Chennai’s new restobar Hencock serves up an assortment of cuisines from around the world
The pandemic might have put a dampener on socialising and pub hopping. But it certainly isn’t stopping restaurateurs and restobar owners from opening new ventures. Hencock, the city’s newest watering hole, off Greams Road, (previously Plan B) has a spacious 1,800 sq ft set up that certainly shows promise for effective social distancing. Dimly lit interiors and Money for Nothing by Dire Straits playing in the background sets the mood as we step in for a relaxed lunch, over the weekend.
We start things off with a sip of an aqua blue mocktail appropriately named ‘The Swimming Pool’ — that is sweet and pineapple-based and certainly a contender for your Instagram feed. And then move on to the menu — which has us quite literally drowning in options. From Italian to Greek to Keralite, South Indian and Chinese — the spectrum of cuisines on offer is impressive. Fortunately, chef Arun K (who has previously crafted menus for Vault and The Republik) has a list of their signatures ready to go. So we waste no time wondering what to get and instead dive right into a spree of appetizers.
The Greek Falafel Munchies platter that arrives with a generous serving of creamy hummus is quickly polished off. And the Kerala Mutton Ularthiyathu which is spicy and garnished with bits of fried coconut is even better. Steer clear of the Minestrone soup however, which has plenty of tang from the tomato but does not stick to the classic. Instead of the smooth soup we were hoping for with a hint of basil, this is chock-full of veggies and macaroni and appears more like an everything-in-your-pantry home fix.
We decide to take a quick break to wander around before the main course. Owner T Ganesh, one of the partners, points us in the direction of the private dining room (accommodates 18) for a quick look-see. “The idea is to cater to corporate groups and birthday parties as well,” he explains. Ganesh, who has an engineering background shares that this project has been in the making for the past three years, in collaboration with partners S Prabhu, a businessman and G Shiva, who is in the construction sector.
Back at our table, there is an inviting Chicken Kiev waiting for us. The breaded chicken breast is rolled with cheese and served with herb rice on a bed of buttered mushroom — and the result is
nothing short of delicious. Unfortunately, the Colorado Beef Steak that follows, is a bit of a let-down. For one, the steak has been chopped into thin slivers, which takes away from the wholesome chunk of meat we were expecting for our main course. And while the pepper sauce with a hint of red wine is wonderful to taste, the meat itself is tough and an effort to get through.
Disappointed, we turn our attention toward our untouched Rum-meets-tamarind cocktail on the side. The latter, puts us back in good spirits with nostalgic hints of the pulippu mittai that you might remember from your childhood. The name of the drink, we notice is the ‘Hencock Delight’ and it reminds us to ask Ganesh, what inspired the name of the space. He responds with a laugh, “We wanted both genders to feel included!”
Meal for two INR 1,600.