Sage and Lavender bistro has greenhouse-style interiors that bring the outside in
Expect to hop countries as you hop plates with options like the Japanese 'Sando' sandwich and Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Bali
Sage and Lavender. You got to love the name of Chennai’s newest bistro, inspired by owner Shilpa Reddy’s favourite colours. Once inside the ‘greenhouse’ style bistro, which is something of an oasis off the bustling metropolitan TTK Road — we discover the colours are a running theme with the crockery as well. With the sunshine streaming in through the broad-panelled glass panes and leafy branches visible overhead through transparent sections of Mangalorean tiles, Shilpa tells us the idea was “to bring the outside inside”. And hands cupped around a warm brew of Vanilla Rose Latte — taking in our idyllic surroundings, we have to say — mission accomplished.
“This used to be a warehouse,” Shilpa informs us, so we are privy to the transformation. Apart from the spacious 1,200 sq ft interiors, one could opt to sit in a garden setting outside as well. The tree-lined walkway leading up to it is notably, out of a postcard.
Rock ’n’ rendang
Stepping indoors, our focus quickly pivots to the menu. Glimpses of Beef Rendang Curry and later Broccoli Steak, indicate thoughtful planning on the part of chef Ravinder to weave in vegetarian and as we discover, vegan choices for a more inclusive menu. Between the light and rainbow-like Vietnamese Spring Rolls and heavier, more indulgent Singapore Chicken Curry, rich with coconut milk — we also find ourselves hopping countries as we hop plates. “Much of the menu has been curated from our travels,” Shilpa tells us with a smile, making reference to holidays with husband Swaroop Reddy. But getting both of their favourite dishes fondly remembered on a plate wasn’t enough. The flavour profiles had to be on point to exactly how they remembered them.
The buttermilk effect
Like with the Buttermilk Fried Chicken from their stay in Bali, which we’re told had to go through several trials so it wasn’t too oily or fast food-like, and you could actually taste the buttermilk as you dive for a juicy bite. This means soaking the chicken in buttermilk for close to 12 hours before it is ready to be lightly batter-fried. Paired with a mustard mayo with the slightest hint of wasabi — this one is high up on our list of recommends. Another plate that we would quickly reorder is the creamy Egg Salad sandwich from the Japanese ‘Sando’ section. Expect an Instagram win with its plating — golden yolks from soft boiled eggs peeking out between fluffy slices of bread have us smitten at first sight!
Meal for two at INR 1,500 approx.