This restaurant serves food on the rocks, literally!

April 10th, 2009 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, April 10 (IANS) If you think hot food comes out of a five-star hotel kitchens and only drinks are served “on the rocks”, it is time for a re-think.

Now, you can get 8×8 inch square volcanic stone slabs heated up to 400 degree centigrades right on your table so that you can cook your favourite dish and have it piping hot!

Using sun-heated searing rocks is an ancient form of food preparation. This has been given a new dimension by Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers at its restaurant, aptly called “On the Rocks”, here in Chennai.

“Ours is the first and only restaurant to offer the stone grill option for diners in the city,” Avinash Deshmukh, food and beverage manager, told IANS.

Added Praveen Anand, executive chef: “We soft-launched the restaurant only recently. Guests staying with us have found it an interesting way of dining.”

The imported stone slabs are heated in the oven for six hours before being offered to diners. The stone can retain heat for over an hour so that repeat usage is possible.

In the case of charcoal grills, the meat is marinated in oil, whereas on a stone grill, oil need not be used at all. “Here, the meat gets seared on the outer while the insides stay hot and juicy for a long time,” said chef Anand.

Sheraton Park is hoping that cooking on a restaurant table will turn out to be an interactive family session, each member trying out different sauce varieties.

“Dining here will surely not be another dinner outside. The whole family can enjoy the grill thrill. For a change, men can try their hand in cooking without getting in a soup. Anyway, we do offer soup,” quipped Deshmukh.

Open only for dinner from 6 p.m., On the Rocks offers two dining options - an a la carte menu called the “Grill Platter” that will change every week, and a table d’hote menu. Wine is offered by glass as well by bottle.

“The cuisine is international and the menu is changed every Wednesday so that a regular visitor’s taste buds can enjoy the difference,” said Deshmukh.

The two-tier restaurant has a lounge bar and wine and dessert counters at the lower tier, with a wide dark brown staircase leading to the 34-cover restaurant in the upper level.

Soothing tunes played on the violin on the lower level wafts to the upper level to blend with the hissing sound of food getting sizzled, making the experience of dining that much more pleasant.

For the convenience of guests, the lounge has an exclusive ventilated glassed-in smokers’ room.

According to Deshmukh, a dinner would cost anything between Rs.1,300 and Rs.1,500 per person on an average.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

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