A few years back, in one of Malaysia's mall, I spotted a quaint little outlet. They had only 5 items on the menu - a choice of spring rolls, a choice of momos, a choice of fried rice/noodles/crispy noodles where you can choose the style, the sauce and the meat and two desserts! Food was excellent there!
Today, when I wanted a change from the usual Subway and Quiznos for lunch and with the rest of my friends not here, I headed, alone to Ishpahani! Luckily for me, I spotted two standees, Chat on Chaat and Chat on Chinese -1st Floor! I headed to the first floor and saw two restaurants, very similar in decor and I walked into the Chinese side of it. Apparently the Chaat restaurant is pure veg and the Chinese is the non veg, but they will serve the Chaat here, but not Chinese in the Chaat restaurant! Makes sense!
The menu was almost exactly the same as the Malaysian outlet I was talking about! They had just two starters - a spring roll and momos - both with veg and non veg options. I went straight to the main course and I, being a big fan of crispy noodles, chose the crispy noodles, went with the Mushroom sauce and diced chicken. They had a 'Signature' Chilly Garlic sauce, but I was not in the mood for anything spicy. A big bunch of college kids occupied about 15 seats and there was one other gentleman on one of tables apart from me. The place can accomodate about 30-35 people! The spoons were fancy - both fork and spoon on the same thing, but not very useful as you can use only one! And if you want to use the other side, you will have to wipe it first!
The food arrived and I loved it. It was brilliant combination of crisp, saucy and stuff on the noodles. There were lots of veggies with brocoli and stuff, a good helping of chicken and the right amount of noodles! I also tried their cheesecake which I thought was very different - it was a layered cheese cake and it tasted reasonably ok!
There is nothing much to try here, but I am wondering if a Chinese place with only 5 items on the menu will survive in Chennai. If they maintain the quality and taste, they might be a hit with the working group and maybe even the offices within Ishpahani, but the place I was talking about in Malaysia was in a mall and therefore has higher footfalls. Also, many restaurants have failed in that space as I think more people will prefer Coffee Day as a time tested outlet. Only time will tell, but the concept is here now and it is worth a shot! Next time, I would want to try out the chaats!
Ishpahani is on Nungambakkam High Road and this is on the first floor, next to Coffee Day.