Anirudh enters restaurant biz, and it's making us sing 'Oh Penne'
Find a little quiet within the chaos in our little escape far away from the bustle of the city and taste the world on your plates, with us.’ — reads the Facebook bio of the newly opened restaurant, The Summer House Eatery. Ably aided by Google Maps, we land right at the doorstep of what looks like a summer home, tucked away in a quiet lane, amid a lot of greenery, in Seethammal Colony, and we realise that the description does not lie. The old house converted into a restaurant (on the ground floor) and a co-working space (on the first floor) is the brainchild of Mathangi Kumar and Rakesh Prakash (of That Madras Place fame). But this time around, they have two more partners on board — a young entrepreneur Shreya Bajaj Shah and music director Anirudh Ravichander.
When we ask Mathangi how she got Anirudh on board, she says, “Rakesh, who is also a photographer, tours often with Anirudh and so they are good friends. He (Anirudh) had expressed interest in starting a food venture, and when this project came up, he immediately agreed to be one of the partners.” But that is not the only celebrity connect that The Summer House Eatery has. It also used to be Mani Ratnam’s office earlier.
The 80-seater restaurant is the perfect mix of quirky and classic —with wooden tables and chairs, in addition to plush sofas. Outdoor seating is available as well, and Mathangi informs us that a grill is in the process of being set up, just in case you’re in the mood for barbeque night. Large chalkboards with the specials of the day adorn one of the walls of the eatery, while a huge illustration of ‘what your brain is like on coffee’ graces another one. A third wall bears a lighted sign that says ‘Eat y’all’! And so, we get right to it.
The menu is a mix of Continental, Asian, Indian and Mexican flavours thrown in for good measure. “One of our signature dishes are the savoury crepes that we have,” informs Mathangi, as refreshing glasses of Vietnamese Coffee arrive at our table, replete with a traditional filter. We patiently wait for our coffee to drip completely into the bottom container that contains condensed milk, give it a good mix and pour it into a glass filled with ice. Maybe a tad too strong for regular filter coffee drinkers, we think, but definitely worth a try.
With the theme of the eatery being ‘summer’, we cannot help but order the watermelon and feta cheese salad with a balsamic reduction, a crunchy mix of juicy watermelon and glorious feta. For the appetisers, we pick the avocado and corn crostini (toasted bread topped with generous amounts of avocado pesto and corn) and a crispy, flavourful crab cake with garlic aioli. Next up is the Korean Fried Chicken, chicken cooked in a Korean chilli sauce, and it is sweet, spicy and crunchy all at once.
From the small plates section of the menu, we also try the Peppers and Queso, with the pork chorizo add-on, that Mathangi is most excited about. A generous bite of toasted bread dipped in a beer-cheese sauce loaded with peppers and chorizo makes for the perfect comfort food. Moving on to mains, we sample the Spaghetti in Thai Chilli Jam with an add-on of garlic prawns — a combination of sweet and sour chilli jam mixed with noodles and galangal and basil — a dish that smells as good as it looks.
We go the crêpe way for dessert — topped with salted caramel and butterscotch ice cream. While the crêpes are delicious and light, we craved for a wee bit more of that salted caramel — as a filling perhaps, and not just as a topping.
Timings: Noon to 10 pm; meal for two: Rs 1,200 plus taxes.