Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bella Ciao

What I love about Bella Ciao is that every time I visit, I feel transported to a land far away. It's as if the humdrum of the city life is a thing of the past, and that all that really remains is peace and tranquility. That's the effect the place has on me. Every single time. It's our go-to place. Open-air, thatched roof, excellent music, and good, good food.

I must have tried all the pizzas on the menu by now and not a single one has ever disappointed me (obviously if you order aubergines on your pizza, then God help you - actually they might do those well too, I have never tried. I can't.) They have nailed the authentic, thin-crust wood-fired pizza, and no pizza has tasted the same after the delight that is the Bella Ciao pizza. 

Unlike a lot of other places, they haven't placed a table in every empty square feet available, leaving you, thankfully, with room and privacy. The waiters are smart, they have never made a mistake in my order - and that's saying something given the crazy specifications we put on the table sometimes ('a quarter of the pizza should not have mushrooms, another quarter should have chunks of sausages, the rest of the pizza can include your standard, from-the-menu ingredients. Oh, except extra zucchini over everything. And NO aubergines!') Yup, they got it right! Their lasagne is good too - and they only had the authentic lamb lasagne last I checked. 

I love their desserts - the Nutella crepe is to die for, as is the Panna Cotta. The Grandma's apple pie was a 3 out of 5 - not crumbly enough. 


  • Caprese: Naples salad - tomatoes and Mozzarella slices, herbs and olive oil (3.5 / 5)
  • Bruschetta : Toasted bread, fresh tomatoes and herbs (4 / 5)
  • Verdure Fritte: Deep-fried, crispy veggies - bland and disappointing, also very 'out-of-place' (2 / 5)

Main Course:

  • Aglio, olio e peperoncino: Garlic, olive oil, chilli - finally aglio olio done well! (4 / 5)
  • Lasagne : Lamb. Little heavy, but done well (3.5 / 5)
  • Pizza, Al Salmone : Cheese, smoked salmon, basil - Good! (4 / 5)
  • Pizza, Verde : Cheese (yes, we like our cheese), olives, zucchini, broccoli, spinach (we also like our greens) - Excellent! (4.5 / 5)


  • Panna Cotta: Caramel, always caramel (4.5 / 5)
  • Crepe Nuttella: (4.5 / 5) 

Yay or nay?
Big, fat yay! Go if you have a couple of hours to sit, chill and have good conversations, and not if are on the eat-and-run mode. Orders take time, presumably because everything is made fresh. If there is one flaw in the otherwise perfect setup, it's the fact that Bella Ciao is not reeealllyy on the beach, and you don't have a view. You have to take the beach road to get there but then you turn in a little bit, and really can't hear the beautiful crashing of waves of the sea. Well, you can never really have everything, can you? Sigh!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Wharf - Radisson Blu Templebay

Birthdays are special - they are days you loosen those purse strings - they are days you treat yourself. This one was no different - and the moving finger made a stop at The Wharf when we were perusing the list. It promised of everything we were looking for - the open air, the sea breeze through the hair, the calm and the class.

So off we headed - an hour's drive away on ECR. Radisson Blu is just short of Mahabalipuram and the drive would lift your spirits as you cruise along the Bay of Bengal. I'd recommend you leave at 4 PM and get there while there is still light because the place is a beauty. You walk along their gorgeous pool (pools?) to get to The Wharf - nestled in one corner of the resort. We spent an hour just walking around, taking it all in and visiting The Deck (which has a stunning view of the sea), before we hit The Wharf. Getting there before 8 was a good idea, we got a table out in the open although they have seating in the wharf too.

It was everything we were hoping for, if not more - the sound of waves crashing on the shore, the gentle breeze over the sea, the sand running between our toes, and to top it all, good food!


  • Panko crumbled calamari - Topped with walnut and iceberg, and served with Romesco sauce, this was an absolute delight. After really bad Calamari at Moonrakers (yes, they were disappointing), I was a tad hesitant ordering Calamari, but the ones serves here were fresh and crispy, and just the right amount juicy.
  • Char grilled vegetables - Served with walnuts in a smoky red chilli dressing, we got this served cold although we were hoping for pre-heated and cooked well. This was the only disappointing part of the meal.
  • Potato wedges - Because we are suckers for potatoes. Fried. Potatoes.

Main Course:

  • Brochette of vegetables over Paella, with zesty barbecue sauce - the Paella wasn't the 100% authentic Spanish recipe it is supposed to be, but tasty nevertheless. The brochette was an interesting mix of zucchini, mushroom and bell peppers. I like! 
  • Aloo Potli Kebab - This dish was the highlight of the night. Crisp potatoes, stuffed with cottage cheese and cashews, Tandoor cooked to perfection and served with the yummiest Dal Makhani ever and Tandoori rotis - it'd be a meal in itself if you weren't hungry pigs like us. 
Overall, it was an extremely satisfying meal - made extra special with their top-notch service and attention to detail. It cost Rs 3,500 for all of it and was absolutely enough for three. There was no room for dessert - plus we had half a birthday cake lying at home!

Yay or Nay?
Yay! I would highly recommend this place if you are looking for a peaceful time, have half a day to spend and love sitting out in the sea breeze, letting your cares fly away with it.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Eat on, Chennai!

Hello everyone,

This is an update post - I have been spending (a lot of) time eating at some of my favorite places in Chennai and ECR. I'm moving all my reviews here, on this blog. Actually, I'm going to start over. So lookout for hot (and awesome) places to eat, drink and hang out at every week... I'll tell you where to go and what to order. Your suggestions are welcome!