Vegetarian’s heaven just shifted to Velacherry declares Sandhya Ramachandran after a hearty lunch at Peaches’

Vegetarian. (n): The only people after Hansel and Gretel who survive on bread crumbs and air. Said species can be found reading through restaurant menus three times to cross check ingredients, or on flights, interrogating flight attendants about food.

The above jocular definition has stood ground over centuries making fun of the comparatively lesser food choices that vegetarians the world over have. Something in the powers that govern our lives must have got really offended by the joke and well, prodded three young promoters - Raghu Viswanathan, Venkatesh Kannan and Niranjan Tata - to begin Peaches’.

Or so we would like to dramatise, for Peaches’ brings to Chennai’s vegetarian crowd, world-cuisine on a platter. From vegetarian dolmades to fajitas, Peaches’ already has plenty of choices and is planning some more. With all these yummilicious words popping out of their online menu, we were simply seduced into trying the food at Peaches’.

When you enter Peaches’, the first thing that hits you is the minimalist orderly décor. There is something about those white pipes of exposed wiring that contrast well with the bamboo cover at the entrance. The diamond pattern in which the pins hold down the pipes on the wall, the bulbous lights and the cosy seating all add to the elegant and well-planned décor of the place. We pretty much fell for the seating by the glass wall, imagining a romantic candle-lit dinner as the city’s traffic whizzes past below!

Getting back from dreamland to food, we began with what can only be described as an amma kaiyyaale samachcha (or made with love by mom) Cream of Peas soup. The cream along with the grainy texture of the blended peas made it a thick, warm beginner to a good meal. Appetiser? Indeed! It got us asking for more.

With garlic and cheese being prime ingredients and having a diagnosed obsession for the two, we blindly picked the garlic cheese bruschetta for the entrée. Definitely tasty, but we just wish it was a little warmer when served. That a piece of bread served fresh from the oven always makes you feel at home is a dictum we believe in and this bruschetta just missed the crown.

The cream and cheese mushroom tortellini on the other hand wins our words of praise for being so tastefully prepared. The well-made nachos refrito made us wish there was a movie or a match playing. But that is just us being greedy!

What completely had us captive were the pot stickers. Some distant relative of the dim sums, they were chewy on the outside with oodles of sticky syrup and had vegetable filling on the inside. Who said ‘finger-licking good’ was just for KFC’s bucket chicken huh?

If you had to declare what was the best course in all the food we had at Peaches’ the main course would be it. The Tava Sheermal and the Bhurwan Mirch Kholapuri was simply one of the best combinations we have had. The sign of honey over the Tava Sheermal contrasted with the hot Bhurwan Mirch Kholapuri – the sweet and spicy, a delicious symphony. Must definitely eat!

The pasta with sun dried tomato was probably one of the simplest and tastiest we have had. Cooked al dente, this is one dish we will wish to dig into on a rainy evening by the window sill! It was poetic food, to us. Although we must warn you, it is a dry pasta and may not be everyone’s calling.

Go for the great Hot Choco Fudge Fundae simply because it has choco brownie and chocolate sauce and well, we don’t need any more reasons than that! Or try their signature Somaras. A lychee and coconut milkshake it has traces of ginger that hovers around as an after-taste. On first sip, you are port-keyed into some land of splinched tastes - you are not sure whether you like it or not. Second sip gets you to the ‘hi-hello’ stage with the brew and you savour the combination of coconut with lychee. The third sip is when the ginger meets you and you become friends. But the Somaras, we personally feel, is one of those drinks that grows on you. So we shall wait for the second-time slurp before we decide. However, the filter coffee needed no second thoughts. It was good, strong and hot, and a great end to the scrumptious lunch.

Die-hard vegetarians (or pure vegetarians, asIndiacalls them), despair not! Here’s where you head and hog to your heart’s or rather tummy’s content. And don’t forget to ask the three promoters, if they are around, the one crore rupee question - “Who is Peaches”?

Must try: Pot Stickers, Tava Sheermal, Bhurwan Mirch Kholapuri, Somaras (everyone must experiment with food once in a while!)

Meal for Two: Rs.800

Additional Photographs(nachos and tortellini): Venkatesh Kannan