Hilton’s Ayna changes the way you order at a restaurant with their novel ‘Small plates’ menu
Smartly curated compact portion sizes encourage you to taste a broader spectrum of dishes in one sitting
Ayna at Hilton Chennai recently tried something bold with their menu. Whether you’re ordering appetisers or mains — the culinary team now serves every section of the dishes on offer in ‘Small Plates’. “This way, people can taste more than six dishes instead of getting full on two,” says the new Executive Chef Avijit Deb Sharma, who has moved to Chennai from Bengaluru and brings with him nearly 20 years of experience. Looking into the trend and the change of eating habits, he elaborates, “People are concerned about the quality of food consumed, more conscious about their health, while also wanting to experience authentic flavours. This concept of small plates caters to all these present needs.” That, and he adds, “It’s also more pocket-friendly!”
Life of pie
To pull off this concept, Chef de Cuisine Dinesh Kumar has reimagined hearty mains in smartly curated, compact formats. Like the peppery Chettinad Mutton Sukka for instance, which arrives in a tartlet. Or the indulgent Old Delhi Butter Chicken, encased in a pie. Normally, both of these dishes would have come with a side of rice or roti and as you can imagine, we would have had a much-reduced capacity to taste anything else. But we are promised street fare from across India as part of this new menu, and lucky for us, we have plenty of room to do this justice.
Ring the bhel
A curious Kuzhi Paniyaram ‘Manchurian’ served with a manchow shooter (soup) and Chinese bhel delivers fusion notes and a side of crunch. We never imagined a saucy Schezwan-esque paniyaram before this meal! Other highlights included a succulent Nalli Nihari with the meat quite literally falling off the bone, alongside a saffron potato mash. And later, a comfort bowl of sunshine yellow Kadhi Chawal that arrives at our table in terrarium-like fashion served in a glass jar, instead of regular crockery.
As for dessert, chef Dinesh whips up exquisite pairings of familiar flavours. Baked gajrela with rabdi — sweet, decadent, rich enough for royalty. And then a kulfi dipped in a mug of badam milk with slivers of almonds as garnish. Chilled, refreshing — savour and sip.
Dinner only. Meal for two INR 1,800 ++.