Review: The Society Café

Review: The Society Café

The Society Café is a newly opened vegetarian Italian café at South Ex 2, near Croma. Onwed and run by Chef Vinay, who was earlier working at Setz at DLF Emporio, the cute little café has room for about 30 covers, and has an open kitchen. The food is made using high quality ingredients (they source their tomatoes from Italy and cream from France), and is quite authentic, and not the done-to-death, over-sauced and overcooked variant.


Their menu is short and crisp, having a few options of soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, pizzas and risottos, along with some really interesting beverage offerings.


We started with a pasta- Spaghetti aglio olio e pepperoncino- which was done perfectly. The pasta was cooked al dente, had a nice chiffonade of fresh herbs, lots of garlic and a nice hit of chili. The pasta was served with a thin toasted bread, slathered with fresh pesto sauce, which was vibrant and zingy.


We then tried a pizza called Watch You Back, which had a spicy tomato spread and was topped with cheese, jalapenos, roasted garlic, and cherry tomatoes. The pizza had a thin, crispy crust, was quite spicy, and the roasted garlic gave it a wonderful flavor.


Next, we had the Spinach, Walnut, and Raisin Lasagne, which was served in a cast iron skillet. The lasagna was layered well, the spinach was fresh, vibrant and creamy, and the lasagne had just the right amount of sauce. The walnuts gave the dish a nice crunch while the little specs of raisin provided a mellow sweet note, while the melted and baked cheese on top was simply heavenly. This is a must-have dish here!


We also tried a couple of their beverages. The Kit Kat Shake had chocolate syrup and loads of crushed kitkat, and was quite tasty though we wish it had a bit more chocolate syrup. The smoothie that we had was a nice mix of assorted berries, banana, apple juice, and yogurt, and was thick, creamy and delectable, and they had not used any syrups, but had made this using real fruit.


The service was also really quick and polite, and the food here is priced very reasonably. Overall, this place should certainly be tried!

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: D-15, South Extension Part- 2 (Next to Croma), New Delhi
Phone No.: +91 9582455952


Review: Devang House

Review: Devang House

The farm-to-fork concept is really catching on, and rightly so, as with the kind of busy lives we lead, health and nutrition sometimes take a backseat. Devang comes as a welcome relief, providing organic, wholesome, and all-natural food, without compromising on the taste.


Located inside The Ashok Hotel, right next to their in-house spa, Amaatra, the white interiors of the place, coupled with the lush green plants outside, exude a positive, calming feel. The restaurant has an open lawn space with cabanas, and an indoor section, with a juice bar, 5-6 tables and a low-seating area with colorful cushions, to provide bursts of color to the otherwise all-white interiors.


While the place can be visited any day when you feel like rejuvenating your body, the best day to visit is certainly Sunday, when they offer a special five-course brunch menu, and that’s what we went there for.

The moment we were seated, we were served a platter of dips- basil pesto, hummus, honey and grain mustard and garlic and chili infused oil, served with slices of house-made bread. The basil pesto was very fresh and zingy, while the hummus had the right amount of lemon in it, and was certainly one of the best we’ve had. The mustard was sharp and pungent and the olive oil infusion had tremendous flavor. The dips were absolutely lip-smacking, and we loved them so much that we were compelled to ask for seconds. In fact, we even bought jars of a couple of these dips to take back home.


We started off with Mint Lemonade which was super refreshing, and the freshness of the mint, which had been plucked from the farm the same morning, was very evident.

The Aam Panna shot was flavored well with spices and had a lovely, tangy taste, while the Minestrone Soup was loaded with fresh, crunchy vegetables, kidney beans and macaroni, topped with fresh herbs in a mildly flavored broth.


The salads also showcased the freshness of the ingredients and the team at Devang pays respect to the beautiful ingredients by letting them shine. The first salad had roasted sweet potatoes, carrots and beans in a flavorsome Honey Mustard dressing, and the combination of the sweet potatoes with the honey mustard worked beautifully. The other salad had thin slices of grilled zucchini on a bed of roasted tangy tomatoes seasoned with a house-made spice mix. The crunch of the zucchini was offset by creamy crumbled feta which topped the salad and provided a nice saline note to it.


The appetizer section was very interesting as well, and had some really innovative options. The Focaccia and Sweet Potato Sliders were absolutely toothsome. The focaccia itself was very soft and had a lot of flavor, and the sweet potato patties stuffed inside were infused with spices and herbs, and were topped with caramelized onions which provided even more flavor. The sliders were served with a fresh tomato and onion salsa, which complemented them well. The Thai Corn Cake was perhaps the best dish of the meal, and was infused with bell peppers and zingy flavors and studded with crunchy corn. The corn cakes were served with a Sweet Chili Sauce which was super spicy and packed an incredible punch of flavor.


For mains, we went with a Stone Oven Pizza and Gnocchi Pesto. The pizza had a thin and crispy crust and was topped with mushrooms, bell peppers, olives and onions. The gnocchi was also very well made- was light and soft, and the sauce was flavored with fresh herbs and extremely flavorful sundried tomatoes and fresh olives.


The dessert section had some unusual options, and despite being quite healthy, were still very tasty. The Mango and Chia Pudding was served in a small, cute bowl, which had a chia seed and coconut flavored pudding with mango pulp on top. The dessert was mildly sweet and the combination worked well, but perhaps it wasn’t hearty enough to constitute a real dessert for us. But what we really enjoyed were the Mini Ragi and Banana Pancakes. The pancakes were light and fluffy, had slices of banana in it, and had a lovely flavor of cinnamon.


They also have on display their house-made, fresh, all-natural dips, flavored oils, pickles, cookies, some amazing herbal supplements and even breads, which you can purchase or even order online from their website.



Overall, for true farm-to-fork food, which was fresh, healthy and tasty, calm ambience, and excellent service, Devang House certainly merits a visit!


Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: The Ashok Hotel, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi
Phone No.: +91 95996 81082

Review: Honk

Review: Honk

With the Pullman brand coming to the city, we have not just been provided with another luxury property at a prime location, but also some amazing food destinations. Honk, the bistro-style specialty restaurant showcasing culinary influences from around Asia, is one such destination. The food is inspired by popular street-style dishes from across South East Asia, primarily Chinese and Japanese with a glimpse of Thai and Singaporean as well as a touch of Indonesian.


The décor is distinctly natural, using a lot of bamboo and brass elements, with the lamps and candles lighting up the wooden interiors, bringing about an innate calmness to the place. The large live sushi bar is certainly the center of attraction for the place, which brings an interactive element to the experience. They also have a tempura counter and Robatayaki grill, where we can choose from the best fresh produce, and get customized dishes made live in front of us. In addition to that, the restaurant also has an al fresco area, which is perfect for a casual and relaxed evening at the garden.


Another aspect worth mentioning is the emphasis laid on the presentation of the food. Moving away from the mass-produced and industry-manufactured crockery, they use award-winning and limited edition crockery from 55 bcn (sourced from Barcelona) that is used for the appetizers so that each plate is unique. For the mains, they use the “Pure” line of illustrious Serax tableware by Pascale Naessens.

The menu has been beautifully crafted by Chef Deepak Malhotra Chief Culinary Designer at Honk. Chef Malhotra, who has an impressive CV, which 14 years of rich, culinary experience under his belt (including working at Chef George Blanc’s three Michelin starred Restaurant, Vonnas in France), feels it is crucial to not over-do things, and to have a few bold flavors that blend well together. There is also a lot of emphasis laid on procuring the right ingredients to provide an unparalleled experience. One can choose from the diverse à la carte menu, or go for one of the three degustation menus (called Inception, Innovation and Celebration) to experience a few items from each section of the menu. We chose to go for the Celebration menu, which had some really interesting options.

Our experience at Honk started with an amuse bouche which did exactly what it was meant to- tantalize our taste buds. It consisted of a toasted piece of bread topped with apples and mangoes marinated in a citrusy dressing, sprinkled with some rice flour dust, and was really fresh and delicious. As we waited for our first course to arrive, we munched on the house crisps which are served at each table. The crisps come in three different flavors- plain, wasabi, and one with spices. These were so delicious that they were gone in no time.


We were then greeted by Mr. Topesh, a master at creating unusual and amazing drinks, who suggested we go with the Honk Sour (their signature cocktail) and the Honk Lemonade. The Honk Sour had a nice mix of gin, with kaffir lime, camomile tea, and egg white, and the citrus notes balanced very well with the alcohol. The Honk Lemonade was also a nice concoction of soda infused with Thai lemon, galangal, and lemon grass, and none of the elements were overpowering.


The first course we had was the tempura. The non-veg one was truffled salmon, yuzu, cream cheese, eel sauce, and crispy panko sushi roll with spicy mayo. The salmon was really fresh and the yuzu brought a nice zing to the dish, accentuated by the spicy mayo, and the crunch from the panko was simply brilliant. The vegetarian one had the subtle flavors of cucumber and yuzu mayo, with the honk sushi sauce and was really well made too.


Next came the dumplings, wherein the vegetarian one had a stuffing of edamame beans and shallots, topped with earthy and robust-flavored truffle oil, while the non-veg one had a filling of chicken and chives, and had a lovely, mild flavor. What brought these dumplings to life were the spectacular dips served with them- from the super spicy Cantonese chili dip, to the tangy and supremely delicious broad bean dip, and the piquant soya yuzu, they were so good that we found ourselves hoping we could somehow get the recipes.


From the “Raw and Nibbles” section, we had the Fried Chicken Wings with House Sambal and the Crispy Peppered Tofu with Thai Basil. The chicken wings had been marinated for 24 hours to let the flavors seep in and then double-cooked, to get a thin crispy crust on the outside, while the meat inside remains moist and juicy. The tofu was so soft and silky, and had been infused with Thai basil from their very own in-house garden, and kaffir lime and chilies. It was served with some orange marmalade and spicy mayo, so with each bite, we got the mix of sweet, spicy and tangy flavors.


We then moved to the skewers, which was chicken breast in case of non-veg and eggplant in case of vegetarian, marinated with a miso garlic sauce. The chicken was really juicy and the eggplant had a creamy texture with a thin skin around it. The miso garlic sauce was really pungent and provided a nice punch of flavor.


We were then served another of Mr. Topesh’s creations- the Shanghai Bell. The concept behind this drink is to use ingredients that are present in the main course (such as bell peppers), so as to complement those flavors. The mix of red and yellow bell peppers with galangal, lemon grass puree, and basil leaves worked surprisingly well together.


From the “Wok and Fried” section, we had the Kung Pao Chicken, Sichuan Dandan Noodles, Vegetables in Thai Red Curry and Stir Fried Vegetables. The kung pao chicken was a brilliant example of how a few ingredients, balanced well together, can work to create magic. The chicken was juicy, and was coated with a Sichuan pepper corn and dried red chili based sauce, and it was just adequately spicy and tangy. The cashew not only provided crunch to the dish, but the essential oils from the nut also worked to put everything in balance. The dandan noodles was also an exquisite dish, consisting of thin noodles in a lovely savory broth infused with pickled radish and chili, topped with some minced lamb. A typical street dish, this portrayed elegance in its simplicity. The stir fried vegetables had crunchy lotus root, broccoli, and sugar snap peas, all cooked al dente in a mild broth infused with shoaxing wine. The dish was topped with fried garlic which really enhanced the flavors. The Thai red curry was zingy and vibrant, and the coconut flavor, through present, wasn’t overbearing. The curry had a mélange of vegetables such as baby corn, broccoli, peas, aubergine, and mushrooms and went well with the Steamed Jasmine Rice served alongside.


Along with these dishes, we also had the Kimchi Fried Rice, which is a dish which simply should not be missed. The rice was flavored with house-made kimchi which was piquant and zingy and the rice had broccoli, edamame beans and spring onions.

Finally, we closed off our brilliant meal with some spectacular desserts, which again carried forward the same philosophy of using a few flavors that combine beautifully together.

Caramel Chocolate & Peanut Parfait: The plate presented in front of us was pretty as a picture. The chocolate dome made of a thin sheet of tempered chocolate, on top of which hot chocolate sauce poured, which melted the chocolate dome to reveal a chocolate and peanut parfait which was light and airy and was absolutely toothsome. The dome was surrounded with dots of raspberry and yuzu curds, so that the citrus cuts through the richness of the chocolate. A heavenly dessert and a must-have for chocolate lovers.


Ginger Cake with Ginger Ice-cream & Raspberry Sauce: This is a must-have dish at Honk, and if you like the heat and earthiness that ginger imparts, this will be bliss! The cake was so moist and buttery, and had a strong ginger kick. It was served on tart raspberry sauce, which added color and brightness to the dish. The cake was served along with a quenelle of house-made ginger ice-cream on a bed of chocolate soil, and the hot-cold effect of the warm cake and the ice-cream worked wonders.


Overall, it was an experience par excellence, made even better with the splendid service, which was courteous and professional. Chef Malhotra personally visits each table and the interaction with the chef always adds a lot to the overall experience as you get to understand the thought-process as well as the care and attention behind each dish. Honk certainly is one of the best Pan-Asian restaurants in the city and warrants multiple visits!

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, Asset No 02 GMR Hospitality District IGI Airport, New Delhi
Phone No.: (+91)1146080808

Open for dinner only: 7pm-12pm


Review: Matamaal

Review: Matamaal

Matamaal is a hidden jewel, serving authentic Kashmiri Pandit food. Owned and run by Mrs. Nalini Moti Sadhu, whose sole ambition is to preserve these traditional recipes, this place serves those recipes which are made in their homes, but not available commercially. While most of their food is sent out through deliveries, they also have a simple and humble restaurant in the nondescript commercial complex, DLF City Court near Sikanderpur Metro Station. The place has around 30 covers, and the décor is simplistic, with wooden tables and chairs, with one corner having a shikara-shaped seat. Nalini personally looks into all the dishes and attends to all tables, so as to maintain the personal touch. The dishes are all kept authentic, for example, the rogan josh is not the thin gravy laden dish that we are used to but has very little, thick sauce coating the meat. Also, all the dishes are cooked in mustard oil.




The restaurant has an open kitchen, so they are clearly very confident about the hygiene of their kitchen, which is always a good sign. When I entered the place, I could hear pleasant folk music playing in the background, and Nalini and the chefs working away in the kitchen.


The moment I took a seat, I was served a bowl of mooli chutney, which was made of grated radish, yogurt and green chili. This chutney is served at every table along with the meal, and it was so good that I polished off the bowl in a few minutes.

I started off my meal with Kanti, which was made of succulent cubes of mutton stir fried with loads of onions and tomatoes, and flavored with saunth, zeera, and green chilies. The mutton was really juicy and the flavor of the dish was simply amazing. This dish is a must-have here. Nalini explained to me that this is the only dish on the menu which uses onions, and no other dish has onions or garlic in it, to keep it absolutely authentic.

Next, I had Talith Gadd, which was Rohu fish, marinated and deep-fried to get a crispy outer layer, while the fish inside was really flaky and moist. The dominant flavor was of saunf, which provided a very nice and unique taste to the fish.


For main course, I had a thali, which had rice in the center, and a number of different dishes in bowls surrounding it. The Masc, or mutton koftas were made of coarsely minced mutton flavored beautifully with spices. The koftas swam in a delicious tangy red gravy. The Mutton Yakhni had chunks of juicy meat cooked in a rich yogurt and cream with lots of herbs, with a predominant flavor of mint powder, which made the dish taste really fresh and vibrant. The meats from the juices had mixed with the gravy to make it thick and creamy. In the same gravy, there was Nadur Yakhni, which had lotus stems instead. Another great lotus stem dish was the Palak Nadur, which had thinly sliced lotus stem pieces in a mix of spinach, spices and herbs. The Chaman Roganjosh had a big piece of paneer that had been fried to get a crisp covering, and was cooked in a spicy red curry. But even better, was the Chaman Kaliya, which had cubes of fried paneer cooked in a subtle, thin gravy of turmeric and herbs. The dish was spiced so deftly and such a unique flavor, that it simply cannot be missed on any visit to Matamaal. And of course, how can any Kashmiri meal be complete without some Dum Aloo and Kashmiri Rajma. The dum aloo had boiled and deep fried whole potatoes, coated with a spicy paste and cooked on a slow fire. The rajma, very different from the Punjabi one, was devoid of onions and garlic, was much more creamy and subtle in taste.




Overall, it was a fantastic meal, and had me already planning my next trip. While the food is truly fantastic, the warmth that Nalini exudes and the pride that she has in these traditional recipes is palpable. Matamaal’s delicious Kashmiri food simply must be tried!


Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: 203 City Court, Sikandarpur, MG Road, Gurgaon

Phone No.: +91 98994 99043

Review: Plumber- The Lounge

Review: Plumber- The Lounge

Malviya Nagar has a multitude of decades-old restaurants, primarily catering to families, but recently, a couple of cafes targeted at the youth have opened up as well. An addition to the same category, Plumber is a concept restaurant with interiors having elements like pipes, manhole covers, etc. The menu is primarily focused on Chinese and Thai cuisines, (which is certainly an under-served market in this area), and also has some Tandoori and Mughlai dishes, along with a host of cocktails and mocktails, all at pocket-friendly prices.




We started off with a couple of drinks: The Cosmopolitan had a nice, fruity taste with a mild hit of vodka, and the Plumber Special on the Sky, which was a mix of orange juice, mango juice, lemon, and a touch of vanilla syrup was really refreshing.


For starters, we first had the Szechuan Mushroom Dumplings and the Chicken Gaotic Dumplings. The mushroom dumplings had been filled with a nice mix of mushrooms, garlic, ginger and Szechuan pepper, but the covering was a bit overcooked due to which it had become very soggy. The chicken dumplings were pan-fried, and had a lovely crust. The filling of minced chicken, spring onions and herbs imparted a nice flavor. The dumplings were served with an oyster garlic sauce and a garlic coriander sauce, which were both amazing. The garlic coriander one worked especially well with the dumplings as it had sweet vinegar, which gave a piquant taste, while the coriander provided freshness.


We also tried the Chicken Wings, which were nicely cooked and tossed in a tangy barbeque sauce, and Murg Zafrani Seekh, which were soft and juicy kebabs made with minced chicken marinated in black pepper, and dotted with red and yellow bell pepper pieces.


For main course, we had the Diced Chicken Sizzler which had sautéed diced chicken with vegetables, tossed in a chilly garlic sauce, served on a sizzler plate. The chicken chunks were soft and juicy and the flavor of the sauce was really nice. We had the dish with Veg Hakka Noodles which were nicely cooked, non-oily and loaded with veggies. We also tried the Corn, Peas and Mushroom in Mala Sauce, but this dish failed to impress us. While the veggies were all cooked al dente, there was hardly any flavor in the sauce.



We rounded off the meal with Date Pancakes, served with vanilla ice-cream. The pancakes were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, and were stuffed with a delicious paste of dates and some earthy spices like cinnamon, and they went very well with the ice-cream.


Overall, this place is definitely a good option for hanging out with friends, and having nice Chinese fare at reasonable rates.


Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Location: 10 & 11, Corner Market, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi
Phone No.: +91 98102 09299

Review: Obento

Review: Obento

Obento brings forth a fresh concept of providing customizable and healthy vegetarian Asian gourmet meals, delivered to our doorsteps. The ingredients are fresh, are wok fried briefly with minimal oil to retain their nutrients, and are packed neatly and delivered timely. And they have a huge variety of options to choose from.

While their menu has dumplings, salads and coolers, their most popular items are the bento boxes, which we can completely customize to suit our palates, from the base, to the sauces, vegetables and add-ons. In the base, the options range from whole wheat noodles, udon noodles, soba noodles, rice stick noodles, to brown rice, jasmine rice and white rice. The sauce can be chosen from Teriyaki, sweet and sour, black bean, schezwan, oyster, hot garlic, black pepper, hot sauce, peanut sauce, sweet chili, thai green curry and thai red curry, along with our choice of veggies, and interesting add-ons. And if you don’t want to go through the trouble of creating your own box, they have some pre-decided bento ninja options as well.


I tried a few of their items and was really impressed.

I created my own Bento Box with udon noodles, hot garlic sauce and veggies like mushrooms, pak choi, carrots, topped with fried garlic. Another cool feature (if you order through their app), is that when you create your bento box, it add up the nutritional information for each element that you have included in the box and calculates the total nutritional value of your meal, in terms of proteins, carbs, fats and calories. The entire meal was sealed neatly in a container, and the quantity was quite generous. The vegetables were cooked al dente and while the noodles were just a tad over-cooked, the flavor on the dish was really nice. But I would have liked the sauce to be a bit spicier.

I also tried their assorted dumplings, which are all steamed and whole-wheat, so low on calories, but still high on flavor. I really like that they give the option of an assortment, so this way we get to have a nice variety, rather than 8 pieces of the same one. The box had 2 pieces each of Siu Mai Dumpling, Pak Choi Corn and Mushroom Dumpling, Tofu and Mushroom Dumpling and Exotic Mix Veg Dumpling. The siu mai were stuffed to the brim with cottage cheese and beans, and topped with fresh bell peppers, and were delicately flavored while the exotic mix veg had a mélange of different veggies like carrots, beans, cauliflower, mushrooms and broccoli in it and were shaped dexterously. The tofu and mushrooms one was topped with white sesame seeds for crunch, but my favorite was certainly the pak choi one as it had loads of flavor in its stuffing. The dumplings had all been shaped nicely, cooked just right and had a nice, thin covering. They were served with a dip called Blah Blah Pink which was awesome and really enhanced the flavor of these dumplings.

The Som Tam or Thai Green Papaya Salad had thin, crunchy shavings of green papaya and carrot tossed in a nice and tangy dressing- healthy, refreshing and tasty.


Overall, from the order placement to the delivery and packaging, everything was seamless, and the food was not only healthy, but really tasty as well. So the next time you’re craving some Asian veg dishes and still don’t want to pile on too many calories, try out Obento!


Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Phone No.: +91 98116 67071

To find out more about Obento, check out their website here.

Review: Joocy

Review: Joocy


Joocy is a food brand that delivers wholesome dishes from around the globe, right to your doorstep across Gurgaon. The team behind Joocy is made up of professionals who have years of experience in the hospitality industry, but over and above that, they are also big foodies themselves. Since they themselves have very diverse tastes, their vision was to offer an eclectic mix of delicious dishes that appeal to a wide variety of preferences. They currently deliver breakfast and lunch, from Monday through Saturday, and they also cater for events. Their 2000 square feet base kitchen helps them to keep innovating and coming up with new dishes (the menu evolves on a regular basis with a weekly addition of new dishes) and perfecting the packaging of their menu items.

I placed an order with Joocy and the food was delivered right on time. The delivery person was extremely courteous, greeted me with a smile, and even wished me a pleasant meal. This kind of personalized and efficient delivery is only possible when you keep the logistical part of the business in-house, rather than outsourcing it, even if that comes at a higher cost. And that is exactly what they have done.


Their packaging was really nice as well- from the bright yellow bags, to the neat and leak-proof packaging of the individual items. I tried:

Poha and Sprouts Salad with Summer Greens: The poha was really fresh, light and vibrant, with each grain separate and fluffy. It had crunchy sprouts and toasted peanuts, and they even provided a wedge of lemon along with the poha, so that I can adjust it according to my taste. Along with the poha, they even sent some fresh fruits like kiwi, apple, and pears to make for a nice, healthy start to the day.


The Litchi and Mango Breakfast Parfait was heaven in a bowl, and a healthy one at that. It was made with homemade yogurt, sweetened with honey, and mixed with fresh fruits like litchis, bananas and mangoes. The yogurt was layered with crunchy oats and topped with nuts, raisins and chia seeds. It was filling, nutritious and super yummy.


The Southwest Breakfast Burrito came nicely packed in a cardboard box along with a salsa salad and some potato wedges. The burrito had a nice char on the tortilla and was stuffed generously with scrambled egg, kidney beans, bbq sausage, jalapenos and salsa. The burrito was really tasty, but I felt it could have done with a bit more zing, but as soon as I added a bit more of the salsa to it, the taste was really bang on. The wedges also had a nice flavor, but had just become a tad soggy in the transit.


Overall, the entire experience was really good, and the variety they have on offer, their neat packaging and their professional and courteous delivery is what sets them apart, and makes them surely worth trying!

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Phone No.: +91 99992 02299
To find out more about Joocy, check out their website here.