It was the year of the exotic. The year when micro-cuisines got their share of the spotlight. The F&B industry made a comeback from the challenges of the pandemic that impacted the way we dined out through much of 2020 and 2021. From Peranakan cuisine to Anglo-Indian cuisine, some of Chennai's newest restaurants put the focus on fascinating cuisines, a wider reflection of the city's evolving palates. We round up some of the finest new restaurants, bars and cafes that opened their doors in Chennai this year.
Here Are 8 Of Chennai's Best New Restaurants In 2022:
1. Mr Ong
One of India's first Singapore cuisine restaurants and probably the fastest way to get to one of Singapore's vibrant hawker centres. Set on the edge of the hotel's shimmering lily pond, this al-fresco restaurant is also one of the most romantic dinner venues in the city. The Melaka-style laksa is one of our favourite dishes on the menu that also includes Singapore signatures like the chilli crab.
Where: Park Hyatt Chennai, Sardar Patel Road
2. The Ministry of Chutneys
It might be a fast-disappearing cuisine but Anglo-Indian cuisine got its rightful place in the spotlight at The Ministry of Chutneys. The restaurant is one of the many new F&B outlets that are part of the completely renovated all-new Radisson Blu Hotel GRT that's close to the Chennai Airport. From coconut rice with ball curry to devilled prawns and the quintessential Anglo-Indian dessert - bread pudding, this restaurant is a celebration of one of India's first fusion cuisines
Where: Radisson Blu Hotel GRT, GST Road
3. Kai from the Sea
'Kai' translates to the ocean in Japanese. This seafood destination offers fresh and sustainable seafood, with strong ties to the local fishing community. Kai combines a fish shop, a grab-and-go menu and an intimate fine dining space that serves seafood delicacies from across the world. We dig their Mangalore-style prawns ghee roast and their chewy Blondies served with caramel ice cream, which is totally worth the drive
Where: East Coast Road (Near the toll plaza)
4. Sekhmet Lounge and Club
One of Chennai's most 'Instagrammed' nightspots of 2022, Sekhmet takes its name from the Egyptian lion-faced warrior goddess and is spread over multiple levels. It's not just a spot where Chennaites let their hair down. The food menu is a big draw too with comfort options like galouti kebabs to exotic eats from across the world like their chimichurri grilled prawns.
Where: Chamiers Road, Alwarpet
5. Pa Pa Ya
Pa Pa Ya's Chennai outpost launched towards the end of the year after teasing diners for a while. Positioned as a modern Asian bistro and tapas bar, this initiative from the House of Massive Restaurants has wowed diners across India with its radical interpretation of Asian cuisine. The restaurant's sushi rolls, dimsums and desserts have already become the talk of the town. Pa Pa Ya combines various cooking techniques and cultures from across Asia with its own modern take.
Where: Uttamar Gandhi Salai, Nungambakkam
6. The Entrance Cafe
Chennai's cafe culture has been one of its most defining F&B trends over the past couple of decades. Entrance Cafe is the cafe to join Chennai's atmospheric cafes and offers a refuge from the hustle of the city. The food menu takes you on a culinary journey across the world with hearty steaks, a Thai green curry that is almost spot on and chicken baos that make for the perfect sharing plates.
Where: Taylors Road, Kilpauk
7. Pandan Club
Master Chef Sashi Chelliah's first restaurant venture in India is dedicated to Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine that dates back to the 15th Century. The restaurant serves some of the quintessential Peranakan dishes in an elegant setting. You will find signature Peranakan design elements like handmade ceramic tiles and rattan frames that complement the dining experience. The Indonesian influence is evident in dishes from Melaka (like the Coconut Vegetable Curry at Pandan Club) with the generous use of coconut milk.
Where: Bazullah Road, T Nagar
8. Nght Mrkt
Want a bit of Bangkok hustle? You don't have to leave Chennai. This resto-bar is modelled on one of Bangkok's bustling night markets with bright neon signs and quirky street side karts. The food counters offer an eclectic mix. From Momo Mama, that flavours from Indonesia and Thailand to Teri Maki serves innovative sushi tacos combining the best of both Asian and Mexican cuisine. Bucket List, the cocktail bar also serves cocktails in Bangkok-style grab-and-go sachets.
Where: Khader Nawaz Khan Road
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.