Zaitoon, Anna Nagar - Iftar Special

Ramadan is a time a of spiritual reflection, increased devotion and worship. It is a time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Most Muslims break their fast at home, with traditional food. For some others who are away from home or just want a change in food, the Muslim restaurants are there to take care of them. One evening, I decided on trying out some of the Iftar Specials which are available.

I was returning home, and I happened to cross Zaitoon, Anna Nagar. I chanced to see a stall with Iftar Special Boxes, outside the restaurant. This made a light bulb glow in my head. I took a U-turn and headed to the restaurant to pick a couple of  their Iftar Packs. I entered the restaurant and took a look at what they had to offer. The Iftar box was quite big with a sample of all their best items packaged into one box. I picked two boxes and headed home to break my fast with my family.

The box contained the following:
- Bottle of Water -1
- Glass of Watermelon Juice - 1
- Dates -1
- Mutton Kheema Puff - 1
- Chicken Shawarma - 1
- Haleem - 1
- BBQ Chicken - 1
- Khubus - 1
- Coin Parotta -1
- Chicken Gravy - 1
- Mutton Biryani - 1
- Mayo - 1 small container
- Glass of Sweet drink -1
- Assorted fruits -1
The entire box costs Rs 275/-.

This box is a very good value for money. Also a box can feed two people. The Watermelon juice was just normal, while the Mutton Kheema Puff was outstanding. Very flavorful. Hope its on the regular menu so we can order and have them. The Chicken Shawarma was tasty, but nowhere compared to the regular shawarmas in size and the mayo filling. This was followed by me tasting the Haleem. The Haleem was lip smacking. I felt like having an another box. There was also a piece of BBQ Chicken which was tender and tasty which went well with the Khubus and Mayo.

For the mains, the box contained Parotta and Chicken White Gravy. Though the parotta was good, it was let down by the chicken gravy, which was not that good. Sampling all this after breaking the fast was really difficult. But still I soldiered on. I tasted the Mutton Biryani. The biryani was light on spices similar to Hyderabadi biryani but with a  Zaitoon twist to it. This was followed by me finishing off by gulping down the Sweet Drink ( Paayasum ). A very tasty meal, also a nice Iftar food!

I had an another Iftar Box the following day as well. The box had a few changes to it, such as the drink had changed to Sweet Lemon Juice and the Parotta had changed to Iddiyapam ( Indian Noodles ) and Chicken White Gravy had become a Butter Chicken. Also the sweet Paayasum had become Milkmaid custard.

Food - 8/10
Price - 8.5/10

The food in the box serves two. A very valuable box. Whether it is considered as a Iftar Box for the Muslims or as a Sampler by the others, it is up to you. The boxes are available between 4:30pm and 6:30pm everyday during this Ramzan season.

Zaitoon is located in Chintamani opposite to Naturals Spa.

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in quality and quantity of the food, the service and the staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


Venu Biriyani, Dindigul


After a one day trip to Kodaikannal, it was rather disappointing to leave the fabulous cool weather and the lovely scenic beauty and head back to hotter plaines. I had kept my stomach rather empty as I suffer from motion sickness during hill ascents and descents. So on reaching the ground level I was really hungry. I had made my companions hungry telling them about the food served at Venu Biryani. So everyone was salivating by the time we reached the place.

We reached the restaurant and had to wait for 20 long minutes before we got a seat. Inspite of waiting  we could not get a table to seat our company of 20 people. So we sat down in groups of 6. Since we all wanted to have the special flavored biryani of Dindigul, we ordered one each.We chose the Mutton Biryani. As the Kola Orandai  we ordered initially was over, the waiter suggested  to us the Kola Kebab Sticks, so we went with it. We also ordered Karandi Muttai for each of us and also picked  other specialities like Brain, Netheli Fry and Chicken Chukka. Wow, what a spread we had ordered!

The food was served in usual South Indian fashion on a Banana leaf. The service was really quick. Also the food was served piping hot. The company of people who were seated with me at the table, had never had anything from the Dindigul cuisine. This was their first experience with it. They went into raptures on tasting the delicacies.

The Mutton Biryani, in spite of it being different from the biryanis which you get at weddings,  was brilliant. I have had Dindigul style biryani at restaurants in Chennai, but there seemed something different about this biryani. The taste was way better than what is served here in Chennai. I guess I will go with what my grandmother often exclaims "that its all about the water which used in the cooking  and the hand craft or kai pakkuvam." While we were tasting our biryani, we were served with our side orders. My God! They vanished off the table in lightning speed. The tastes of Kola Sticks and the Karandi Muttais were phenomenal. Likewise the Brain and Chicken Chukka. While the Netheli Fry was just okay. By the end of the meal each one of us had consumed 5 Kola Sticks and 2 Karandi Muttai's each and also 2 Biryanis.

The bill for the group present at our table was Rs 2198 /-. This bill amount was reasonable for the ridiculously large amount of food we had consumed. Please do not expect any ambiance here. You are here to relish the food and thats all you should do.

Food - 8/10
Service - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Price - 8/10

Dindigal Venu Biryani is located in Poet Tyagarajar Road in Dindigal.

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in quality and quantity of the food, the service and the staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


Tuscana by Willi, Chamiers Road - A Veg Diet!!


Having a pure vegetarian meal sans anything non-veg, is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I was stuck on one occasion, where my companion was an unalloyed vegetarian. So there I was dinning in a proper non-veg Italian restaurant with a veggie. This put me in a situation that was actually  good in a way. We both got the opportunity to taste all the dishes which we ordered. So I made up my mind and heart and also stomach with great difficulty.

We sat down in a nice cozy spot in the first floor of the restaurant. I took a long look at the menu, since this was the first time I was going to have a full course veg-meal at Tuscana. It took me quite sometime to decide on the what to eat. I drew some inspirations from the non-veg dishes which I have had here before. After some careful thinking and looking we decided to go with Focaccia all' Algio e Cipolla for starters and Lasagne Verdi and Midi Pizza for mains. To quench our throats we chose to go with Pinnacaloda.

After placing our order we sat and waited for our dishes to arrive. The waiter served us with some bread. This was different from the salad served at the KNK restaurant. The bread was soft and crispy. It was a delight to have with the Hummus and Tomato sauce. This was followed by our starter Focaccia all' Algio e Cipolla. I am a big fan of Focaccia all' Polo, and this too did not disappoint me. The bread was soft and was drizzled with sauteed onion and garlic. We added a dash of the tomato sauce and this was even better. A very mild flavorful dish.

By the time we were done eating the starters, our mains arrived. The Pizza Midi was my favourite of the lot. It had all my favourite ingredients such as, tomato, zucchini, onions and the lovely black olives. The pizza was in its usual stunning taste. The Lasagne Verdi became a little cold by the time we indulged in it. The lasagne stood like a island in the sea of cheese and white sauce. It was rich, creamy and delicious. In between that, we were served with our thirst quenchers, the Pinnacaloda. The drink was perfect with the proper blend of ingredients with banana being the dominant ingredient. A fitting drink to our amazing meal. We were too stuffed to have the inviting desserts. So we skipped them.

The meal for two set us back by Rs1600/-. The meal might have been on the expensive side. But it was well worth the price. The Tuscana on KNK is slightly cheaper than this outlet.

Food - 9/10
Service - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Price - 8/10

Tuscana by Willi on Chamiers Road is located diagonally opposite to Hotel Park Sheraton.

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6months as there can be a change in quality and quantity of the food and service and the staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


Kannappa Chettinadu, Trichy


On my recent voyage down south, I had a chance to dine at Trichy's Kannappa Chettinadu restaurant, located in the ground floor of Hotel Grand Gardenia. It looks posh and expensive from the outside with  good car parking facility. One look at the menu and the prices, all thoughts of it being an expensive place vanished from my mind. The company of friends to agreed on it.

We walked in around 10:30pm. The restaurant was almost empty, so there was no trouble in getting a seat. After getting seated, we placed the order quickly as we were very hungry. Most of us ordered a  Mutton Biryani. Unfortunately for us only 3 plates of Mutton Briyani were available. So the others picked Chicken Biryani and some others Dosa and various other dishes. I restricted myself into sampling the Mutton Biryani, Chicken Noodles, Dosa and the Ceylon Egg Parotta.

Mutton Biryani was a typical Chettinadu affair. Not a very authentic biryani. But the biryani was good in its own way. It was mildly spicy. The mutton pieces were wholesome and the rice was full flavored. I loved the taste of it. A different take on a regular biryani with a chettinadu twist. In between eating the Biryani, I ordered for a Ceylon Egg Parotta. On reaching my plate it vanished. I did not even have the time to click it. Everyone around me was super hungry and they started giving me the stares when I took my camera out to click them. The Ceylon Egg Parotta was just decent.

I also tried my hand at having the Chicken noodles with the Chilli Chicken. The noodles was soft even though it was a little cold. The chilli chicken complimented the noodles. It was a lovely meal  to enjoy in the company of 20 close friends.

The meal put us back by Rs 4000/-. But it was for 20 people. Considering the crowd and everyone who had the main course, its terrific value for money.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambinace - 7.5/10
Price - 8/10

Kannappa Chettinadu Restaurant is located inside Hotel Grand Gardenia at Mannapuram Junction, Trichy.

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in the quality and quantity of the food and service and their staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


New Town Coffee Shop - The Malaysian Affair


I had been to New Town Cafe recently with a couple of my friends and I had loved the fusion food which was served here. So I took my Mom and Bro here for dinner recently. This time around I was engrossed in trying out the Malay cuisine served at this place. We started of the proceedings by ordering drinks for our thirsty throats. My bro picked Strawberry Ice Tea, whereas my mom picked an Orange Granita and myself picked a very not so healthy Mango Milkshake. Both the Granita and the milkshake tasted fine whereas the Strawberry iced tea's taste was totally disappointing.

Apart from that one bad Strawberry Iced Tea, the other dishes on the table on that the day, rocked. We had ordered  Chicken Canai Wrap and the trusted Stuffed Chicken Leg Mughalai Style. Both the dishes were fabulous. The Chicken Canai wrap had a mild spicy flavor to it. With 12-14 pieces on a plate, this portion can feed 4 with relative ease. We had also ordered for a Smoked Chicken Sandwich, the sandwich as such tasted great, but it was lost in all the flavors which was present in the other dishes.

For the main course too we decided to go with the Chicken Mei Goreg, Roti Canai Chicken and Crusted Chicken with Taragon Sauce. Roti Canai was delicious, it had a late spiciness to it, giving it a deep in your throat spicy feeling. The Roti was super soft and fluffy. Chicken pieces too were small and tasty. Both the other dishes tasted great and were similar to the previous time I had, had it. We were soo stuffed, that we skipped deserts.

The meal for four put us back by Rs2222/-. All of us loved the food, including my mom, who felt satisfied after the meal. The food is a proper malaysian affair.

Food - 8/10
Service - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Price - 8/10

New Town Cafe is located in Injambakkam, Opposite to VGP on ECR.

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*A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in the quality and quantity of the food and service and their staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


Bliss Chocolate Lounge, Bangalore


Weather at Chennai is usually hot, hotter and hottest. The same cannot be said about its counter part in Karnataka. It is really difficult to find a sultry day in Bangalore. On my recent visit to Bangalore I had big time cake craving. So while roaming around in Forum Mall at Koramangala, I came across this place Bliss Chocolate Lounge.

It was located next to the escalator, and it looked fancy with nice dim lighting. So I sauntered in and ordered a cake named  'Coral of the Ocean'.The cake looked blissfully beautiful. On some occasions a beautiful product does not necessarily translate into a tasty product.

The cake had nice sweet outer hard chocolate. The chocolate was the way I liked. The cake as such was drizzled with white chocolate flakes and filled with white chocolate & dark chocolate cream with an almond dacquoise between the layers of cake. The first few bites were blissful, even though I felt it was little too sweet. By the time I consumed half the cake, the sweetness of the cake started to get to me. I found it hard to finish the cake. I guess the piece of cake is made for two people. By the time I was done with it, I wanted to wash down the sweet taste with something very spicy.

This single slice of cake is priced at Rs 150/-. Which is pretty expensive. I cannot really comment on the quality of the other cakes here. The pricing of the cakes are pretty steep. A single slice of Black forest cake is Rs 130/-. They do have a variety of chocolates as well, which look really beautiful.

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Price - 6.5/10

Bliss Chocolate Lounge is located in the ground floor of Forum Mall, Koramangala. They do have branches in other malls in Bangalore.

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* A review about a place holds good only for 6 months as there can be a change in the quality and quantity of the food and service and their staff, due to reasons best known only to them. So kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.


Fusion 9, Sterling Road

Pheeeew!!! 50th Blog post. Finally reaching 50th Blog post in 8months since it all began. Feels really great to be able to put forward my views on the food I eat, I relish and I love. So I thought for a while and decided Fusion 9 shall be my 50th post.

Fusion 9 had invited selected blogger of CFG for a food tasting session. We were here to try out the new menu which has been introduced in Fusion 9. When they mean new, it looks new and also the prices are a little cheaper. I would not say pocket friendly, but definitely an improvement over the earlier prices. The menu was extensive and we got to sample all types of cuisine. The problem with Fusion 9 is there is very little ambient light, which makes photography very difficult. I was practically talking to my camera to shoot a picture. Good thing we were seated near a TV, so I was able to use that light and shoot some images, without the use of a flash.
We were offered Irish Apple Juice as a welcome drink. The exact description of the drink would be as follows. A tropicana apple juice with a little sweetener added and some pieces of apple and lime. I would have been happier with a simple apple juice. At times when we do too much to a drink, its not a great drink.


The first dish to be served to us was Watermelon with Feta Cheese. My GOD!! this dish was orgasmic. The sweetness of the watermelon and fluffy cheese complimented each other. To top that the watermelon was fresh. An absolute must try.

This was followed by us sampling the Cheese Broccoli. The cheese was well infused in the broccoli making it a lip smacking dish. With two lip smacking dishes I wondered what was next.

We were served with Felafel and Pita Bread. Felafel to me is a exact copy of the South Indian favorite Vada. The Hummus dolloped on top of Pita Bread and the Felafel made it good but I am not a big fan of the Felafel.

Next came the F9 Signature Joojeh Kebab with Garlic Cream. For those who love the Iranian Jeejoo Kebab from the old menu, this is the same kebab with a name change. The taste was the same as before. Mind Blowing!!. Loved it. Definitely a Signature dish.

After my favorite kebab, we were served with Sicilian Rice cakes with Mushroom and Smoked Scamorza Filling. Firstly it looked like ball instead of a cake. Guess they got confused between cake and a ball and second the Smoked Scamorza Filling was a little over powering. The smoked feeling was more like BBQ. Some loved it, I felt it was just decent.

This was followed by a Spiced Tofu Katsu with Crispy Rice Noodles. The outer covering was brilliant, but the tofu did not imbibe any of the spiciness leading to the tofu being bland while the outer covering rocked.

We were offered Oriental Lamb Potstickers and also Dukkah Basa Skewers. The Lamb Potstickers was not to my liking, neither did the accompanying soy sauce help it. The Basa Fish Skewers had so many things going on with so many spices. Loved the taste of it, also the fish was really fresh which was value added to the dish.

After so many starters I started feeling a little full. But we had another 6 courses of meal to go through. By this time the restaurant started filling up. Crowds began to occupy the seats around the restaurant. We had a small breather before the next dish was brought to our table, this gave us a time to catch up. Next we got to sample the Roasted Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Dill Mayo. This was one dish which was totally wrong. The Potato was roasted with the thick skin and also the peas in the salad which was not properly cooked, coupled with the mayo which gave it a very acidic taste.

After a bad salad we were served with Corn Chowder and Chicken Soup and also Prawn Bisque Soup. Both the soups were awesome. Very creamy.

Now we were served with the a round of Pastas. A sun dried tomato Fusilli and a Grilled Chicken Penne. Both the pastas had nothing great to write home about. They are best described as decent. Wished they were a bit creamier.

This was followed by Grilled Veggies Pizza and a BBQ Chicken Pizza with Pineapple. One bite of the the pizza transported me to some old memories, like the pizza from Shakey's Pizza. Loved the taste of it. The pizza is not comparable to pizzas at Tuscana or Fresca, but a little different, with the base being soft on a thin crust. Also they were creamy and cheesy.

At this point I was almost full. This is when we were served some tasty steaks. Basa Fish Steak and also Pesto Stuffed Chicken Steak for the non-veg and Panner Steak with Cous Cous for the veggies. Panner Steak was on the firmer side. While the Basa Fish was outstanding. The fish was fresh and full flavored. The Chicken Breast had so many things going on, in it. Even though the taste was good, it would have been better if they had gone for a simple dish.

Next came the F9 Thai Chicken Curry and Veg Curry. Since I did not have any space left in my stomach, I took spoon of both. The dishes were very Thai. They had a deep pungent flavor and late spiciness to it.

A word of advice to people dinning here. Please do not mix too many cuisines. The mixing of the cuisine makes your taste palate a little numb and it is really difficult to appreciate if the dishes.

Finally came the deserts, I was so relieved that we did not have to consume anymore food and also we were in the final course of the meal. The deserts looked like they were straight out of Sandy's. So no comments here. They were spot on. By the end of the meal I look around, the place is still crowded at 11pm on a Tuesday.

An average meal for two would cost Rs 1200/-, which is good value in a fine dining restaurant.

Food - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Price - 7.5/10

Fusion 9 is located in Hotel Aruna which is soon to be named as Fortune Aruna on Sterling Road.
Hotel also houses Mainland China restaurant.

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