At the new Fipola Exclusive Café in Chennai, you can order a steak as early as 7 am!
The meat retailer recently opened their first café on St Mary's Road, Alwarpet
At the new Fipola Exclusive Café, you can order a steak as early as 7 am. Open for breakfast through the day and serving up ‘premium cuts’ like the Crown Roast of Lamb that we sampled, alongside sweet roasted red peppers and herb pilaf — also look out for Pancakes with Maple Syrup and a classic Eggs Benedict. The location on St Mary’s Road, Alwarpet might already be familiar to some as it was formerly Medium Rare Delicatessen (bought over by Fipola). After 34 outlets offering poultry, mutton and seafood in Chennai and 42 others in Tamil Nadu, the meat retailer, which started operations in 2016, we are told, has massive expansion plans. “We’re targeting 275 outlets pan India by 2023,” says COO Dr Sanjoy Das.
Settling into a pleasant al fresco dining experience, we like the idea of ordering a Chicken Caesar Salad and sharing a laugh with a friend — while your one kg ‘biryani cut’ for the week gets packaged indoors. And our Caesar Salad (you could swap out your chicken for shrimp if you prefer) exceeds expectations — with Romaine lettuce, olives and crunchy croutons, elevated by a smooth dressing with a garlicky punch.
Lay of the lamb
The other sections we browse on the menu include all your café staples: salads, sandwiches, burgers, veggie and meat pies and of course, the highlight: grills and roasts. Corporate chef Fabian Ravi does clarify that despite meat being in the spotlight here, there are ample options for vegetarians as well. Think Stewed Mushrooms on Garlic Cheese Bread, Stuffed Zucchini and Tomato Flan. We opt for a yogurt-whipped Berry Smoothie alongside a golden Chicken Ham and Cheddar Omelette for brekkie options and later dive into a main course platter of Grilled Salmon, which is perfectly cooked, although an added sprinkle of seasoning might have elevated it on the flavour scale. The Dill Cream on the side, however, quickly redeems it for us.
“We’re moving away from creamy and heavy demi-glace sauces,” chef Fabian tells us, in line with the health kick we have all been on since the pandemic began. “Instead, we have lighter sauces such as a pepper coulis, keeping its nutritional value intact, parsley oils and mint sauces to accompany
roast lamb... ”
That seems to be the cue for our Roasted Lamb Sandwich, which ditches bread slices for a sub-style bun instead, and comes with a wholesome filling of shredded lamb, gherkins, cheddar and caramelized onions for a bit of sweetness. Over an indulgent slice of Blueberry Cheesecake for dessert, Dr Sanjoy tells us to look out for a Grill House added to the café in the coming months, as well as glass enclosures and air conditioning as the days grow hotter.
Open from 7 am to 10.30 pm. Meal for two INR 2,300.
Salads to go
For those looking for a quick takeaway salad, there is a dedicated counter. Choose from chicken, lamb or fish fillets paired with a variety of lettuce (Romaine and Lollo Rosso), cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and olives, and dressings like Italian vinaigrette, mustard mayo and pesto. INR 250 per box.