Restobar: Middle of Nowhere opens its doors in Mogappair
Mogappair just got a new restobar. And we couldn’t be more stoked. Especially because, if you live in or around this neighbourhood — you’re familiar with the 45-minute drive to posher parts of town like Nungambakkam and Alwarpet for your weekend dose of party-hopping. That said, the name ‘Middle of Nowhere’ does likely resonate with your BFFs venturing far from home turf to drive down and meet you at the other end. Whichever end of the spectrum you are making the trip from, though — the plush 2,800 sq foot space located on Bazaar Road does not disappoint. The décor is swanky with the signage ‘Nowhere’ crafted from a 30-foot infinity mirror calling to you for that Instagram selfie the moment you enter. Speaking of Instagram, the appetizer section labeled as ‘Insta starters’ promises to reach your table in five minutes. And the cherry on top, the menu has a smattering of dishes highlighted with a blue dot — that consultant chef Saravanan K promises you will find ‘nowhere’ but here. With appetizers like Kari Dosa Tacos and Siru Keerai Phyllo Pastry making their way to our table, we can’t say that we disagree.
Taco ’bout a revolution
Bringing together his street food adventures and catering to fine dining guests over his stint at The Park Chennai — the 34-year-old chef serves the ‘comforting and familiar’ in international avatars that take us by surprise. “We did a market survey that found that people in this locality order a lot of South Indian food, and this is my way of bringing the two worlds together,” he shares. We like that these dishes aren’t fusion either; the Kari Dosa Taco holds its shape because the shell is not a dosa that could get soggy, but spongy fermented pancakes that hold their shape. The generous filling of mutton masala with a traditional kalakki and spicy curry leaf mayo, however, certainly doffs a hat to South Indian flavour sensibilities. But if you have a craving for something simple and non-experimental — this is easily available as well. It is also worth mentioning that classics across the spectrum hold equal weightage on this menu. Now you can order yourself a Karandi Omelette and an Eggs Benedict platter for your girlfriend — and to both we say: egg-cellent choice!
All about that taste
With a 70-odd seating capacity and the roof planned to be opened in the near future, this seems to be a good spot on the social distancing front as well. Over sips of a refreshing blend of orange juice paired with vodka and aromatic bitters, we find out that this watering hole is owned by partners G Shankar and Anand JB, who have a background in the pharma industry, along with a handful of others who wish to stay out of the spotlight. Arasu Dennis who has set up pub spaces like Off The Record and most recently, The Living Room in Anna Nagar has consulted on this project.
But back to the overflowing platters in front of us before we sign off. We hop across the globe — from Chinese to Thai, the Mediterranean and European. From the bevy of tastes and textures, there are two dishes we are definitely ordering again. The first is a Caesar Salad that is topped with a golden baked disc of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The latter is a blonder, more intoxicating cousin of the potato chip that makes it hard to put down. Our second must-try is the BP2, a meatball concocted out of pulled pork and baby potatoes, then finished off with bacon fat hollandaise. Oh my lard!
Meal for two, INR 1,500++ approx.