Does Chennai’s most hyped bar in 2016 deserve your attention?
You’ve already heard stories about friends being turned away because there was no room or because they didn’t make reservations. That’s probably the best form of ‘word of mouth’ – it’s so popular that you can’t get in and so busy that they don’t want your money (mostly plastic post demonetisation!). It creates a deeper urge for you to crash in and find out what the hype is all about. I managed a table on the condition that we would vacate at 8:45 pm sharp; it seemed a better proposition than letting my feet dangle from one of their uncomfortable stools.
The Interiors are terrific – iconic album covers and images that set the tone with clever props like lamps in the shape of retro microphones. We also dig the cool old radios and ‘hi-fi’ systems repurposed as cool props; this is easily one of Chennai’s hippest hangouts. The music was a mix of retro anthems that will make you nostalgic and some pedestrian stuff that we were happy to leave behind in the 1980s. It’s the same with the food and drinks – a mixed bag. Our small plates – bajji chillies (chillies used in Chennai for Bajjis) deseeded and stuffed with mozzarella cheese and the parmesan dusted chicken tikka, were both cleverly executed and scrumptious.
The selection of mains was average but in their defence, this is a bar not a restaurant. It didn’t help that our table host for the day kept saying ‘everything is good’ every time he was asked to recommend a dish. That’s a huge turn off at an upmarket F&B outlet where you expect the waitstaff to be switched on and make recommendations with strong conviction. The cocktail list is quite innovative and the spirits menu does tick a lot of boxes. Do stay back for dessert – the Nutella infused custard dusted with Maltova (yes that same malted energy drink that we thought ceased to exist in the last century) doesn’t disappoint. Bottomline – Radio Room is a mix of hits and misses; a lot like its music playlist. It’s certainly a welcome addition to the gradually improving list of stand-alone Chennai nightspots but it probably doesn’t deserve the excess hype.
Meal for 2 (With a drink): Rs 3,000/-
Radio Room is open on all days from 6 to 11 pm (And on Sundays for Brunch)
Radio room is at 94 Sathyadev Avenue (near Leela Palace), MRC Nagar, Santhome, Chennai: 28. Phone no: (+91) 85000 05672