Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Feast Fit for Zeus/Kryptos by Willi.

I've found happiness at Kryptos.

OK, I'm being a little dramatic. I knew it would be good, of course, having enjoyed dinner at Tuscana very much. However, it takes a little more than good to impress me.

They did, and how.

People ask me if they can take my word because I've never actually bashed any restaurant on my blog. It's simply because I have neither the time nor the inspiration to write reviews of places I haven't enjoyed. Rest assured, if I'm confronted with disrespectful, bad service AND exorbitant pricing, you'll hear a earful from me. Not this time, though. This time, you're hearing a earful of sweet, sweet praise.

The food scene at Madras has morphed so much over the last decade. Growing up, Fine Dining  meant either The Golden Dragon at Taj Coramandel/Raintree at Taj Connemera/Peshawar at Chola Sheraton. All good places. Still. After dining at Kryptos by Willi, I'm left feeling like a proud mama; the scene has sprouted up like a teenage boy in such a short while!

Greek food at Madras would mean me, straining yogurt for hours, to come up with a little cup of Tzatziki. Pita bread would start with mixing honey and yeast, and waiting. Waiting for the dough to rise up. Pummeling it down. Waiting. Kneading. Waiting. Baking it in an oven, as opposed to a stone. It's a beautiful experience, bread is the reason of life and all that, but Hunger wins. Rule of life.

So. Some-lucky-times, excellent pita bread is served in front of you, five minutes after you sit down. Back to Kryptos. The hummus that comes on the side puts any hummus I've had here (including my enthusiastic efforts) to shame.
That, in a cozy room, that's pleasantly lit and has Middle-Eastern-sounding singers croon out of the speakers, with beautiful cutlery and well-done interiors. Almost like a painting.

The cold mezze consists of an array of cheese, olives, cold salads and cuts of meat (including octopus-a first for me at Madras!), an unlimited amount at Rs 450. The feta is crumbly and salty, like good feta should be. Um. I'm sold right there. But mum and the others found it repetitive; I strongly suggest you skip it if you're hypertensive or if your palate isn't attuned to cold, saline things.

The hot mezze was a universal favourite with the family though. Priced at Rs. 700-ish, a selection of appetizers are laid out. Four of each, I think, there were. We got the non-vegetarian one, the downside of which is that falafel is out!
Batter-fried squid, fried sardines, Arnipitakia and Kofte balls,
with a side of Muhammara (that's what I'm guessing the red dip was).

Calamari - most restaurants I go to has it on the menu, and then they disappoint me by saying it's unavailable. I ate most of the calamari, as if to make up for all the times I've been let down!

Sardines-this one I skipped, because I'm weird with fish that have tiny bones in them. Mum and Dad found it delicious, and they're not food fanatics like the rest of us.

Kofte balls - I'm not a big meat eater, and I loved it. I don't even think I need to speak for the carnivores that make my family. Anybody with an Indian palate would enjoy it.
Arnipitakia - things like this cement the fact that there is a God above. Tender minced meat, in an incredibly yummy sauce, wrapped up in a phyllo dough (puff pastry) and baked. Enough said. W has written some form of poetry on it, though.

If I could change one thing, I'd say introduce "Make your own platter!" where you could choose any four appetizers; but that certainly would take out the posh, though, no?

When it came to soup, half of us ordered a creamy, lemony chicken broth with rice and egg. It was all of those things, but a little too heavy and almost difficult to finish (even the 1-by-2 portion). The other half lucked out, as they ordered a steaming hot soup with carrots and meatballs; it was hearty without being heavy.

We next had the grilled seer fish souvlaki, the picture of which I couldn't snap, because it was eaten before the plate made contact with the table. It's got basil and saffron in the marinade, and it flakes like excellent fish should. I'm posting the link to their Facebook page, though, so you can salivate over it when you get bored at work (I do when I'm supposed to be studying).

Tzatziki, agapi mou/mi amor/my love.

Get the garlic rice on the side. It isn't much. But to quote a cliched statement, best things come in small packages. Flavourful little bits of heaven. Souvlakis comes along with salad and pita bread. Ask for some extra tzatziki/hummus and get to making little pita pockets. Assuming you have a well-behaved family, of course.

Moussaka, five seconds after its arrival.

And get the moussaka. I'm like Garfield when it comes to Lasagna (and most other things in life). Moussaka is the fully pimped-out, gourmet version of the lasagna. Sliced aubergine, zucchini, minced meat get layered with that narcotic-like red sauce, and a bechamel (the French white cheese sauce?) that I'm almost certain has feta in it.
Moussaka, five minutes after its arrival.

And because it still wasn't enough for my family, and we had in our midst along a very special guest of honour that day (smiley face), Dad ordered a chicken-pie like thing, which the waiter recommended. Chicken in melted cheese in a tart made of puff pastry. Most of the family found it kickass, but seriously, the Moussaka upstaged it too much for me.

Baked potato and salad on the side.

But by the time Desserts rolled aroud, I was fully regretting my decision to eat huge portions of the main course. Confucius say picture worth thousand words. OK, it was some person of Chinese origin, and Confucius the only Sino-philosopher I know.

So. Three thousand words follow.

To cut or not to cut it? That's the question.

Svingi. Batter-fried, gooey chocolate. This is what Dreams are Made Of. The vanilla gelato has vanilla beans in it. Yes, this has been the ONLY time I've chosen vanilla over chocolate.

The baklava was a reluctant decision. We ordered it only for completion's sake. This baklava shattered any previous bad experiences with syrupy-sweet, prepackaged baklava. This is the only baklava ever, that holds a candle to the ones Dad brings from Turkey. Even W, who knows his baklava, had good things to say about it.

The greek walnut cake with cinnamon-and-honey was light and nutty and buttery and all-around delicious; something I'll try in my own kitchen for sure. I'm going back here pretty soon, just for tea and dessert. The desserts cost about 150 bucks each, and the tea around 100 bucks, so kind of the Grecian equivalent of Latitute 13 or Sandy's.

So. Kryptos by Willi. It is pricey, yes (and sigh). But not disproportionately so. If there's a ring that needs to be put on a finger, a tough exam that has been passed, a salary that needs to be celebrated, go here. My brother, who vehementaly protested against it, saying arty little plates of garnish wasn't food (the guy's ideal Sunday lunch would be the Unlimited Buffet at Sigree), was a happy/satiated camper at the end of it.

Feast fit for a king, indeed (Incidentally, King = Not my brother!! A hypothetical king.)

Big Mmmm, people. Big Mmmm.


  1. 700 rupees for appetizers?????!!!! You're kidding me, right?

  2. I love the place too. I always seem to think about it when i am not there!!:P

  3. Chitra: It's for the whole platter. 4 Apps for 700-ish is pretty darn cheap for fine dining, you know! And this is from the girl who buys a slice of banana bread for 100 bucks.

    Archana: COMPLETELY agree. find a "significant other" (ew) before Valentine's Day, because they have some stuff planned, I think!

  4. eewww did you just type that?? quit playing cupid and update the blog!!:)

  5. Lol, Anonymous! I will in a bit, I promise.

    Spooking Archana out is just as fun though. :) Passion fruit!

  6. you are the worst! by the way, made the kebabs before i saw it on your blog...on the same day!!!:)

  7. I am feeling glad hearing a earful of sweet, sweet praise on our Kryptos by Willi. Thank you so much Rabia for the wonderful & detailed review. I am glad You have found happiness at Kryptos.
    Most of my lunches are in Kryptos too because I love to cold mezze all veg salad buffet.
    In a few days we are launching our new menu that will also have a bilingual menu card in Tamil & English.
    I thank you for your visit & look forward to meeting up with you some time soon.
    Vipin Sachdev.
    98410 22622.

    1. All of that holds true 'til date! My father is a huge fan of the salad/soup lunches.

      Keep us updated on the new menu launch! A trip to Kryptos is in the works.