Review: Monsoon

Review: Monsoon

Monsoon is another offering from the folks behind our favorite Cafe Lota and they have followed the same concept of highlighting regional Indian dishes with their modern twist while using local, artisanal ingredients.m1We started with Odd Veg Kebabs, which were an assortment of kebabs made using unusual vegetables- bottlegourd, mushroom, beetroot, pumpkin and mung beans. The beetroot one was slightly sweet and had a filling of cheese, while the mushroom kebab had a melt-in-the-mouth texture and was packed with flavor. But what blew us away was how tasty the bottlegourd and pumpkin kebabs were. The bottlegourd seekh was mixed with other vegetables and cottage cheese along with herbs and spices and had a nice, soft texture. The pumpkin one had a nice crispy crust and was soft and gooey inside, and was flavored really well. For all vegetarians who are tired of eating just paneer tikka, this platter is a great option.

Next, we had the Buckwheat Pancake, which was thin and crispy on the outside, and was filled with chopped mushrooms, spring onions and organic zarai cheese. This cheese from Uttarakhand had a mozzarella-like texture and a beautiful peppery flavor which made the pancake taste amazing.

The Lemon and Ginger Chicken was also a nice dish with simple flavors. It consisted of boneless chicken thigh cooked in the tandoor and tossed with lime leaves, ginger and pepper.m3For main course, we had the Broccoli Makhani which was made with a whole broccoli coated in a creamy malai marinade and topped with cheese. The broccoli was cooked in the tandoor which gave it a nice smoky flavor and soft texture and the cheese on top baked perfectly to form a nice crust. The broccoli was served in a butter chicken style gravy which was thick, creamy and really flavorsome with a nice balance of tanginess and slight sweetness. The dish was served with a flaky, thin pudina parantha with a dollop of fresh white butter.

We also tried the Pumpkin and Spinach Curry which had coal roasted pumpkin cooked with spinach in a coconut milk curry flavored with organic sugarcane vinegar. The gravy was thin and light, and was not overpowered with coconut, and the roasted pumpkin imparted a nice flavor. The dish was served with a maize and methi thepla which was nicely made.m4From the non-veg menu, we tried the Sesame Chicken that had boneless chicken thigh pieces cooked with whole spices in a sesame sauce which had a tahini-like flavor. The robustness of the whole spices worked well with the nutty flavor of the sesame. This dish was accompanied by a thick khameeri roti to mop up the delicious sauce.

Monsoon also has a selection of delectable stuffed kulchas such as green pea, bundel cheese and chorizo. We tried the kulcha stuffed with goat meat and bone marrow, which had a robust flavor and was spiced really well so as to let the meat shine. The kulcha was served with a thick and creamy mint and garlic raita and some white butter.m5Along with our meal, we also tried a couple of their drinks. Monsoon has brought forth some nice shrub infused drinks, which have infused vinegar mixed with club soda. Out of their selection, we tried the organic coconut vinegar drink mixed with pineapple, green chilies, curry leaves, tonic 2 elixir and jaggery. The fried curry leaves was a great addition as they provided a different flavor profile to the drink. We also tried their Kiwi Panna which was thick, pulpy and had a lovely mix of spices added to the drink.

We ended the meal with two stellar desserts. The Kheer was made with barnyard millet cooked in reduced milk to get a lovely, creamy texture. The kheer was topped with chopped roasted almonds and delicious, thick salted caramel made with jaggery which just elevated the dish.

We also had the Chocolate Torte which had a creamy mousse made with organic 60% dark chocolate on a crisp, pearl millet base. The torte was served with a raw mango coulis to cut through the richness.m2Overall, we loved the food and the concept of the place and were very happy with the service as well. The servers had good knowledge of the menu and ingredients and the service was prompt and warm.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: R4, Lower Ground Floor, Worldmark 1, Aerocity, Delhi
Phone No.: 098110 21428



Review: The Potbaker

Review: The Potbaker

The Potbaker provides delicious sweet treats, made entirely without eggs, margarine and artificial flavors or colors. The owner and baker, Aakansha, is an architect by profession and baker by passion, and she started baking when she was 10, and that passion never really died down. So now, while she practices architecture during the day, she fulfills her passion by baking at night. Aakansha offers a completely customizable menu, and helps people personalize the desserts to suit their tastes.

I recently tried a few of her cupcakes and was amazed at how she’d made them so light and fluffy without using eggs. The chocolate truffle cupcake had a deep, rich chocolate flavor and as topped with creamy, thick chocolate ganache icing. The cupcake was topped with a potato chip covered in chocolate, and the sweet-salty combination worked really well. The pineapple cupcake was topped with a light vanilla whipped cream topping along with cashew nuts for crunch, though I would have liked a bit more of that zingy pineapple flavor in the cupcake. The custard cupcake had a lovely texture and was topped with a mocha cream and an oreo, and the custard and coffee combination was surprisingly going well with each other. I also tried the chocolate banana and walnut muffin, which was nicely made as well.tpbOverall, if you’re looking for sweet treats without eggs that taste just as good, The Potbaker is the place for you.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: C225, Prashant Vihar, Sector-14, Rohini, Prashant Vihar, New Delhi
Phone No.: +91 9910754030

Barbeque Nation – Special Republic Day Event

Barbeque Nation – Special Republic Day Event

Barbeque Nation, on the occasion of Republic Day, paid a tribute to the brave army men of our country by inviting them and their families for a dinner on the night of 25 January. I visited the Vasant Kunj outlet for the event and saw the warm welcome the army families received as they were greeted with flowers by the staff.
The food for the day was good as always, with the vegetarian live grill consisting of lal mirch paneer which was soft and creamy, crisp tandoori potatoes, hot bbq pineapple and peri peri grilled veg. Along with that, they also served their signtaure crispy corn, cajun spiced potatoes, and delicious veg kebabs that were lightly pan fried to get a nice crust.
The non-veg side had achari fish, bbq prawn, chili garlic chicken, angara tangdi, and mutton dohra seekh. Our favorite of the lot were the spicy-tangy chili chicken and the spicy muttoh dohra seekh which had a lovely soft texture.b1
The main course also had a good variety. Apart from the salads, pickles and papads, they had hot and sour chicken soup and veg sweet corn soup. The vegetarian section had hara bhara saag, aloo baingan and achari paneer tikka masala were quite good and the dal tadka and dal makhani was excellent. The veg noodles, though, could have done with a bit more vegetables. The non-veg side had egg curry, mutton rogan josh, dhola dhari chicken and fish in lemon coriander sauce. Our favorite here was the chicken which had a robust gravy and succulent chicken. We also liked the chicken dum biryani.
For desserts, they had some nice options like phirnee, baked cheesecake, chocolate brownie, ras malai, gulab jamun and pastries apart from strawberry and vanilla ice creams and fresh fruits. And of course, how can we forget their kulfi station from which we had the malai kulfi and paan kulfi.
Overall, we not only liked the food and service, but also this initiative that barbeque nation has taken to pay tribute to the brave army men of our nation.
Review: Cicchetti by Mr. Beans

Review: Cicchetti by Mr. Beans

Cicchetti means small plates in Italian, and that’s the concept Cicchetti by Mr Beans, a new restaurant at Cyber Hub, brings forth. Their menu is inspired by wine bars in Venice, but they do have a modern take on these classic Italian dishes.c1The Potato and Leek Soup was so delicate, creamy and luscious, and the deftness with which it was seasoned, and that addition of just a few drops of truffle oil, really took the dish to another level. The leek straws or shredded crispy leeks that they had added as garnish not only looked pretty, but also added a lovely flavor. The egg on the side, which was poached to perfection, oozed out that delicious yolk which made the soup richer, and the topping of olive dust and fried garlic flakes on top of the egg was a stroke of genius. This soup is something that should not be missed.

The Gruyere Mac n Cheese Gratin had nicely cooked macaroni in a creamy, cheesy sauce nicely flavored with fresh herbs and porcini mushrooms. Gruyere is a great cheese for macaroni as it has a lovely nutty flavor. The layer of cheese on top had been baked perfectly to get a nice crust and still be gooey and stretchy. The buttered wild mushroom on the side were tasty, but should have been served warmer.c2The Poached Chicken dish was great too, as the chicken was poached really nicely, and was really juicy and moist inside. The warm mustard sabayaon that the chicken was covered with was light, airy and had a nice hit of mustard, which was counterbalanced by the sweet caramelized onions.

The Goth Linguini in Aglio Olio was served in a very interesting manner, with a splatter of saffron cream adding that pop of color to a black pasta served on a black plate. The linguini had been made in-house, and had been infused with activated charcoal to get that black color. The pasta was nicely flavored with red chili flakes, garlic and fresh herbs, and that saffron cream provided a nice mellow note.c3Along with the meal, I also tried the Angelina’s Hot Chocolate, which was thick, creamy, and really chocolate-y, and had been blended with a hazelnut praline to get that nice background note of hazelnut. And the fluffy whipped cream on top was great as always.

I ended the meal with a Pizookie- a cross between a pizza and a cookie, which was essentially a semi-baked chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was served hot on a skillet, and while the outside layer was crusty and chewy, the cookie was filled inside with Nutella and was super buttery and gooey. A hearty dessert, and a super tasty one too!c4Overall, the experience was really nice, and Cicchetti is also a great place for corporate lunches, as it does not have blaring loud music, but a nice, sophisticated feel to it, and the ambiance is one which is meant for one to enjoy a nice meal with good conversation.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: Building 10 A, Near HDFC Bank, DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon
Phone No.: 098260 35450

Review: Bombaykery – Select CityWalk Mall, Saket

Review: Bombaykery – Select CityWalk Mall, Saket

Bombaykery has now opened its third outlet in Saket, sharing their space with Kaffa Cerrado. The maestro behind all the lovely creations, Mitali, has proven she’s not just the queen of desserts but savories too, with their expanded savory menu having quiches, pattice, cheese straws and amazing breads, ranging from baguettes to white sandwich bread, whole wheat sandwich bread, brioche, multigrain bread and focaccia. You can also take away jars of White Wine Mustard, fresh basil pesto, sundried tomato pesto, classic hummus and beetroot hummus on the savory side, and salted caramel, dulce de leche and Belgian chocolate sauce among sweet sauces. Each of these sauces and condiments is fresh and packed with flavor.

bbThey have also started a “mini” version of their amazing travel cakes, in all flavors- banana and walnut, marble and lemon curd, dates walnut, almond, vanilla chocolate chip, dense chocolate, and carrot and hazelnut. I tried the banana and walnut, marble and my favorite- lemon curd. Each cake had a great texture and a lovely flavor, and the lemon one had a tangy curd filing in it, which just makes it amazing.

On this visit to the store, I tried out some of their new savory dishes. The Chili Cheese Toast was simply heavenly, and I urge everyone to try it. It had a fresh, crusty multigrain bread slice, topped with loads of melted, gooey cheese that was grilled to get a nice crust, along with red peppers to give a nice spicy kick to the dish.

The Croissant Sandwich had a flaky, buttery and light multigrain croissant, halved and slathered with their house-made fresh, zingy basil pesto, and filled with sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and cottage cheese and was filling and tasty.b4Their House Salad has so many varied ingredients that I was a bit skeptical at first, but one bite, and all my doubts went away, since each ingredient gave a nice flavor profile to the salad, and they all worked together well. The salad had salad greens, grilled corn, black beans, cranberries, parmesan, and salad granola (almond flakes, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, amaranth crisps) for crunch, all doused with a tangy passion fruit vinaigrette which just uplifted the dish.

Along with these dishes, we had two drinks- Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino. The coffee was nice and strong, and the hot chocolate was thick, luscious and just adequately sweet.b3And since I just couldn’t have ended any visit to Bombaykery without having desserts, I tasted the Sunset, which was a perfect combination of dark chocolate and orange. This delicious creation had a moist chocolate sponge layered with creamy Belgian dark chocolate mousse, orange cream and candied orange peel on a crunchy chocolate base, topped with thick, luscious salted caramel. Their salted caramel is truly amazing, and I’ll surely be taking home a jar of that next time around.

I also had the Berries and Mascarpone Dessert Jar, which had sweet-tangy berries with creamy mascarpone cheese- a match made in heaven.

And of course, I took a whole bunch of goodies packed to take back home. They have a range of croissants available- some classic (such as cheese, chocolate and almond) and some interesting ones like cottage cheese, Bombay masala and cheese, and Thai chicken. I stuck to the classic ones this time around- the cheese and the chocolate, and both were simply amazing- flaky and buttery, and the chocolate one had big chunks of dark chocolate inside it.

The Classic Palmiers were crispy and nicely coated with sugar, and the Paprika Cheese Straws and Cumin cheese Straws were really flaky and flavored well.

Two new additions to their menu which are must-try are their Peanut Butter Cookies and Chocolate Sable. The mini peanut butter cookies are a nice little thing to pop in, and they have a buttery taste, and a mild peanut butter taste. The chocolate sable was perfect- crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and had a nice touch of sea salt, and were simply heavenly.

I also took back some of my all-time favorite desserts from their original menu- Milk Chocolate Belgian Chocolate Fudge, New York Style Baked Blueberry Cheesecake, and Mixed Fruit, Apple and Lemon Tart, which were great as always.

Overall, Bombaykery has been since 2015, my favorite dessert place, and remains so to this date, and with these new savory additions, it has become even better. If you haven’t tried out their stuff yet, you’re really missing something!

Overall Rating: 4.75/5

Location: S12-A, 2nd Floor, Select City Walk Saket, New Delhi
Phone No.: 096256 29241

Review: Hotel Delmaar

Review: Hotel Delmaar

Hotel Delmaar, a new restaurant from the kitchens of Sly Granny, has recently opened its doors at Select Citywalk Mall, Saket. The quaint restaurant has colonial-era feels to its decor with wooden chairs and white, wooden partitions at the entry, but with a touch of eccentricity with the quirky monkey wallpapers.hd1The menu, which has Mediterranean and European influences, celebrates some classic dishes such as Chicken A la Kiev and Shepherd’s Pie, with some innovative, modern dishes as well.

We started with two mocktails- the one with orange and passion fruit had a nice balance of sweet and tart flavors. The house lemonade was minty and refreshing.

We began our meal with the Parsley Salad, which had lots of fresh, crunchy salad dotted with flavorsome sundried tomatoes and pine nuts for crunch, and was topped with aged parmesan that gave a nice savory punch to the salad. This salad sounds simple, and is composed of a handful of ingredients but the flavor is amazing.

Next, we had the Bone Broth Soup which was served khow suey style. The broth itself was robust in flavor as it had been cooked over low flame for hours, to develop that rich taste acquired from chicken and lamb bones, and was spiced to perfection. It was served with a multitude of elements such as fresh red chilies, peanuts, lime, coriander, fried garlic flakes, fried onion, and shredded chicken that we could add to taste to the broth. This is a must-try dish for sure.

The Pulled Pork and Mushroom Croquettes were crispy on the outside, and were filled with gooey cheese and lots of pork and mushroom slices inside, and were nicely seasoned. The croquettes were served with a mustard aioli, which paired with it perfectly.hd2The Kale and Sundried Tomato Flatbread had a thin, crisp bread, that was topped with creamy feta, kale leaves, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts for crunch. The combination of kale, sundried tomatoes and feta just worked magic on this dish.

For mains, we went with the Herb Roast Chicken and two of their pasta dishes. The chicken was served skin-on, keeping the meat inside nice and moist, and was roasted very nicely. Along with the chicken, the dish had roasted turnip, beetroot and carrots, and perfectly executed fondant potatoes. The chicken was drizzled with some herb oil, but a sauce or jus alongside would have made it a more composed dish.hd3The pastas were both heavenly. The Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle was simple but beautiful- the pasta had a nice texture, and was tossed with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, and topped with shaved parmesan and fresh herbs. But the Saffron Pumpkin Tortellini was the thing of dreams, and will have me visiting the place again very soon. It looked beautiful on the plate with six beautiful pieces of nicely shaped tortellini, stuffed with creamy pumpkin. The sweetness of the pumpkin was balanced well with the blue cheese and onion sauce, which had some crispy basil in burnt butter. The blue cheese was used deftly, to provide a nice flavor dimension to the dish, without being overpowering. And the parmesan crisp on top was just the icing on the cake. If you’re a pasta fan, not trying this one would be a crime.

For desserts, we had Classic Crème Brulee and Chocolate Mousse. The crème brulee was executed really well- the custard had a nice, light texture and the sugar on top was thin and bruleed perfectly to get a good crunch. The Chocolate Mousse was plated very artistically- with a nice twirl of light, airy mousse, which was rich in chocolate flavor, surrounded by chocolate soil, passion fruit gel, and topped with a chocolate bark. The tanginess of the passion fruit gel worked well with the richness of the chocolate to make for a wonderful dessert.hd4Though the restaurant was new and was still going through the initial trials, the servers were decently informed about the menu, and the service was prompt. Hotel Delmaar is a must-visit, for its interesting menu and delicious food.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: S-14 2nd Floor, Select City Walk, Saket, New Delhi
Phone No.: +91 9873807040

Review: Te Amo

Review: Te Amo

Te Amo is a new restaurant at Ansal Plaza, and it has a beautiful, romantic setting, perfect for candlelit dinners. The interiors are warm and tastefully done, while the outdoor seating is lush with greenery and has been beautifully done up with lights. The owners have carefully curated the menu to offer patrons the option of trying menu dishes and cuisines, while keeping the flavors fresh throughout. The menu derives inspiration from Mexican, South American and a few European cuisines and has a focus on letting the protein or vegetable shine.teamo1From the mocktails menu, we went with the Kala Khatta which had a kala khatta syrup muddled with lemon wedges, rock salt and lemonade to make for a nice sweet-sour drink. teamo2We started our meal with the Baked Potato with Crunchy Veg. The potatoes were stuffed generously with a mix of perfectly cooked vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms and bell peppers and topped with cheese and baked to perfection to make the potatoes soft from the inside while the potato skins were crispy.

Next, we had the Arancini, made with their own twist of infusing Japanese flavors. The rice used in the balls was flavored with sushi vinegar, and were stuffed with jalapenos and cheese which was nice and gooey when we cut into the arancini while the outer covering was really crispy.teamo3The Baked Chicken and Mushroom Cigars consisted of crisp, flaky filo rolls stuffed with oyster sauce marinated chicken and shitake strips. And since they were baked, and not fried, they weren’t greasy at all.

But our favorite starter of the meal had to be the Pan de Jamon. It consisted of soft, fresh, house-made bread stuffed with ham and olive, and nicely buttered and toasted. The bread was served along with a spicy pineapple butter which we quite relished, and it went perfectly with the ham.teamo4For main course, we went with Pastichio, a creamy Venezuelan lasagna. The pasta sheets were nicely layered with loads of vegetables in a tangy tomato sauce and were topped with a generous helping of cheese that was baked to become all nice and gooey.

We also had the Crackling Pork Belly which consisted of slow cooked pork belly, marinated with herbs and spices. The slow cooking yielded a nice, crisp skin while the meat underneath was soft and juicy. The pork belly was served with a pan sauce made with juices from the pork, and was seasoned nicely. The potato mash served alongside was fluffy and light with a nice touch of fresh herbs, while the grilled vegetables were nice and crunchy.teamo5We ended the meal with two really nice coconut-based desserts. Their signature Coconut Cream Cake is a delight for those who love coconut in their desserts. It consisted of a moist and light sponge cake soaked in coconut, layered with coconut cream cheese and topped with fresh grated and toasted coconut flakes. The Coconut Custard was no less- it had a nice, jiggly texture and a creamy mouth-feel with a delicate coconut flavoring.teamo6Overall, Te Amo has delicious dishes and offers one of the prettiest open seating areas in town, along with warm, courteous service making it a place worth trying.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: BG 08, GF, Ansal Plaza Mall, Khel Gaon, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi- 110049
Phone No.: 073039 02611