Review: Yum Yum Cha

Review: Yum Yum Cha

Yum Yum Cha is surely on an expansion spree, and rightly so, since it has maintained its standards over the years and continues to serve delicious food with efficient service at all its outlets. The brand recently opened its fourth outlet at DLF Promenade mall at Vasant Kunj, and the interiors follow the same theme of an open space, with a huge open kitchen, a nice bright white background juxtaposed with splashes of color from the ornate colorful Origami design that adorn the walls. With this outlet, they’ve taken the spunk to another level and have made different animal heads using Origami.  yyc1As always, each table had a selection of five sauces kept on it- Chili Jam, Chili Oil, Chili and Garlic Sauce, Tamarind Chili Sauce, and Lemon Honey Chili Sauce. Each sauce was delicious, and the flavors were all distinct. We couldn’t help ourselves from trying all the sauces as we waited for our food.yyc2We started off with three types of dim sum. The vegetarian one was Chili Coriander, and it had a really thin covering and was filled with lots of finely diced vegetables such as carrots and zucchini with a lovely fresh coriander flavor. The dim sum came in a sauce that had coriander, fresh red chili, and some other lovely spices, and was really spicy and delicious. The Chicken Nam Jim had juicy minced chicken with subtle spicing, in a sauce flavored with coriander, chili and lemon juice, with a touch of honey. But our favorite dim sum by far was the Xiao Long Bao, which was a pork soup dumpling. It was filled with a clear broth flavored with shichimi and garlic along with pork pieces, and as soon as we broke open the dim sum, the broth poured out and was delicious. This one is a must-try!yyc3The Sweet Potato Salad was served cold and had scoops of creamy sweet potato mash flavored deftly with shichimi and some finely diced onions and tomato along with coriander and some black sesame seeds for crunch.

The Duck Spring Rolls were another stellar dish. The spring rolls had a crisp, flaky filo pastry covering that wasn’t oily, and was filled with delicious shredded duck. The rolls were served with sweet, sticky and flavorsome hoisin sauce which is a classic combination. This dish would surely have us going back for more soon.

We then had the Paper Hot Pot which is a combination of soup and noodles with the soup served in a paper pot that is heated from the bottom. We went with the tom yum chicken flavor and though the noodles and soup tasted nice, we felt the lemongrass and other herbs and spices were a bit muted in flavor in the soup and could be amped up a bit. The noodles were nice and thin and perfectly cooked though.yyc4

Along with our meal, we had two flavors of their Fun Bottles or mocktails- the Chili Cucumber and Smoked Mango, both of which were very nice.

We ended our delicious meal with two amazing desserts- Espresso Crème Brulee and Chocolate Mud Pot. The crème brulee had a nicely set custard which was still light and creamy and had a robust coffee flavor, which was amazing. The brulee or caramelized sugar on top was thin and had a nice crack to it. The Chocolate Mud Pot impressed us with not only its presentation but also its taste. It was served in a pot and actually looked like a plant, with a herb on top and some chocolate soil. Below the chocolate soil, there was a slab of dark chocolate, which when we broke away, revealed an airy, creamy rich dark chocolate mousse. A clever thing that the chef did here was to add a pinch of salt to the mousse so it doesn’t get too overwhelmingly sweet. This dessert is heaven for all chocolate lovers.yyc5Overall, Yum Yum Cha yet again delivered on its promise of fun, delectable Asian food, in a lively setting with really efficient service. A place worth trying!

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: Shop 310, 2nd Floor, DLF Promenade Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
Phone No.: +91 9810055996

Review: Loft by The Clock Tower

Review: Loft by The Clock Tower

Another new addition to the buzzing 32nd milestone food hub is Loft by The Clock Tower. The place has lovely rooftop seating as well as a nice lounge ambience in its indoor seating area. The bar in the indoor area has a huge wall at the back stocked floor to ceiling with alcohol. They have some interesting in-house brews of which we tried the Rose Wheat American Ale, a beer with a low alcohol percentage and some red corvette rose petals to give a nice rosy tinge and a lovely rose flavor to the beer. We also tried the Loft Colada, a mocktail made with mango, raspberry and mint leaves which was tasty and not too sweet.

We started our meal with a really innovative and tasty dish- Baked Amritsari Bread with Pindi Chana Hummus. This was the desi take on pita bread and hummus, and had nicely grilled kulchas stuffed with a boiled potato, coriander and green chili filling, served with hummus seasoned with pindi chana spices. The stuffed kulchas went really well with the hummus and this was a good example of when innovation makes sense. This dish should certainly be tried.

Next, we had the Wasabi Mushrooms with compressed watermelon. The mushrooms were cooked nicely and coated with a light batter, which was doused with a sauce flavored with wasabi, and the sweetness of the watermelon cut the sharpness of the wasabi. Their Dahi ke Kebab were slightly different than the regular ones, in that they had a little bit of apricot jam and honey in them and were topped with roasted almonds. The texture of the kebabs was on point- soft and creamy, but it could have done with a touch less cardamom.

On the non-vegetarian side, we started with the Triple Cooked Pork, a stellar dish having big, juicy chunks of pork belly that had been tossed in a robust sauce along with bell peppers, garlic, scallions and finished with sesame for a nice crunch.

The Bangers and Mash Crostini was another interesting dish which had creamy mashed potatoes with flavorsome pork sausages and crispy bacon, atop a crisp crostini, which was topped with a delicious sweet-tangy barbeque sauce. The Chicken Satay was nicely made too- the skewers had juicy chicken nicely coated with a spicy Solapur sing dana or roasted peanut chutney.l3For mains, we went with Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and Moroccan Chicken Breast. The spaghetti was cooked well, had a nice garlic and red chili flavor and was seasoned well with fresh herbs. It was toped with some grated cheese which melted nicely to coat the spaghetti. We also liked the nicely toasted bread served alongside that had a smear of fresh pesto sauce. The chicken dish was no less either. It consisted of a pile of creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes topped with juicy chicken breast marinated in a spice mix consisting of zaatar, sumac and cinnamon along with lemon juice and mint, to give a nice zingy taste. It was served with some bok choy sautéed with garlic and a fresh salad that had a nice vinaigrette dressing.l4For dessert, we had the Gulab Jamun Waffle and Magnum. The waffle was light and fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, and was topped with condensed milk, butter and maple syrup, served with a big scoop of creamy vanilla bean ice cream and a gulab jamun. While the gulab jamun itself was nice, we didn’t quite get this combination of gulab jamun with waffle. The Magnum consisted of a gooey brownie topped with a stick of Magnum ice cream along with some chocolate cookie crumble and a smear of Nutella on the plate.l5Overall, the food was really nice, the ambiance is amazing and the service is mostly efficient. A good place to try for some freshly brewed beer and delicious grub!

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: 32nd Avenue, Sector – 15, NH-8, Gurgaon
Phone No.: 073035 93338

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.