake
3. Chocolate mousse
4. French fries
5. Chicken puff
6. Parfait 

Of the lot, the ultimate cheese cake, chicken puff and parfait and three order I would definitely recommend.


Bayleaf On The Go, Gopalapuram (3.5/5)

A few of my foodie friends mentioned the rolls at this joint as a must try. Thats what got me here on my immediate next visit to Chennai; had a limited appetite after all the snacks at Satyam Cinemas and a roll sounded perfect.  

Ambience (4/5)
This is a tiny roll shop adjoint to bayleaf restaurant and works on a fast food/take away joint model. Best way to dine here would be to drive down and carry your rolls to the car. 

The place is maintained very well and is spotlessly clean. Thats definitely a reason to revisit. 

Pricing (3.5/5)
The rolls are priced moderately. However, the drinks were over-priced, especially considering the quality of the offering. 

Not applicable- its self service model. 

The rolls take a while to be served- but thats the wait for getting fresh hot food. 

Food (4/5)
The breads tasted a little sweet but otherwise the rolls were among the best I have had in Chennai. I had a reshmi chicken roll and would prefer to try something spicier during my next visit. 

My brother tried a vegetable keema roll with egg - the stuffing tasted quite ordinary and the egg was the savior in the mix.

My sister in law seemed to like her gobi stuffed roll. 

Soft drinks (2/5)
Tried their the aam-panna and chennai cooler; both were highly diluted and disappointing. 

On a summary note- a neat place with an interesting concept to retain customers (they give loyalty cards) and decent rolls. Must try if you are a fan of kaati rolls!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Republic of Noodles, Ulsoor (4.5/5)

A friend of mine was staying at lemon tree and he insisted that we should eat at republic of noodles when I was making dinner plans with him. The food lived up to the hype he gave and I liked almost all the dishes I ordered. 

Ambience (4/5)
Themed in red and black the restaurant has a nice yet simple and elegant oriental theme. The cushioned sofa seating weren't completely comfortable but otherwise there was no qualms about their ambience.

Service (5/5)
The staff were extremely courteous and friendly. They seemed completely aware of the house specialties and were spot on with their guidance in choosing dishes. 

Pricing (4/5)
Considering the restaurant is located in a star hotel and also considering the quality of their offering - I would rate them reasonable. 

On a stand-alone/universal basis this would be classified as expensive. 

I had a complete four course meal consisting of a soup, starter, main course and desserts. A detail list of the dishes are as below:

1. Soup - 
I ordered for a duck tom kha gai flavoured soup. It was a thick spicy soup with strong coconut and lemongrass flavours - LOVED IT! 
My friend ordered for a sea food vietnamese corn and asparagus soup. This was an exaggerated version of sweet corn soup, but tasted better:

2. Starters - Banana leaf wrapped grill chicken
Boneless chicken pieces were dosed with spices and gravy and wrapped in banana leaves. Though it tasted ok the flavour and tenderness of chicken was inconsistent.

3. Main Course
Mhad chicken noodles
A mix of crispy and regular noodles which seemed to have been flavoured with some sauce and chicken chunks. Enjoyed it! 

Prawn thai green curry 
This dish was served with jasmin rice and is easily among the best thai curries I have had. The prawns were fresh and cooked to perfection.

4.  Desserts - Water chestanut rubies and longan
This is a unique dessert consisting of coconut milk, lychees, water chestnuts and ice cubes. I have tried it once at a different restaurant and had liked the way it tasted. This order was no different and was a welcome change from regular desserts for me.

It's a dessert with an acquired taste and my friend didn't completely enjoy it. 

- Chilli chocolate ice cream (complimentary)
The red chillis added a good balance to the ice creams and left a wonderful spice and sweet aftertaste. However, the quality of ice cream was sub-ordinary.

Would recommend this place for oriental/Asian food lovers.