Going to Pondy on a long weekend without a room booking or a place to stay is, well, ambitious. But when you decide at 3 pm to take a drive and leave Chennai at 330 PM, there is no time to make bookings. That is another story, though. But the next day, driving to Puthur Jayaram mess and onward to Tranquebar and then arriving at 10 PM in Pondy, again without a room is a bigger mess.
But then, we were hungry. What's the worse that could happen? We'll have to sleep on the beach, right? So be it. A bigger problem had to be tackled. Hunger. After going up and down over half a dozen restaurants only to be told that there are no tables, le Chateu came as a saving grace as one family had finished dinner by 10 and the owner was willing to let us have that table. Our legs thanked us more than the tummies. Our 'vegetarian for the month' friend got himself a platter. Unluckily for him, it tasted good, so the two of us also dug our fingers. He ordered a mushroom cheese crostini which was also good, so we wolfed down four of the six. Fish n chips came and he stared at it while we gulped it down. "I will get my revenge soon," he said. No mind voice. Tongue voice.
But he had seen nothing yet. We had ordered something called the Chateau Special on the menu. They forgot about it. "We need to find a room, let's go," he said. Two of us refused to budge. We told the waiter that we'll wait if he can bring it. The owner came over, apologised and in about ten minutes we got a beautiful looking plate of food. The continental kitchen is on the ground floor, the Indian kitchen is here, he said pointing to the kitchen. We are running mad today and hence the confusion, he explained.
Four thinly sliced beef wrapped around veggies! A wonderful dish, with soft beef, not seasoned too much and taking flavours from the carrot inside served with a buttery, though not super smooth, mashed potato. That was the dish of our 3 day, 3 destinations unplanned trip.
Not wanting to test his patience and resilience when we oohed and aahed over our dish, he ordered two desserts for himself. Flan, a custard caramel for all practical purposes, was fabulous. The cheesecake was blah. Yes, we tried both too. After trying our luck asking the owner if he had a room, which BTW was received with a huge laugh, we were on our way after paying the bill of about Rs. 2700 (which included the alcohol) that my two friends had.
We finally found a place to crash at 1 AM. No, it wasn't the beach.