Monday, June 9, 2014
The Eater's Digest - 10
"If you are late, we can't guarantee seats, sir", said the manager when we called ahead to book a table. The restaurant has been generating a lot of buzz in recent weeks and it also happened to be on the way back from work. We had seen the crowds outside and knew that the manager was not putting up airs; we made sure we were well ahead of time.
The outside looks quite like a film set, the way we know jails should look like. Grey facade, with a door that is completely plain except for the iron bands breaking it into large square panels. A barred peephole lets you look inside; the light that comes out reminds you of oily naked incandescent bulbs that do more to emphasize the darkness than provide any light. Forbidding. But we have reservations and we go inside. Much of the restaurant is like any other, tables, seats, lots of noise and light. But we had a request, we needed a cell.
Turns out we had to specify that when booking, but since we were a small group, an empty cell was easily found. We had to wait a little while the 'prisoner' set the table. The 'jailer' was quite attentive and we got to sit quite soon. There! We were at Kaidi Kitchen (Convicts' Kitchen) - a concept that has reached Chennai from Kolkata, where it is headquartered. Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese... and Mongolian. We played it safe and the food did not disappoint. But more than the food, it was the ambience we went for - and that was quite paisa vasool, thanks to kaidi # 108 who served us in cell J2!