Thursday, 24 May 2012

Eco Cafe, Chamiers - Eat more with your eyes

Chamiers has always held fond memories for me. My first time there was at the property right opposite to where it is now. The outdoors were amazing especially post monsoons.

It was at the Eco Cafe that I had my first sip of spicy hot chocolate after wading through some heavy rains way back in November 2010.

Today was very hot in Chennai and I was too sleepy. I'd left work early so I could catch up on some sleep before I headed to Eco Cafe. I woke up with a start, to find that it was already quarter past 6. I didn't want to rush through the traffic, with what me being an almost-victim to an unabashed auto driver yesterday. Surprisingly all lights turned green and I just zoomed ahead and had reached Chamiers in under 15 minutes.

First one to arrive, I just wandered a bit, trying to get some pictures. Slowly the foodies trickled in. There were an overload of DSLRs around. There was a tripod and Doc had the external flash too. It was tricky shooting inside the cafe, as it was dimly lit in yellow. Flash made things worse, and I was a little rusty to shoot without flash. So, pardon my jaundiced pictures. (Kamalika - picasa link here -

If I had to rate the food based on presentation, Eco Cafe would score a perfect 10. Unfortunately, we just can't eat with our eyes. :-)

The food was ordered in random; obviously we weren't fine dining.

The veg chowder soup, was crumbly and the right temperature. (The soup bowl was chipped. Chamiers to take note - you really DO NOT serve in chipped bowls). Bruschetta was crisp and thankfully didn't soak with the tomatoes. I quite couldn't figure out what the other toppings were. You just can't go wrong with the potatoes - the wedges were perfect. (Eh.. well, I did mess up the aloo capsicum once and S was kind enough to tell me it was okay, but I felt super guilty throughout that day)

The chocolate almond milk was too nutty with the almond flavor overpowering everything else.

I'd always liked a pasta salad, and the ingredients here were interesting. Roasted aubergines, zucchini, bell peppers, thyme and balsamic. It was total let down when a forkful was eased into the mouth. The aubergines weren't roasted and were completely raw. Pasta was under cooked (I know pasta has to be al-dente, but this was one below al-dente). Neither was there thyme, nor balsamic. The flavor was lacking.

The cinnamon-apple cake is usually an all time favorite but today's piece was cold and probably old as well. It didn't feel fresh. But hey, the spicy hot chocolate was just perfect as always ! The waffles were right on the money - neither too crunchy nor too soft, with the honey doing the honors. The pancakes were good, so was the maple syrup. The chocolate sauce on the waffles had a benadryl-y flavor. Something was just not right with the chocolate sauce.

The club sandwich was decent. The penne pasta with mushrooms and pesto had too much pesto and olives. In a nutshell, every dish had one ingredient that was over powering (mostly the pesto / olives) and we couldn't quite catch the flavor of the other ingredients.

That said, the mushroom risotto with ratatouille was perfect. Perfect risotto, not too soggy not too dry and not too many mushrooms. The caramel custard with oranges by the side, was pleasing to the eye, and to the taste buds as well.

I'd go there again for the spicy hot chocolate and perhaps for the sandwiches and the waffles and of course for the laid back ambiance. Slightly over priced, and over powering flavors in some of the dishes could be a sore point with the Eco Cafe. Having said that, I'd certainly recommend Chamiers for the sheer joy of sitting in a quiet environment and sipping the hot chocolate on a rainy day.


  1. Good post Deeps..The wedges look inviting..Not a big fan of hot chocolate (or in general chocolate) myself..Foodies? Did you go as a group?

    1. Anna - you've heard of CFG? :) Chennai Food Guide. Do check the FB page.

  2. Well, guess you caught them on a bad day , usually i found the food better , but definitely not a place i would go just for the food... more of a place to hang out and chat...

    1. Koushik - yes, that's precisely why I go there too. And the spicy cinnamon hot chocolate is my permanent order there. No one makes it better !

  3. Last night made me realise i am happy going there for my meetings and sipping on the Hot chocolate!! :) havent ventured beyond that till last night... They should get their act together and notch it up on food front


Munch on....