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Monday, Dec 03, 2001

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It's routine, it's nice

TO TELL you the truth, coffee shops in star hotels have never been my favourite eating-places.

Their main allure is the "open at all hours" factor that makes them kind of functional, if you get my drift.

The menu itself is a confusion of Indian, Continental, Chinese or anything else that the F&B managers and chefs think patrons fancy.

Order staple items like club sandwiches, burgers and biriyanis, you invariably have had better ones somewhere else.

So my expectations were not exactly in the stratosphere when we went to sample the new menu at the Verandah, Taj Connemara. Behind the new menu is chef K. Satya Narayan a.k.a Sunny.

We started off with chefs salad (non-veg), a simple yet elegant combination of julienne of chicken, paneer, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, lettuce and olives.

The thyme and rosemary hints to the mayonnaise perked up the heavy dressing. It is substantial enough to be a main course itself and is priced at Rs.150.

The chicken supreme hermitage (Rs.210) was about parmesan and mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts in a piquant curry sauce.

The meat was perfect, pink and juicy. For the vegetarians, crepe monte carlo (Rs.150) is a nice choice. It is crepes filled with spinach and vegetables and topped with cheese sauce.

The continental fare on the whole treads the tried and tested path. You cannot go wrong here even if you wanted to. The portions are ample and quality good. But what is lacking is imagination.

In the Indian and Chinese menu, all the regulars like stir fried chicken, shredded lamb in hot garlic sauce and veg sheek kebab, gosht biriyani etc., are very much there.

Fish curry home style served with steamed rice (Rs.250) is a recent addition.

What is new is the midnight feast section of the menu, which is on from midnight to 6 a.m. Here there are some substantial offerings other than sandwiches and burgers. Malai kofta makhani and murgh tikka makhan palak, both served with rice or phulka are two such dishes.

For desserts, it was chocolate mousse (Rs.110) and flan de naranja (Rs.95) for us. The mousse is a must for the chocoholics. The orange caramel custard was nice.

I can't find a better word to qualify the whole experience. It's nothing more, nothing less.

MARIEN MATHEW

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