Madras Pavilion at ITC Grand Chola is hands down the best fine dining experience that I have had. Well the finest in Chennai. The first thing that anyone notices is the ambience and it is totally worth raving about. The Madras Pavilion offer a variety of continental dishes as a part of their buffet. The list of dishes on the main course and dessert is a vast one. There was also a large stall for chaat and Indian food inside the dining area. The service is exceptionally good and it certainly lives upto the name of being ITC Grand Chola. The ambience is the one thing that keeps coming back to my mind.
This luxury hotel is located on the busy road Guindy., but no you don’t feel any of the traffic once you are inside the grounds.
The set up of ITC Grand Chola is one of utmost luxury. The hotel has a royal feel to it from the moment you step in. The architecture is worth flaunting and leaves you mesmerised by its sheer beauty. That posh feeling can make you feel like a princess (or prince) as you walk into the lobby to see granite carvings, the breathtaking chandeliers and the grandeur of the staircase.
I actually went to Madras Pavilion alone to experience their buffet. The ambience in Madras Pavilion is also amazing.
About the Buffet
Now lets get into the food review. Since I went alone and it was a buffet, I could not try out all the dishes. There were just too many, so you will not be seeing a list of items like I normally put up.
Salads- This was a super colourful counter and the display itself made me want to try them all.
Frankly I was confused by the array of salads and ended up picking the ones that looked the prettiest to taste. I tried the fig, the watermelon ball, cherry tomato, veg shushi, the beetroot and cheese one. Perfectly bite- sized portions, I loved all that I tasted except for sushi, but that’s because I am not a fan of sushi.
The starters and the welcome drink was served to me at my table. They don’t have a standard welcome drink, it keeps changing. Today the one I got was a chocolate based mocktail with a pinch of orange in it and garnished with a rose petal on top. It tasted divine! Of course I could be biased because it was mostly chocolate and I love chocolate and anything made with chocolate.
The first starter to arrive was a paneer dish and a baby potato starter. Paneer was soft and tender, and the baby potato was spicy and crispy.
One thing that I observed which I really liked, was the fact that the dishes come with a flag indicating if it is veg or non veg. This makes it so easy to identify and you don’t have to keep asking them again and again.
There was this mini banana dosa which was very tasty and very different. I loved it so much that I had 3 pieces of that. It was like an Indianized pancake.
Next I moved onto the non veg starters. There was lobster, chicken and prawns. The spices that coated the prawn were finger licking good, but of course you don’t lick your fingers in a resaturant like ITC Grand Chola, so I just licked the fork clean. The lobster was slit and cooked, hence it was cooked perfectly. It was excellent and I loved the seafood starters. The chicken starter paled in comparison to the seafood. I found it very average and not as tasty. Maybe my taste buds were spolit by the seafood and anything else just seemed less exciting in comparison to that.
It was quite interesting to see a display of the seafood before cooking and after cooking. Really gives an idea of how much of work goes into the preparation of the dishes.
The Masala mini idli was ordinary. I would have liked to see it having something that made it stand out a bit more.
Pav Bhaji is a really popular street food and also one of my favourite chaats. The portion was perfectly bite sized and the pav was well toasted. The buttery goodness on the Pav went perfectly with the tangy masala of the Bhaji and the crunch of the raw onions. Loved this.
The Kalmi kabab was well done with slightly crispy coating and a soft centre. I really enjoyed the starters.
I loved the cute mug that they served the soup with. It was warm, seasoned well and very tasty.
After having so many starters that were a mealin itself, I decided to take a walk around the buffet to get an idea of much more space I require in my stomach. Here are glimpses of the entire spread.
I have a tendency to eat more starters so what I have for the main course is always less. I really wanted to taste as much as I could to give a well rounded review here. Here is what all I picked.
Biriyani was just okay. It was bit dry and I like my biryani to be more moist. I also had plain rice, rasam, curd rice, butter roti with fish curry. All the dishes were exactly how it was expected to be at a 5 star place like ITC Grand Chola.
Now moving onto the main part of my meal the dessert section. I love desserts and I think they should be a meal of their own. The selection was so wide that I was thoroughly confused about what to try and what to leave out. The images below barely do justice to the variety that was spread out.
After a lot of thought, here is what all I tried. I loved all of them except for the passion fruit dessert. it did not sit well on my tongue and that is the only dessert that I did not enjoy. The rest were a huge hit for me.
Just before I paid the bill, they asked me if I had had their filter coffee. Normally I don’t have coffee with a full meal like this, but the manager insisted that I try the filter coffee because they had someone really special to make the coffee.
And here he is…
It was totally worth trying the coffee because it was brilliant.
Coffee was indeed brilliant..
FINAL THOUGHTS :
The overall experience was delightful. I haven’t had a solo lunch in a very long time and I found it to be extremely peaceful. Just my camera and me. One thing I would recommend is that you make sure that you give yourself enough time when you are heading to such a buffet. The first time I went just 45 minutes before closing time which is really not enough to get a complete idea of the spread. The second time I spent a good 4 hours and had the best time ever.
Probably in my next visit I will try out a different restaurant in ITC Grand Chola. However I have visited their chocolate boutique, Fabelle. You can read more about it Here
Live Long… Never Eat Wrong…