Mercure hotel in Chennai has a unique ‘art brunch’ that pairs automobiles and arancini

Sip on white wine as you the restaurant doubles up as an art gallery through the month of March

Sonali Shenoy Published :  11th March 2022 07:00 AM   |   Published :   |  11th March 2022 07:00 AM

Semiya Upma Arancini balls served atop metal nut bolts!

A brief history on automobiles over brunch. That’s what you can expect over a walkthrough of Here, There and Everywhere — an art exhibition curated by Jitha Karthikeyan at Mercure Chennai Sriperumbudur. On display through the month of March to celebrate the hotel’s fourth anniversary, we are told, the theme is a nod to the automobile manufacturing belt the property is located on. And the art, which includes a liberal selection of oil paintings of vintage cars by Hyderabad-based artist Murali Thrigulla continues off the canvas and on to our plates. 

 

Artwork by Murali Thrigulla

 

How about this for a pitstop? Succulent Chicken Pepper Kebabs using a bright yellow screwdriver (out of a mechanic’s tool kit) as a skewer and later, crisp Semiya Upma Arancini balls served atop metal nut bolts!

Executive Chef Krishnendu Banerjee who hails from Kolkata and recently moved to the city has gone all out revving up this ‘regional’ buffet spread with distinct touches of innovation in line with the art concept. We particularly enjoy the Chicken Kheema Paniyaram platter (opt for a kheema dosa from the live counter if you have the appetite to do it justice), while the Corn Vepudu (although the most Instagrammable dish on our table) is not as impressive. 

 

Pepper chicken kebab with a screwdriver for a skewer 

 

Corn vepudu



We decide to digest our appetisers over a guided tour of the art on display, with Jitha. A waiter stops beside us with glasses of wine, to keep us hydrated in style as we saunter through. Quite the opposite of what we expect, our crash course on cars starts with a mythology lesson. “Gods would use animals as vahanas (vehicles),” Jitha takes us back to an era when transportation wasn’t manufactured yet, as we find ourselves in front of an ink drawing of Ganesha and his rat. 

 

 

 

We find ourselves quite fascinated by bits of trivia on placards beside the frames, as we move from the restaurant to the Hybrid Café and Lounge Bar next door. For instance, Jitha shares much to our surprise, “The first boat was invented in Australia, and this was even before the first wheel in Iraq made of wood which dates back to 3500 BC.” Our final stop turns out to be a Mercedes Benz parked by the pool, bringing us full circle —back to the present. 

On till April 5.  Monday to Friday, 12.30 pm to 4 pm.  INR 1,100 ++ per person.

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