Sunday, August 10, 2014

Le Chowk, Ahmedabad

Does Le Chowk serve multiple cuisines ? Yes!
Are they authentic? - Mostly, no!
Are they tasty? Its not bad, but its not outstanding either.

There's such a variety of food on offer that it can completely overwhelm you. We were 3 of us and did not even look at the Italian - pizza/pasta / garlic bread section, because just tasting everything else, quite filled us up.

Their ad's outside are quite eye-catching.

Designed pretty much like the other restaurants from this chain - Rudey's, Forest Cafe etc, the decor is quite overwhelming, but that is just to prepare you for the onslaught of food that follows.

The seating is a hodge-podge of various styles and colours.

There is a separate display station for every kind of food that they serve, so there is a mocktail counter, a desserts counter, Mexican counter, Hot Dog stand, Lebanese Counter, Chinese Cart, Italian section with ovens for pizzas and a pasta counter, a large circular Mongolian grill and this is on one half of the restaurant. The other side has the chaat section, a tawa fry and tandoori section, Biryanis followed by Indian / Peshawari main courses.

Some of the food like the shawarma and dips (hummus, babaghannoush & labneh) and the khao suey were quite close to the original and tasty. The poutine was nowhere close to the original, neither was the Mongolian grill.

The Mongolian Grill was more like the roadside Chinese thelawala / laariwaala with an assortment of sabjis (chicken sausage and fish balls for non-veg) that was tossed together on the Grill with some generic sauce and either rice or flat noodles. The rice was better than the noodles. Avoid the fish, it tastes great on its own, but doesn't go as well with the noodles / rice.

The mocktails were mostly a range of syrups that was mixed with soda and served. The keri and the mango were good.

The quesadillas were quite good, but what they served as enchiladas was again a quesadilla. The nachos weren't properly fried, so they were slightly raw and not too good, but the salsa and cheese dip were quite good.

The hot dog was a simple bun with sausage, tomato sauce and mustard, nothing fancy, but their chicken sausage is really good and this shone in whichever dishes that they used them in.

There were supposed to be a variety of salads on offer, but there was no one at this counter and once we tried everything that was available, we had no place for salads. They did have a vegetarian sushi though that wasn't bad.

There was a mobile fondue table (like the channajorwala) with brocolli, baby corn, bread, mushrooms and other veggies to be dipped into cheese. The cheese was just amul cheese, but it wasn't bad. The veggies I mentioned, were the best of the lot.

The poutine was a couple of French fries with barbecue sauce, cheese sauce and green peas. Tasty but not authentic.

From the Chinese counter, mum loved the Manchow soup. Husband loved the veg momos and I loved the khowsuey. They serve soup on the table, but I would recommend that you go upto the counter and choose your own toppings, because they have the whole array.

Kebabs are made fresh for each round, the chicken and fish kebabs were good, but the sheekh were on the drier and harder side. Loved the liver tawa fry, but the kheema tawa fry was average. The veg tawa fry options were really good, especially the bhindi and the whole baby baingans and definitely take the curry that comes on the side of the tawa fry

The chicken biryani was really good, but we were too full to eat anything more than a taste. The curries were average. They also prepare fresh rotis to order.

Loved the idea of the baby kulhad brownies, they have a cold stone concept for ice cream, but since the mixers were tutti frutti, peanuts and chocolate chip, I wasn't very excited to try it out. There's a chocolate fountain too that kids will love.

There was a guy walking around with a tray making fresh "Thai Paan" - betel leaves stuffed with savoury stuff - chillies, garlic, onions, peanuts etc - Its quite interesting and worth a try.

The food is all freshly prepared and except for the sheekh kebabs and the chaat which were below average, there was nothing that tasted bad. Given that there were over 40 items on the menu, that is saying a lot.

Its great fun to go as a group, then you can taste more stuff. This place is a great hit with local who love the variety, the song and dance (yes, the wait staff, danced to a "Brazilian" number too) and the price. 550/- per person.

The range is huge, but with our current focus on portion control and only overeating calories that are truly worth it, it will be some time before we return here.

The staff is really sweet and helpful and keep clearing the table and bringing whatever you request. Its a great family outing.

Rating : 3 / 5

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Choco L'Art - Hyatt, Ahmedabad

Choco L'Art - Hyatt
Opposite AlphaOne Mall
Near Vastrapur Lake,
079 61908888

Stopped here for a quick bite. They have a good selection of basic coffees, milkshakes, cakes, pastries, breads and a few savoury dishes too.

The menu for savoury dishes is limited to a sandwich, burger, kathi roll and a Cesar salad among the non-veg options, so not much to choose from. But I was in no mood to eat at Collage, so we sat down here.

The Dining space is airy and there are quite a few outside tables, that look lovely, but with the threat of rain, we were quite happy sitting inside.

Service was on the slower side, but it could have been due to the large demanding kitty party at another table.

We had the lamb and the chicken burger which were really nice. My lamb burger (375/-)I asked for medium rare and it was beautifully juicy and well seasoned. Mum's chicken burger (375/-) turned out to be a piece of chicken rather than a chicken patty, so it wasn't as soft and juicy, but it was well seasoned too. The meat came with cheese melted on top of it and pickles, onions, tomatoes and lettuce on the side. The French Fries weren't the best I have tasted, but they weren't bad either.

Mum lived her nutella shake (250/-) but I felt there was more Hershey's chocolate syrup in it, than nutella for flavour. My latte (250/-) was a bit too strong for me (they had first mistakenly got me a cappuccino and I suspect, he just took off the foam and brought me the mug back), but once they got me some extra milk, it was good.

They have a huge range of pastries, we tried the Berliner (100/-) which is like a doughnut with some preserved fruit as a stuffing inside. The almond hazelnut gateaux (150/-) was slightly chewy but in a good way like caramel toffee chewy. It had a faint taste of orange blossom and was quite light. I suspect the texture of the biscuit base had gone a bit soft because of the humid weather and would be better when it was nice, crispy and biscuity.

Its a good place to stop for an evening snack, but not if you are in a hurry.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Monday, July 28, 2014

No Mad Baker, Ahmedabad

No Mad Baker,
Opposite Iscon Mall,
+91 9979899126, +91 9537156741

The first time I tried to order from here was a couple of months ago. I placed the order at 7:45pm and was assured delivery by 9:30pm. With no sign of the pizza at 9.45pm, I called, my call wasn't picked up, but it was returned after 15 minutes (now 10pm) to tell me that pork ham wasn't available anywhere in the city and would I like to change my order.

While I appreciated the honesty, I most certainly did not appreciate the 2+ hour delay in informing me of the same, even if they had spent that time, trying to source the ham. Since I had an early morning flight to catch the next day for a long trip and I'd emptied out the fridge in advance, I had a glass of milk and went to bed.

However, their consistent good reviews, convinced me that I should try them again and give them another chance. However, the second time I called they were in the process of moving their kitchen to a larger, commercial operation and home delivery wasn't possible at that time.

Today seemed to be third time lucky, because it was finally a "yes" on all counts and our pizzas did arrive home safe and sound (albeit 2 hours after the initial order)

Pork ham was again out of stock, so I said chicken ham was ok, but it turned out that the chicken ham (12" - 400, 9" - 225) was the weakest of the 3 pizzas that we ordered as the ham itself did not have much taste. The pork pepperoni (12" - 450, 9" - 275) was great and the mad pizza (12" - 700, 9" - 500 - pepperoni, ham, sausages, onions & olives) was excellent.

The quality and taste of their chicken sausage was the best of all the cold meats. They offered an additional smoked paprika topping on all the pizzas and for spice lovers like us, it was an excellent extra.

The pizzas were light on cheese and on the stomach. The homemade tomato sauce was excellent. I personally prefer a tinge more sourness, but I loved the non-commercial taste of the sauce.

Menu wise, the only drawback is that there aren't any fresh veggie topping options. Its one of the few restaurants in this city that do serve pork, which is great for us.

It took 2 hours for delivery and I had been pre-warned, but its a long wait. Husband was getting restless with the wait and was quite concerned when he realised that it was the same place that had told us that our pizzas wouldnt be possible after 2 hours the previous occasion. Once the pizzas arrived, he readily admitted that they were really good pizzas, but in the future he said that we would need to order before we even felt hungry. If No Mad Baker can get their delivery timings improved, it would be our go-to place for when the hunger pangs strike.

They are more expensive than any other pizza place in the city, but if you want fresh, home made, non commercial pizzas, this is a great option.

Click on this link to read the inspiring story behind the genesis of No Mad Baker.

Rating : 4 / 5


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