After years, for lunch, I went to the Dakshin restaurant in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chamiers Road, Chennai. Dakshin is famous for serving South Indian delicacies from the four states, especially its lunch menu topped with a piping hot filter coffee. Apart from the food, the place is popular for the live music rendered by artists on a stage in the centre of the restaurant. The restaurant and the music performance have been immortalized in a scene in the Tamil film Singaaravelan (1992) starring Kamal Haasan and Kushboo.
For the last few months, it is being rumoured that the Crowne Plaza Hotel premises has been sold to a realtor and going to be redeveloped as a residential luxury apartment complex. Originally called the Adyar Gate Hotel, the land belonged to John Demonte in the 19th century, the history of the place is narrated here by Chennai’s favourite historian Mr Sriram V. A century later, it was part of a whites-only social club called Adyar Club and one of its entrances was in the place where the present-day hotel stands, giving it the name “Adyar Club Gate”.
Till a decade ago, the hotel was run as Park Sheraton Hotels by the ITC group in India, after ITC opened their newer flagship hotel (ITC Grand Chola) in the city, and took the experienced chefs & the team away, the Dakshin restaurant lost its sheen – even today, when we went for lunch, almost all the tables were occupied, but certainly, the food and service was not to the earlier high-standards.