A raging name in the vegetarian food scene of the city, checking out Prive was always on our agenda. We got invited for lunch and we were really excited about it. It’s tucked away in one of the by-lanes along R K Salai. Thus, Prive. It is coined as such to indicate that the diners enjoy some private dining time. On the outside, it seems fairly cliched. But the interiors are well designed! It is a bungalow converted into a restaurant and this makes the dining area to be split across 5 rooms and give each set of the diners quite some privacy. The halls are quite big and overall it seats about a 100 people! Each room is well lit and other than the inner two rooms, which seats about 8-10 each, all rooms have glass walls, making it well lit in the sunlight and airy. Spacing is very well done here. Comfortable seats, high ceiling and a little play area for kids, it’s a perfect family get-together spot.
This restaurant falls along the category of few other fine dining pure vegetarian spots of this genre by serving multiple cuisines. They cover Italian, Mexican, Indian and Chinese. The menu is quite chunky! Prepare to be confused as you glance through it. Thankfully, the management decided to just give us their signatures for our lunch. Ample dishes in each category, there was no lack of choice for sure.
We started off with a range of colourful beverages presented beautifully in tall glasses. We tried most of them from their Mocktail collection. The usual Mojito and Blue Eye (mocktail with blue curacao and 7UP) were spot on and refreshing. Peach Iced Tea was another one of the usual drinks but it was too concentrated on tea and didn’t seem fit to accompany a meal (a good drink by itself). Chilli Guava, Exotic Fizz and Black Grape Cooler were our favourites. The Chilli Guava was presented beautifully in a margarita glass with chilli powder, chaat masala and guava juice. Exotic Fizz had a sharp and tangy mix of flavours while the black grape cooler was chatpata and refreshing. Strawberry Daiquiri was another beverage we tried. It was too frigid (full of crushed ice) and too sweet for my liking.
As we were enjoying the colourful sight of the beverages and clicking a million pictures, it was time for the soups. We had a selection of 4 soups that afternoon, each as good as the next. Good ol’ Cream of Tomato, creamy and thick, subtle and rich with croutons. The Cream of Spinach was my personal favourite with punchy and creamy spinach and little crispy garlic in it. Equally delicious was the Mexican Tortilla Soup with authentic Mexican flavours and some crispy bits of tortilla. It had bits of corn, peppers etc which enriched the overall flavour. We also had a Manchow Soup which was quite thick and really punchy. It was a favourite among the others who came along and had good hits of coriander and the fried noodles were a good addition. Definitely an Asian cuisine lovers must-try. With such a pumped up start, we expected our meal to be absolute kick-ass.
The spread of appetisers was huge with inclusions from Mexican, Chaats and Tandoori dishes. First came the Paneer Barbeque. Smoky, slightly sweet yet spicy, the flavours were brilliant. The let-down was the paneer which was a bit chewy and rubbery. This was totally the opposite of what came in the Tandoori Platter consisting of 4 types of Paneer Tikkas, ALL with a brilliant quality of Paneer. Chunky, marinated and uber soft, the Pepper Malai Paneer Tikka was the unanimous favourite. Tandoori Mushrooms, Hariyali Malai Seekh were other yummy dishes on the plate. Tandoori Aloo was also a part of it and it’s presentation was really unique, with an outer ring of grilled potatoes and it was filled with a cashew masala which was slightly sweet to my liking. Overall, the whole plate was slightly innovative and wholly straightforward.
There was a Crispy Chilli Peppercorn which was super yum. The crispy chickpeas in a spicy sticky masala was too delicious for anyone to take their hands off. Tacos were the Mexican appetiser that afternoon and it certainly was a really good selection. Crispy, miniature tortillas with yum wholesome filling of beans, From their Chaats, we had the Crispy Corn Basket, Pani Puri and Dahi Papdi Chaat. This was one major area where they went from yum to mediocre. The presentation of all dishes was very appetising and appeasing. The Crispy Corn basket had slightly too thick a tart shell and a slightly too sweet a filling. Panipuri had delicious firm puris but slightly bland pani and aloo. The meetha pani was delicious in it. The Dahi Papdi had brilliant thick curds, but it was more of an elite version of the popular road snack. Wasn’t really in line with the Chaat category.
We had some absolute favourites from the mains that followed. There was the uber creamy Cheese Alfredo Penne that everyone took a second helping of! While this was really creamy and cheesy, the very similar dish Vegetable Au-Gratin was mediocre with an overload of al-dente vegetables and very less flavour and creaminess to it. Veggie Pizza was another delight here. Homely and hearty, the hot cheese and saucy veggies were in a perfect ratio to the thin crust pizza. Slices were quite small but they were a lot in number. This would make it perfect for sharing. From the Sizzlers we had the Mushroom & Paneer Chilli Basil Sizzler. It was so good! Deliciously herbed rice with some smoky, spicy gravy and perfectly seasoned stir-fried vegetables. The theatre was obviously an add-on to the appeal. The fries on the plate seemed outta place for a ‘Chinese Sizzler’ though. Yes, it was devoured.
From the Indian section, we had another plethora of dishes flowing in! The Bread Basket consisting of Lachcha Paratha, Pudhina Paratha, Masala Kulcha, Garlic Naan (best of the lot) and Tandoori Roti was all too generous and to the point. It were the gravies which gave us all the satisfaction that afternoon. Dal Makhani, one of our ever favourites, didn’t fail! It was immensely creamy and subtle. It wasn’t too thick either and went very well as a mild gravy with the Garlic Naan. Veg Kofta was another favourite. The Kofta was delicate and it was it’s gravy that kept me going back for more. The rich gravy was flavour packed and well complimented the Kofta. Palak Paneer and Pahadi Panch Ratan were the two other gravies that accompanied the breads. Both of these were just as it’s description stated and mild, something that diners of all ages could enjoy. Veg Dum Biryani was another delicious Indian preparation we got to try. The punchy, delicious and HOT biryani was the perfect way to end the main course.
As loved are desserts, Prive seemed to largely falter in this section. We tried 3 of their recommended desserts; Hot Chocolate Fudge, Sizzling Brownie and Malai Kulfi. Even as I recall the Hot Chocolate Fudge, the fact that they added diced apples at the bottom of the glass of sinful chocolate dessert seemed awful. The lack of gooey fudge and the difficulty of digging the dessert out from the attractive glass added with this combination of ingredients made the dessert quite unattractive on the palate. While this seemed salvageable with the chocolaty albeit slightly dry brownie chunks, the Malai Kulfi was an utter shock. The Kulfi was frigid as a block of ice. To top this, neither the melting iceberg nor the Rabri had any taste or invigorating flavours in it for me to even dig in the second time. Sizzling Brownie was definitely the saving grace and even in this dish, the chocolate sauce was a bit thin. The vanilla ice cream and brownie went well together.
Service was pretty good and prompt in here despite it being a really crowded day. They seemed to have ample staff to cover all rooms at that place. One slight drawback might be that majority of them do not converse fluently in Tamil or English (the common languages amongst the natives at Chennai) so might need help with communication at times. The pricing is in line with the ‘fine dining’ tag they strive to provide. While some dishes did disappoint, overall they seem to be quite satisfactory and added with the service and ambience, it would definitely satiate the ‘family get togethers’! Around Mylapore, a good vegetarian multi-cuisine restaurant.
WTF METER FOR PRIVe:
Ambience – 8/10
Service – 7/10
Quality & Taste – 6/10
Quantity – 8/10
Beverages – 6/10
VFM – 7/10