A memorable buffet
For one who is used to the $7.95 buffets in the suburban Indian restaurants in the United states that normally feature a set of trays with Bunsen burners warming the food, under a glass hood with hand written labels describing Indian food such as chhole in terms such as ‘Chick Peas in gravy’, the GRT Chennai’s buffet’s ambiance was a real treat.
What a spread! The variety in food and the apparent freshness was eye catching. First, the salads. Colorful variety of salads. A couple of soups in soup pots.
Then there was the appetizers in the form of cutlets and other patties. The cutlets were a little on the spicy side, but were hot and fresh and appetizing.
Then there was the South Indian spread, the North Indian spread, a European spread and an Oriental selection; all this just on the vegetarian side. The South Indian spread featured spicy Chettinadu Items – a rice and a few vegetable dishes. There was also a sumptuous looking curd rice and of course the irresistible curd-vadai (dahi vada).
There were nans galore served on your table and a variety of sabjis to go with them. There was a ratatouille kind of a dish and another vegetable casserole, which was a full meal in itself.
Ah! This was not the end. There was a pasta counter where you could order your pasta custom made. Pasta with vegetables and an Indian touch is always great. There was also a custom chat section that I did not even venture into. I had to ration what I ate, in order to do justice to what went in and then still have room for dessert.
The dessert display was like the kolu arrangement during Navaratri. I am sure that a lot of planning goes into the visual aspect of it. As I always say, half the taste lies in good presentation. Raspberry mousse cake, Chocolate mousse, other layered cakes and puddings, chum chums, cashew barfis and so on, there was quite a diversity in national origin. Names that one had not even heard of. And for the traditional South Indian, there was also the payasam.
Needless to say, on a lazy Sunday afternoon in December there was quite a bit of patronage. Grandpas and grandmas with their children and grandchildren from abroad, holidaying in Chennai, couples celebrating something special, groups of friends, a diverse range of families — just an observation of who went for what and how many times was interesting.
How do they keep the place clean? How do they manage food odors? How do they make the entire spread look appetizing? How do they recycle leftover food? (I am sure food is frozen and thawed and reprocessed).
Questions apart, it is clear they are successful in getting repeat customers. I who went back for numerous helpings, am sure to go back there again for more visits.