Phone: 044 66000000
Address: Taj Connemara, 2, Binny Road, Anna Salai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Time: 4 PM – 12 Midnight
Meals for two: Rs. 3,500
Cuisines: Finger Food
Facilities: Full Bar Available, Nightlife, Live Music, Serves Cocktails, Indoor Seating
The Lady Connemara: Taj Connemara, Anna Salai, Chennai: Decor
Newly renovated, without losing an iota of its mysterious charm from a bygone era, Taj Connemara is splendid. It’s stately pillars still have ears, but retain their silence. Only they know what transpired since the building first came up in 1854. I take a closer look at the two photographs that feature Lady Connemara because this lounge and bar is named after her.
The lounge itself has natural sunlight streaming in, and is done up with stately furniture, comfortable seating, large sofas, wood, marble and footstep-hushing carpets on parquet flooring. What I like most, is the absence of ear-deafening music, making it completely possible to have meaningful conversations in the cool, soothing green-and-gold environment.
The Lady Connemara: Taj Connemara, Anna Salai, Chennai: Food
I’m here for the traditional afternoon tea, quite looking forward to scones with clotted cream, paper-thin, delicate sandwiches and Victoria Sponge Cake. Something out of an Enid Blyton book. All of it arrives on a tiered serving plate. I split my raisin scone right in the middle, slathering on a generous dollop of clotted cream, then add some strawberry preserve, just the way it is supposed to be. I must tell you this: at Lady Connemara, the chef goes by the Queen’s recipe and those scones are perfect. In between those delightful bites, I have sips of the Connemara Velonie Gold Black Tea from Valparai. I like my tea to be on the robust side, and let it seep, keeping a close watch on the ‘strong’ end of the tiny hourglass.
Shaped like sliders, the Poached Cornfed Chicken with Coronation Mayo sandwich has Madras curry powder infused in the mayo. Quite an interesting twist to plain old chicken and mayo sandwiches. I like the curry flavour. Another Raj touch? Of course!
I have my eye on the Aged Cheddar and Tomato with Branston Pickle white bread sandwiches. And I’m not disappointed, quite enjoying the defined flavours of cheddar blending in nicely with the pickle. I think white bread is the right choice for this one as it holds those textures and tastes together without imposing on them.
From the Best of Madras section, I love the surprise in the middle of the Ellu Podi Urga Idli. Round, soft and stuffed, it is far more than a mere podi idli. Then, I fall in love with Aachi’s Handmade Crisps — murruku — buttery, fragrant with coconut oil and deep fried to a crunchy perfection.
Palm jaggery in any form is a favourite. Naturally, then the Palm Jaggery Mysore Pak grabs my attention as it sits there, darkly inviting and fragrant with ghee.
The Lady Connemara: Taj Connemara, Anna Salai, Chennai: Plus & Minus
I must tell you, all I see at the Lady Connemara Bar & Lounge is a sincere effort to re-invent the old-world charm in a modern context. The very different, typical English evening tea is an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and totally indulged in all the way.