Saturday, September 19, 2009

Samudra and Cinnamon

Samudra, Trident ChennaiI was back at Samudra, the seafood restaurant in Trident, Chennai. For seafood which gives a contemporary spin to South Indian dishes, there is no better place in town. The cheerful pastels that enliven the walls and tables, the bright yellow zinnea in small glass bowls and the oceanic artifacts add to the unique atmosphere. But the centerpiece is clearly the splendid fish-tanks: their unique collection of colorful fish swimming in crystal clear water.

While the menu is clearly inspired by South Indian cuisine, the chef uses a light hand with spices. I began with the signature seafood platter consisting of very juicy crab-cakes made with Chettinad spices, crunchy fried prawns with the intense flavor of fresh pepper, and fish tikka. The platter came with mint and spiced raw mango chutney and the latter was particularly tasty.

Seafood platter at Samudra Chennai
Chutneys at Samudra ChennaiThey served a glass of hot and spicy rasam with papadums. Then came the Andhra Fish Curry. The rich red sauce liberally tempered with mustard seeds was delightful and the fish was tasty too. What I had thought was gravy made of tomato turned out to be a combination of red chillies and tamarind pulp, giving the curry its unique tangy taste. Delightful!

Glass of rasam at Samudra Chennai
Andhra fish curry and rice at Samudra ChennaiI ended with a local dessert, the Yelneer Payasam, made of tender coconut and milk. The young chef came out to talk with me and told me this recipe was passed on to him by his grandmother. The coolness from the crushed ice and the flavor of cardomom on the palate was quite refreshing.

Yelneer Payasam at Samudra ChennaiI have enjoyed staying at the Trident. Among the hotels close to the airport, I like this one best. Until last year, this place was called the Hilton Trident, but now the Oberois plan to run it on their own.

Cinnamon, the other restaurant in the hotel, is a great option for lunch and dinner buffets. The items on the lunch buffet were meticulously prepared - one of the few places where I liked the items on the salad counter too. The Mutton Qurma, the Murgh Biryani, Fried Eggplant, Dal Makhani, and Melon-Wrapped Bacon were all delicious. As were the Gulab Jamuns and the other desserts I sampled at the end.

Lunch buffet at Cinnamon, Trident Chennai
Lunch buffet at Cinnamon, Trident Chennai
Lunch buffet at Cinnamon, Trident Chennai
Lunch buffet at Cinnamon, Trident Chennai
Lunch buffet at Cinnamon, Trident ChennaiThe Kingfisher guest relations girl in Chennai and the staff in Samudra recognized me from my last visit here, which was nice. Chennai seemed to be business-as-usual with business travellers crowding the hotel and the airport. There was some distraction on one day when Rahul Gandhi decided to visit our hotel for a press conference. BTW, The Trident at Chennai is also home to an excellent spa with trained Indonesian and Thai masseuses.

PS: My previous experience at Samudra and the Trident is posted here.

11 comments:

Ashish said...

On an unrelated note (and perhaps I'm not the first to suggest this) - you really should go to this restaurant called Deccan Rendezvous, off Apte Road, in Pune.
Well made food, good service and a thoroughly enjoyable experience all in all.
And congratulations on some fantastic writing (and photography!) - I always end up feeling ravenous.
Cheers,
Ashish

Sig said...

That Samudra spread is just my kinda food! I so want to spend a few months in India eating my way through coast-to-coast :)

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Have you been to Sayaji , Pune "
Next month is my birthday. Could you pl suggest me some place.

Regards,

Priyadarshan

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Ashish,

Is it on JM Road ?

Shantanu said...

@Ashish: I have been hearing about this restaurant recently.

@Sig: Of course! With your Keralite roots... :)

@Harekrishnaji: Nope. Haven't tried Sayaji yet. Too far from the city. Re: your birthday, have a great one! However, I am running out of new restaurants to recommend in Pune. :)

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

I havn't tried all restarant's mentioned by you. For me each and every restaurant is too far from my residence.
Some times rickshaw bill is more than money spend on food. I stay far end of Sinhgad Road. I will try Sayaji or go again to Marriot .

Shantanu said...

@Harekrishnaji: Let me know how Sayaji turns out. Too far for me unless I am driving down to Mumbai.

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

sure. yesterday I had gone to The Bay View, Hotel Marine Plaza, MArine Drive for buffet. It's one of my favourite. The advantage is it's so close to my office and residence.

Gaea said...

Hi Shantanu

First off, great site! I try not to try things out here in Pune without having read it at urs :)

As for Sayaji, I guess I can only say "unpredictable". As we are put up near Wakad, I tried it on more than one occasion and I didnt think they are consistent. I enjoyed it thoroughly one day and I couldnt eat the other!
But well worth a try and for us thats the best bet nearby!
The decor is good and everything is star-style and rate alright, but the part of the seating closer to the buffet (which is where I got to sit every time for whatever reason!) is just not done! You end up smelling of not just one but more than one dish frm the buffet :)

Since you mentioned Fisherman's Cove and Chennai, the next time you happent go there, do check for their "Kattamaran ride" - they used to have it a while ago, not sure of now!

Aarathi

Anonymous said...

being an employee of Trident Chennai, i will suggest you to visit again at my place and discover something new. Now we have new varities and new tastes in our restaurant. i hope your next visit will be much more comfortable and extraordinary.
-Sapan Mishra (F&B)

Shantanu said...

@sapan: Love this restaurant from the times I used to stay here. Will be back!