Top 10 Dishes of 2020

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Yes, this wasn't a great year for eating out, but we all did manage to get some great dishes, didn't we? Travel was the biggest loss for me this year, but to make up for that, I did get some awesome dishes from Chennai itself, besides the few that got squeezed in before the lockdown kicked in and I'm super grateful for that. This year also saw a few dishes from home bakers and delivery kitchens make it to the top 10 in my little list! So, without further ado, let's go.


10. Pulingo Burger, Dabang Burgers, Chennai


Accidentally discovered on Swiggy while I was looking for a burger, the name caught my attention, but a pulled beef burger? Not very common in Chennai. As I was watching an IPL game, I found myself getting distracted by the burger. The crunchy onion rings, the beautiful meat, the right amount of sauces, all come together for a fantastic burger. This is one burger I'm going to remember for a while. And while it did start with the fancy name, the burger is more than just one with a fancy name.

9. Sweet Samosa, Ezhumalayan, Arcot

This was s total surprise. A friend passed this on saying he loves this from his hometown and when I opened it at home, the humble looking samosa didn't turn any heads. But I remembered him saying this is sweet and then it piqued my curiosity. A sweet samosa? But one bite and I was hooked. I pretty much finished the whole box by myself and I'm getting more (hopefully by tomorrow) as the couple come back from their home town. The sweet khova stuffed in a savoury looking samosa, first plays tricks with your mind before your tongue takes over and starts enjoying it! 

8. Chur Chur Naan, San:Xi, Four Seasons, Mumbai


Naan in a Pan Asian restaurant? Well, yes. And a pretty good one at that. This expansive Pan Asian restaurant has a reasonably sized Indian menu and this chur chur naan is the star of that. While we dipped it in Butter Chicken, this can go with just about anything! 

7. Paya with Idiyappam, Arifapas, Chennai

Another surprise during the lockdown, this Sunday only dish, is a fabulous home kitchen dish. Pioneered by Shafee Ahmed, this Nihari style paya is unlike any paya I've had and having grown up with idiyappam with a variety of sides, this paya is like the best of many paya worlds. With lamb trotters, a beautiful flavour fusion of the classic 'Attu Kaal Paya', and some elements of the Nihari from North India, this was a revelation of sorts. 

6. Smoked Butter Chicken, MKC, Westin, Chennai


I love this restaurant and this year I got very little of it! So when it opened up again and we had a meeting, I realised I was longing for this butter chicken. Closest to a classic butter chicken made in a tandoor, this smoked butter chicken with slightly sweet notes, is a star dish in this lovely little casual restaurant's brilliant menu that includes some fantastic other dishes and drinks like the Masala Bovonto. The next time we went, I again got the Smoked Butter Chicken, so that is how good this is.

5. Salted Caramel Rolls, Baked by Faz, Chennai

When this biriyani loving bhai started selling cinnamon rolls,  I was rather shocked. First at why this guy would sell cinnamon rolls instead of his awesome biriyani, but the bigger shock was how good these rolls were. I know he played around with baking, but had no idea that he was this good. But he outdid himself when he released a new flavour, the salted caramel. And I'm not a big salted caramel fan, so that is how good this is. If this is salted caramel, I would have been a fan, a long time ago. 

4. Tamales with Refried Beans, Mexican Food Festival, The Park, Chennai


The brilliant chef Tania was flown down from Mexico for this but unfortunately had to fly back before the flights were banned, so I was very lucky to taste her food. Since I was supposed to be in Mexico in a few days, before Corona had other plans, I enjoyed the festival even more! The Park does outstanding food festivals, one of the few big hotels in Chennai that does Food Festivals regularly, but puts in a lot of effort into each of them and this was no different. The tamales and refried beans were outstanding enough to make it an extremely memorable dish, one I will cherish for a long time. 

3. Yule Log, Gossip Bistro, Chennai

Gossip, to me, is simply one of Chennai's best restaurants. It is one of those restaurants that seems to have a heart and a soul. The loyal crowds that keep going back are testimony to that. But a Yule log is a Yule log, how much better can you make it? Well, Gossip style. A bit of this, a bit of that and they used all their resources to make a brilliant yule log. Rich yule log. I can keep going on about it, but it took a lot of effort to just cut it because you could just keep staring at it!

2. Nimona Mirch Pulao, ITC Biriyani and Pulao Collection, India


This dish prompted an entire article on its own, so that is how good this was. A meat free, stuffed chilly pulao easily beat some fancy names! ITC has taken efforts to create a delivery kitchen with dishes at nearly half the price of what you get while eating in the hotels and they have created this menu by bringing regional biriyanis to the national front. If there is one dish you should try from this awesome menu, it has to be dish. Oh, the complimentary fat gulab jamun that comes along is no pushover either.

1. Steak Sandwich, Shakespeare and Co, Dubai


A sandwich? In the number one spot? Indeed.  Late into the night, after a nearly 30 minute wait, this 'simple' steak sandwich arrives to our table in what was otherwise a rather uninteresting meal. A meal that was a cover for a discussion, but this one dish stole the show. Yes, it looks great and it tasted even better that night. Succulent meat, the right fillings in a sourdough-ish bread, Yum! 

So this is it. See you all on the other side of the new year and let's hope and pray that 2021 brings in many more dishes, happiness and prosperity for all of us. Wishing you all a very happy new year. 

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Grub Waz: Top 10 Dishes of 2020
Top 10 Dishes of 2020
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