Off the Record by The Thief has been relaunched with a brand new look and menu
The menu covers a varied spectrum of cuisines including Pan Asian, Continental, North and South Indian and Mexican
After being closed for a while, Off the Record is back with new owners and a whole new look. “We have changed everything — the bar counter, the walls, the rooftop,” says owner S Harichandran (31) who has partnered up again with M Lakshmana Perumal (38) after their joint venture, The Thief, in Nungambakkam. Now two floors instead of three (although spread across 10,500 sq ft) — Off the Record by The Thief makes one hell of an impression with its zany artwork that ranges from abstract to neon pop to pop culture with the Joker peeking at us behind a frame. Upstairs, the revamped ‘Roman courtyard’ al fresco dining experience serves up more tropical floral vibes, with a life-size sculpture of Discobolus (discus thrower) taking centre stage, as waiters arrive abuzz around him, carrying tall cocktails and elaborate platters of appetizers.
We find ourselves sipping on the delicate sweet notes of a sugar-rimmed Peach mocktail with a hint of banana crush and pineapple juice. Yum. More fruity flavours follow with an Orange and Feta Salad that serves up a delicious contrast of juicy sweet balanced out by those salty chunks of feta. Chef Sai Deepak tells us that while the new menu boasts a varied assortment of cuisines (think Pan Asian, Continental, North and South Indian and Mexican) — it’s the South Indian and Asian plates that have fast become hot sellers since OTR reopened its doors in Nungambakkam. So he sends over their fast-moving Madras Mutton Samosa with a side of freshly made coconut chutney alongside a homestyle Vanjaram Fish Fry which we happily devour with a squeeze of lime for a pinch of tang.
Toast & tequila
This is starkly in contrast to the Shrimp fried in tequila served atop a micro bite of toast which comes later. And the Pan Asian-style pork belly tossed in a hoisin sauce and packed into a steamed bao, which is easily a high point of our meal. Unfortunately, our mains are not as impressive. The Linguine Pesto delivers a generous portion size but is a bit dry for our liking and could have done well to be doused in some more homemade pesto and olive oil. Meanwhile, the flakey parotta with a Madras Chicken Curry is pleasant but unmemorable. A duo of dessert platters, however, is quick to perk us up. We like the Signature Tiramisu which arrives with sliced strawberries for a hint of tartness but it is the indulgent Cheesecake drizzled with a topping of Bailey’s that really takes it home for us.
Meal for two at INR 1,200, without beverages.
Chef Deepak tells us that he is currently working on dry-aged steaks (30 to 45 days) where the cuts of beef are carefully selected for their marbled layers and dry-aged in a temperature-controlled environment. After this, the meat is removed from the ageing rooms, seared and served medium-rare. Available next month. INR 3,000 upwards. Meat lovers can also look out for their two different types of burger buns — Pretzel rolls and Milky buns, the latter we’re told promise to be the softest buns in town!