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Summer on your plate

Good looking food: At Purple Basil Photo:K.Ananthan

Good looking food: At Purple Basil Photo:K.Ananthan   | Photo Credit: K_Ananthan

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The food tastes as good as it looks at the brand new, Purple Basil, on Avanashi Road

Watching Master Chef has paid off. Words such as aioli, bruschetta, phyllo and vinaigrette roll off the tongue smoothly. And one speaks with authority about pan-seared fish.

Show off your newly acquired food vocabulary at Purple Basil, because its menu is like that, full of things that you seen being made in the Master Chef kitchen.

Arjun Karivardhan, whose restaurant it is, describes the cuisine served here as Italian-American. An engineering graduate, Arjun decided his calling lay in food. So he put himself through a culinary course in New York, before coming back and setting up his own place here.

A simple signboard announces the restaurant. Glass doors open into an elegant interior. Clean lines, spare décor – the effect is cool and fresh. It can seat 60 diners, with provisions for private parties, as well as outdoor dining. Speaking of the food, Arjun says, “Ideally we would like to work with what is available nearby. We would like to source our produce and spices as much as possible from closer home.” A lot of their herbs are sourced from Arjun’s own garden. It would be wonderful to grow everything in-house, he says, but that may take some time.

Pretty as a picture

As the chefs on television shows never tire of telling us, presentation is almost as important as the taste of the food. Obviously, Purple Basil takes that dictum seriously. Unfussy white flatware is a perfect foil for the food. The green of the pastas and salads look the greener for it. The yellows and oranges of the carrots and the reds of the tomatoes and bell peppers look fresh and vibrant. The presentation is chic.

For starters we try the bruschetta. The crisp bread is served with two kinds of topping – one the traditional tomato, and the other diced pumpkin. Both are delicious. The soup is a cold cucumber and mint affair that goes down nicely and doesn’t make you feel stuffed. Actually, most of the food here is light, on the palate and on the tummy. This does not mean that the food is ascetic. Oh no. Olive oil, cream, nuts and cheese provide enough sin. And it is yummy.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m to 11 p.m which means that if you are looking for food in-between meal times, you will find it here. Sandwiches and burgers with a variety of fillings are available. Of course, since everything is freshly prepared, you can even order the mains.

It’s early days yet, but Arjun says that so far the grilled prawn and risotto has been a big draw. You could also order lamb lasagne with a three-cheese sauce, or shrimps, or a tenderloin steak. If you are vegetarian, there is the light and fluffy stuffed crepes stuffed with bell peppers and a cream and cheese sauce. Ravioli with a spinach and cheese stuffing is another option. The fragrance of olive oil and pesto announces the arrival of the penne that is finished with parmesan cheese and either crispy aubergine for the veggies, or grilled chicken for the others.

The menu is unostentatious and spare. “We will add to the menu as we go along, but the idea is to keep it simple and manageable,” says Arjun. At the moment there is a choice of three desserts.

The perennial favourite warm chocolate brownie with ice cream; a platter of crème brule served elegantly in three flavours of vanilla, orange and lemon grass and the absolutely to-die-for baked yoghurt with orange compote and beautiful topaz-coloured cubes of star anise jelly.

Arjun has many plans for Purple Basil. One of them is to have a small outlet just outside to keep homemade preserves, sauces, herbs, etc. for those who want to take them home with them. That sounds exciting as does the bigger menu that should be in place soon.

Purple Basil is located at 1024 Avanashi Road (near VOC Park). For details and reservation call: 95664-68333.



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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:35:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/summer-on-your-plate/article3657858.ece

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