Sunday, March 28, 2010

Drums of Heaven, Delhi

Drums of Heaven

S-14 Green Park Extn
2685 5963 / 2656 1779 / 4168 2882 / 99531 10356

Ordered a Home Delivery from here and I think we have found our "soon-to-be" regular Chinese delivery joint.

Their specialty after which they are named is the "Drums of Heaven" (Rs275) what is unique about them is that they have flesh on both sides (of the aluminium foil used to grip the bone) like a barbell. They had very thoughtfully put in a heavy napkin to absorb the moisture of the steam and this may probably be the first time that a home delivery order of drums of heaven has not been soggy by the time it reached. The crispiness just added to the flavor and the honey chilli dipping sauce was a good combination.

I also loved the Pepper Honey Chicken (Rs280) It had just the right amount of honey to not be nauseating and an occassional hint of cracked pepper. This is a dish we will definitely repeat the next time we order from here.

The hakka chicken noodles(Rs165) were the standard noodles available everywhere without the usual heavy handedness of oil. So it felt light and crispy. Even the chicken shreds were light, rather than clumpy and chewy.

I did not much care for the Hunan Style Chicken(Rs 280) Too much cornflour and soya sauce and a terrible let down after the wonderful balance of the Pepper Honey Chicken.

When your bill crosses 950Rs, they offer a complimentary dish of rice or noodles and a full sized dish at that. since I had already ordered a plate of noodles, I requested the rice. Again, it was a light dish.

They say that their specialty is seafood which is fresh and flown in daily, but I had not ordered any dishes today from their lobster(1150Rs), baby crab (495Rs), squid (440Rs), Jumbo Prawn (765Rs), River Sole (365Rs) options. Chicken dishes are uniformly priced at 280Rs, lamb at 295Rs, Vegetarian between 220-260Rs.

They offer a variety of spring rolls, dimsum, kothe and wantons.

The Home Delivery menu does not have any dessert options, but I'm not sure if they have ice creams and the like for in-dining.

A lot of Indian-Chinese Restaurats tend to be over-generous with the oil which leaves the eater with a feeling of bloating by the end of the meal. I did not feel that way at all after this meal, which is a good sign.

They charge 6Rs per container for home delivery and 12.5% VAT

Friday, March 26, 2010

Viva Hyderabad, Gurgaon

Viva Hyderabad
MGF Megacity Mall

While shopping at Spencers Hypermarket the other day, was hit by the hunger pangs. Not suprising, given that I had spent over 3 hours in the store.

The main mall above did not have any eating options other than Costa (I'v e had an overdose of Costa in Egypt as it was one of the few places we could eat at, so I refuse to step near one in India or a McDonalds for that matter, 2 food carts - chaat and hot dogs and a pub. The pub was ruled out. As a single woman I wasn't about to enter a pub in Gurgaon.

So it was a huge relief to see that tucked in the corner of the basement were a few more eating options. Cafe Coffee Day was easily dismissed, the South East Asian counter had an overpowering smell of burning soya sauce (from the grilling) which made me semi nauseous, the Moets counter wasnt looking very appetising, so Viva Hyderabad it was. Although it may not have been my first choice, it was definitely the right choice.

The menu in this outlet is very limited.6 types of biryani, 3 starters, 4 curries and some small stuff. Since it was Hyderabadi food, I asked the guy at the counter if he could make my biryani really spicy. He said that everything was pre-packed so he couldn't change anything. But he promised me that it would be medium spicy.

What an understatement! I had the Qabooli Mutton Biryani (Rs 142) which is split yellow gram with mutton Biryani. It was spicy! The right spicy - to explode in my mouth, yet not enough to cause tears to roll down my cheeks.

The flavors were exquisite but the rice was a little dry. The accompanying sherva (gravy) helped moisten it a little, but the taste of the sherva was interfering with the taste of the biriyani for me.

I did like their biryani though and will try it from some of their other outlets where I may be more likely to find fresher versions rather than reheated packs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mamagoto, Delhi

53, Khan Market
Middle Lane
New Delhi
Ph: 4516 6063

Located in the middle lane at Khan Market. The entry door to this eatery is easily missable. The climb up the stairs wasn't very confidence inspiring either. But I had heard decent reviews of this place and hence we kept climbing.

We were greeted by a minimalistically decorated dining area with the chairs all done up in white, which were quite comfy once we sat down. Chinese art inspired murals dotted the corners of some walls and a pink cupboard dominated center space. "Mamagoto" is an interactive and context-aware dining system which encourages small children to "play" with food.

Using this as inspiration, Mamagoto in Khan Market attempts to serve up Fun Asian Eating.

We ordered the Prawn Ball Soup (125Rs) which had a coconut milk base. The husband said it was tasty. Quantity was enough to be split into two, but I can't eat prawns outside the house (allergies) so I skipped this.

The starters (small bites) were almost all deep-fried, Tempuras and the like. Nor was I in the mood for a salad (there was only one non-veg option anyway, although there were 4 vegetarian options) The only non-fried starter on the menu was the Mamagoto Chicken wrap (295Rs). While the wrap itself was a good combination of 5 spice marinated chicken and fresh crisp vegetables, the hoisin sauce on top was a bit over-the-top. With its strong flavoring, it drowned out all the other fresh flavors in the wrap. I would have preferred the sauce to just have been served on the side.

The husband chose the "classic chicken and leek yakitori" (325Rs) from the Coal Fired Robata Grill Section. This was a good dish. Flavours were well balanced and the sauce on the side complimented the dish. It looked like a small portion when it arrived, but after the soup he found it to be quite filling.
Note: there were 3 sticks when it arrived, but I forgot to click the picture immediately :)
I ordered the Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles (325Rs) from the Signature section, which was supposed to be inspired by Burmese Khow Sway. It came completely assembled with noodles and shredded chicken in a coconut milk sauce. Fried onions and garlic on the top. The flavor was good, but I did find the sauce a bit too thick, which gave it a heavy feeling, unlike the street food in South East Asia which leaves you feeling full yet light.

Additional taxes included 12.5% VAT and 8% Service Charge. Which brought the bill close to 1300Rs for 2 without drinks or dessert.

Ambience : 3.5
Food : 3.0
Service : 4

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Khan Chacha, Delhi

Khan Chacha
Flat 50, Middle Lane
Khan Market
+919810804114, +919811152722, +919810671103

Khan Chacha was an institution in Delhi until some legal, and rental problems forced him to shut shop about a year ago. Recently Al Bake (the New Friends Colony institution) opened a shawarma take away at the same location, which made many Khan Chacha loyalists apprehensive about the future.

Then Khan Chacha reopened about a month ago in a new location (opp Big Chill in the Middle Lane,opp Happily Unmarried). This is a first floor outlet with seating, but its still self service with a few "improvements". You order your kebabs/rolls at the counter, pay your money, you are given a number. You hang around, hoping and praying for a free table. Then your number flashes on the screen at the counter, so you go and collect your rolls. If you are lucky you sit or else you stand and finish your rolls. If you leave your tray on the table, you will be very politely requested to throw your trash in the designated dustbins and leave the trays on top (a la McDonalds)

The kitchen is spotlessly clean and soot free :)Prices are higher than what they were, when they closed, but then inflation has affected us all.

Some old timers of this joint, say that the taste isnt as good as it used to be. Since I have returned to Delhi after 7 years, I don't feel qualified to comment on that statement. But the taste is still good.

The chicken tikka simply dissolves in your mouth. I found the tikkas better as a plate of kebabs than inside the roll. I also expected the mutton sheekh kebab to be softer than it was. I'm hoping this is just initial teething problems for the staff and they will soon settle into a routine to give us the outstanding quality of kebabs that Khan Chacha is famous for.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Swagath, Delhi

M-9, M Block Market
GK 2
I remembered that I had enjoyed the Mangalorean food at Swagath, when I was last in Delhi 8 years ago. Feeling homesick for mums coconut curries and some sea food, it was the right time to see if Swagath still lived up to my fond memories of the place.

The Fresh Lime Soda (75rs) was just right and it is a pleasure to be back in India, where restaurants know how to make this perfect. The boneless Chicken 65 (290rs) was a hot and spicy, deep fried piece of heaven. The Squid Special Masala Fry (330rs) had a wonderful Manglorean spicy and tamarind flavored masala and will go great with neer dosas or appams that are oferred at the restaurant. The crowning glory though, was the
Fish Biryani (475rs) served with a little bit of fish curry on the side.This was the flavour of home that I was seeking and I was not dissappointed at all.

With the Service Charge and VAT the bill was around 1500/-. But the food that I had ordered would be enough for 2 people.

I must add that my experience at the Malviya Nagar branch was not as great as the GK2 outlet. The food did not taste as good and the ambience was not as comfortable.

Kake Da Hotel, Delhi

Kake Da Hotel
22-23 Behind DDA Market
Panchsheel Enclave
4174 9464, 4174 9474

The irony is that this 2nd branch of the popular CP restaurant is located behind a really dingy market in Panchsheel enclave. so unless one knows that this gem exists, it would be very easy to miss it and dismiss the Panchsheel enclave area as having no decent eating options.

We discovered it simply because we had back-to-back meetings lined up in the area and had no time to drive any distance in the short time that we had for lunch.

The approach to the restaurant was disconcerting and the decor was a bit hodge-podge, so we were quite apprehensive about the food, untill the aromas wafted our way. Then there was absolutely no doubt left in our minds. Until then, the husband had asked me at least thrice, if I wanted to go somewhere else.

Since we were in a hurry, we ordered a 1/2 Murg Handi (195rs), a butter naan (35rs) and a Laccha Paratha (38rs) The half murg handi was more than enough for 2 people and the rotis were very well done. Mineral water was 35rs for a liter. All the prices are inclusive of all taxes and charges.

I wish I had a picture of the dishes, but we were in too much of a hurry and have promised ourselves to go back in a bigger group, so we can sample more of their dishes.

The restaurant is more conducive to home delivery though and I suspect that, that is where his major business comes from.

Hearty dhabha khana in the middle of Panchsheel Enclave at very reasonable rates.

Aap Ki Khatir, Delhi

Aap Ki Khatir
Middle Lane
Khan Market
Aap Ki Khatir, is a little kebab joint tucked away in the Middle Lane of Khan Market. Patrons who want to eat on the spot, stand around or lounge on 2 wheelers while relishing their kebabs and rolls. The rest pack take aways and carry them home to waiting families.

The reason, I keep going back to this particular kebab joint in the Khan Market, are its 'outstanding' Kakori Kebabs. At 90Rs a plate (2 long kebabs), they are a juicy, melt in your mouth experience, lightly wrapped in a wafer thin layer of crust from the grilling.

All kebabs are served with onions, a dollop of raita and a dollop of green chutney.

Most kebabs are in the 80-90rs range for a plate. The chicken malai tikka is good and not too spicy. The Mutton tikka is extremely soft and on the spicy side.

For 10-15rs more, you can have your kebabs wrapped in a rumali roti or a kathi roll (no egg though), for a quick one dish meal.

If you need a drink to wash your snack/meal down, they serve chilled soft drinks and water for 25rs.

Their kebabs are good and Actress Nandita Das, says this is one of her favorite restaurants in an interview in The Bollywood Cookbook

They do not Deliver food home unless you want them to cater to a party of 50 or more people. They do have takeaway service though and their rolls are a great option for those nights when you know your guests are going to be drinking and couldn't care much for complicated food, but are going to be ravenously hungry at the end of the evening.


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