Sunday, January 10, 2016

On The Edge, MG Road (4.5/5)

I have tried thai food at several places recently and except two or three joints, the results of most of these explorations have been quite average. With this background and zero expectations we decided to visit 'On The Edge'. 

Ambience (4.5/5)
This restaurant has a semi open set up and is located on the 13th floor of Barton towers; a building that has the evergreen 13th floor and ebony in the same floor and commercial office space in floors below. 

We were here on Friday evening and with consistent inflow chilly winds, tasty hot food was the best cure for our needs. Also, the restaurant offers shawls for those who can't embrace the chillness, which I would consider as a wonderful gesture (also after a while it would be impossible to sit around without them - which means its a good customer retention/satisfaction measure). 

The seating options include high rise chairs, wall mounted seating (with cushions of course) and regular dining chairs. Personally, I believe that encompasses all options a place like this can hold. 

With dim lighting, candle lights to support - it might also be an interesting place for a date night. 

Pricing (4.5/5)
I would consider their pricing to be very reasonable when compared counterparts selling similar quality of food. 

Service (4/5)
The staff who attended our tables did a great job in helping us choose the dishes. Also, the wait time for food and drinks was not too long.

One incident that impressed me: as I was clicking the pic of one of the dishes I commented to a friend that it looks great; for which a staff nearby responded saying it would also taste great. What I then thought was arrogance, was nothing but confidence in one's own team. Good job sir! 

Food (4/5)
Our orders included the following:
1. Red thai curry (veg)
Had a couple of small helpings of this dish and it was pretty good. 

2. Pad thai (veg)
Probably the only dish I did not enjoy much. But that's also because I am not a fan of pad thai. 

3. Chilly garlic noodles
A decent noodle offering which combined very well with the curry we ordered (staff recommended). 

4. Stir fried chicken - peanut and chilly curry
The winner dish of the day. The curry was mind-blowing and I am definitely going back to try more of this. 

The curry had a good dose of peanuts and was a thick coconut milk induced chicken curry. Loved the traditional flavours and how the curry combined with both noodles and white rice. 

5. Thai green curry (chicken)
A dish that I have best enjoyed at republic of noodles and singkong and no place has come even close to matching their offerings. 

Well, here is a place that I might now add to that list; curry was a little less thicker than singkong, but extremely delectable.

They have a common bar with 13th floor and you would find all the drinks from there being served here. 

I was not drinking but my friends had ordered a red wine sangria and bira (a belgian beer that you do not find in too many places). The sangria tasted pretty good and the beer was as good as always. 

Desserts (4/5)
We ordered three desserts: ebony and ivory,  beeramisu and wayanad. Liked them in the same order and all three of them were unique and relishable in their own ways. 

#ebony and ivory - a chiffon pie with white and dark chocolate swirls
#beeramisu - a beer tiramisu
#wayanad- coconut and jaggery crepe rolls - you would enjoy this is you are a mallu

On a summary note, this place is a must try and I am definitely revisiting!

On The Edge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Beyond Madras at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt - Velachery, Chennai (4/5)

This review is based on a meal on the house for which I was invited with my family. We were invited to try their South Indian Thali and the moment the PR mentioned that I realised it was my kinda thing. But however, considering a few recent experiences in some other prominent restaurants, I went with no great expectations.

Ambience (4/5)
With a moderately dim yellow lighting, the restaurant has a huge dining area. A part of the dining area (where we sat) had the open kitchen on one side and on the other side was the exit way to the open area facing their much hyped flying elephant outlet.

Despite the busy preparation scene at the open kitchen, it was no nuisance to the customers whatsoever - that is commendable.

The other dining area seemed much larger and was located further away from the entrance.

Service (4/5)
The staff were very informed about the dishes and pleasantly obliged to all our requests for refills. The staff also made sure we at least sampled the some of the delicacies that we might have otherwise skipped, for the thali was overwhelming for a dinner.

Refills came quick and also clearing of dishes were spontaneous.

Since the meal was on the house, I would prefer not to score them on this factor.

However, their thali is at a slight premium to similar restaurants in a few mid segment 5 star hotels and much economical than the expensive ones.

Welcome drinks (4/5)

There were four options, nannari sherbat, more (buttermilk), rose milk and elumichai sherbet (lemon soda).

Since we were four of us, got one of each to try. All of them were of good standard, while the rose milk stood out for me - might be on account of my inherent liking for the same.

The starters included paniyarams, sabudana vadas and nethilli fry.

1. The sabudana vada which was less impressive on a standalone basis, tasted good when consumed with the chutney.

2. The paniyarams were good in the first round, but came out excessively oily when we went for a refill.

3. Nethili fry
Was standard. Since my brother (the only other non vegetarian in the team) and myself are not big fans of the same, the restaurant made a good gesture of serving chicken tikka's as substitute.

The tikkas were delectable.

Main course (3.5/5)
The thali was quite overwhelming considering the extensive options it is served with. I had limited appetite for vegetarian items in the thali and my views on the same are based on samples/small portions.

Breads (3/5)

1. Dhaniya dosai - was healthy and crisp. But I rushed through this to the other offerings, which I prefer over dosas.

2. Ragi idiyappam served with coconut milk
On a normal day, I would run away from a ragi idiyappams. But this, was one of their simplest and finest offerings. The coconut milk was perfect with its thickness and sweetness quotients and the ragi idiyappams tasted brilliant when soaked in the same before consumption.

3. Parotas
The parotas combined well the nilagiri chicken and lamb curry. However, it did not live up the flaky description it came with and could have been made better.

Since I love parotas, I had quite a few despite the flaws.

4. Aapam
Fine aapams, but the bread lost its curves before plating. I know that doesn't sound right, but there is no better way to describe it.

Curries (3.5/5)
1. Lamb chettinad - had delectable and soft meat cubes and a fine and thick masala.

2. Nillagiri chicken curry - this was a non spicy gravy and combined well with appam and parotas.

3. Fish curry - reminded me of one at a mess that I love, though a little thicker. Couldn't enjoy much for lack of appetite.

Veg curries:
Most of the veg curries would have best combined with white rice or the coconut rice (which was served later).

Paruppu urundai kozhambu was something I did not enjoy. The urundai was too thick and dry, and the gravy refused to penetrate

Rice item
Coconut rice - with limited or no appetite left, I had to limit my consumption of this simple yet brilliant offering. The only possible reason I could enjoy some of their veg curries was this rice offering.

Dessert (3.5/5)
First look and I thought I should give the desserts a miss; for it had all those items which I usually skip in the desserts. However, tasting them was a decision I would not regret.

1. Vattapalam - classic! This Indian version of caramel custard which is infused with coconut milk is probably the only version of caramel custard I would appreciate.

2. Banana cake
Was passable. Though it did do justice to the banana name in the flavour, its a dessert I would give a miss. The cake was denser than how I expected it to be.

3. Sakkarai pongal
A sweet that I usually avoid for its overdose of sweetness, but enjoyed here. With rich ghee infusion, this had a fine balance of sweetness and was to my preference.

Others in the group did not quite agree with my views on the sakkarai pongal as they believe it needed to be more sweeter.

On a summary note: An expensive, but elaborate thali offering by one of the premium hotels in the city. With several fine dishes and some healthy twists, it manages to stand out from its peers for the unique offering. Check it out!