Friday, December 30, 2016

Review - Hari Varma pickles

Taste - ****
Options - ****
Delivery - ****
Overall - ****

I have always loved pickles. A lot. When I was a kid, there were few options at home. Usually mango or lemon. Sometimes a couple of other things but rarely. Of course the pickles were made in different types and also tasted different in different homes.

So when a friend introduced me to Hari Varma pickles, I was very excited. He ordered different pickles from there for me. I didn't know what to expect but when I saw the pickles they sent I was amazed! They had sent me prawns pickle, Chicken pickle, Tomato picke, Gongura (ambadi) pickle, Ginger pickle and Mango. And I must say I was mighty please with ALL of them. Tasted AMAZING! they finished in no time and I am already ready for ordering the next batch. The only negative thing that I thought was that the chicken pickle had a few bones that couldn't be eaten (though I am sure they improved the taste)

They deliver in India. Not sure if they deliver outside of India as well - you might wanna check that. So if you want some amazing mouth watering pickles that you just can't stop eating, go for it. they are definitely worth it!


Restaurant Review - Mojo's Pizza, Pimple Saudagar

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

Mojo Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I have had pizza at many places including authentic Italian pizza in Italy itself. Very few places can recreate the authenticity of taste and texture but then that is to be expected as most of the places run n factory mode. So I didn't have too many expectations from this place either. But I was bored of ordering from Domino's, Smoking Joe's and Pizza hut. So decided to give this a try. It's a home delivery only place, so no stars for ambiance. But then I should say that the packing was good enough for the pizza to remain intact.

So the first thing to notice is that there are very few options for the types of Pizza. Very few. The topics available are also limited. No topping available for onions and cheese (even though a couple of their pizza types had onion as a topping and of course cheese ... )!! Never seen that anywhere. All this would have been fine if the pizzas were amazing. But that wasn't to be. I had order thin crust. It was thin alright but the texture was just not good. Too flaky. Taste was strictly alright. And all this for a price that's higher than most of the other outlets. Oh I still don't get the more pizza per pizza... etc. that their packaging box says. Even if it's a marketing gimmick, it has to have some substance behind it... it shouldn't be complete hot air like.... well.. some marketing campaigns in recent times ;)

Overall, a disappointment for me.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Restaurant Review - Magnum Opus

Ambiance - NA
Menu options - ****
Taste - **1/2
Service - 0
Overall Experience - *
So, thank you Magnum Opus for getting me back to review writing after a hiatus due to the bad service that I received - twice. so 100% hit rate!

I ordered food from Magnum opus twice and both the times I received only part of my order. the first time it happened, I called them and they did send the remaining order after about an hour, till which time I had lost my appetite and didn't eat much. And yesterday, I received everything except the rotis. I called 3 times in the next 1 hour only to be told each time that the delivery guy has already left with my rotis and will reach in 5 min (twice without checking internally, and once AFTER checking internally with the kitchen). The rotis never appeared and I got too frustrated to call them so made the rotis at home myself and had my dinner at 1030 (2 hours after the first part of my order was received). In all of this, during the interactions yesterday and today - no apology of any sorts by anyone. I did receive an offer from them to send the two rotis today (which was later changed to some sweet dish "complimentary" when I laughed off the first offer).

Now, coming to the taste. it was good. but inconsistent both the times. Price HIGH. Try Chicken dishes.

Again, I am glad i had this experience. Otherwise I wouldn't have been stirred into action again... 
Magnum Opus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 11, 2016

Restaurant review - 24/7 Gallery Cafe, Hyatt Hinjewadi

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

This place is in Hinjewadi Phase 1, next to Lemon Tree. Valet parking is available. The ambiance of this place is pretty ordinary. Bland even. From some of the seats, the pool is visible, but that's hardly any solace - this place is on mezzanine floor. I would expect more from Hyatt frankly.

We went for lunch on a weekday, so they had a buffet. A la carte was available but took them 3 attempts to bring in the menu (probably had to search for it) and it was a small menu. Not impressed at all. Maybe they don't expect people to go for a la carte on a weekday afternoon - not totally unfair. The options in the buffet were quite limited. Generally restaurants tend to keep different number of items depending on the day of the week. But then for the price I was paying, I expected more.

Taste wise the food was nothing more than ordinary. In fact it was less than ordinary. They served 4 starters on the table. One of them had a hair in it. They of course replaced it immediately, but then.. come on... Hyatt? So basically the lunch started on a bad note and it didn't pick up. Chicken starter was good. Others not at all. Fish curry was good. Chicken in two pepper sauce was not. The fried rice was kept on a flat pan on mild heat so that it remains warm... however, that made the rice harder and was almost impossible to eat. Trying to keep it warm is fine, but then it should be kept in a deeper pan so that it doesn't burn. Very limited and pretty simple dessert options. One of them looked good but tasted bland again.

And, it being a Hyatt, costed quite a bit - and no corporate discounts unless there's a group of 10 people. So another negative there.

Overall... avoid.

24/7 Gallery Café - Hyatt Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Restaurant review - Double Roti - Vimaan Nagar, Pune

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

First thing I should clarify is that I was invited for food tasting at Double Roti, so we had a preset menu. We did order some extra stuff as well though.

The ambiance. The location of the place in the mall makes it difficult to provide a great ambiance. Still, they have tried some interesting stuff like the hanging lights under steel beaters, having a board for drinks menu, a small truck on each table for holding the cutlery, etc. But there's no theme to it so it comes off as a disjointed effort. But then, you might like it. It's more of a cafe than a proper restaurant in terms of looks. It's location in the heart of Vimaan nagar makes parking a little difficult. Lookout for a free spot nearby instead.

Menu is consistent with the name. Almost full of bread related items. Burgers, sandwiches, pizzas. There are a few other items too but very few. I liked the menu for consistency and having quite a few options in that area. But it just becomes too much of bread after a while. It's huge too! They don't have alcohol serving license yet. They're expecting it soon. They serve stuff in .. different dishes. Steel pan, glass jar, milk bottles, muffin tray, etc. But this trend is becoming all too common nowadays.

We had quite a few mocktails, starters and main course dishes - 

  • Masala lemonade - very basic, but good
  • Cold coffee - Good
  • Madras cold coffee (with filter coffee) - couldn't get it right after 3 attempts. I should say, couldn't get it to our liking. Either was too watery or didn't have the right taste
  • Peach and passionfruit iced tea - ok
  • Lime mint cooler - alright
  • Nutty affair - like liquid peanut butter. You may like it
  • Oreo o Oreo shake - The best of the lot

  • Chicken chilly and Jalapeno quesadilla - Good
  • Shrimp corns - best starter especially with the tangy sweet sauce
  • Peri peri chicken tenders - ok
  • Chilli potato torpedos - the fried potatoes were McCain chilli potatoes kept on chilly and topped with cheese. Tasted good but then that's McCain. Not Double Roti.
  • Pickle chips - ok
  • Mausi's thecha chilli cheese toasts - needs more flavor. Maybe a different cheese?

  • Beef (carabeef) sandwiches/burgers - were ok. Tasted good. But the beef patty was a little tough
  • Lamb burgers - same story. Tasted ok.
  • Chicken burgers - ok. No great shakes
  • Pizza - thin crust, but kinda bland. Again maybe a different cheese or combination of cheeses might help
  • Fish and chips - basa fish doesn't do it for me. Fries were ok fish was pretty much bland.
  • Waffle - topped with lots of fruit and syrup. That part tasted good, but the waffle itself was a little too dense for my liking

Service was good, price - though I didn't pay - looks to be ok too. No major complaints there. 
Overall, it's worth a try if you want something ... bready... and nothing else.

Double Roti Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Restaurant review - Shizusan, The Asian Bistro - Phoenix mall, Pune

Ambiance - ***1/2
Menu - ****1/2
Taste - ****
Service/Price - ***1/2
Overall - ****
The bistro takes its inspiration from its mascot’s - Shizusan’s - explorations across China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea & Malaysia. The ambiance is simple and not in your face, which is a good thing. Menu is interesting. It takes you through Shizusan's journey and also has sketches of the dishes in the menu - that helps in deciding what you want to eat. Good thinking. Half a point just for this. The number of items in the menu is huge! Since I had gone there for tasting, there was a preset menu of some of their best dishes. Tried most of them. Here's the feedback on them -

Veg. Selection
  1. Edamame, Petit Pois & Truffle Oil (S) - A light green pocket and a lingering wasabi aroma – délicieux! Japanese soul; French flavour. --- 3/5. Needs more flavour
  2. Crystal Vegetables (S) - Translucent dumplings with the freshest carrots, squash and crunchy pokchoy --- 4/5. Beautifully translucent. Good taste
  3. Vegetable Chui Chow (S) - Pouches of tofu, mushroom and roasted peanuts served with chilli oil --- 2.5/5. Too bland
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Prawn & Chive (S) - Inspired by Malaysian food stalls  – tender prawn and minced chives with a pickled green chilli relish --- 4/5. Needs more spices
  2. Poached Chicken (S) - Money bag-shaped pockets of minced chicken, ginger, chestnuts, and pokchoy; Served in a tangy broth --- 4.5/5. Excellent
  3. Lamb Suimai (S) - With a filling of minced lamb, leek and coriander - some serious flavour packed into one dish --- 4/5
  4. Shizusan’s Chicken Soup Dumplings (S) - Dumplings filled with steaming hot broth of minced chicken and shiitake mushrooms. Make a small tear with your chopsticks (or fork) and then sip, slurp and savour! --- 3/5. The hot broth was good. Delicious in fact. But the dumpling itself was, meh…

Veg. Selection
  1. Shizusan’s 17 Ingredient Signature Slaw - Pickled red onions, salted plum dressing coupled with my secret ingredients --- 4.5/5. Excellent, inspite of being veg ;)
  2. Vietnamese Watermelon Salad - Fresh radish, mint, cilantro, feta, toasted almonds in a nutty chilli and garlic soy dressing --- 3/5. Would have preferred a more fresh taste
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Tuna Carpaccio - Topped with chillies, lime, Thai fish sauce, crispy onions and burnt garlic --- 3.5/5

Veg. Selection
  1. Pepper Garlic Mushrooms - Tossed generously with Thai holy basil and Shaoxing wine --- 4/5. Nice mix of flavours
  2. Chilli Celery Cottage Cheese - Cooked with Sichuan peppers and dried red chillies --- 5/5. Best veg flavour of the evening. Just fantastic
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Malay Style Chicken Satay - Marinated in galangal and lemongrass with the hotness of bird’s eye chilli --- 3/5. Too average and safe compared to other dishes
  2. Baby Back Ribs - Flavoured with our homemade barbecue sauce and signature spice rub --- 5/5. Now this definitely was the best non-veg dish of the evening. Succulent. Spicy. Perfectly cooked

SUSHI - (8 pieces to a plate)
Veg. Selection
  1. Sriracha Blush - Wholesome avocado, cucumber, crispy jalapeno and cream cheese --- 4/5
  2. Asparagus Tempura - Crispy asparagus centre covered in nori and a black sesame crust --- 4/5
  3. Quinoa Maki - Pickled veggies and seaweed complemented with wasabi peas --- 3/5. The idea of using Quinoa is good. But it just doesn't work that well
Non-Veg. Selection
  1. Dynamite Shrimp - A delectable shrimp tempura centre topped with Sriracha mayo --- 3/5. Needs more flavour
  2. Mud Crab Salad - A sweet and tender core with ponzu, prawn, tobiko and baby mayo --- 3.5/5
  3. Rainbow Maki - Tuna, salmon, crab stick, cucumber, tobiko --- 3.5/5. Good presentation. Tastewise, it was ok

SASHIMI - Assorted Platter of 9
Veg. Selection
  1. Crispy Portobello - Cool minced cucumber accompanied by Sriracha mayo and jalapenos --- 4/5 though it was a little tough to eat
Non-Veg. Selection
  1. Pulled Chicken Bun - Succulent chicken cooked in an Asian BBQ sauce plus caramelised onions and slaw --- Did not taste
  2. My PBJ Bao - 12-hour braised pork belly topped with a hot jalapeno slaw --- Did not taste

Veg. Selection
  1. Stir Fried Oriental Greens - Fresh coriander, light soy and crispy garlic gravy --- Did not taste
  2. Trio of Mushroom & Asparagus - Shiitake, button and oyster mushrooms with galangal, basil and baby garlic --- Did not taste
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Steamed Thai Fish - Marinated in garlic, chilli and lime dressing. Spice meets tang in this combination --- 3/5. Needs a stronger dressing
  2. Pattani Lamb Chops - With the lip smacking Thai flavours of fresh green peppercorn, ginger and basil --- 3.5/5. Well cooked. Taste ok
  3. Minced Chicken Kaprow - Thailand’s popular staple fare cooked in red chilli, galangal and young garlic --- 3.5/5. Nice and spicy. But chicken was a little over done

  1. Thai Green Curry
    1. Veg --- Did not taste
    2. Chicken --- Did not taste

  1. Hot Stone Rice - Watch as I take this classic dish and transform it on your table right before your eyes! --- 3.5/5. A little (very little) bit of theatre to the process. Tasted fine but the rice wasn't cooked through

  1. Phad Thai Noodles - My take on the very popular sweet–spicy flat rice noodles --- 4.5/5. Spicier than most phad thai noodles that you get at other places
  2. Chilli Garlic Noodles - For those who want to play it safe and spicy --- Did not taste

  1. Peanut Butter Pie - Topped with chocolate ganache and roasted peanuts --- 4/5. Very… peanutty :)
  2. Lychee & Date Wontons - Crunchy and sweet golden brown wontons with vanilla ice cream --- 3/5. Idea is good. But didn't get a taste of either lychee or dates
  3. Tiramisu Asia - Green tea sponge, coffee dust and creamy mascarpone, a recipe from the modern bylanes of China --- 4.5/5. I don't like tiramisu. But this was quite good. Definitely best of the three

  1. Apple based and watermelon based mocktails were fantastic. Orange was ok.
  2. They don't have alcohol license yet. But they expect to get it in another month.

Service was very good and efficient. There was a little lull in the middle but that's expected considering the restaurant was full and we were a very picky bunch. Sukhmanjeet did a fantastic job of tending to our table. And he knew well what he was serving. That's very important. Thank you.

Price, what do you expect? Of course it's high. The premium being charged is for the extra efforts they have taken to tweak the dishes and making them more exciting. I would say, go there once. At least. After that, decide based on the increment that you get this year… 

Shizusan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, March 7, 2016

Recipe - Chenna Poda or Fresh cheese & Semolina cake

Chenna Poda

Ingredients - 

These ratios are for paneer/cheese made from 1 lit of milk

  1. Semolina/Rava - 3 Tbsp
  2. Sugar - 150 mg (or less or more as you prefer)
  3. Baking powder
  4. Raisins, Cashews
  5. Ghee/Clarified butter - 2 Tbsp
  6. Any other flavour you want to add (powder) - Cinnamon, vanilla etc
For paneer/cheese
  1. Milk - 1 lit
  2. Lemon juice/vinegar - 1 Tbsp max
Method - 

Making paneer/cheese
  1. Start heating milk in a pan
  2. Before it boils, put the lemon juice or vinegar in it and mix using a spoon
  3. Increase the flame to max so it starts heating faster. This speeds up the curdling process
  4. Switch off the flame just as the milk is about to boil
  5. While the milk is still warm, strain the paneer using a strainer or a muslin cloth. Strain all the water out by hanging the cloth for about 15-20 min or by twisting and pressing it by hand (be careful not to burn your hand)
  6. Save the water that comes out. Some of it will be used later
Rest of the process
  1. Once the paneer is ready, break it soften it in a bowl
  2. Mix semolina and ghee and start mixing again
  3. Add sugar and mix it well. Use the strained water to make this task easier
  4. If there are any other flavours you want to add, add half a teaspoon of that powder into the mix
  5. Pour a little more of the water to make the consistency just a little thicker than a cake batter
  6. Put the dry fruits crushed into smaller pieces.
  7. Once it's ready, put baking powder in and mix well. Don't over churn
  8. Butter a baking tray properly (or put a butter paper in it)
  9. Pour the batter in it
  10. Keep in a preheated oven at 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit) for about 55 min
  11. Use the standard knife/toothpick test to see if it's cooked properly at the end of it (Put the knife/toothpick vertically in the cake and see if it comes out clean)
  12. Serve as is or with a little sweet cream on the side

Friday, March 4, 2016

Restaurant Review - Social Clinic - Koregaon Park, Pune

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

Visited Social Clinic at Madness for a food tasting event along with fellow foodies. It is part of 3 sections of "Madness". The theme is that of an operation theatre. Wheelchairs instead of normal chairs, operation theatre lights on the outside, stewards and stewardesses dressed as doctors and nurses. But that's where it stops. There are tables outside & inside that have nothing to do with the theme. The cutlery and other accessories are also run of the mill and the menu only has the page titles which are more "doctory" but actual dish names or serving bowls etc. are all normal. Drinks are served in different types of glasses and things out of a chemistry lab rather than a hospital. They did mention that they wanted to tone down the theme as not everyone may like it - but then it defeats the whole purpose of having a theme. Oh and there is valet parking so you don't have to worry about that. However, do ensure that they know how to turn off the lights of your car - mine were left on for 4 hours while I was there.

There's a second "Donkey's arse" which is a bar/comedy club that is pretty nicely decorated with funky furniture and lighting. But we didn't get a chance to listen to the comedy standup. Also there's a kid's section themed around super heroes where there are various games and food items for the kids. Parents can leave their kids in that section while they have dinner downstairs or go out shopping at KP. That was closed due to some regulatory issues which they are trying to resolve.

So back to chef's table. There was a set menu for us which the chef believed were the best dishes from their kitchen. A look at their regular menu showed that it is … multi-cuisine. Mexican to American to Middle eastern to North Indian to Goan to Vietnamese to Chinese and more. I personally prefer more themed menu but then it's the restaurant's prerogative. The bar menu has the usual cocktails and mocktails plus some special ones that were served to us. So here's what we tried -

  1. Pepper Mary - Bloody mary served in capsicum. Extra salt. Tasted good
  2. Last war - Ok
  3. Beyond expectations - Alright. Not too sweet
  4. Lambi Nashili Chai - Long island iced tea with orange juice and lemon juice instead of coke. Served in a HUGE tube with tubes for everyone to drink from. Was ok. Though I love oranges, the orange flavour didn't go too well with the liquor in it
  5. Ginger based mocktail - Good. Spicy
  6. Green apple mocktail - Alright
  7. Strawberry mocktail - VERY sweet
  8. Full charge - Was ok
  9. Bellini - Sparkling wine based. Good

  1. Mushroom Galauti - based on the feedback from other foodies (I allergic to mushrooms), it was too spicy for their taste
  2. Mix veg coriander - Not good at all. Bland. However the spring onion sauce and the tomato garlic sauce server with it was amazing
  3. Chilly garlic potatoes - was just about alright. Needed more salt and garlic though
  4. Chipotle prawns - Slightly sweeter than it should be but was good nevertheless
  5. Tandoori pomfret - Very bland. And dry. Probably because it was served on a sizzler plate
  6. Murg malai tikka - Soft and juicy but there was some weird taste to it that I couldn't put a finger on. Couldn't eat more than a bite
  7. Chilly five spice chicken - Not good. The five spices need some rearrangement in it. Not a good combo

Main course
  1. Mad farmer pizza - Veg pizza. Dunno what was mad about it. Was very bland and again that weird taste from the murg malai tikka in it. Even the cheese didn't taste good
  2. Cottage cheese betook - Best dish of the evening. Sauce was amazing. Paneer was nicely cooked.
  3. Wild mushroom stuff chicken - Based on the feedback, it was too dry and needed more spices. Mashed potatoes were good. Quite good
  4. Garlic prawns - Not cooked properly. Struggled to eat
  5. Mad chef creation - Veg burger. Tasted ok. Not my thing. Might tickle some tastebuds
  6. Mutton rogan josh - Cooked well was too mild. Needed more spices
  7. Tandoori chicken momos - We were served the same momos as before and told these are tandoori chicken momos, even when we mentioned that this is the same as before

  1. Gulab Jamun Brulee - Of course sweet. Could have been good, but the brulee was not done properly. Sugar crystals were still clearly visible and not caramelized well
  2. Spanish Churos - Good. Chocolate sauce is always good
  3. Brownie with ice cream - Standard. Made well

No issues with the service. However prices are a bit on the higher side.

Overall, I believe the idea is good but they need to go full on with that theme. Even then, diners will come once for the novelty. After that, it's the food that will stick in their mind. That needs a lot of improvement.

Social Clinic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tips & Tricks - 20 tips for a better time in kitchen

Everyone who cooks faces these issues regularly. Here are some tips for a better time in the kitchen -

  1. When making dough for bajra or jowar bhakri, make it using warm water and cover it for sometime after the dough is ready. This will reduce breakage while making bhakri
  2. While making ghee or clarified butter, make it in a non-stick pan. It's doesn't stick at all and gets cleaned easily
  3. Apply a little lemon juice to apple slices. This will prevent them from becoming red
  4. While boiling potatoes, put a little turmeric powder in the water. They will boil quickly
  5. Put neem leaves in rice or any grains that are stored. It will reduce formation of larvae
  6. Before cooking spinach, if it is cut using a grinder, the green color will stay
  7. While making laddoo or similar sweets, use milk instead of water while making the sugar syrup. Tastes better
  8. When you're making curd from warm milk, if you immerse and move around alum inside the mix for a few seconds. Curd will become thicker
  9. Store dry coconut pieces inside toor dal. Coconut will not spoil
  10. While roasting brinjals for making bharta, apply a little cooking oil all over it and also make a few holes using a knife. They will roast better and steam will also nto get trapped inside
  11. Soak rice in water for sometime before cooking. The grains will remain separate and also become bigger. Also, put a little oil in the pan for this
  12. Mix peanuts with wet hands before roasting. They will roast better
  13. To remove lemon juice stains, rub ginger on it
  14. While making bhendi (okra), put a few teaspoons of curd in it. It won't become sticky
  15. Put a little lemon juice in sugar syrup so the sugar doesn't crystalize again
  16. Soak lemon in warm water for a few minutes, you will get more juice out of it
  17. Grind rock salt in the grinder every month. Helps keep the blades sharp
  18. Put a little boric powder in the corners of the kitchen to keep cockroaches away
  19. If your hand is smelling of onions or fish, rub besan (chick pea flour) on it and wash. Smell will go away
  20. Carrot, Tomoto, Cucumber, Radish, beet etc. become stale and soft after a few days. Soak them in salt water overnight. They will become fresh again

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Recipe - Nested Eggs

1. Eggs - 3/4 as needed
2. Onions - 2 big
3. Chilli powder - 2 tsp (as per taste)
4. Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
5. Garam masala - 1 tsp (optional)
6. Salt - 1.5 tsp (as per taste)
7. Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
8. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
9. Ginger/garlic paste - 1 tsp
10. Oil - Preferably peanut, but any not too strong oil will do - 1 Tbsp

Method -
1. Cut the onions into half and then along the the length into 2-3mm thick pieces
2. Heat oil in a flat pan
3. Put mustard and cumin seeds. When they start splitting, put the onions and ginger garlic paste and mix well. Cover the pan and keep the flame low-medium so the onions cook well. Remember, the base of this dish are the onions so you can put more if you wanna increase the quantity.
4. Once the onions are golden brown, put all the spices and mix well. Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes on low-medium flame
5. Put 2 Tbsp of water and mix well. Then spread the mix properly in the pan while the flame is set to low.
6. With a spoon, dig out the mix at 4 places in the mix. Break the eggs and fill the holes with one egg each. Ensure that the egg yolk doesn't break while doing this.
7. Cover the pan and let the eggs cook for 5-7 minutes
8. While serving, cut out each egg with some onion mix on its side. Serve with hot chapati.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Recipe - Bleeding Hearts (Poached apple in red wine reduction)

1. Apple - 1
2. Sugar - 5 Tbsp
3. Red wine - 5 Tbsp
4. Star anise - 1/ Cloves - 4
5. Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
6. Water - 500 ml

Method -
1. Cut apple slices in about 5mm thickness. Carve into heart shapes.
2. Take a pan and mix water, red wine and sugar. Start heating on medium flame.
3. Put star anise or cloves (both give different taste) and cinnamon powder.
4. Once the water starts to boil, put the apple slices and reduce the flame to low.
5. Poach the apple for 15 min and take them out.
6. Continue boiling the sauce until it reduces to about half of the original quantity. If you want lesser and thicker sauce, reduce it further.
7. Serve the apple hearts with the sauce poured over it 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Restaurant Review - Incognito - Phoenix Mall, Pune

Ambiance - 3.5
Menu - 4
Taste - 4.5
Service/Price - 3.5
Overall - 4

This place is located in Phoenix mall, so parking is of course not at issue. It's a small place but there are enough tables squeezed in without compromising much on privacy. The decor is decent, a bit classy too.

I like the menu. Different cuisines are available though a bit heavier on Italian side. For other cuisines there are limited options available but that's the good part. Concentrating few good dishes is better than offering everything but not doing justice to any of it. We had Chilli Potato shots (that looked suspiciously like the frozen ones we get from McCain, though the taste was slightly different) served with Mayonnaise, Phuket style fried chicken served with peanut sauce (this dis was amazing, chicken was juicy, seasoning just right, but tasted better with the mayonnaise rather than the peanut sauce), Malaysian Laksa curry (again very well made), Sicilian veg pizza (thin crust, just the right amount of cheese), Chicken Lasagna (Very well made, but heavy to eat) and Chicken Cacciatore (another stunning dish, the baked potato on the side was even better). The fact that they did not forget the "no mushroom" instruction from me is commendable (i have had bad experiences in other places in the past).

Service was good, price is a bit high. They need to serve more quantity in the starters for the price they charge. Also, as mentioned earlier, change the sauce on side for the Phuket style chicken. Oh and the charge for sprite at 100 rs + taxes??? just too much.

Overall costly but delicious.

Incognito - Restaurant, Bar & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, February 8, 2016

Restaurant review - Gokhale Mala, Alandi road, Bhosari

Ambiance - 3
Menu - 3.5
Taste - 4
Service/Price - 3.5
Overall - 3.5

This place being very close to my office (and pretty much the only decent place closer to office) we go there often for lunch. Dinner is also available here and weekends are very crowded. There is usually enough parking available, at least during lunch.

There is a big, hall like dining place (open from all sides) in the middle of a guava plantation. There are many charpais kept below the trees for you to relax after the meal or to wait if you don't get a table immediately. A few swings as well.

Seating is like a usual dining hall. You don't get a separate table. The menu is also fixed. There's a smaller hall towards the entrance of the place itself where you can have snacks, but no one usually comes to this place for snacks. It's meant for meals and that's what you should go for. The menu usually has pithla, one dry vegetable, matki usal, kadhi, chapati, bhakri, rice, dal with ghee, butter, different papads, some pakoda and pickle. The green chili kharda is very hot, so be careful. Also, buttermilk and sweets are available (usually shrikhand and gulab jamun) and you can pay for it after the meal if you haven't already paid for it while entering the place (pre-pay model).

Taste of all the dishes is consistent no matter when you go. It's good. During peak times, serving is a little slow. But other than that, they are fine. Price of course is something that is slightly on the higher side considering that they are so out of the way and taste wise it's not exceptional, nor from variety of menu wise.

If you are bored of the run of the mill restaurants in the city, this is worth an outing.

Gokhle Mala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Restaurant Review - Jovos - NIBM Road

Ambiance - 3
Menu - 3.5
Taste - 4.5
Service/Price - 4.5
Overall - 4

Wanted to try a new place for lunch on my birthday. After looking around on Zomato, decided to go to Jovos as it had good ratings and the menu looked interesting. It's on NIBM road in Bizz Bay mall. The mall itself looks deserted, and there were 2-3 restaurants there that have shutdown. When you get into Jovos, that's the kind of feeling you get initially. The pic on Zomato and the reality of the decor/interiors is very different. Some things are falling apart some have been intentionally kept that way - which is not bad. Some interesting ideas in terms of decoration are being tried but some look very tacky. But at least they're trying something different, which is good. The way the menu is presented or the fact that they put bubble wrap in place of table mats, are some of the things I liked about the place. It's different. But need to make it better. more classy.

The menu is not too big. But that also makes it possible for them to have things that are different from the usual run of the mill dishes. Most of the dishes that they serve are named differently, made differently and served differently. We tried quite a few dishes including Chicken Tikka in mason jar, Chicken fingers in orange sauce, Dal gosht, etc. Each of them tasted quite well. The tikka was juicy, dal gosht was perfectly cooked, and the orange sauce was just stunning. We also had a bite sized chicken cheese fries that was not on the menu. That was also very good. Loved all including the long island iced tea that was served in a huge measuring jar :)

Service was good. Everything was served well within time and everyone was very courteous. No one breathing down our neck with "over concern". Price is very reasonable. 

Definitely try this place out. Forget about everything else, just enjoy the taste.

Jovos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 22, 2016

Restaurant review - Global Grill, Chinchwad

Ambiance - 3
Menu - 3
Taste - 3
Service/Price - 3.5
Overall - 3

Global Grill is by the same management as Sigree. I didn't know it until I got here. It's located in a shopping mall at Chinchwad. Not sure how many people go to the mall, but that also means there's usually enough parking space available. 

The decor of the place is good. Not cluttered and the tables are also not too close to each other. So overall it's fine, However, unfortunately, the washrooms stink. STINK. I usually don't comment about washrooms in my reviews, but this one merited a mention - for the wrong reasons.

Menu here is nothing impressive. The usual stuff. They serve unlimited starters on the grill on your table until you ask them to stop. The starter options were very limited. Tasted alright. Since this place is in direct competition with Barbecue nation, I can't help but mention that the starters (which is the most important course in these restaurants) are better at BN compared to this place, both in terms of options and taste. The main course was ok as well. If you're a pasta lover there are a few options available in main course. Desserts were alright too. Nothing much to write about. One thing that I should definitely mention - Lychee flavored cocktail (Margarita? Not sure since it's not listed in the menu on Zomato) was amazing! and quite potent as well I must say.

Service was fine, no real complaints there. Price was decent as well, though I would like it to be slightly lesser.

So this is it. Give it a try and hope they have improved by then.

Sigree Global Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato