Indian Fare @ Crimson Chakra, Chennai

We visited a South Indian grill upon visiting Madras. This restaurant, unknown to tourists, was a restaurant I found online. Crimson Chakra is lot no. 13 on First Crescent Road, Ghandi Nagar in Adyar, Chennai.

The quaint restaurant was scented with incense, and the ambience was heightened by classical Indian music. The contemporary furniture with an Indian touch gave it a special feel, and the dim lighting set the mood perfectly (though it made it really hard for me to take my pictures).

We ordered ourselves the Paneer Pattani Masala worth Rs220 (RM14). The curry was a homemade nada masala, which contained pieces of paneer and green peas. An absolutely lovely dish, with just the right balance of flavor and spice. 

We also had ourselves the Milagu Kaalan Masala worth Rs210 (RM13). This smooth dish had was served with a rather thick, but flavorful curry - not too powerful curry so as to kill the delicate, natural flavor of the mushrooms.

The next dish we had was Naadar's Kozhi Curry worth Rs250 (RM16). This coriander-based curry was unlike anything I have ever tasted. The subtle flavor of coriander was the base flavor of the curry, which had subtle overtones of cardamom and cumin. And the chicken was cooked to perfection.

To accompany the dishes, we had Naan and White Rice. The naan was absolutely heavenly - crisp on the outside, but fluffy inside - truly, one of the most amazing naaan's I have ever tasted! The white rice was cooked perfectly too - not too hard, and not porridge-like either. 

The service was impeccable, with the waiter waiting on our hand and foot, attending to our every need - especially that of my grandparents. The food was heavenly, and truly unlike any Indian food I've had. And the price, absolutely reasonable. My conclusion would be that this is one of the best Indian restaurants I've ever been too - and absolutely worth a visit.

Presentation: 6/10

Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Overall Taste: 9/10

General Impression: 8.5/10



India - Day 8


Lunchtime was served at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. This seaside town is famous for its historical temples dating back to 600AD. The above was a picture of me, at the Five Rathas. Being a seaside town, Mahabalipuram is equally known for their seafood, which I had there at a restaurant on Othavadai Street.

My Masala King Prawns worth Rs230 (RM14). The pricing was incredibly reasonable, an with the amount I paid, I got 2 reasonably-sized prawns. The masala was a bit to strong, however, and overpowered the subtle sweetness of the prawns. The prawns themselves were slightly overcooked.


Dinner was held at a restaurant named Crimson Chakra. Read all about this amazing restaurant HERE.



India - Day 7


Lunch was held at home, in my grand aunt's house. She had been working on the food since morning, and once again, it was a feast for our stomachs, and for the senses. I ate quite a bit, as I skipped breakfast.

We had Mutton Biryani as our primary dish. There was an abundance of tender meat, which flavoured the rice - which also contained traces of cardamom and clove. Another side dish was the Onion Raita, which balanced all the spices. We also had Diced Celery with Mayonnaise - though not exactly Indian in nature, it added a dimension of sweetness to our meal.

This plate was accompanied with Mutton Chops - tender pieces of mutton, coated and deep-fried with a spicy batter. We also had Sautéed Capsicum with Onions. Once again, not exactly an 'Indian' dish, though the softness of the capsicums contrasted the crispness of the chops.


We visited a cafe on Rue de la Bussy, called Bakers Street. Read about it HERE.


Snacks were at Risque, at the famous Promenade Hotel, Pondicherry. Read about it HERE.



Risque@The Promenade, Pondicherry

My local relative and I headed over to Risque, at The Promenade  for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks. The Promenade is a relatively famous hotel, having been in Pondicherry for a few years now. It is located strategically on Goubert Avenue, opposite the Ghandi Statue on the beach.

I had myself a Mango Juice infused with Black Tea. The mango juice was certainly refreshing, and the black tea added an edge to it. But was it was slightly pricy, for the amount we paid for.

My relative had himself some Pineapple Juice worth around the same price. Seeing as any other fruit apart from mango is a rarity in India, the price was…justifiable - though still, quite steep for a measly glass of juice.

To munch on, we were served complimentary Peanuts roasted with Black Pepper, and puffy, crispy biscuit-things. Both of them were incredibly addictive, though there was too much pepper and salt on the peanuts - for me, at least.

We also ordered Calamari with an Aioli Dip. This was an absolute rip off, as the calamari was tough and tiny, and the dip was absolutely tasteless. This dish was an absolute rip off, and it was unbelievable how much we paid for shit on a plate.

In conclusion, maybe avoid Risque as there are plenty of more charming and cheaper alternatives which offer much higher quality food. Plus, I didn't get to absorb any of the atmosphere of the beach, due to their unbelievably high walls surrounding the hotel. Maybe try Le Cafe or something nearby, instead.

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 5/10

General Impression: 6/10




Bakers Street, Pondicherry

Being a former French colony, Pondicherry is filled with bakeries - a majority of them clustered in and around the French quarter. One of my local relatives took me to Baker's Street, a modern yet chic bakery located in the nostalgic French area, on Rue de Bussy, before Ellaiaman koil Street.

I had myself an Eclair, worth Rs30 (RM2), which were as long as my (very long) hands! The cinnamon-flavored custard inside was nice and rich, and the spongy pastry was topped with a vanilla icing. Really good stuff.

There was also a selection of Macarons to choose from, each astonishingly priced at Rs20 (RM1.70), the cheapest macarons I've had to date. I cleared the entire stock, buying around 10 of them - and they tasted as good as they looked. Just as good as the ones you'd fine at Tea Forty Two or Whisk, but so much cheaper!

Lastly, I had myself a cup of Brewed Coffee to end it all with. A full-bodied cup that really hits all the right notes - my second decent cup of coffee in India, just as good as the one I had at Caravela in Vellankanni.

Definitely a place you should consider, if ever you do find yourself in the French Quarter of Pondicherry. They also serve a variety of good quality French breads, and sandwiches at unbelievably cheap prices. It's also a great place to escape the Indian heat, catch up with other tourists and share experiences.

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 5/10

General Impression: 6/10




India - Day 6


Breakfast was held at some hotel in Thiruvanamalai. This hotel, is popular with the locals who go there after after prayers in their temple. I had a Ghee Dosa with Dhall, Coriander Chutney, Coconut Chutney and Tomato Chutney. In comparison with the breakfast I had at Karaikal on Day 3, this was just as big (though not as salty) and piping hot

Breakfast was accompanied by their Indian Coffee. There is a charm to Indian Coffee that intrigues me. The small cups, the frothy milk, the sweetness of it all; Its wonderful.


Teatime was rich in symbolism, as we ate at the childhood home of my grandpa; situated at his village called Athipakam. The house, still owned by distant relatives, is in the middle of nowhere - surrounded by the very groundnut fields my forefathers toiled on. The family living there still continue the tradition. For tea, we had sweet, Floury Balls with Groundnuts inside - food rich in symbolism, as they were the very things my forefathers ate while here.


Dinner was held at the elegant Le Dupleix Hotel, though the elegance proved misleading. Read the review HERE.


Hotel Le Dupleix - Pondicherry

Hotel Le Dupleix was once the former home of Governor Dupleix during the French occupation. The hotel still maintains much of its old-style architecture and it's restaurant serves both Indian and Western cuisine. It is located on Rue de la Caserne, off Suffren Street in the Pondicherry French Quarter.

We were served complementary Bread while waiting. The bread was unfortunately tough and unusually cold - absolutely ridiculous for a restaurant of its kind. It was served with a Tomato Salsa, Butter and Hummus, which were pretty good (when eaten alone without the shitty bread).

The Classic French Onion soup priced at Rs140 (RM9) was a let-down. The consomme was flavorless, and the cheese croutons it was served with were barely hard at all. To me, it tasted like old, reheated, flavourless soup.

The Poulet Sauté Chasseur worth Rs350 (RM23) on the other hand, was divinely cooked. The lovely boneless cut of chicken was mildly flavored with herbs, and placed on a bed of smooth mashed potatoes and crisp sauteed vegetables.

The Grilled Lamb Rack worth Rs350 (RM23) was pretty good too. The tender meat easily came off the bone, but came with a measly two slices of grilled zucchini. The couscous that came with it was cooked wonderfully, but barely had any flavor. Slightly disappointing.

My grandfather had himself Chicken Biryani priced at Rs265 (RM17). The biryani here had an incredibly strong aroma from the spices, so strong that I could barely take more than two spoonfuls of it. Furthermore, the pieces of chicken were slightly tough and were hard to eat.

The biryani was served with a side of curry which helped merge all the flavors of the rice together, and sweet raita which extinguished the spiciness and cooled our mouths. Additional bowls of raita are priced at Rs100 (RM6.50)

In conclusion, our experience at Le Dupleix was somewhat good, but disappointing. Supposedly one of the best restaurants in Pondicherry, it fails to live up to its name. If ever you do come to Pondicherry for some fine dining, I recommend you try Carte Blanche instead.

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 5/10

General Impression: 6/10




India - Day 5


My grand-aunt prepared, once again, a feast for lunch. She had been busy prior, preparing since early morning - and indeed, all the preparation proved worth it. The centre of our feast was the Lemon Rice which she had made. The yellow rice had a nice citrus 'ping' to it, which had livened our taste-buds. The rice also contained the lovely smell of lemons, which I enjoyed.

To the side of my lemon rice, I had Turmeric Flavored Mushrooms. These mushrooms were incredibly succulent and moist, just the way I like them. There were also shards of ginger throughout, which added a bit of spice to the dish itself.

She had also made for us, Chicken 65 which was back by popular demand. The deep-fried chicken was still succulent as ever, flavored with a hint of turmeric and a hint of spiciness from the chili powder. Once again, putting KFC to shame.

And right next to the Chicken 65, I helped myself to some Fried Capsicum with Egg. This dish, though not exactly Indian in nature, did follow the cardinal Indian culinary rule - which is to entice the senses. The sweetness of the capsicum contrasted drastically with the tartness of the rice and the texture of the succulent chicken.


Another grand-aunt of mine treated my family to an incredible feast. Her hospitality was incredible and the food varied with it's different smells, sights and tastes. Dining with her was a pleasant experience, and despite her age - she never allowed me to get off my seat or serve myself.

One of the main dishes was Mint Rice with Cashews. This refreshing dish added an edge to our meal which was truly unique, as mint served as the base flavor to all the other condiments. Furthermore, there were plenty of cashews to go around, and that added a lovely crunch to our meal.

Then, there was a simple Tomato Salad. The dish - essentially made of tomato and coriander - was plain, but beautiful in terms of its simplicity. It was good enough even to be eaten on its own, and there was nothing to complain about this straightforward and simple dish.

There were also Mutton Cutlets which my grand-aunt had made. These cutlets, spiced with a bit of ginger and turmeric, were a bit too spicy for me - though I enjoyed the mutton's texture, flossy yet firm, inside a crisp crust which was fried till golden-brown.

There were also Chappatis which were made for the occasion, as well as Indian Noodles. As to why I would go to India and eat noodles? I don't know. Though these noodles were downright spicy, and I was sweating myself while eating it. This dish is an acquired taste - that is all to be said.

The bright yellow stuff is known as Kaseri. Kaseri is a sweet accompaniment to Indian meals, and is one of my favorite comfort foods. This heard attacking stuff is essentially ghee-laden sugee with raisins and cashews. It tasted something like couscous, though with smaller grains, more moist, dense and sweet.

Lastly, another one of my favorites that night - the Mutton Curry. The mutton was tender beyond words, and the curry was slightly spicy - though it did not overpower some of the natural flavors of the mutton. These flavors are not liked by some, but loved by me - and this dish was fantastic.

We ended off the meal with some Indian Ice-Cream with Seasonal Fruit such as mangoes and bananas. An amazing combination of two quality items - a perfect way to round off the meal, and a lovely way to end the evening which we shared together.