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Continental, yet Indian

RASSA, THE vegetarian restaurant, is one of my favourite places. So when told of the total makeover to Continental non-vegetarian fare, I was curious. Then came the call of a Rassa fan recommending the steaks. So by the time we landed at no. 50, Halls Road, Egmore, I had built up quite an appetite.

It felt good to be back. Nothing much has changed, except that the PETA posters have been replaced by floral paintings. Gerard, the guitarist, croons golden oldies, a definite addition to the ambience.

The menu makes no bones about its Indianess. "Continental with Indian influence" goes the description. This means we have ragada pattis rubbing shoulders with au gratins, pasta and steaks.

The most imaginative part of a menu is the mocktail section. The names Forest Hunt (Rs. 45) and Bishop's Crown (Rs. 40) intrigued us. While the Hunt was a placid one, the Crown turned cheap plastic. What was to be lemonade, cucumber juice and cream became the popular blue drink that appears at various places under different names. Vegetable cigars (Rs 45), the first course, was excellent. The cheese stuffed leavened rolls actually put all that followed to shade. The sauce that came with it, a combination of mayo, pepper, olive oil and nutmeg, was equally yummy.

The soup, Chef's brew of the day (Rs. 55) too made the beginning pleasant.

For the main course, we settled on champignon con agnello (Rs. 130), veg pepper steak (Rs.105) and one of the chef's recommendations, fish bonefamme (Rs. 120).

The meat dish, champignon has lamb and chicken sandwiched between ham slices. The meats combined well giving different tastes and textures. Each dish comes with a piece of roast potatoes and some wonderfully flavoured vegetables, quite different from the usual bland boiled potato and vegetable routine. A plate of garlic bread too is thrown in.

The fish was good though the sauce was not as tangy as promised. The roux-based sauce was quite interesting. It was the vegetable steak that didn't come up to the mark. An overdose of potato blanked out the other vegetables.

Desserts are the not the forte of Rassa. One can choose only ice creams here. Our choices were R U nuts (Rs. 50) (chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and rum and nuts) and Litchi lust (Rs. 55).

MARIEN MATHEW

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