We were in Chennai on the weekend to attend a wedding. We remembered our own wedding which included Bengali and Tamil ceremonies and felt happy. We also met four of our friends who had attended our wedding. The best moments from the wedding included a photo session where I was constantly being instructed to not show my teeth. I was laughing my head off at the ludicrous poses that the photographer was asking me to give. All our friends stood around us laughing while I was asked to feel Mahesh’s heartbeat, hug a chair, and look shy. Those pics are embarrassingly entertaining. While the professional photographer was composing his pictures, a friend clicked a pic of me standing on pillows to gain height!
We were staying in T Nagar and wanted to eat Chettinad style food. Zomato came to my aid and I zeroed in on Amma in T.Nagar. The place has a lot of history. It is apparently owned by MGR’s personal cook and as per the auto guy who dropped my friend to the restaurant, been the venue of many important political meetings in the past. By the way, autos now run by meter in Chennai now. This is is big development in the State.
We ordered two mutton biryanis, one meal, nethili fry, crab lollypop, turkey 65, fish curry, and Amma Special Chicken.
We were served a complimentary chicken soup which was average.
Our starters were crab lollypop, nethilli fry, and turkey 65.
The turkey tasted just like chicken. The nethilli fry was crunchy and yum and the crab lollypop was yum. I first thought it was maida with very little crab. To my delight it was all crab with a very thin coating of maida.
The thali came with sambhar, rasam, dal, a vegetable, and curd. Chicken curry was served on the side.
What really stood out was the nethili fry, fish curry, and the crab. Another interesting thing was that there were three chicken curries on the table which were all very distinct in taste. I preferred the fish over the meat though. Our meal cost about Rs 1500.
The following day, we lunched at Mudaliars Arcot Kitchen in Mylapore. This is basically a joint that operates out of a home and serves home style food.
We went with their recommendation and ordered the Picchi Potta Chicken (shredded chicken with spices), Sankara Fish Curry, Fish Fry, Arcot Special Chicken, and 2 plates of rice.
The picchi potta chicken was outstanding and went very well with rasam and rice. The fish curry tasted exactly like the one Amma makes. Mahesh wiped it clean.
The fish fry was average and there was nothing special about Arcot Chicken. It was Chinmil (Chinese + Tamil?) dish and we struggled to finish it.
Our meal cost us Rs 595 and was more than worth it.
We also caught a glimpse of Amma while entering the Marina beach. There were cops on the road and traffic had been halted. We knew it had to be her. We waited barely for a minute and there she was – in the front seat of her SUV with her hands folded.
At the beach, we chomped on my second favourite beach snack – steamed peanuts. We also saw a mobile van by the State Fisheries Department serving seafood. Very very tempting. But, we decided to leave it for next time.
Our last stop in Chennai was Buhari Hotel in T Nagar. It has been around since 1951 and claims to have invented the legendary Chicken 65. Their menu also features a “Chicken 90” and “Chicken 2010”. We were still recovering from our lunch at Mudaliars. I ordered a Mutton Pepper Soup and Mahesh ordered for an appam, idiappams, and paya.
The paya was outstanding – the trotters were soft and the curry hit all the right notes. It was sour and spicy and went well with the idiappams. All this along with a bottle of water cost us Rs 350!