At Chennai’s new rooftop bar, catch sunsets and sip on innovative cocktails like shiitake-infused whisky

The 4,500 square feet space has three levels of seating

At Irida Skky Lounge, the wind whispers secrets in your ears. Secrets that are better deciphered after a few sips of the innovative cocktails that this shiny new resto bar stirs up. “We want to level up,” says Shreyas Asthana, who co-owns the place along with Sarath Chandran, Sharanya, and Regin Anand. “Our drinks focus on various infusions, using ultrasonic waves for the same; we’re using different kind of woods, techniques such as clarification, alcohol fat washing, lacto-fermentation, sous vide…,” adds Shreyas

Miso Hot, a cocktail made with shiitake-infused whisky

Miso Hot, a cocktail made with shiitake-infused whisky

Located on the 10th floor of the Briley One building in Egmore, the space is bathed in golden light and offers 360 degree views of the city. A fun activity is to try and figure out how many buildings you can identify. Our count is five: Commander’s Court, Presidency Club, Express Avenue Mall, Hotel Kanchi, Taj Mount Road. 

Heart of palm and artichoke ceviche

Heart of palm and artichoke ceviche

There are three levels — one indoors while the other two offer al fresco dining — spread across 4,500 square feet. These will be opened up in phases and can seat 160 people. The menu, put together by Chef Ralph Dsouza who worked at restaurants like Desi Road and MG Road in Paris, is the result of numerous permutations and combinations. It’s a Spanish tapas menu, but with elements from across the world. There is a heavy Korean and Asian influence along with South Indian, South American and Middle Eastern accents. “We have deliberately kept the menu small so we can focus on techniques such as fluid gel, vacuum compression and advanced plating… Every dish has seven to eight elements to it,” says Shreyas.

Irida Skky Lounge in Chennai

Top picks from the menu include a vegan ceviche, featuring heart of palm and artichoke in tiger’s milk, flavoured with reduced mushroom and kombu stock. Despite having an unusual taste, it is something that the palate instantly finds comfort in. The Malaysian puff on the other hand with its familiar flavours makes sure you don’t stop with one. The deliciously fried flaky crust is stuffed with curried chicken. With each bite you can hear the crunch. #ASMR.

The kitchen’s take on a Spanish omelette is served in a pool of xacuti gravy and topped with onions in four different forms: raw, charred, pickled and fried. The Skky High Salad with salt baked beets, goat cheese, orange, candied hazelnuts deserves a special mention as does the avocado roll filled with cheese and served on a bed of compressed watermelon.

Malaysian curry puffs

Malaysian curry puffs

Meanwhile, the head bartender Kaviraj Bishwokarma presents a Miso Hot with a flourish. Modelled on Japanese miso soup, it features shiitake-infused whisky along with miso paste, nori syrup and a long list of ingredients, and is potent enough to make you see stars even on a starless night. The other showstopper is the Tobacco tea, an idea that came to Kaviraj when he was grabbing a quick cup of chai at a tea stall. Here dark rum and black tea are infused with condensed milk and a tincture of green cardamom to crease an upscale, smoky version of masala tea.

Filter kapi namelaka

Filter kapi namelaka

In true Chennai style, we end our meal with filter coffee. Except, this one is in the form of creamy mousse, hidden under a rubble of tuille, fragrant with a hint of cardamom. And as a surprise element, there is an additional, unexpected lime gel, adding a hint of tartness to the comforting sweet filter kapi mousse.

Meal for two costs ₹2,500 with alcohol. Irida Skky Lounge is located at Briley One, Ethiraj Salai, Egmore. Tel: 9884712222


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