Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Restaurant review : Anjappar (South Indian, Tamil)

Anjappar Overall rating: 7/10
Cuisine: Chettinad (South Indian, Tamil) also called Chettinadu

On our fist visit to Anjappar, the place DID NOT disappoint. The flavours are spot on and the dishes are authentic.

Would we visit again ? YES.

However, despite a high rating I do not think we will be a regular because the food, by virtue of its authenticity and doing justice to its origins, is too spicy for our palette.

What to order? Chettinad Thali (opt for the meat one). The dish includes: Chapati, Rice, Sambar, Rasam, Kootu, Poriyal, Meat or Veg Curry, Curd, Pickle & Papadum
Food: 8/10
All in all, the food ranks very highly
The spices, true to Chettinad cuisine, are rich, potent and freshly prepared. One can taste the freshness right in the first bite.
On offer are both authentic Chettinad dishes as well as other staple Indian dishes such as Tandoori.
The menu has proper descriptions of the dishes and the spicy scales are honest.
Portions for the main course are more than sufficient – go with an appetite, it will be satiated.

Drinks: 5/10
While the food part excels, the drinks are lackluster in comparison.
It has the regular varieties lassi and the place serves wine as well as juices and carbonated beverages. But I would have liked to seen a bit more ingenuity and variety here, particularly as the South Indian and particularly Tamil cuisine has some interesting beverages to offer.

Ambiance and service: 6/10
The service is prompt and the courses are evenly spread out over the meal. The staff is well versed in the type of cooking and can be relied to make great suggestions – especially important if you can't handle spicy food – listen to them and ask them questions.
A great plus is that the place is located in a neighbourhood full of Indian/Pakistani/Nepali restaurants.

Value for money: 6/10  •  $$
The place is value for money.
Two mains, two drinks (non alcoholic), a starter and gratuity account for about $60.
I would have liked to seen a dessert and an Indian Masala Chai/South Indian Coffee included as part of the Thali meal, even it it meant adding a couple of dollars to the rate.

Other: 7/10
Neighbourhood and Getting there: Anjappar is located at 116 Lexington Ave, Manhattan.
It is in the Murray Hill neighbourhood. The 4 and 6 trains are a block away (at 28th and Park) and M101, M102 and M103 ply along Lexington, stopping half a block away. One can also take the downtown M15 (or M15 SBS), get off at 28th and walk two blocks west.
Kid-friendly: Restaurant is children friendly.
Table availability: One can walk in and expect a table (for 2); for larger groups advisable to call ahead.
Gratuity: 15% gratuity included for parties of 4 or less; 18% for those larger than 4.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The perpetual 'Benny's [REDACTED VERSION]

I had written this piece sometime ago when I had Jack on my side, the good kind of 'shrooms on my plate and the omnipresent chillum in my hand...

Obviously I wrote more than I was supposed to and hence the redaction...

I remember one conversation [...] we are like the Bhishma Pitamahs of Mahabaharat.

Devavrata, son of Shantanu and Ganga, became Bhishma when he undertook the most hardest of oaths that no matter what, he will serve the Kingdom and King of Hastinapur, no matter who sat on the throne. He had vowed that no matter whatever the King did, Devavrata would offer his most sincere and earnest service to his actions. And to ensure that no personal ambitions or greed come in the way, he undertook the oath of celibacy. 

His vow also included that he will not die without ensuring that throne and the kingdom of Hastinapur would remain protected for all time.

By making these promises, Devavrata became Bhishma and such a vow became the Bhishma Pratigya.

I knew the story of Mahabaharat, I knew Bhishma and I knew his Pratigya.

[...] had to bear the albatross, even though he had not arrowed the metaphorical bird through the heart.

It was an inherent, determined and devotional cause that, I think, made [...] bear.

[...] did wonders [...] helped many [...]

[...] why is the title of this post "The perpetual 'Benny's" -- well that's for a different day.