Chennai Restaurant Reviews

Arab Street

A recent post on a Facebook food group about this restaurant is what prompted me to visit this place sooner than I would have done otherwise. Immediately a plan was made, and my wife and I decided to check this place out. The location was pretty clear from google maps, so did not have any problems reaching the place.

Arab Street shares the same building with La Chocolate, a bakery and a cake shop. The restaurant is located on the first floor. As we climbed up the stairs and entered the restaurant, its interiors were awesome! Elegant, classy and welcoming, we loved it. Arabian music was playing in the background and it added to the overall feel. We were the only two people in the restaurant at that time. So we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. We settled down in a two seater that had cushioned seats, as compared to a few tables with wooden chairs. Immediately, water was served and the menu was handed out. So far things were pretty good.
Thereafter all the wonderful things slowly started to fade away and this is how it all happened –
To start with, we skipped soup and ordered a Fattoush salad and Chicken Arayes which was in the appetizers section. Basically the idea was to try very authentic Arabian dishes. Fattoush salad was decent overall, except for the overpowering sour taste either because of too much sumac or lemon syrup. Chicken Arayes was a rude surprise! Partly blame it on my ignorance, and partly on insufficient explanation in the menu card, I expected something totally different. I did ask the waiter what it was to which he didn’t quite say anything like meat-stuffed pita bread, or quesadilla’s first cousin. I expected some sort of a kebab made with ground chicken meat and some slices of pita bread for accompaniment ! Nevertheless, when we tasted it, it was very very bland. The dip that came along was very ordinary and I personally didn’t think it complemented the stuffed pita very well. I have to add that a few pieces of the pita were definitely charred beyond how I would have liked it. Overall, this was very ordinary and we finished it for the sake of doing so. The next disappointment was that Chicken Shawarma wasn’t available for lunch. So we were left with pretty much Biryani and Arabic Pizzas to choose from. Ordered an Arabian Chicken Biryani. This was okay, nothing spectacular. It was a bit high on oil as we finished the bowl, but still manageable.
Now coming to why the service could have been better! While placing the order for main course, I asked them if Kunafa was available to which the waiter replied he had to check. After a while he came back and replied in the affirmative! I told him we’ll have one after we finish the main course. I also said I’ll have a Sulaimani Chai too. As we were eating Biryani, the waiter came, placed the Kunafa on the table and left! We were half-way through our Biryani. Didn’t want to send it back, let it stay. Without exaggeration, it was there untouched for more than ten minutes. I didn’t see the hurry and the reason for lack of coordination here. How difficult is it to serve a dessert after a main-course! After we were done with the Biryani, the plates and the bowl weren’t cleared and we had to make place for Kunafa and struggled to eat it with all the used plates on the table. The waiters were hardly a few feet away, but didn’t bother. One of them gets brownie points for being busy on his mobile phone 😉 Kunafa tasted good and I still remember having better ones in Doha. Since I haven’t had this in India, I do not have a benchmark to compare. It did taste good with the sugar syrup and this one was the only dish that saved their face! Sulaimani Chai was nowhere to be seen and I thought probably he forgot and decided to let it go. After we were done with the Kunafa, the waiter comes with 2 Sulaimani Chaais. I told him we ordered only one and he served one. The cup was very nice and wish the chaai was as good. Unfortunately you could call it at best warm, and not even close to hot. I could drink the entire cup in less than half a minute. Since we wanted to leave anyway, I didn’t complain. I didn’t find anything Sulaimani about it. It tasted just like black tea with a mint leaf. That’s it.
This, according to me, was a pretty average meal, whatever be the reason! The bill was a little more than 1000 bucks. I wouldn’t be keen to visit again until I hear positive things. Probably evenings are better, I am not sure, but sorry, this place doesn’t get my vote !

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