Address: #13, 1st Crescent Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600020
Time: 12 Noon to 3 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 1,000
Cuisines: South Indian, North Indian, Continental
Facilities: Home Delivery, Wheelchair Accessible, Outdoor Seating, Group Meal
Crimson Chakra, Adyar, Chennai: DECOR
There was a time when Crimson Chakra was the place to be. The food was a great draw and so was the eclectic decor. This 80-year-old building has been through a lot during the last two years. In 2015, the December floods tested its stability, then the December 2016 cyclone wreaked havoc, damaging its roof. Made of terracotta, the red tiles literally blew away, leaving bare beams around the place’s signature mango tree. Today, the restaurant is fully operational, although the charm of the past is missing. Although covered, the flooring is uneven, and one needs to watch one’s step…
Crimson Chakra, Adyar, Chennai: FOOD
Lunchtime means Thali time. Each month, the restaurant’s culinary team come up with new Thali themes for lunch. I was privy to the Biryani Thali and was saved the bother of ordering, although I would have loved to try some of the food listed in the a la carte menu: the banana dosa for example. But, Biryani binging can be fun. First, though, I whet my appetite on Baby Corn Varuval — masala-marinated, crisp-coated, and deep-fried the south Indian way. The corn is tender enough to let the marinade nade soak into its core without losing its suppleness. Fragrant with promise, the paneer tikka is dry and disappointing, teaching me a valuable lesson: never judge a dish by its aroma. Quickly, I move on to the Cauliflower Manchurian. I find the cauliflower is well cooked and holds on to its inherent personality and fibrous flavor. Finally, I give in to temptation and allow the Hyderabadi Biryani work its way around my senses and dig in. I find the dum-cooked, Basmati rice-layered Biryani a slightly pungent treat. Mixing it with raita tones down the pungency nicely, while adding tang from the curds. All masalas are made in-house, I learn, and manage to get a tiny taste of the freshly hand-pounded, slightly coarse powder and find it is a blend of many familiar tastes.Fennel forms the foundation that enhances other flavors like pepper, jeera, coriander, dry ginger, fenugreek, etc.In between courses, do have a swipe of the Thirunelveli Halwa. It is authentic, is all I can say. Its inherent over-sweetness and glutinous texture are not my favorite.
Crimson Chakra, Adyar, Chennai: PLUS AND MINUS
Quick pre-planned Thali lunches are doing very well for Crimson Chakra. However, there is a sameness, as the a la carte menu is available only for dinner.