Variety

Taj Kefi review - Mediterranean moments

Archana Achal Ketaki Bhojnagarwala | Updated on June 27, 2012

Outdoor seating at Kefi, Taj Club House   -  BUSINESS LINE

La Sopa de bacalao   -  BUSINESS LINE

Spanakos Menemen   -  BUSINESS LINE

Twinking blue fairy lights, warm candlelight and a breathtaking view of the city – Kefi, the Mediterranean restaurant at the Taj Club House in Chennai scores a perfect ten for ambience. However, in order to keep up with the growing demand of quality and authentic Mediterranean food, the restaurant has decided to revamp its menu based on popular requests by diners. We stopped by on a cloudy evening to sample the fare.

Sit-out style

Kefi is the rooftop restaurant at the Club House and its Mediterranean menu includes the cuisine of Spain, Turkey, Greece, Morocco and Lebanon. Apart from offering diners more choice in terms of the menu, the restaurant has also introduced the concept of ‘Celebrations at Kefi'. Guests can call in advance and have a menu specially created with inputs from Executive Chef Siddiq, to celebrate a special moment or a special someone. They can choose to sit by the serene pool or under a white tent in one of the cosy cabanas, order a bottle of champagne and raise a toast to the high life while sampling dishes from the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean journey

The menu at Kefi draws inspiration from the full-bodied flavours of the Mediterranean. We were served an amuse bouche of creamy goat's cheese sandwiched between two blinis. The attention paid to plating and visual appeal was evident in this dish. The bite-sized stack packed a punch in terms of balanced flavour. The sangria, available in a choice of orange and apple, cut the saltiness of the cheese with its minty hit. This combination definitely served its purpose of whetting our appetites.

The starters that followed were Med favourites such as the Spanakopita, hummus and grilled potatoes with Halloumi cheese. The Spanakopita pastry was perfectly flaky, just about holding in the spinach, feta cheese and pine nuts while the hummus, which we ate with warm pita bread was lightly flavoured with onions, tomatoes, parsley and a pinch of za'atar, that ubiquitous Middle Eastern spice mix. Our top pick though was the grilled Halloumi dish, a must try for anyone who loves this Cypriot cheese.

There are a variety of grilled imported meats on offer for the main course. Depending in the cuisine chosen, the flavour from the grill will differ. One can also try the lamb kebabs spiced with sumac or the Spanish-style chicken with sweet paprika, red peppers and tomatoes with a side of pumpkin risotto. The chicken was hearty and subtly flavoured while the risotto, always a risky choice at restaurants was cooked just right.

There's no dearth of choice for vegetarians either, who can choose from the homemade leek ravioli, paella with spring vegatables, and grilled halloumi and vegetables. Chef Siddiq recommended the Sebze Guvec, a hearty stew with artichokes, zucchini, okra, broccoli and peppers. The sauce which is made from a paste of smoked aubergine and tomatoes was rich but not overwhelming, so you can still taste the tanginess of the artichokes and sweetness of the peppers. The stew is served with Arabian rice, cooked to perfection and garnished with vermicelli and char-grilled artichokes.

Sweet treats

A Mediterranean meal must always end on a sweet note, the options for which are aplenty at Kefi. The traditional Turkish baklava was surprisingly light and offered with a choice of pistachios, walnuts or almonds, depending on your nut preference. The Mozaik cake is cocoa heaven and is a wonderfully strange combination of salt and sweet, while the Middle Eastern Knafe Jibneh made with cheese and fine, shredded pastry is an interesting option. A steaming hot cup of Turkish coffee is a fine end to the meal.

While dessert is served with a subtly sweet champagne, the Taj Club house also has an extensive wine cellar, and guests can pair their all dishes with red or white wine based on the recommendations of the sommelier.

The new menu at Kefi is extensive in terms of choice. Plating has also greatly improved, and guests will notice the attention to detail in every component of the dishes served. The quiet and private ambience, magical view and attentive staff make for a perfect dining experience.

What: Revamped dining experience

Where: Kefi, Taj Club House Chennai

How much: Rs 1,500 for a meal for two (without wine)

archana.a@thehindu.co.in

ketaki@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 19, 2011

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