It’s like a ramp-walk on ice! The red snappers and pearlspots, the silver-bodied seer fish, the tiny sardines glittering in a heap compete for your attention with the tiger prawns and live crabs at The Marina, a seafood restaurant with a difference.
“It’s all about sustainable fishing,” explains M. Mahadevan, popularly known in Chennai as Hot Breads Mahadevan, on account of the number of restaurants he has launched. “Not only have fish stocks been threatened across the globe due to excessive fishing, but when the tsunami devastated our coasts, I wanted to do something to protect our traditional fishing communities.”
As he describes it, the old methods of catching fish by the use of hooks to keep afloat the large nets which fisherfolk use to drag in their catch in places like Tuticorin have almost been replaced by the mechanised fishing industry. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has been at the forefront of tackling the problem. Mahadevan has provided a popular hook for their efforts by guaranteeing a ready market for the fish.
As with all his restaurant outlets, Mahadevan was keenly involved in the creation of the Marina. It’s tucked away in a haven of old trees, a green Marinarium that gives you the option of frying your fish in three different ways—Tandoor, Thai-Chinese, and South Indian. In short, a bit from all his other restaurants.
We start with a spicy soup, progress with dim sums, a sumptuous lobster plate and finish with a splendid fish biriyani. Do we imagine it? The crabs wave us a fond farewell.
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