Food Delivery Service Review: Leaping Caravan, Saket

Food Delivery Service Review: Leaping Caravan, Saket

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Our country has delicious and extremely diverse food, and while all my travel plans always revolve around food, I still haven’t tasted many of the culinary delights our country has to offer. Leaping Caravan is here to solve that problem, to some extent at least. They are a delivery-only outlet, with 2 branches- Saket and Gurgaon. Their concept is to bring to your doorstep, traditional family recipes from places across the Grand Trunk Road, traversing Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, and even Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their menu comprises some of the iconic dishes from all these places, all created using the best ingredients.
The ordering process is very smooth. You get a confirmation message once you place the order, and then again a message when your food is dispatched from the outlet, along with the contact number of the delivery person. The food arrived hot and on time.
I tried quite a few of their dishes:
1. Atari Bhutte Kebab from Amritsar: These were cutlet-like kebabs with corn kernels. The kebab was crisp on the outside and soft inside, well-spiced and tasty.
2. Pashtuni Chapli Kebab from Kabul: These were thin, flat kebabs, probably made by beating and flattening-out minced mutton, with the dominant flavours of cumin, coriander and chillies. This was something I have never had before and was truly excellent. The mutton was really soft and juicy and the kebabs were spiced to perfection.
3. Bhati Gate ka Mutton Seekh from Lahore: Mutton seekh kebabs like we know them here in Delhi, just flavoured very well. Though these were very nice, they were a tad dry.
4. Sukha Mutton from Amritsar: This was a stand-out dish for me. Chicken is much easier to cook than mutton; for mutton to taste nice, it needs to be perfectly cooked- tender and juicy. The mutton in this dish was succulent and was falling off the bone. And the gravy was one of the best I’ve had. It was superbly balanced with it being tangy and spicy, with a nice use of khada masala, but no single spice was overpowering- they all just came together beautifully.
5. Lahori Dal: This was yellow dal with a tasty tempering of tomatoes, onions, cumin and coriander and tasted oh so comforting and reminded me of the brilliant dals which are available at some dhabas on the highway.
6. Dal Makhani: This dal again was brilliant. The makhani dals you get along the highways are different from most of the renditions available in Delhi. They are lower on tomato puree and high on garlic and chillies. Even after the dollops of cream and butter, they taste lighter, and these are the ones I actually prefer. The dal makhani from Leaping Caravan was exactly like the dhaba dals I love so much, and I can polish off an entire serving of this single-handedly.
7. Nafeesi Chciken Biryani: This was the Hyderabadi-style biryani- heavy on spice as well as flavour, with a generous quantity of juicy chicken chunks. While it was not the best I’ve had, it was still delicious.
8. Mixed Raita: This was a regular tomato-onion raita, made well.
9. Breads: I tried 3 types of breads- Pudina Parantha, Onion Kulcha and Lachcha Parantha. What I loved about the onion kulcha was the fact that it was not thick like regular stuffed kulchas are- it was thin and crispy. While all breads were very nice, my favourite was the Pudina Parantha.
10. Kheer: It was a nice home-style kheer, though nothing extraordinary, which I had come to expect from the rest of the meal.
Overall, it was a fantastic meal and if I have to think of the dishes I would order again, it would be almost all of them. The only reason I am deducting 0.5 from their rating is because the kheer was just ok, and the seekh kebabs were a little dry.
I feel there is definitely a lot of thought which has gone into these recipes as often when people try to do a lot, they end up compromising on the quality. However, at Leaping Caravan, each dish tasted distinct and truly represents the region it is coming from. It is always good for any food-lover to travel to these places to eat these local dishes, but Leaping Caravan is the next-best thing available. This place is a must-try!

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Product Review: Gourmet Medleys

Product Review: Gourmet Medleys

We often have trouble finding tasty, yet healthy snacks to eat, and normally end up having the same old chips, biscuits, or even worse, samosas and pakodas. To meet this need of healthy snacks, Sanchita has set up Gourmet Medleys, named so to represent these healthy bites that she has put together by experimenting with ingredients like flaxseeds, chia seeds, oats, etc. Her aim is to provide nutritious home-made goodies, which have no preservatives, and can serve as a nice snacking option.

Her products include sweet and savoury cookies (which have ingredients like flaxseeds and chia seeds); wheat crispies- fried as well as baked, which are flavoured with vegetables like beetroot, pumpkin, etc.; husked moong dal crackers and a hung curd dip to go with these.

I tried the flaxseed sweet cookies (with egg as well as eggless), Cumin flavoured moong dal crackers, Red Chili flavoured moong dal crackers and her signature product- a gluten free, vegan fudge- called a fudge for its consistency, but it actually is a mixture of dry fruits, flaxseeds and jaggery. The moong dal crackers were nice, but the flaxseed cookies, especially the ones with egg were excellent. They are made with a mixture of soya and bajra flour and are sweetened with honey, but it tasted just as good as a regular cookie would. And the best part is that you are having a cookie which is good for you (flaxseeds have Omega-3 essential fatty acids which help in keeping our heart healthy). But the best item was the fudge- it was gooey in texture and is something which can be mixed into milk for cereal or can be had right out of the jar, for the nutrition which we need in the mornings to get us going.

Kudos to her for trying to do something different with ingredients like these, and her products, especially the fudge and the flaxseed cookies are definitely worth a try!

To find out more about Gourmet Medleys, check out the Facebook page here.

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Food Delivery Program Review: TLC Kitchen

Food Delivery Program Review: TLC Kitchen

Tarani’s Low Calorie Kitchen or TLC Kitchen has a very new and innovative concept, something I haven’t seen before. TLC Kitchen is a calorie and portion controlled gourmet food delivery program. They have 4 programs- Weight Management, Healthy Heart, Diabetic Friendly and Calorie Controlled, and you can choose your meal plan out of these categories and also the duration of the plan (2, 3 or 4 weeks). The food is flash frozen, ready to heat and eat, and is prepared with organic ingredients and without using any preservatives. Each meal is packed neatly in boxes, and is very convenient to even carry.

If you sign up for their plans, you get deliveries twice every week, which has the meal boxes for 3-4 days (lunch + dinner). Along with the meals, they also provide a meal plan which details when you are supposed to have which meal, the nutritional value of each meal and the instructions for heating the meals. Along with that, they also give recommendations for breakfast, snacks as well as exercising. So basically, they not only provide you with healthy, convenient meals, but are also your personal fitness planner and dietician. What’s also great is that they have a huge variety of options- from veg to non-veg, Indian to International cuisines, so that you don’t get bored;

Now, I was definitely a bit apprehensive about how flash frozen meals would taste, but all my apprehensions were put to rest when I tasted a few of their meals. In their meals, I tried Chicken Mangalorean with Red Rice; Amritsari Tandoori Fish, Hara Bhara Shaami Kebab; Kerala Chicken Biryani with Beans Thoran and Curry; Cottage Cheese Stroganoff; Thai Chicken Mince with Vegetable Fried Rice and TLC Tandoori Platter which had Chicken Seekh, Kasundi Murgh Tikka and Tandoori Gobhi. All the dishes tasted good, and freezing them had no detrimental effect on their flavour, but they did an especially good job with all the kebabs. The tandoori platter was delicious, as were the amritsari fish and the hara bhara shaami kebab.

I also tried a few of their snacks and desserts- Mini Idlis, Tandoori Pita Pockets, Veg and Oats Cutlets, Wholewheat Orange Cake and Mini Chocolate Tarts. The snacks were all really nice- the mini idlis were covered with a tasty red powder which gave it a nice flavour, and the pita pockets had a stuffing of tandoori paneer which was soft and well marinated. The desserts were also nice, my favourite being the mini chocolate tarts- the chocolate filling was rich and luscious.

Overall, this is a very innovative concept, and for those who want to lose weight by eating healthy but can’t find the time to cook for themselves, and are up for experimenting with this concept can definitely try the meals plans from TLC.

To find out more about TLC Kitchen, you can check out their website here or their Facebook page here.

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Food Delivery Service Review: Nashta, Gurgaon

Food Delivery Service Review: Nashta, Gurgaon

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Nashta is another addition to Gurgaon’s ever-growing scene of food delivery services, and they are doing a fabulous job! They deliver breakfast and lunch in Gurgaon from as early as 6am, up until 2pm. The delivery came on time and the items were neatly packed in microwavable boxes. The boxes were clearly labelled and were also marked as veg or non-veg. Another little attention to detail was the fact that they had clearly mentioned which dip goes with which item.

I tried a variety of products from Nashta:
1. Besan Achari Crepe: This was a besan crepe filled with sautéed paneer, bell peppers and zucchini. The flavour combinations worked really well together and this was a tasty dish.

2. Mexican Tortilla Wrap: A thin and soft tortilla, with a filling of paneer, corn and bell peppers in a salsa-style sauce- this was a delicious snack. It was filling, healthy and flavourful.
3. Bajre Ka Parantha: A soft parantha made of bajra or pearl millet, which was surprising tasty. It was served with a tangy mango pickle. This can serve as a quick lunch.
4. Grilled Garden Vegetables: This had a garlic bread slice, topped with grilled veggies, cheese and pesto sauce. This dish was really good, and even the broccoli tasted nice due to the amazing flavour of the pesto sauce.
5. Grilled Chicken Pesto: This is the non-veg version of the previous dish and had grilled chicken chunks, with the same cheese and pesto sauce topping and grilled veggies. This was incredibly flavourful and is a must-try dish on their menu. The pesto sauce was so tasty, that it made the entire dish shine.
6. Linguine-Style Omelette: This again is a must try dish. It had omelette, cut into thin strips to resemble linguine pasta, covered with a herb marinade, olives, corn and grated parmesan cheese. This was not only an innovative take on the regular omelette, it elevated the humble omelette to a new level. I can have this for breakfast everyday!
7. Chicken Tikka Breakwich: Juicy, succulent and well marinated chicken tikka, in whole-wheat bread, with a mustard-based sauce. This was very filling and even though I don’t like mustard, I still loved this sandwich.
8. Fruits bowl: A nice little bowl of assorted fruits- perfect for the summers.
9. Vanilla Sesame Muffin: Loved the use of sesame seeds in this muffin. The muffin was airy and adequately sweet.
10. Berry Explosion and Mint Mango Juices: Both these juices were very refreshing, and I kept getting confused on which one I liked more. The berry explosion juice had a nice citrusy and sweet flavour, while the mint mango one was more on the tangy side, but both were equally delicious.
11. Corn Caprese Salad: This was the only thing in the long list of items I tried that I didn’t like, and this is the sole reason I am deducting 0.5 from their rating. The salad was bland and the dressing, which had too much oil in it, didn’t help it at all.
But well, I tried 12 items- loved 11 and disliked 1; that’s an incredible ratio and I guess I have to say that their food is nothing short of impressive.
All of the dishes were very innovative, quite healthy, and above all, extremely tasty. Also, all their dips- from the jalapeno dip, the coriander mayo dip to the Mexican dip, were superb!
I would love to order most of their items again and again. Due to the yummy food, convenient packaging and smooth delivery, and the fact that they deliver even really early in the morning, this place is not only recommended, I feel it’s a must-try!
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Food Delivery Service Review: FRSH.com

Food Delivery Service Review: FRSH.com

Overall Rating: 4/5

The number of healthy food delivery services in Gurgaon are growing by the day, as is the demand. So catering to this audience is FRSH.com, a delivery-only service where you can place your order on their website, choose where you want the order delivered, the time slot for delivery and of course the items. The website is very neatly laid out and their menu changes regularly.

The delivery was on time and everything was neatly packed. The juice was also in a sealed bottle, so there was no leakage.

I tried the Achari Paneer Tikka Sandwich, Veg Pasta in Red Sauce, Nutty Chicken Salad and Immune Booster Juice. The sandwich had a nice creamy paneer filling and though not really achari, the filling had a nice flavour to it. The pasta was loaded with veggies – mushrooms, baby corn, olives, bell peppers, etc. and the pasta was adequately coated with the red sauce, which tasted really nice. What I also really liked was that the veggies in the pasta were not overcooked. The Nutty Chicken Salad, which had herb-marinated shredded chicken, with walnuts, oranges, corn and red cabbage, was incredibly fresh and extremely tasty. The low fat yogurt dressing that came along with the salad was also very nice flavoured. If this is what salads can taste like, I would probably be able to get rid of my aversion to salads. The Immune Booster Juice was a blend of beetroot, carrot, mint and lemon, without any added sugar. It was super healthy, and still quite tasty.

Another great thing about FRSH is that their prices are very reasonable. The quantity and the quality both justify the pricing.

Overall, FRSH.com is a must-try place- for their delicious, healthy food, smooth ordering and delivery and reasonable pricing.

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Food Delivery Service Review: Biryani By Kilo

Food Delivery Service Review: Biryani By Kilo

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Biryani is great as a party dish, as it is something which is liked by almost everyone, but it’s not easy to make at home. Biryani by Kilo, a delivery service which takes bookings for biryani, is here to solve that problem. They deliver biryanis (Hyderabadi and Lucknow style) to your doorstep, in the same clay handi in which the biryani is cooked. Each handi holds a kilo of biryani, as the name suggests, and is sufficient for 3-4 people. Along with the biryani, they send an ‘aanch box’, or a small vessel with tiny candles or tea lights in it, which you can light and put the biryani handi on, to give the biryani ‘dum’, which is a method of cooking the biryani in its own steam by sealing the vessel with flour. Not only do the handis look nice, they are very convenient for parties, as you can serve the biryani in the same handi.

Now coming to the taste- I tried the Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani, and it was quite authentic in its preparation. The chicken was at the bottom, covered with a layer of perfectly cooked rice, topped with caramelized onions and coriander. The biryani had a generous amount of chicken in it and the chicken was quite juicy and well marinated. Overall, it was a nice biryani but since it was a Hyderabadi-style biryani, it could have done with a touch more spice and more layers of flavour in the chicken.

Apart from the biryani, I also tried the Mutton Galouti Kebabs, Ulte Tawe ka Parantha, Mutton Korma and Mutka Phirni.

The Mutton Korma had subtle spicing and was delicious. The korma had a generous quantity of mutton in it and the gravy was very nice.

The Galouti Kebabs were soft and the texture was nice, but they were a tad bland. I shared this feedback with the management and they explained to me that a lot of their customers ask for the spice level to be reduced, so now they will start giving the customers the option to choose the spice levels, which should fix this problem. I also appreciated the fact that the management is extremely open to feedback. The ulte tawe ka parantha was also quite good.

The phirni came in a clay matka and was excellent. The texture was smooth and the phirni had a nice saffron flavour. The clay matka gave it a nice earthy and authentic feel. This was one of the best phirnis I have had.

Overall, the meal was quite nice, and the provision of choosing the preferred spice level should fix the minor issues. I feel they have a great concept and this could really work well for house parties, etc., and can definitely be tried.

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Bakery Review: The Nutty Bunch

Bakery Review: The Nutty Bunch

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Nutty Bunch is a home bakery, specializing in customized cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Owned and run by Pooja, who exudes the excitement of a child when talking about her sweet creations, this bakery has gone from a delivery-only model to a small boutique outlet where people can walk in and have freshly baked goodies.

I had the opportunity of trying a variety of desserts from The Nutty Bunch:

Ferrero Cheesecake: This is hands-down the show-stopper on their menu. The cheesecake has a chocolaty biscuit-base with a filling of Ferrero Rocher flavoured mousse. Now I simply love cheesecakes and I have had many, like Mars cheesecake and Oreo cheesecake, but this is something new and creative, and definitely worth trying.  It was absolutely bang-on with flavours as well as textures. The chocolate base was crisp and delicious and the filling was light and just adequately sweet. This is bound to be, if it isn’t already, one of their bestsellers.

Banoffee Pie: My one pet-peeve when it comes to banoffee is that it is always too sweet, but the banoffee at The Nutty Bunch nailed the sweetness. The proportion of base to banana filling to whipped cream was perfect, and the toffee layer wasn’t very heavy, while the whipped cream was very airy and gave a nice lightness to the entire dessert.

Banana Chocolate Bread: The loaf was rich in flavour, with the classic combination of banana and raisins. The cinnamon which was added to the bread, worked so well and enhanced the taste of the loaf. This bread easily lasts 3-4 days and Pooja suggested that it tastes better if you warm it for 10-15 seconds in the microwave before having it, and she was so right. This bread can serve as a great tea-time snack.

Peanut Butter Cups: These were very good- perfect for peanut butter lovers. The peanut butter was smooth and not too pungent, which I liked.

Lemon Glazed Cookies: These were amazing- the tangy lemon glaze gave a nice touch to the butter cookies. A nice option for people who like the combination of tangy and sweet.

Choco-chip cookies: The texture of the cookies was fine, but the cookies lacked a bit of flavour and the choco-chips got a bit lost in the cookie. These cookies, though not bad, were like cookies you can get anywhere and I’m sure Pooja can work on this recipe and put her twist on it and make it better.

Cupcakes: I tried six of their flavours- coffee, hazelnut, dark chocolate, banana blue, milk chocolate and peanut butter. The cupcakes had a nice flavour, they were decorated beautifully and the icing was nice, which would make them a hit with kids. However, my problem with them was that the base of the cupcakes was a bit dense and heavy, probably because they were eggless. So the recipe for these cupcakes has some scope for improvement. Nonetheless, flavour-wise, my favourites were the dark chocolate and the hazelnut cupcakes. The banana blue is very unique and can be tried.

One more thing I would like to mention is the presentation. All the products looked very good and the decorations were neat and elegant. A majority of the products were very good, and a few require some minor tweaks and adjustments. Another great thing is that Pooja is very open to feedback and can customize the dessert as per your preference. So this bakery can definitely be tried!

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