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Monday, Jul 22, 2002

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Friendly on the purse

IT HAS been around for almost 30 years now. For those living in and around Adyar, Liu's Waldorf on Sardar Patel Road, is a landmark, and almost an institution, particularly for the IITians.

At any given point, there is at least one student tucking in gobi manchurian and garlic chicken. Budget food attracts many families too to the place. Of course, the food is very much of the Indian Chinese variety, but so what? The menu is a plain as they come and leans more to the non-veg side. That night Chennai was having one of its rare showers and so chicken clear soup (Rs.38) was a natural choice. The soup was just like the one your grandmother or mother would have made on such a wet evening. It was a treat.

At Rs.110, the chicken roast (half) has the dubious distinction of being the only dish one felt didn't do justice to the price paid. More over, the fowl was fried beyond redemption. The small bony pieces served had nothing going for it.

Listed under Waldorf specialties is quaithou lamb (Rs.85), the piece de resistance of the evening. The flat noodles with crunchy vegetables and meat was yummy. So when one saw another with gravy, it was too tempting to resist. Thus we ended up with a quaithou stew with minced chicken (Rs.100) too. The gravy one also was nice.

The side order, beef onion (Rs.65) was another endearing preparation. A typical soy sauce based fry it was crisp and tasty. Vegetable fooyong (Rs.40), omelette with vegetables could have done with a little more salt. As mentioned earlier, vegetables seemed the weak chink on the Waldorf repertoire. Mixed vegetable mushroom (Rs.70) didn't rise beyond being palatable. Another notable feature is the absence of desserts, not even a date pancake or fried ice cream. The portions are generous as a rule. Actually it takes some getting used to when the heaped plates are brought to the table. That precisely is the USP of this pocket-friendly eatery.

MARIEN MATHEW

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