As a relatively new Expat in Chennai — my wife, Sarah, and I moved here just six months ago — I’ve been excited to learn more about south Indian food and have been impressed at how quickly my tongue has adapted to levels of brightly colored scarlet and yellow and orange spices I never thought possible! I think I’ve absorbed more turmeric in that time than I ate in my whole life back in the USA — and that’s a lot of meals. But even as my tolerance scale has shifted hotter and farther south, even to scorching Chettinad levels, I knew that one day, a tiny voice from deep down in my taste buds would whisper . . . then shout . . .
BEER AND BURGER FEST!
Yep, “Must. Have. Burger” and “Must. Have. Beer” hit me like a cricket bat, just as Peter contacted me to ask Sarah and me to fill in for him at another of the Hyatt Regency’s array of creative dining experiences. So far, we had only dined at Stix, the Hyatt’s Sichuan restaurant — loved it — so we were both excited to sample some new Hyatt magic, and, frankly, an imported beer and a great burger sounded just perfect!
In the spacious lobby lounge beneath the Hyatt’s soaring, beehive-themed atrium, we met Mridul Khosla, Assistant Manager for Public Relations for the Hyatt Regency Chennai, and she introduced us to Chef Arun, the master of burgers for the fest. To get us started, she guided us to the enticing list of “freshly squeezed healthy juices” and Sarah chose the “Stress Reliever” with green apples, spinach, cucumber, celery, lime juice, and ginger. Sarah found it the perfect accompaniment to help her navigate the upcoming maze of burgers. But since the event’s focus was not on healthy juices but lovely brews, I elected to go with one of my favorite, a Hoegaarden wheat from Belgium. I was delighted with its light notes of spice, but wondered how would it stand up to a hefty burger.
Next, we dove into the burger side of the evening’s equation and Mridul suggested we start off with a couple of the event’s unique favorites, the Classic Fish and Chips Burger and the Pulled Lamb Burger. The fish and chips burger was fresh seabass and it was prepared to perfection, lightly battered and crispy outside, while the meat was tender, juicy, and delicately sweet, creating a lovely duet with the gently dilled mayo. The bun for all the burgers was fluffy and light, just enough to provide a foil for the star of the sandwich.
LAMB BURGERS—WHO KNEW?
Next, we turned to the Pulled Lamb Burger. I’ve probably eaten lamb fewer times in my life than I have fingers on each hand, so I was a bit unsure what to expect. But the slow cooked lamb shoulder—six hours in the oven—had clearly been “gently pulled apart” and served simply in its own juices. Oh my, who knew lamb could be so tasty and so tender. Mridul told us the Pulled Lamb Burger is one of the most popular on the menu, and we could taste why, since it is clearly prepared with such care. A clear favorite for both Sarah and me.
Now that we were warmed up, we turned to the Crumb Fried (they had me at those two words) Chicken Burger with Japanese crumbs. Here, the chicken was not the expected breast meat, but “tender leg off the bone” in all its juicy glory. The combination of the slight crunch of the bread crumbs with the moist leg meat created a delightful explosion of flavor when I tried the first bite. And the second . . . delicious to the end.
NO BURGER STANDS ALONE
Of course, no burger stands alone—the Hoegaarden matched excellently so I did have a second—so the real test can often be whether the partnering French Fries compliment or disappoint. Here, we turned to Sarah, a dedicated Fries aficionado, for her verdict. “Best ever!” Her assessment was positive, and I had to agree. Lightly crisp on the outside, plump and mild potato flavor inside, not too stout, and not too thin, the combination was just the right balance. But the real winner was the accompaniments for the fries—no ketchup allowed, please! Here, the Hyatt excelled, as the fries were enhanced by a sauce of mustard and mayonnaise, lightly blended, and a tomato relish, finely chopped and just fired up a bit with perhaps a touch of jalapeno and Sriracha. Of course, no burger and fries combo is complete without a side of slaw, and the red cabbage blend here was spicy, crunchy, and a delightful compliment to a perfect sampling.
Alas, though, once we worked our way through the fish and the lamb and the chicken, we had to decline the offer to sample the signature “Quarter Pounder” classic beef patty cheese burger topped with a fried egg. I think we might have to go back! By the way, the menu features five scrumptious sounding Vegetarian burgers as well as five Non-Veg offerings, so there’s plenty to choose from for all your friends.
ABOUT THE BEER AND BURGER FEST
The Beer and Burger Fest is ongoing until 30th January at the Lobby Lounge on the first floor of the Hyatt Regency Chennai, with timings from 11am to 11pm daily. Prices for the juices are Rs 282, while the beers range from Rs 250 for domestic and Rs 450 for imported. The burgers are Rs 675 for the Veg and Rs 775 for Non-Veg.
If you want to be notified when events like this are happening at the Hyatt Regency Chennai, Hyatt Regency Chennai, follow their Facebook page. All news and announcements about their upcoming food festivals and special events are posted there.
HYATT REGENCY CHENNAI
365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018, India
Tel: +91 44 61001234
Mob: +91 9176633310