Simar, KNK Road


"Simar," now you would wonder that it sounds like a persons name. Apparently yes!!. This restaurant is the brain child of Simarjeet Kaur, who runs the restaurant with great aplomb..For one this place is located in the already crowded shopping and  food hub of town, Khader Nawaz Road. And also, when you walk in here, you get the feeling you are transported to a French restaurant. You don't get the feeling that you are dinning in a North Indian Restaurant, until you are served with a papad.

As this was a CFG meet I was surrounded by loads of familiar faces at the meal. We started off  the days menu with Chicken Kalvi Kebab. The chicken was tender and well cooked and also mild on marinade. The Mutton Sheek Pao was on the drier side. It was filled with cheese and covered with green chutney. This was followed by Fish Lasuni Tikka. The fish too was similar to the chicken, light on the marinade, but it was stuffed with a garlic and a chilli.  We cannot say highly of the vegetarian foods and it was clear from the expressions on the vegetarian counter parts, that the non-vegetarians fared better that day.

We were also served with a Chicken Chatpata Salad. It had a punchy flavor to it, like a zest of lemon. In between the starter and main course, we were given a sweet juicy Mango Lassi. It was decent. This was followed by Salted Lassi. Salt content in it was on the higher side, definitely not to my liking.

Usually when I head to Punjabi restaurant, I will not exit the place without trying the Butter Chicken Masala. So I was expecting a Butter Chicken Masala to be served to us. But to the contrary we were served with Chicken Curry, Mutton Rogan Gosh for the Non-Vegetarians.

For the vegetarians, Panner Butter Masala, Dal Tadka, Baingan Bharta, with Peas Pulao and assortment of bread were served. Dal Tadka were just decent. I felt the Dal could have been a little richer, as richness is the essence of Punjabi cuisine. Of the assortment of rotis served to us, I liked the Garlic Naan and Stuffed Kulcha. They went well with the Chicken Curry and Mutton Rogan Gosh. Both the dishes were rich and had a thick gravy. The combination of Mutton Rogan Gosh and Peas Pulao was spot on.

Desert was just  decent fare. Gulab Jamun was soft. But was a little too sweet and oily as well. The Rabdi was a bit salty and it felt grainy. Not the best way to end the meal.

The place looks rich, with very stylish ambiance and some decent food. On an average a meal for two would cost Rs 1000/- Pricing seems to be set on the standard set on Khader Nawaz Khan Road, which is just a wee bit expensive.

Food - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Price - 7.5/10

Simar is located in Khader Nawaz Khan Road in the same building of YoKo Sizzlers.

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Zha Cafe, Porur - Cafe with a Difference


If you are a person who loves bhajji and bondas but  are just too scared to have them from a road side stall or a snack bar, do not worry. For  now you have an alternative, the  Zha Cafe!!  (pronounced lla ) at Adyar and Porur. I was at the Zha Cafe Porur with a couple of CFGians for a meet. We sat down in a rather cozy space with really short tables. It was almost like sitting on the ground. The owner was present there, to explain to us how she had got the concept to start such a cafe.

Firstly we were served with some snacks or short eats which you do not see in regular cafe. A dish full of peanuts aka Kadala. Which was followed by a dish containing butter biscuits, pori urandai, palli mittai and also my favourite jujups. Then there were some vaazaha poo vadai ( banana leaf ) and some other bhajjis and bondas. All these items which would have been oil rich, seemed  to be  less on oil, which I felt was good. Also we were served with a nice soft delectable sweet made of puffed rice or Aval.

Since this was a CFG meet we were served with various drinks. Among the drinks my order of preference would be panangalkandu milk, rose milk, nanari sarbath. There were also drinks called jalabulajungs and spoonlings, they were too sweet and to my taste.

If you are a fan of adhirasam, they have a version of it, with banana and honey glazed on it. The honey made it a little too sweet, the plain adhirasam would have been better. This was not all that we were served . We also had veg. Katti rolls, which was decent. Last but not the least in the South Indian food, we were served with Aadai and Vellum. The aadai was super spicy ( kara aadai ) which went well with the sweet vellum.

On the regular end of the spectrum we had chicken sausage salad & sandwich, chicken noodles, cheese nuggets and also chicken nuggets. All of these tasted delicious. But if you are looking for these kind of dishes, you are better off going to your regular CCD. The speciality dishes make this place a stand out cafe for people who are interested in trying something new. Lastly we were served with a home made kulfi, which had a hint of karpurum to it. A very different take to the regular kulfi, making it a South Indian dish.

The prices are very decent. A meal for two would cost about Rs400/-.

Food - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Price - 7.5/10

Zha cafe is located in Porur road after the shell petrol bunk in between Dominos Pizza and ICICI bank.

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Friends Fast Food, Bangalore


Chennai seems to be loosing out on the fast food culture and moving on to fine dining, whereas Bangalore still seems to have a mix of both. I visited one of my favorite fast  food joints during my recent visit to Bangalore, "Friends Fast Food."

Friends is a fairly small restaurant with an open ambiance. I was here along with my cousin. We sat down and placed the order rather quickly as I needed to catch the return bus to Chennai that night.

My quest for tasty burgers lingers in me. So I picked the chef's special burger, whereas my cousin picked the Chicken Baguette. We also ordered for a portion of Baked Chicken. The Chef's Special Chicken Burger had loads of chicken, cheese and also a fried egg. The Chicken Baguette too was topped with lots of chicken and cheese. To top that, both the burgers were flooded with french fries, mash potato and coleslaw. Both the burgers felt properly big and will put a person with small mouth in trouble  while trying to take a bite of it. Good thing we both had large mouths and even larger  appetites.

The coleslaw accompanying the dishes was a little sour. Both burgers tasted yummy!. They were not pucca greasy burgers, which you made a mess of when you ate them. We used the mash potato like a dipping sauce and devoured  the burgers. The Baked Chicken with toasted garlic bread was delicious. The chicken was minced and well mixed with the cheese making it down right yummy.

We ended up paying Rs 530/- for the meal, for a  delicious and cholesterol filled diet. You would be surprised by the quality of food served for a place of this kind.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Price - 8/10

Friends fast food is located in Koramangala on the road parallel to Corner House.

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Kebab Street, Landons Road


Kebab Street is the newly opened restaurant at Landons Road, Kilpauk. I was here with a few members of Chennai Food Guide for a CFG meet. This is a kebab joint with a difference. The restaurant has a self service counter,where  we place the orders and the food is served at the table, just like in cafe coffee day. Also the food is served in disposable boxes instead of on plates.

We started off with a Rose Lassi. The Lassi was thick and heavy. The rose flavour felt like it was imparted by Rooh Afza. There was also a plain Lassi which we tried out. Then we were given a box which contained a roti and a assortment of kebab. The roti was soft and tasted great with the kebab. The Cheese and Malai kebab was very tasty, the cheese was oozing out, and it imparted a different flavour to it. The Mutton Sheek Kebab was another stand out item in this box. The mutton was tender and well cooked giving it a very royal taste. There was also a Panner stuffed with beet root. The Panner was a bit tough and the beet root bought back memories of another instance when we had had something like this.  While we were demolishing the contents of the box, we were served with the shawarmas. The shawarmas served here are different. They come wrapped in roti instead of thick pita bread. Also it is not stuffed with vegetables and sauce. There is right amount of chicken with a balanced amount of sauce. Since they are better and different, I advocate it.

After some delicious food in the box number 1, we were given the 2nd box. This box contained various chicken items. The stuffed Tangri Kebab, looked a bit different, some thing which I have never had before. The chicken was stuffed with minced chicken. Definitely a different take on the regular kebab. Then there was a Grilled Chicken and a Pepper Grilled Chicken. Both the chicken were a bit dry for my taste. Also present was a Mutton kebab, which was too small a portion for me relish or distingush the flavour.

For the vegetarians who accompanied us, there was a Jeera Rice with Dhal and Butter Naan with Panner Butter Masala. The combination of Jeera Rice and Panner was fabulous. Me not being a big fan Dhal avoided it. For the non-vegetarians we had Chicken Biriyani and Butter Naan with Tawa Chicken and Butter Chiken Masala. Chicken Biriyani seemed ordinary, like the regular Biriyani which we get in most restaurants. But the Tawa Chicken was fabulous. It had a mild sweet flavour to it. The combo of Tawa chicken with butter naan was great.

Last but not the least we were served with a rich and a very heavy Keer. A fitting end to a very royal feast. The prices on the menu seem very sensible. The food portions also seemed proper. A meal for 4 would cost around Rs1200. Will I visit this place again. Yess!! I am a big kebab lover and also the place is very accessible to me.

Food 7/10
Ambiance 6/10
Price 7/10

Kebab Street is located in Landons Road, Kilpauk.

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The Great Biryani Cookout by CFG


God created the humble rice. The connoisseur of food went many steps ahead and created the Biryani. The most delicious dish on earth. The feast of kings and princes, now available to the all men alike .

Chicken, mutton, prawns and even vegetables... cook it in and as a briyani and you have everyone asking for more.
The melting ghee, the right spices the tender basmati rice and the aroma. OMG. Is there any other dish more flavorsome and more  tempting than a Biryani?  Show me a man who says he does not like Briyani, and I will show you a man who has no taste buds.

Here is a chance for you to hone your skills as a  Biryani Expert. Learn the nuances of the trade from the people who have been doing it for years.

Girls , remember "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach"

And guys, I believe now its vice versa too. So join the queue.

The event happens on 23rd June 2012 ( Saturday ) between 11:00am to 03:30pm at Lakshmi Farms, ECR. Priced at Rs1499/-. This is a great way to learn and perfect the art of making fabulous Biryani.

You'll need to get your cutting board and knife, and also make yourself present. Kudos to CFG ( Chennai Food Guide ) for organizing this event.

How to Register
Contact Nishanth Radhakrishnan of CFG on +919840340490 or email him at nishanth@chennaifoodguide.in

For more information - The Great Biriyani Cookout

Photo was clicked by Mr.Chennai Foodie in my brothers wedding.


Copper Kitchen, Porur


Eating out with friends are fun, but this place we friends went to, was too good. We were a gang of 8 people who went out for lunch and the place we went to, was Copper Kitchen at Porur. After hearing about this place a couple of times from Karuna Karan and Nishant of CFG ( Chennai Food Guide ), I wanted to try out this place. When the opportunity arrived, I decided that we head over there.

We were all quite hungry after some really boring classes in the afternoon, as we headed to Copper Kitchen. There was a bit of searching for this place, as I had no clue as to where it was situated. As soon as we managed to locate it, we made a beeline for the A/C section of the restaurant. 

I placed the order rather quickly. I ordered  a Baby Corn Manchurian for the only vegetarian in our gang, followed by Dragon Chicken, Golden Fried Prawns, Dry Fried Chicken ( Malabar Style ) and a Tandoori Chicken. I must say these starter vanished off the table in no time.  For a table of seafood lovers there was just one seafood dish which resulted in it disappearing within a second. The prawns were fresh and juicy. The dough used for frying made it really crispy. Dry fried chicken was rather dry, just as the name mentioned about it. The chicken was cooked to perfection and it was soft. Only 2 pieces for a table where eight are seated meant, this too vanished immediately. One of the dishes which we relished was the Tandoori Chicken. The chicken was soft and full flavoured, making it really tasty.

After some lip smacking starters, we headed into the main course with contentment and big smiles on our faces. We decided to get a Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani for the Biriyani lovers. The Biriyani's taste was decent. We also ordered for Rumali Roti for all and Butter Chicken Masala, Mutton Rogan Josh and a Egg Masala. The Rumali roti was soft and easy to tear. The Butter Chicken Masala looked rich with loads of butter in it, but the was just decent. The Mutton Rogan Josh was not a very authentic dish, but this was sweet mutton with loads onions in it. This somehow did seem to work and it tasted savory. I did not try the Egg Masala as I am allergic to boiled egg. Lastly we ordered a Reshmi Kebab. The chicken was served enclosed in a egg covering and a pudina chutney dip. The egg felt as though it was whipped for a very long time and the chicken was super tender and mildly spiced.

On getting done with the main course we contemplated on wether to have deserts or not and decided to have them anyway. We ordered for a Falooda and a Copper Kitchen Special. Both the deserts were sweet and yummy. Two deserts for eight people resulted in people fighting for the deserts and them getting over quickly.

The meal for eight costs 1950/-, which is unbelievable value, in this day. A superb value for money restaurant for the middle class people.

Food 8/10
Service 8/10
Ambiance 7/10
Price 8/10

Copper Kitchen is located on Arcot road next to Porur signal.

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