Restaurant review: Farzi Cafe

Restaurant review: Farzi Cafe

Address: Ground Floor, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon

Overall rating: 3/5

When you hear so much about a place, your expectations are sky-high, and when the place doesn’t deliver to that extent, you feel disappointed. That’s what happened with Farzi.
I went there on the weekend, so in order to avoid the hour-long queues that I had heard of, I reached by 12:30pm and. got a seat instantly. We were presented with an Amuse-Bouche of Mishti Dio Shots, which were very tasty.
We ordered Chili Duck Samosa and Tenderloin Pathar ke Kebab with Wasabi Chutney for starters and Litchi Panna Desire Mocktail. The Mocktail was quite nice and refreshing. The Chili Duck Samosas were very innovative and the combination of pulled duck inside a samosa, covered with a Chinese-style sauce really worked. The Pathar ke Kebab were delicious and the meat just so soft and tender. However, the pairing with Wasabi Chutney didn’t work. Though the chutney was flavourful, but it was so pungent that it was over-powering the subtle flavours of the meat. This dish would certainly be better paired with a chutney which does not have such a dominating flavour. After starters, we were given a palate cleanser of Hajmola flavoured lollipops, which were quite interesting.
For mains, we ordered Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Tamatar ka Kut. This was a desi spin on an Italian dish, and though the tamatar ka kut was very tasty, the spaghetti could have done with lesser coconut sauce, which made the dish a little sweet.
For dessert, we ordered their famous Parle-G Cheesecake. The cheesecake cake sandwiched in parle biscuits, in a pool of rabdi. The cheesecake was tangy and just mildly sweet, like it should be, while the rabdi was quite sweet, again, like it should be. Though the rabdi and cheesecake tasted very good individually, they didn’t work as well together.
At the end of the meal, we were given Candy Floss Paans, which had a covering of candy floss with dried paan inside, and this was just amazing.
The service was good to begin with, but as the place started to get filled up, the service became quite slow.
Overall, this place is definitely over-hyped, and though their starters are nice, they really have to rework some of their combinations.

Product review: Chef’s Basket – Arrabbiata in Fusilli

Product review: Chef’s Basket – Arrabbiata in Fusilli

I love Italian food, and I often eat it outside and even cook it at home. But sometimes it becomes quite tedious and time-consuming to go and buy the ingredients, chop and prep them, and then make the dish. That’s why when I received a recipe kit for Arrabbiata Sauce Pasta from Chef’s Basket, I was overjoyed.

Chef’s Basket has come up with this really cool concept of recipe kits for our favourite Italian, Mexican and Thai dishes. These recipe kits have the ingredients for these dishes in the exact quantity required, all ready to be combined and cooked in a few minutes and transformed into these wonderful gourmet dishes.

The ingredients come neatly packed and the steps to make these dishes are so simple that even people who don’t cook can easily do this. The recipe kit I got had a packet of fusilli pasta, a packet of Arrabbiata sauce, mixed herbs, sea salt and basil-infused olive oil. All I needed, were the vessels to cook and it was just a matter of boiling the pasta and mixing up all the ingredients. And the results were fabulous! The pasta was tangy and spicy, with just the right proportion of pasta and sauce, and was very tasty.

The packet said it serves 3, but I felt it was sufficient just for 2. Or may be we liked it so much that just 2 of us polished it off. The only thing I would like to point out though, is that the quantity of basil-infused olive oil was more than what was required for this dish, and I felt that as soon as I saw the quantity. So I just used one-third of it, and the pasta turned out perfectly. Since the basil flavour is quite strong, I feel using the entire quantity may overpower the flavour of the pasta. But having the olive oil left over isn’t such a bad thing either, as I can use it the next time I make Spaghetti Aglio Olio at home, as the flavour of the olive oil was very nice.

Now coming to the price. This kit, which makes around 500gms of pasta, is priced at Rs250, which is decent, though a price point of Rs200 would be better. Nevertheless, this concept is really nice for whipping up delicious gourmet dishes at home, in just a few minutes, without going through all the trouble of shopping, chopping and spending long hours in the kitchen.

Definitely recommended!

To find out more about Chef’s Basket, check out their website- www.chefsbasket.in

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Restaurant review: Desi Roots

Restaurant review: Desi Roots

Address: Salcon Rasvilas, Near Select City Walk Mall, District Centre, Saket

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

When a restaurant boasts of a menu designed by a famous chef like Chef Ranveer Brar, how can I not visit it? I had heard mixed reviews about this place, which is what my experience was like- mixed.

The restaurant has different seating areas- a cafe area and a dining area, and the decor is eclectic.
Coming to the food, we ordered Chipotle Chicken Tikka with Avocado Raita (Chipotle is a smoked jalapeno used primarily in Mexican cuisine), Lamb Galawati Pate for starters, Ambala Cantt Mutton Curry for main-course and Jamaluddin ki Kheer for dessert.
As soon as we placed our order, we were presented with an amuse-bouche of dal vada with coconut chutney in a tiny jar, which was quite tasty.
The chicken tikka came on an old-fashioned coal iron, sizzling-hot. The chicken was tender and juicy and the chipotle marinade packed a huge punch of flavour. The raita which came with the dish was cooling and refreshing, providing a nice counter-balance to the spicy chicken. The galawati pate is a take on the famous galawati kebabs. The meat was in the form of a warm pate, served in a jar, served with crisp strips of ulte tawe ka parantha, and the taste of the pate was simply superb. Both these dishes were amazing and are must-haves at this restaurant.
However, the main course didn’t live up to the expectations set by these starters. The mutton curry was served with home-style paranthas and though there was nothing wrong with the dish, the mutton curry was similar to what we make at home, so it didn’t have that wow factor. The kheer as well, provided a similar experience. The main course and dessert were just average, which was a huge-let down after the scrumptious and innovative starters.
The service throughout our meal was swift and extremely courteous. At the end of your meal, they give you a lock with you have to attach to this cage and you can take the key back with you.
Overall, would I visit this place again? Perhaps, but only for their starters.IMG_20150327_212737 IMG_20150327_212803 IMG_20150327_213126 IMG_20150327_213144 IMG_20150327_213438 IMG_20150327_215902 IMG_20150327_222030
Restaurant review: Hauz Khas Social

Restaurant review: Hauz Khas Social

Address: Hauz Khas Village

Overall rating- 3.5/5

Some people say it’s awesome, some say it’s more hype and less substance, but no matter what they say, people are queuing up here everyday. That’s why I chose to avoid the maddening crowds and opted for a brunch here.
The moment you enter, the first thing that strikes you is how huge this place is. We have all got so used to tiny places in hkv that this seems to be just sprawling. They have an eccentric concept of a toilet roll style of paper napkins, dishes like doggy bowls and glasses made out of jam bottles. The servers were also really attentive. The location, with a nice view of the lake, is another plus for the place.
Now coming to the grub, we ordered the mezze platter, mutton baida roti and naga chili cheese toast. For drinks, we went with ginger ale, strawberry ice tea and spiced guava mocktail. The mezze platter had 3 dips- babaganoush, hummus and mayo, along with falafel, a kind of samosas stuffed with cheese and tomato sauce, tabbouleh salad, lavash bread and pita bread. The babaganoush and hummus were nice, but the mayo felt completely out of place on the plate. The samosas were very different and quite tasty- crisp on the outside, with melted cheese oozing out of it. The salad and lavash bread was also nice. The pita bread however, was not exactly pita bread, and it was just too large and too much of it, with not enough of the dips to go with it. The naga chili cheese toast had 8 pieces of crisp bread with melted cheese. It was not quite spicy though. The mutton baida roti had a crisp covering of roti and was stuffed with delicious minced mutton. It was served with a green apple chutney, which was very tasty, but I don’t feel it was the best match along with the baida roti.
The ginger ale came straight out of a can, and was just ordinary. The strawberry ice tea was nice. But the best drink was definitely the spiced guava mocktail.
The portion size of the food is quite good, and the food is not very expensive. Maybe it’s not spectacular food, but it’s not bad either.
For dessert, we went with the layer cake. It is a very heavy dessert- better suited for sharing, but is delicious and a must-try for all chocolate lovers.
Overall, the food, the reasonable prices, the service and especially the ambience and eccentric presentation makes this a place to definitely try out once. But if you’re not the party kinds, and don’t want to wait in queues, I suggest you go here for brunch.

Restaurant Review: Barbeque Nation

Restaurant Review: Barbeque Nation

Overall rating- 4/5

I have always liked the concept of Barbeque Nation, so when I received an invite to try out the new addition to their entire experience- Kulfi Nation- I was game!

The Kulfi Nation experience zone allows customers to create their own Kulfi combination with loads of different flavours, crushes, toppings, sauces, etc.

We began our meal with the kebabs, which were placed on the grill. The veg menu had Cajun Spiced Potatoes (roasted potatoes with spicy yogurt topping), Paneer ke Sooley, Tandoori Corn Grill Veg, Kumbh Kebabs (Mushroom kebabs), Crispy Corn, Tandoori Pineapple. I really enjoyed the Paneer Ke Sooley, as the paneer was extremely soft and very well marinated.  Another favourite of mine was the Tandoori Pineapple, which I always enjoy at Barbeque Nation. The crispy corn was also very tasty. In non-veg, we had Peshawari Tangri (chicken drumstick), Chicken Satay, Fish Adraki Tikka, Chilli Garlic Prawn, Mutton Methi Seekh. The prawn was very soft and tasty, and the fish was also flavourful and succulent. But my favourites here were the chicken satay and the Mutton seekh. The mutton seekh kebab just melted in the mouth and was well spiced.

The service throughout the starter course was excellent- our kebabs kept coming quickly and for each kebab, we were asked to give our feedback and asked if we wanted to adjust the spice level on any of them.

Now coming to the main course, I have always felt that Barbeque Nation’s expertise lies in their starters, and while that still holds true, the main course today was much better than what I had in my previous visits. The main course had a veg soup- minestrone and a non veg soup- chicken hot and sour. The soups were just average. Next I tried dal makhani, achaari paneer tikka, mushroom mutter, veg in makhani gravy, assorted veg in hot garlic sauce and garlic noodles. The stand-out dishes here were the dal makhani and the paneer. The dal was creamy and luscious while the paneer had nice achaari spices and was tangy and spicy. In non-veg, I tried the Andhra chicken curry, gosht-e-awadh and chicken dum biryani. The chicken and mutton curry were both delicious- with the meat tender and the gravies perfectly spiced. But the chicken biryani lacked a bit flavour-wise.

After all this food, I was quite full, but there is always room in my stomach for desserts, so I tried the chocolate brownie, pineapple pastry, phirni, orange mousse, Makai ki kheer and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. The brownie and pineapple pastry was fresh and tasted decent, the orange mousse was more like orange-flavoured whipped cream, but the phirni was very tasty and adequately sweet. I also liked the Makai ki kheer. It had the consistency of a rabdi and had pieces of sweet corn in it. It is something I had never tasted before, and though unusual, it tasted nice.

After all this, came the main attraction of the day- the klufi stall. I felt like a kid in a candy store with so many flavours and toppings in front of me, I got totally confused, but then the chef came forward and suggested a few combinations to me, so I tried the following- paan kulfi with gulkand, mango kulfi with mango crush, fig kulfi with caramel sauce and kesar pista kulfi with roohafza and falooda. All the kulfis were so fresh, creamy and delicious. While the kesar pista is for those who like it old-school, the fig kulfi was innovative and delicious. I also loved the amazing mango flavour in the mango kulfi, and the mango crush on top totally enhanced the flavour. But if I had to choose one, it would have to be the paan kulfi. It was delicious and refreshing and the perfect end to a delightful meal.

Overall, it was a fantastic meal, and if you come to think out it- unlimited starters, buffet main course, desserts and do-it-yourself kulfi station- all this at pretty reasonable rates makes it a damn good deal!

A special shout-out to the Barbeque Nation staff, who are extremely swift, courteous and attentive and are extremely open to feedback. This openness to feedback and willingness to improve is something I have seen at very few restaurants and I feel that is one of the reasons for their success. Plus, this new concept of Kulfi Nation is sure to be a hit, especially in the Delhi summers. So for the great food (that too unlimited), value for money, refreshing kulfis and excellent hospitality, I would definitely recommend Barbeque Nation.

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App Review: Mealme

App Review: Mealme

#mealme

A week back, I was contacted by the team behind a new app called Meal Me, who wanted me to try out their food.

Meal Me is a tech platform that provides a choice of home-style meals, with a daily changing menu. The idea behind this is to give the customers an option of hygienic, tasty, home-style meals, as opposed to tiffin services, etc.

The meal they sent me contained Saag chicken with daal parantha, normal parantha, Ker Sangri ka Achaar, Saffron Kheer and Salad. The food was neatly packed in containers and the quantity was more than sufficient for 2 people.

Now coming to the taste- the saag chicken was delicious! It was something I had never tried before as I was apprehensive how the combination of saag and chicken would taste like, but this rendition of the dish was delightful. The saag gravy was super flavourful and the chicken was soft and juicy. There were 2 daal paranthas which were very unusual and tasty. There were also 3 normal paranthas, which were fine. The salad was the regular onion, tomato,cucumber one, and was decent. The pickle was another spectacular item- so good that I would buy jars of this stuff. The saffron kheer was a rice kheer with a nice flavour of saffron, but it could have been a bit less sweet.

Overall, it was a really nice meal, and I would definitely recommend it, especially to those who are staying away from home and crave nice, tasty, home-style nutritious meals, delivered to their doorsteps.

To find out more about Meal Me, check out the links below:

MealMe Website 

MealMe App (only on Google Play) 

MealMe Facebook Page

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Restaurant Review: Cafe Lota

Restaurant Review: Cafe Lota

Address: National Crafts Museum, Pragati Maidan

Overall rating- 4/5

Finally! Finally I visited the ‘hidden gem’ called Cafe Lota, and it clearly deserves to be called that. This is a small restaurant located inside the Crafts Museum and it dishes out some spectacular food.

We ordered mini rava idli, beetroot chops, sabudana popcorn, mutton sukka, kathal ki biryani, kumaoni platter, bhapa doi cheesecake, lauki halwa, apple cinnamon jalebi, kesari lassi and masala chaas.

The rava idli was an amazing dish. It had 12 bite-sized pieces of mini idlis, covered in molgapodi or gunpowder and was served with fresh coconut chutney. This is a must-try dish here, especially if you like south indian food. The beetroot chops was again a very different and tasty dish. It had 4 beetroot tikkis which were soft, slightly sweet, slightly tangy, but delicious, and these were served with a yummy cream cheese dip. It is an unusual combination, but definitely worth trying. Sabudana popcorn had crisp deep-fried dumplings of sabudana and potato, which were nice, but the hari mirch thecha served with it was very good. Mutton sukka is again another must-try dish here, which had juicy, succulent chunks of boneless mutton, slathered with a delicious marinade, served on top of a ragi appam. The mutton chunks were absolutely delicious, but I didn’t like the appam as it was slightly sweet.

Coming to the mains, the kumaoni platter had a black bean dish called bhatt ki chukarni, aloo ke gutke, kumaoni raita, bhaang ki chutney, served with ragi roti and steamed rice. The aloo were delicious, and the raita, which had cucumber and a strong flavour of mustard seeds was very different, but tasty. The bhaang ki chutney was unusual, but didn’t have too much flavour. The bhatt or the black bean dish is a bit of an acquired taste, and I didn’t like it too much. The ragi roti served with this platter was nice and filling. The kathal ki biryani was very nice and though I don’t like kathal too much otherwise, it tasted very nice in this dish.

In the desserts, the bhapa doi cheesecake was spectacular. I love cheesecakes, and this one was very different but incredibly tasty- a must try dish here. the cheesecake itself was very creamy and had the right amount of sweetness, and the biscuit base was nice and crunchy. The lauki halwa was again very tasty, but could have been slightly less sweet. The apple cinnamon jalebi was a disappointment. The jalebi was too sweet and had too much cinnamon on top, which completely overpowered the dish. The coconut rabdi served with it was also just ok. The drinks were both very good- the masala chaas was very refreshing and the kesari lassi had the right amount of sugar, and a nice flavour of saffron.

The service also was very courteous, attentive and adequately prompt.

Overall, it is a must-visit place and I will definitely be going back soon.ec31330a7528b8678d5db20425fde5d0_1425227169_200_thumb1c209379ee60702106a5153c071197a7_1425227174_200_thumb 3bf2ea100f57224859d389b183499d71_1425227200_200_thumb 3e0c353b899a4dfdc52acd2e658963d7_1425227199_200_thumb 5d591eb8f813953501cd9d6c3dfa430d_1425227205_200_thumb 5dd74054b6c0844e319953dc3c4dfecf_1425227192_200_thumb 6a32c804087d9c1b1ccb00cca8fea51c_1425227189_200_thumb 8f116e53d5d3a2ad603f99ead58869b4_1425227197_200_thumb 9beba840e3da0658bde558c90a2ebe2d_1425227202_200_thumb 85f8d58ae903637727ec1463d23aa2f5_1425227178_200_thumb 92a6dddf459dd7226b82174225929f50_1425227187_200_thumb 523b0b11b608b18ef1d1f8a7e1967fdf_1425227172_200_thumb 843b89456b77f94b88b2a57a443fd632_1425227201_200_thumb 235216082be3918cc3d6230e6db52e5c_1425227193_200_thumb a1e5d817843f1feb8322933b5708ce10_1425227188_200_thumb af7487675fe2bd0c06c3638232c34508_1425227195_200_thumb b2a022470b3444b1140b6fd69b043cfc_1425227185_200_thumb b7f81057c11e6ea8586a8bb2c6dcb9f8_1425227191_200_thumb b529f7cd560588fa05513762ab430d79_1425227181_200_thumb d17914fe83091bb73a88dae6b402dce1_1425227176_200_thumb d511977496f2eb10098604b1c8f65fcf_1425227183_200_thumb dc445b4af6b94f12a3705e40e66cd842_1425227180_200_thumb ec31330a7528b8678d5db20425fde5d0_1425227169_200_thumb eedc2985e7134cd8947d2b56ea98d21b_1425227204_200_thumb