Monday, August 27, 2007

Restaurant review # 1 - Cholayil Sanjeevanam - A healthy alternate ?

Cholayil Sanjeevanam - A healthy alternate ?

I don't know if it is a healthy alternate, but the restaurant does market itself as such. We went to the Adyar branch of Sanjeevanam for dinner yesterday. (Not to be misled by the prefix Cholayil, it has got nothing to do with the சோலை but everything to do with the parent company name.)

Web Site
When we decided to go to this restaurant for dinner, I decided to check out the website and get some pointers and there was none. The website had absolutely no information about the restaurant or the food they ofter or why is it different. All it had was just one static page with little or no information. Even for the location map / direction, I had to call. It's a pity that they aren't leveraging the information channels effectively.

Reservation
They do and they don't. When I asked for reservation, the person on the other end of the line told me that they are sold out. But he urged us to come anyways as it is on first come first served basis. I wonder why they have reservation in the first place at all.

Business Hours
Hoping to have quick dinner, we reached the place by 6:50 PM only to be told that they don't open until 7:30 PM. Now I had the choice of going elsewhere and fight the crowd or just be the first group to get in when they open. we decided on the later. But whiling away 40 minutes wasn't easy particularly with a hungry and talkative kid as there was nothing else to do in the predominantly residential area.

Setup
They have converted a residential place to a restaurant and it shows from the time one enters the place. The decor is all bamboo & choir and tries bring a Kerala countryside ambiance, however the old Chennai residence layout shows out loud and clear.

Menu
We got a menu of several pages but were told that most of the stuff is not available. So, in the end, we ended up keeping the menu card aside and just asking the waiter what they really served. After a few rounds of discussion, we settled for North Indian Thali (INR 100). Since we were the early ones, we hoped to served first but for reasons that weren't clear, it took over 40 minutes for the thali's to show up. By this time, we were throughly hungry and swallowed whatever came in our way.

Food
We were served hot 'Jeera water' which was very soothing and went well initially. But, later when we actually wanted cold water to soothe our tongues after some spicy food (most of the stuff had ginger in it), hot Jeera water actually made it worse.

Thali itself looked no different from the other places. The food portion was limited but was sufficient. We were served one Chapathi, and a small rice bowl with 9 different side dishes. I was told some of the side dishes were Kerala delicacy but I couldn't tell the difference.

Bottom line:
I wish some of the real Kerala delicacies were available for me to try out which would have given me a better gauge. Nevertheless, I would go again just to try out different items on the menu