Ayna, the pan-Indian restaurant at the Hilton Chennai unveils a new menu and a whole new culinary experience

(All images shot on the iPhone XS) 

Mocktails are usually boring right? Well, not always. I can’t remember the last time I asked for a refill of a mocktail. But it happened at Ayna, where a refreshing beverage with pan, rose petals blended with ice-cream truly hit the spot. Most diners in Chennai perceive Ayna as a Northern Indian restaurant. The restaurant’s new menu should alter this misconception.

Gullmill, with pan and rose petals

The menu itself deserves a special mention with its Mandala inspired design. It’s voluminous though. It’s tough to squeeze all of India’s culinary regions into a compact menu.  Biswajit – Ayna’s Chef de Cuisine manages to find a balance.

Amuse Bouche – the humble pani poori shot (shot on portrait mode)

You will find some of the ‘usual suspects’. Even ‘evolved’ food snobs need their comfort food. The Dal Ayna should satisfy these cravings. It keeps things simple – with oodles of butter; what else do you expect with a Dal Makhani. But it’s the menu’s slightly more exotic dishes that are its true stars.

Paya-style soup (shot on portrait mode)

Chef Biswajit’s roots come to the fore with the Eichor er Chop (Jackfruit patties from Bengal). Raw Jackfruit is now trending globally – vegans will tell you that it’s a great substitute for pulled pork. I’d also recommend the Hyderabadi style goat trotter soup. If you’ve been to Hyderabad’s Old City and enjoyed the paya at Nayab’s with their signature ‘char Koni naan’, you will totally dig this.

There’s room for a Triplicane Chicken Biriyani, clearly suggesting that the best culinary journeys always begin closest to home. The dessert section is unsurprisingly exhaustive too. The masala Chai  Crème Brulee with a generous dose of cardamom and the Lucknow style kheer with a garlic twist are both worth checking out. The biggest strength of this new menu is how it blends comfort food with culinary gems from across India.

My favourite bread at Ayna – the Paronthi Naan sprinkled with poppy seeds

Ayna is at the Hilton Chennai, 124/1, J.N. Salai, Guindy. It’s open for lunch and dinner. For reservations call (044) 2225-5555. Meal for 2: Rs 3,000 /-







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