Seafood on a platter

A NEW "fish bazaar" has come up in the city. It is extremely dissimilar to the fish markets that we are accustomed to. The hollering that characterises them is non-existent; so is the odour that is typical of them. The "fishermen" do not make a pitch for their catch, nor do the buyers try to beat them (the fishermen) down on prices.

This model Fish Bazaar has been "set up" at Kayal, a seafood restaurant at Le Royal Meridien. This food festival (on till November 16) is not just about fish but also other sea creatures. What is special about Fish Bazaar is that the gourmet can see the original colour and contour of what he is about to consume. In keeping with the atmosphere at a fish market, the marine creatures are kept in bamboo baskets. Once the gourmet chooses a creature, the delicacy is prepared under his very nose.

The range is close to being totally representative of Chennai's "edible marine life". There are cephalopod molluscs looking fearsome with their numerous arms and elongated tentacles, crustaceans with a break-me-if-you-can air, and invertebrate coelenterates. Not to mention the fish varieties Chennai is blessed with.

The gourmet can pep up the preparations with sauces that run the gamut of culinary geographies. It should redound to executive chef Jugesh Arora's credit that he lets the gourmet choose his own taste. With a little help from the chefs, he is encouraged to "mix" his own salads.

The waiters and waitresses are dressed as fishermen - round-brimmed hats and all. They look more like Southeast Asian fishermen than Indian. Each table has a mini aquarium. A few more features like these have been incorporated to give "piscivorous" Chennai-ites a feel and taste of the sea.

Timings: 7.00 p.m. onwards. For reservations, call 22314343.


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