Sunday, December 6, 2015

Maplai, Nungambakkam (4/5)

Background:
I have been to Maplai twice; first was when they had newly opened and the other was a couple of days back - based on a meal organised by the management/zomato. 

During my first I had a lunch thali - a chicken meal. It was a point when the restaurant was at the receiving end of criticisms from one and all - a view that I did not agree. Though my experience was nothing out of the world - the restaurant had a few good dishes. 

What impressed me more is how the restaurant did a phoenix move and pulled their act together. Despite all criticism they faced during its first few months, they are easily among the better restaurants today in the chosen cuisine. 

Ambience (3/5)
Kept simple and elegant - they do justice to the price band they are operating in. 

Pricing (4/5)
The restaurant believes in truly feeding its customers and that means 'a lot' of food and a price one would definitely not mind spending. 

The sit down menu which consists of a soup, 6 starters, 3 main course, ghee rice, indian breads (parota, naan (soon to be introduced), idiyappam, dosa, etc), desserts is great Vfm

Drinks (3.5/5)
1. Virgin green apple mojito - a drink that I would have never ordered again - if not for maplai renewing my love for it. Unlike other places which get the balance of green apple syrup wrong most times- this was spot on. 
2. Ginger berry Margarita - that was no margarita, but the ginger and berry blend was an enjoyable mid-meal drink. 
3. Rose milk - a childhood favourite for most TN kids. Unlike the diluted ones you commonly find, their offering was thick and tasted good. 

Food (4.5/5)

Starters 
While their veg starters were decent, the offering is much more promising for non-vegetarian.

1. Thanjavur kari kari gola
Eaten hot, this mutton kola balls are yummy. 

2. Mutton chukka
Did not eat much of the same - but came across as  just ok when compared to other finer offerings in their menu. 

3. Nethili fry
A vanilla offering that was fried to perfection. Had the perfect crispy crunchy flavour - cant expect more from this regular fish offering.

4. Cheesy lollypop
In the midst of all the spicy enjoyable food - this was slightly a spoiler for me. Am unsure if this was on account of the spice-joy moment I was having, 

5. Kozhi kaal ney roast
Nothing but chicken legs - ghee roast style. My favourite starter for the day.  The mallu in me refused to eat it in without their parota's.

Loved how the parota and this dish combined. A combo that I expect to lure me back to this restaurant.  

6. Veg starters: while most of them were decent, what stood out for me was the crispy guntur corn. 

Other decent dishes were chepankazhangu roast (only when combined with the chilly mayo dip) and vazhapoo kola urundai. 

Main course: 
1. As a mallu another dish I has to try and judge was the puttu and kadala curry. The kadala curry was nice and thick - but I am used to having a more diluted version with puttu. 
2. Ghee rice with paneer butter masala - I was told this is one of their fastest moving combo and there was no reason it shouldn't be. 
3. Varathuariche kozhi - Among my favourite curries when made well, more so when combined with parota. The irresistible consumption of this curry with parotas and ghee dosa left me nearly immobile (was so full after the meal). 

Challenge dishes:
- theepori chicken
- theepori paneer
The spiciest dish you would ever come across and a dish that is not for the faint hearted. 

Try it only if you can handle spice and this dish is exclusively for challenge; couldn't really appreciate the taste. 

Desserts
A mixed bag for me: 
✔️ salted caramel akaraivadasai - salted caramel, white chocolate topped rice cake. An infusion that thoroughly impressed me.
✔ ️3 way vattapalam - not a fan of caramel puddings usually - but this was delectable
✔️ jigarthanda - not the best I have tasted, but almost there. 
✔️ maplai falooda - having a good rose milk offering can clearly help when making faloodas - a lesson that I learnt by experience at maplai. 

❌ gulab jamun cheesecake - a total spoiler. Jamun and cheesecake hardly combined.
❌ mud pie - too gooey for a mud pie. 

On a summary note, I loved their food, the drinks and some of their dessert offering. Definitely going back for more.