Monday, December 04, 2006

Peking, Cairo

Peking

All across city
They do Take Away, Free Home Delivery & Catering too
One of the more famous Chinese chains around Cairo & well worth the fame.

You can check out their menu & locations on their site.

Their food is quite yummilicious. They have around 100 items on thier menu & whatever I tried was quite good.

Their packing is very neat & compact & they even serve sauces in little containers. Was too hungry to take pics when the food arrived. (home delivery in Cairo normally takes around 45 minutes) But maybe next time..... because there is definitely gonna be a next time.

Tried the fried rice with egg (5.25)which was simple & tasty. There is an option with basmati rice which costs a little more.

The special spicy fried noodles with chicken (15.5) were yum but I probably should not have ordered the crispy version for home delivery since it does tend to get a little soft by the time it arrived.


I loved the spicy kung pao chicken (23.75) with groundnuts but the Hot chilli chicken wasn't as spicy as I expected.

Ok, I'm indian & love spicy food, so none of the stuff was too spicy, it actually was normal spice for me.

There's a 10% sales tax over the mentioned amounts. Do try them out, they are good.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pottery Cafe, Cairo

Pottery Cafe
Opp AUC Entrance

Its a cosy little cafe opp the American University of Cairo. Normally filled with students. Its a good place to catch a bite if you aren't interested in the fast food chains like Mcdonalds & Hardees which abound in the area.

Caught breakfast in there the other day. The Roast beef panini was 12.5LE Good roast beef. Not thick slices, but thinner ones & a little cheese.

The crepe salami mozarella 13.5LE was excellent in taste, although a little difficult to maneuvre onto the fork.

I would avoid the milk shakes. The milk here is too thick for my taste.

The American coffee was 9LE & the Honeymoon Latte (latte with honey & cinnamon) at 13.5 was excellent. They have a variety of diet, brown & white sugars which you can add to your drink.

They are a wifi hotspot, so grab a coffee & settle down to surf.

Remember there is a 12.5% service charge.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fuddruckers, Cairo

Tried out Fuddruckers today. They did serve up pretty good burgers in the States. But they weren't as yummy here.

What was good was the excellent salad bar. Each main order gets a complementary - single trip to the salad bar. There were quite a few varieties & they were all quite yummy.

Ordered a Burger - double classic works (40LE) & some chicken wings(27LE - large). I did prefer the Chillis wings infinitely more. & the burger was low on spice & flavors. But I do like me food with a lot of flavour. Not chilli, but flavour. This was a little bland for my taste. Husband did enjoy the food though. So I guess its a personal preference as usual. Soup was 6LE & a bottomless pepsi was 9LE.

The salads were so filling, that the main course was almost completely left over. We hardly touched the food. Take a look.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Abo Yosef Koshary, Cairo

Only silver lining in my Wasted Day today was, I embarked on another food adventure. Walked up to a place called Abou Yoosef. Their menu was in Arabic. Everyone there only spoke arabic. I pointed to 2 items on the menu & patiently awaited opening my mystery suprise package.

One turned out to be a chicken fillet sandwich roll. The other was some local dish.

Now the problem is I have no clue about the name. I do not remember which item I pointed to, so its going to take some time to figure out what we ate.

But let me try & give u a description. (no picture : we were too ravenous after the house hunt that we did not bother with wasting time on taking pictures) the dish is a mix of 4 types of pasta
1. a very short tubular pasta 2mm length
2. a circular spoke pasta 2mm diameter
3. short spaghetti
4. vermicilli
and some arborio rice.

All boiled seperately with just salt & then mixed in almost equal quantities. The dish is then topped with some boiled whole masoor dhal & deep fried browned onions. & a sprinkling of chickpeas (chole)

A tomato based gravy was served on the side to be mixed into the dish. I was wearing a salwar kameez & bindi, so he realisd i was indian. pointed to my bindi & handed me a second packet which turned out to be a spicy chilli mix which we added to the tomato gravy before pouring it into the carbs.

The dish was really yummy & I doubt my description has done it justice. Also its a wonderful vegetarian option for veggies who come to this country & are forced to live on French fries. Next mission is to somehow describe this to a local who can tell me its name.

Edit : My new blogger friends Cairogal & Maryanne tell me that this dish is called "Koshary" & every place that sells this staple food would have the term koshari or koshary in its name. It costs from 3-5LE & is the basic diet of most Egyptians.

Heres a Recipe for Koshary

& heres a picture

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Andrea, Cairo

Had dinner at a lovely little restaurant called Andrea today. This was after a very interesting visit to The Lebanese Roastery. Read that account here

Andrea had a Moroccan setting as do most other Coffee Shops cum Restaurants in Cairo. Their signboard, menu cards, napkins all proclaimed that they were a chain that had been operational since 1959. That wasn't what impressed us, we had actually just completed another of our 3 hour walks & had decided to enter the next restaurant that looked halfway decent & order dinner.

Fortunately we werent disappointed. Cute interiors, an English menu and a waiter who could speak Basic English & we were ready to order. They had a couple of local dishes on offer & we decided to try them out.

We had some chicken liver (12LE) to start with as an appetiser which was ok, not very exciting, but the main courses were a bigger success.

I had the Kabab & Kofta (the kabab is like a piece of chicken tikka, the kofta is a much much fatter version of the sheekh kebab) for 29LE.

But dish of the day was hubbys Chicken Fata The recipe in the link before is similar but different from what we had at the restaurant, but I couldn't find any other recipe for this dish online.

What we ate seemed to be a combination of the following things. A mixture of boneless chicken chunks marinated in a tasty spice blend with chickpeas(chole) deep fried pita bread cut up in to small squares All covered with a layer of tahini& garnished with some nuts. It was absolutely briliant, I hope to find an Egyptian recipe book that will give me the exact recipe. This was more than worth its 18LE & extremely extremely filling

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Meals worth the price of plane ticket

The last column by the NY Times' esteemed food critic. Mumbai's Trishna figures.

Journeys
An Epicurean Pilgrimage: Meals Worth the Price of a Plane Ticket
By R. W. APPLE Jr.
Published: October 22, 2006

Editor's Note: R. W. Apple filed this article shortly before his death on Oct. 4. Originally assigned to be part of a special issue on travel and food, it reflects a lifetime of experiences of a man who once referred to himself, when interviewed by Calvin Trillin for The New Yorker, as "more gourmand than gourmet," one who took equal pleasure in Michelin-starred restaurants and the street food of Singapore.


AFTER half a century of assiduous eating in restaurants around the world, first avocationally and more recently professionally, I have become accustomed to certain questions: "What's your favorite restaurant?" "What will you order for your last meal on earth?" "Which is best — French cuisine? Italian? Chinese?" All unanswerable, of course. Now comes a more modest proposition: Name 10 restaurants abroad that would be worth boarding a plane to visit, even in these fraught days.

O.K. Here's my list. Please note, this is neither an enumeration of my favorites (though some of those are included) nor a ranking of the world's best (like those fatuous lists put out each year by Restaurant magazine in London). Rather than reciting a long list of two- and three-star gastronomic temples, I have chosen purlieus both grand and small, better to reflect my own eating habits. And rather than loading up my list with French and Italian addresses, I have arbitrarily restricted my choices to one per country, for much the same reason. I would expect no one else to choose the same 10, but on the other hand, I would be astonished if many of my nominations disappointed.


FLEURIE, FRANCE
Auberge du Cep, Place de l'Église;
(33-4) 7404-1077; http://perso.orange.fr/mercurebeaujolais/cep.htm

French country cooking — or bistro cooking, as its urban variant is called — deserves, but is not often accorded, a place among the world's culinary glories beside French haute cuisine. Based on regional products, honestly handled, "unfoamed and unfused" in the words of my friend Colman Andrews, late of Saveur magazine, it is the specialty of this small restaurant on the main square of a prettily named village in Beaujolais. It is a specialty unflinchingly embraced by its proprietor, Chantal Chagny, who five years ago banished lobster and truffles from her menu and turned her back on two Michelin stars in favor of the simpler dishes she adores, like herb-crusted, perfectly fried, never-frozen frogs' legs, crisp-edged sweetbreads, soup made of garden herbs, roast wild duck from a local river and rosy tenderloin of regional Charolais beef, France's best.

Love and skill are lavished on the simplest dishes — tiny, tender lamb chops, neglected freshwater fish like perch and pike-perch (sander), eggs poached in red wine (oeufs en meurette), toothsome squab, black currant sorbet, even snails — great fat ones, bubbling happily in their shells, bathed in garlic, parsley, butter and Pernod. Here is the food most of us travel to France to taste, and who can resist it once tasted? Here, too, are the little regional wines we search for — especially Beaujolais, 60 of them, including 30 from Fleurie itself, one of the 10 designated crus known for excellence.


SANT'AGATA SUI DUE GOLFI, ITALY
Don Alfonso 1890, corso Sant'Agata 11;
(39-081) 878-0026;
http://www.donalfonso.com

Americans of my vintage (b. 1934), weaned on the red-tablecloth food of the Italian south, were later taught that it was uncool, compared with the blander specialties of Milan and Venice. But we were also taught that in Italian cooking, the quality of ingredients is everything, and it is the south — the Mezzogiorno — that produces the juiciest fruits, the briniest clams and tuna, the best buffalo-milk mozzarella cheese, and the world's most sumptuous tomatoes, known as San Marzanos and raised near Mount Vesuvius, just south of Naples.

Alfonso and Livia Iaccarino (she of the zippy white patent-leather boots) grow herbs, lemons and peaches, artichokes and eggplants and, of course, prize tomatoes, plus the olives for their own tangy, fruity oil, in a sun-kissed garden facing the Isle of Capri near their restaurant on the Sorrento peninsula. In their lovely pastel dining room, they serve fresh, understated, unmistakably Italian food in great profusion — ravioli with caciotta (a sheep's milk cheese), wild marjoram, barely heated chopped tomatoes and basil; rolls of baby sirloin filled with raisins, pine nuts, parsley and garlic, atop a ragout of wild endive; rabbit simply but exquisitely grilled with herbs; squid and baby octopus of a very high caliber. The tufa cellar, first excavated by the Etruscans, is stocked with wines from all around the world.


SAN SEBASTIÁN, SPAIN
Arzak, Avenida Alcalde Jose Elosegui, 273; (34-943) 27-8465;
http://www.arzak.es

I'll take a pass here on El Bulli; for one thing, you don't need me to tell you about it, and for another, Arzak is more to my taste. It is nicely poised between an older, French-inspired style of innovation, as represented by Juan Mari Arzak, who trained in the nouvelle cuisine kitchen of the Troisgros brothers in Roanne (where I myself spent a few happy days long ago), and the new wave of ground-breaking Spanish cooking, as exemplified by Ferran Adrià and his disciples, including Mr. Arzak's daughter, Elena.

The result is an enriched, reinvigorated Basque cuisine that retains a sense of tradition and place. One fine Easter day, my wife, Betsey, and I ate our Paschal lamb — a custom throughout Christendom, and especially among the sheep-herding Basques — at the Arzaks' 110-year-old roadside tavern, rated three stars in the Michelin guide. Rather than run-of-the-mill gigot, however, a faintly gamy deboned chop came to the table wearing a tissuelike coffee-flavored "veil" — a taste-enhancing shroud made by baking a layer of café con leche between sheets of Silpat pan liner. With the pan juices poured over the meat, partly melting the "veil," you get a sauce remarkably reminiscent of American red-eye gravy.

Arzak's food is modern and entertaining like that, often witty, never overwrought, limited largely to local ingredients — white tuna, fresh figs, fino sherry. Or a hyperfresh egg, seasoned with house-made truffle oil, wrapped in plastic film, poached and served with a slim txistorra sausage made not just with the traditional paprika but with dates as well. The egg emerged looking a little like a flower, and cutting into the ravishingly milky white revealed a richly orange yolk. Magic.


BRUSSELS Comme Chez Soi,
Place Rouppe 23; (32-2) 512-2921;
http://www.commechezsoi.be

I'm an unapologetic classicist, no particular fan of foams and chemical legerdemain in the kitchen (although I have maintained a fondness for the then-revolutionary cuisine of Haeberlin, Bocuse and Guérard since encountering it for the first time in the 1960's). I can still find refined food that tastes like what it is, to quote Curnonsky's maxim, at Paris three-stars like Taillevent, but no place there or elsewhere excels Comme Chez Soi in this genre — and at Comme Chez Soi you dine in a superb décor of warm, tawny wood in the style of the great Belgian practitioner of Art Nouveau, Victor Horta. Nor is price a minor matter: a set-price meal is served at lunch and dinner, for 67 euros (about $85, at $1.30 to the euro), no snip but a real bargain in these days of watery dollars.

There is originality, even alchemy, in Pierre Wynants's sole stuffed with crab, which comes to the table with shrimp in a tarragon sauce, but there is no trickery. Betsey and I feasted years ago on a saddle of lamb that was merely perfect, a triumph of technique.

Even on the small menu, generous to a fault, there is no dearth of imagination or regional and international inspiration; on one recent visit, it included a shimmering green pea soup with oxtail and Chimay beer, filets of eel with Espelette peppers from the Basque country, chicken with turmeric and apple chutney and the silkiest, most delicate floating island of my life, better even than my sainted grandmother's.


LONDON Wilton's,
55 Jermyn Street, SW1; (44-207) 629-9955;
http://www.wiltons.co.uk

Clubbish in location, in looks and for the most part clubbish in clientele, wonderful Wilton's in fact affords a cheerful, courteous welcome to all who show up in properly sober clothes, ready to pay the sobering prices. The best English food (as opposed to the best food in England, which is so grandly cosmopolitan these days) is still that which has been least messed about with. That is just what Wilton's delivers. "Noted since 1742 for the finest oysters, fish and game," it says of itself, with every justification.

You might start with a half-dozen oysters. They will set you back a pretty penny, but then they are imposing creatures, five inches across, pale beige rather than silver-gray, in shells as flat as saucers. They come from West Mersea, on an island off the Essex coast, from beds that are harvested exclusively from rowboats, lest oil or gasoline pollute the waters. They are opened by London's best oysterman, Patrick Flaherty, a 40-year veteran when I last checked. None of the briny juices escape. No nasty bits of shell creep in. Then maybe a wild salmon from the Spey in Scotland (increasingly rare), or a snowy hunk of halibut — "a nice piece of fish," as I once heard Rex Harrison call it.

But whole Dover sole is the overwhelming choice of English connoisseurs: brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with salt and pepper, turned quickly on the grill so that the grill bars burn a dark lattice pattern into the fish, then cooked under the intense heat of the broiler for roughly 12 to 15 minutes. Perfectly simple, simply perfect and entirely sufficient. This is the porterhouse steak of fish. No sauce is needed, partly because cooking the fish whole ("on the bone") helps to keep it moist. You may well come across an occasional apostate who insists upon tartar sauce (much too robust, in my view) or hollandaise (too rich). In game season, both partridge and grouse are exemplary.


GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN Sjomagasinet,
Klippans Kulturreservat 5; (46-31) 775-5920;
http://www.sjomagasinet.se

I envy the Swedes their social conscience, their gift for design and urban planning and their fish. Especially their fish. And among their fish — sole, cod, plaice, scallops, langoustines — especially their unmatched herring. Leif Mannerstrom, who owns and cooks at this charming former warehouse of the Swedish East India Company, built on the waterfront in 1775, is so widely admired for his knowledge of things piscatorial that he is pictured on a national postage stamp, and more than 10,000 people come from all over Scandinavia each year for his Christmas-season feast of 16 herrings.

Matjes, pickled, fried or bathed in mustard-and-dill-sauce — the richly flavored herring — is, of course, available all year long at Sjomagasinet, to be devoured with well-aged, Cheddar-ish Vasterbotten cheese, with or without cumin, and icy draughts of O. P. Anderson, Gothenburg's favorite aquavit. And all year long, Mr. Mannerstrom turns out a definitive version of Janssons Frestelse, or Jansson's Temptation, a confection of scalloped potatoes, onions and herrings cured in the style of anchovies, which I find an inspired combination of salty and creamy flavors.


BUENOS AIRES Avenida Cabaña las Lilas,
Alicia Moreau de Justo 516; (54-11) 4313-1336;
http://www.laslilas.com

I can hear you sputtering from here. What? Fly all night to Argentina to eat in a parilla when every big city in the United States boasts steakhouses promising (some even delivering) prime U.S.D.A. beef? Well, this is grass-fed beef, raised on the vast ocean of chlorophyll called the Pampas. It's different. Some, including me, would say better, with a rounder flavor, leaner texture and sweeter fat. You eat in a handsome wood-and-leather room in the redeveloped Puerto Madero docklands area, and drink from a wine-wall stocked with fine Mendoza reds like those of Nicolas Catena.

Octavio Caraballo, the owner, supplies all the beef from his own ranch, or estancia. We flew there with him — big guy, bigger cigar, even at 8 in the morning — on his private plane, admired the spread and ate beef (what else?) for lunch. The selection was bigger at dinner back in town, with medallón de lomo (tenderloin) and cuadril (rump) and ojo de bife (rib-eye) covering every inch of the big grills. Little "bombon" sausages and sweetbreads, too.

Warning: They will ply you with so many delicious breads, so many salads and such superb cheese and olives and peppers, that you might not be able to do justice to the beef. Which would be tragic.


SHANGHAI Jean-Georges,
3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu 1; (86-21) 6321-7733;
http://www.jean-georges.com

I have lived in Asia and eaten more than my share of Chinese food, Lord knows, but I remain a man of the West, not the East, and I still find the Chinese passion for "gristly, slithery and squelchy textures," as the English writer Fuchsia Dunlop calls them, hard to cope with. Delicacies like sea cucumber and bird's nest have little taste, Asian friends tell me, but great "kou gan," or mouth feel, which escapes me.

Hence I tread lightly here. I would happily fly to Shanghai to eat the seraphic — yes, seraphic — soup dumplings at Nan Xiang, or the snails with chopped, spiced pork at tiny Chun. But I would be more likely to go to Jean-Georges Vongerichten's glamorous place on the Bund, the best of all his places, in my view, where the food is a little Eastern, a little Western.

A year ago, as I reported in the Travel section, Betsey and I ate a nearly flawless meal there. A single Kumamoto oyster wreathed in Champagne jelly was followed by raw tuna brightened by Thai chili paste. Then cubed raw kingfish with Taiwanese mangoes and chili-lemon granita was utterly irresistible — peppery, sweet and acidic, yellow and orange and red, all at once. A second trio, equally satisfying, comprised crab dumplings with black pepper oil and tiny local peas; seared sweet scallops from Dalian, nestling with clams in a tomato jus; and superbly fresh snapper with crunchy cucumber strips. Vaut le voyage, as Michelin would have it.


MUMBAI, INDIA Trishna,
Birla Mansion, Sai Baba Marg, Fort; (91-22) 2270-3213.

This, I think, is the only truly remarkable restaurant I have ever discovered solely on the recommendation of a friend of a friend. Dubious, Betsey and I made our way there one night years ago and liked it so much that we went back 72 hours later. It was not the décor, which is shabby, or the service, which can be surly, and certainly not the menu, which is very nearly useless. It's the food, stupid, the seafood.

Enormous king crabs fresh from the Indian Ocean, awash in butter, and seasoned with garlic and pepper until they make the lips tingle but not sting, draw an eager crowd of Mumbai businessmen and Bollywood stars to this little establishment on a crowded, noisy alley in the old Fort district. If you like, your crab will be brought to the table before cooking, still alive and dangling from a string held by a waiter.

These are among the world's choicest crustaceans, and I say that as someone who lives 25 miles from the Chesapeake. But Ravi Anchan has plenty of other savory delights up his sleeve, including tender little pomfret (a kind of butterfish) barbecued in the style of Hyderabad, with black pepper; deep-fried squid; and gorgeous, never-frozen tiger prawns grilled with mint. Don't mind the waiters; insist and they will bring what you want.


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Billy Kwong,
3/355 Crown Street, Surry Hills;
(61-2) 9322-3300.

Among Sydney chefs, Tetsuya Wakuda, with his confit of Tasmanian ocean trout, and Neil Perry of Rockpool, with his mud crabs, get most of the international ink, and rightly so; they are as gifted as any of their counterparts in Europe or America. But I would head from my Qantas jet for Billy Kwong, my favorite neighborhood restaurant (whose neighborhood, unfortunately, is exactly 9,758 miles from mine). This is the trim, dark, bustling domain of Kylie Kwong, a 36-year-old wunderkind whose mile-wide smile and black-framed glasses are as well known Down Under as is Jacques Pépin's cherubic face Up Here.

Her food is delicious, and her place gives off none of those Chinese-speakers-only vibes that plague us Anglophones; Ms. Kwong, Australian-born, speaks no Chinese herself. So order to your heart's content, in English, and flail away as the plates arrive, rat-a-tat: prawn wontons, little flavor bombs bursting with the tastes of shellfish, black vinegar and chili oil; star-anise-flavored tofu and black cloud-ear fungus, with Thai and Vietnamese herbs; chive crepes with smoky caramelized eggplant salad; steamed line-caught blue-eyed cod with ginger and shallots; spectacularly crisp-skinned duck with a sauce made from ruby grapefruit; and sung choi bao — wok-fried mouthfuls of moist, gingery pork and vegetables, wrapped in crisp lettuce leaves. The inspiration is Cantonese, absorbed by Kylie at her mother's table, but the execution is all her own.

I have shortchanged Turkey, Thailand and Japan. I know, and I apologize. Put it down to limited space and inadequate depth of knowledge. There should be enough here to hold you — hopefully to set you soaring — for a few weeks or months, or even years.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pictures

Will be adding pictures to my posts over the next week when I have more time, so do check back.

Don't have regular accees, so altho I am not posting. I am writing & will post my reviews at a shot when I'm online

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Egypt : Fatour Buffet at Arrous El Nil

Arrous El Nil
Cairo Sheraton
Cairo
Around 130 LE (130*8 INR or 130/5.7USD) + Taxes

Decided to take advantage of having arrived in Egypt during Ramadan & indulge in a Fatour buffet. This was the perfect way to experiment with the local cuisine without being stuck with dishes that didn't appeal to my taste buds.

Traditionally the fast is broken with Dates since the Prophet (PBUH) is supposed to have broken his fast with dates. So started with a dish of dried dates soaked in milk. Dates being very high in sugar content, the milk almost tasted like Condensed milk. Very tasty stuff. I would have had much more of this but the rest of the buffets Table(S) beckoned. There were fresh dates, dried dates, dates stewed with apricots which I passed over since I have already tasted this stuff before.

3 varieties of juices : Karkade, Kamar El Din & something else which are good too.

I moved on to the salad & dips section. Wasn't too excited by what I tried, but then I have never been a salad person. Hummus, tomatoes with a Egyptian dressing. Long brinjals sauteed in a local masala. 2-3 varieties of salads with bulghur (broken wheat) 1 spicy, 1 sour, 1 salty where just some of the varieties on display. Since today I was just trying out stuff, I was more concerned with taste than remembering the names or clicking pictures. Will give more detailed food descriptions once I'm more comfortable with the names.

Soups on offer were cream of chicken & beef consomme. These seemed more continental, but there was a dish with the main course with a very thin gravy of green leafy vegetables with chicken pieces in it which was of a soup like consistency. Which was kinda sticky (like okra/bhindi, once it meets with water) The stickiness (I can hear my nana saying "nyoli, nyoli" in Konkani) was a slight deterrent but the dish was reasonably tasty.

The main course had a variety of dishes on offer & I really freaked on these as they were similar in parts to our Indian dishes. A lamb with rice preparation & a veal with some seeds (the seeds when cooked are very like rice in texture) which were similar to Biryani. I loved the lamb with rice, it was high on tomato, but I still liked the taste. A lamb stew with vegetables. Steamed Couscous (like rawa/semolina) with a chickpea (chole) gravy. Roast Beef ribs (this was quite bland) Okra with beef in a tomato gravy. A filo pastry with mince, like a dry lasagna or a multi layered puff. Chesy pasta & another continental dish which I didnt even bother with. Oriental roast chicken (a liitle bland again) & one or 2 other gravies which could be eaten with the couscous or a rice & vermicili/sevaiyan dish (the 2 are just cooked together & served)

There were over 20 varieties of desserts. Cakes, biscuits, a vermiciilli & nut cake, honey soaked cakes, rawa based sweets, fresh fruit salad, bread pudding were just some of the stuff on offer. I gorged myself on them rationalising it to myself as a diwali indulgence & promptly came back to my room to take a nap.

Definitely worth trying out, if you aren't lucky enough to be invited to a locals house to partake of Fatour. Its normally served just past sunset (5:30 in this part of the world) till about 7:00 before the restaurant starts readying itself for Dinner

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Recommendations to Eat at in Hyderabad

Been busy with my upcoming move so haven't really posted in the last coupla months. Was browsing my haunt for food related questions Another Subcontinent where someone asked me to chip in on the Hyderabad discussion with my recommendations.

I'm reproducing my post here.

Paradise does a good "special biryani" {mix of mutton & chicken} if u don't mind the oil. Its located just off the main road and any auto guy will take u there if u tell them.

Bawarchi's biryani is low on the masala. Its more of a boiled rice mixed with coked chicken & this is not my type of biryani at all. Their quantity is solid though.

My personal favorite in Hyderabad is "Hyderabad House" they have outlets all over the city and do a takeaway service and home delivery for a 30Rs charge. Their biryani is quite yummilicious and best eaten at the restaurant itself. If you are eating at Hyderabad House, don't miss the shikampuri's. (I pack them and freeze them to bring back to Bombay when I visit Hyderabad. ) The chicken roast is a slightly sweetish semi gravy item but worth trying. Try the chicken 65 if you don't mind spicy food.

Nayaab and Shadaab near the Charminar do excellent biryani's. Ask for the AC section if you plan to eat at the restaurant. Its slightly cleaner and people won't stare as much. They do some excellent spare parts too like brain, liver, kidneys, paya and tongue for the non-faint-hearted.

Abhiruchi near Nanking does a lovely biryani, low on oil. More of a pulao. But if you go to Abhiruchi to eat, then definitely have their thali. Unlimited servings, the best ghee ever (I've lived in the cowbelt heartland too, but no better ghee than that served at Abhiruchi) If you want to turn the meal non vegetarian, ask for a chicken roast or chicken liver masala as a side order.

The Times Food Guide for Hyderabad is TERRIBLE. Absolutely useless compared to the Bombay and Delhi versions. The guy who writes it, starts all reviews as "One of the best biryani's in Hyderabad" or some similar statement. Its only good for having a ready reference to addresses and phone numbers.

Other places I would recommend
Dhola Ri Dhani on the outskirts of the city does a wonderful Rajasthani thali and the service is wonderful. The setting is that of a Rajasthani village and the service is absolutely amazing. Its a little distance to cover, but worth the drive for sure. Wonderfully tasty Rajasthani veg food served with oodles of butter and love.

Haveli in the Lifestyle building does a great Hyderabadi buffet for lunch at reasonable rates (around 150-200 per person) Biryani is always on the menu. gongura mamsam is a high possibility.

Ten Downing Street in the same building is also worth a trip for lunch for their amazing shepherds pie. The rest of the food is good too. For lunch they have an offer of main course + soup/softdrink/beer + dessert.

Ramazan is coming up soon and haleem will be available all over the city. Definitely try and shift travel dates to try and get a taste of Hyderabadi Haleem and head to Pista House to taste this delicacy.

Thats what I can remember off hand, will add more as I remember."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Portals and KM

Got some Free Publicity today, courtesy a common friend Gautam Ghosh

Bill Ives who blogs on the use of portals, blogs, and knowledge management to provide value to organizations through practical applications with a switch to art, music, travel, and food on the weekends was looking for .......

Well, read it in Bill's own words........

Portals and KM
This blog shares ideas and hopes to generate discussion on the use of portals, blogs, and knowledge management to provide value to organizations through practical applications. New trends and technologies are covered with a switch to art, music, travel, and food on the weekends.

Bombay (Mumbai) Restaurants; A Local’s Favorites

By Bill Ives

I asked my friend, Gautam Ghosh, about great places to eat in Bombay (Mumbai) where he lives. Gautam directed me to the blog of a friend of his, Karishma. He described her as a person who loves to eat and drink and is currently in Bombay (Mumbai). He said she can blog most passionately about food. I went and found Restaurants & Pubs. The tag line said, as Gautum told me, “I love to eat & drink. A Gastronome, a Food Critic, a Picky Eater, a Foodie... call me what you may. This is a place, for me to review places I have eaten and drunk at.”

The blog has a number of informative posts on places to eat in Bombay. I would check it out if you are going or if you live there now. The reviews follow a standard and useful format with all the contact information of the place. In the past I have always provided a list but Karishma’s blog will give you a dynamic look into the Bombay food scene.



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rodeo's, Gurgaon

3rd Floor, MGF Mall
Mehrauli Gurgaon Road
Gurgaon
http://www.rodeostar.com

A kind of Wild West setting, with saddles for bar stools & waiters in cowboy hats. Service is slow though. Food is good, but not outstanding.
Rates are standard for a slightly better restaurant in Gurgaon.

Mineral water 25
Fresh Lime soda 35

Chicken Enchilada 325
Chicken Margarita 325
chicken rodeo steak 325
cottage cheese steak 285
chile rellenos 285

10% service charge
12.5% VAT

There's an average choice of options for vegetarians, although none of the vegetarian food seemed very exciting.

Ok to visit once in awhile.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ok Tata Bye Bye

Hi Everyone,

I'm so excited.

I've been shortlisted for a travel contest. Which involves travelling
& Blogging. Hardly ever been selected for anything earlier :)

Check out the contest and my profile on
http://www.oktatabyebye.com
http://www.oktatabyebye.com/Krishma.asp

(Yes they have spelt my name wrong in the link, trying to get them to correct it)

The final selection is next week. I'm not sure how they will do it.
But have a vague feeling that they may do so based on popularity of
the contestant & ability to draw viewers.

Requesting you to please view my profile & drop me a comment, even if
its just to say "All the best, Kim" or "Don't think u should go" But
please comment.

Hope there's a lot of you looking for something to do on a slow Friday
afternoon.

Please, please, pretty please. :)

Kim
http://kimelody.blogspot.com - the XL Blog
http://mbajobsindia.blogspot.com/
http://whazzupmumbai.blogspot.com

Monday, May 08, 2006

Interview with Usha Prabhakaran ~ author of Ushas Pickle digest.

Usha Prabhakaran is an amazing woman. She has just written a recipe book of Pickles. Since she could not find a publisher for her effort, she has self published. To learn more about her & some "quick n easy" recipes that she doles out in her interview.

Visit CelebratingWomenintheKitchen

The lady who has interviewed Usha is Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal. Time Out Mumbai readers would be familiar with her work.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm desicritic of the day

Hey all loyal readers. I'm desicritics "Desicritic Of The Day" today.

Read all my articles on Desicritics.org

Naturals Ice Cream, Mumbai

Naturals Ice Cream
All over Bombay & Pune.
Original Outlet at Juhu

13th North South Road
Opp Lotus Eye Hospital
Juhu Scheme
Mumbai 400049
2620 6053, 2670 7558, 3097 7272

At 25 bucks a scoop (26/- in Pune) this ice cream is a real steal & can't classify as an indulgence on the price factor, although it is on the taste factor.

Creamy ice creams which combine Indian kulfi with natural flavours with fruit pieces in them are absolutely amazing. On a scale of 10, Natural ice cream rates 15.

Some ice creams are available around the year. Like the chocolate almond, choco cream, french vanilla, mango, coffee walnut, badam, kesar pista, anjeer.... Some like the chickoo, seetaphal, papaya - pineapple, tender coconut & water melon are seasonal. But they all are priced at the same amount. In season, you can even opt for fresh mango or strawberry pieces served with malai ice cream for 65/- At the Juhu outlet, they will even convert your ice cream to a milkshake for 65/-

If you can't make up your mind in this range of flavors, go for a double scoop.

They offer free home delivery & you can even opt for the 1/2 kg tubs at 135/- each. If you give them a day's notice they even organise a thermocol box to carry your ice cream on a long journey or picnic.

Naturals ice cream actually spoils you for taste, that no other ice cream can match up. Baskin Robbins seems too sweet & most local brands seem too watery.

Some outlets offer a waffle cone for 3-5 bucks extra. With over 15 outlets across the city & a price point of Rs.25/- only, you have no excuse not to try Naturals Ice Cream.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Brio, The Cafe Bistro

Brio, The Cafe Bistro
Behind Shoppers Stop
Dynamix Mall
Near Chandan Cinema
Juhu

Brio opened its doors about 2 weeks ago. It looks really fancy from the outside & you could be easily mistaken into thinking that this was an expensive joint and walking away.

For me, the craving for a coffee before visiting my favourite haunt (Crossword) was too strong to give it the go by & hence I entered and was pleasantly suprised by everything.

The decor is very modern and looks like a bakery set in the "Library Bar" if you get what I mean. 2 hostesses in uniform greet you at the door & ask your preference to be seated. There are some bar stools at the side and also proper sit down tables. Overall seating must be about 25-30.

The waiters all have smart uniforms with little half aprons and red french caps perched at an angle. Unfortunately smart looks don't translate into smart service as yet. The service is slow, especially if you order a frappe of other chilled drink, since there is only 1 person to handle all the drink orders. Coffees are priced similar to Barrista. You have the range from 30 to 100. The higher priced ones being a blend of coffees including the Brazilian variety. The Choco Caramel Freeze was priced at 65/-

Their Pepperoni pizza at 195/- was really yum & a strong competitior to Dominoes pepperoni. Brio's pepperoni slices are thicker & hence more flavorful. Their pizzas are all thin crust and they are served in under 10 minutes.

Salads are in the 70/- range. Their serving size is ample. The crepes come in a variety of fillings including savoury like spicy chicken paprica or corn & cheese and sweet like chocolate. They aren't always available though. The oven roasted veg focassia (85) seemed like a good option for the diet conscious.

They stock a variety of pastries too. There are 3 different types of brownies & a range of mousse, cheesecake & other pastries.

You can stop here for a snack or a meal. They sell various types of bread too. No home delivery yet.

Be aware that Vat of 12.5% is added over the prices listed in the menu.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kobe Sizzlers, Mumbai

Kobe Sizzlers
7 Bungalows
77A Om Cottage, J P Road
Versova Andheri (W)
Mumbai 53
2635 4848, 2635 4949

Basic simple decor.
Reasonably good service.
Great Food.

The Ice Tea at 50/- is light & refreshing & freshly made without an overdose of lemon. It hits the right spot on a summer day.

The variety of sizzlers (190-280) on offer is huge.You can choose chicken, steak or veg options. Theres even a prawn sizzler for 350/-. If you can't make up your mind between chicken & steak they even offer a combination of the two for 270/-. The basic sizzler comes with vegetables & fries, except for the Shashlik which is served on a bed of rice. Choose your sauce - schezwan/ garlic/ pepper/ mushroom. Then you can always add extras like cheese, mushrooms or fried eggs for between 10/- - 30/- per topping.

The chicken is always tender, but their steaks are sometimes a bit of an effort to chew (not rubbery mind you, not even too chewy, its just that by the time you have eaten it all, you may have a dull ache in your jaw) The hamburger patty is the best option since it gives you all the flavour with minimum chewing effort since it literally melts in your mouth but you do get to feel the consistency of meat.

You can try their burgers which range from 50 to 80. Sandwiches range from 50 to 90. Rolls & hotdogs (40-60) even pizzas (100-130). I've heard their pretty good, but never tasted them myself.

Their soups especially the scotch broth(50) are nourishing yet tasty. & in case you were wondering, 'Steak' is a polite euphemism for beef. I'm guessing that they anticipate trouble if they print beef on their menus.

My favourite sizzler at Kobes ? Hamburger steak in a garlic sauce with extra mushrooms & egg. (240/-) Try it sometime & be careful not to burn your tongue.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Britannia & Co, Bombay - Berry Pulao and Good Parsi Food

"Mildew-covered strange old buildings", are the words that come to mind each time I'm in Ballard Estate. The reason for today's visit - food, more specifically a type of food , even more specifically a restaurant and to be honest one particular dish - Berry Pulao . What am I talking about you say ? - good ole' Britannia of course. At the corner of this hugely commanding wonder of oxidation, the War Memorial and opposite New Customs House, where "new" is a tag the building has long grown out of is "Britannia & Co - ." A restaurant whose philosophy is "There is no love greater than the love of eating," puts everything into perspective for me, another self affirming moment in my short life.

Even though you count the Parsi joints in Bombay[well in India] on your fingers, Edward VIII, Ideal Corner, Jimmy Boy, Paradise, Piccolo just to name a few, but out of all these places Britannia & Co is pretty special. I'm not taking about their fabulous Dhansak which I would count as the best dhansak I've ever eaten after Dorabjee's Poona of course - it's their Berry Pulao. A dish that makes them unique. As BusyBee famously said, "If it's Berry Pulao, it must be Britannia."

Britannia and Company Restaurant,
Wakefield House,
11 Sprott Road,
16, Ballar Estate (Pier);
(91-22) 22615264.
Open for lunch, snacks and drinks
Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but lunch only 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday.
No reservations or credit cards.

Read the Entire Photoblog here

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cuppa Cafe, Mumbai

Cuppa Cafe
Crystal Plaza
New Link Road
Opp Fame Adlabs
Bombay 400 058
Free Delivery 2674 2371 / 72

Missed the Caferati meet here last Sunday, but decided to check the place out anyways after the Anurag Kashyap workshop because we were kinda fed up of the regular Coffee Day, Barrista coffee.

I'm so glad we went here. It is so different from the coffee shop chains. Its quaint, cute, interesting, different.

The furniture is a jumble of styles. Partly outdoors, partly indoors. Indoors they also sell some knick knacks that are ideal for gifting. Even if you wanna eat outdoors, you have to go in & check out the awesome tables with the marbles in one and the sea shells in the other. Also loved the trail of leaves climbing up the corner. AS is mandatory for most joints in this area, there is a bulletin board covered with pics of TV stars who have sipped on a cup on location.

Coffee(Rs.30-80) & the soda pops (Rs.35) were yummy. Paratas (Rs.30)were some of the best I've tried in bombay. Sandwiches are overflowing with cheese(Rs.30-40) There are some lo cal snacks too that can be carried away.

But if diet be damned, then do try their desserts. The brownie is just right. No nuts or gooey butter to make u feel like u r sinning, but still absolutely tasty. Pack a box to munch on while watching TV or reading a book.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Opening of Fluid Spice

Fluid Spice.
2nd Floor
Mohid Heights
Next to Andheri RTO
Opp Mandke Hospital
Lokhandwala Complex Road
Andheri (W)

Read the Gossip Here

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baadshah, Mumbai

Baadshah
Opposite Crawford Market
LT Marg
2342 1943, 2344 9316, 2342 5950

The oldest Falooda House in the country. Marwan Irani set up Baadshah in 1905. Legend goes that when they first opened their shop over 100 years ago, nobody in India was willing to try the strange colored drink with stringy bits and a substance that looked and felt like fish eyes. Worried that his import from Persia would be a non-starter, the owner hit upon a clever scheme. He got all his relatives to stand around the shop & drink the sweet sticky liquid throughout the day. Curiosity got the better of most passers-by & they in turn ventured to try the dish. Traditional Persian Falooda is slightly sour & integral to every Navroze celebration. Incorporating constructive feedback, the falooda was sweetened to suit the Indian palate & fine tuned to what is served today.

The current Proprietor is Behram Zadeh who has been in charge for the last 2 decades. They have even opened an outlet in Pune.

Saffron, Khus & Rose were the original flavours for Falooda. But today Baadshah even offers a chikoo flavored version.

The falooda's cost about 45/- each and are a perfect respite from the heat & dust to be braved while shopping in and around Crawford Market.

The kulfi's at Baadshah are EXCELLENT. Even better than the Parsi dairy ones. Made in the North Indian style, the taste & cream in the Malai Kulfi explode in your mouth at the first lick itself. Totally worth it for Rs.27/-

They even offer take away's, but do bring your ice-box, Baadshah still doesnt offer to pack them in ice the way Parsi Dairy does.

Baadshah has now opened a snack bar too just next to the original location. Good Pav Bhaji & Dosas. Its a nice, reasonable & clean place to eat at while you are in the area.

The first floor at both locations is air conditioned.

Samovar, Mumbai

Samovar
Jehangir Art Gallery
Kala Ghoda
2284 8000, 2204 7276

A lot of people in Mumbai have huge nostalgic value attatched to Samovar. There's an entire wall with little notes scribbled on it begging the "Powers That Be" not to shut it down.

The ambience is really great. A narrow corridor (reminiscent of a train dining car) overlooking the sparse lawns of the art gallery nearby & the lusher lawns of the Prince of Wales Museum in the distance. Little four seater tables with a platform running across the wall that can also be used for a slightly cramped seating.

Service is efficient, polite and helpful. The waiters are mostly old-timers who could share a lot of interesting stories if given the time. Young Hussain, Sabavala, Shiva Naipaul, Amitabh Bacchan used to eat here or so claims the Times Food Guide, Mumbai.

Most items on the menu are below Rs 100/- Tea and coffee will not be served without eats between 1pm and 3pm because of the lunch rush. We didn't enjoy the food too much. But quite liked the ambience.

By the way, Samovar is closed on Sunday's.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bade Miyan's, Mumbai

Bade Miya
Tulloch Road
Apollo Bunder
Behind Taj Mahal Hotel
Mumbai 400 039
2284 8038, 2285 1649

Went back to Bade Miya's after a span of 7 years & I don't know what it was, but it wasn't as great as I remembered it. Possible reasons being:
1. It wasn't after a round of drinking that I landed there.
2. I've been eating better food recently.
3. After eating kebabs in Delhi, Hyderabad & the Northern front, none of the guys in Bombay are comparable except probably copper Chimney.

Since we reached a little early, the place hadn't started crowding as yet. We parked a little distance away, not sure if we would be able to navigate the back lanes. We were prepared to stand up and eat hot kebabs off the coals, but they have now taken over a small area opposite which they have outfitted with plastic chairs & metal tables.

The ambience of the Bade Miya I remember is still there. Its the food that has gone down huge notches. Except for the khiri all the kebabs were bland. The flavoring in the kheema was more fat than masala. The prices are still reasonable ranging between 30 & 60 for the dry dishes (oh btw the menu is the size of a visiting card & doesn't have any rates written on it.) Rumali roti's are 6 each. The Baida Roti was 50 bucks but it was something different at least. A kind of chicken stuffed egg paratha if that makes any sense.

2 of us ate some 6 different types of kebabs hoping to have better luck with the next one. 3 rumalis and 2 bottles of water came upto about 300 bucks.

The food is definitely VFM, but I don't think I'm gonna be going back any time soon.

And if u r still interested, they have started another counter which offers purely veg food.

They open around 7 in the evening, if u r still planning to go.

Mumbai Food: The Punjabi Connection

Akshay Writes :

No city in India can represent an approximate microcosm of India as well as Mumbai can. The city's cosmopolitan essence blurs regionalism across class.

It is a melting pot of India, the best of North and South. Even though some political parties play on the regional insecurities of some of its residents, most residents defy it. An obvious side effect of this diversity is the city's food. The khaana-peena [food & drink] habits change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. This is a quality of Mumbai I specially cherish and I can assure you so does my palate.

This week I am going to explore the Punjabi cuisine in the city-rich, ghee filled, heart felt, delicious food. An open celebration of all things loud, homely and tasty. Regional identities are proudly protected by most Indians but for some reason I do not seem to fall in this category. Even though I am supposedly Punjabi by nature I do not speak my mother tongue and for that matter neither do my parents. Whenever I mention the fact that I do not speak my 'mother tongue' to others I am met with oohs and aahs as if it is a cardinal sin. Possibly the only thing that connects me to my diluted regional identity is its food. There are a number of restaurants which serve Punjabi food in this city but two of my favourites are the ones that serve simple home style food- the famous Guru Kripa in Sion and the Crystal Restaurant on Marine Drive.

Read entire list of recommendations & view Photoblog here

Friday, March 10, 2006

A perfect bite...: Harvest Festivals around India

Rushina, writes some lovely articles about food.

Check out the one about A perfect bite...: Harvest Festivals around India

She has included some easy to prepare recipes too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Bombay Breakfast - Epitome of the City

Akshay Writes :

Everybody knows that an English Breakfast is fried bacon, sausages, mushroom, eggs and tomatoes; a Continental Breakfast is bread rolls or croissants and butter and perhaps jam, with coffee or tea or hot chocolate; but the question I ask today is what is a Bombay Breakfast ?

Here is my look into what fuels millions in this city?

A Bombay Breakfast epitomizes the city in every way- it is fast to cook, diverse, mobile, well packaged, high on carbs and low on greens.

If you have grown up in Bombay you would have noticed a particular piece of food is a perennial part of your diet - bread. Not the sliced 'modern bread' you pick up from the nearest pan-wallah shop. It is " Pav", this 'bread roll' of sorts is delivered straight to your home bakery fresh by the friendly neighbourhood pav-wallah. The pav-wallah is just one of many visitors an average Bombay household gets - all those friendly faces that keep you busy answering your doorbell through the day - the dudhwala (milkman), the paperwalla (newspaper boy), the bhajiwalli (vegetable grocer), the machiwali (fisherwoman) and the string of cats that follow her, the istriwalli/dhobhi (the fellow who washes your clothes or irons them or does both), the jamadar (garbage-collector), the watchman (security at the main gates), the maali (gardener - not in all cases), the bai (maidservant).. I would have continued but the list is endless.

Read recommendations & view Photoblog here for descriptions on Breakfasting in Bombay
1. Naashta No.1 - the wada-pav
2. Chamosa at Lower Parel
3. The Marathi Option - Prakash - Shakahari Uphaar Kendriya
4. Vinay Health Home
5. The Persian Connection
6. Going Down South - Udipi

Read the entire article here

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Delhi Darbar, Mumbai

Delhi Darbar
Holland House
Shaheed Bhagath Singh Marg
Near Regal Cinema
Colaba
Mumbai 400 039
Tel : 2202 5656, 2202 0235, 2284 8231


I first heard about Delhi Darbar in December 2002. Upper Crust Magazine had done a review of Jafferbhai & the Delhi Darbar chain of restaurants. They called it the Ultimate Biryani experience in Mumbai. The article was so well written & the pictures so tantalising, that I knew I just HAD to eat at this place on my next trip to Mumbai.

Unfortunately, never had the time on all my short trips to eat at Delhi Darbar. Then when I moved to Mumbai, the brothers had already split & Jafferbhai had started his own Chain called "Jafferbhai's Delhi Darbar" this kind of split me in 2. Should I eat at the original or eat at Jafferbhai's version ? TO be truthful the article had raved about Jafferbhai's contribution to the quality and the taste. Jafferbhai had even quoted that "Any of my chefs who leave & try to replicate my recipes anywhere, have never been able to" A kind of a curse on the disgruntled employee.

Anyway after prevaricating quite a bit. I had the occassion to land up at Regal Circle for the Eternal Gandhi Interactive Exhibition at Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall. So we decided to have lunch at Delhi Darbar.

The place was neat & clean with air conditioning. I later learnt that their grant road branch had less ambience & more atmosphere. Waiters were polite & helpful.

The Jal Jira at 17/- was good & allowed you to adjust the sourness by squeezing in as much lime as you liked. The fresh lime soda was 35/-/ We started out with some Shami Kabab's at 47/- for 3 pieces, it was extremely reasonable. For the first time, I saw a waiter who believed in equitable distribution. There were 2 of us at the table & 3 pieces of kebabs (like cutlets). He served us one kebab each & then without blinking an eyebrow, neatly sliced the third down the centre & served us half a piece each. Greater waiters at larger hotels sometimes serves the man the "extra" piece believing they have a greater appetite I suppose. At the posher eating joints, they diplomatically leave the uneven no. of pieces on the serving plate at the centre of the table, leaving you to fight with your dining partners "You have it" "No, you have it" A classic "Pehle Aap" situation. This was a novel & extremely pleasant experience. The taste was good too.

Sunday special was the Rogan Josh-110/- Mutton Biryani was 92/- and loaded with meat & fragrant flavorful rice. We have been eating a lot of Mutton & Fish when we dine out these days, just to be on the safer side. You have to order the raita (21/) seperately if you would like some. The roomalis were 17/- each and were the thinnest & lightest ones I have tried since over 3 years. I think Chandigarh was the only place where they were comparable.

We ended with a Falooda (53) and Phirni (35) which were just what we needed to forego all further physical activity & rush home for a good nap.

Please add a VAT of 12.5% to all prices quoted. But to put it in perspective this wonderful heavy Indian repast for 2, came to about 550/- bucks. Quite a steal for the quality & ambience.

The Mughlai food is good. They have daily specials. One in chicken & one in mutton. There is a special Arab menu at this location which tones down the chilli. Hence this place is supposedly a favorite where the Middle Eastern crowd is comfortable dining at and where they can bring their womenfolk along too.

Now I have to visit Jafferbhai's and compare the 2.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Prithvi Cafe, Mumbai

Prithvi Cafe
Prithvi Theatre
Janki Kutir
Juhu Road
Mumbai
2617 4118, 2614 9546

One of the most relaxed, positive energy places to sit down and slowly sip a coffee or enjoy a meal with friends in Mumbai.

The cafe adjoins the theatre and hence a lot of theatre personalities are always hanging around the place. Makarand Deshpande is a regular as are Anurag Kashyap and the rest of his troupe. They are there almost daily. You also find a lot of TV celebs hanging around in the evening. Will someone be kind enough to tell them that they can't learn acting by hanging around a theatre cafe ?

Its open air (they need to take special permission for the tarp cover during the monsoons)Circular & rectangular tables. Seating is stone ledges attached to the walls or little stools with bamboo legs.

If you are there for a quick bit before a play, I would recommend the hot coffee (35), irish coffee(60), fresh lime soda (30) or cold coffee. The strong Irish Coffee is an open secret at Prithvi. If you have time for a quick bite and have a sweet tooth, the gajar halwa, caramel custard or chocolate brownie are definitely worth it. Something namkeen try the fish/prawn koliwada-150/- (could have been spicier) or cheese balls -45/-.

If you have time for dinner, sip on an Irish Coffee or Iced Tea (40) and enjoy the Dabbawala Ghosht, Raan (1 kg of meat so take some friends along), Chingri Malai Curry(160, Sizzlers, Pasta, parathas, Calcutta style rolls. Main courses typically work out to approximately 150 per person.

The cafe has 4 menus. One for beverages. One for light snacks. One for Indian food & one for continental. The service is friendly. They do take so time but thats part of the laid back experience, but don't try to order dinner if you have arrived half an hour before the show. Chances are you will either have to miss the show or request them to reheat it for you once the show is over.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rajdhani, Malad, Mumbai

Rajdhani
Inorbit Mall
Malad
Mumbai

One of the quietest Thali joints I have ever eaten at. The setting is rustic modern.... If that makes any sense. The bearer brings a surai & a bowl to your table to wash your hands. There's no menu as such. U just look at the colorful blackboard when u enter to see what todays thali comprises of.

At 125 bucks a thali, get ready for an experience. The empty thali is kept on your table. Then a waiter comes with meethi(sweet) & hari (green) chutney & raw salad. The next waiter brings 4 kinds of vegetables, one of which is a sabut dhal preparation. Then comes the dhal & the kadhi. 4 types of pickles including one sweet murabba. Then depending on the days speciality u may get lucky & be served some amazing dhal baati (I thought it was a rajasthani dish) in small edible portions. Rotis, parathas & papads follow. Khichdi & rice for those who still have an appetite. Then the kadak roti with white makkhan & gur (I don't know what its called) You then get a choice of 3 sweet dishes (u can choose 1 and only one plate although everything else is unlimited).

If u can walk out of Rajdhani without clutching your stomach, then YOU must be having an off day.

The original at Kalbadevi is supposed to be better. But I haven't had the opportunity to eat there yet.

The Sunday Special Thali has more items and costs a bit more too. But its the servcie that is superlative and makes this a MUST Repeat Restaurant.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Rice Boat, Mumbai

The Rice Boat
Aram Nagar
2 JP Road
Versova
Andheri (W)
2633 6688, 2632 6688

Another restaurant from the RB chain & this one is fantastic.

Just walk into the restaurant & the quiet waterfalls on the walls immediately soothe your senses. The waiters are all dressed in Mallu Mundus & the chef is out there in the restaurant making piping hot appams in front of your eyes.

The food is divine. The fish & sea food is extremely fresh & cooked to exactly the right extent. The Kerala spices make ordinary food smell and taste wonderful. The Kanava Olarthiatu at Rs.95 was an excellent starter of squid done to perfection. Since we like spicy food, we had the Travancore Neimeen Curry (rs.140) and the Aleppy Konju curry (Rs.175). The great thing is you can choose your masala & decide what bit of sea food you want in it. The appams are 20 each unless you want them fancied up like egg appam or flower appam (rs.30) No the flower appam doesn't have any floral additions, its just shaped like a flower which is a pretty decent feat. The Malabaari biryani was so-so, felt almost like rice had been mixed with a thin mutton gravy. But the rest of the food was fabulous.

Total damages party of 3 was around 900/- which is very good VFM for the ambience and the food. They serve alcohol too. They have not yet started home delivery though.

Rio - The Met Lounge, Mumbai

Rio - The Met Lounge
7/11 Meera Apartment
Juhu Versova Link Road
7 Bungalows
Andheri (W)
Mumbai 400 061

Tel : 5602 1389, 5604 7177

Don't walk in expecting to be transported to Rio. Why they named themselves that is not yet known to me. But it’s the closest drinking hole to my place, so its convenient. They have wooden interiors which could have been reminiscent of 10 Downing Street, if the lighting was brighter. But its not.

Crowd comprises some BPO workers when its close to salary dates, some TV heroes, heroines & junta from the 7 Bungalows, Yaari road area that just wants to drink.

Music ranges from retro to everything including bollywood remixes, depending on the DJ and the time.

BOB is around 200. Indian alcoholic brands like old monk are 120 for a small. IMFL like Bacardi is 200 for a small. The imported ones are uin the range of 300 for a small. Soft drinks are 40 a serving. Cocktails range from 300 onwards. I had a Mojito which was too sour, so I promptly moved back to the old favorite R&C. Please remember 205 VAT over and above these rates. Snacks are 150 and above. The tandoor items weren't that tasty though. Complementary groundnuts were served with the drinks.

Not very VFM nor does it have great ambience. But one of the more reasonable joints if you want to do some TV celbrity spotting. Parking is not a problem and its close to home.

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