Address: New no 6, Old no 12, 11th Avenue, Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai, India
Time: 7 AM to 9 AM, 11 AM to 10:30 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 900
Cuisines: Cafe, Tea, Beverages, Street Food, Desserts, Sandwich, Ice Cream, European
Facilities: No Alcohol Available, Outdoor Seating, Kid Friendly, Vegan Options, Board Games, Valet Parking Available, Smoking Area, Group Meal, Desserts and Bakes, Private Dining Area Available
Kimberly House, Chetpet, Chennai: DECOR
It is really heartening when old homes are given a makeover and reinvented. And that is exactly what has happened to this freshly painted, white restaurant called Kimberly House. Inside, I walk through a jewelry store to one of the dining rooms. There is a lot of old wooden furniture, polished to a dark sheen. This house, in planning since 1948, has character, and I am happy the current generation has kept that stateliness alive. Yes, I love the indoors, but the area under the mango trees steals my heart.
Kimberly House, Chetpet, Chennai: FOOD
First, I get mushroom soup, with a cube of brie cheese in its midst.
Quite expected, I think, wondering what exactly the Madras Specials would be like. As if reading my mind, almost as soon as I take my third spoonful of the soup, strips of fried idli with gunpowder podi arrive at my table. Crisp, golden on the outside, steaming hot, white and airy on the inside, this is so totally Madras. I quite enjoy mixing my podi with the sesame seed oil and dipping my idli in a generous helping of the fresh coconut chutney, which is at room temperature, and changes the taste of the idli.
Called raw mango and chickpea Salad, this one reminds me of Marina Beach, where street food vendors yell ‘thenga manga pattani kadalai’, and serve tangy mass of spicy textures. This one is similar, yet different. More sophisticated, for sure, it has olives, sesame seeds, and coconut slivers, which add their dense, fibrously distinct presence. Not too miss that slice of toast on the side.
The restaurant decided to do away with the adai-avial combination and present an adai-tomato thokku combo with a lump of jaggery. A little coconut is added to the conventional batter, making it tastily different.
If tender coconut jelly is available, I recommend you order it right away. What I love about this one is that all Chef Madan does is add a natural gellant before keeping the coconut to chill. It is an absolute delight to spoon into your mouth. I was lucky to get the natural sweetness in the water. Only the very lucky get the tender coconut pulp. Sadly, mine is a maturing coconut.
My meal ends with perfect filter coffee that arrives in a brass dawra.Perfect because I choose how strong I’d like my coffee to be, and mix in as much karupatti as I’d like.
Kimberly House, Chetpet, Chennai: PLUS AND MINUS
A little off the beaten track, Kimberly House is a space you will be happy to discover. They use home-made masalas and the mixes go under the brand name of D&A.