15 December, 2007

Tastes of Delhi

A few weeks back we were in Delhi to attend a Punjabi wedding. Besides all the exotic wedding food we had the opportunity to step out and experience some of Delhi's eateries.

Chocolate Crunchie at The Pavilion, Maurya Sheraton
Delicious and sinfully chocolate loaded, this was a great treat at 1AM in one of Delhi's very upmarket and popular coffee shop. Powered with chocolate, cookies and vanilla & butterscotch ice-cream.

chocolate crunchie

Power of Pranthas at Chandni Chowk
It was a Sunday morning adventure for all of us to visit this all so popular Chandni Chowk area of Delhi. Being a Sunday we were relieved of all the traffic hassles. After a few phone calls to local relatives and cousins and we decided to eat at The Power of Pranthas - Pt. Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan, a rather crowded outlet in the paranthewali galli. You could see the local rush feasting on the hot paranthas with achar, aloo ki sabji and a large glass of chaas or lassi.

power of paranthas power of paranthas

We decided to ask for suggestions to start with, but were put off when he recommended the rabri paratha and decided to go safe by starting with tomato paratha, aloo and paneer and even tried the papad ka paratha.

power of paranthas power of paranthas

Maybe it was all the crazy fun but I really didn't think the food was anything lip-smacking but surely something worth experiencing when you are in Delhi. The approach isn't very pleasant and might a be a bit difficult if you don't have somebody to guide you around; so get some instructions before you step off.

power of paranthas

Nirula's at Connaught Place
Nirula's is a name which is close to every Delhiites heart. A place popular for it's pizzas I think this should be some competition to the Pizza Hut's and McDonald's around there. Impressively designed interiors with lots of red color this was a good place to have our first outing in Delhi.

nirula's delights nirula's delights

It was past 12noon and so we decided to fill up our stomachs before we headed off for the farm-house Mehendi party. I treated myself to a Chicken burger which turned out to be interestingly filled with a gherkin. The popular pizza was nice too and we had a hearty meal.

nirula's delights nirula's delights

While you are at it, don't forget to try the cold coffee, milk-shakes and ice-creams.

01 October, 2007

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29 September, 2007

What to eat at Cafe Basilico

I recently had dinner at Cafe Basilico and I thought I should recommend two dishes in particular which you must try when there.

  • The Chicken Lemon Grass Soup - spicy and very tasty
  • Moroccan Chicken - This is different because it's served with a nice gravy and rice. A good meal by itself.
And of course, when you are at Basilico you can't forget to leave some empty stomach for the lovely desserts. On weekend nights book them as soon as you walk in.

23 September, 2007

Strawberry & Raspberry infused Tea

naturally spicy berry teaHow do you make your weekend mornings more interesting?

Wake up to drink a cup of tea which is not your regular office tea like tasting. Saturday morning I discovered the Naturally Spicy Berry - strawberry & raspberry fruit, herb & spice infusion tea. Very different than your regular tea. It gives a lovely pink color and a fruity taste. I didn't need to add any sugar.

16 September, 2007

Restaurant Review: Lemon Grass, Lower Parel

If you are seeking good asian food in a not so fancy place, then you can head over to Lemon Grass in Lower Parel. Actually the setting is much more informal at their Bandra outlet however in Lower Parel, the setting is bit more chic with nice interiors. I was there on a friday night and we actually had to move around 3 tables before we could get settled down completely. The last move was after we had finished with our appetizers. I think it was just bad planning by them because there was a huge group of 45 people in there.

Also due to some technical problem, their Air Conditioning system was not in Full Power Mode which made it really uncomfortable. The tables are a little small and cramped up for four people to dine comfortably without hitting each other's plates. Add to that a fifth person and you got a traffic jam on the table. They have a long bar where you could enjoy a drink before moving to the table for your dinner. I am not sure but they might be even willing to serve you dinner at the bar if it's just two of you.

Surprisingly the service is fast and smooth, they are very courteous and tend to make some good recommendations based on your preferences. The food is a good mix of thai, chinese, korean and indonesian. There is a good collection of Dim Sums and you could try the one with Asparagus and Cheese filling. The corn curd in black bean sauce was a bit salty and could have tasted better. The Garlic and chilly paneer sticks was NICE.

As a special gesture for all the trouble they had caused us moving tables again and again the manager presented two pastries (complimentary) to end the dinner on a sweet note. Appreciated and we were pleased they they were concerned.

For the five of us with 2 alcoholic drinks and no desserts we paid just 1400 bucks which I think was a steal for that kind of a place.

Conclusion: Good food and good service. But maybe it was a bad day due to the faulty air conditioning and the big group of 45 people who really rocked the place down.

Cross-posted at burrp.

11 September, 2007

Taxi Restaurant - good fusion food

Taxi is tucked away in a narrow lane of old Cuffe Parade (technically off Wodehouse Road) which you surely can miss if you don't have proper directions. Thankfully there is valet so parking is not a problem.

As you step in you will notice they have an outdoor section which caters to the huka smoking clan. Although I am guessing it could be a little uncomfortable without the A/C.

dinner at taxi (by kapsi)Taxi is divided into three sections (sort of) you have bar where you sit across the barman and enjoy your drink. Then there is the lounge where you have sofas and low tables. You can dine here or you can request to be seated in the formal dining area. The interiors are very classy and if you've visited the next door furniture store - Masterpieces, you would feel they have shopped from there. The high ceiling gives the place a grand look and vastness which otherwise would have looked cramped up. They have an in-house DJ churning out some good trance numbers.

We were seated in the lounge area since there was no table available in the formal dining area. The bar menu has a good mix of spirits, cocktails and mocktails. The waiters are well-informed and help you make some good selection. The appetizers have an equal selection of veg and non-veg dishes. We choose to have the jalapeƱo and cheese poppers which were nice.

As soon as we finished our appetizer the lovely stewardess moved us to the formal dining area. The dinner menu is a good mix of thai, italian and a little mexican dishes. We went for the silken tofu noodles with capsicum (There was an over-dose of capsicum) and a wood fire oven magherita pizza with olives and mushroom. If you like domino's style pizza you ain't going to like this one - The pizza had a strong taste of olive oil. It's a thin & crispy making it very light on the stomach.

In conclusion: Nice, cosy place NOT TOO NOISY and some good food.

This review is also cross posted at burrp.com

04 September, 2007

Lonavala Food Bites

I was in Lonavala for the weekend with friends. On the way we dined at Chenab Restaurant in Vashi. Although I had heard greatly about the food, I was a bit disappointed. The dal makahani was bit too salty. I liked the paneer dishes. The masala papad had some masala which really disturbed the taste. I couldn't eat non-veg but I could smell some very nice aroma from the neighbouring table. Should be worth a try.

When in Lonavala you must drink coffee at Pragati (it's a little before Coopers Chocolate Fudge store). They serve some of the best cold coffee.

coffee at pragati (by kapsi)

At Tiger Hills there is just one stall which will serve you hot spicy bajiya which is a great treat around monsoon time. They serve onion, potato and corn baji. Of course the staple wada pav is also available. Rahul who serves you these bajiya is a great talker and will jump across those slippery rocks as if its a monkey on the trees.

bhajiya (by kapsi)

30 August, 2007

Cafe Military

About a month back I went to Cafe Military in Fort area to have lunch with my office colleagues. this is a typical irani / parsi cafe serving chicken and mutton dishes. I tried the Chicken Masala Fry (see pic below), although I was told that Kheema Pav was supposed to be the all time hit around that place.

They also had some rather unique drinks which are not available so easily in other outlets of Mumbai - A pinky Raspberry drink and London Pilsner beer. Don't forget to close your meal with the nice caramel custard - A typical of such irani cafes.

chicken masal fry and pav (bread) (by kapsi) london pilsner (by kapsi)

This is a very cheap place if you are looking for a quick bite around that area. Nothing fancy about the interiors and the crowd may not be all that exciting besides the few bankers from neighboring offices.

18 August, 2007

Back from Singapore & Bangkok trip

just returned from a lovely trip of Singapore & Bangkok. Will be sharing my khana peena experiences soon ... but here is a quick look at some of the interesting things we ate around there. (Click on the photos to see a small description).

coconut in hua hin (by kapsi) seaweed salad (by kapsi)

crispy pizza (by kapsi) swiss mushroom melt sandwich (by kapsi)

Waffle Sundae (by kapsi)

29 July, 2007

An evening in a "Village"

Last weekend we had a family dinner at a restaurant called "Village". This is a rather interesting and unique concept place located in Raghuleela mall at Borivali (west). The idea is you pay Rs.300 per head and get an entry which gives you access to all the food that is available that evening at the place. Cuisines available are Rajasthani, Gujarati, Punjabi and live "chaat" counters. Entry is first-cum basis and they don't accept reservations. And that's also because the seating is free style, you just about corner off a table where you set base with your team and then go about on the food hunt.

Village (by kapsi)It's a very gujarati/rajasthani influenced set-up of a typical village with a town square which has a huge articial tree under which tarot card readers, bead sellers, mehendi-walis are located serving the diners. The seating is also very typical with khatiya (cots) and tables. If you move around you will see some rather interesting tables like a truck which had a table set behind its back and a rickshaw split open to fit a four-seater table.

We entered the place at about 8PM and it was moderately crowded but in no time the place was jam packed. Just around that time they start the entertainment show where a bunch of ladies perform a traditional dance and a man saddled on a costume horse does a little jig too! Thankfully after the dance there was a small break and a puppet show kept the noisy kids busy for a while. The large space gives them great freedom to run around like crazy.

Spread out across the place are various food counters where you can just about eat anything as much as you like. We had pani-puri, sev puri, masala khicha, khama dhokla, vada - And a bit more just for starters. I didn't seem to like the khicha very much it was too salty. Maybe the masala papad would have been a better bet!

truck at villageThe pav bhaji was a good choice, because the pav is soft like cotton and absolutely delicious. The center court is where you have the main course items like panner ki sabzi, dal baati, khichu, karela kish-mish, gatte ki sabzi, biryani, khichdi, kadi, dal dokhli accompanied with bajre ki roti, tandoori roti, phulka, channa batura. For a sweet ending there was gulab jamun, jalebi, dal ka sheera, kulfi and kadhai doodh.

For refreshments don't expects the cokes and pepsis of the world around here. There is sugarcane juice, chaas (butter-milk) and a gole wala if you want to suck up some flavoured crushed ice. Oh and yes they have a hooka counter also where you can pick a flavour of your choice. But this ain't included in the 300 bucks we paid earlier.

Verdict: The place is a good experience, tends to get a bit loud with all the naach-gaana. Strongly recommended that you go there in groups - couples stay away and surely not for those looking for a nice quiet place to chat. Food is good variety and quality but nothing awesome about it. I am not sure if I would go back again.

toy seller at village (by kapsi) waiter at Village (by kapsi) tissue holder at Village (by kapsi)

me blowing a hooka at Village (by kapsi)

26 July, 2007

Jacob's Creek: Chardonnay 2002 (White Wine)

wine chardonnay 2002 (by kapsi)Last night I relished a Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2002 White Wine over a family dinner. Although I was not in the best of my health, I think the wine was smooth and left a good taste on the tongue. The color is a dirty yellow with very little bubbles.

Recommended drinking.

16 July, 2007

Katiawadi food in Baroda

I spent the weekend in Baroda for some research work. After a hard day of work, we decided to skip the very typical Punjabi dishes listed on the menu and choose to order from the Gujarati menu - the local specialties. Although I had heard the name before during our trips to Nathdwara, I was not sure how would it be ordering the same without mom around. The menu was printed in Gujarati, so with a little help from the waiter we managed to order a decent meal.
  • Sev tumattar (Sev and Tomato) This was a bit spicy but I think that's how they make it.
  • Baingan nu bharto (brinjal) - oily but yummy
  • Bajre nu rotlo - very soft and delicious
  • Khichdi ane kadi - Thankfully it was not topped with ghee!!
Gujarati food is a nice cuisine but when you are eating out you tend to over-eat and so it tends to get heavy. So eat in limit unless you are on holiday and enjoy a good siesta post-meal.

09 July, 2007

3 layered mousse

3 layered chocolate mousse (by kapsi)

Had this interesting 3 layered mousse at Senate, Status (Nariman Point, Mumbai). The first layer was milk chocolate, then white chocolate and last layer was the dark chocolate with crushed biscuit base. Not only did it taste nice but was set in "shot glasses".

04 July, 2007

Tastes from Kolkata

I spent the weekend in Kolkata and got a chance to taste some of the restaurants around there. Here is a quick note on my experiences.

THE HUB at Taj Bengal: The breakfast buffet was just like a king's meal - scrambled eggs with bacon, idli+wada, a variety of breads & jams, parathas, momos, stir fried vegetables with noodles, burgers, fresh juices, mishti doi and a lot more which I never got around eating. Lucky for me we had 3 mornings so I tried something different everyday.

Fire and Ice on Middleton Street: An Italian joint this is a must try when in Kolkata. We were there for a late lunch and called for the a raw salad and a thin-crust pizza. I must say they had a very authentic taste. The place has a unique look decorated with black & white film posters from Hollywood and a single poster of yester-years of bollywood stars like Meena Kumari and Shashi Kapoor.

Mainland China: This was the most talked about place and plans to visit this chinese restaurant were made almost a week in advance. A table on a Saturday night is a bit of a problem, so the advance booking. Although the food was tasty I could not really relish it because we were just too many of us busy chatting up and joking around.

When we checked into the hotel, we were given a cake (I don't know who messed up - but they thought it was our anniversary) and a bottle of wine.

happy anniversary cake (by kapsi)
The cake wasn't bad - a nice chocolate cake with white chocolate flakes.

Grover vineyards - La reserve 2004 Red Wine. (by kapsi)
The wine was a Grover Vineyards 2004 la reserve. I didn't really like this one much, it was very dry and rough.

23 June, 2007

Kebab Korner: Freaking Expensive

A few days back we celebrated my sister's birthday at Kebab Korner in Hotel Intercontinental on Marine Drive. This is an old-time favourite restaurant of Mumbai city when Intercontinental was called Hotel Natraj.

The start itself was bad, we literally had to beg them for a table because it seems their most popular and busy day is Tuesday (Fair enough). We had a 9PM table but didn't make it till 9.10 and bang comes the phone call "Maam, would you be coming in as you have a reserved table". We thought to ourselves wow that's a very busy place they called to check on. Guess what? when we reached there not more than 4 tables were occupied and the place wore a dead look.

kebab korner mumbai

Anyways we got around to ordering when we realised the place was freaking expensive. Vegetarian starters were priced at an average of Rs.400 and non-veg was about Rs.500. We enjoyed the Murgh Afghani and realised that the vegetarian food was strictly OK and only the non-veg was worth it. The special KK paratha was a bit hard and not so buttery if you were to ask me. The papad comes FREE and in a very interesting rolled format.

Before I left I couldn't resist myself but to have a word with the manager and tell him about the high-handed attitude which was shown in spite of a rather low occupancy. He apologised and even offered his business card if I may need to ever make any bookings in the future.

However my final verdict: Not a place worth the money it charges. I would say this place is for corporate client entertainment only - and that too if you plan to eat the chicken/meat.

Image courtesy: Sebastian Zachariah

22 June, 2007

Ferrero Chocolate Cake

That's a ferrero rocher chocolate cake. It's chocolaty, crunchy, sprinkled with white flakes and nice ferrero chocolates on the top.

if you live around colaba / cuffe parade in Mumbai I can tell you which lady does these cakes.

17 June, 2007

italian romantic night

cabernet merolt 2005 wine (by kapsi)After a lovely buffet lunch at Not just jazz by the bay, we were in no mood for a dinner out on Saturday night. So Nitika did the next best thing - toss up a really lovely romantic dinner. Pasta and cheese garlic dip with bread was the order for the night served with the cabernet merolt 2005 wine . And this was with a coffee perfumed candle that kept burning through the night.

We realised that a freshly tossed up pasta was a lot more tasty than the ones which are cooked earlier in the day and then re-heated or baked just before dinner time. The freshness of the oregano, olive oil and other ingredients is remarkable when served fresh.

pasta (by kapsi)
This is spaghetti in just red sauce tossed in olive oil with crushed garlic, red & yellow bell pepper, mushroom, olives and basil. Garnished with chilli flakes, cheese, salt & pepper and oregano.

breads + cheese dip (by kapsi)
The bread basket is a mix of lavash, bread sticks and garlic bread served with Cheese & Garlic dip. (Breads from Celejor in Colaba) Click on photo to see notes.

Cheese & Garlic dip: Home-made cottage cheese, hung curd, dash of mayonnaise, KRAFT cheese spread, grated parmesan cheese, mustard salt pepper orgegano and tabassco. Churned in a blender and served chilled.

Thanks to Nitika for being patient to help me with all the details mentioned here.

Lunch @ Not Just Jazz by the Bay

The first Saturday of a lovely monsoon was indeed very interesting. For a change the lazy me decided to take the better half out for a buffet lunch at Not Just Jazz by the Bay - her favourite. This is a very proper Soup, Salad and Sandwich place - which to me is not all that satisfying, so I felt all this time. But my visit here changed my opinion. For about Rs.250+ taxes (per person) this is indeed a worthy lunch. For soup we had the corn chowder with a bit of tabassco this felt nice on a rainy afternoon. The salad bar is awesome when it comes to choice. Of course the vegetarian fare is large but the non-veg eaters too get a good choice of tuna, chicken and ham. After the salad which you surely can't finish in just one round so I suggest taking a few more of those, you can then move on to order your choice of sandwich. I picked the Honey Mustard Chicken grilled sandwich which was a nice choice over the regular chicken tikka. By the time I finished the sandwich I was FULL and realised this is not such a light meal after all. I was expecting a lot from the desserts but there was only the chocolate mousse which I thought should have been a little more cold. So I think they could have done a bit more interesting stuff on the desserts.

Verdict: Recommended for a lovely lazy afternoon. It's a bit loud so don't expect a lot of sweet happenings as the tables are also very close to each other. Large groups should avoid this place because you would be a little disturbing to those around. Is typically filled with couples, ladies and a few random office colleagues.

11 January, 2007

Barbecue Night

Sunday night we set-up a small barbecue on our terrace. Unfortunately the weather was not so comforting and we were sweating it out by the end of it. But we had some great food that night - Grilled paneer, mushroom, potatoes, onions, capsicums and roomali roti with dal makani.

barbecue night 011 (by kapsi)

Getting the grill to heat up ain't no easy task. It took me about 2 hours to really see that lovely reddish orange flame emerge out of the coal pieces. It's an art I am hoping I will be able to get a hang of it if I had some more of these sessions. But alas, the Mumbai weather isn't so supportive. But I am glad that by the end of it the taste was something we cherished very much. Also there was this lovely aroma of the food in the air which made it even more exciting to sit out there in the open and feast on the hot pieces off the grill.

fan the barbecue grill (by kapsi)

Some pointers for those who would like to have a barbecue night at home:

  1. Make sure you tell the coal seller you need it for home use so you can give you small brittle pieces.
  2. Coal takes a lot of time to ignite, so give it ample time before you intend to start grilling stuff on it.
  3. Coal needs a agent - I used kerosene but I believe you also get propane cans which can also be used. Make sure you don't use too much of this because otherwise the food can start smelling of it.
  4. You are going to need a strong hand-held fan so give the coal necessary air for the sparks to rise.
  5. Ensure that the marination is not a very thin gravy it should be thick enough so that it doesn't drip onto the coal.
  6. The skews should be well oiled so that they come off smooth once roasted. Of the lot paneer is the most messy and potatoes the toughest.
  7. Somebody should keep a watch and keep rotating the skews so that all sides are well cooked.
  8. And .... don't expect to be a pro in your first few tries. This was my third attempt and I could manage to feed about 6 people in good time.

I would love to hear your experience or some expert tips, if you have organized a barbecue at your place. More photos from the evening at my flickr.

Dal makani with roomali roti (by kapsi) roasted papd (by kapsi) barbecue night 009 (by kapsi)

06 January, 2007

Scrambled Eggs

Winter in Bombay is as precious as gold. You get a very few of those chilly mornings where you can enjoy a nice cuppa of tea of a hearty breakfast. I am not a very morning person, so usually my breakfast is light.

But when the weather is good and office is closed on a Saturday morning - what better way to start the morning than to cook up some eggs. So having made a quick phone call to the neighbourhood grocery shops I got the necessary ingredients for my Scrambled Eggs breakfast.

I was going to look up the instructions online, but then my mom volunteered to guide me through, so under her expert guidance I cooked myself a hearty meal.

scrambled eggs (by kapsi)