Earthen Oven, Welcomhotel, Cathedral Road, Chennai

Its been a while since I did a proper blog post. I have become so accustomed to doing an Instagram Post / Story and be happy with it. It helps me get done the work really really quickly. But this restaurant deserves a proper blog post.

I was here at the Welcomhotel which was previously known as the My Fortune and before that it was called The Chola Sheraton. It was the first hotel setup by ITC. It was around the same time that Taj had setup Taj Coromandel in Chennai. Now both the hotels stand as a part of Chennai's city scape with glory and pride.

To be very frank I have not visited the hotel ever since it dropped the Chola name tag. So visiting here after 10 plus years was bringing back a lot of familiar memories of the time I had visited with my parents and grandparents.

The hotel still holds its charm with its design very reminiscent of the 70's. One would definitely notice the teak wood which has been used in abundance, cane chairs with upholstery very much in tune with the trends in the 70s to the 80s. It definitely gives a good rewind in time.

So I was dining at the Earthen Oven for lunch with the bunch of bloggers. Earthen Oven used to house Peshawari when the hotel used to be called the Chola Sheraton. The layout of the restaurant remains the same but has been revamped to suite the time.

Earthen Oven explores the food from the northern frontier. Full on Kebabs, Dals and Rotis. We started our meal with nice welcome drink. Pineapple Rasam Mocktail it was amazing. They do have a alcoholic version of the same called the Pineapple Rasam Martini which I did not taste.

The kebab course began with the Aatish-E- Aloo which was crispy stuffed potato with potato cooked in a tandoor. We can call it alooloo (just kidding). It was delicate and well balanced. Next was the Bharwam Paneer. It is paneer stuffed with spinach and batter fried. It resembled a sandwich only the bread was replaced with paneer. I must say it was heavenly. Even as I type describing the dish I get the gush of salivation in my mouth.

Next began the best non-veg feast I have had in a long time. Tandoori Jhinga or Prawn tandoori was delicious. Also the prawns looked like they were measured and compared before cooking so that they look identical in size and shape when served.

Murgh Kadak Seekh was next to be served. It was batter fried Chicken sheekh with a stuffing of cheese and chilli. This dish is essentially a ITC Chola Sheraton invention and it remains part of their menu even today. This dish has good back story too. One fine day a Guest walks into the restaurant just as they were about to wind-up for the day and asks for a kebab dish. The Chef realizes that the the tandoor had been switched off and it would take a few hours for it to get to temperature. So he decides to batter fry it and give a twist to it. Thus the Murgh Kadak Seekh is born. The story is written as it was conveyed to me. Also the kebab was as tasty as the story. At times the craziest dishes are invented at the time of need.

Then came one of my favorites Murgh Zafrani Tikka saffron flavored boneless chicken which was infused Indian Spices. Full marks to the succulent chicken. I loved it.

Next came the Khaas Sheekh Kebab which was mutton sheekh kebab. Really loved the flavors and it was so tender as well.

Finally we got to sample the Shikandari Raan. Hands down the best dish. If you are a person who loves mutton please do not miss this dish. The meat was so tender it just fell apart from the bone and also when you pierce the meat with the fork it breaks down into small fibers.

For mains we got to sample the Dum Mutton Biryani, Palak Aur Anjeer Ke Kofte, Dal Makhani, Murgh Khurchan with assorted Indian Breads. Mutton Biryani was finger licking good and very good by restaurant standards. Palak Aur Anjeer Ke Kofte was spinach kofta curry which was different from the regular paneer koftas that I am used to. Dal Makhani was yummy and went well with the Naan. Finally the Murgh Khurchan was shreds of Tandoori chicken in tomato gravy. Mixing a bit the bread in the chicken gravy and in the kofta was simply scrumptious.

We finished our meal with a warm Gulkand Gulab Jamun and Saffron flavored Rasamalai. Both tasted like a bite of heaven!

The restaurant is pleasant with many touches from yesteryear.

A stomach & heart filling meal for two would roughly cost Rs 3000/- and above if we choose to indulge a bit.

They do have set Menu which is worth exploring.

Disclaimer : Invited Review

Earthen Oven is located in Welcomhotel which was formerly known as Chola Sheraton.

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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.

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  1. To clean this type of oven all you need is a damp cloth and some dish soap. Wipe down the inside of the oven with water and dish soap, making sure to rinse well so that no soap is left inside when you are finished.
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