Monday, December 21, 2015

Restaurant review - Turque - Sayaji Hotel - Wakad, Pune

Ambiance - ****
Menu - ***1/2
Taste - **1/2
Service/Price - ***
Overall - ***

Turque is located at Sayaji hotel so parking is never an issue. There are three restaurants there, BBQ Nation, Portico - which usually has a buffet lunch/dinner and Turque - ala carte restaurant. The menu here changes depending on the "festival" they are celebrating. The last time we went there it was Chinese festival, so everything was decorated in red. Looked nice. There's a swimming pool here around which the tables are placed. Overall nicely spaced out and you get enough privacy. If there's a party going on in the grounds next to the hotel, then it is quite loud here. Also, wedding receptions etc. are also usually on in another area next to it - but that shouldn't make a difference. Another thing about this place is the live music performance. The singers are really good and sing songs on request too.

Menu is pretty standard but as I mentioned earlier, it changes slightly based on the festival going on. There were some interesting dishes that we tried there. Not all of them good. The soup was bland. And the starters we tried, though sounded interesting (i don't remember the names anymore) were blander. There are few Turque special cocktails. We liked two specifically - Lust and Naughty desire. The latter was especially nice watermelon based cocktail which is quite... potent. Otherwise, the food was not good enough for me. Too bland. Maybe next time I will have to try something different and see if it works for me.

Price is definitely on the higher side. Service is good - non-intrusive and polite. In fact, they didn't charge us for one of the dishes that we had because we didn't like that dish at all. No complaints there, but the price brings the overall rating down in this area.

Worth a visit for the cocktails and the ambiance. Definitely.

Turque - Sayaji Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 9, 2015

Restaurant review - Level 12 - Double Tree by Hilton, Chinchwad

Ambiance - ***
Menu - ***1/2
Taste - ***
Service/Price - ***
Overall - ***

Another Zomato meetup. Another chance to try out a new place. Another chef's table guaranteeing the best of their dishes. Complimentary. I found no reason to refuse to attend this meetup. So there I was, first to reach as usual after a long long drive through the city traffic.

Doube Tree is located in a crowded area near Chinchwad station. However, they have enough parking space and also valet parking. There are multiple restaurants there, the one we went to was Level 12 located on.. guess which floor..? 12th silly. First thing you notice, while going up, is that lift is really badly lit. I didn't get into the lift the first time because I thought it's faulty. I didn't want to get stuck in it. But then I realised that that's how the lighting in it is. Unfortunately, the story is the same at the restaurant as well. You can hardly see what's in the menu unless you hold it up so that the fire from behind the waterfalls lights it up. Same story while eating. We had to switch on the cellphone flashes and torches to see what we were eating, and take 5-6 photos to get that perfect frame. Or in some cases take the dishes near the fire for a better photograph. This really should change. It is not classy nor romantic if you struggle to see your beloved's face while on a romantic dinner. The view from the hotel is good though since it is on 12th floor. Bonus.

The menu is pretty standard, though some of the dishes are named differently. We had a fixed menu but then the head chef for the three restaurants came up and decided to offer some dishes which were not on it. That was good. My take on the items we ate -

  1. Sweetlime soda - Easy thing to make but the sweet and salted perfect mix is difficult to achieve. It wasn't achieved
  2. Thecha aloo - Story behind the creation of this dish was good. I struggled to find the taste of thecha in the dish. 
  3. Tandoori tawa gobi - Decent. Well cooked
  4. Palak patta chat - Good innovation. Tasted like chat, obviously. Good starter and something that you would want to make at home too for the sheer novelty exotic factor of it.
  5. Dahi puri/waterless pani puri - Decent. No great shakes
  6. Fish tikka - Well cooked. Just enough burnt bits. Tasted good. Not dry.
  7. Seekh kebab - Well cooked. Decent taste. Not extraordinary.
  8. Malai drums of heaven - Slightly difficult to eat. Tasted alright. Not something I would recommend
  9. Paneer lababdaar - Paneer was soft. The gravy was again, regular. 
  10. 12 ki daal - Best dish of the day. Perfect softness. Just right amount of butter. Spices were just right. Definitely worth eating again and again
  11. Jeera pulao - Good
  12. Subz dum biryani- Surprisingly good. Served from a cooker. veggies were cooked well, rice grains were separate. spices were just about right - not extra. Another positive dish
  13. Mix veg raita - Standard
  14. Roti/naan/laccha paratha/amrutsari kulcha - Amritsari Kulcha was good. give it a try.
  15. Butter chicken - Not as good as it should be. Butter chicken is one of the standard dishes that is available in any restaurant. Needs the right amount of butter and sweetness and yet should not be overly sweet. That balance couldn't be achieved.
  16. Lamb shanks curry - Looked good. Tasted bad. The spice mix used was just not right. Didn't tickle my taste buds
  17. Jalandhar ki special malai kulfi - Ordinary
  18. Tiffin halwa - Served in an old style steel tiffin box. Moong dal halwa. was cooked well, needed to be a little more sweet.
  19. Sugarfree Date Fig and mascorpone ice cream - Worst dish of the day. Confused dish. Absolutely no taste. 

The funny part of the price is that many dishes have the prices ending in "12" because of the name of the restaurant. Some creativity shown there. Prices are on the higher side considering the other aspects of the restaurant. Service, well, what do I say. They were trying very hard but even when there were hardly any other people in the restaurant, it was a struggle to manage our table of around 12 people. Stewards didn't always know what they were serving, they served paneer lababdaar on top of butter chicken (bad lighting), we waited for clean cutlery and got it only after multiple reminders, some of us had to wait a long time to get roti/naan or some curry before we could start eating. So, even though the head chef was very gracious in attending to our table personally, the service from the other staff wasn't up to the mark - in fact well below the mark.

Overall, an ok experience. can't say anymore.

Level 12 - DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 30, 2015

Restaurant review - Cafe 1730

Ambiance - ***1/2
Menu - ***1/2
Taste - ****
Service/Price - ***1/2
Overall - ***1/2

So, decided to have our anniversary lunch at Cafe 1730. Reason? no particular reason actually. Just looked up on Zomato, saw a couple of good reviews and decided to give this a try.

It's located at the end of Lane 6 in Koregaon Park. Parking is on the side of the road, i suppose it should not be an issue even in the evenings. Also, they have valet parking if needed. The restaurant is "music theme" based. From the moment you walk in, you see a lot of photographs and posters of various singers and musicians with some tidbits about them. The restaurant is tastefully decorated. I liked the way the ceiling is done - sort of half complete look, but still quite nice. The windows on the front - though have curtains - need to be cleaned. With the curtains open, the place is much better. Just below the window, on the outside, there are some horizontal beams. I would suggest that the restaurant management puts some Italian flower beds there. would look amazing.

As soon as I opened the menu, I was reminded of Ms S Roy Choudhury's comment on her review - multiple personality disorder. They menu, is a mix of continental, North Indian, Goan, etc. But then many places have that kind of menu, so it didn't really bother me. Something for everyone, right? :) The menu also has some interesting tidbits about musicians and, as the menu cover says, chefs - since they are celebrating the art of cooking too. There's place for live band performances as well. So music theme stays, food gets added - but only on the menu. The interiors are still about music. Some of the stuff on the menu is interesting to read. I liked the one about the scottish word for the panic you feel when you need to introduce someone whose name you have forgotten! :D. Oh I still don't know why the menu card says, Cafe 1730 - Surf and Turf?

We tried a lot of different cocktails there and all of them were made correctly. No mistakes or missing items in it. The starter we ordered was Crunchy chicken with Garlic-Chilli dip. Was very good. In the main course, we had Non veg Moussaka and Bacon and Cheese burger. Both the dishes were excellently made. I didn't like the carabeef in the burger - the patty was slightly drier than needed. everything else was very good - and that's not just the alcohol speaking ;)

The total bill for everything was on the higher side - around 2800INR, out of which majority was for the alcohol.

All in all, a good place to visit. Good ambiance. Good staff. Decent menu. Good food. The Italian flowerbeds will just make it better ;)



Cafe 1730 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mainland China - Hinjewadi - Restaurant review

Ambiance - ***1/2
Menu - ****
Taste - ***
Service/Price - ***
Overall - ***

Mainland China has many outlets in the city and I have visited most of them. This was the only one I had not visited. So, since it was a day off, decided to give it a try.

As always, the ambiance is good. All Mainland China outlets have similar feel about them. This one is no different. What I didn't really like were the earthen pots kept as decoration items near the buffet section. they looked more like.. they were holding someone's ashes. Not exactly appetizing.

Menu, service and price were decent. Very similar to other outlets. The let down is - the most important aspect of any restaurant - the taste. I had gone at lunch time on a weekday. So decided to try that. They serve the starters at the table and main course is to be taken from the counters. There were very limited non-veg starters - one fish, one chicken, one shrimp. chicken was OK, fish was strictly OK, shrimps were bad. The main course wasn't too different. Again the same three options - looking uncannily similar to the starters I had. The taste was also not much different from the starters. The fried rice was not properly cooked and assorted pastry plate had just one type of pastry. One dessert was good - chocolate wrapped in rice paper (I think) and fried - forgot its name. Oh and I had ordered a kiwi daiquiri that came in after my main course started - and it was just too sweet.

So overall, not a good experience especially with the kind of expectations we (I) tend to have from Mainland China. I still think the outlet on SB road is probably their best.

Mainland China Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

North2South Restaurant review

Ambiance - ***
Menu - ****
Taste - *****
Service/Price - ****
Overall - ****

Located in the busy Viman nagar area, this is a small place that serves - no prizes for guessing - north Indian and south Indian food. Now, serving one good cuisine itself is a tough task, so I was naturally curious to see how good they are in serving two diametrically opposite cuisines. Everything about the two is different - the spices, the dishes, the taste, the texture, the items... so the foodie in me couldn't pass this opportunity.

Went there for lunch from my office, which is.. not exactly close to this place. It's a small place as mentioned earlier. There was some set up being done for new Gelato counter that they were gonna start, so it was a little.. umm.. less organized than what I would have expected. The tables and chair etc. were clean enough but the handwash area - that needs some work. It was not unclean, but it can be better set up. They have used the rolling pins to decorate the walls, which is interesting. the best part was the post it wall, where you can write your comments. Good to see what people think about the place - the comments were all good of course.

As mentioned earlier, menu is a mix of north and south indian dishes. There are some interesting options available including different types of dosa and kulcha. some of the options sound a little whacky and you may not be sure about how they will taste. But you gotto try before making a judgement.

We had a few things there. And I should say I was impressed. The fresh lime soda - salted and sweet had the perfect mix of the two tastes. It's always difficult to get this right - I think. The cholla bhatura was good. Very. Bhatura was obviously oily but not too much. And the cholle were perfectly cooked. well balanced with just a little bit of after taste of garam masala. There were just two concerns - the amount of cholle was less (they ofcourse refilled it when we requested) and the pudina chutney that was served it, didn't really go well with the dish. I would have preferred a more onion based chutney or just onions. We had melted cheese garlic kulcha - which turned out to be a surprise. a pleasant one. Felt like we were eating a different version of pizza. tasted amazing. Garlic was not overpowering the taste. Fantastic. The cholle that came with it, were different from the ones served with bhatura. These were without onion. and tasted different too, which was a surprise. Usually, restaurants tend to reuse cholle with different dishes. and this time the condiments with it were perfect. We had creamy matka kulfi too - which was also equally good - though I am not a big fan of kulfi. We couldn't try the south indian dishes so can't comment on it. We were too full with this. Maybe next time.

Service was good, but then it wasn't crowded at lunch time on a weekday. So can't comment much. No complaints though. and price is also good. for lunch for 2 people, the bill was less than 400 INR. so definitely worth the money.

Overall, I think it's a fantastic place to eat. A little more work on the set up and I am sure I will give it a 5 star for the restaurant of its kind.

North2South Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, August 28, 2015

Restaurant Review - BottleRock, Pune

Ambiance - **** 
Menu options - ****
Taste - ***1/2
Service/price - ****

Overall - ****

Zomato meetup is what made me travel from one of the the city to the other end through the city traffic at peak evening time. The destination - BottleRock. Located just across the bridge over the Mumbai Bangalore highway on SusRoad, this place was new to me. From the outside, it wasn't all the appealing though I did find the numerous hanging colourful bottles quite interesting. The same concept is carried inside as well - all the lights over the tables and otherwise are inside bottles of different colours. Is the light enough? well, for the kind of evening you would want to have at this place, yes. Plus, candles are put on the tables to make things look even nicer. I am sure there's a problem with mosquitoes in that area so the fact that they sprayed the place with mosquito repellents just as I was about to enter, was good. It helped. Lot of tables/booths of different sizes are available plus chair seating, sofa seating and Indian style seating gives you the options. The more sophisticated graffiti  that they have painted on the side walls and ceiling looks really good when it shines in ultraviolet light. They could do with a little touch up to some of the worn out furniture - which, by the way, is very comfortable.


We were at the chef's table so we got to try chef's Rajpal Singh's specialties. The cocktails were interesting. Traffic Jam was the flavour of the evening with the Watermelon daiquiri and Tokyo iced tea being the next two in line. The daiquiri was served in half a watermelon, providing that wow factor - though I ended up spilling some and had to opt for a martini glass to finish the rest of it. The iced tea was good but some found it a little too sweet. 

Amazing - that's how I can rate the starters. We had Nacho's chicken, Mountain chilli chicken, Fish & chips, Paneer banjara kebabs & cottage hot pan. All of them were really good. But what took the... chicken... was the Murg Dum kebab. Cooked on dum in an earthen pot like dum biryani, the kebabs were succulent and juicy with the perfect amount of spices. Easily the best dish of the day. Try it the next time you go there.

We were so full with the starters that we had to spend some time just chit chatting to make some space for the main course that was yet to come. Paneer Lasooni, Murg Nawabi, Murg Dum biryani and Fish in ginger oyster sauce were the dishes that we tried. The fish was just amazing. Oyster sauce is always a safe bet with fish in most of the restaurants. But here it exceeded my expectations. filled my tummy with it - whatever space was remaining in there.

Gulab Jamun and Sizzling brownie were the desserts on offer. While the brownie didn't sizzle it for most of us, the gulab jamuns were gobbled up in no time. Was difficult to stand straight with so much food inside, but we did manage to get home - each to their own homes - safe and sound. 

Oh and the rock in bottlerock - it did rock. The selection of rock songs that the DJ played was excellent. Perfect for the kind of evening we had. Definitely worth a visit for a nice, relaxed and foodful evening. I will certainly go there again.

Click to add a blog post for BottleRock Restaurant & Bar on Zomato