The Thief restobar in Chennai takes you on a tour of world-famous stolen paintings over cocktails

Expect three storeys of swanky interiors, including al fresco-style dining on the rooftop 
Interiors at The Thief
Interiors at The Thief

If you haven’t visited The Thief restobar in Nungambakkam, it promises to steal your attention from the get-go. The name that started off as a fun conversation starter by partner S Harichandran, 30 (who also owns Hub on the ECR) was followed by much research on masterminds in the world of art theft, which has led to walls with replicas of world-famous stolen paintings, including a 2D Mona Lisa who greets you at the entrance. Meanwhile, as we go exploring, the spacious three-storey establishment (including a swanky rooftop) we also spot portraits of infamous criminals from Veerapan to Vincenzo Peruggia (who stole the Mona Lisa in 1911) flanking the broad staircase.

<em>Mixed vegetarian momos</em>
Mixed vegetarian momos

Whiskey and samosas
As we settle in at our corner table on the ground floor, enjoying thick spoonfuls of warm Carrot and Cilantro soup — we have already had something of a crash course on art theft through the decades. And reading the snippets of history that accompany the art, has us fired up and ready to finally watch Money Heist (albeit late to the party) — just as juicy slivers of Thai-style pork, tossed in wine reach our table. Pair with a Smoky Giff Cocktail (whiskey, angostura bitter and homemade star anise, cloves syrup) and we’re happy campers, ready to call it a day.


But the chef is only just getting started. We cover a gamut of Indian, American, Continental and Italian over the next hour. Think appetisers like Bruschetta with a dab of Balsamic vinegar atop the traditional topping of chopped tomatoes. And chicken mince samosas with a side of curry mayo. The ‘big’ surprise comes with a massive burger (a 300-gram beef patty wrapped in bacon) — that is so large — we need to request a fork and knife, to manage a bite! 

<em>The Big Burger</em>
The Big Burger

Unfortunately, this is followed by the Linguine Chicken Aglio Olio which is not nearly as impressive in taste or presentation, given the watery cream sauce. Cheesecake with sticky caramel sauce on top sitting centre stage amidst concentric swirls of chocolate sauce, delivers art on a plate for dessert. We’ve come full circle. Fortunately, there are no cheesecake bandits on the loose... 

Meal for two at INR 1,800 ++ approx.

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