I do believe, from the time I was about 3.5 years old, and embarked upon my first solo journey, all on my ownsome, from my bed to my bathroom, I fell in love with the art of travel. From that day on, nothing could hold me back from seizing just about every opportunity possible, to venture forth, out into the world, exploring and expanding my horizons, trying to follow in the footsteps of Christopher Colombo, Marco Polo, Vasco de Gama (minus de Gama’s disturbingly brutal violent streak, which, conveniently enough, high school history books fail to emphasize).
But these days, here in Chennai, I haven’t travel travelled, in a quite a while – unless you count my trips from Besant Nagar to Nungambakkam (which, mind you, in peak traffic, are quite a voyage indeed). So, as you can imagine, I was quite thrilled when the world came to me, on a platter ! The World Cuisine promotion was in full swing at Cinnamon, in the Trident Chennai, and I was ready to explore it – along with my fellow culinary explorers, Mademoiselle Leila and Miss Saloni.
Cinnamon’s atmosphere was bright, crisp and pristine, quite like a ray of sunlight, when we first walked in. To add to the bright atmosphere, was F&B Manager Anand Chatterjee, who, like his name suggests, was filled with chatter and life, and info tidbits about the food. We began the journey with a casual stroll through the buffet, to take in the sights – today’s country in focus, was Italia. The spread was generous, with a dash of antipasti, a few main courses, a salad counter, soups, and of course – sweet desserts – all for 1350, with taxes.
What caught my eye first, was the carpaccio – thinly sliced raw beef topped off with parmesan shavings –and the seafood soup with a touch of saffron, caught the attention of my palate. On the side I had a watermelon and feta cheese salad, a unique burst of sweet and salty sensations. So, without further adieu, we began the gluttony.
Upon the first spoon of soup, I was instantly transported – not to Italy, but back to the seaside bistros of Nova Scotia, where I grew up, and where seafood chowder was synonymous with life itself. The soup tasted like home (well, one of my homes), and with every spoonful, were little nibbles of prawn and squid, swimming about in a rich and creamy saffron scented sea. As if on cue, the waiter arrived with the wine list at just that moment – (the wine list at Cinnamon is quite extensive, with many international varieties available by the bottle). We decided on the Danzante pinot grigio – one of my personal favourites – for a light, slightly dry, pleasantly tart burst of taste, a nice offset to the rich soup. Upon that first fruity sip, we all looked at each other, in silent agreement, that there are few greater joys in life than fine wine, fine food, and good friends around.
Before we could get up for the main course, well – it came to us ! But this round, it wasn’t from Italy – Chef Prakash Chettiyar was at the table, and brought with him a serving of Spanish seafood paella – a rice dish, normally made with bomba or calasparra rice varieties, that actually originated in Valencia, on the East coast of Spain. Out of the three main varieties of paella – Valencian paella, seafood paella, and mixed paella – we were sampling seafood paella today. The seafood tasted fresh, and the dish was tinted a light orange colour, having been laced with saffron. The aromas of garlic and thyme wafted off the plate, and enticed us into taking bite, after bite, after bite…
A few hours, many mouthfuls, a few sips of wine and a whole lot of mmmms, ooohs, and aaahs later, it was time for the part we’d all been waiting for – dessert. Some were a touch too sweet for my liking, but the spread had something for everyone – everything from panacotta to tiramisu. However, Chef Prakash had – once again – a small calorie rich surprise up his sleeve – the Banoffee Pie.
My first thought – “I should probably apply for a gym membership once this dessert is done”. Layer after layer of chocolatey rich filling, bruleed banana in demerra sugar, a toffee-coffee sauce, and cream, cream, CREAM! Quite a delicious show stopper, we all agreed, as we sat back stuffed as turkeys in our chairs, unable to do much else.
Cinnamon’s location is situated near the airport, and can be quite a drive out of town, especially during peak hours. However, on the whole, Cinnamon’s atmosphere is bright and chirpy, the service is warm, friendly, and attentive (a special thanks to Anand Chatterjee), it offers both international and Indian cuisine, and an average meal for two will cost you approximately 2200 rupees without alcohol. Quite worth the drive, so I certainly suggest you make an evening out of it !
Overall Experience: 9
Recipe for Seafood paella – courtesy Chef Prakash Chettiyar
Portions – 4
Onions -100 g
Garlic – 50 g
Olive oil – 50 ml
Butter – 70 g
Arborio rice – 250 g
Seafood stock – 300 ml
Saffron -2 g
Dill -10 g
Parsley – 10 g
Dry white wine -30 ml
Seafood (prawns, squid & snapper fish) – 50 g each
Method of preparation
0.Take a large and deep saucepan, heat butter .
0.Add onion and garlic .Cook till translucent
0.Add white wine , reduce it.
0.Add the Arborio rice, cook it for some time.
0.Add seafood stock, till the rice is fully covered.
0.Keep adding the stock, little by little, till it is 3/4th done.
0.Add the seafood ( prawns , squid and snapper fillet dices ) and cook it slow heat
0.Simmer, add olive oil ,saffron and dill to the paella
0.Stir the paella , making sure that it is not over cooked .
0.Add seasoning , finally garnish it with dill leaves ,grilled prawn, squid & fish
1/24 G.S.T Road,
Chennai 600 027, India
PH: +91 44 2234 4747