However, when it comes to continental food, good options are limited to five-star properties; spaces that might be either intimidating or too expensive for many. It is to bridge this gap that Deepak Padmanaban has opened Aristos.
As you enter the eatery, it delights you with warm, intimate lighting, wooden furniture and interiors. The starched white tablecloths that are de rigueur in luxury restaurants are ditched here in favour of bare wood, creating a feeling of tranquillity. Meanwhile, the menu is quite impressive with a range of hors d’oeuvres, an extensive main course spread with emphasis on seafood including clams, oysters and scallops that are not easily available at stand-alone restaurants.
We started the meal with French onion soup. This portion of red meat stock served with caramelised onions and croutons was rich in flavour, while the black pepper, bay leaf and thyme seasoning is perfect for sore throat. For starters, we tried the seafood vol-au-vent (a small hollow case of puff pastry). The mildly sweet taste of the fish and shrimp stuffing complemented the heat from the spices. We also binged on herb-grilled shrimp with its hint of herbs, peppery olive oil, and tangy vinegar made for an irresistible appetiser. Salad lovers can opt for the classic ceasar salad, tuna pasta salad or grilled fresh beans with honey.
We kick-started the main course with the grilled ouzo and nutmeg lamb chops. The smoky flavour of the succulent lamb blends seamlessly with the fragrant ouzo while also accentuating the nutmeg’s sweetness. From the seafood options, we indulged in grilled fish with lemon butter sauce.
While the fish was fresh, it was a little overcooked. We were then treated to grilled lobster. Tender, juicy and moist, the lobster was cooked to perfection. The butter, lemon and garlic combined to create a buttery dressing, that added a punch to the dish.
For desserts, we tried something that is rather unheard of. The owner insisted that we try the oyster with tequila shooters. While we were initially apprehensive, it’s worth a shot. A cross between a cocktail and an entree , these fiery oyster shooters are quite an adventure. Oyster shooters, traditionally, are with both oyster and alcohol sitting in a shot glass together. But here, it is served separately. Deepak says you’ll get more flavour if you chew the oyster before taking the shot—but slurping is also acceptable. While there is the sharp taste of tequila, the oyster tastes like ocean, minus the salt. The texture, which is a big part of the experience, is a little like the white part of an over-cooked fried egg, but has less rubbery feel to it.
We finished the meal with gorgeous baklava. It was flaky, crisp and was not overwhelmingly sweet. The airy, crunchy layers of dough soaked with honey and the centre filling of nuts make this dish heavenly.
Aristos Bistro, Indira Nagar, Adyar
Must try: Grilled ouzo and nutmeg lamb chops, oyster with tequila shooters and baklava
Contact: 044 3301 1553