It was a pleasant Sunday evening in Chennai, and a calm stroll by the Elliot’s beach in Besant Nagar is the best thing one could have asked for. It was a day-off for me and my friend, and we wasted no time in getting to the beach to get some good sea-breeze, and to drink in the beauty of the sea shore. We chitchatted for a long time over a couple of roasted corn bought from the beach, and finally decided to do what we do best – have our dinner! 🙂
I have heard a lot from my friends, of ‘The Cascade‘ in Khader Nawaz Khan Road, and it was always on my yet-to-be-explored list. The Cascade has a branch in Besant Nagar, and I thought it would be a good idea to give it a try. My friend was ready too, and soon both of us were walking down the street towards Cascade, the chinese restaurant.
The Cascade is housed in the fourth floor of a tall building (much similar to ‘Mainland China‘ in Sterling Road). I don’t know if this is some sort of a custom in China for restaurants to be located in tall places. Anyway, there was an elevator that took us straight to the restaurant on the fourth floor.
The ambience inside the restaurant was good, if not excellent. There was quiet music playing, and the walls had some subtle decorations. Unlike other Chinese restaurants, there was no Chinese flavor in either the music or the artifacts on display. Everything seemed to be neutral and agreeable. The restaurant was quite spacious, and there were also steps that led upstairs to an adjoining dinig hall. The walls were fitted with mirrors, which added to the perception of space inside the restaurant. I and my friend occupied a small table for two in a corner.
One thing disagreeable with the Cascade is the utterly slow service. It took at least 10 minutes after we were seated, for the waiter to come to our table and offer us the menu card. Not to mention, the dishes themselves arrived much much later. The person who took our orders was polite and friendly, and I have no complaints in this regard. But it is the time they take to do things that left me longing. I have to mention that though all tables were occupied, the crowd there wasn’t too much or pressing. Still, I don’t understand why the delay. (I shall compliment the Wang’s Kitchen in T.Nagar for its excellent service in contrast to this restaurant).
The menu was what can be found in any Chinese restaurant in the city. There were non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian varieties of fried rice and noodles. Though I have a weak memory as far as the exact names of the dishes are concerned, I remember their descriptions. There was this interesting noodles which was thrice cooked, and marinated in a sauce of vegetables, or a meat of our choice. Then there were the usual plain and schezwan varieties. There was an extensive collection of poultry and lamb dishes too. I remember chopped chicken in garlic sauce, and if I am not wrong, there were lamb and vegetable versions of the same too. Then as a rule there were dragon prawns and tiger prawns.
I ordered one hot and sour chicken soup, divided between the two of us. Then, I asked for Schezwan chicken noodles and mushroom fried rice with grated chicken. (My friend has an aversion towards lamb). Then I ordered stir fried chicken which was long pieces of chicken fried in special sauce, and chicken spring roll. It was chicken, chicken, and completely chicken. The waiter was kind enough to suggest that one portion of rice and noodles would be too much for two. So, he asked if he could serve small portions of them. Both I and my friend are greedy eaters, but still I decided to go with the waiter’s suggestion, which later proved useful.
We waited and waited for ages together, when finally the soup arrived. One look at the soup, and I knew what the guy meant by large portions. I have dined at quite a lot of Chinese restaurants, but this was really too much. The soup came in a large bowl, whose size was the same as the vessel in which my mom makes sambar for the family everyday. The waiter divided it into our bowls, and we took our time relishing it. It was quite good, nothing exceptional.
And then came another era of waiting. The waiter brought the noodles, fried rice and the other dishes in one go. The Schezwan noodles tasted fine, though the fried rice was average. (I describe everything in the scale of Indianized Chinese dishes. I have little clue if it is authentic or not). My friend had some difficulty gulping in the hot and fiery schezwan noodles, nevertheless, I showed no mercy to them. 😉
The dish I thoroughly enjoyed was the stir fried chicken, which was a class apart. The chicken just melted in my mouth. We finished the dish squeaky clean, and wondered if we could order another one of that. But, my zeal for variety made us order the spring rolls. Unlike what rolls I have normally taken at other chinese restaurants, these were tiny ones independently fried, instead of one large one. The spring rolls came with a cup of sweet sauce, and tasted only average.
Again for the bill, I had to endure a period of dormancy. (These people are not eager even to collect money from the customer). The bill came to a little more than Five hundred rupees, for the two of us. Even in the bill there was some error, and was hand-corrected.
Overall, in my opinion, the food was good – no disappointments. I shall revisit the restaurant for giving the other dishes a try; probably I might visit the Khader Nawaz Khan road branch this time. It is needless to say the dishes are overpriced. I could get the same dishes with the same taste elsewhere in the city, and of course for a cheaper price. The final verdict is, ‘The Cascade’ gets a neutral ranking.