Despite a bleak 12 months, there are a burst of feisty openings, decided to preserve employees employed within the hope of a greater tomorrow. Now, keep dwelling, keep protected and discover the world
Sleek and elegant, Oyama welcomed its first prospects in March. Less than a month later, it’s shifting its menu to delivery-only bento packing containers. Nevertheless, Andrew Rex is happy concerning the alternative to serve Chennai.
“I have had restaurants in Thailand for years, but I am from here, so for a long time I wanted to start something here,” he says, including that after some thought he selected serving Japanese delicacies, as an alternative of Thai, which can have been a better alternative. “Everyone with lemon grass in their hand is making Thai food here,” he chuckles. “I wanted to do something different.”
With Sadiq Hussain, who manages the restaurant, Andrew determined to create an area that feels authentically Japanese, with out being intimidating to people who find themselves unfamiliar with the delicacies.
Hence, though the menu contains well-liked classics, from donburi to katsu, and in fact a variety of sushi, it is usually encouragingly versatile. There is, for instance, a variety of vegetarian meals, and the cooks are additionally engaged on growing their vegan choices, in response to requests from prospects.
Portions are beneficiant, and the restaurant is experimenting with a spread of bento packing containers to present color and selection.
They have another secret weapon: dessert. “In most Japanese restaurants here, they serve only fruit at the end of the meal,” says Andrew. “We are working on expanding our dessert menu…” For now, there may be mochi ice cream and creamy, wobbly Annin tofu, a reassuringly candy ending.
28/61, VNS Vaibhav Apartment, 1st ground, third Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar. Call Sadiq at 9841113001
Ottoman’s Turkish Baklava & Kunafa
Sevki Ozertugrul couldn’t go dwelling, so he began making baklava. At least, it tasted like dwelling.
When the nationwide lockdown to sluggish the continued pandemic started in March final 12 months, Sevki, who has been working in India for 4 years, realised that it might be some time earlier than he may return to Konya, in Turkey. “Suddenly, I decided, I will make baklava,” he says, strolling by means of his first retailer, set beside Buva House on Khader Nawaz Khan Road.
There was only one catch: he had no thought how to do it.
Over the previous one 12 months, a mixture of YouTube lessons and willpower, have resulted in “Ottoman’s Turkish Baklava & Kunafa,” which started as an Instagram start-up, then gathered sufficient steam, and confidence, to launch a retailer on Chennai’s most buzzy excessive avenue.
“Baklava is a 40-layered dessert made of phyllo pastry, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup,” Sevki says, including that it was developed within the kitchens of Topkapi Palace in İstanbul.
After a 12 months of affected person tweaking, he says his model tastes “almost perfect”. He provides, “We source everything locally — but we need pistachios from Gaziantep for proper Turkish baklava. In the future, we will add that too.”
Pistachios, walnuts and cashew nuts are encased in translucent layers of crisp phyllo, that’s generously brushed with ghee. Syrup is added judiciously, so the pastry stays crunchy, guaranteeing it’s wealthy, but deceptively gentle.
The new area will open with baklava and kunafa, then broaden into Turkish espresso. Sevki additionally holds out a tray of cookies, made by his spouse. “I’ve forgotten what they are called,” he says, sprinting exterior to ask her. He returns in a minute, smiling. “She says it was a favourite of the empire… So let’s call it Ottoman’s sweet. The taste of Turkey.”
Ottoman’s is at 8, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Srirampuram, Thousand Lights West, Nungambakkam
Although their newly opened restaurant, which was bustling with cheer final week, is silent, Aarnav Merchant and Alagu Vignesh are undeterred.
With the Tamil Nadu Government asserting new restrictions to forestall the unfold of COVID-19, now solely takeaway service is allowed. So, as an alternative of serving their signature contemporary pasta on the restaurant’s tables, they’re pondering of how to assist you keep dwelling protected and inventory your fridge.
The younger cooks, who graduated from IHM Mumbai (The Institute of Hotel Management) are decided to be as self sustaining as doable, focussing on making all the things from the sauces to contemporary gnocchi in-house, in a compact, however well-equipped kitchen.
After IHM, Aarnav went on to do the Culinary Arts programme at Kendall College in Chicago, whereas Alagu went to Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. “We have been friends for a long time,” says Alagu, explaining how they agreed on a easy menu focussing on freshness and high quality.
“It’s a pasta bar more than a restaurant,” he provides, “So we do homestyle, hearty soups, lasagne, and of course fresh pasta.”
Although the menu is intentionally brief, the pasta part is sort of a driving vacation by means of Italy: pesto gnochetti, squid capellini, doppio agnolotti…
“Keeping the menu small helps us play creatively with the food,” says Aarnav, as Alagu packs a portion of sunshine, fluffy potato gnocchi, to be served with a pumpkin cream sauce. He provides, “We don’t buy anything frozen, and try to make every thing in-house. So, we butcher and break down the meat ourselves, then use the bones for stock so there is no wastage. We shell shrimp for our tortellini, and use the heads for shrimp oil.”
The takeaway menu contains white Bolognese hen lasagna, with crimson sauce on the facet, in addition to a vegetarian ratatouille-inspired model. “We keep tweaking recipes,” says Aarnav, including that their tiramisu is well-liked and they’re now engaged on making a mango cheesecake.
“People have started dropping by for takeway,” he states, including with a chuckle, “Yesterday a customer came and picked up his order, then couldn’t wait to drive home, so he ate in his car.”
6A, Nawab Habibulla Avenue, 1st Street, Off Anderson Road, Nungambakkam. Call Aarnav on 8939511200
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