“It’s been a really, really messed up week,” as Hot Chelle Rae would put it. “Seven days of torture. Seven days of bitter.” Granted, the pop-rock band formed in Tennessee (just a subtle little lifeline for those of you going ‘Chelle Who? And can I order it as takeaway?’) had different challenges. It can’t be fun to wake up with a tattoo that looks a little like Zach Galifianakis. Talk about the hangover of the century!
Nevertheless, the weekend is almost here and even if you can’t really dance “on the edge of the Hollywood sign,” this is as good a time as any to indulge in some comfort food.
Movenpick used to be the place we went to when we wanted to catch up with friends. And I mean really catch up. The ice cream was delicious, and the service terrible. A combination that worked on days when you needed at least three hours to get updated on each other’s lives. As you’ve probably noticed it’s been recently replaced by a swanky new BBQ chicken joint.
More chicken in Chennai? Really? We have the established chains: KFC, Marrybrown and ChickKing. We have a slew of restaurants that serve Middle-Eastern style shawarmas and grilled chicken. And we even have the spunky little independent restaurant with their own version of this popular fast food, like BFC on Greams Road, offering ‘Burly burgers’ and ‘Fried chicken lollypops’.
Nevertheless, BBQ Chicken has opened, and opened grandly. The restaurant is unrecognisable from its previous avatar, with slick spacious interiors and chic glossy fittings. As I walk into the 4,000 square foot space on a rainy afternoon, the waiters jump to attention. In classic American fast food tradition, they’re in bright uniforms with name tags. Their unabashedly yellow T-shirts feature the silhouette of a haughty chicken, which seems rather ironic.
The company behind the BBQ chicken is Korean. Genesis Co. Ltd was established in September 1995 and has been expanding rapidly ever since, in all kinds of markets including Fiji, Cambodia, USA, Spain and Australia. Their big selling point is the Olive Luxury Chicken which they say is fried in “100 per cent pure olive oil”.
Current health trends state that while olive oil is one of the healthier oils, it certainly isn’t the panacea for all ills that clever marketing has made it out to be. It has the same number of calories as any other oil (roughly 120 per tablespoon) and can become unstable at high temperatures. However, a representative from BBQ Chicken says they’re using special equipment to monitor the heat and ensure the oil stays stable, while the chicken is fried at an optimum temperature.
Nevertheless, don’t be silly enough to think of this as health food. Olive oil or no olive oil, fried chicken is an indulgence. As long as you realise that, dive in.
I order the ‘olive luxury’ chicken. It’s satisfyingly crisp and crunchy outside, with a soft steaming interior. BBQ Chicken uses ‘chilled’ instead of frozen birds which, they claim makes a difference to the taste.
Their real advantage, however, is variety: Korean charboiled chicken with fried rice, and spicy Ganjeong chicken with Wanton crisps.
Curious about the vegetarian food, I order the waffle sandwich, generously stuffed with mushrooms and cheese. It’s hefty and satisfying, although the waffle tastes like it emerged from a packet. Dessert is a forgettable caramel custard, jiggly with gelatine.
Instead of the generic, wipe-clean, cut-and-paste interiors usually favoured by fast food fried-chicken outlets, this restaurant encourages you to linger. (In the grand old Movenpick tradition, they take 45 minutes to put food on the table. So lingering isn’t really a choice.) They offer to customise your order with a range of imported sauces, from sweet chilli to super hot. Useful fact: they’re open from 7.30 a.m. for breakfast: so you now have a place for a post-workout Spanish omelette.
BBQ Chicken is on 13/33, Shafee Mohammed Road, Nungambakkam. Call 43150707 for details.