South Indian cuisine = heaven.
Named after the state formally known as 'Madras' (yes it really is a state, not just a type of curry) Chennai has now been open for two years and enjoys a great location on Long Row close to the market square in Nottingham, which in the summer months is fast becoming one of the places to hang out in the City thanks to the number of restaurants offering European style alfresco dining.
On first appearances from the exterior Chennai doesn't look the most impressive of restaurants, but step inside and you're transported to a modern contemporary dining experience. Furnished with dark wooden tables and deep brown leather style seating, this is not your stereotypical Indian restaurant.
Now, Itchy has had enough hot meals to know that a pretty setting doesn't necessarily make for a good meal. The proof of the pudding (or in this case the curry) is in the eating. Itchy has been lucky enough in the past to visit southern India, so could Chennai transport us back to Kerala and could it really be as good as an authentic Indian meal prepared on a house boat? They had a lot to live up to. However, with their web site boasting award winning chefs with over 20 years experience, we decided to give it a try.
Itchy was impressed that for a change the vegetarian option was listed first and boasted nearly as many tantalising dishes for the vegetarians as the meat eaters. We began with pre starters which were poppadoms with dips and a Dosa which can only be described as a huge rolled crispy rice pancake with a selection of tasty chutneys and lentil dip, almost a meal in itself.
We then moved on to the main course and we just had to try one of the chefs specials 'Kozhi Chettinad' apparently a south Indian speciality, chicken cooked with 23 different types of authentic ingredients which was fabulous. From the vegetarian menu we also tried the 'Palak Paneer'; a mouth watering dish of fried cottage cheese cooked in spinich gravy. The food was surprisingly good and you can taste the freshness and passion for the food in each dish. So, if you want to try an Indian meal a little different from your run of the mill tomato based or gravy based curries then Itchy recommends you head over to Chennai to experience new tastes or simply bring back happy memories.
According to their website, the Chennai motto is that 'every man should treat himself like a king' and with food like this at very reasonable prices there really is no excuse not to and, get this girls (and guys - we know you watch your waistline too), here's the even better bit, apparently south India is known for it's light, low calorie dishes so you really can indulge with a clear conscience too.