Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zambar, Gurgaon

3rd Floor, Food Court
Ambience Mall
NH 8
0124 - 466 5590

With a curfew situation on restaurants in Delhi on the 14th, we headed towards Gurgaon and Ambience mall was the first "open" location that we saw. I'd heard a lot of good things about Zambar, so thats where we headed.

Unfortunately, although Zambar was open at 6pm, the chef said that they were only serving dosas, idlis and drinks until 7pm when dinner service would begin. Unfortunate, because the menu we were presented had a lovely selection of food in its a ala carte section, from the coastal parts of India. However, we were restricted to the 4 types of dosas and idlis.

Being famished, we just sat down and ordered the non veg masala dosas. Mutton mince (250Rs) for me and chicken and mushroom (250Rs) for the husband. The dosas are really large and a complete meal, not just a snack like most South Indian eateries. The mutton mince dosa was excellent. In the chicken dosa, while the chicken chunks themselves were lovely, I found the mushrooms a bit on the salty side.

We also ordered the Kanjeevaram idli (215Rs) since we knew the dosas would take a little while to arrive. It arrived in a set of 3 idlis with cashwenuts on the top, a compliment of 3 chutneys (coconut, mint and tomato) and sambhar.
The table also had little pots with 3 chutneys (mint, onion+ginger and groundnut+onion) and some chutney powder.
The sambhar was served at room temperature and we had to send it back to the kitchen to be re-heated. (That's why the bowl is missing in the Dosa picture)

The ginger coconut caipiroshka (150Rs) was average and it was served warm. But the Coastal ice tea (150Rs) was really interesting. It's made with cola, but when we asked if it could be changed to diet cola, the waiter said that we would have to pay the price of the diet cola (150Rs) + the cost of the Coastal Ice tea.

Its this contradiction of being a high priced restaurant, but quibbling and service like a lower end joint that did not sit well with us.

The decor is lovely with muted lighting and simple but stylish seating.

The food was nice, but if I want idlis, I would rather go to my neighbourhood South Indian outlet. Naivedyam, Evergreen and Adyar Ananth Bhavan all serve much superior idlis and chutneys at 20% of this cost. The dosas were "zara hatke", but not worth the drive.

I've heard that their thalis are good and the a la carte menu is excellent. So I will return to check out the regular menu, I'll just have to make sure that it is after 7pm. I'll re-review it at that time, but until then:

Ambience : 7
Food  : 6
Service :4

Friday, October 08, 2010

Assam Food Stall, Delhi

Assam Food Stall,
Dilli Haat - INA Market
Delhi 23
98996 87026, 2616 5846, 2616 3539

I have my favourite food stalls at Dilli Haat, but having made a consciuos decision to diversify and try out something new, I was looking forward to eating at the special food stall set up for "The Arunachal Pradesh Day" celebrations.

Unfortunately they only had pork and bamboo shoots and since I had already eaten that just yesterday, at the Nagaland stall on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, I decided to head elsewhere. The Assam stall was closest and I headed over.

Most of the Assamese specialities were fish based but I was in the mood for chicken, so I opted for the Assamese chicken thali (150Rs). Since the manager said that the chicken curry wasn't very spicy, I also ordered a side dish of chilli chicken (125Rs). When I told him I wanted to taste a vegetarian Assamese specialty, he recommended the Kharicha.
The Assamese chicken thali had 3 pieces of chicken in the curry, some freshly sliced onions and green chillies and some Assamese Dhal. The Chicken curry was generic and tasted like a lot of home made chicken curries I have tasted up North. The dhal did have a slightly different taste though. Sourer than most dhals that I have tasted. Te Chilli chicken was also of the generic Indian Chinese variety sold at most street food stalls across the city.
The Kharicha. is a dish made from bamboo shoots that are finely chopped and lightly pickled/fermented. The flavours are quite pronounced, but it tasted quite yummy with the rice and dhal.
Overall the chicken did not impress me much, but the Kharicha. was something new and I think the next time I return, I will try the fish, as that is much more a part of the Assamese diet than chicken.

Nagaland Stall, Delhi

Nagaland Stall,
Baba Kharak Singh Marg

Passing by Baba Kharak Singh Marg after finishing some work at CP, I realised that it wasn't very crowded and hence would be a good time to check out some of the food options at the temporary stalls set up as part of the CWG festival spectacle.
The first stall to greet me after I had clicked pictures of the wedding procession made from jute ropes was the Nagaland stall. They only had pork and bamboo shoots on offer (other than the customary momos), but it smelt good so I ordered a plate. They charged me 200rs for a few pieces of pork and curry with rice and some Naga pickle on the side.
The pork broth was light, not heavily spiced, but still full of flavour from the meat and bamboo shoots. More of a soupy broth than a curry, but extremely tasty in a soul food kind of way. The Naga pickle was more of onion garlic relish, but a spicy one at that which made it a good counterbalance to the pork.

It was quite filling and I really couldn't try out anything else, at any of the other food stalls which included the usual suspects: parathas, chaat, kulfi, idlis and Bikanerwala. Zambar from Ambience Mall has set up a stall with a limited menu.. The Rajasthani stall was selling a nomadic thali with bajre ka roti, gatte ki sabji and some other specialities and I hope I get a chance to go back and savour that before the 14th. (when these food stalls will pack up)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kasa Gelato, Delhi

Kasa Gelato
GK 1 - N Block Market - 1

While this is more ice cream than Gelato, their flavours are really good. I tasted them on a whim and picked up a half liter tub of Irish Cream (585Rs)and a half liter tub of After Eight (585Rs) - mint and chocolate flavour.

The gelatos are well blended and the flavours are just right. There are multiple chocolate flavours including chocolate brownie, Belgian chocolate and Toblerone among others. The ones I bought were the highest priced. Madagascar Vanilla and other flavours at the lower end of the scale are around 450Rs.
They also sell them by the scoop, if you want a cool bite midway through shopping in the market. But for take aways, the man very efficiently wraps the tub in foil to maintain its temperature for longer.

Definitely worth a scoop.
 The reflection off the glass did not do the ice creams much justice.


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