A week ago, Paradise opened their first outlet in Chennai in Old Mahabalipuram Road in Perungudi. It was nothing short of a Superstar’s movie release. Chennaiites went crazy and the whole place decorated with serial lights and baloons looked like a carnival. Paradise themselves wouldn’t have expected anything remotely like this, would have been a very pleasant surprise for them !
Amidst all the hype and hoopla, myself and two other friends attempted to go for dinner on the very first day. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it as the whole place was reserved for some private party for the who’s who of Chennai ! This info came from one of their people monitoring the entrance.
After the first unsuccesful attempt, I decided to wait until the hype dies down, even if it meant a few weeks of waiting. However, today had some work in the very same area and it was finished well before 7PM. Immediately pinged my friend to check if he would be interested to try this place, and he readily agreed.
We reached the place around 7ish in the evening and there were a very few people waiting at that time. Immediately we were asked to go in and we were seated in less than 5 minutes ! That was nothing short of a miracle. 🙂 It looked like they have three floors of dining area and we were seated in the third floor. The interiors were nicely done, simple yet elegant, and the ambience was more than welcoming !
They had two menus on the table, one of them was specifically the Kebab menu. First dish that was appealing was Chicken Hara Bhara Kebab, and it wasn’t available. :/ Had to settle for Chicken Tikka. I specifically wanted to see how their kebabs tasted, so asked for a half portion. From the other menu, chose a Chicken Biryani for myself and Mutton Biryani for my friend. Ordered Chicken 65, as I knew this was the Andhra version of Chicken 65, tempered and sauted after deep frying, and without the red color. That’s it, we were done with our order and asked the starters to be served first.
Chicken 65 was served first, and the portion was quite large. It tasted good, and very different from the Chicken 65 served anywhere in and around Chennai. As I mentioned, this is Andhra-styled Chicken 65. Myself and my friend were thinking that this would make an awesome side-dish for a drink. 😉 Next to come was Chicken Tikka, and the waiter already mentioned it would be just 5 pieces, as we ordered only a Half portion. It was pretty good, but nothing worth raving about.
Now coming to the main reason why we were here this evening – Biryani ! First of all, have to mention that the portion was huge, really huge ! We had no clue about this, and earlier, when we enquired about the single portion vs Full portion, the waiter clearly explained that the quantity of rice is the same, only the number of meat pieces would differ. In fact, he also said that they don’t serve single portion anymore as there were complaints that there were too few meat pieces and so on. With no other choice, ordered a Full portion each. I should admit it was a bit of gluttony, though not intentional. According to me 2 portions of Biryani would be rite for 3 people. If they had difference in portions marked as Single and Full, would have been greatly helpful ! I liked the Chicken Biryani very much, absolutely no complaints. Nice flavor, and the chicken piece in the Biryani was more flavorsome than the chicken in Biryanis in and around Chennai. I was able to eat more chicken than I normally do, and I relished it. The chicken was well-cooked and neatly came off the bone. However, my friend was not quite pleased with the Mutton Biryani. He felt the masala and spices were a bit too dominating, both in the biryani and in the mutton pieces too. As I said, I love variety and hold no affinity to one type of biryani, I liked it. The accompaniments were very different – The ‘buttermilk’ instead of Raita was something new. Since they gave us generous portion of chopped onions, I made my own Raita, and it was okay. I didn’t quite like the gravy for the biryani, so didn’t touch that.
Quite stuffed already, wanted to taste their desserts. Double ka meetha was already on my mind. Gajar ka Halwa was the second one, but that wasn’t available. So ordered a Qubani ka Meetha. I’ve had this before and wasn’t very impressed, just to check how their version tasted, ordered one of that. Qubani ka Meetha was way too sweet to my liking, it wasn’t bad, but definitey not something that I will order again. Double ka Meetha was good, but not sure if it is just the Bread Halwa or something more, as the Bread Halwa I’ve tasted in Chennai was much better than this one. The Caramelized sugar taste was missing in it. It was tasty, just not to my expectation.
The person who waited on our table, Subendhu, was pleasant and attentive throughout the time we were there ! No complaints on the service either.
The dinner set us back by a little over 1.3K for the two of us, and I felt it was okay, given the whole experience. As I said earlier, would have been much better if smaller Biryani portions were available, it would be easier on the pocket and on the stomach too. A couple of dishes were not available and that wasn’t very pleasant-sounding to hear. Overall, the place is pretty good for a visit, once in a while.
As we walked out, saw the very familiar scene of crowd at the entrance, trying their best to make their way in. Thanked my stars for being there at the right time and managing to get in without a struggle.