Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Conned in Chennai

So next up was a "light" dinner at the Bhavani Vegetarian restaurant )next to Hotel Bhavani, 51 L.B. Road, Thiruvanmiyur (no website).

I started with Iddiappam or Idliappam, which are thin rice noodles, they came along with coconut milk which I poured over them. I had fancied a Masala Dosa or something similar, but Navin had taken to ordering for us, perhaps protecting me from myself after the finger-scorching at lunchtime. At first I was disappointed in his choice, looking at the bland white noodles and bland white milk. Then I tired it, and wow, it was absolutely delicious. It was more simple than bland, and I will definitely be having some again.

Next up was Curd Rice which again I wasn't looking forward to on the blandness scale. To be honest I didn't like this, another simple dish of, well, curd and rice, nothing more! All I could taste was the plain curd, though Navin told me almost all dishes come with Sambar and Chutney so you can always add in their taste and spiciness to the bland mix. Still, I think that was my last curd rice.

For a finale, and what a finale it was, we had Chennai's answer to a Knickerbocker Glory! Ice cream, pineapple, papaya, green jelly (lime-flavoured, and tasted like undiluted jelly pieces) and more of the sweet noodles. With a sweet tooth like mine, this was a sure hit from the start.

It was at this time that we were conned for the first time in India!

Before sitting down, because Navin had paid for everything all day, I instisted that we pay for this meal and he agreed. As I was exploring the ice-cream delight, the bill arrived and I gestured for Navin to pass it to me, but he brushed me off saying he would pass it when I had finished. On finishing I asked him to pass it, and he told me I was too late, he had slipped the bill under the table and paid the waiter as I ate, distracted by an ice-cream sucker-punch.

There ended our day with Navin and friends, and what a wonderful time we had. Ireally cannot think them enough for their awesome hospitality. They made our first experience of India so effortless, pleasurable, positive - protecting us from the "ravages" of everything from overcharging auto drivers to our own spice-driven eating impulses. They are gentlemen one and all, and true friends!