When two cousins with a passion for food came together to serve Chennaiites a unique range of fusion foods, what followed was The Food Project, Nungambakkam, Chennai, a quick bites place that’s aimed at connecting people through food. Just over a month old, the place has a menu that is as fresh as it can get. There’s something unique about every dish they have on offer and one of the things that sets them apart is their ‘food in a mug’ concept.
So what’s with the mugs, we ask them. “We wanted to give the Chennai crowd something that’s never been tried before and came up with serving all our main courses in mugs – a very practical and quirky approach to plating,” says Vishal Dugar, who along with his cousin Nitin Chopra started the place from scratch. From the dishes to the décor, to the concept, everything is their idea through and through and a lot of research from kitchens all over the country has gone into the making of The Food Project.
Our appetizer was a plate of Assorted Tartlets, which came bearing three variations – risotto, hariyali corn and paneer tikka. The risotto was our favorite of the three and the tartlets have a crumbly base that just melts in the mouth. The hariyali corn had a fresh minty flavor whereas the paneer tikka was flavorful.
The Mac and Cheese Cylinders came next. The batter-fried mac and cheese with an in-house mayonnaise dip could easily be one of the best forms of mac and cheese you’d have tried. Lightly crispy on the outside, soft and mellow on the inside, the mac and cheese was an instant hit. The mildly spiced dip complemented the mac and cheese beautifully.
Next comes the Pizza in a Mug, a 7-layered ‘breadizza’, which is essentially a bread base topped with layers of cheese, vegetables like peppers, olives, etc., and topped with more cheese. The pizza is baked in the oversized mug that it comes in and tastes exactly how a good pizza should. A unique twist to our usual pizzas and definitely a must-try.
The main course was the Jamaican Devil, a rice dish cooked with authentic Jamaican spices, bell peppers, jalapenos and cottage cheese with paneer shavings on top. The dish is spicy especially after the first few bites and tastes unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. Dugar assures us that they are the only place in Chennai to serve this Jamaican rice dish and its very different flavor is proof enough.
The Red Puffed Rice is a wholly Indian dish that is again served in a mug. Considered to be a healthy breakfast option in North India, the dish has puffed rice cooked in a tangy tomato sauce and hence takes on a soft texture. There are vegetables in there as well and the fresh coriander on top adds to the flavor of the dish, big time.
Our dessert was the Crackling Chocolate Sandwich, the everyday chocolate sandwich made interesting with the addition of crackles on top that get popping in the mouth as soon as you take a bite. Loaded with chocolate sauce and milk chocolate shavings, this dessert is a unique experience in itself.
If you are looking for a quirky dining experience and something offbeat, The Food Project is your go-to place. ‘Building food friends’ is their tagline so who knows, you might very well make some.