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Culinary trip round the world

MARIEN MATHEWMARIEN MATHEW

VJ'S HOME Diner has a problem. It's a problem of plenty. It takes more than 15 minutes to order the starters itself, as the menu is a veritable trip across the world. Is it easy to choose between the smouldering Latino look of Antonio Banderas or the Eastern mystique personified Omar Sheriff in his hey day? How do you decide between Veg Quesidalle and Chicken Shwarma in pita bread? Ah, tough choices. So don't make them. Have both.

Ispahani Centre seems to have become a major eating out stop. The VJ's at the basement has food starting from Indian meals and specialties like dosas and rotis to bread meals with choice of filling, cold sandwiches, Tex-Mex variety, Italian and then another menu of Latin American dishes. Whew! I don't do so much of reading and re-reading to buy a book!

After much deliberation we decided on Drums of Parma (Rs.50) and Veg Quesidalle (Rs.50) to begin with. The drums were chicken wings deep-fried. It was hard to taste the promised rosemary. The Mexican, kind of, took over the show. The tortillas were nice. Since VJ's has a mocktail bar, we could wash down the meal with fresh orange juice (Rs.35) and Acapulco gold (Rs.55), an innocent version of pina colada. Both were quite tasty.

From the cold section of the bread meals, we tried Margeuise (Rs.80), an Algerian version of a hotdog — spicy sausage in a small baguette. Not bad at all. The choice of bread is left to you. The second choice was the Chicken Shwarma (Rs.75), grilled chicken a la Middle East, again in a baguette. This one was nice. But my vote goes for the Tex Mex; Veg'n beans chimi change (Rs.130). It's a filled tortilla deep-fried and smothered with cheese. The Italian, Spaghetti Alfredo (Rs.90) was also lipsmacking. Both are worth trying.

The sweet notes in the end were Strawberry cheesecake (Rs.45) and Chocolate mousse (Rs.40). The mousse is good with a dark chocolate cake base and a soft heart in the middle and again a layer of melted chocolate icing. The cheese cake was nice too, though a wee bit gelatinous.

The décor was smart. There is a salad bar too. But it will take another two visits to plumb the depths of VJ's WEB SITE.

Are you one of the glamorous band in the white cap and jacket? Do you toss and turn at night worried about tomorrow's Filet Mignon? Then visit the website www.chefsounder.com for culinary professionals who do worry about their daily bread, literally. Brainchild of Sounderarajan, Corporate Executive Chef of Club Mahindra Resorts, it is the first of its kind of website in the country.

The chef says it is all about the F&B industry. International and Indian cuisines, F&B concept development and execution, culinary technique and management, food ingredients, kitchen planning and designing, gourmet news, menus, etc. will be featured at the site. An interesting feature is that there will be no recipes. There are many others dishing out those, says chef Sounderarajan, who has 20 years of experience in the field.

The website, a non-commercial one, was formally launched on Tamil New Year's Day. From June, the site will be updated every month, according to the chef.

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