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Resto-bar offers great views, food with mixed bag of hits and misses

Living in a metropolis that our city has turned into, there are very few spaces for one to dine out while being close to the nature. And, if you fancy dining under the stars, the experience comes only with a hefty price tag at high-end restaurants, unless you have the luxury of an open terrace right at home.

Resto-bar offers great views, food with mixed bag of hits and misses


Making a meal under the open skies a possibility without burning too big a hole in your pocket, is La Cabana, a rooftop resto-bar at Park Elanza hotel in the heart of the city at Nungambakkam. The hotel, which was rebranded from its erstwhile avatar as Park View hotel a few months ago, is betting big on this rooftop restaurant, which has a new menu within four months after it opened doors last December.

When we visited the restaurant recently, Chennai’s skies were behaving their best — clear and full of stars. There were occasional cool breezes, making it a perfect time to visit a rooftop restaurant. The aesthetically set up two-decked rooftop comes across as quite an unexpected surprise — the lower deck with spacious cabanas and the higher one with a mini-pool and seating by the bar. Our visit happened to coincide with a couple celebrating ‘100 days of marriage’ (are we celebrating 100-day periods of weddings too?) with a huge party of friends and family taking over the lower deck with cabanas. So, we settled down on the upper deck, next to the bar. The views of the city from here were quite pleasing, except for a high-rise right next to the hotel that put a dampener on the panorama.

With a long list of kebabs, grills, steaks, pastas, and main course options in Indian and Chinese, the menu draws from a variety of cuisines. The food that landed on our table, however, was a mix of a few hits and many misses, while the drinks were underwhelming. Our order of a glass each of red wine sangria, green kiwi margarita and a watermelon margarita, resulted in only one palatable kiwi-flavoured margarita, while the other two drinks were extremely acidic. Bottled beers seemed to be a crowd favourite, perhaps for the same reason. Paneer shashlik, a grilled cottage cheese dish, was rather bland. Their murgh shola kebab, a chicken kebab with a marinade of hung curd and onion paste, is served on a hot sizzler. Despite that long preparatory method as claimed, the chicken was just insipid. Karuvepillai prawns, which are crumb-fried jumbo prawns with curry leaf powder, served in shot glasses finally emerged a winner, offering a fresh and crunchy bite. It so happened that their tandoori mushrooms stuffed with a spice mix turned out to be the best dish of the night, beating all other meat and seafood kebabs. Ordering here seemed a bit like a lottery game, you never know if and when you’ll hit the jackpot. All you can do is keep your fingers crossed.

Besides forgetful staff who took three rounds of requests to hand us cutlery, service is generally quick here. Of the main course dishes, dal makhni, which was presented as the restaurant’s best-seller, was flavourful but fell short on the creaminess that it is loved for. The fish steak, was a piece of overdone seer fish, served with a side of pulao, that lacked any seasoning. A mixed vegetable Charminar sabji eaten with a Malabar parotta was the winning dish with the veggies retaining their crunch. The desserts, mango mousse and chocolate truffle, were both extremely high on sugar content.

This resto-bar will certainly please you with its ambience and reasonable prices, but the food and drinks could use some more consistency.

La cabana
Address: Park Elanza, Valluvar Kottam High Road, Nungambakkam
Contact: 044 30205599
Timing: 6 pm to 11.30 pm
Cuisine: North Indian, south Indian, continental
Must-haves: Karuvepillai prawns, tandoori mushroom, kiwi margarita
Star rating (on 5): ***

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