From Kandathippili to Gobindobhog to a Milo milk trifle, 601’s new menu is full of cool twists and turns. 

(All images snapped on ‘Live Focus Mode’ on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9)

Where would you go in Chennai at 2 am for comfort food after a night on the town. 601 has always been on that list for me. For their simple Fusilli Pesto and their fail-proof tiramisu. 601’s interiors might have barely changed in a decade and a half but the menu gets more than the occasional refresh. The latest menu is more than a refresh. It’s not just exhaustive but bold too.

Sun dried tomato, olive tapenade, basil and Himalayan pink salt flat bread

Some of those old signatures (the Tiramisu and 601’s evergreen burger included) stay. No restaurant needs to be foolishly brave to drop bestsellers that regulars keep driving back for. A simple flat bread dusted with Himalayan pink salt, topped with sun dried tomato and served with olive tapenade is one of the best new appetisers. A pink slab of Himalayan salt adds a touch of drama. The new menu is certainly not short of theatrics. A ‘root salad’ served with palm hearts and walnuts will surely win you Instagram love.

‘Kandathipilli’- Long pepper rasam martini, curry leaf biscotti

James Bond might not approve, but it’s become quite the norm for rasam to be served in a martini glass in fine restaurants in Chennai. The 601 version is flavoured with ‘kandathippili’ (the roots of the long pepper plant) and finished with a crispy, home-style curry leaf biscotti. This rasam took me back in time to a childhood when rasams had magical powers to fix common ailments. It’s an acquired taste and one that will leave your taste buds ‘buzzing’.

Root salad with palm hearts and walnuts

This menu mixes up things really well. There’s Gobindobhog risotto, crafted with a sticky, aromatic rice from West Bengal that is served with a kadhi shot and (mad)Rasi goreng, a Chennai take on Nasi Goreng, replete with a yera soru (prawn rice). There’s a good chance that the 601 service team will recommend the Bhutanese-style Kewa Datshi. But order it even if they don’t. This chilli-cheese stew served either with pork or vegetables might work better for a cold evening in Thimphu than a not so cold Chennai afternoon but is worth checking out for its simple, rustic flavours.

The Chennai spin on a nasi goreng

Milo is the new toast of dessert and beverage menus in some of Chennai’s pan-Asian restaurants. The Milo milk trifle might border on cloyingly sweet but is still our pick of the dessert menu. But it’s completely understandable if you end up ordering 601’s old faithful – the tiramisu.

‘Milo’ milk trifle

601 is at the Park Chennai, 601, Anna Salai. For reservations call: (044) 4267-6000. Meal for 2: Rs 3,000


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