Friday, December 19, 2008

Barbeque Night

It was a night filled with smokin' hot BBQ chicken, paneer and fish...some soft drinks and vodka with lime, gulab jamuns and fabulous conversation! :D


(Paneer ready to be BBQ-ed!)

(Vodka.....!)

(Empty plates.....as we wait for the fish!)

(Fish O' Fire....)

(Kaku...waiting to dig in...)

( Fish....again...)

( Busy eating...)

( And drinking)


( He loves his food....yummmm....)

( He loves his drink.....hmmmmm)

( A happy lot)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Sweet Sunday - Gajar Ka Halwa & Khajoor Pak

The sunday that passed was a lazy sunday. I know, i know, a lot of my sundays are lazy, but thats how it is meant to be, right?!

This sunday was a sweet sunday. My cousin Akshay was coming home, so we decided to make one of his favourite sweet, Gajar ka Halwa.

I also love gajar ka halwa. I remember being while mom used to let it cook on slow fire. However, this time around, the wait was slightly lesser as aunty made the halwa with khoya and not in pure milk unlike my mom does. Here's how we made the halwa-

1. Peal, wash and grate the carrots
2. In a pan, take ghee, let it heat and put the grated carrot in the hot ghee. Let it cook and soften.
3. Keep stirring ocassionally so that gajar is cooked well and the ghee gets coated evenly.

4. Grate the khoya and add it to the cooked gajar. Mix well so that lumps are not formed.

5. Cover with a plate and let it cook, stirring ocassionally.
6. Add sugar as per taste, cook some more till the sugar is dissolved.

7. Add powdered ealichi and dry fruits to garnish.
8. Serve hot or chilled!



Say CARROTS! :D

While aunty made the halwa, I tried out a recipe which an office colleague told me. Its basically a jhat-pat (quick) sweet and its called Khajoor Pak.

Here's how "I" made it-

1. Break the seedless dates into smaller pieces
2. Heat ghee in a pan and cook the dates for a minute or two.
3. Add ealichi, and dry fruits while stirring.

4. Glaze a dish with ghee.
5. T/r the date mixture to the dish.
6. Using ur hand or the back of a bowl, set the mixture evenly in the pan before it hardens.
7. Freeze for 15 minutes/till its hardened.
8. Cut into cutesand relish it!


One blunder! - One small blunder I made was adding sugar to the date and dry fruits mixture because i felt like it wasn't sticking together. Due to the heat, the sugar caramelised instead of melting and gave a gariny taste to the Khajoor pak when we bit into it. So do not put sugar! :P



Want a Date? :P



And the sparkle below(see image) was a result of random sunday cretivity! I draped my palstic pearly necklace on the bright pink water bottle and the contrasting result gladdened me! :)



(Credits: All pictures courstey my new Nokia 3600 slide mobile!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sheesha - Smoky and Delicious

An unplanned dinner at a smoky and delicious place like Sheesha is always pleasurable. I'd heard a lot about Sheesha and the flavored hookhas there, but I had never dined there partly because I am not too keen on trying out hookah and also due to lack of interesting company. I had the former on the second sunday of December.

I and my poetry friend Vikash chanced upon the opportunity to dine together and ended up at Sheesha.



(In the photo: Vikash, chillings out and checking out two dumb girls at Sheesha!)

It is one of his favourite restraunt and he was more than happy to treat me there. We walked on to the roof-top on the second floor of Huma-Adlabs, Kanjurmarg, to be greeted with nice music, soft murmurings of the diners and the occasional rise of the hookah.

The decor was ethnic, yet chic. I particularly liked the seating space and it made me cross my legs, in true Indian style, and feel at home. The shells and beads danglers added a nice glamour, along with sepearting the tables.

We both were starving and started our meal with a chicken soup. For starters we ordered one plate of chicken pankhuri kabab. The soup was hot and tasteful. The kabab was served on a sizzling plate. The kabab melted in the mouth and it sent the both of us yo Cloud No. 9. We immediately ordered another plate of the same for the kebab was truly lip smacking, with the tender chicken, the spicy coating and the varied chitney and salad it was served with.

We were not too keen on eating the maincourse, but the Chicken curry and tandoori roti, both cooked to perfection, altered our hunger. We were so full and delighted with our meal that we mutually said no to dessert...until we saw the bunch of guys on the neighbouring table relishing the sinful chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. How could we stick to our mutual decision...afterall decisions are meant to altered, especially when the outcome is so sweet and chocolaty.


(In the photo: Sweet Sin!)

The brownie was small. So was the vanilla scoop on it which was laced with chocolate sauce trims. But what set it apart and elevated its status was that the bownie was served on a sizzling plate and in a pool of chocolate sauce. It truly left us with the ring of the "hmmmm...." from our very own mouths!

Overall, the meal was superb! The main-course can be improved. But the kebabs make up for it. The place has very few options for vegetarians, so non-vegetarians eat on!! It is slightly expensive on the pocket, but hey, you don't just pay for the food, the ambience also counts!



(In the photo: Me and Sheesha)

I'm certainly going back there. And this time...maybe I'll try a flavored hookah.

Drinks: Not tried
Ambiance: 7/10 (the smoke was annoying)
Affordability: 6/10 (go with a full wallet)
Food: 9/10

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mama Mia....cause Mama knows it best!


'Mama Mia..here I go on....my my how can i resist you....?' is perhaps the most famous pop song from one of the most famous band ABBA. 'Mama Mia' is quite an apt name for a eatery that serves pizzas, subs, pastas and salads. You know, every mama knows her child well, so do the folks at Mama Mia, or so they claim! Located at Prime locations like Operahouse, Bandra and Byculla, Mama Mia has been satisfying the tastebuds of Mumbaikars for over a decade.

Mama Mia was little known to me until a college friend of mine ordered a double-decked burger served with fries at a Stay-over. The burger was HUGE, amply filling and top-class. The fries were crisp, slightly thick, but certainly better than what the folks are McDonald's serve. After such a good first impression, on a Pre-Christmas shopping with friends at Bandra, I headed to Mama Mia(on Link Road, Bandra (W)), anticipating a nice meal especially after having skipped lunch.

The place was virtually empty on the Saturday evening and the vibes we got were chillied out, almost sleepy. The staff seemed pre-occupied and not prepared to recommend dishes. Thus we placed our order of Medium-size Margarita Pizza (8"), Cosmos (Pasta in Brown Sauce with onion rings, sausages and corn) and a Large Parita-A-Quattro(12") (BBQ Chicken Pizza with chicken salami and mushrooms), replying entirely on the descriptions in the Menu card praying that they'd turn out to be good.


As the Mama's (or Papa's? - as the chef's were male :P) were busy churning out their famed fare, we were busy observing the place and talking. I realised that the seating was spacious with ample space between the tables. The leg room was good, but the sofa's were quite low as compared to the table's height and hence proved to be uncomfortable, so if you do get a choice, grab a chair instead of the sofa seat! The lighting was dull and there was not much privacy.

Despite being empty, the food took too long to arrive. First came the Margarita Pizza (or was it milk? - ok, just kidding around!) and it looked tempting. The crust was perfectly crisp and thin while the cheese was beautifully melted. However, looks were deceiving and the pizaa turned out to be a flop, reason being the cheese was sour, maybe even spoilt.

Next came the Pasta in brown sauce. It smelled divine and it was divine. The brown sauce was tangy and the onion rings were a stark contrast for the taste buds. The pasta was a mixeture of several types and shapes and the chicken sausage bits went beautifully with hatke preperation. Despite being slightly on the spicy-sour side, the pasta certainly did lift our moods.
The last to arrive was the Large Chicken Pizza. This, again, was not superb, but certainly way better than the Margarita. The salami slices and the BBQ chicken were in plenty.All the ingredients were my favourite so I enjoyed this one, but again, the cheese was sour....
Our bill came to Rs. 340/- and it fed four of us quite well. The place is quite cheap as compared to other places serving italian and certain dominoes and the pizza huts. But I was not impressed by the famed pizzas, however go to this place for the pastas and burgers and for the sheer variety that they offer for a decent price.
I'm not sure I'd go here again unless the food preperations and the staff is improved ....but it's a good place for one-time indulgence. On a concluding note, with a tagline of Mama Knows it best, they ought to have known better than what they already do!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Menu Card from www.menucards.in
Main image taken from my cellphone

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hide & Seek - Mint, Orange & Coffee!

I walked into a superstore and surprise, surprise! - my very own Hide & Seek was available in two new flavours! :D

MINT...

....

ORANGE...

&

hold your breath...

COFFEE HIde & Seek.... yummyyyyyyy

I instantly grabbed the Coffee one! :P Reaching back home, the first thing I did was to take a bite of the coffee heaven with embedded choco chips!!

The biscuit tasted weird. The texture was too grainy and a little over bitter even for a coffee freak like me! The coffee taste overpowered the sweet taste of choco chips. The biscuit did not melt sinfully in my mouth like the basic Hide & Seek does.

Ordinarily I'd crave to finish off the whole packet alone and not share even one biscuit with anyone, but this timeI'd had enough after just three biscuits. Frankly, this flavour isn't for me. And I dare not try the mint flavour cause mint and chocolate together is so uncool! Maybe I can experiment with Orange, who knows it may just win me over! Tate buds can act in queer ways, you know!

I'd suggest the manufacturers of Hide & Seek to stick with their winning formula and not unnecessarily diversify. We love the biscuit just the way it is!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sahibaan, the Sizzler place

We gave in to our growling stomach and randomly decided upon Sahibaan (Turner Road, Bandra) to pamper us! It was my cousin's treat and that felt even better! :P

The restaurant has two levels of seating and is jam packed on most days and on weekends be prepared to wait for atleast 30 minutes before you get a seat. The fare they offer is very different. The cuisine is mainly oriental, and bubbling with sizzler dishes. If you find something on eevery table here, apart from the cutlery, it's sizzler!!

There is a great variety in starters and sizzlers in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian category. The drinks are basic like juices, iced tea (most popular), soft drinks etc. The iced tea costs Rs. 35 (lemon and peach flavour) and one iced tea comes free with every sizzler. Puddings are just two and three including caramel custard which apprently is very good, but we were too full to dig it.

We were four big eaters and we ordered three sizzlers - fish sizzler (with rice), two chicken sizzlers (with noodles) and 3 more ice teas apart from the three that came free with the sizzlers! I usually like peach iced tea more, but the lemon one is definitely a better choice at Sahibaan.

Three sizzlers were more than enough for us, but two would have been a tab bit less! The fish sizzler was superb, but nothing to beat the chicken sizzler. Also, noodles should be chosen over rice, for the burnt taste accompanying noodles is bliss!!

Non-veg sizzles cost between 135-225 bucks. A meal for four will cost about RS. 400. I'l definitely going there again...and this time i'll try the caramel custard also! It's worth a visit and it'll keep you coming back for more!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Food Riot at "MELA, Worli"

Where

Located in Worli, opposite Love Grove, this restaurant and bar definitely has one of the most interesting d├ęcor that I have seen. This restaurant and bar is great for chilled out meal after a walk on Worli Sea Face.

Ambience

The name ‘Mela’ meaning ‘fun fair’ is apt. The logo, a colourful paper wind-wheel, is a perfect start to the surprises to come.

As you enter the restaurant gate, a well maintained garden with a mini-turbine model wins you over. The bar overlooks this garden. Being a tee-totaller, I was hardly interested in the bar and the drinks on offer. But it did look cozy and inviting!

A narrow corridor decorated with colourful kites leads to the main seating area. The restaurant is done up in true Indian Mela style. True to its style, the restaurant has a magician (20-30 tricks for Rs. 350/- only and the option to buy tricks from him!), astrologer, mehendi and much more to keep the hungry guests occupied. The walls are colourful, with one wall painted with a bus brimming with people. The central pillar even has a clock tower! Overall the ambience is cozy and very inviting; the riot of colours does not distract, but adds to this replica of a Mela.

Food & Drinks

The restaurant is famous for kebabs. There are 5-6 varieties of kebabs to choose from in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs. Kebabs are served with green pudina chutney which is too mild for an average Indian’s taste. We ordered a mixed vegetarian and a mixed non-vegetarian kebab platter along with a tandoori chicken platter. Both the platters offered ample variety, but the tandoori chicken platter was a disappointment as the chicken was half cooked.

One can choose from a variety of drinks – soft drinks, hard drinks, cocktails, mocktails etc. We sampled only the mocktails as they had some exotic combinations like a mocktails with papaya, pineapple and ginger! Mocktails cost Rs. 100 and up, which I thought was quite decent.

The mocktails and kebabs were very heavy, yet we opted for a varied main course – Dal/Khichadi, Butter Chicken, Prawns Biryani and Butter Nan. The biryani was on the oilier side, but the prawns were very well cooked and soaked in flavour of the assorted spices. The Butter Nan was piping hot; the Dal/khichadi had a very unique and sumptuous taste, while the butter chicken was quite ordinary.

The food is heavy and we did without any dessert. A meal for 10 cost us about Rs. 4500 (excl dessert and hard drinks). The magician kept us entertained and I was so rapt that I jerked and pointed my finger at the magician saying, ‘how’d you do that!’ while accidentally tripping the Pinacolado mocktail glass as I did so!

After thoughts

Mela is worth a one time splurge! I’ve heard that their buffets are out of the world, so maybe I’ll try that next time around! Overall the drinks are well prepared and presented, kebabs were succulent (except the hard-cooker tandoori chicken platter), the main course has its own pros and cons. Dal/Khichadi highly recommended!

Ratings

Drinks: 9/10
Ambiance: 10/10
Affordability: 8/10
Food: 7/10
 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HAS it all....india's first juice bar

FEEL HEALTHIER, FITTER & HAPPIER!

That is what the Director os HAS, India's first juice bar claims.

I came across HAS as we casually strolled into the food court of the Brand New Oberoi Mall, Goregaon (East). Completely out of cash, four of my cousins and me managed to buy one large glass of 'Energizing Strawberry' juice.

The juice was a blend of straberry juice, banana juice and orange juice! The banana added texture and volume to the juice, the strawberry added sweetness while the orange gave it a tangy freshness. The juice set us back by about 90 bucks but gave us the most refreshing kick!

There is a wide variety to choose from- juices, smoothies, power shots and boosts- both in classic as well as exotic flavours. All their smoothies are 99% fat free and all the flavours are natural. Their shots and power boosts revitalize the body and help different causes like - increasing stamina, controlling blood pressure, enhancing metabolism, providing essential vitamins etc.

Most of the offerings in the menu are priced in the range of Rs. 50 to Rs. 150. You can check out the complete menu here- http://www.hasjuicebar.com/HAS_Menu.pdf

Their first outlet in Mumbai was in Bandra. I'm unaware about their other branches apart from the Bandra and Goregaon one, but I'm sure HAS will take Mumbaikars by storm and get them high, naturally!

The colour scheme of their outlet is as fresh as their offering - lime green, orange, violet and white! But I wish they could bring the prices down a little bit, but on second thought the quality might suffer and the ingredients might not remain so exotic.

Heavier on the pocket, but amazingly light and refreshing for the body. It tingles all the taste buds!- HAS, has it all!

Drinks: 10/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Affordability: 7/10

PS - I just realized that the colours of my blog theme closely resemble the colours of HAS.

Nando's: the peri-peri magic!

Nando's chicken has a great fan following world over. Just like they cook their chicken on flames, nando's has been spreading like wild fire!This chicken originated in South Africa and it sure has travelled far and wide. Their logo is a cockerel which now stands proudly on five continents.

They opened their first restaurant in India at Inorbit Mall, Malad (East), Mumbai somewhere in the year 2005.Since then they've been spreading their peri-peri magic which is quite evident from the lip-smacking and the smile on the faces of the diners.

After watching a not so memorable movie-Mere Baap Pehle Aap-we contemplated where to eat. We zeroed in on Nando's, after much protests from my aunty and uncle considering it was a Saturday and a no non-veg day in their house.

The restaurant is on the far end of the food-court, right across break talk. It is warmly decorated in reds, browns and beige. The ambiance is relaxed and informal. There are two levels of seating, one overlooking the food-court and the other a little lower.

Each table is laid down with paper table mats that offer fun word games, and spot the not games which one can play while waiting for the meal. The centre of the table holds magic - the peri-peri sauce!

We settled ourselves at a table for four that gave us the view of break talk and a non-obstructive view of the television set on which the India-Pakistan match was in full swing. Chit-chatting noisily - which seemed like the thing to do and not awkward-we finished playing all the games that were there on the table mat.

The menu is divided into starters, breads, meals, drinks and desserts. We did not want to fill our tummy tanks with the most popular dish-flamed chicken in peri-peri sauce and thus decided against ordering any drinks and snacks except one garlic bread. We also ordered two flamed chickens (full) and 5 Portuguese bread as an accompaniment.

The garlic bread was very well flavoured, unlike most garlic bread that you find in India. It was a plain garlic bread but once we dipped it in wild-herd peri-peri sauce and some ketchup, the burst of flavour in the mouth left us gasping.

After waiting for about 20 minutes (you do need to be patient in Nando's, especially on weekends)our order arrived, hot and smoking! We did not bother with table manners and devoured the meat with both hands, dipping juicy chicken pieces in peri-peri sauce or just chewing them plain.

The chicken was roasted to a deep brown. The outer coating was crips, while inside it was just as soft and succulent. The Portugese bread was bun shaped, but a little more coarse. We couldn't get enough of the per-peri sauce. So even after finishing the chicken, we ordered an extra Portugese bread, spiced it up with the magical sauce and let our stomachs literally burst!

They also sell their trade-mark peri-peri sauce in several variations. We purchased a 200ML bottle of wild-herd peri-peri sauce (medium spice) for Rs. 100. The sauce can be used to try and churn out our own per-peri chicken or used in pizzas, sandwiches etc.

The meal for four cost us : Rs. 800 (excl. drinks and dessert)
Flamed chicken (full) seves: 4 people with decent appetites

Service was a little slow and the staff generally seemed little less attentive (or was it because of the cricket match?). Overall the meal was satisfying and delicious! It is expensive for people like me who're students and in perpetual financial crunch, but ask someone with a big heart (my aunty and uncle) to treat you there and yours shall be the world! (for quite a while after you're done eating!)

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 7/10

Live to Eat OR Eat to Live?

If you've met me I'm certain you wouldn't have a doubt about my answer. I do Live to Eat! I know it is important to be fit and all, but you live just once! I do not want to get wiped off this Planet earth without tasting as many Planet foods as I can!

So here I am talking about it, with my co-blogger Vikash! Incidentally we both share alot of common interest from poetry, to singing and music to FOOD!!

Bring on the food!

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