After shifting to Madras I've been eating out like crazy (my ballooning waistline is a testament to the same). All this gluttony has been accompanied by laziness and I haven't gotten around to posting anything yet. However, things are about to change (precipitated by a life altering glance in the mirror!) So here it is: my first 'Madras' review.
An edited version of this, with pictures, can be viewed at: http://www.thetaximag.com/uploads/magazines/taxi_october_10.pdf
(Yes! I managed to get it published in an actual magazine. In other exciting news, I'm also mentioned in latest issue of Outlook Traveller. Look out for the article on Bangalore's darshinis. Cartwheels)
Tucked away on a service lane in the Velachery bye-pas road is an unassuming little restaurant that serves Chinese, Continental and Indian fare.
The restaurant is small and can seat around 25 people. Framed photos of Hollywood stars (along with some quirky quotes) adorn the place. If you are planning on dining with a large party, then I recommend that you make a reservation. The restaurant is also fastidiously clean.
The menu at Haven Sampoorna is vast and ranges from healthy salads to greasy Chinese noodles, from roti-sabzi to pastas. Wading through this menu and zeroing in on what to order can be quite time consuming. For starters, we recommend the Corn on Toast (Rs.60). It’s one of the most popular dishes at Haven and it’s easy to see why. Toast submerged in corn and thick, creamy tomato sauce is bound to appease your taste buds. While the toast itself is soggy, the sauce is quite heavenly. Tomato and cheese blend perfectly and the basil leaves add a nice flavour to the entire dish. You could also try the chilli babycorn. Deepfried babycorn with yellow peppers, spring onions and capsicums is a spicy, albeit completely unhealthy, way to jumpstart your meal. Other options such as Smileys, Chill Potato Fry and Veg Nuggets also sound promising.
For the calorie-counting-crowd, there are a few salads to choose from. The corn salad was OK but unless you are very particular about healthy food, I recommend the other starters. I found the salads to be a tad dry and wish the lettuce had been fresher. They also have anti-oxidant and power builder drinks.
For main course one could try the Thali (Rs.85). This comes with 3 phulkas, 2 sabzis, dal, papad, sweet, rice and raitha. The phulkas are light, non-oily and reminiscent of home. Kudos to the chef who made the wheat halwa. It was sweet, without being oversweet, and avoided being oily and sticky. This is definitely an attractive option for those looking for a filling and healthy meal. A special Thali is a variation of the same and comes with starters and soup too. In the continental section, there are a variety of pastas and bakes to choose from. The Veg Florentine consists of mushrooms, zucchinis, capsicums, broccolis and a host of other veggies submerged in creamy, cheesy sauce. Be warned that this dish is very very heavy. The fact that our mammoth appetites were considerably satiated after this is a testament to how filling the dish can be. The Pasta Arabiatta is nicely done in light tomato sauce with olive oil, veggies and chilli flakes adding to the taste. They also have a few Chinese dishes to offer but our stomachs protested (vehemently!) at the idea of any more food. However, I did notice that the next table was wolfing down their noodles and gravy.
Haven Sampoorna has a few cold beverages to offer too. I highly recommend the Blue Cuarace. There is a lit up, blinking ice cube inside and this was a source of endless fascination to us (and the ten year old sitting at the adjoining table).The drink itself is a little sweet and has sharp tang to it. They also serve lemon tea, badam milk and other standard drinks. Haven doesn’t have a vast dessert menu but the pan ice cream is something that stands out. I must say that I was a little sceptical on seeing the name but the ice cream laid my doubts to rest. The flavour of the betel leaves strangely complemented the vanilla ice cream it was ground in. This is one dish that I shall be revisiting. Haven also has a snack menu consisting of chats, burgers and sandwiches.
Thankfully, the prices at Haven are easy on the wallet. A very heavy continental meal here shouldn’t cost more than Rs.200, at most. They also have a robust catering business and takeaways seem to be a popular option.
Location: Next to SBI, Near GuruNanak College, ByePass Road, Velachery Road, Velachery, Chennai.
Phone: 9840977582, 22448882
Pricing: Rs.100-130 (per person)