Before we go into details, let me get one fact out of the way. If you are expecting to eat habanero chillis at Habanero, the newly opened Mexican Tex-Mex restaurant at Phoenix, don’t. The chilli is difficult to source and it does not grow in India.
Anyway, forgetting my disappointment at not being able to eat the real habanero in Chennai, we head across to the restaurant and are quite happy to see bright interiors that allow sunlight a free reign.
Small points of interest capture my vision as I see blue bordered, painted alcoves and colorfully cool sombreros prominently displayed.
Some of the staff even wear them. Yellow and brick red textured walls, a pretty blue tiled counter where mocktails and juices are mixed, fresh, occupy my vision. Of course, there’s the inevitable flat screen TV.
Once all the looking is done, we choose a table by the window: my favorite spot in any restaurant. I love looking out, instead of at my phone or TV. Plonking myself into the chair, I flinch on impact. The seats are hard.
Then I spot the guacamole trolley. With a stone mortar and pestle, and I see it making its way to our table, adding a lot more real life drama than any television could.
Let’s get this right. Mexican food can be as spicy as you like. The habanero chilli rates high on the Scoville Scale that measures the pungency of chillies. So anyway, gearing up for my dose of pungency, I am all set. The menu arrives and I see it is very sensibly planned with suggestions for the kind of meal you would like to order. One side has beverage tips to go with the food. Everybody is looking at me looking at the menu, while guacamole man is busy mashing up a nice green dip to accompany out hand-made corn chips. A large bowl if it gets placed on our table and attention gets diverted. I quickly grab a handful of chips and douse them generously with the guacamole. It is delicious. And that buttery avocado is rich in vitamins including E, which is good for the skin.
As we are busy scraping the last vestiges of guacamole, the Chicken Wings arrive. They are filled with taste and are wonderful with a generous dunking in the ranch sauce. Cannot say the same about the Potato Skins, though, which turn out to be bland and lacking of the normal zest I’ve grown to associate with this dish. Getting my teeth into the Breaded Chicken, I’m impressed with the crispness on the outside, but the soft inside is a little on the dry side. Once I get some guacamole slathered over it, though, it completely transforms into delicious.
Loaded with cheese, the soft shelled, deep fried Paneer Chimichanga has to be eaten with salsa, but you have to ask for the dip. So go ahead and experiment, show your taste buds how the Mexicans get their pungency.
The dessert fight is on. I’m particularly fascinated by the Snickers Chimichanga. I get my way and order it. While the others go for the Churros –doughnut sticks sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. These come with a chocolate dip. Unfortunately, the Churros win over my Snickers Chimichanga, despite the dollop of vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce.
PLUSES AND MINUSES
I like the ambiance, and the food. On the menu, I particularly enjoyed reading all those little side notes. But those chairs need cushioning. My taste buds rebelled over that Snickers Chimichanga with ice cream and strawberry sauce.
Must try: Enchiladas, Burrito Bowl, Tacos (hard shell or soft shell), Fajita, Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper, Molten Mexican Cake, Tres Leches Cake.
Meal for two: Rs 1,200
For more details: Habanero on TimesCity
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