New in Chennai: Black Orchid restobar serves up a live sushi bar and a dramatic teppanyaki counter
Boldy swathed in gold and black, one could say that this swanky new restobar down Chamiers Road embodies the mystique of a black orchid — unusual, but sought after. And when you meet Sanjeev Verma, managing partner of this establishment, you realise that the luxe hand-picked marbled table tops, the fascinating wood-rimmed lights, the beautiful golden cutlery, even the comfort of a cleverly engineered chair — are part of his vision. With a keen eye for detail, Sanjeev, a self-confessed passionate foodie insists that beyond the aura of quiet elegance of the 180-seater, three-tiered Black Orchid, it is the food that he hopes will shine bright. “I wanted a space that is elegant, minus the loudness of a typical restobar — instead, the decibel is maintained to enable easy conversation — to create a relaxed vibe, all held together with some spectacular food!” says the Lucknow-born businessman, who has made the city his home for two decades now.
Roe your boat
With a mandate to explore the multi-cuisine menu, we settle down and wait with eagerness — after all, it is not often that you find a live sushi counter at a standalone establishment! Even as we watch giant flames leap from their teppanyaki counter — we are soon delightfully engaged in a platter of sashimi. Drenching the meats with soya and flecks of hard-hitting wasabi paste — we polish off the gorgeous salmon, the delectable tuna and the pretty looking flying fish roe — in a jiffy.
Meet the chef
As the finesse of the nigiri platter of Norwegian Salmon, crab sticks and all, sinks in — we find out the secret to the delicious culinary experience — is none other than chef Fabian Ravi. Known for his penchant for the fine-dining from the days when he had launched the Patio in Taj Coromandel, the consultant chef has curated a charmingly straightforward menu here, where the delicate flavours and the exquisite taste and ingredients are the extravagant factors.
While the sushi had us sighing with pleasure, the basket of lotus stem chips with wasabi mayonnaise is the surprise winner. Light, crunchy with an addictive seasoning —we foresee this one as the most popular bar snack! For mains, the mushroom risotto and the baked Chicken casserole are buttery and cheesy, the luscious richness of the dishes making us promise wildly about future compromises in calories.
The menu boasts interesting options for those who are yet to love Japanese cuisine. “I wanted to offer options for those who are not Japanese food fans — so you will notice that we have added some tweaks and surprises to the local fare — like Brain Fry in pastry shells and basil pesto kebabs,” says the Chef who has also included Sanjeev’s favourite from back home, the melt-in-the-mouth Galouti Kebab.
Light and dark
Despite the gloriously excessive meal, we are unable to resist the lure of the Black Orchid Cheese cake — dense and dark with flecks of gold foil, this one is not for the faint-hearted. While we are at it, we manage to sample another chocolate indulgence — the creamy, dreamy, Chocolate and Hazelnut Delice. Meanwhile, the perfectly executed Creme Brulee makes for a sweet finish for those who are not from the dark side.
Meal for two at INR 2,000 (not including beverages), open from tomorrow, February 15.