Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nagalands Kitchen, Delhi

Nagalands Kitchen
S 2 Green Park Extension Market
Uphar Cinema Complex
2211 8754, 2257 4649

The Nagaland Kitchen had been sporting an "Opening Soon" sign for awhile, until they finally did open about 2 months ago. I had been planning to visit, but when the opportunity hadn't presented itself for so long, I just went ahead and ordered a home delivery.

The menu has quite a few Naga dishes mainly featuring Raja Mircha, akhuni and Bamboo, but there are also Chinese and Thai options for the less adventurous.

The Naga special pork ribs 295Rs were billed as a starter. 2 good sized ribs with fat were what arrived home. As a dish, I think this would work better if eaten hot at the restaurant than delivered home in the middle of winter. They will also serve the dish to you without fat if you request them.

The Pork Raja Mircha 220Rs was excellent. Not too spicy and with some lovely green leaves in them, that I haven't been able to identify yet. This will go very well with just steamed rice, but since I wasn't sure, I had ordered the Basil Thai Vegetable Rice 120Rs as a side. The quantity of rice is huge and it was mildly yet excellently flavored.

The Thai Deep fried chicken 170Rs was average. Boneless pieces of chicken deep fried with a light spiced coating. Varities of this are sold at every street side self styled Chinese cart.

The Rosp Aon Dry Mixed Vegetables 95Rs was another interesting Naga dish. There were fresh snow peas, brinjal, bitter gourd and a host of other vegetables in this preparation that was flavored with angothi  - a local variety of sichuan pepper.

I'd ordered a side of the Raja Mircha Chutney 80Rs, hoping for a bowl of dynamite. What arrived was extremely tasty, but not as spicy as I'd hoped for. It did not showcase the uniqueness of the Raja Mircha the way the pork did.

In my recent quest for North Eastern food, I have found that they use minimal spices, relying mainly on fresh ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes. The rest of the flavouring comes from using fresh vegetables and meat. In this manner of speaking, the concept is very close to Lebanese food, where again, it is the freshness of the ingredients that are the stars of a cooked dish.

I'm waiting for a convenient date when we can go visit the restaurant and eat the dishes fresh off the fire, and see and smell more dishes that come onto the restaurant floor.

Edited on 10 Jan 2011 to add restaurant visit review:
We visited the restaurant at the end of December and were welcomed in by the warm environs. The layout uses dark stained bamboo with sheer curtains seperating some areas from the others.
They do not yet have an alcohol licence and although it was quite cold, the warm interiors induced us to try their non alcoholic Bloody Mary (they don't call it a Virgin Mary) and Mojito (110Rs each).
The chicken Tom Yum soup (125Rs) was spicy and comforting especially combined with the Chicken Momos (175Rs) and the excellent red chilli sauce.

The Chicken Raja Mirchi (220Rs) was lip searing spicy in a thin gravy with Naga green leafy veggies in it. We had ordered a mixed fried rice (165Rs) but the Chicken Raja Mirchi would go well with just steamed rice too.

When we were finishing up they offerred us complimentary black tea which was quite welcome to end the meal.
The food isn't fancy, its got a home cooked feel to it with the added excitement of the Naga specialities on the menu.

VAT of 12.5% and Service Charge of 10% are added to the above amounts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chillis Bar & Grill, Delhi

Chillis Bar & Grill,
3rd Floor Ambience Mall
Vasant Kunj

I was so excited that Chillis was going to be opening shortly in Delhi. Chillis was practically our only order-in option in Egypt , we have celebrated many iftaars and late night meals at Chillis, so it has a special place in our food memories.

So today when we saw that it had finally opened, we HAD to stop and grab a bite although we were just peckish and had no appetites for their burgers or fajitas.

We ordered my favorite SouthWestern Egg Rolls 250Rs and the husbands favorite - Classic nachos with chicken 300Rs. For drinks, we ordered the Strawberry lemonade 75Rs and the Blackberry Ice Tea 75Rs.

The drinks orders were fine, but the food was way below our expectations. While the food itself doesn't taste bad, it did not taste anything like what we had been used to for the last 4 years. The pastry for the egg rolls was thickly rolled, closer to a samosa dough. The stuffing had more cheese than juicy corn and refried beans. They had used haricot beans instead of black beans and they weren't cooked as soft as they should be. The beans were al dente. The taste was fine, but it wasn't the familiar taste that we were craving

The nachos (chips not the dish itself) tasted like they had been in packing for awhile and hence left a stale aftertaste.

When we were asked for our opinion (a standard procedure in most Delhi restaurants) we frankly told the server that the food was nothing like what we were expecting. He called the manager and the manager promised to look into it. He had a theory about how Chilis Middle East may have different recipes than Chilis USA and how his senior staff was trained in the US. But I'm not completely convinced.

I am however willing to give it another chance a month or 2 down the line, once they find their feet (hopefully).

They seem to have the right service attitude so with a bit of guidance and experience, I'm hoping for a dramatic improvement from the current levels.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gloria Jeans Coffee, Delhi

Gloria Jeans Coffee
3rd Floor Ambience Mall
Vasant Kunj

The Australian Chain - Gloria Jeans outlet in the Vasant Kunj Ambience mall is on the 3rd floor and while it is not an enclosed area, it does have seating.

I had heard that their cookies were on the harder side, but their coffee reviews weren't too bad, so we decided to stop there and rest our weary feet and caffienate our systems.

A bottle of aquafina to quench our parched throats (most food/beverage kiosks in the mall, don't stock water) was 22Rs. GLoria Jeans coffees come in 2 sizes - small & regular. The regular creme brulee iced coffee was 129Rs and the extra espresso shot was 29Rs. The Mocha truffle coffee regular size was 115Rs.

The staff is relatively new and couldn't explain their coffees and I must confess that I was apprehensive. But they stuck to their recipe print outs (pasted on the brewing and mixing tables) and the results weren't bad at all.

Though they have seating on both sides, its self service at this location. At the customer service end there were 4-5 shakers with different colored sprinkles along with the cinnamon option and the choice of sugar/brown sugar/ sugar free.

While the coffees weren't something that would compel us to return, the snacks were quite outstanding. The lassoni chicken sandwich 89Rs, while not overly stuffed was very delicately spiced and lightly grilled before serving. The blueberry muffin 59Rs was a muffin with a blueberry jam center. Moist, neither too heavy nor too airy, with just the right hint of sweetness.

The snacks selection is limited to a few light cakes and muffins, sandwiches and rolls that are pre-packaged and reheated or grilled as required.

We will be back for the muffins and sandwiches for sure. What better place to relax and browse through the books that you have just picked up from the Landmark store opposite.

12.5% VAT will be added to the prices mentioned above.

Camera and cell phone ran out of battery, so no pictures. :(

Friday, December 17, 2010

Andhra Pradesh Bhavan, Delhi

Andhra Pradesh Bhavan
Jaswant Singh Road
Just off Ashoka Road
011 2338 7499
7:30am-10am, 12pm-3pm, 7:30pm-10pm

This is one of the most reasonable places in Delhi to get a filling meal - unlimited servings for the Andhra thali at only 80Rs. The Andhra Pradesh Bhavan canteen is always full, because not only is their thali meal filling, its nutritious, healthy and hygenic too.
When the basic thali is placed on the table, it will have a katori of curd and one sweet, with a scoop of flavoured rice of some kind. These are normally served in limited quantities.

Rasam and Sambhar katoris are served next with papad.

The next server comes with his special 4 drum vessel with 4 different vegetarian dishes in them. Normally there will be a dhal and at least 2 fresh vegetable dishes.
You can choose to have puris or rice (or both) as your choice of carbohydrates. Just motion to one of the servers and they will send the respective serving bowls over.

The table has pickle (gongura), gunpowder (chutney powder) and ghee which go really well with the rice.

They also have a limited menu of other items which include a few fiery non vegetarian ones. The Chicken fry at 80Rs is a large portion and can be split between 2 people.

The chicken biryani at Sunday lunch is so famous, that we have sometimes waited over an hour for a table, inspite of their turnover being so fast.

Service is quick and efficient. While they don't pressurise you to vacate quickly, there is a general sense of urgency that pervades and you may find yourself eating faster than normal.

Its a canteen run by the State Government, so don't go there looking for ambience. But if you want an authentic Andhra meal or a reasonable yet tasty and balanced meal, this is the place to head to.

Ambience : 2
Food  : 7
Service : 7 (fast and efficient)

Note: Pictures were taken on my cell phone, hence the low resolution.

Edited on 28 Jan 2011 to Add:
We visited again a week ago for their famous chicken biryani which is only served on Sundays. The Biryani is 120Rs with a substantial amount of chicken and a raita and gravy. So its a complete meal for one.
 I did take my camera along this time. So here are some pictures of the chicken fry, thali and pickles.

However I must warn you that Sunday is a day which sees the maximum rush at Andhra Bhavan. Everyone wants their share of the VFM biryanis and thalis.


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