I recently visited Minar for the first time during their Nematkhana Festival which showcased the dishes that the legendary Qureshi brothers have created for their special guests from Bill Clinton to Amitabh Bacchan to Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
I was quite surprised by the fact that Chennai is home to a restaurant whose menu has been crafted by chefs from the same family who cooked for the erstwhile Nawab of Awadh. Expectations, were obviously high.
Enter the restaurant and even a Nawab wouldnt feel too out of place. Grand chandeliers, plush cushioned chairs and a live quwali to boot, the place does set the right mood for a royal meal. They have a terrace too which Im sure is lovelier but the rains played spoilsport and we had to sit inside.
Coming to the food part this was their festival menu and hence they had only limited dishes. We had 4 starters 2 veg and 2 non veg. The veg kebabs were average at best but I wouldnt judge a place like this based on the vegetarian fare. The 2 non veg dishes the potli kebab (minced chicken wrapped in chicken skin and slow cooked on the tandoor) and the mahi dum anari (fish stuffed with bell peppers and pomegranates with a white sauce) were simply excellent. More than the taste it was the idea that had me floored Im sure both dishes are inspired from other cuisines but I must say that have been adapted really well.
Then came the main course biryani. Let me just say that the biryani did precious little to change my opinion about the fact that Chennai has a hopeless biryani scene. It wasnt bad but it was nothing great either.
The manager showed us their regular menu which looked quite extensive and he seemed quite confident that we would enjoy it more but then they pay him to say that. Would I go there again? Its hard to say I do want to try their rooftop, preferably with some beer and the starters that I know are good but I doubt I would be interested in shelling out over 300 bucks for the average main course that they serve.