Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2016


For all Asian food lovers, Mamagoto is finally here and there couldn’t have been a better time for an Asian cuisine based restaurant to hit our shores. Personally I’ve heard a lot of this restaurant chain though I wasn’t lucky enough to try them. Fortunately, I was one among those lucky few to give this place a shot before opening to public during it’s soft launch itself and given below is my take on Mamagoto, Nungambakkam. Any Chennaite would know that Khader Nawaz Khan road in Nungambakkam is THE place for any uber cool joint to open and so it’s no wonder Mamagoto got here. Someone has done their research well 😉 Mamagoto is located in Oyster building with Crimson Chakra and Barista as neighbours. They have valet parking services which takes care of a major issue as finding a parking spot in KNK road is next to impossibility. Mamagoto is on the first floor which can be accessed by lift or through the staircase from the front of the building. My friends and I were welcomed by a large

East Coast at Madras Square

I can’t remember the last time I’ve written a review less than a week of actually visiting a restaurant. Kudos to the foodie team for all the pressure *fake claps*. But I’m happy in a way, as the place we were invited to was somewhere we had a bad experience on our previous visit and it’s refreshing to find the change in management and to find their food on the positive side of my scale. Given below is my take on East Coast at Madras Square, Neelangarai. East Coast at Madras Square is located in Neelangarai, on the parallel road behind Hot Chips. Though it’s located a bit into the streets, boardings with directions help a lot in finding this place, plus it’s perfectly pinned in Google maps. There is an abundant amount of car parking space available and right from there one can get an idea on how spacious the restaurant is going to be. Though I personally know and love their ambience and décor, it was surprising to see a couple of changes. The garage where we were seated during our prev

Raintree, Teynampet, Chennai

When a couple of friends from abroad came down to Chennai, we decided to crash at a hotel and have a nice evening catching up with all the stories.  Raintree in Teynampet was touted to be number one according to Trip Advisor and it wasn’t that expensive either. So I checked for prices online and found a deal in Make my trip where I get to reserve a room for a certain price and can pay it in person at the reception. We had to get two rooms and we booked them online. The price per room was Rs. 6250 including breakfast. Though I found the reception desk to be not managed at a level I expected, the staffs were friendly and courteous. After the general ID checks, we were given cards that gives us access to the lifts and our rooms. Room as such was very clean and simple. Even though it didn’t give us that ‘wow’ feel, the decor and lighting made the room look very subtle and serene. Once we enter, the bathroom is at the left and cupboards with safety locker and ironing board is on the right.

Absolute Thai

Being a fan of Thai cuisine, I wasn’t lucky enough to try all the limited options our city had to offer in the name of Thai food. So I guess it was natural for me to be excited when Absolute Thai opened it’s doors to public in mid 2015. Post their inception I’ve been there twice and ironically both has been treats by my dear foodie buddies. This review, hence, will be based on my two experiences. Given below is my take on Absolute Thai, Teynampet. Absolute Thai is located in Cenotaph Road, right before the entrance of the Kottupuram bridge if coming from Teynampet signal end and its the right turn below the bridge and past Ambrosia if coming from Chamiers road. They have valet parking service and they’re a bunch of friendly folks. Absolute Thai shares the building with two other eateries which are yet to open. A traditionally dressed woman welcomed us in and showed us our table. Ambience is very simple and serene. Bright orange walls and dark wood flooring with hanging lights provide a

Starbucks, Alwarpet

Starbucks used to be the breakfast spot for me for quite a while during my time abroad but Starbucks India rarely gives me the same satisfaction their foreign counterparts have given. As a matter of fact, I prefer the cakes and food rather than their coffee which is ironically what they’re famous for. This particular Starbucks in Alwarpet opened recently and we planned on going to another cafe which we thought was open. Since that was closed, we weren’t left with much choices and we landed here. Given below is my review of Starbucks, Alwarpet. This Starbucks is located on Chamiers road which is known for it’s posh crowd and I guess they couldn’t have gotten a better place than this apart from the malls. I thought they had valet parking which is always a boon but instead they had a person managing it. Considering the small parking space, I was told to park in front of another car which I was later told to move, halfway through my drink, as the car behind me had to leave. Valet parking w

Rajini Murugan

  After an unexpected blockbuster in the form of Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam, the entire team of that film is back to deliver Rajini Murugan in the lines of it in hope of a similar box office success. VVS was a game changer for Sivakarthikeyan and it’s phenomenal run made him take much more ‘hero-ish’ roles with more action and romance in films such as Kaaki Sattai and Maan Karate. The Ponram-Siva-Soori-Imman combination has proved to be a minimum guarantee cum sure victory group and it’s no wonder that Lingusamy spotted this and went along with producing Rajini Murugan. Two major changes are the pivotal character around whom the story travels and the heroine. In VVS, it was Sathyaraj and here it’s another veteran, Rajkiran. Keerthy Suresh, daughter of yesteryear heroine Menaka, after debuting in Tamil cinema with a forgettable Idhu Enna Maayam has bagged the heroine role for this flick. Another difference is the inclusion of a villain in the form of director Samuthirakani. Rajini Mu

Cleo's Grill & Cafe

When I tried Cleo’s a couple of months back for the first time, I had a not so great experience. Then I had the opportunity to try this place in it’s full glory recently with a couple of friends and I realised how much has changed and what all their real best dishes are. In short, I got to know about their idea behind this restaurant and what all are their specialities. Given below are the dishes we tried and how they faired. SOUP: Grilled Bell Pepper Soup:- There was a veg and a sea food variant. Obviously I went with the non veg one. Chargrilled bell peppers with seafood and cream was really amazing. SALAD: Crunchy Noodle Salad:- This fried noodles with veggies was crunchy and tangy. Quite a good salad. DRINKS: Crazy Frog:- Blue curacao and orange served in a salt rimmed glass, this drink was pretty good. Pomogingy Fizz:- As the name suggests, it’s a mix of pomegranate juice and ginger. Didn’t like it much. Bovonto Float:- A drink can’t get better than this. My favourite aerated beve

Tharai Thappattai

Director Bala’s latest flick Tharai Thappattai is every bit a Bala film and a little more. His usual financially struggling lead actors, beeped up words in the name of reality, a rustic yet beautiful love story and a gory ending is all present vividly in this film too and from the looks of it, the scenes are only getting stronger. The lead roles are played by Sasikumar and Varalaxmi. For someone who worked once as an assistant to Bala, this is personally a landmark film for Sasi. This film will also go down in the books of history as a one that rewrote the cinema life of Varalaxmi. Bala has roped in some known faces from his earlier films such as G.M.Kumar who played Highness in Avan Ivan and the person who played a cop in the same film has bagged a role here too. R.K.Suresh, the head of the production company Studio 9 débuts in this film as the villain. Illayaraaja scores the beats for this film which also happens to be his 1000th film. Nothing short of a lifetime achievement indeed.

Hotel Junior Kuppanna, Royapettah

Hotel Junior Kuppanna is on a roll right now. It feels like it’s just been a while back when their first branch opened. Now, as of Jan 2k16, they have 9 branches in Chennai. That is an example of phenomenal growth. Back to the review, a couple of friends and I decided to hit Jr. Kuppanna’s latest branch in Royapettah and we had quite a good time. Given below is my take on it. Hotel Junior Kuppanna, Royapettah is located right opposite to the car parking entrance of Sathyam cinemas. Though this is a one way road, it’s very busy almost all day and finding a parking spot here is next to impossibility. Fortunately they have valet parking service. Though we found those guys to be a bit lethargic, they got the job done. Ambience wise, it’s a typical S.Indian joint without much to write on. Service is pretty good. They were serving us on peak lunch time. Yet the ones who served us were composed and friendly. I was a bit late, well actually a bit too late and the guys have already tried a coup


Director Pandiraj is back after a long hiatus with back to back films. After Pasanga 2, it’s Kathakali now and this is his first action flick which is quite a deviation from his regular children’s flick and comedy films. Vishal had a mixed year of 2015 with average films like Aambala and Paayum Puli but he won the Nadigar Sangam elections which surely ended his year with a good note. Produced by Pandiraj and Vishal, Kathakali stars a simple cast of actors including Catherine Tresa, Karunas and co. Kathakali is the story of a family ravaged by a local don who gets mysteriously murdered. With a lot of suspects including the lead and his brother, the crux of the story is to figure out who the actual murderer is. Just like any other film that builds up suspense, characters that aren’t connected to the murder are shown in a light as if they’re actually the murderer, only to unravel the twists at the end. The film is slow paced intentionally and takes it’s time for the story to develop. This

Nasi Kandar Pelita

The connection between me and Nasi Kandar Pelita go back by an entire decade plus years. In fact, I can very well say it’s the first place where I had my first try with Malaysian cuisine. Over the years, my visits had been a mix of good and bad experience and after a gap of many years, I finally had a chance to catch up with a couple of food buddies here and given below is my take on it. Nasi Kandar Pelita is located at the beginning of Pondy Bazaar and right next to KFC. Though they don’t have valet parking, they do have a moderated parking spot and if it does get filled, the opposite lane (outside the school) is always empty post sunset. Ambience and decor is something they’ve changed in the recent times and apart from indoor seating, they have seating space on the floor upstairs and not to mention their famous outdoor seating. We were a bunch of 4 who got ourselves a seat upstairs and we ordered a couple of drinks, starters, mains and a dessert. For drinks, we tried Ais Bandung and

Cafe Mercara Express, ITC Grand Chola

A late night Christmas dessert idea can’t get much grander than this. After a hearty meal at Hotel Sangam in Anna Salai, we had the usual sugar cravings. We decided to splurge a bit considering the occasion and was thinking of all star hotels which serves dessert past midnight. We finally zeroed on ITC Grand Chola and given below is my take on Cafe Mercara Express. ITC in Guindy is a landmark by it’s own and I’m sure it doesn’t need much introduction. Valet parking solved the problem of parking our car. When we walked in, even at that time of the day, we were welcomed with a smiling face and hands clasped in a ‘namaste’. I was expecting Nutmeg to be open 24 x 7 but it’s apparently Cafe Mercara Express that takes care of the late night guests. Sharing space with Madras Pavilion, Cafe Mercara Express has a super posh ambience along with comfy seating. Considering the time, the place was almost empty. We sat below the chandelier where there’s couch seating. We flipped through the menu rig

Madurai Kumar Mess

Anyone who loves Madurai for it’s food and culture will know about how famous the messes there house. Though I haven’t been lucky enough to try them yet at Madurai, I did get a chance to try Madurai Kumar Mess’s new restaurant in Vadapalani. Obviously a lot of hype was created around it in social media platforms and food forums just for the fact that it’s known for it’s wholesome Tamilnadu on a platter type cuisine. On a warm summer noon, a couple of friends and I decided to give this place a short and given below is my take on this place. Madurai Kumar Mess is located right at the Vadapalani traffic signal junction. Considering the area, we were worried about the car parking facility. We actually carpooled and landed here in one car which would’ve been three if it wasn’t the case. Fortunately, they had valet parking service and it was indeed a huge relief to us. Though it’s an independent property on it’s own, the place actually has lesser seating capacity than I expected. Thanks to p


In keeping with the latest trend of horror films and women-centric films, here is one that has blended them both into a cocktail which has ended up remarkably well. Maya, directed by debutant director Ashwin Saravanan, stars Nayanthara, Nedunchaalai fame Aari and Robo Shankar along with a teeny ensemble cast of actors. Maya is the story of how a struggling single mother, played by Nayanthara, pushes through life to make ends meet and tries to establish an acting career. A parallel story line shows the life of an artist who is troubled by recent events which shake his disbelief of the supernatural. At one point Nayanthara’s financial owes forces her to get into a challenge where she has to successfully sit through a horror flick without anyone in the theatre, to get a huge remuneration. How both the plots intertwine and reasons for the paranormal activities forms the crux of the story. Director Ashwin has created a vast storyline which helps in the flow of scenes effortlessly. Instead o

Trisha Illana Nayanthara

Adult comedy is a genre that’s rarely touched by Tamil cinema. Venturing into such an uncharted territory to direct his debut film is a bold move from newcomer Adhik Ravichandran. Trisha Illana Nayanthara is a coming-of-age film with a youthful cast that includes music director turned actor G.V.Prakash, Anandhi, Manisha Yadav, VTV Ganesh and yesteryear heartthrob Simran. Jeeva (G.V), Ramya (Anandhi) and Aditi (Manisha) who are born on the same day, grow up together as friends. During high school days, Jeeva and Ramya fall for each other but a mistake from Jeeva’s side ends the tie. This leads to Jeeva switching focus to Aditi with whom he maintains a relationship which also leads to an abrupt break up. Grief-stricken, Jeeva travels to Kumbakonam to reach the safe hands of VTV Ganesh who owns a wine shop. With fate playing its twist, Jeeva finds out Ramya to be in the same town as he is. Whether he convinced one among the two ladies to be his partner forms the crux of this film. G.V.Pra


Silambarasan’s last film to hit the theatres was Poda Podi back in 2012. That’s when the shoot for Vaalu began but the film took close to three years to see daylight thanks to various issues. Apart from Simbu the cast of Vaalu includes Hansika Motwani, Santhanam, VTV Ganesh and Kannada actor Aditya. Vaalu is directed by debutant Vijay Chander and produced by NIC Arts. Owing to the delays with its release, the film was distributed by T.Rajendar himself under the name of Chimbu Cine Arts. Music is by Thaman and song lyrics are penned by Madan Karky and Simbu. Vaalu’s storyline isn’t something new to Tamil cinema. It’s a typical commercial film with a blend of action, comedy, sentiment and romance. Simbu is a happy go lucky guy who falls in love with Hansika right at first sight. After becoming friends with her he realizes that she’s already engaged to her relative who unsurprisingly happens to be the villain. Whether Simbu can beat the odds and win Hansika’s heart is the story of Vaalu.

Vasuvum Saravananum Onna Padichavanga

After a successful stint with Boss Engira Bhaskaran, the combination of Rajesh, Arya and Santhanam is back to deliver a laugh riot. Following the disappointing All in all Azhagu Raja, Director Rajesh had a lot at stake with V.S.O.P. This also marks Arya’s 25th film making it a memorable one for his fans. It’s no wonder that this film is produced by Arya himself under his banner ‘The Show People’. Apart from the hero and comedian, Tamannaah makes her comeback after the blockbuster Baahubali. Bhanu and comedienne Vidyullekha Raman form the rest of cast members of V.S.O.P. Vasuvum Saravananum Onna Padichavange, just like all of Rajesh’s film, is the story of two friends. For Arya and Santhanam, as being friends from childhood, pranks are something they enjoy pulling on each other. When Santhanam falls for one of Arya’s antics, it frustrates Santhanam’s wife Bhanu who tells him to end his friendship with Arya. Without much choice, Santhanam assumes that getting Arya married off would be th


In a trend where original scripts are seen with awe and appreciation, remakes rarely makes the cut to be successful. When the Malayalam film, Drishyam received a stupendous commercial and critical response, it was obvious that it was going to make it to our Tamil shores soon. Who will be recreating the magic woven by the legendary Mohanlal popped out to be the most apparent question to which Kodambakkam retaliated with the words ‘Kamal Hassan’. Jeethu Joseph, who directed the original version which ended up being the highest grossing film in Malayalam industry, got back to his director’s chair with this Tamil remake. Most of the crew members, on and off screen have been retained from its original version. Contemporary writer Jeyamohan was chosen to be the dialogue writer for the film. After impressing Kamal himself with a splendid job in Uttama Villain, Gibran has scored the music for Papanasam. We’ll be seeing more from this duo as Gibran is also the music director for Kamal’s upcomin

Connecting the Swamis

Arvind Swami is on a roll now. One of the biggest hits of 2015 is Thani Oruvan and he is undoubtedly one of the trivial reason for it’s success. Though his comeback film Kadal , a multi-starer, was quite a ride down a rough sea (Pun intended), his portions were a delight to watch. On the other hand, his role in a famous multi-starer, Minsara Kanavu is definitely a major turning point for his career. This post tries to build a connecting plot between both these films and thereby tries to prove that both the stories are from the same universe (something often seen in Hollywood flicks) and a continuing timeline in the process. Obviously, it’s a work of fiction and if any errors are found please do comment and communicate. Thomas, a well mannered NRI business man comes back to India to take care of dad’s businesses only to fall for his childhood friend, Priya. Not knowing how to take things forward, Thomas lands at Deva’s place for help, who’s known to have his way around a girl’s heart.

Christopher Koetke at Ottimo Cucina Italiana

My friend and I got an invite for an event at ITC Grand Chola. It was to meet and witness the man in action, Christopher Koetke. Christopher is the vice president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts which is a well known institution in the U.S of A. It was quite an honour to see him interact with us and dish out some best foods. This event saw a number of food bloggers, food enthusiasts and of course, even a couple of chefs. Christopher showed us some basic skills one needs to have to be successful in a kitchen and went on to show us some complex ones such as filleting a fish. His main motive was to show that nothing goes to waste in a kitchen and even the items we throw out as trash can have something in it that makes a beautiful dish. After rolling the salmon fillet with herb filling and throwing it into the oven, he made a sausage from leftover salmon meat and cream. His speed with his cooking along with his positive attitude sure did fill the room with a positive vibe.  

Star Biriyani, Ranipet

During one of our usual long drives with mates, I really wanted to take a detour and head to Ambur for biriyani. But the guys, being the usual spoilsports, went against my idea and we were simply at the look out for a decent place to hit for lunch. After the Ranipet toll booth, Star Biriyani is one major landmark in the otherwise empty road. Without much choices, we had to stop here for our lunch. There is an abundant amount of car parking space. Ambience doesn’t have much to write on but the place looks decent enough to dine in with family. For a late afternoon, they were doing pretty brisk business.     It’s no wonder what we ordered, we got a plate of biriyani each, a chicken pepper fry and another chicken based fried dish called Chicken 555. Biriyani was very OKish. For a place who’s brand image is around a particular dish, this was quite a disappointing biriyani. Mutton pieces, on the brighter side, were succulent and super soft. Chicken pepper fry was another disappointment. Noth

Only Coffee India, Melmaruvathur

  While travelling from Chennai to Trichy with a couple of friends, we were in dire need of our caffeine shot and were frantically searching for a nice coffee shop. Coffee shops are a norm nowadays in highways and every Tom, Dick and Harry are coming up with coffee shops with some brand name. It’s kinda hard to find the good ones and literally impossible to try them all before deciding on one. A friend of mine told that he has tried the Only Coffee India Pvt Ltd coffee shop and it’s good. So when we got here, we knew we had to stop (somewhere near Melmaruvathur).   There is abundant parking space with a security personal as well. Ambience wise, it was really decent when compared with their counterparts. It was very spacious and natural lighting is used to light up the place. There were a number of differently sourced coffee beans that were on display and they also sell packets of these coffees, grounded.     Our coffees were served in brass ‘Dabara’ sets. They tasted delicious. The dec

Hotel Ariyaas, Trichy

Hotel Ariyaas @ Trichy highway. This hotel is the equivalent of Saravana stores here. There is a branch every few kilometers. After a friend’s friend’s sister’s wedding whom I don’t even know, we started back to city and on the way we stopped here for breakfast. ‘ Signage every five kms to show how far the nearest eatery is, Huge parking space, Decent ambience and pretty decent food. Got a couple of dosas and oothapams. Best part was the number of chutneys. About 6 different sides for dosa apart from sambar. On the downside service was mediocre and price is on the heavier side of the scale.

Vivanta By Taj, Panaji

There are hotels, then there is luxury hotels and then there is Vivanta by Taj. Stayed here for two days and two nights during the December holidays of 2012 and boy, it was one awesome experience. The room was very spacious and apart from the huge bed, there was also a seating area near the window which has a nice bird’s eye view of the city.                                               The bathroom was very spacious with a beautiful tub. The khakhi colour scheme is also followed in the bathroom and the white ceramic wares are sparkling clean. The bath wears, slippers and towels provided were of excellent quality and felt super comfy. Apart from their amazing restaurants that dished out some delicious Goan cuisine dishes, another highlight of this place must be it’s pool at the terrace. It looks amazing and even someone who doesn’t know to swim would be tempted to give it a try.             Friendly staff, awesome service, cleanest nooks and corners, yumee munchies and surprisingly ch

Maya Residency, Trichy

Been a while since I reviewed a hotel, so here it goes. Me and two of my friends made it Trichy for a wedding that happened at Kalaingar Arivalayam. Fortunately, our friend had booked rooms at Maya’s Residency which is bang opposite to the mandapam. Maya’s looks like a brand new property as everything was sparkling clean. First impressions were really positive. Car parking was an issue as their underground parking facility was filled up and we had to park at the entrance which was cumbersome. The security guards were literally useless in guiding the cars when parking. Reception was neat and service was quick. We were given a two bed room on the second floor. The minute we opened the door, we were pleasantly surprised on how beautiful the room was. I was seriously not expecting something as good as this in Trichy. The two cots were clean. There was a wall mounting with blue light at the wall behind the bed which was really cool. A similar light also placed behind the tv. Tv was good, th

Hotel Sathyam, Pudukkottai

Stayed here for only one night along with my family. Asked for a Suite room on one morning and was in a state of urgency and called them up again to ask for the same room the evening before itself. Was told it was possible and to get there which was exactly what we did and the room wasn’t available. After waiting for 30 mins and talking to the manager who finally said it was a ‘communication error’ a room was promised in another hr’s time. The manager was sweet enough to give us the ‘king suite’ for no extra price and that was really good from his side. The room wasn’t the suite type that you would find in a good city. It was bigger than the normal room size but wasn’t huge as how a suite is meant to be. The carpets were dirty, the bathroom had match sticks on the floor and the ac was window type instead of split and even though it ran for an entire night, it wasn’t cold the next day morning. They have broken the ac buttons intentionally so that we can’t change the temperature to suit

Hotel Annamalai, Trichy

Stayed for a night with my family and the experience wasn’t that great. Located at the City Centre near the new bus stand and the amenities are all close by. The place could have been really maintained well. It was too dusty and a lot of bugs were ready to give us company. The ac was not split type but the old window type but worked properly and it was a relief. The bathroom was surprisingly clean when compared with the main room. The room service was pathetic. Had to wait for a full hour for two cups of coffee. With such an awesome property they could actually maintain it very well which they are terribly missing.

Hotel DSF Grand Plaza, Tuticorin

D.S.F is actually run by a family thats also into Sea food business, The S.F in the name stands for sea food actually. To be frank I never expected such a huge property in a town like Tuticorin. The place is neat and they maintain a high standard of cleanliness. The staffs are pretty good and friendly too. Being a small town its placed right at the center of it and gains good attention from most of them, thanks to its restaurants and mall right within it. The complimentary breakfast is the best deal among everything and I think its a great idea from their end. And most of the food was lip smacking. Loved a few dishes to the core. Don’t forget to try the seafood. On the negative end, room service took ages to get your food to your room. Plus some food weren’t up to the mark. Loved the stay there overall and I totally recommend it.