Expect Chinese bhel, pretty spaces and board games at MAD House
This new café in Kilpauk has so much going on, it’s no wonder they call it the MAD House. Expect bhel with schezwan sauce, framed comic strips and board games
With spiral stairways, a wooden cycle resting on the sunshade and colourful flower pots by the windows, this fun one-storey vegetarian restaurant in red and white is tucked between the residential spaces on the Kilpauk Garden Road. Following the lead of Chamiers, Desi D and the recent Twisty Tails, MAD House is also an old house-turned-restaurant. The place has three separate food stations — Kopchai, an alfresco dining space with a TV, Brainfreeze, the counter offering milkshakes, ice creams and fresh juices and Brezza, the station where you get Italian delights such as pizza and pasta, along with flavoured Maggi.
Snakes & beanbags
We look around the beautifully done-up compound, while LJ Prasanth, one of the three partners of the vegetarian restaurant greets us, and having read our thoughts, says, “The name MAD stands for Meet and Dine, other than that, there is nothing mad or quirky about this place.” With five rooms on the ground floor and two upstairs, the house that it was, is at least a century old, Prasanth shares. While giving us a tour across the rooms, he shares that it was a deliberate attempt to not make many changes to the building in order to retain the charm and ambience of the space.Walking into what looked like a fully packed house, I run my eyes through the walls and tables of the café to quickly realise that this isn’t a place to just drop by at, eat and leave.
Pav bhaji & darts
From dart boards and framed comic strips on its walls to board games such as snakes and ladders and ludo on the tables, the café ensures that customers have their share of fun while waiting for their food. Upstairs, they have two large rooms — a private 15-seater room with a TV, and the room adjacent to it, which has been converted to a workspace with cupboards, bookshelves and bean bags.
Loud Bollywood music from the TV and chattering from peer groups who have occupied the different halls, fill the air, as we choose to sit across the hall that has colourful chairs and couches. The extensive menu at the MAD House includes Pav Bhaji, Italian pizza and everything in between, along with usual Chinese fillers such as fried rice and noodles. It does seem that paneer and cheese based dishes continue to be the hot favourites among vegetarians — at least going by what we sampled here. We start the tasting with a cheesy garlic bread topped with oregano and chilli flakes, and then go for the rich and creamy white sauce pasta with broccoli and carrots.
The Indian paneer pizza, a thin crust version with mozzarella and paneer on top that followed, could have done with more seasoning, we thought, while the buttery pav with spicy gravy is a sure win. What tops everything however is the Chinese crispy bhel, fried noodles with a schezwan sauce and vegetables. Stuffed with a paneer and capsicum filling, a pretty plating of sliced dosa comes next. With gooey cheese on top, the crispy dosa is a popular pick, we learn.
We also try one of their Maggi variants, the vegetable Maggi (soft noodles cooked with vegetables) which turns out to be a perfect comfort food choice to end the meal, followed by a classic Death by Chocolate, with in-house made brownies and ice-cream.
Average price for two `500.