Thursday, 27 March 2014

Simbly South,Courtyard by Marriott-Chennai

Courtyard by Marriott is hosting a Simply South fest at Paprika from 24th till 31st March 2014.They have added a lot of authentic south Indian dishes from different states. Regional flavours have been maintained by not tampering age old recipes.They have in fact got some chefs flown in from the different parts of south india to make sure the authenticity remains unaltered.
The restaurant is all decked up for the fest; you can feel the south Indian touch.The serving staff is dressed up in the traditional  south Indian attire and flowers and pots decorate the cafe.
Soups-There are 2 soups a veg and a non veg- Murugakai soup and Kozhi rasam.While we were enjoying our soups we were served some local bhajjis.

 The live counter has a whole lot of local stuff-Bajji and Sundal,Onion pakoda,Vazhakkai bhajji,kozhi vepudu,meen kal varuval and Parota .

We were then served parota with the traditional dishes.I enjoyed my mutton curry,it had the traditional touch with minimal spices used and lot of black pepper.
They have tried to incorporate dishes from all over the south,you can taste the best of the south here.Vettakoora miriyalu pulusu,malabr fih curry,nilgiri kozhi korma,vegetable chettinad,kovakkai masala,thalicha paruppu are some of the main course dishes.
For the sweet south Indian tooth you got Rava payasam and Elaneer payasam.
The regular buffet dishes are there too,so if you want to take a break and have some salad or biryani,you can do that as well.
All in all it's a melting pot of the south of India.If you love the traditional and authentic food of south,you should definitely not miss this one out.The festival is on till 31st march 2014.

Timing- 7pm to 11pm

Rate- Rs1250+taxes

Address:Courtyard by Marriott,#564, Anna Salai, Teynampet,Chennai.

Ph No: 6676 4000

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Verandah,Vivanta by Taj Chennai

The ambiance of the place is quite good with spaced out tables and the lush green courtyard..You can sit indoors or outdoors around the pool.We got a pool-view table.We were offered a lunch for 2 as a prize for the '100 by Taj' contest organized by Taj.A lunch buffet for 2.
It wasn't a great spread but it was free for us so we did not mind much.

The soups were supposed to be served at the table but they weren't there even after ten min we had to remind them.We had to ask them for breads and the live counter.They just came to clear the plates.The service was a let down.
Soups were better part of the spread.There was an option each for  veg and a non veg .The chicken soup had spinach and tiny tender chicken pieces in a clear chicken broth.Chicken was tender and went well with the spinach.The veg soup on the other hand was a peas soup it was just average, nothing spectacular.
The salads were nice albeit  a small section.Veggies were fresh and they had made some simple salads and sandwiches only. They tasted fine so no complaints on that front.
There was only one starter in the non veg section.The chicken did not seem fresh and  lacked complete  flavor and  taste.

Tandoori chicken
Lamb curry

Coming to the main course-there was one fish curry,lamb curry and beef.Fish was tender but lacked the flavors.The minced lamb in curry was good but could have been better.
Fish Curry
Biryani looked tempting but was a let down.There was no taste at all.It was such a disappointment.The live counter had Indian breads,pastas and pizzas.Disappointed with all the food they offered,we gave a miss to the pasta and pizza.
Veg section had 2 curries and dal .The malai methi matar was nice.The dal tadka was good but we have had better for lesser price.

 Cannelloni-This was the only dish which we liked and had some flavor.The spinach and cheese filling was rich with flavors.
 There were few south Indian curries and curd rice.

The dessert counter continued the theme of purely-average. It was conservative choice of standard brownies and mousses. There was malpua, payasam and a Bengali sweet; to appeal to those seeking Indian sweets.


The place is just ok,the food is a bit disappointing for the price you pay. The food is not bad but is average what you expect from a 5 star restaurant.

A meal for 2 would cost you around 2500INR.
Address-Vivanta by Taj Connemara, 2, Binny Road, Egmore, Chennai.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Poovar, kerala

Poovar is one among the natural wonders where the Lake, River, Sea and Beach meet the land- a rare combination.

Poovar is unspoilt and unexplored, envoloped by the most serene backwaters, and opening out to the sea and a dream golden sand beach.
We took a Boat ride to the beach and back(1600 INR for 2)..The ride was Breath-taking..we spotted a lot of birds,mangroves..Surrounded by water ,trees and the sky,this is one ride Highly recommended..

Poovar was a trading center of timber, sandalwood, ivory and spices. Poovar has been one of the ancient Muslim settlements along the western coast of India.The Central Mosque here is believed to been built by Malik ibn Dinar and his missionary team, more than 1,400 years ago.

It is truly a window into paradise. The tranquility of Poovar is punctuated by the sound of waves and the birds. The area is abundant in well-preserved local flora, with hundreds of species of spices, exotic flowers, complete with banana and coconut groves.

Poovar Beach, near the Kovalam Beach, separates the River Neyyar from the sea. Poovar is basically a fishing village and the only way to reach Poovar is through water. The beach is known for its pristine and virginal beauty. Because of the active fishing population the beach is not really used as a sunbathing spot or for swimming as the currents are quite strong.

We were told by our boatman if we are lucky we might get to see a few birds..he showed the pictures of the birds we might spot..lucky enough we saw almost all the birds we were shown :))) 

Kingfisher-Spotting the birds in Backwaters adds lot of thrill to an already funfilled ride!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Kovalam-Vivanta by Taj(staycation)

Kovalam (Malayalam) is a beach town by the Arabian Sea in Thiruvananthapuram city, Kerala, India, located around 13 km from the city center. It would cost you around INR150 by an auto from Trivandrum to Kovalam. Trivandrum is well connected by trains and flights from all parts of India.

Kovalam has three beaches separated by rocky outcroppings in its 17 km coastline-Lighthouse Beach,Hawah Beach and Samudra Beach. Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies on their way to Ceylon in the Hippie Trail. This exodus started the transformation of a casual fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in India.

Kovalam has got lot of Hotels from low budget to luxury ones...We settled for Taj as it had a lot to offer with the lagoon and the private beach and the Infinity pool... We are glad we chose it..The weather was awesome the monsoon were just a month away. We got to see some Kerala Rain as well ,as it rained heavily in the evening the day we reached. 
Kovalam has a tropical dry climate. Summers (March to May) are hot and the temperature varies from a minimum of 21°C to a maximum of 33°C. Winters (December to January) are pleasant and have moderate temperature varying from 18°C to 33°C. Monsoons (June to August) are accompanied by thunderstorms and abundant rain falls.

Best time to visit is from August to February.

The Infinty pool,the lagoon and the sea..We enjoyed the view as we had our Breakfast and lunch at Jasmine(restaurant)!!

The lagoon at the Hotel..We loved almost everything about this property.

 The hotel property is surrounded with so many trees that it is difficult to spot the rooms..Gives one a lot privacy.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Amethyst cafe,Chennai

The place has one of the best ambiance in the city.A huge garden area,vintage feel indoors with wooden furniture and lovely seating around the verandah.
The moment you enter you would fall in love with the place.The lush greenery and some amazing flowers will take you away from the hustle bustle of the city.
You can sit here for hours and hours together and no one would bother you.Enjoy a cup of coffee with some soothing music.The hot coffee is served with a chocolate which has a coffee bean in it,which totally rocks.
The place has some amazing desserts.Potato wedges are outstanding.

The baked mascarpone cheesecake is out of the world here. Look for the specials of the day, fish is amazing here. Thai green curry, cold watermelon soup, Ginger cooler
have been tried over and over again.
A great place to spend some quality time with yourself or loved ones.

A meal for 2 would cost you around 1500 here.
Address- Entrance Next to Corporation Bank, Whites Road, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 600014, Padmavathi Rd, Gopalapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600086, India
(Landmark Express avenue or opposite Sathyam cinema parking)
+91 44 2854 1917