Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Duchess, Alwarpet, Chennai

Duchess, is an interesting name for a restaurant. Am not sure of the inspiration for the name, but the cuisine or food offered is all over the place. You can order chinese, continental, some bit of indian, and also order from Kabul, the restaurant next door. Duchess are Kabul are part of the Shyam Group, which runs Savera, Amaravathi, Malgudi on ECR and a bunch of other restaurants in and around the city. If this not clear from the menu or other specific statements, just look at the water that is served, bottled water that is.

While i am writing about Duchess, now, i have been to this place often. And it is one of the more common stops for the family in the city. And that brings up the problem of what to order everytime you go there. After a lot of soul searching, you usually end up ordering the same thing again and again. On the positive side though, if the whole family likes the place, then usually different people do have different tastes, and so the table will be assured of some choices and sometimes new ones too.

The recent visit to the place was yesterday and one last week too. It was coincindence that two visits happened so close to each other, on second thoughts it was more of a happenstance, specially if it is on the way home. The favourite starter was chilly chicken (dry), and our experience has proven that this dish is going to come fast to your table. We also ordered fried baby corn, not my favourite. How the hell do you eat this veggie? The chilly chicken dish is served hot and is spicy too. It is safe to have water around before you get started on this. We do order soups, usually chicken corn, but that is only for more elaborate meals. They do serve some fresh roasted pappad and mint chutney, which are usually good to keep you occupied till your order is ready to be served.

The order during first of the two recent trips, was egg fried rice and veggie hakka noodles. I prefer egg over chicken fried rice, becuase i think there is some wierd smell associated with the latter. Both these dishes are also quickly served. We also ordered a lemon chicken gravy dish, which was a disaster. I have no clue what concoction was used, but it was a mess to look at, and tasted even lousy to the palette.

The second time, it was sizzler time. The desi version of steaks sizzlers. Well, you can get all kind of sizzlers. We got the chicken pepper steak, which was decent, but for some saucy stuff that was poured on the chicken. I guess it was done to hide the poor quality of meat (as in the fat and other uneatable parts). I would think that they would take extra care to choose the piece of flesh or meat. We also got the chilly chicken starter. Seafood came in the form of Phuket fish, which was sear fish all nicely cooked in some spicy sause. Was decent, but i think the spice used for many of these are all the same.

The place is about ok, in terms of ambience and also in terms of service. But their restroom (bathroom) simply sucks. They are not any different from most other restuarants here in chennai, all of whom ensure that the bathroom is the most smelliest and unclean place. This is true even sometimes with restaurants located in 3 and 4 star hotels.

I would go back again, simply because its a fave amongst the family, its also on the way between the center of the city and home in adyar. Although i will have to hold my nose and search for any hidden toilet paper and paper towels when i use the bathroom to wash hands etc.