Phone: 044 49065330, +91 9791183276
Address: ITC Grand Chola, 63, Mount Road, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Time: 7 PM – 11 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 4,500
Cuisines: South Indian, Chinese, Desserts
Facilities: Full Bar Available, 4/5 Star, Indoor Seating, Table reservation required
Avartana: ITC Grand Chola, Guindy, Chennai: Decor
Immense detailing has gone into the meticulously planned interiors, making Avartana a complete and truly luxurious experience. Every single time. I don’t think anybody can take Avartana for granted. Even the music, I’m told, has been chosen with care. Yes, it has south Indian food, but goes beyond the expected. Almost as soon as you walk through the brass studded wooden door, you realize that this is not the typical south Indian restaurant you expected. Instead, it has, like the food, underlying flavors that strike a chord with progressiveness adding twists to the typical, translating them into new expressions. Take for example, the vertical glass lights. On closer examination, they resemble banana flowers. A closer look at the carpet reveals it is a take on the banana leaf we eat on. The mother-of-pearl inlaid walls gleam, elegant and sophisticated, and beg me to interpret what they signify: waves and boats, for the seafood, I think.
Avartana: ITC Grand Chola, Guindy, Chennai: Food
I’m here to try the new menu, which has been fine tuned for… a very long time. Chef Bangera and his team have added many elements, so you will have to forgive me if I go a little overboard, as I was overwhelmed by the detailing that has gone into each dish.
If I could, I would describe every dish for you, but for now, let’s begin with the Amuse Bouche that sets me up for what is to come. I love the little carrot colored cone, so beautiful that I eat it immediately, and find that it is indeed a slender carrot sliver with crisped lentils adding body, bite, saltiness.
Chef tells me, earlier, there were two elements missing in Avartana’s food: one was slime and the other was the process of fermenting. The local Cuttle Fish has both. Slime comes from bhindi. The slightly sweetish black garlic pods are so because of their fermentation. The slight coconut taste in the cauliflower puree is, you guessed right, from freshly squeezed coconut milk.
Set on a stand, Cracklings arrive looking like miniature paintings. The first to capture my intrigue is the golden, paper-thin rectangle which goes by the name Earthy Potato. As the name suggests, it is thoroughly crackly and quite the winner for me: two sheets of transparent, thin potato have sandwiched between them a single curry leaf and a sprig of coriander. The next looks like a maple leaf variety, but is not. It is actually rice-flour coated and deep-fried Gongura, with all the typical tartness and flavors alive. Smearing a little of the Mango Mush on it, I enjoy how the different tastes enchant my taste buds.
The earlier menu had Crispy Chilly Potato. But, this is Crispy Chilly Potato 2.0. It is unpredictable and very high-tech: looks deceptively like a mithai and sits on a red dot to keep it from sliding off. Needless to say, I love the whole thing, including the dehydrated strands of crispy chilly potato.
I simply have to tell you about this small Pan Seared Quail that comes with tomato mush and a cute little fried quail egg. Cleverly fermented idiappam batter is baked so it becomes fluffy and adds to the appeal of the quail.
Almond Creameux ends my meal. Here, the fermented and slippery elements come from the tender coconut slivers that are fermented in their own juice, along with some sugar. I enjoy the almond Pondy cake, although a little salt would’ve lifted the dessert to greater heights. The candied orange peel is, quite predictably, bitter-sweet.
Plus & Minus:
A meal here is quite an experience. Never forgettable, ever cherished, the menu itself is pure genius.