Restobar: Dank in Chennai serves up flavours from around the world
Right from the imposing facade to the high ceilinged interiors, the impression of space is delightful at this 250-seater watering hole that opened in T Nagar last week. Boasting a youthful vibe, with images of a quirky moose as their mascot, Dank is a three-tiered resto-bar, where the third level has a cosy set up that is perfect for private parties, and even the smoking zone is a sprawling space that has service. We ask director Shibu Raj, what motivated him to give up the corporate sector and get into the hospitality line? The city-based entrepreneur tells us, “My (four) school friends, (who are my partners in this venture) and I always wanted a place in Chennai that had the contemporary vibe that we saw in the Bengaluru pubs. Dank is designed to accommodate a microbrewery — we are just waiting for the approvals.” Meanwhile an interesting multicuisine menu with a focus on world cuisine and fascinating signature offerings from the bar like their Dank Mary (a variant of the Bloody Mary) keeps us suitably engaged.
As we sip a mild green broccoli almond soup, it takes on a more interesting hue when we discover that this was one of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s favourite dishes! Chef Soundararajan, the man behind the menu here, has many such fascinating stories from the time when he had served as the Executive Chef of the Hyderabad House, New Delhi, the official guest house of the prime ministers of India. With 40 years of experience under his belt and numerous posts of responsibility across the globe, the chef brings with him a passion for the culinary arts. A tropical blue-hued cocktail takes us by surprise as clipped to the rim is a cone full of popcorn — and it takes us a moment to get it. It is called Second Show. The first sip of the cinema inspired drink is sweet with mysterious hints of lychee and pineapple, made with in-house syrups, it is a delicious vodka-based concoction. The Cape Town Chicken truly brings home the tropical mood with the grilled raw mango, skewered along with the chicken and peppers, paired with a coconut-flavoured mayonnaise. Soon we notice that the dips and sauces are a speciality of the house.
Palate for pear-tatoes
The London Fried Jumbo Prawns are a perfect bar snack, as are the crunchy bite-sized nacho crisps topped with delectable toppings like guacamole and barbecued chicken. The soft pav bread is sweetish and doused with cheesy sweet corn, while the Thai Chili Beef satisfies our craving for a hit of spice and robust flavours. The Grilled Seer Provencale is accompanied with roasted veggies and garnished with herbs, it comes to life with a splash of the steak sauce. Flaky and cooked perfectly, the fish works well with the pear-shaped, crumbed, mash that makes for a delicious visual treat and is a filling dish.
Dr Chef Soundararajan who is a recipient of the National Award as the Best Chef of India from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India — is keen on healthy cooking methods without compromising on flavour. For instance, only cold pressed oils in all their dishes and the oil for deep frying is used only once. All the meats used are fresh, including prawns, beef and chicken, and are chopped and prepared only after the order is placed.
Three is a delight
For a sweet finish, we suggest the Chocolates and Dates Torte, a dense disc of chocolate baked with dates and mixed nuts, accompanied with ice cream. For those who prefer a lighter option, the classic Tres Leches Mexican cake is an airy slab of sponge that is soaked in three different kinds of milk and topped with wild blue berry compote and has a side of fresh fruits.
Meal for two at INR 1,400 (not including beverages).