This blog post is part of the A to Z Challenge. This challenge involves writing a blog post on any topic/theme in the order of the alphabets from A-Z. The blog posts have to be written each day through the entire month of April, excluding Sundays.
My chosen theme is the city of Chennai, its happenings, events, and my memories and experiences connected with this place.
Cream Centre restaurant located in R.A.Puram, Chennai, is one of my most-visited eateries. It has been many years since its existence in the city and there is one more branch near the Alliance Francaise premises near Nungambakkam. Originally a chain of restaurants from Mumbai, they have managed to maintain the quality and consistency, and even introduce and innovate frequently - the key to sustaining in the food business.
A pure vegetarian upscale restaurant in a suburban neighbourhood, you cannot reserve a table in advance. It is purely as they say in India, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hence the serpentine queues outside the restaurant, sometimes even on weekdays! That says a lot about its popularity through the years.
You can find large families (thathas and paatis*) included, business colleagues, parents and kids, groups of middle-aged women, college-going teens, couples...you name it...everyone heads here to enjoy the Indian, Italian, and Mexican fare. Their classic dessert - the sizzling brownie with vanilla icecream - is the most popular dish to end a highly satisfactory meal with. Their popular starters are Crispy Onion Rings and American Corn Cheese Balls. The signature dish, however, is Chana Bhatura! This is really yummy (on the rare, odd occassion the chana has been a wee bit dry), but otherwise it is spicy and tangy. They have some great sizzlers too! Oh, and their Ragda Pattice...what's not to love about it!
While I never tire of visiting them and have done so on numerous occasions, I have still not managed to try everything on the menu. Yes, this is one of the things on my bucket list, you could say. Alright, not quite...but its something I always think about while staring at the menu card each visit.
Cream Centre is located in 14 cities in India and has recently added an international one at Dubai! Quite a feat for an all-vegetarian restaurant indeed. Then again, with its trendy decor and pleasant ambience, there is no doubt why it is a hit with many people all over, especially those visiting from other countries. All the locals here take their visitors from America to have a taste here, and what do you know, it has everyone licking their fingers! This place is also very popular with the Korean community that resides in Chennai. These expats have a cultural centre close to the restaurant and many of them drop in on a regular basis.
I end up ordering the regulars and my faves, or I visit when they have food festival specials going on and then I try out something totally new. I could go on and on about this restaurant's food, but I'll let the pictures do the talking for a change.
Their place mats are fun and keep one occupied during the wait to satisfy hunger pangs. Filled with games and riddles, there is a pen/pencil on the table to help you pass your time constructively.
Their frequent specials include a fest/festival every quarter of a particular variety of cuisine. Have enjoyed the Bombay & Hyderabad, Punjabi, Far Eastern, Sizzler and a few other specials. The most recent one's menu is listed below. For the 1st time ever (also in my life), I tried out each and every single dish on this menu - such is my loyalty to this restaurant! :O I know, even I can't believe it. Some of the popular dishes on the festival specials may also find their way onto the regular menu. Their customer feedback form is on the iPad, which is a nice touch.
The ambience is soothing with a beautiful little garden right in the middle of the bungalow-turned-restaurant. Large glass windows overlook the cute bonsai trees and rock garden. There is also a full-grown tree that has been retained and not cut down, making this place all the more appealing to the nature enthusiast in me.
Ironically, I do not have a photo of my most indulged dish on the menu - the spicy Penne Arrabbiata! No prizes for guessing why...yes, it is attacked and wolfed down almost immediately! :)
A bustling place with pleasant service, CC is a winner all the way!
*thathas and paatis - Tamil words for elderly men and women/grandfathers and grandmothers