Archive for the ‘Food guide’ Category

Juice shops have always been extremely popular in Chennai. With the blistering heat and fruits that cost one’s weekly wages, the best bet in Chennai would be to step into a juice joint. I am not a big fan of  the commercial juice places like Fruit Shop and the slew of others that have mushroomed off-late. In any case, you wouldn’t need my guide for that, just enter a mall or a theater complex. I am talking more of the roadside juice places, the nimbu pani walas of Madras if you will.

If you happen to lurk around the Mylapore-Alwarpet-R.A.Puram areas (which is my stronghold), you are in literally in pazhamuthir cholai. At the Luz signal, near the Pillayar Kovil, there is what I call ‘fruit shop for Dummies’. You will find a man in a Sunil Gavaskar cricket hat manning a juice cart. Codename Cricket Captain has a modest menu – badam milk, chocolate milk and a juice that I have only ever seen in Tamil Nadu – fruit juice – but they are amazing on a hot summer afternoon. My personal favorite there is the badam milk (ask for a scoop of ice-cream, he sometimes has it), but I am informed reliably by similar-tongued friends that his fruit juice is the best in the city.

Name: Hanuman Juice shop. Informal : Cricket Captain. Location(s) : Luz Signal (either sides) or outside Amrutanjan factory/ SBI.

On the other side of the Luz signal, a few thousand yards away is the Pop Tate’s for Chennai tuition kids. Just outside Sanskrit College is a juice shop – P.Sami’s. This, unlike Hanuman’s, is not a mobile cart. He has a small shop, with fruits and stuff decorating facade. After a grueling school day, followed by hours of tuition classes, this is heaven. There cannot be favorites here – badam milk, chocolate milk, orange, lime and fruit juices – everything is great. If you push me, I’d say the lime juice, but that’s unfair to the others. Go and give it a shot.

Name: P.Sami Cool Bar. Informal: 12C. Location: Outside Sanskrit College, Royapettah High Road.

On the 3rd side of the Luz junction is the baap of chocolate milks. Once a madly popular juice shop/bakery, then bought over by another guy or tried expanding themselves or something as disastrous and now surviving on its ancient reputation, is Senthil’s. Senthil was a craze in the early 2000’s, mainly because of the bakery. Panner puff and chocolate milk after exams were what Friday night beers are now.  This is upper crest compared to the other two, but road-side in its heart. Go there in the evening, have a puff or two here, down it with a juice and take a walk to the beach. Bliss.

Name: Senthil (original), Food Nest (new, bigger one). Location: Kutchery Road, somewhere near Spencer’s Daily

The undisputed God of road-side juice shops is Bakes and Corner on C.P.Ramaswamy Road. From location to crowd, pricing to friendly owners, this is a corner shop in every sense. This has a more extensive menu and has the best fresh juice arsenal in the entire city. They had a modest start, their only customers being the spill-overs from the adjoining Kolkata Chaat, but recently the shop has come into its own. A few years earlier they came up with a marketing coup by making it known that all their juices are made using mineral water. If you’ve been in Chennai for long enough, you’ll be clapping now. With tall cocktail glasses and refills, this place is a steal. The shakes are thick, the juices bleed freshness and Good Lord, both of them go with chaat! This place is infested with school kids, college people and finding a market for professionals as well, I have my money on this place to be Chennai’s Haji Ali. The joke among regulars is that every time you go there you will find someone you know.

Name: Bakes and Corner. Also answers to Kolkata Chaat Location: C.P.Ramaswamy Road and 2nd street

There are many more throughout the city, many of them enjoying a legendary status within the locality. These are the ones I used to frequent when I was living in Chennai and will vouch for them. If you go to T.Nagar or Mambalam, then guides will be useless – there are as many juice shops, stalls and carts as there are people. Thiru-vi-ka Road (the one that has Sathyam Cinemas) has a couple of good shops. There is a huge fruit shop opposite Nageswara Rao Park, which makes pretty good stuff, but that’s more or a fruit and vegetable marketplace. And of course, there are the nameless yelaneer guys on the road and sugarcane-juice guys on the road and specifically in Marina Beach.

I hope you find the guide useful. If you’re in Chennai and want to do local food, drop me a mail. I’ll help you out or I’ll put you on to people who can do better 🙂

Hunger helpline – bhargavrajan [at] gmail [dot] com.

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c/o platform

I haven’t traveled a lot. I am not an expert on cuisines. I am not a bon vivant or a gourmet chef. Agreed I make killer sambar, but make up for it by over-boiling the rice. To cut a long story short, I am hardly an inspiration for Ratatouille. But the thing about food, says the same rat, is that anyone can comment on it! So here it is – my Food Guide.

However, unlike other guides, this one will tell you only about the local food haunts in Chennai (and occasionally other cities as well). Don’t expect reviews, stars or similar high-minded stuff ‘cos they beat the purpose of eating road-side. This just a Kaiyenthi Bhavan Yellow Pages.

Juice shops

Coming soon – Chaat, bhajji, omlettes, roadside eateries, tea and coffee shops.

I hope you find the guide useful. If you’re in Chennai and want to do local food, drop me a mail. I’ll help you out or I’ll put you on to people who can do better 🙂

Hunger helpline – bhargavrajan [at] gmail [dot] com.

Read Full Post »