On The Rocks at Crowne Plaza has a brand new menu, and the flavours are to die for
On The Rocks recently turned 10. So a celebration of the exclusive restobar’s greatest hits over the years with a 10-course meal, served to members of the food community, seemed fitting. But our meal, an entirely different one, had us tasting anticipation long before the food — as we walk down the corridor of the Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. The turn of a decade in the hospitality space usually means innovation is on the brew. And executive chef Deva Kumar who has been working on a brand new menu for a few months now, is set to roll out a ‘first taste degustation’ for us, a week ahead of its launch.
Slivers of smoked duck nestled on a bed of hydroponically-grown lettuce, offset by orange segments and pomegranate rubies make for a wonderful kick-off to the evening. The delicate flavour of the duck, the crunch of the lettuce and sweetness of the fruit all come together with a classic honey and mustard dressing. We wonder out loud if hydroponically grown lettuce tastes any different from soil-grown. And chef Deva responds, “It isn’t the taste but the texture in fact which is comparatively lighter, and the reason we source this for our salad.”
As for the imported meats, we discover as we sip on our Sula Sparkling Shiraz — the duck is brought in from Thailand, lamb loin from New Zealand and pork belly, from Belgium.
Chef Deva, however, picks a seafood main for us to sample, with a John Dory fish fillet paired with tartare potato and creamy spinach. The lightest crisp atop the fish makes for a beautiful contrast with the smooth consistency of its emerald green better half. And although, we imagine we might want to move on, a few bites in, — our fork begs to disagree. The Chicken and Cheese Involtini which follows, appears fairly straightforward until we discover the hidden smoked mozzarella that keeps us coming back...
We doff our hats to a few signatures from the old menu before we sail on to desserts. The Baked Camembert with a honey and garlic reduction is not going anywhere thankfully and neither are the lava rocks on every table — on which you can literally cook your steak — that has for years been a point of novelty and of course, what inspired the name, On the Rocks. The dramatic smoke of charcoal rising from a glass of Kutla, concocted with pineapple, rosemary and the mildest hint of dark rum is award-winning mixologist Anand Krishnan’s contribution to the mix.
And finally, you might say we two-timed with dessert — going back and forth between a three-storey Hazelnut Crunch (with sponge cake, hazelnut and butterscotch) and a Blueberry and White Chocolate Semifreddo. The latter, which is presented within a deep purple sphere, gets our vote just on its immediate gasp-on-sight guarantee!
Launches September 21. Meal for two INR 5,000 without beverages and INR 7,500 with beverages.
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