Where I am staying in Chennai is just a five minute amble from The English Tearoom. In the two months I lived here last year, I stayed well clear. Of all the cuisines on offer, why on earth opt for 'English'?
But today, curiosity got the better of me.
The range of eating places within a few minutes walk is astonishing - from Ethiopian to Russian (I've tried the former - not bad ... I still have to sample the latter) through half a dozen different shades of South Indian. But English?
How many cities outside the UK - or even in the UK - have an 'English' restaurant? After all, are there any signature dishes of English cuisine: Sunday roasts? the more demotic fish-and-chips? There are, I suppose, the rituals of English eating: from the posh and slightly absurd - afternoon tea, with tiny cakes and cucumber sandwiches ... to the simply gut-busting - the "full Monty" English breakfast.
The English Tearoom doesn't do roasts or cod and chips. But it does do a traditional afternoon tea and - much more to my liking - a full English breakfast. And here it is! I asked for no eggs and got some additional sausages instead - and there was also a freshly squeezed orange juice and cup of tea or coffee included. The price? 400 rupees ... that's about a fiver. I was well happy!
The place opened eighteen months or so back, and it's doing well: at times today there wasn't a spare table. Chennai seems to be one place where saying you offer English cuisine is a plus.
And much to my pleasant surprise, it has quite a range of teas on offer - the coffee is good - and the cakes looked freshly baked and very tempting.
I didn't come all this way for sausage, bacon, beans and mushrooms, and I really like the dosas and idlis which are the local fare - but for that touch of comfort food when you feel far away from home, this is a real treat.
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