Wednesday, November 17, 2010


To celebrate Banker Madam's old age (and propelled by the good reviews that this place has received) a bunch of us descended on Dewberry's. The restaurant is located in the backyard of a bungalow in Mylapore. The outdoor seating is pretty and the lights at night add a nice touch.

We decided to skip the starters and head straight to the main course. The service at the place was a big disappointment. It was incredibly slow and the waiters were a little clueless. Dishes got mixed up and there was much confusion. Some of the items arrived so late that others were almost done with theirs.

The basil was not at all discernible in the tomato and basil pasta. It was very peppery and the sauce was just OK. The Pasta Garden jalapenos was another let down. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. The pasta needed more salt and the flavour was very forgettable. While there was a hint of spices in the sauce, a little more definitely needs to be added.

The Chicken Siciliata continued the trend. The chef seems to have been a little too free with the pepper that night. The sauce was bland, low on salt and I strongly recommend that you give this a big miss.

The two dishes that we did like were the double cheese lasagne and the Paneer Brazilia Sizzler. The sheets of cheese and veggies in the lasagne appeased our taste buds and the sizzler had a nice spicy flavour (thankfully, salt and pepper were added in the right proportions). Neither dish was mindblowingly good but they were pretty decent.

The crepes at Dewberry's are definitely its saving grace. 'High on Hawaii' was fruity crepe topped with honey and syrup. The presentation was great and the accompanying fresh fruits were a big bonus. The Valentino crepes were my personal favourite. They had a lovely apple-Cinnamon stuffing with a thick layer of strawberry youghurt on top. The crepes were nicely cooked and avoided being oversweet.

A special mention to the Chilly Twist drink here. The drink consists of green chilly on ice and is sure to add a zing! to your meal. Some might find it a little too spicy but it is definitely something to be tried at least once.

The loo here is OK but I think that a restaurant of this kind should definitely do better than just OK.

My problem with Dewberry's was not that the food was bad but that it was very average and forgettable. Yes, there were notable exceptions and some of it was good. However, for the prices that it charges, the food needs to be consistently good. I definitely don't want to spend Rs.500 in the hope that this might be the chef's (and my) lucky day.

The crepes at Dewberry's will probably lure me back (and the fact that it has garnered good reviews from many others) but till then it rates as just average in my books.

Pricing: Rs. 400 per person
Location: #6/29, Rajasekaren St, adjacent to Van Huesen Showroom Mylapore, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai. Phone: 28473439

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Pasta Bar Veneto: T.Nagar

This place recently opened its doors on Burkitt Road in T.Nagar and the eager foodies that we are, we thought we would explore it. Big thanks to Ashwin and Khulali for responding to my last minute distress call.
The first thing that struck me about the place is the decor: Simple, elegant and understated. (Thankfully absent are the red and gold which seem to have caught the fancy of too many restaurants) White walls, comfortable seating and French windows dominate the place. The French windows open out to a lovely uncovered, entertainment area in the middle where bands can perform. The band that was playing the day we visited was top-notch and definitely enhanced the dining experience. You can also enjoy some hookahs with the music. They even promise stand up comedians in the future.
Well, we were ready to see if the Pasta Bar would live up to the expectations and ordered a host of things. The vegetarians may want to start off with the Bruschetta di Pomodora. The tomatoes seasoned with garlic and olive oil give a light, fresh start to the meal. If you are a fan of mushrooms then the Bruschetta di Fungi is a good choice. I recommend that the non vegetarians order the Lamb Polpette. The light flavour of herbs, spices and cheese complemented the tender meat perfectly and this was one of our favourite dishes. The chicken version of this also available and was pretty decent too. We also tried the Sesame Chicken which consisted of crumb fried chicken strips with a sesame flavour. While the sesame flavour was unique, the chicken was a little chewy.
In the main course, we ordered the double sauced Primavera Meditranae which tries to blend the goodness of the cheesy and the tomatoey sauce. The flavour of the dish was definitely different. It may not be to everyone’s liking but it is worth trying once. This pasta is also rather heavy. The Lasagne di Pollo was good and I loved the fact that the flavour of the cheese didn’t overpower the dish. The taste of the minced chicken and the herbs was distinctive. Our favourite entree was the Stuffed Chicken. The chicken, bell pepper, basils and mushrooms were lovely and the entire dish was excellently grilled. If you are a chicken person, then I recommend this dish wholeheartedly. There are a host of pastas, risottos, raviolis and other dishes to order from.
Marching on to our favourite part of the meal: the dessert. We started off with the Tiramisu. It was light, spongy and creamy. However, it needed a little more of the coffee kick and therefore fell short of being amazing. The mango cheesecake is best avoided. The cheese was sour, the mango flavour was ordinary and the entire dish had a very stale feel to it. The true star of the meal was the Mississippi MudPie. Rich, gooey chocolate with a crumbly walnut-chocolate base managed to convert even the sceptics amongst us (Read: Ashwin). If you do go to the Pasta Bar, do not leave without tasting this MudPie.
Be warned that the service at the Pasta Bar is not great. It’s a little lazy and slow and I am still waiting for my Mojito to arrive (any second now!). The seating also appears to be a little cramped. The quantities at the Pasta Bar are fairly generous and should suffice for most.
The Pasta Bar is perfect for a lazy, relaxed meal (maybe even a romantic one) where you can enjoy some great music. If the Pasta Bar lives upto its promises, then Chennai’s latest ‘it’ place may have arrived.
An edited version of this review (with pictures) can be found in the November issue of TAXI.
Location: Opposite Smokin’ Joes, Burkitte Road, T. Nagar Chennai.
Pricing: Rs.250-350 (per­ person)