Address: 309, Valluvar Kottam High Rd, Seetha Nagar, Nungambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034 India
Time: 11 AM to 11 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 450
Cuisines: Kerala, South Indian, Chinese, North Indian
Facilities: Home Delivery, No Alcohol Available
Crescent, Nungambakkam, Chennai: Decor
Even though this is the first time I’m crossing their threshold, I’ve passed Hotel Crescent’s Valluvar Kottam outlet often and have always wondered about the food, seeing it crowded at all times of the day. And I have always promised myself, ‘someday’. That someday arrived recently.
I was well in time for lunch, and waited for my spot in the air-conditioned area, watching people enjoy their food in quiet concentration, pay their bill at the cash counter and leave, satisfied. Behind the cash counter, I see something nobody can miss: bold promises, every one of them about quality. The headline says, ‘Welcome to Crescent, who believes in health is wealth.’ The others say they don’t reuse the oil, and do not use MSG, etc.
I manage to get a corner table in the booked-to-the-brim air-conditioned area, and my food foray begins.
Crescent, Nungambakkam, Chennai: Food
I love the juiciness of this crispy, charredaround-the-edges Arabic Grilled Chicken. The traditional Kerala Onion Chutney helps by adding raw dynamite to the flavours with onion, coriander, capsicum and red chilli heat, lifting the taste of the chicken legs to new heights. To mute the sting from that deliriously pungent chutney, I dip the chicken into some mayo, and it does a good job, but I prefer the dynamite chutney.
Fried in coconut oil and boneless, the Mutton Fry and can taste Kerala in it. The curry leaves, shallots and shredded coconut, along with the typical masalas that make the food so distinct. Fact: They get their coconuts from Kerala every single day.
For my mains, among other delicious offerings (check the must try) I mix my Ghee Rice with coarsely grated mangoginger and coconut Chamandi. Next, I try mixing in the brownish Inji Puli. It’s got chopped green chillies and ginger, and a tangy sweetness of jaggery mixed with tamarind.
Can I even leave without trying their famous Biryani? No. Never. My Malabar Chicken Biryani arrives. Fragrant and made with Jeeraga Samba rice, it has a breezy confidence in its flavors. I eat it by itself, and to add interesting twists I alternate between mixing in some Inji Puli (made using chopped green chillies, ginger, tamarind and jaggery) and Chamandi (coarsely pounded mango ginger and coconut along with Kerala seasoning).
For dessert, the Crispy Avil Milk is hot, has sweetness from bananas, and the beaten rice is roasted to a crisp. The trick is to have it while it’s hot so that you can enjoy the crunch and sweet banana flavours blending with the milk.
Crescent, Nungambakkam, Chennai: Plus & Minus
Crescent is confident. It has got its winning formula right. When they started the restaurant, Nazeer and Saleem’s father gave them simple advice. He said, ‘Don’t compromise on the quality. Business will come automatically.’ And the food, I must say, is good. They claim 95% of their customers come back for more.