Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wong Kei

If you happen to venture into London's China town, (which is the ONE bit of brilliant colour you will spot in the city at this time of the year) you might spot a small, unobtrusive restaurant called Wonk Kei. Not the best of decors, mind you, but we're not there for the decor. No, we're not even there for the 10-pound Tees which proudly claim 'Wong Kei' framed by the words 'upstairs' and 'downstairs'. Nope. You, my friend, are there for the food, which, is as Indian Chinese as you will get in a restaurant out of India.
As you open the doors, you skip the tantalizing images of roast duck hanging by the window, and just head on straight to the back of the resaurant and up the stairs (hence the upstairs and downstairs tee). Find yourself a comfortable corner. Don't bother waiting to be seated. Just help yourself to a nice, empty table. Preferably, choose one by the window- it's got a great view of the streets below. Good. Comfortable? Now just order to your heart's content. Pretty much everything on the menu, I'm told, is good.

Us being in sober company, stuck to the basics- Fried chicken noodles, egg rice, mushrooms in black sauce and chicken in Bean sauce. This was more than enough for four people and the best part- the bill came to under 16 pounds!
I have been told that one of the specialities in this restaurant is the fried duck and the beef in bean sauce. there are also a lot of pork dishes one can try, but there was only so much one can fit into a lunch...
P.S: for all the desis who like their food hot'n' spicy, the chilly oil kept as a condiment at the table should serve you well.

Value for Money:****

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Arabian Hut. Charcoal Grill.

Two names for but a single shop. I said ‘shop’, did I? Because that's just what it is. The Arabian Hut at City Center, the new mall on Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Chennai, is only a take-away eatery. Of course being a food mall, you have little tables to sit down and appreciate your Arabian booty.

The Arabian Hut like all Arabian joints is lush with the smell of juicy shawarma. But being new to most Chennaites, you'll spot loads of people around the tiny place who just haven't a clue what's to be ordered. And the staff at the Hut aren't any helpful either. You'll see the disdain on their faces. Don't try reading their smug mugs though. Get right on with ordering the Shawarma Plate and an Arabian Salad to go along with it. The latter is vegetarian, mind you.

The food will be ready in a jiffy. Now balance your tray and scout for an empty table. Are you comfortably seated? Ok. Bite into the shawarma. Good? Ummm. What will you go back for? You must visit this joint if ever you are at the City Center. There's another place at Anna Nagar, opposite Domino’s that serves equally good Shawarma Rolls. Addictive. Absolutely addictive. You could even eat it for breakfast, if you're so inclined and if they decide to open that early in the morning.

Ambience: **
Value for Money: *****
Food: *****

Monday, January 1, 2007


At the outset, I must admit that my review of the restaurant may be slightly coloured. No, those looking for a racial slur will find none... I am merely making the reader aware that I was looking at the restaurant with ros`e coloured glasses. (hic) I mean... (sic).
The buffet spread was quite lavish, and was quite enough to satisfy both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian palate. Soups, though were quite standard. Tomato shorba for the veggie and chicken shorba for the non-veggies. Mercifully, the clear chicken soup was not massacred with the addition of unnecessary spices.

Salads were never my scene, and apparently the chef shares my sentiment. There was the usual stuff, that can be found at every shaadi and do.
Starters get more interesting, however. Kebabs - and there was no derth of them, were good. The reshmi and chicken tikka kebabs were truly melt-in-your mouth. The bite-sized naans served at your table prove the perfect accompaniment.
Main course, if you're looking for chicken alone, you'll be dissapointed. There's a fish (we had a bengali fish preparation that was simply Yummm), a mutton and a chicken. So I'd suggest taking some of the veggie fare as well. Which is not an altogether bad thing. The handi subzi and the dal were pretty decent.
Now come the desserts. Please spare space for 'em. In fact you can make a whole meal of them. There's crisp Jalebis, kheer and rabdi. Also piping hot Gulab Jamuns and Gajar ka Halwa. The combination of Jalebi- Rabdi or Jamun- Rabdi is a spiritual experience.
Mela- for the Desi in you.

Ambience:** (would have got more stars if there wasn't a huge mother of a back-lit billboard staring at you in the face inside the restaurant)
Value For Money: ***
Food: **1/2*