Chrompet is not one of the places I visit very often. Had to finish some work in Chrompet and I had gone there with family and immediately decided to try Charminar in Tambaram for lunch. It has been on my wish list for quite a while and I decided today would be the day.
Verdict, in short, disappointed! Huge mismatch in expectations versus reality. Read on for a detailed review.
As I was driving from Chrompet towards Tambaram, or rather Tambaram Sanatorium precisely, I did not know which side of the road this place was located. So decided to take help with directions on Zomato. While we were about 600m away, it clearly told us make a U-Turn and proceed a bit further backwards, i.e towards Chrompet. So we were trying to locate the place on the right side. Spotted Ponnusamy and some other place, but couldn’t quite figure out where Charminar was. We stopped exactly where it said and looked around and to our surprise it was on the other side of the road :/ Not sure why directions on google maps were screwed. Anyways, again had to make a U-Turn and reach the place and lost about 10-15 minutes doing this.
It was about 2:25PM when we stepped in and we were all quite hungry. As we entered, the ground floor was all empty and I was quite surprised and then the person on the cash counter asked us to go to the first floor. There were a few people already dining at this time. First impression, the place was very ordinary ambience-wise, just very basic. Four ACs seemed to be on, but it was barely cold inside. We took a table and it took about ten minutes for the guy to come and serve water. Asked for bottled water and took some more time. Finally the person, Mr. Mohan came to take the order. Spoke to him in Telugu and wanted to order the three main dishes that everyone was raving about – Army Chicken, Gongura Chicken and Apollo Fish. I couldn’t believe it when he said all the three were not available !!! I was like what?!?!?! He said the master/chef was out of station and these were not available. Had to settle for other dishes.
Ordered a Prawn 65, Hyderabadi Chicken 65 and Murg Malai Kebab for starters and a Chicken Biryani, Prawn Biryani and Egg Biryani for main course. Murg Malai Kebab was brilliant, absolutely delicious with a nice aroma and the green mint chutney along with it was yumm. Prawn 65 and Chicken 65 in Andhra Style was with a little twist. It looked like was stir fried with chilly and garlic after the usual deep fry. Chicken 65 was good, but wife and kids felt Prawns to be a bit rubbery. After we were done with the starters, it took at least 10-15 minutes to get an eye contact with someone to ask for our main course to be served. There were a group of 12 or 13 people seated next to us and the only two waiters were pretty occupied with their table that they forgot all about us. Meanwhile I was profusely sweating and one of the ACs was switched off as it was dripping water and then I requested to change our table to the other end, right below an AC that worked well ! That’s when I felt better and could focus on the food. Finally we got the Biryani served! Should say, the layered Egg Biryani was very tasty and had a very different flavor compared to the other Biryanis available here. True to its reputation, it was wonderful! The two eggs in it were fried, very typical of Andhra – Kodiguddu Fry. Prawns Biryani was also good and the prawns in the Biryani were very good it seems, unlike the prawn starters. Since it was layered, kids got the spicy part first and were struggling to eat. Then we gave them the rice from the top and they managed well. We were too full already, decided to pack the Chicken Biryani. The raita was watery, but gravy was okayish. Now coming to the desserts, we wanted to keep it simple, a Lime Soda, a couple of icecreams and a Double ka Meeta mentioned in the Menu was on my mind. Apparently, there was no need for all that 🙁 Nothing was available ! No drinks, no ice cream, no desserts. Left with no option, we asked for the bill. 🙁
The bill set us back by about a little more than 1K. I have no complaints with the bill. The prices were reasonable for what they served, but when most of the items are not available, then what’s the point anyway! With all this delay, by the time we finished it was 3:30PM, I asked Mr. Mohan if time was the reason if it wasn’t available to which he replied in the negative. He said it wasn’t available at all. Something to do with stocking up I guess!
Overall, it was pretty stupid of me to choose this place for my birthday Lunch. Possibly a casual lunch or dinner would have been ok, but not on a special day. Anyway, to sum it up, disappointing it was ! I really hope it was a one-off day for them. If they served all that they had on the menu, probably one would get a very different impression of this place.