Now Chennai and Chennai-ites are no strangers to vegetarianism. So if yet another vegetarian restaurant opens its doors to Chennai, it comes as no surprise. If you are one of those who raise their eye brows when one talks of fine dining and a vegetarian restaurant in the same breath, then you need to think again! So when a fine dining vegetarian restaurant opens in Chennai, the fare it has to offer, should be different. Influence is just that…
The interiors of Influence are designed by none other than Manish Malhotra. In fact, his designer’s signature lends itself to the uniforms worn by the waiters too! The interiors can be described as plush and swanky done in shades of beige, brown and slathered with gold. Spread over 5000 sq. feet it gives you a feeling of space as you enter. Flower filled ponds, dim lighting, unusual furnishing, attractive paintings all add to creating a magical aura.
The menu rambles on endlessly offering a range of health drinks and juices to invigorate and rejuvenate. They also have an array of cream based soups, but what caught my eye was the tomato soup served with real gold leaf. The cuisine is more fusion than distinctive. You can take your pick from spinach balls stuffed with melting mozzarella, risottos for the rice lovers of Chennai, Vietnamese paper rolls, unusual combination salads and penne delicately flavoured with herbs and laced with invigorating tomato puree.
Their range of pizzas is extensive and they come with exotic asparagus, olive oil, fromaggio, jalapenos and chives. Fusion foods like paneer with Dijon mustard and mango sauce for dumplings aroused our taste buds. The desserts were rich and creamy, but their chocolate desserts were to die for!
If fusion food is not your scene, then you too have a choice! They have an entire desi menu for you to savour: dal makhni,tadka daal, palak makai, paneer pasanda, crisp cauliflower, vegetable biryani, butter naans, pudina and lachchedar paratha! The usual in terms of choice, but the unusual in terms of taste: the food was particularly tasty and not floating with oily masala!
Touted as the first lifestyle luxury restaurant in Chennai, it can best be described as avant garde and indeed a good influence! Despite the calm you sense upon entering the restaurant, it wasn’t particularly quiet. A tad expensive, but the good food and ambience made you feel it was good value for money!