Friday, February 9, 2018

Tasting Menu at Novotel ibis, Chennai on OMR

Last week we got to try creations by the chefs at Novotel's newest Chennai property - the Novotel ibis. This hotel named "Novotel ibis" would be the first in Chennai that has both the 5 star Novotel and the ibis hotel operating in the same premises. This event was attended on an invite.

The hotel itself is ideally located for those in the OMR stretch populated by offices. It looks sleek from the outside but there are more than 300 rooms on offer here! Dining happens at the in-house restaurant, the Square which we were shown around. It's a neat, modern looking cafe slash all-day restaurant where families and business guests can lounge while working.

A nice breezy portico opens out with more seating. There's an elaborate buffet section as well. The hotel has only recently begun operations since a few months. They have started catering custom menus for corporate group dinners etc.

We got seated at a long dining table with Chef Muthu Kumar, the creator of this tasting menu right beside us to walk us through the menu. The other invitees were Sara Koshy from Baketales and Nitin Chordia from the chocolate start-up, Cocoatrait! The topic of conversation was mostly on food and the food industry and these knowledgeable people had plenty of nuggets to share as we munched on the 3 courses.

First off the amuse bouche arrived which was Tandoori Papad with sides of brown onion sambal and Tomato/coriander. Being a tasting menu the papads were small in size. The sides were both savoury I loved the brown onion sambal with its hint of sweetness.

After polishing off the amuse bouche, we were served Dimsum next. A green vegetable dimsum and the other was broccoli and cheese. Both were just right, the roasted chilli and tomato dip giving that zing. I enjoyed the juicy, mild-flavored dimsum without the dips.

Now we were heading to the meat of the meal with the Gosht Gilafi Seek kebab being brought on.  Must say the Chef's careful attention to the dips paid off. The blueberry yoghurt dip went wonderfully with the meat adding that fruity, yoghurty touch to the yumminess. Kebab was well-made!

Sweet Thai chilli sauce

Next came the prawn roll, a huge prawn straightened out, surrounded with a crisp layering and served innovatively in a shot glass with its crunchy tail sticking out! This was good ol' comfort food which is always appreciated. The Thai chilli sauce was a good pairing to the fresh prawn.

The Chalupa which came next, I was tasting for the first time. It was brought in many small buckets hanging on a bamboo frame! Plus one for the provoking presentation! This was a lovely dish, perhaps the best of the evening because of the sheer flavors from the Mexican spices! It comprised roasted veggies including refried beans (more about refried beans in this post!) tossed with a potent spice mix that somehow reminded me of India as well as Mexico! There was a polenta based, thick nacho to accompany the vegetable mix. I found myself eagerly seeking more spoonfuls of this with a bit of the added sour cream and nacho for crunch.

Next up was the Chicken Flower rice served on a bed of wafers! Interesting presentation with the rice coating the meat balls! The flavors were just right.

We were brought Chicken burger next, made two ways and served in a covered wooden tray. One half was made with pulled meat while the other half had a crunchy inside! Loved the pulled meat burger which had that lightly sweet, spicy sauce that made it delicious. Since we had delayed eating the burger for a while while chatting, the crunchiness of the other half was almost lost.

Lastly the main course had a thoroughly Indian addition with a rustic touch. There was ragi roti and millet roti accompanying Murgh Makhani and Gosht Roganjosh. Both were delicately spiced and went well with the rotis which were a little tough to be expected since its millet-based.

Chefs working on the Chalupa!


The dessert section had us impressed with the Soft centered chocolate cake and a Chilli Jangri served with side of whipped Philadelphia cream and macerated strawberries! The chocolate cake was decent, very fresh n even crisp but not overly indulgent while the Jangri and cream combo went well together. The touch of heat from from the chilly inside made us sit up and take notice! There were bits of paneer and a berry compote on top of the Jalebi! All-in-all a lovely dinner where the Chef's experience could be seen. The food was yummy "fusion" cuisine taken to a correct extent!

The Buffet Setup

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