Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crimson Chakra- Adyar: Eating well in Madras:

If you are trying to decide whether Crimson Chakra is where you should go for your quiet dinner for two or a boisterous dinner with friends/ colleagues, this post is for you. And I will make it simple for you. Don't go to Crimson Chakra unless, of course, you love pretentious food places or you hate the people you are going out to dine with (and this is your only chance of getting back at them.)

If you understand anything about food, you are unlikely to go back to the place.  I had read somewhere that their table d'hôte sucks. It's true. I was continuously reminded of the opening lines of Annie Hall where Woody Allen talks about two women conversing in a restaurant:

"Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."

Well that pretty much sums up Crimson Chakra's table d'hôte menu. Armed with this knowledge I decided to give the fixed menu a miss and order from their a la carte menu. The menu is a spectacle of sorts with the first half full of bizarre tamil names and english explanations that made each item sound more suspicious than the previous. I jumped to the second half which proclaimed itself to be the continental menu. I ordered a roasted duck in orange sauce secretly hoping that it would turn out to be better than what the others had ordered (the fixed menu). In the end however, it was difficult to tell which was worse. The duck was doused in a very, very sweet sauce. The vegetables were not blanched properly. And the fixed menu, let's not talk about that. The food is atrociously expensive. The fixed menu which has a soup, a kebab quarter plate (4 chicken, 2 mutton, 2 prawns, a quartered tomato, some bean sprouts), appams/rotis, a choice of identical tasting chicken/mutton or fish curries, curd rice (!) and a scoop of vanilla the size of a 3 rupee Calcutta rosogolla costs 650 rupee plus taxes.

The décor of the place is nice. The ambience is nice too. If you must go you can try the desserts. The menu is clearly made by people who have a limited knowledge of food. But that is not why the place fails. It fails because it seems to be run by people who don't have a genuine love for food and for feeding people. You cannot make a good restaurant by just hiring the best chefs and the best interior decorators. You need love, no matter how cliché that may sound to you.