More than a restaurant
East Coast at Madras Square is more than the food. It is an experience. An ambiance. A story.
In my journey as a Food Critic and a Food Enthusiast, with a review appearing every Friday in Chennai Times, I have seen many lovely spaces serving great food.
Recently, East Coast at Madras Square left an impact on me. It is a space with many personalities: neat lines, beautifully done up rooms, carefully tended gardens and certainly the food.
My favorite section is the area that has black and white prints from the first commissioned photo shoot of Madras. It was done by two photographers, Wiele and Klein. Each image on those walls get me wondering about the people there, their homes, bullock carts, trees and horses: they were real at that time, in that era before India got its Independence.
In the middle of those two rooms with the photographs is a courtyard, with attangudi tiles and retractable roof. I was lucky to be at Madras Square on a clear night. The button was pushed. I looked up as the panels slowly parted to a clear, dark, cloudless sky. I stopped chewing on my perfect Honey and Citrus salad, and simply held my breath at the wonders of nature. Sparkling crystals winked at me, happy to be where they were, looking down at a corona-ravaged earth.
As flawless as that view, my salad sent a sweet, salty, fresh message to my taste buds. The Parmesan shavings topped salad brought citrus, walnut, figs, raisins, greens and coloured peppers - all nicely tossed in an orange reduction, honey and balsamic dressing - had mouthful follow mouthful.
A little crick in my neck forced me to look down at the Bruschetta placed before me. I liked how garlic blended into the creamy hummus layer enhanced the chopped olives on top. Personally, I would have preferred more tang from the tomato and Parmesan topped one, though. Maybe a different cheese, like cheddar, and local tomatoes mixed with the bland Bangalore variety would've worked better.
I must tell you this: Chilli Sesame Chicken Kebabs are stellar. Chef's take on the Tangadi Malai Kebab, each piece is juicy, with the expected tandoor flavours, cleverly enhanced with a sesame and green chilli paste. Just enough to show itself without overpowering.
My main course is Pad Thai. Again, I have the freedom to choose the amount of crumbled peanuts and chilli flakes I need to sprinkle on. Clearly I love Thai food and enjoy every bite of that Pad Thai.
Dessert is a small bite of gooey, creamy sinful Chocolate Hazelnut Cake.
As my meal ends, the roof above swishes shut, but the stars will wait for another meal, another day at someplace else.