Ode To Abu

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rocking Restauranteur - Nikhil Moturi of Crimson Chakra

Ask Nanditha Sashidharan, co-founder of the Home Bakers Guild (HBG), on her take on the Baker Showcase Edition 3 event growing into a grand gala event and she opines: “We are proud and grateful to have establishments like Crimson Chakra, Gormei Market and Passionate Baking join us in helping these bakers make their dreams come true.”

The Baker Showcase has three sponsors this time. Nikhil Moturi, the owner of Crimson Chakra, is the foremost supporter of the Baker Showcase since the beginning. He  offered his restaurant space to HBG for free, twice in a row, to host home-bakers and the event. 

The restaurant was utilised in between meal times so as not to inconvenience dining customers. His staff was very helpful with arranging and creating space to accommodate tables for the home-bakers and their goodies. The 1st Baker Showcase was such a sell-out event that there was a near stampede at the restaurant! Customers turned up earlier than doors opened and raided the baker's tables all at once...it was like a storm had hit the li'l lane by the river in Adyar! The 2nd Showcase saw a long and winding queue of customers outside the door of the restaurant! The Adyar location of Crimson Chakra has a beautiful garden. Comfy sofas and elegant rattan chairs were arranged for the swelling and waiting crowds outdoors. 

As for the restaurant and its food, it goes without saying that Crimson Chakra is hugely popular among the local Chennai-ites. Visitors to the city have heard so much about it that their local hosts insist the place should feature on their 'must-dine-at' itineraries! The restaurant is housed in the peaceful and residential Gandhinagar, Adyar area. The 60-year-old bungalow has been converted into an elegant fine-dining space surrounded by gardens, fountains and serene Buddha statues. The striking wall decor displays fascinating photographic images from around South India. The variety of food on offer is interesting; there is authentic and fusion cuisine that caters to every palate. Corporates love to entertain their clients here and families troop in to tuck into their signature delicacies such as Elaneer Souffle and Chicken Smoked Rice. There is an equally superb vegetarian version of this as well. Currently, the lunch buffet seems to be every foodie's hot favourite and on their 'must-try' list.

What personally appealed to me more than the obviously fabulous ambience and quality of food, is Crimson Chakra's soon-to-be-launched Pet Zone! Being a dog lover himself, Nikhil plans to create a lovely outdoor seating area especially for people who would love to drop in and share a table (!)/break bread with their furry, four-legged friends! :-) Diners would have to call in ahead and let the restaurant know they would be bringing an animal companion. This outdoor space will be ready in a month's time. A truly unique concept and probably one of the few, if not the only restaurant space in the city that plans to offer this thoughtful service.

A few months ago, Nikhil opened another Crimson Chakra at Khader Nawaz Khan Road in Nungambakkam. Located on the 1st floor, it has a terrace/open-air seating. I was one of the lucky few who were invited to the pre-launch tasting of a new menu they were putting together. 

Much has been blogged and featured about Crimson Chakra's beautiful ambience and the fascinating range of Indian and Continental cuisine. 

So, without further ado, here's a short & sweet chat with Nikhil on the upcoming Baker Showcase. Nikhil is well-respected among his fraternity and the food community. He is known as a courteous, polite, large-hearted, and even slightly shy host :-)

Me: What made you decide to co-sponsor the Baker Showcase for the third time in a row?

NM: Being involved from the inception, it fills me with satisfaction when I can see the growth of a community from its founding stages. I hope to be an ardent helper for any community be it food or help age charity based out of Chennai. The fact that the money is going for social causes is instrumental enough for me to be involved


Me: What expectations does Crimson Chakra have of being a part of the Baker Showcase?

NM: Absolutely no expectations. As stated earlier, my goal is only to foster the growth of home bakers and entrepreneurs.

Me: Would Crimson Chakra be open to working with home bakers in the future? If yes, in what capacity? 

NM: Absolutely. It just comes back to how we can help the home bakers and make business sense for me as well.

Me: What kind of goodies would you like to pick up at the showcase?

NM: If I can pick everything up, I would, but will refrain from selecting any one item. Don't want to anger the Home Baker ladies

! ;-)

On that happy note (more goodies for the rest of us! ;-)), we eagerly await the weekend. Baked goodies on Saturday and maybe smoked rice and souffle on Sunday? What say, Chennai foodies? :-)

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