Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt, Chennai - Restaurant Review

The Flying Elephant has been on the restaurant circuit for a bit, and i remember hearing about the hype and the hoopla that surrounded it for a while. There was talk about the many levels within the restaurant, the 6 kitchens in the restaurant and how the waiters break into a Harlem shake kind of rendition of Gangnam style. Good stuff about the food as well was also doing the rounds. Not to mention how expensive it all was. We had an out-of-towner with us this weekend, my brother of the Mycaptureoftime fame. He had heard exciting things about the restaurant too and he was  also particular we tried it out. So, decked out in fancy sandals and our sartorial best, we headed out on a Saturday night for a promised night of sumptuous and glitzy revelry.

You know how the first impression about a place sets the tone for an experience? That sort of happened here. I remember thinking to myself that the hospitality at the entrance of the hotel is in dire need of makeover. But  i convinced myself that it was but a minor detail, and we were escorted to the restaurant.

It suddenly dawned on me where the hype about the various levels in the restaurant came from. It is laid out in a unique manner, with a central mezzanine like well. We did not have a chance to walk around and explore the restaurant, thanks to some certain turn of events about which i will discuss in the coming paragraph. The décor is good, a tad confused but probably could pass off as avant-garde.

I am handed the drinks menu (probably i'm the only one in the group that looks like a person who drinks.  And for those who do not know me, that was sarcasm. i very rarely drink when in restaurants, especially overpriced ones!) and we peruse and we decide to go for the New York Smash and a regular pint of beer. I choose to stick to my glass of water and we order a plate of the dimsum starters. While we wait, we tell our server we are bloggers and ask if we can take pics. He says yes, and we proceed to get the artillery out. I stick to my iPad, but my brother, the photo blogger/avid foodie takes out his trusted Canon and we get up and walk to the grilling station and try to click pics of the action. 

Observation: the chefs behind the counters give a quizzical look, and i realize, they are not used to being photographed at work. Or if they are, they don't seem happy about it. I smile and try to re-assure a chef by telling him the bread he sent to the table is very nice when we are interrupted by our server. He asks again and tells us the pictures should not be shared on a platform and such, and i again explain to him, that we are bloggers, we are taking pictures of the restaurant and the food for the blogs, and that these are not for sale. He tells us his manager will get back to us. We say ok and head back to our table to wait. The momos arrive, and they are good. Definitely small portions, but good, and served with a super hot dip.

For the main course, I had opted for the Grilled salmon with caramelized beets and toasted hazlenuts. The other dishes doing the rounds were Pork Spare Ribs and Lamb Chops with artichokes.
The NY Smash is a good drink, though we don't get much of it (the big fancy block of ice takes up more volume in the glass than the cocktail itself), but its a smooth, bourbon based drink nonetheless.
We are still waiting for the manager or the server to come and let us know the verdict when the server appears and tells us the manager will be talking to us. Disappointed, we continue to wait patiently. Eventually, the food arrives. The salmon is cooked well, but being a reasonably thick chunk of meat, could do with more seasoning. I was a fan of the caramelized beets, i thought it complemented the salmon very well. Just that there was very little of it. The fish was placed on a bed of mint paste, of which i was not a fan. The mint was bordering on bitter, but i didn't mind it much, the beets covered it for me. Oh, also, the few toasted hazelnuts scattered around the fish.
The pork ribs were cooked very well again: tender, soft and pretty much falling off the bone. The lamb chops was again, cooked well, with a trace of pink in the center. It, again, could do with a bit more seasoning, but was still alright.

Please remember, the promised manager has not appeared yet, and we are done with the main course.
This lack of basic courtesy puts us off and we decide we do not want the dessert. We ask for the cheque, hoping for a 'feedback form' as well, but we get just the cheque (perhaps they are confident of the feedback they'll get). We pay, and on our way out, tell the server that the manager has not come to meet us. He replies saying 'He is downstairs, you can meet him on his way out.' !!!
Imagine the gall!

In a few words, the experience and the service were a major let-down. The food was good (but terribly and unjustifiably overpriced). Probably we had a bad day but there are these other things that you expect when dining at a luxury 5 star restaurant, like courteous, good service. or even more basic things such as replenishing the glass when requested or greeting the guests and making you feel welcome. The Flying Elephant failed miserably in this area that particular day. Would i go back? Most probably not, not for a while at least.
Sadly, the saving grace, the food (and not the half baked attempt of the waiters at dancing to PSY's Gangnam style), was eclipsed by everything else. So, in all, a forgettable experience at the over hyped, exorbitantly priced Flying Elephant.

P.S: I eventually did click pics of the food we ate and a couple of other pics we clicked before the good server came and told us to hold the shutters. The photographs are processed on VSCO.


  1. I am on the side of the chefs.. look at the sloppy slouched one! Who wants to be photographed like that!!!! Hehehehehehe

  2. You should have smashed the NY smash on their heads! :)

  3. Mummy: Then he probably needs a class on the advantages of good posture/etiquette! :P or probably he was tired and over worked. In that case, probably the photograph is a good thing, maybe his superiors will see it and start noticing their employees :)

    Walia: Ha ha! we did contemplate that Walia but peace ruled :D

  4. I think a lot of places of late are more hype then substance. I love your narration,very subtle but definitely conveys the message.

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