A Review of the Hip Madras Kitchen Company Restaurant in the Westin Hotel in Chennai

a review of the hip madras kitchen company restaurant in the westin hotel in chennai

February 25th, 2022

Chennai in the more recent years has seen a steady growth in options for more expensive dining experiences ranging from the classic fine dining option to the more casual and trendier choices. For the over 40 years, the Taj Coromandel hotel was apparently the only 5 star hotel in the city and though it continues to serve up some fantastic cuisine as you can read from my experience there, Chennai with its steady growth of star hotels everywhere is now awash in choices for different kinds of dining experiences. Now do not misunderstand me, Chennai and indeed much of India has always had some amazing and unmatched local food which during my recent stay there I partook of in plenty, but variety is always nice and I was excited to try out one of Chennai's relatively newer trendy spots - the Madras Kitchen Company.

The Madras Kitchen Company is located on an upper storey just above the main lobby of the Westin Hotel which is part of the Marriott umbrella. It is located in the Velachery neighborhood of Chennai, not too far from the airport. Though I did not get a chance to stay at the hotel itself, it seemed like an impressive new addition to the city's star hotel choices and something to consider for travelers looking to stay closer to the airport. Passing through the lobby I stopped by to look at the hotel's "Seasonal Tastes" Buffet restaurants which is another well known dining choice in the city and almost seems like a part of the wide lobby area thanks to the open design without a separating wall. I noticed it is common for hotels in India to have at least one Buffet restaurant though I am not personally a fan of this dining style.

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The lobby of the Westin at Velchery in Chennai

The Madras Kitchen Company greets you as soon you arrive on the upper floor with prominent displays of the letters "M", "K", "C" on the signage and even emblazoned on the lamps behind a wide glass window revealing the interior of a dining area with a modern vibe. The seating style with its coffee tables and low chairs along with racks of kettles and tea pots next to potted plants on the walls gives the vibe of a hip lounge rather than a full restaurant or even a bar. This is not a complaint though, all this alongside the retro styled posters does the whole place a very interesting ambiance that I rather liked. I did have one thing about the interior that I did not like though, I wasn't a huge fan of the cage like section in the middle, I thought it would have been nice to extend the open vibe of the place without that obstructing the view from its prominent and unavoidable position in the middle.

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At the entrance of the Madras Kitchen Company

Now getting to the food, and of course the drinks. First off the menu was styled like the local section of a newspaper, which I think would have been cool to flip through and read, but with the pandemic protocols and QR codes for a menu, it wasn't quite the same on a phone screen and I think they would be better off bringing the actual menu pages back at this point to complete the vibe. That really is the last of my nit picking, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and of course the food and the cocktails are the most important reasons for that in any restaurant and on that front Madras Kitchen Company delivered.

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Not happy about this cage, but otherwise I really liked the interior and décor

The cocktail selection was small, just a handful of cocktails, but we sampled a few of them and had no complaints. It was a refreshing selection perfectly designed for the heat and atmosphere of Chennai and I would certainly liked to sip those in front of the sea. From the food choices, the menu is eclectic, with a mix of south and north Indian dishes alongside a random mix of south east Asian items. My party stuck entirely to the India section of the menu, being a traveler I really wanted to have as much Indian cuisine as I could, though I did pick a Tiramisu for dessert. It wasn't bad, though very different from what you would expect from a "traditional" Tiramisu. To name the actual drinks we tried, both the "Mallikai" or Jasmine and the "Matui" or Pomegranate Gins cocktails and the "Tenkay" or Coconut Vodka cocktail.

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The Khaman Chokla Chaat was my favorite dish of the evening

Our favorite item was from the small plates section - the Khaman Dhokla chaat - which was a modern take on the classic Indian savory group of snacks called chaat. This was perfectly flavored fried flour that left all of us wishing we ordered more of it. The corn fritter snack was also delicious as was the Nethili Meen fry - a fragrant fish fry dish I have pictured here in the article. We also tried the Madras Kitchen Company Signature main - the MKC mutton Biryani which was delectable. For the dessert I mentioned already, the tasty but rather non traditional Tiramisu that I also have pictured here.

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Meen or Fish Fry

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Dessert

That finished a very enjoyable evening for us at the Madras Kitchen Company. Leaving I was very serious about finding the time to return to it perhaps for a quick lunch to get the Dhokla chaat and perhaps sample some of the other items on the menu with another cocktail, I am certain I would have enjoyed that very much, but in the end my schedule did not permit me, mainly because I opted for trying out other restaurants. Perhaps next time I am in town. In the mean time, I can happily recommend this restaurant if you find yourself looking for a trendy place to go in Chennai with good drinks and good food.