Launched a few weeks ago on July 29, Vairah Nachiyar on KNK Road offers a continental menu prepared with locally available seafood. The brainchild of Prarasu Prabhakar, who hails from the fishing community of Kasiviswanathar Kovil Kuppam, Tiruvottiyur, this new space can seat 10 people, but feed many more.
“Initially my idea was to launch a store to sell fresh catch from my fishing boats in the city, but once I found this space in the most happening part in the city, my wife and I decided to launch a full-fledged continental restaurant along with a fresh seafood counter,” says Parasu.
Try the tiger prawns which weigh about 100 to 140 grams, after shelling and are sourced from Kasimedu fishermen. “You rarely get such big tiger prawns as most often those are exported,” says Parasu, adding ,“Our crumb fried prawn poppers (priced at ₹250) and tiger Prawn (1 piece, ₹350) have been a big hit since day one,” he says.
Open from 11 am to 11 pm, the menu offers starters, salad (including the ‘dip in the ocean’, a mixed seafood salad), sandwiches, burgers and pasta. Do order the prawn poppers, sprinkled with peri-peri powder and the calamari rings. They also have crispy fish burgers (₹350) filled with a generous batter-fried barracuda patty, crab burgers, and creamy prawn sandwiches.
For those who want to shop for raw seafood, it is available from 6 am to 11 am here: seasonal fish varieties, crab (live or cleaned) and prawns (cleaned and shelled). “Most of the items are from our family boats and other fishermen in our Kuppam. We sell fresh seafood and we also have the option of all seafood items marinated as well, which are ready to cook. Soon we will be partnering with Zomato for delivery,” says Parasu.
@ KNK Building, No 9 Oyster, High Street, Nungambakkam
Call 73587 30654
Within their first month of operations, Chef Koushik Shankar and team understood that they have two kinds of diners — “A lot of people who know their steak really well, from their cuts to sauces to how rare they want it, and a lot of people who have not had a proper steak before,” says the chef, adding, “So we have something for everyone here.”
At three months old, the steakhouse in Nungambakkam has a menu that covers burgers, fajitas and a host of starters — both vegetarian and non-vegetarian — besides their star steaks in beef, chicken and pork options. With three options for sauces, and servers ready to guide you through how you would like yours ‘done’, there is a good chance you can successfully navigate your way away from the bloodier preparations if your appetite is not honed for it.
“There are tonnes of ways to have steak,” explains the chef, “We can serve it as a fajita sauteed with onion, peppers, Mexican sauces and served with rice or tortilla. We can serve it as a cut of the meat along with choice of potatoes and scratch — we are thinking of adding a creamed corn option. We will also soon be introducing a New York strip steak, which will be served on skillets and come stuffed with spinach, feta, herbs and a vodka-based sauce. This option is not a popular cut as far as steaks go, but can be very meaty.”
As heartily American as it all sounds, Chennai seems to have taken to the steakhouse with gusto. Friday afternoons see full-capacity crowds by 12.30 pm, and a small wait time is not uncommon on weekends. This might have something to do with the wings festival, mango festival (complete with a mango-based salsa for the nachos) and other events the steakhouse keeps planning, and the chef has more dishes in the works. “We have a butter-based sirloin coming soon,” he promises.
@ 31, Anderson Rd, Thousand Lights West, Nungambakkam
It is fun to see a restaurant get as excited about its creations as Tager is about its sizeable and delightfully messy pulled chicken burger. “Chennai has some good options when it comes to fried chicken burgers and crispy patties, but not for a good old classic cheeseburger, or a pulled meat burger. This is where we are hoping to step in,” says R Praghadeshkar, who co-founded Tager with his friends K Hari and R Prithvi a little over a month ago.
The menu focuses largely on burgers and tacos, but also has a host of other items like a US-inspired fried chicken with waffles, a full English breakfast, and mango and habanero bites. One of the things this team takes pride in, is its burger bun made in-house. “We tried a number of options, from Japanese Hokkaido milk buns to brioche buns. We settled for something in-between: it is soft and plump, and full of eggs and butter,” says Praghadeshkar. The team is still working on a vegan variant, but for now all their burgers come with a gentle egg warning from the servers. Vegetarian guests are nudged towards other dishes, and still have plenty to choose from, from green chayote or panko-fried cauliflower tacos to stuffed button mushrooms.
The team at Tager is also playful with its cheeses, be it the ricotta that shares space with caramelised figs on an open veg sandwich, or the aged red cheddar that, according to Praghadeshkar, “really elevates our simple cheeseburger”. Coffee beans are sourced, freshly roasted, on a weekly basis from estates in Valparai and Palani. “People get a little snooty about beans coming from Coorg, but we want to show that there is good quality to be found closer home,” says Praghadeskhar.
@ 16/1, Wallace Garden 2nd Street, Nungambakkam
Call 044 42697308