Phone: 044 28110101
Address: WelcomHotel, 10, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Time: 24 Hours
Meals for two: Rs. 1,500
Cuisines: Indian, Chinese, Continental
Facilities: Breakfast, Wheelchair Accessible, Full Bar Available, Indoor Seating, Valet Parking Available, 4/5 Star, Buffet, Brunch, Table reservation required
WelcomCafe Marina – WelcomHotel, Gopalapuram, Chennai: Decor
Nostalgia envelopes me as soon as I enter WelcomHotel as memories of the Chola come knocking. This hotel stands on the same piece of Chennai’s land where Mahatma Gandhi first thought of the nation-wide hartal. A fact that is recorded on a marble plaque right by the entrance of the hotel.
Marina looks as it did during its Shanghai Club days. Large cylindrical pillars, polished wood, marble, granite and carpeted flooring. I love the large Chinese-style ceiling light right in the middle of Marina, with a wind chime dangling from it. Yes, for sure Marina has an aura of confident sophistication. One that those familiar with can get comfortable in. Solid wood furniture and red upholstery complete the picture.
WelcomCafe Marina – WelcomHotel, Gopalapuram, Chennai: Food
I begin with the dry chilli chicken. This one’s got shiny fried green chillies. Though the morsels of chicken are cornflour coated and deep-fried, they are bites of succulence. The very visible colored bell peppers mingle with minced onion and juliennes of ginger.
Veg wantons are crisp, as expected, with veggies in the tiny pocket at the base. Nice, if all you want is some crispness. As for me, I don’t really understand wontons. Most of the wonton is tasteless crisp dough. The real part, that is the filling is so small that one barely gets to enjoy its flavors because of all that crisp, fluff stuff it comes surrounded by.
That being said, I spy the jhaal muri live counter, and head for my dose of spice. The young chef is very pleased to mix in all the elements in a beautiful Khurja pot. Puffed rice, diced potato, black salt, jeera, red chillies, fresh coconut bits, minced tomato, cucumber, many masalas, including mango pickle and finally the generous drizzle of mustard oil! Oh yum. I could make my meal of this stuff, but then, there’s the veg hakka noodles with the very healthy stir fried veggies waiting at the table for me. In it, I find no surprises, only a whole lot of familiar tastes that make it the true comfort food. Combine that with the lightness of the moist veggies, and I’m all done.
But wait! There’s dessert and the kesar malai kulfi does the job of topping up my meal very well. It actually has strands of kesar and its sweetness is loaded with nuts, topped with the typical falooda sev.
WelcomCafe Marina – WelcomHotel, Gopalapuram, Chennai: Pluses & Minuses
WelcomCafe Marina has an inherited legacy from Shanghai Club, and the Chef who created all those Chinese delicacies that we so loved is still at the stove carrying the legacy forward. I like that the restaurant now serves a mix of cuisine. The buffet is quite a spread. Sunday brunches are more lavish, with a live band, access to the pool, where drinks and barbecue are served, while the main buffet is in the restaurant.