The barbecue concept isn’t something new to our city. As a matter of fact, it’s something that almost every one of us have given a shot and has got a certain idea on how it works. But that hasn’t stopped an array of new bbq joints from opening recently. Ironically, the numbers are now higher than ever. Surprisingly, Velachery didn’t have a proper bbq joint and that gap has been filled with Coal Barbecues. My friends and I were lucky enough to be invited for a bloggers meet and given below is my take on Coal Barbecues, Velachery.
Coal Barbecues is located in the ever busy 100 Feet Road. A large illuminated signboard makes this place hard to miss. Though I don’t remember seeing a valet parking service, there is enough space to park a couple of cars. The building is actually a huge complex and Coal Barbecues is located on the second floor. But there is a reception counter at the ground floor itself where we get to check if tables are available and there is also space for those who’d have to wait for tables to get vacant. There is lift service to reach the second floor and it’s definitely a boon, especially for kids and elders. Seeing the size of the staircase, I was expecting a rather small floor space but I was amazed at how big the space is. Plus, on the day we visited, they were running full house and the place was jam packed. Fortunately, we had booked three tables for us which was free for us to occupy. The ambience and décor looks pretty minimalistic with simple and subtle touches. They have a live teppanyaki counter which is somewhat similar to the wish grill concept in Absolute BBQ where we get to decide on what meat or veggies we want and also choose the sauce which they’ll cook and serve. But unlike their competitor, they have separate teppanyaki counter for veg and non veg with a plethora of options. A mocktail bar right near the entrance was also something that caught my eye. Glasses were beautifully arranged on top of the counter which was busy dishing out drinks. The best part of the restaurant would have to be the dessert counter. They have a cold stone set up for ice creams and a live jalebi section too. Tables are long and spacious with the pit for barbecue grill in the middle. The usual condiments such as sauces and oils are provided. After checking this all out, we got ourselves seated and that’s where we finally had some food in our plates.
We were served Veg Manchow and Chicken Tomyum as soups based on our preference. They were served in a distinct looking soup bowl which are of different colours for veg and non veg. Both were pretty good and surprisingly I found the veg version to be much better. Just like the regular places, starters are served at the table and for mains, it’s the buffet. In veg it was the usual Grilled Veggies, Mushroom, Paneer, Pineapple, Cheesy Potatoes, Crispy Corn and Veg Kebab. Paneer was really good and the veggies loved it. Mushroom was delicious too. Pineapple slices were nice too. Non veg included items such as Garlic Prawns, Celery Fish, Peshawari Chicken, Punjabi Tangri and Pudina Seekh Kebab. All were decent with the Prawns being my favourite from the lot. Post starters, I went on to try the Teppanyaki Grill and that’s where my experience deteriorated pretty badly. The counter was filled from all directions with people and there wasn’t any regulations such as first come first serve basis. People were randomly sneaking in to get their dishes done and it was absolutely chaotic. The main reason is because of the fact that instead of listening to the preferences of the customers, noting their table number, giving them a token number and serving the cooked dishes to their tables, the customers were made to wait and take it by themselves. Surprisingly, this was the case at the non veg end while the veg was pretty manageable as the crowd was less at that end. Nevertheless, we did manage to try a couple of dishes cooked in the grill. Instead of choosing the mix of meat and sauce ourselves, we let the chef decide and what we got to try were really good. Shrimps, Squid and Rabbit were some of the dishes I got to try a spoonful of.
Mains were a row of items we find in all regular buffets. Biryani, Mutton Gravy, Crab Curry, Pulao, Dal, Veg curries and Panner were there apart from some salads, sliced veggies and the ever awesome Curd Rice. As far as desserts were concerned, there was cakes such as Chocolate, Butterscotch and Strawberry slices, Mousses, Gulab Jamuns, Rasgullas, Carrot Halwa , Brownies and Fresh Cut Fruits. If the Teppanyaki grill was crowded, there was technically a huge mob around the Ice Cream section. So most of us weren’t lucky enough to try the frozen delights. But we were able to get our hands on some freshly made Jalebi with Rabdi which was really good. In the above mentioned desserts only the Jamuns and Halwa were pretty good.
Service was friendly and staffs were well mannered. Apart from the fiasco at the grill and ice cream counter, I felt the service provided to be good. Even that should be something that will be taken care of as the days go by and things settle down. A bit of tweaking in a few sections can make this place even better. Though they provide something we get almost everywhere, their location seems to be their USP IMHO. Overall, Coal Barbecues is a place that can definitely be recommended for family dinners and corporate lunches. Finally Velachery has started getting it’s own set of barbecue joints and only time will tell which among this one and the recently opened Barbecue Nation inside Grand Mall would be the crowd puller. From the looks of it, my vote is for Coal Barbecues.
RATINGS BREAK UP:-
Customer Service:- 3.5/5