Once upon a FoodWalk at Sowcarpet – By Ghumtabhukkad

It all started with my curiosity to know more about Madras, fortunately I land up on a website that mentioned MadrasDay, from where I found out about the event – “Food Walk at Sowcarpet”. I was sure this event will have something for the Gujju foodie in me. I had never ever thought that an event like a food walk can happen and that too in Chennai. I wanted to be part of it, later I got to know that this was not the first Food Walk and that many walks were done prior to this one.
Both Me and Sharon reached Mehta brothers Shop No.310, Mint Street the starting point for the event, bang opposite Union Bank. Mint Street is at it chaotic best, for all Mumbaikars they can happily relive their memories.
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We miraculously found a parking spot right in front of Mehta’s, Mr.Vasudevan who was waiting for us guided us to another Mehta bros shop no.325. There we surprisingly saw a group of 30-40 Foodies who had already assembled, a few waiting for the other with their foodie instincts kerbed while some had already begun with the munching of Vada-pav, We both had gobbled up enough food for lunch at Annalakshmi, another awesome place for South Indian Food. Since both of us have lived in Mumbai so we didn’t have an exciting taste bud for the Vada Pav, so we let pass. Then later we came to know from Nandini (our friend from food walk) that it was close to Bombaiyya Wada-pav. From there we started walking through the chaos, noise and amid racing vehicles to reach Kakda Ramprasad. It is a 2-3 storey building with Air-conditioned dining facility. We were told that their specialities are Jalebi, Aloo-Paneer Pattice and Badam milk.
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We couldn’t hold any longer and took our token for the food after a hard-fought struggle with other hardcore foodies who were waiting for their turn. The Jalebi was better than any other place we had tried in Chennai till date. Aloo-paneer Pattice was good, had a lot of panneer in it and badam milk we left it for next time. Because we also wanted to keep ourself hungry for the best which was yet to come. As Bhavani (our friend from food walk) said throughout the walk “The best place will be the last place”.We were clicking and remembering Crawford market and chaats from Mumbai.
We saw people are moving towards a small stall “Anmol lassi centre”.
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A guy with the huge build was at the other end serving Kesar lassi in a huge glass(we prefer calling it a tumbler), news paperI bet u cannot finish one full glass. Stall has a lot of paper cuttings and articles which are published in various newspapers Don’t ask him many questions he was a wrestler prior to this. Half glass of lassi will cost you 70 Rupees. He would accept the money only after you completed your glass of Lassi.
From there we went to chotu motu nothing particular about the place, They have sweets and savouries.Sandwich shop outside the chotu motu was similar to the shops you generally find in markets of Mumbai and sugarcane juice stall, they serve juice with lemon and ginger.
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From there we kept walking, burning all our calories which we accumulated, we reached Ajab Ajnabi mithai Bhandar they are famous for their bhel puri and all other Gujarati snacks like Fafda, Gathiya.
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From there we started walking through the narrow lanes of sowcarpet to reach Maya chaat for Pyaaz ki kachori we waited there for few minutes for the hot pyaaz ki kachoris coming out of hot oil specially for us, which they serve with Green chutney.
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We spent nearly 30 minutes eating and talking, making new friends sharing our stories and listening to theirs. We enjoyed our talks with Rajith and his wife Purabee.
As it was nearly 7 o’Clock and it was getting dark people were not sure that they want to cover another two places (many were Tired and few already had their quota of calories). As we are in democratic country, we had a voting there for Agarwal Sweets and seena bhai Tiffin centre, We were unaware of this development as we were busy eating ,Fortunately we joined the group of people who were heading towards Agarwal Sweets and after 15 -20 minutes of struggle with cows, vehicles and cow dung. We reached Agarwal Bhojnalaya on our way, we crossed a lane dedicated to Dry fruits wholesaler, another lane for Electrical appliances.
On reaching Agarwal Sweets, it’s a Bhojnalaya in the actual real sense. Thali was being served amidst all the chaos. We were so full that we would not have had that Thali even if we got paid for it. They also serve Good samosas which people can vouch for. We added it to our list of go to go places and will tell you all how it is.
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It was time for group photos and few selfies. The group of people who were crazily discussing food and who were still not satisfied with the food and they had craving for some more food.
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After a small discussion we all headed towards the Seena bhai to have one of the best onion uttapam and ghee idly.
By the time we were going to seena bhai mint street was less chaotic, shops were closing down and Cows were resting. We ordered onion uttapam and Ghee idly, evening .trust me this is the place to go. Once we had our idly and uttapam , few of them were getting late and they left.
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Finally we six souls who were still on the go and searching for cup of tea.
As gujjus say after having oily food have some tea to get rid of excess cholesterol.
We went to Novelty Tea and to our disappointment they serve Tea only from 4-evening.On enquiring, they guided us to some place called MRP on reaching there we pulled our chairs and ordered masala chai, had our cups of tea with lots and lots of stories.
Stories were from the Himalayas to Cochin, water rafting to food streets, Royal Enfield rides to paranormal walks. Finally, we said Goodbye to each other with the promise of meeting each other soon.
At the end of the tour I was left with the thought,
“It’s not always about food,
It’s about people u meet,
It’s about the stories they have,
It’s about the passion they bring in with them”.

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Chef Express- Beasant Nagar.

Went there on an already bad day for us in terms of food .So was expecting something great and happening which could uplift our mood.As eating out most often does for us. Good food and friends can pretty much work all sorts of magic for us in life 🙂

So this place is in Besant nagar, and therefore our expectation of good food rose, as this locality is quite the crowd puller and generally this place seems quiet from outside, so we selected it. Oh and also a board outside the restaurant displayed buy one pizza get one free (which we decoded once we went in, was actually for the order of a large pizza you get a small pizza free)! The interior is decent with a touch of italian theme wall motifs and tiled topped tables. Its spacious or maybe it seemed so for the lack of people around 😛

Anyway getting to the food, We ordered :

Veg Manchow soup :- Its a pretty standard order for us because it is usually pretty tasty and most restaurants mess it up the least. It was good here with the right amount of vegetables and flavor in it.

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Garlic bread with Cheese : we are not sure what they were trying, but it seemed like a copy of the pizza hut garlic bread but was not at all the same in taste. Although the bread was soft there was not enough garlic flavored butter spread on it. The cheese was also bland.

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Picante Curry Pasta :- We would rather call it paneer butter masala pasta! It was such a set back ,it was like they had put pasta in paneer butter masala curry which you can eat as a side dish with naan or roti, it was so so very indian that we cant emphasize enough on it and more over it wasn’t a very tasty panner butter masala. It definitely had more oil in it and was very spicy, with chunks of paneer in it and no semblance of it being Italian at all, with a drizzle of mozzarella cheese on the top as garnish. On asking much later for the Garlic bread that was to accompany the pasta they apologetically told us they forgot and got two pieces of garlic bread and although the bread was soft there was not enough butter spread throughout the bread and it distinctly lacked the garlic flavor in it !Also it tasted somewhat sour  the parts it did have butter.

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Sizzzler(the name of which cannot be remembered !!)  : They took the longest time to get this on our table and then gave half burnt rice with  very little  flavor, it was plain rice with the tiniest tinge of butter, veggies  were less in quantity and  it was kind of burned with an amalgamation of herbs and spices which did not give off any distinct flavor, also the vegetables seemed to be not that fresh, there had put the sides of old chewy cucumber ,along with tomatoes seasoned in salt and pepper. The main vegetable consisted of some brocolli, onions and bell pepper with some corn kernels. French fries were ok. Also must tell you that this is the first sizzler we have seen which came to the table without any sizzle at all 😦

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May be Italian is not there niche …we seriously don’t know what is. This restaurant is in such a prime location with a comprehensive menu, only if the food were better they could have cashed in so perfectly. Its a pity!

Ambiance – 3/5
Service – 2.5/5
Food – 2/5
Price – 300- 500 rupees for two(approx.)

Note : This is not a paid review. It’s based on our experience of going there and we paid for our own food.

Amdavadi – Place for Gujarati Snacks

It’s been long time since we knew this place and always wanted to go there to satisfy our gujju food appetite , specially the Gujarati snacks  which i have grown up eating.

The restaurant called Amdavadi near Residency towers in Tnagar, Chennai.

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A quiet place,wonderfully designed and its very rare that you are going to a Gujarati restaurant and place is so quiet.That is the credit we must give to the people who designed the place. They have done a commendable job .

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When you enter the place the ambiance is good , they have given a semi antique yet fresh look to the place. Wooden chair with marble as a table top, the place is painted in a white which makes it peaceful and soothing with a view of clever greenery outside.

Once we settled down we got 2 menus one is of the Thali which was having sweet , snack and a refreshing drinkThis option we found was over priced, so  we selected our food from the other menu which was having a list of authentic Gujarati snacks. All the items are very well explained so if you are new to Gujarati cuisine you will get a fair idea before ordering.

After lot of discussion and going through each and every item in menu, we finally ordered
Khaman – Exactly we call it Nylon Khaman in Gujarat,It was tasty , sweet,spongy and perfect texture as expected.

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Methi Gota -I felt it was bit over fried but the feel of methi was there and black pepper which made it taste  good and perfect.

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Khandvi – It was not par with our expectation , it has to be more softer than it was but the taste was good.We liked it nevertheless , sesame and mustard seed in it made it more  delicious .

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Fafda – This was disappointment as the masala was too much on it and taste was not  as it has to be, the authenticity was missing.

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Rajwadi Chaas – It was a good blend of masala in butter milk, Very soothing to down all the food with and

Kokam sharbat – The typical taste of kokum sharbat, simple, nothing extra in it and refreshing .

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For us it was a perfect place to try Gujarati snacks but there is place for a lot of improvement, which they can do to bring in the ‘WOW’ factor.

Ambiance – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Food – 3.5/5
Price – 300-500 rupees for two(approx.)

we are definitely going there for the second time to try out the menu

Note: This is not a paid review. It’s based on my experience of going there and we paid for our own meal.

Pizza republic ,Taramani

We had heard about this Place for a long time , It was the talk of the town and It was not a planned visit , accidentally we went to Pizza republic , Taramani. We reached just before the closing time but they were welcoming and asked  us to place the order of whatever we wanted (Thank you for the gesture I must say.)

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When we asked for Menu , it was something new. The box in which the pizza is usually served had the menu behind it. So you have to go through the list of all the pizzas and the ingredients and put a tick in front of it . You can have your own selection of spicy/ non-spicy,normal cheese or extra cheese, in the topping they have various options to add on.There are also other options like Garlic bread , Salads, sandwiches to select from . We feel they should have more options in there menu , more varieties of pizza is fun.Once you are done with the selection of your pizza and toppings hand over the box to cashier and he will do the billing for you.
Prices were cheaper as compare to other pizza outlets in the city but the Quantity is a little less with comparison.we were invited to cook our own pizza(That is the option they give) but it was too late and we were lazy to do so (we will go next time to try that for sure).
Then we were escorted to dining area , It was designed eco-friendly place and a comfortable arrangement.

We ordered
Garlic bread :- It was good, fresh and tasty, it wasn’t like the usual Garlic bread you get everywhere , It was thin and soft.

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Veg supremo  :- we chose thin crust base with capsicum, onion, tomato, cottage cheese and cheese . It was tasty , cottage cheese was very soft and fresh and overall taste was excellent.

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I will be going there again to try out more items from their menu and to concoct my own pizza.

Ambiance – 4/5
Service – 4.5/5
Food – 4.5/5
Price – 300- 500 rupees for two(approx.)

Note :- They also serve pizza in slice , but that is not available in Taramani branch. Also this is not a paid review. It’s based on our experience of going there and we paid for our own meal.

Lloyds Tea House – A place for Tea lover’s

A high-end tea shop one of its type in Chennai. If you are passionate about trying different flavors of Tea (Hot or Cold),From the different part of the world with the variety of snacks to eat like pizza, pasta , sandwiches and a whole bunch of other dishes then “Lloyd’s tea Shop” is  the place.

In Gopalapuram near DAV school , a small 2 storey white colored building having a small artistic board written with the name Lloyd’s tea House. when you enter the building on the right side you find an old wooden bench (Probably kept there for the people waiting ) deceives you from what there is inside the Glass door.

It was Sunday 10 ‘0 clock ( they have breakfast special on Sunday) . so We planned and went there. Place was soothing with the beautiful ambiance it will give you a feel of drawing-room of your house with the book racks, A beautiful showcase displaying antiques ,flower vase and crockery. There is different table arrangement to choose as per our comfort from sofa’s and chair . They have really worked on the ambiance of the place to give you soothing,relaxing and chill out  experience.

we settled down on the sofa’s as we were really hungry and excited to taste the food and tea.The host Ms.Promilla gave us two different menus one for Tea and another was for the food items . what I like most about the menu’s is that they have worked minutely on it, for every item there is detailed description written and it is so well explained that you know exactly what you have ordered (although it can be a tad bit confusing to choose from so many too :P)

Once the fascination for the menu got over we finally placed order that is
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Pancake with maple syrup :-  Pancake decorated with the pieces of banana was delight to eyes , taste was okay . Maple syrup was as usual good.

Healthy breakfast (Sunday breakfast special )

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Croissant with baked beans :- Both were delicious .
corn flakes with muesli and milk :- It was good .(There is place for improvement like they can try honey, strawberry with it )
Fruits and curd :- Fruits were banana,apple,grapes which were fresh and curd was exactly the way you want.

Once we were done with breakfast to our surprise we were treated with complimentary treats that of a flavored Croissant , a glazed doughnut and a cup cake they were tasty  .

Now to treat ourselves with the Tea , we again got lost in the menu’s with more than 50 types of tea, From different countries like china, Vietnam,India .

After going through the menu which is self-explanatory we chose
Himalayan Rhapsody :- It was an aromatic tea with the scent of different flowers and the flavor of fruits like strawberry and peaches ,perfect for someone who wants smooth and soft taste. it was the hot favorite in our group.
Jasmine pearls scented :- one of the variety of Green tea with the aroma of a jasmine
.It is for someone who appreciates both aroma and flavor of different teas.
Himalayan wine :- As they say unusual tea from the Garden of Darjeeling for the
People who really like the bold and strong taste of a tea.

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our excitement got doubled, the way they served the tea in the kettle on our table.
They poured hot water in the little pots and gave us a timer for light , medium and strong tea.

All the flavour of the tea were awesome , tastier and was more than what we expected.

After the tea , we tried their Pink pasta with a piece of Garlic bread on the side .which was recommended to us and had it despite being full and it turned out to be one of the best pasta’s we ever ate. deliciously flavored with snippets of mushroom and mildly exotic condiments, it was a true winner.

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And at the last we were treated to yet another complimentary Pastry Called Opera which was a perfect finish to the whole experience . made up of a dense dark chocolate and layered with cream and coffee. it was delicious.

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I would call it an experience there , It’s a place with beautiful and soothing
ambiance ,tasty food and a huge array of perfectly selected tea.

Ambiance – 5/5
Service – 4.5/5
Food – 4.5/5
Price – 500- 700 rupees for two(approx.)

we are definitely going there for the second time to try out the menu and specially the tea’s.

Note: This is not a paid review. It’s based on my experience of going there and we paid for our own meal.

Fusion- Elliot’s Beach ,Besant Nagar

Fusion – A place for Chinese and continental.

In search of a place which can serve us Chinese food , we landed at the place Called Fusion at Besant nagar.

It’s a small place with the varieties of sitting arrangement sofa’s to chairs. This is not the place if you are looking for some silent, private ,romantic dinner or a lunch. They have a big screen where music channel will be playing non-stop Bollywood song. So you can enjoy , Definitely a fun if you like loud places.

Chinese and continental menu was decent they have good variety of choices to make. Also they have some combo offer to serve which will be really good on your pocket if it is month ending .Also they have a list of flavoured soda to offer which i will suggest is must. Try it without fail.

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We were pre determined what to order but still we change our plans after having look at the menu . It is good to see that varieties they are offering . We ordered Lung fung soup , Chilly Baby corn and  vegetable crispy noodles .

Soup was good as I was trying it for the first time. Chilly baby corn they cooked the way I like to eat and disappointment was Vegetable crispy Noodles it was not what we expected but then this version of noodles was new to Try and it was okay.

At the end, we ordered soda from the list they are offering  Mint pudina soda and blue berry soda both the flavours were refreshing.

Ambiance – 3/5
Service  – 4/5
Food     – 3.5/5
Price    – 250 to 300 rupees for two

Recommendation :-  Try maximum flavours of their soda it is must. you will not get everywhere in Chennai. You can go there only for
their flavour soda when you are at Beach.