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Want to taste food from all around the world?
Siddhu Warrier |
March 31, 2005
iorgio portrays itself as the place to grab some Continental grub and look cool while you are at it.
That's what their ubiquitous, unobtrusive ads which have sprung up all around Adyar, Chennai, say.
Do the ads speak the truth? Get Ahead decided to find out.
How to get there
Giorgio is located near the Vellankanni Church, along the road that leads to the headquarters of Chennai yuppiedom, Elliot's Beach.
A rather unobtrusive building, you can spot it opposite a Nilgiris Supermarket.
There is no parking available in Giorgio's compound. So if you are driving a car, be prepared to park illegally or park in one of the side roads and walk all the way to the restaurant.
The exterior wouldn't make you whistle in awe. But it is a pretty decent-looking building. In the evenings, you can stare at the stars while chewing a kabab.
But this being March in Chennai, you would rather stargaze in the comfort of an air-conditioned room.
The restaurant looks comfortable, stylish and very, very chic.
Being the first day of an India-Pakistan test match, we found ourselves a table next to the wall where they were projecting the telecast of the match from an expensive LCD projector -- very high-tech and very, well, happening.
Interestingly, the tables are made of something that looks suspiciously like bathroom tiles. The chairs are high-backed and seemed designed to keep you comfortable.
The waiter took ten minutes to materialise with the glasses to fill water in.
The culinary experience
Water followed the glasses. And, in due course, the menus made their appearance on the table.
You wonder why big ticket restaurants just have to make you wait ages before giving you the menu.
The restaurant offers not just Continental, but also tandoori and pizzas, abd a few dishes from the Caribbean. A wide variety of choices, indeed!
At this point, I notice the prices are a little on the higher side. But the items sounded good enough to make me ignore such trifles.
In my experience, waiters are often good guides on what's hot and what's not.
In this case, the waiter suggested I pick a Charminar Sheek Kabab (Rs 85) for starters. He assured me would be spicy and deelish (delicious). We also decided to choose a Grilled Chicken Salad (Rs 75) to get us started.
Then began the wait. L Balaji's heroics with the ball made the wait more bearable than it would have.
Around 20 minutes had passed when the waiter arrived with a complimentary Manchow soup. Filled to the brim with all kinds of vegetables and heated to just the right temperature, the soup tasted just fabulous.
This was followed by the Grilled Chicken Salad and the kabab. The kababs looked mouth-watering, golden brown and crispy, arranged immaculately. I bit deep into them. Looks did not deceive here!
The grilled chicken salad was good, though not as good as the kababs. If you enjoy Continental food, you would enjoy the golden bread crumbs, the peppery chicken, the crisp vegetables and the copious quantities of mayonnaise that go into this dish.
We sat back with satisfied grins. I felt rather full and began to doubt my ability to eat the main course.
Then the main course arrived. I began to feel hungry as hell.
Wanting to see whether Giorgio lived up to its tagline, Food from around the world, we had ordered Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sizzler (Rs 185), a Butter Naan (Rs 25), a Rogni Naan (Rs 30) and a Chicken Tikka Masala (Rs 90).
The Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Naan tasted just as good as they would at any Tandoori joint. The roasted papads were conspicuous by their absence, dampening the pleasure of an otherwise extremely enjoyable rendezvous with the contents of the clay pot slightly.
The real disappointment of the day was the Rogni Naan. The waiter assured me it would be spicy. It looked great as well, coated with a orangish powdery substance.
I tried drowning it in the Chicken Tikka Masala.
It tasted like Punjabi Masala.
I dipped it slightly in the Chicken Tikka Masala.
It tasted like Punjabi Masala.
I ate it without dipping it in the Chicken Tikka Masala.
It still tasted like Punjabi Masala!
The Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sizzler made up for it. Placed on a sizzling wooden platter, it contains a little Caribbean Biryani, French Fries and two succulent leg pieces of chicken you just want to sink your teeth into.
Before that, I suggest you look around. Giorgio is not the kind of place you can eat like a caveman out of Piltdown, or some other such place.
So I spent the next ten minutes battling it out with the chicken, knife and fork in hand. Finally, I looked around, grabbed the chicken and bit into it.
At the end of it, we were filled to the brim. Our grins of satisfaction couldn't have been wider if each of the dishes had been laced with generous quantities of the nectar of the gods. The grins cost us Rs 490.
The service was agonisingly slow. Ten minutes for a glass of water is a bit thick.
There is no car parking inside the compound, which is a bit of downer.
Giorgio is a bit pricey. But it delivers its promise of serving you food from all around the world, and serving it well.
The ambience is quiet and romantic, unless you have a raucous little kid at the next table.
So if you want to impress someone by showing her/ him you are not averse to burning a little hole in your pocket to spend some quality time, head towards Giorgio.
PS: If you are single like me, note: the food tastes just as good when you are alone. And the pesky little kid at the next table may not bother you as much!
Velankanni Church Road
Opposite Nilgiris Super Market
Chennai -- 600 090
Tel: (044) 2446 1828
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj