Review: Unlocked

Review: Unlocked

Unlocked, which has opened up at 32nd Milestone, Gurgaon, is the first of its kind space with an escape room, an interactive bar and a restaurant with a library of over 100 board games from all over the world. The place has a contemporary, chic design, inspired by Dutch graphic artist MC Escher, and uses bold colors with a play on geometrical designs in the interiors, yet being minimalistic in its design. The escape room in the basement, which offers a real-life gaming experience, has contrasting vintage vibes. u1Their cocktail menu is really interesting as well, with some signature cocktails inspired by the names of famous board games. They even have a cocktail named Guess Who, wherein the mixologist will create a customized cocktail based on your mood and preferences.

Another great thing is that they use cold pressed juices in all their drinks, and they make all their syrups, sauces and spice mixes in-house, so there surely is great attention paid to the quality of the ingredients used. Their menu has a large influence from European cuisine, with a few all-time-favorites from other cuisines also included. They have a nice patio area, where you can bring your pets as well, and they have a special Pooch Patio menu for your pets.u2We started off with a custom-made mocktail that the bartender masterfully made based on our preferences. The drink had a mix of pineapple juice and guava juice, with some crushed pink peppercorns for a spicy kick, with a basil blossom, with a slight, pleasant bitter flavor, and topped with some home-made plum jam. The drink looked as good as it tasted.

The Homemade Mozzarella had a soft, creamy and gooey texture and was coated with a nice balsamic reduction. The mozzarella was served with juicy cherry tomatoes, basil and balsamic reduction, making for a great starter.u3The Zucchini Parcels consisted of flat ribbons of yellow and green zucchini stuffed with creamy ricotta cheese and caramelized onions. The zucchini was a great carrier for the flavors, and the creamy, soft ricotta worked well with the sweetness of the caramelized onions. The parcels were neatly constructed, topped with micro herbs and dressed with a sweet-tangy beetroot sauce. This dish was really healthy, yet super tasty.

The Chicken Skewers had juicy, succulent chicken on skewers, dipped in a delicious emulsion made with maple, lemon and chili. The sweet, spicy and tangy flavor of the emulsion was nicely balanced, and the side salad served with the dish was really tasty.u4The next dish we had were the Honey and Garlic Glazed Pork Ribs. The pork was really well cooked, and was just falling off the bone, and the glaze on the pork was sticky and delicious. The dish was served with stewed apples, tomato skins and a herb sauce.

For dessert, we went with the Panna Cotta, which was nice in flavor, but the texture could have been a bit lighter.u5Overall, this place not only does amazing food and drinks, but also provides the option of hanging out with friends while enjoying some amazing board games together. This is the type of place you could spend hours at, and would like to keep coming back to. Unlocked is highly recommended for your next day out with friends.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: Unit No-3, GF, 32nd Avenue, NH-8, Sector 15 Part – 2, Gurgaon
Phone No.: 084696 63771; 0124 422 8370

Review: 48 Plates

Review: 48 Plates

48 Plates is a warm and cozy restaurant serving a carefully curated menu with dishes from around the world. Their love for providing delicious food to people brought Upasana & Sheeba together, and they hand-crafted 48 dishes taking inspiration from the food they’ve had during their travels to set up this restaurant. The décor of the place is elegant and minimalistic, and yet homely and warm. The green plants, soft lighting and black and white photo collages on the walls bring a nice comforting vibe to the place. 

We started off with two of their mocktails- the Kaffir Lime Orange Cooler was really refreshing, and the Ginger Twist, which had fresh ginger, watermelon juice, mint and lemon was delicious as well.p3For starters, we went with Spanakopita, Goan Choriz Masala and Turkish Lamb Kebabs.

The Spanakopita, which are Greek style savory phyllo parcels, were really crispy on the outside, and even though they were deep fried, they didn’t feel oily or heavy. The pastry was filled with spinach and feta and the spinach still felt fresh and vibrant. The dish was served with a creamy dip and a side salad that was dressed in a sharp vinaigrette which tasted really nice.

The Goan Choriz Masala was perhaps our favorite dish of the night, and it was a tough choice, since all the dishes were spectacular. But what really impressed us about this dish was the balance of flavors. The pork sausages from the town of Mapusa were so rich in flavor, and the masala was flavored with kokum, coconut vinegar and chilies, to get the perfect balance of sour, tangy and spicy flavors without any of them overpowering the others. The dish was paired with Poi, the traditional Goan bread, which they had baked in-house, which was light, fresh and fluffy and we loved dunking the bread in the flavorful dish.p4The Turkish Lamb Kofta Kebabs showed how subtle, restrained spices can also make for a lovely dish. The lamb koftas were really juicy and moist, and were flame grilled to give them a smoky flavor. The kebabs were laced with sumac, garlic and parsley to give them a delicate flavor and were served with a nicely baked homemade Turkish bread, creamy laban dressing and fresh hummus.p5For main course, we decided on Grilled Fish, Stroganoff and Ramen.

The fish was marinated with garlic, olive oil and herbs, and was cooked to perfection- there were nice char marks on the fish fillet and the fish was soft and flaky. The fish was slathered with a rich and zingy lemon butter sauce and served with nicely grilled vegetables and butter rice.

The Stroganoff was another delightful dish consisting of buff undercut that was pan grilled with mushrooms, shallots and gherkins, scented with red wine and served with plain rice. The gherkins added a nice flavor to the dish and also cut through the richness of the buff. A lovely dish to try if you’re looking for something different, yet comforting.

The Ramen Bowl was a hearty, soul satisfying dish that consisted of thin noodles dunked in the most delicious soy flavored broth and topped with nori, chicken, boiled egg and vegetables such as shitake mushroom, carrots, beans, broccoli and spring onions. This is a dish you’d want to keep coming back for.p6We ended this lovely, satisfying meal with a couple of amazing desserts.

The Creme Brulee, a French classic, had a lovely light vanilla custard which had the perfect consistency and just the right amount of sweetness, sprinkled with sugar and torched to caramelize so we got a perfect crack on the top when we dug into the dessert.

The Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce, which is a classic English dessert, was simply superb. The comforting dessert consisted of moist, rich date cake topped with the most amazing thick, luscious butterscotch sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The butterscotch sauce was so good, we felt like bottling it up and taking it home.p7Overall, 48 Plates impressed us with each dish, and is one of the few restaurants where each dish is worth coming back for. While it’s hard for us to pick our favorites since we were blown-away by all the dishes, we would surely come back time and again for the Goan Choriz Masala, the Ramen and the Sticky Date Pudding. The service was also efficient and courteous, and Upasana is a lovely and warm host. This restaurant serves so many different cuisines with such a vast range of flavors, and still does a great job with each, offering something for everyone, making 48 Plates a must-visit!

Overall Rating: 4.75/5

Location: 1st Floor, 102- 103, Cross Point Mall, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon
Phone No.: 098711 29634

Review: Lub Lub Lebanese

Review: Lub Lub Lebanese

After serving up their delicious Lebanese food for over three years at their Baani Square outlet, Lub Lub Lebanese has expanded and opened two new outlets- one at Golf Course Road and the other at 32nd Milestone.

We recently visited their outlet at 32nd milestone and were, as usual, delighted with the food served up by the brand, headed by Chef Ashish of Masterchef India 4 fame. Lub Lub Lebanese ensures the food they serve is healthy and always fresh, and the hygiene maintained in their kitchen was impressive. They have different stations for lamb, chicken and veg and people working in the non veg section do not cross over to the other side without changing their gloves and the utensils they are using. l1We started off with their signature drink- Twisad which is a tasty concoction made with peach and apricot along with mint- really refreshing in this hot and humid weather.

Next, we had the Lamb Shawarma, and you get the option to choose between regular pita bread and multigrain pita bread, so we went with the multigrain version. The pita was soft and fresh and was loaded generously with succulent lamb chunks with a nice, smoky flavor, coated in their house-made sauces and their house blend of spices. The vegetables in the shawarma were crunchy and nicely pickled, and imparted that extra flavor to the dish.l2I’ve always been a fan of their Ras Asfour, and the Chicken Ras Asfour I had on this visit was no exception. This dish is healthy as well as super tasty, and consists of grilled chicken with a smoky flavor, marinated with spices, chopped into small pieces on a bed of creamy, delicious hummus, flavored with garlic and paprika. On top of the chicken, they had poured some pomegranate molasses that was made in house, which added a lovely sweet-sour flavor to the dish which made it simply divine. l3They keep their menu selective and focus on what they do best, which is why every meal at this restaurant has always been delightful. The servers are also super courteous and bring a lot of warmth to the place. Lub Lub Lebanese is highly recommended for some delicious Lebanese food at really reasonable rates.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Location: Unit 6, 32nd Avenue, Sector 15, Gurgaon
Phone No.: 0124 422 0400

Review: Shanghai Surprise

Review: Shanghai Surprise

Shanghai Surprise is a new delivery joint in Gurgaon bringing us authentic flavors from the Orient. We recently ordered from the place and were impressed with the packaging. The food came in a lovely blue box with beautiful images printed on it.s1The Silken Tofu had soft, creamy tofu that was coated with a nice sweet-spicy sauce and fried, and tossed with sesame seeds for crunch. The tofu was served on a bed of crispy spinach with a pleasant sweet flavor and a touch of aniseed.

The Beijing Chicken was a lovely, spicy appetizer consisting of small pieces of chicken tossed in a wok with some crunchy peanuts, dried red chillies, black beans and spring onions. The heat in the dish was nicely balanced with the freshness from the spring onions.

For mains, we went with the Shredded Lamb with Bamboo Shoot and Shitake Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce. The lamb was juicy and moist and the shiitake mushrooms were super flavorsome and nicely cooked. The bamboo added a nice flavor and textural contrast and the oyster sauce was flavored nicely.

The Egg Fried Rice, however, lacked flavor when had without the gravy and could do with a tad more spicing.s2Overall, a nice place for ordering in tasty oriental dishes.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Location: 461, Nathupur, Siris Road, Opposite Government School, DLF Phase 3, Gurgaon
Phone No.: 070312 77277

Review: Cafe Yell

Review: Cafe Yell

Cafe Yell is a cute little cafe right at the center of the Defence Colony market. The place is adorned with little trinkets associated with sewing such as threads, sewing machine, blocks for printing, etc., since the owners of the cafe also own a clothing brand named Yell.y1We started off with the Minestrone Soup, which was thick and flavorsome, with lots of vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli and bell peppers and small pieces of pasta as well. The soup was served with nicely toasted bread rubbed with garlic butter.y2Next, we had the Chicken Caesar Salad which consisted of crisp iceberg lettuce, juicy pieces of nicely flavored tender chicken breast, black olives and flavorsome sundried tomatoes, tossed in a creamy and robust homemade Caesar dressing, finished with crunchy croutons for crunch and a nice shaving of parmesan cheese.

The Garlic Paprika Chicken Skewers was a lovely dish, something we would definitely go back for. It consisted of juicy chicken chunks coated with a spicy paprika marinade and grilled to perfection, and skewered along with grilled bell peppers and onions. The dish was served with a nicely dressed side salad and a super spicy sauce which we loved.y3For mains, we went with the Grilled Chicken with wild mushroom sauce. The chicken breast was juicy and moist and the mushroom sauce was tasty, but just a tad heavy on salt. The sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes served alongside were nicely made.

Along with our meal, we had Fresh Lime Soda and a thick, creamy and delicious Walnut Brownie Shake which had crumbled chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce and finely chopped walnuts for crunch.

We ended the meal with their signature Salted Caramel Cheesecake, which has to be one of the best cheesecakes we’ve had lately. The biscuit base at the bottom was thin and crispy, the cheesecake was airy and creamy, and didn’t feel heavy at all, and the delicious salted caramel sauce on the top was absolute perfection. A must have dessert here.y4A shout-out to the servers as well- they were efficient and really courteous, especially Mr. Rajan took great care of us. This place can definitely be tried the next time you’re in the area.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: 35, Ground Floor, Defence Colony Main Market, New Delhi
Phone No.: 011 4155 2004

Review: Poochki Table

Review: Poochki Table

The Poochki brand, established by Ishanee and Anirudh, has been around since 2015, with its emphasis on exclusive garments made using block-prints and Indian textiles. The brand recently shifted to a bigger place within Shahpur Jat itself, and has designed a lovely space where you can shop as well as eat. The Poochki Table serves up some amazing hand-rolled pizzas, fresh salads and other small eats in a space that is lush green. The design of the space is open and minimalistic, with plants all around, for that much needed clean oxygen. The glass structure that encloses the inside seating makes it feel just like an extension of the outside seating area- with sunlight streaming in.p1Coming to the food, all pizzas are topped with their delicious house blend of gruyere, cheddar, tome, mozzarella and scamorza cheese. We went with a half-and-half pizza. The Pizza Verde had a pesto sauce base topped with fresh arugula, Afghani pine nuts and large shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. The pesto was fresh and zingy, the pine nuts provided a nice crunch, and the parmesan shavings just took the pizza to a whole new level of flavor. The other half was the Mrs. Gomes Pizza, which had their house Pomodoro sauce at its base- which was chunky and tangy, topped with flavorsome Goan chorizo and house pickled onions. The texture of the pizza was light and fluffy while still being crispy at the crust.p4Their Watermelon Salad was extremely good- it consisted of cubes of watermelon, mixed with creamy Greek feta cheese, arugula and roasted pumpkin seeds in a pickled chili vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was so tasty that we found ourselves digging in with our spoons to get the last few drops out after we were done scraping the bowl clean.p2Their Naan Bread dish had us floored- the fresh oven baked bread was well aerated and fluffy on the inside, so it had a lovely soft texture. The bread was served with a creamy mushroom velouté which was so full of flavor. A piece of that bread, dunked in the creamy velouté makes for such a tasty mouthful.p3Another great thing is that they are trying to source as many ingredients as possible from local farms, so the food is as fresh as it gets.

We enjoyed the dishes with their house brewed iced tea which was really nice and not overly sweet like the packaged ones tend to get. We closed the meal with a Chocolate Brownie, which was well-made but nothing to write home about. It would help it they served it a bit warmer so it felt more gooey and soft.

Overall, this place is your little green haven in the heart of the city, and the food here is delicious and is made with fresh ingredients and lots of love.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Location: 153-A, Near DDA Shiv Mandir, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi
Phone No.: 095824 60500