Honestly, we were taken by surprise on entering the beautiful facade of J.Hind, located at the Grand by GRT Hotel, Chennai. The city is so popular for it’s South Indian food, we certainly didn’t expect to experience molecular gastronomy at it’s best.
J. Hind (an abbreviation for Jugalbandi Hindustani which means Indian fusion) offers a progressive approach to dining; fusing modern culinary techniques with traditional Indian cuisine, resulting in a truly unique experience for its diners. Knowing this there was no way we could deny the kind invite to review this fabulous restaurant. J.Hind opened it’s doors soon after the Chennai floods in 2016 and has been around for 1.5 years. So if you live in Chennai, Love your food and have never been here, shame on you!
Ambiance & Decor
Before we devoured into the food, Mr. Vikram Cotah – COO of GRT Hotels & Resorts, shared some interesting insights about the restaurant. J.Hind is a boon born out of the Chennai floods. The rampage caused by 24 feet of water that covered almost the lower half of the hotel, led Mr. Cotah and his team to redo the entire place in just 90 days!
This drove them to partner with renowned designer Krsna Mehta of India Circus to create stunning interiors and decor. Most of the pop up art motifs you see have been custom created and designed for J.Hind giving the space a quirky yet antiquity charm. We love the detailing and inspiration behind each piece of installation. Be it the chandeliers inspired by traditional bali’s (indian tribal earrings) or the exquisite restored stone pillars and arches transported from havelis in Jaipur. Every element is just top notch.
We were impressed with J.Hind’s innovative menu, which offers an eclectic 9 course meal. Diners get to savour everything from the Chettinadu Noodle Wrap Prawn to the Basil and Rose Ice cream, where the chef makes your dish right in front of you. Interactive from start to finish, there wasn’t a single dull moment at this fine dining hotspot. Therefore, allow us to take you on a culinary tour of some of our favourite dishes.
Our dinner began with Coffee Mishti Doi shots served with Avocado and Chilly Dragon fruit. Mishti Doi is a fermented yoghurt based bengali sweet, but at J.Hind it was served as an Amuse Bouche with a hint of coffee that was simply delicious. And if that seemed fun and unusual, this was further paired with avocado and dragon fruit that was instantly turned into jelly (spherification). On gobbling up these spheres, the explosion in our mouths created the perfect symphony of all things sweet and spicy.
Next on our table was Karivembu Annasi. Because plain old pineapple just ain’t good enough, the chefs here served a jar full of this garden fresh fruit in chunks with a twist of curry leaf dressing and pomegranate drizzle.
The Stock Pot
What came next was too good to be true. A pot of Tomato Prawn Shorba that was generously served with hummus and khakhra on the side. While serving the soup from a tea pot, a cute little tea bag containing dehydrated spices was placed in our bowl to give you the impression of drinking tea. Loved the clear consistency of the soup and the flavours it brought out through the foaming technique.
Chat On Chat
Another creatively inspired appetizer was the Indian Focaccia Chat. Watching this dish being prepared in front of us was truly entertaining. So the Indian equivalent of the Italian Focaccia is the Dokhla, a popular Gujrati snack that’s made with rice and chickpeas. While our server was constructing the chat using sweet tamarind chutney, mint chutney, spices, sev and papdi, the chef placed the chunks of dokhla in nitrogen oxide freezing it at a temperature of -190 degree celsius. After this process, the dhokla which is now completely solid, is shattered into pieces on the plate. The dhokla then gets re-hydrated and the entire dish is garnished with fresh pomegranate, coriander and a blend of spices which is added based on your spice preference. The taste by the end of it was delicious, and left us wanting more.
After all that street drama, next up we were served with ‘Dravidian Delights’ like Pazha Dosa Pops (mini dosa bites with banana and nuts) and Gun Powder Arancini Rice Balls (Indian style arancini). But the dishes that took our heart were the Marina Beach Nethili Fry & the Chettinadu Noodle Wrap Prawn. Seems like presentation is key at J.Hind, so why serve crispy fried locally caught anchovies marinated with dravidian spices plain, when you can serve it on a boat. But nothing beats the flavour of Chettinadu prawns wrapped in crunchy noodles. We could munch on these all day long; with a glass of our favourite white wine Sangria of course!
All Fired Up
Savouring some of the best seafood and tandoori dishes such as Achari Pomfret, Wasabi Chicken Tikka and Seekh Kabas at J.Hind was an absolute delight. As they say the show must go on, our servers continued to surprise us by cooking these dishes live on our table using the blowtorch technique. Furthermore allowing the spices to blend in well with the meat, making it soft and succulent.
Before the mains were brought to out to the table, we were presented with a Pineapple Rasam Sorbet in the form of a chuski that served as a great palate cleanser.
The Real Deal
We wondered if we have the space to try the main course after the amazing spectacles we experienced and the exquisite food we just ate. Well gluttony might be a sin, but not at J.Hind. Main course began with the Great Southern Indian Railway Co. Chicken Curry. A traditional railway recipe of the British Raj, plated in banana leaves containing lump rice, served with chicken curry cooked in wholesome spices. Most of all, being served on a mini train did add some charm and character to this dish.
Another interesting dish was the Paneer Roulade with Chilman curry. Probably the softest paneer dish we’ve had till date, the roulade added a crisp yet soft texture to the dish and the curry mostly made out of beetroot was flamed giving it a caramelized flavour. Yet another vegetarian delight was the Curried Mac & Cheese Bake. Spiced up macaroni, loaded with cheddar cheese will definitely give the original dish a run for their money.
Finally, our last two dishes as part of main course were Lamb Shank Nihari served with Tandoori Potato Mash and Gilli Murg Biryani. The presentation of the lamb was average, however it was big on taste and flavour. The Gilli Murg Biryani tasted like Butter Chicken biryani, soaked in rich gravy, making it highly addictive. If you love your butter chicken like we do, you are bound to fall in love with this dish.
On breaking bread with baby Missi Rotis and M4, one can go high on the taste of magic mushrooms, blended with fresh peas in a creamy malai based gravy. The presentation was gorgeous (wish we had taken a better picture) and the play on the rotis was super cute.
For dessert we started off with Tender Coconut pudding served with edible orchids. Although we were stuffed after a heavy meal, this dessert played light on the tummy. Ultimately we called it a night with the amazing and refreshing Basil and Rose Ice cream. The best part about this dish was that the ice cream was made from scratch at our table. After whipping cream in nitrogen oxide, the chef took fresh basil leaves and rose petals, froze them in nitrogen oxide as well, and then crushed them into bits, adding it to the ice cream. Voila! We felt like we were back in Italy gorging on freshly made gelato that fused rose petals and pesto in one serving. Absolutely genius and addictively delicious.
- The perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, hence reserve a table in advance.
- We recommend you try the degustation menu versus the al a carte menu. This menu keeps changing once a month and it will help you sample the best that J.Hind has to offer.
- If you like your food with drinks, then ask your server for their list of alcohol and wine pairings. They will recommend drinks that go well with the dishes you have ordered.
Grand by GRT Hotels,
120, Sir Thyagaraya Road, T. Nagar,
For Reservations call 044 33011421
Rs. 2,500 for 2 people (approx.) excluding VAT & service charge
Value for money: 4.5/5