The Raintree offered fiery Chettinad food (the cuisine of the wealthy Chettiar merchant class in Tamil Nadu) popular with Chennai’s middle-class dining crowd. The best part about the restaurant was actually the getting there: that long walk past lush greenery (tropical rainforest trees) to the beautiful glass-enclosed dining hall, with trickling water features down the middle of the restaurant, and skylight from the glassed panels on the ceiling.
Started off with Vasantha Neer – a refreshing drink made up of chilled coconut water, honey ,lime juice and mint.
Rice crackers were provided next, together with a variety of chutneys served from an impressive trolley.
Competently turned out dishes included:
Spicy chicken “rasam”, which seemed to be a ubiquitous soup to start a meal with here in Chennai;
The Thali platter was delightful: lentil-vegetable stew, grated coconut-string beans, Chettinad-style curried chicken, prawns, fish and lamb, scented rice, and a Chettinad-style fried fish. Chettinad cooking seemed spicier than the usual Tamil fare I‘d tried.
Appam, parotta, and flavored rice served were delicious.
Dessert were a coconut payasam with rice, strawberry ice-cream (Amul’s?) and a hyper-sweet halwa guaranteed to give one an insulin attack.
Quite a satisfactory meal, though certainly *nowhere* near the class of Southern Spice (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844359) and Dakshin (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844365). The chef at the Raintree also had quite a heavy hand with the salt.