A late night Christmas dessert idea can’t get much grander than this. After a hearty meal at Hotel Sangam in Anna Salai, we had the usual sugar cravings. We decided to splurge a bit considering the occasion and was thinking of all star hotels which serves dessert past midnight. We finally zeroed on ITC Grand Chola and given below is my take on Cafe Mercara Express.
ITC in Guindy is a landmark by it’s own and I’m sure it doesn’t need much introduction. Valet parking solved the problem of parking our car. When we walked in, even at that time of the day, we were welcomed with a smiling face and hands clasped in a ‘namaste’. I was expecting Nutmeg to be open 24 x 7 but it’s apparently Cafe Mercara Express that takes care of the late night guests. Sharing space with Madras Pavilion, Cafe Mercara Express has a super posh ambience along with comfy seating. Considering the time, the place was almost empty. We sat below the chandelier where there’s couch seating.
We flipped through the menu right to the end where we spotted the dessert section. We weren’t left with much choices but whatever was there sounded good. Pistachio and Fresh Strawberry Tart was the one that caught our attention but unfortunately it wasn’t available. So we ordered a Baked Citrus New York Cheese Cake and a Vanilla Bean Creme Brule. The Cheesecake was served with fig slices, a pastry stick and Strawberry Black Pepper juice. Surprisingly/shockingly, the plate in which the cheese cake was served had water spots. That’s probably the last thing I’ll expect in a star hotel. Cheese cake wasn’t that impressive either. The base, which is meant to be crumbly looked too moist and rigid, probably because of over chilling/freezing. The pastry stick nor the strawberry drops helped much in making it better. Fortunately, the Creme Brule made up to it. It was served neatly in a bowl on their signatory elephant logo imprinted plate. Two almond biscotti was served with it which was amazing. A wooden skewer with fruit slices was left to hang over the creme brule which itself had the perfect consistency and a thin crisp layer of burnt sugar on top. Past that delicious sugary awesomeness was the caramel-ly goodness of vanilla bean which was simply out of this world. We cleaned the bowl so well that they might not have to do it.
Service was top notch and nothing to complain as far as service is concerned. Both the desserts are Rs. 545 each. Overall, with taxes, it worked out to Rs. 1311.27. Since one item was good and the other wasn’t satisfactory, it wasn’t a good deal for us. I’ll definitely be back here because of the other dishes they serve which caught our sight.