Outlet: Anna Nagar (Also, have their outlet at Ascendas IT Park, Taramani.)
Address: AH 2&4, 4th Avenue, Shanthi Colony Main Road, Anna Nagar East, Chennai.
Cuisine: North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Mexican (VEGAN friendly)
The most common short-form I use while mentioning the word ‘vegetarian’ would be ‘vegan’. And it was a blow on my vocabulary when I came to know that VEGAN food isn’t the same as VEGETARIAN food. Vegan (food derived only from plants and no to dairy or animal products) is something unimaginable for a person (like me) who quotes ‘Indian and Italian’ as her favorite cuisine. Though I would never dare to be a “Vegan” I did have the curiosity to taste the food. So I know what I was upto when I got the bloggers invite via Chennai Food Guide (CFG) to dine at VeganR, Anna Nagar as part of Bloggers Development Initiative.
We were poured with plenty of vegan food and it was a surprise to know that “vegans” did have “tasty choices” to choose. The plating of food stole the show for the evening. To serve them as mini food-platters was a brilliant choice, which helped us to taste more. Now for the food:
Table Accomplishments: Garlic Multigrain Roll and Focaccia Bread with Basic Chilly Hummus & Gongura Hummus
The soft inside and crispy outer crush of the bread was great; the hummus was a good compliment for the bread.
Farm House Moroccan Soup – A hearty lentil soup with vegetables and vermicelli, which was similar to a dal curry. Though tasted great, the soup is rich with lentils that made the tummies full. Hard (for me) to consume such a big portion for soup!
I loved the way the starters were presented as mini-platters; two set of starters.
Frenzy Pani Puri with Pineapple and Tomato Gazpacho – Gazpacho seemed too sweet for me so I missed the ‘sweet-tangy-spicy’ pani combination while gulping the puri’s. The puri’s weren’t crispy and I wasn’t sure about the filling but it didn’t taste like aloo. Though worthy effort I did prefer the authentic Gol Gappa.
Vazhaipoo Vadai – Crispy-tasty Vazhaipoo (banana flower) vadai. Loved it.
Tom Yum Paniyaram Vepudu – Best Paniyaram. Perfectly steamed and sautéed in the hot-tangy gravy. Best starter for the evening.
Chutneywali Soy Paneer Tikka – Anytime I would prefer Paneer over Soy. With no choice, I did enjoy it. Definitely wasn’t soft as paneer but taste-wise they pulled it off.
Tex Mex Nachos with Guacamole and Rojo Salsa – Guacamole was a better option for the nachos then the salsa. Salsa was just too sweet. I would prefer better-tasting sides for the nachos.
Second mini-(starter) platter had:
Lucknowi Galouti Kebab with Vegan Ulta Tawa Paratha – Was curious to taste the kebab with paratha. They didn’t let my curiousness to vain; the kebab was a delight to taste.
Zero Gravity Seb Akhroot Ki Tikki – The apple with nuts tikki was something I didn’t enjoy much. Way too sweet and mushy for my palate and I hardly could find any flavor expect sweetness.
Cutlet/Kebab - The cutlet was OK! I wasn’t a fan of it; I would love for more spice and crunchy vegetable texture.
Cilgosa Mutter Samosa – It definitely wasn’t like a samosa; the name got me deceptive. It was more like stuffed vegetables. The stuffing was same across the three veges and the stuffing tasted good. Except for the bitter guard; I quite enjoyed the carrot and capsicum stuffed with nuts & veges mix.
Donburri Oyakodon – An Asian meal-plate that contained a Pot of Chilly Garlic noodles with Korean Veg Pops, Tofu Gravy and Kimchee. Noodles and Korean Pops tasted brilliant; finally some appetizing flavor. Kimchee and tofu weren’t my favorite ones.
Tanjore Delight – A delectable array of dishes for a South-Indian. The Mini Idlies soaked in sambar, American Corn Kitchadi and Raggi Aval Oothappam were flawless to taste with chutneys and Kaikari Kollu Karaisal (vegetable-horse gram Kurma).
Medssa-Mexicano – A lavish serving of Middle Eastern and Mexican dishes; but the taste weren’t as generous as the portion size. The Carrot Pimento Shots and Vegan Quesadillas were the good picks, taste-wise, from the plate. The Red Bean Burrito was Ok! Falafel and Moussaka didn’t quite hit the taste mark.
I was completely done with my food for the evening but yet they had a few more main courses before the desserts. So I resisted myself to just have a bite and nothing more.
Olive Pudina Roti with Dal Tadka – A bite felt OK! But I missed the flavor of butter and ghee in my roti and sabji.
|Roti with Dal|
|Bundle & Curd Rice|
VeganR Special Bundle Rice with Kathirikai Thokku & Curd Rice – The bundle rice with Thokku was THE dish of the day; with my tummy saying “No More”, I kept saying “Just one more (spoon)”. Curd Rice with peanut milk; who could think a rice with peanut milk? Oh! The chef did. That was the time I saluted the chef for putting in so much effort to make something truly “VEGAN”. I am never a fan of curd rice that is made at hotel though I applaud the effort, it tasted just OK for me.
What would be desserts without milk, butter or ghee! I really didn’t have the hope that I will enjoy the dessert so was expecting for the worst. Never saying this for namesake; I should appreciate them for the effort though I didn’t enjoy every spoonful of the desserts.
Melon Granita with Mushy Apple Torte – The apple tart with melon granita tasted good.
Suyyam Litchi Rasoi – Not my favorite, did taste weird for my palate.
Gil-E-Firdam – Though the core ingredients weren’t present in the famous Hyderabadi rice pudding; the combination of sago and pumpkin kheer never compromised the taste, a great tasting dessert for the evening.
Gajjar Kajuri with Thinai Dodol – A mix of carrot, dates and orange with goanese dodol and Thinai. The vegan version of carrot halwa and sweet Pongal. Did I enjoy the vegan version? Not sure. But I did like the taste and flavour combinations which reminded the halwa and pongal.
Pol Amie Sod – Delight for a fruit lover; a medley of tropical fruits.
The first vegan experience wasn’t as bad as I hoped to be. To exclude dairy products from food isn't that easy, neither for the chef nor for the person who eats. But it’s admirable to cook and present vegan food, which as well tastes good.
Breaking Down Points
Location & Parking: Positive. “Hey, it’s here”. Yeah, it is really that easy to locate the place. A prominent locality with ample parking space.
Ambience: Good. The place looks good there isn’t much to notice about the ambience. More importance indeed to the food.
Food Variety: Positive. Surprise! They have managed to present a lot of food variety, which aren’t possible without dairy products, for vegans.
Taste: Good. Vegan food isn’t something that a vegetarian himself may like. Being Vegetarian and being Vegan make quite a difference. They have managed to get almost every dish taste good but the true self did win at times. Kudos for the effort; vegans can be happy now!
Quality: Positive. Let it be the ingredients used or the presentation, they have nailed it. Special appreciation to the plating, I was “impressed”.
Quantity: Positive. Though it was exclusively made for the tasting session; a splendid portion size.
Service & Pricing: Good. They could have been a tad faster in their service. I tasted just the miniature version of the dishes they serve, so no-say on the price for my meal. Whereas with the glance at the menu card the pricing seemed easy on the pocket and I could tag them under “reasonable”.
My Favorite Dishes: Thai Thai Mengluck, Vazhaipoo Vadai, Tom Yum Paniyaram Vepudu, Tanjore Delight and VeganR Special Bundle Rice with Kathirikai Thokku, Noodles and Korean Veg Pops.
So the verdict! VeganR would be a memorable dining experience for vegan food lovers. To not compromise much in the taste, variety and quality would be their biggest positives. They do need a little push in service. This place could serve as a paradise for those who look for the combination “Healthy + Tasty + Vegetarian”. Remember, vegan is completely a different taste-ride than vegetarian food. Isn’t my cup of tea but can be handy when I become a health-freak.
P.S. The write-up is based on my food palate & dining experience during my restaurant visit. Invited by Chennai Food Guide for tasting session. Remember, no two person’s palate can be same.
It's Vegan Style - VeganR Reviewed by Divya Srinivasan on 10:24 Rating: