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The Eden experience

Good food served with a personal touch... that's the USP of Eden, which has opened its second restaurant at The Harrisons

Pic. by S. R. Raghunathan

The triumphant trio: Venkatesh, Aparna and Subhadra — Pic. by S. R. Raghunathan

SPINACH CREPES with curried corn and drumstick with mango coriander salsa; let's see how it works. Original, yet not daring to discard the safe format of crepe wrap; the drumstick kernel lends a welcome earthiness to the sweet corn. The salsa has much in common with the Thai mango salad. That's the summary of a dish from the Signature Cuisine line of Eden at The Harrisons, Valluvarkottam High Road.

At Eden, you get what you see. There are no pretensions, no airs. The startling clarity with which the trio — Subhadra Raju, Aparna Venkatesh and M. B. Venkatesh — view business and life in general comes on the plate too.

Eden at Besant Nagar has been around for almost 12 years. And what do people say about it? They don't say much, they rave. Even on a weekday at night at least a 15 minute-wait is mandatory to get a table. Such success and staying power cannot go unnoticed. Venkatesh explains, "It is because it is a small restaurant with just 40 seats. Not that it will ever be totally empty. Pricing, which is affordable, is another important factor."

The second restaurant too seems to be heading the same way. It was packed for lunch on a Wednesday! Subhadra explains, "Quality matters. When we serve ice cream, we see to it that the customer enjoys it. We want to give what we expect when we eat out."

Simple equations

Simplicity is what hits you on the face here. Be it the group dynamics of the trio or the grilled eggplant, tomato and mozzarella panini you are digging into, the equations are not complex.

The three met at college, became friends and started the business after working elsewhere for a couple of years. Both relationships and business progressed. Aparna and Venkatesh got married and Subhadra is like a member of their family.

"Partnership doesn't hinge on who takes how much," Subhadra makes her stance clear. "It is not for money alone that we are in this business. We are in it for the satisfaction it gives," says Venkatesh. So, where do they see themselves 10 years from now? "At home," pat comes the reply from Venkatesh. Aparna adds, "Our daughter needs us and that counts more than anything else."

Personal touch

The trio believes in a personal touch when it comes to running the restaurant. When one is in the kitchen, the other interacts with the clients and the third oversees their catering business.

It is this involvement that brings the customers a second, third, fourth... nth time to Eden.

We moved on to fine dining. A vein of practicality runs through the response. "People do not want to wait even for a bake.

Advance booking does not work as nobody keeps time," says Venkatesh. Aparna adds, "They come in a hurry and want to eat something fast. In spite of all this, we have the Signature Cuisine line."

The avocado rolls and curry leaf rice with a tender coconut and cashew curry are as forthright as its creators. Though they do not deviate from the traditional path, they are different enough to tease one's taste buds, particularly the silky avocado filling. Eden is a happy place to dine, no doubt.

MARIEN MATHEW

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