Goa … In Gurgaon, And Other Food Stuff …

There is a cute little restaurant in the heart of Gurgaon … Bernardo’s … serving reasonably good Goanese food. In fact, for some reason, this time round the food was better than what it has been at other times. We ordered the Roast Prawns, which were nice, and then there were the Fish Croquettes, which though not well done, were delicious, nevertheless … not friend well, though this was made up for by the fresh Fish.

Top that with the Pomfret (they had some kind of Green Masala stuffing the fish), fried, with the Masala stuffing, it is excellent … could actually chew off the tail, too … and the Prawns cooked in Goan Curry, exuding the delicate flavours of the delicate land … definitely something which is worth a try, or two … it makes for a wonderful meal, and the important thing to note is the almost homely ambience, and a price tag, which doesnt make you blink twice when you see the bill.

And then, there is the program on Times NOW called The Foodie, hosted by Kunal. The interesting thing about the program is the variety of food they explore. Yesterday, they were at the Taj Palace, and at the Shangri-La, at Delhi, and there was a wide variety of cooking on sample. What came as a surprise is that the restaurant at the Taj actually serves Phulkas (unless they made it especially for the Foodie team … havent seen too many restaurants do that, actually!). What also surprises me is that there is not a negative word about any of the food which is sampled.

Chicken … Or Not

There is a wonderful restaurant here in Bangalore … Hotel Empire at Church Street (which, by the way, i have no idea how it got the name) is a wonderful place to eat, as you would be able to read from the reviews about the place (incidentally, one of them is written by me). However, there are times when even the best of restaurants can disappoint.

If you try the Dosas there, for instance … they have some really nice ones … there’s Keema Dosa, then there’s Dosa Chicken, and Prawns Dosa … they look delicious, and they taste delicious, too. Only thing, the Chicken in the Dosa Chicken lacks the Chicken … for some reason there’s more bone, and very little real Chicken in the curry, so maybe they should consider renaming the dish.

For my friends who believe i can turn anything to a discussion on KM, for a change i am not doing so, although with my current topic of discussion on “big picture”, it could have been quite easy!

The Weekend …

Between Lunch at the new Italian restaurant in the neighbourhood, and watching a movie … something i just had to write about.

Lunch was at this new restaurant here in Gurgaon … this is named 56, but i am not sure where the name comes from. And i even forgot to ask them where the name (or maybe the number) came from. Well, the Mushroom Soup reminded me of the Chicken Stew which the wife used to feed the big fella (before he was old enough to protest, of course), the Pasta was nothing much to write home about, though the Seafood was quite delicious! The place seems like they decided to put a roof on the passage between two buildings, though the end result seems to be quite nice … but they sure charge you a bomb.

Coming to the movie … as sequels go, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor doesnt come close to the originals … The Mummy, The Mummy Returns … Though the effects are awesome, i was still missing the original. The rule of the sequels again?

Our Place, Banjara Hill

This place is not necessarily easy to find. If you drive down Road No. 10, Banjara Hill, you would have to be careful to not miss the lane which goes uphill to the restaurant which goes by the name of Our Place.

I was getting in touch with Rajesh da after a few years. He suggested the place and I was not too particular. And this brought us here. I was pleasantly surprised by the place. Driving up, the first thing you see is the beautiful vintage car which greets you. The façade is nicely done. The entrance, Homage to Lord Ganesha … Passageway which is quite elegant. Probably one of the most elegantly designed restaurants I have been to. The only thing is that they failed to appreciate the fact that you will let go of some space in circular enclosures.
Coming to the food … The service is reasonably good, but I guess that’s probably because we were in a leisurely mood. The Prawns were good, though the Golden Fry doesn’t do justice to them. While the Fish Tikka had good, fresh Fish, and the marinade for the tikkas adds a wonderful touch to the taste, derived no doubt from the kitchens of Hyderabad. And topping this up with Fig and Honey Ice Cream is a really cool way to wrap up Lunch on a rainy Hyderabad afternoon.

Eating Out In Kolkata … 1

It has been said about Calcutta that the city is an epicurean delight. And, rightly so. Here is a bit about my experience over the last few days. Of course, this doesn’t even come close to the wide variety of experiences you can have in the city, but has to do, for starters. Which means, of course, that you can expect more to follow …

This time round, I decided to go to a restaurant where, for some reason or the other, I have never been to before … Flavours of China … Ok, so its not some reason or the other, its just one reason … Peter Cat! Simple … whenever I go to Park Street, the overwhelming urge to tuck into those Chelo Kababs is enough to overcome the urge to explore. Well, at least nine times out of ten.

The restaurant is everything a Chinese restaurant should be. First of all, its on Park Street, so it scores over Tong Fung, or Jimmy’s Kitchen, which in turn score over Mainland China (though, as i have written earlier, the food at Mainland China is wonderful) in terms of location. Ok ok, that’s about the only thing, though. The food is definitely good, though I don’t think this can match up to the iconic status of Jimmy’s Kitchen. Or, the Soups at Tong Fung … Though, given a choice, I would much rather be here than at Mainland China. This is not to say that Mainland China is lacking, but something about Flavours of China which could attract you there.

Since there were four of us, we were more open to experimenting. The reason being that even if the experiment bombs, someone will be there to help you mop up the pieces. So, we began with the Mixed Meat Fried Rice … Quite nice. Accompanying the Rice was the Hunan Chicken, the Shredded Chicken Chilli Garlic, and Fish Chilli Wine.

The Rice is nice, and something which one should definitely try. The Shredded Chicken Chilli Garlic is quite interesting … they put in crunchy sprouts in the shredded Chicken, giving a crunchy feel to the dish, in addition to the mildly spiced Chicken, which is quite nice. The Hunan Chicken is cooked in Wine Sauce, as is the Fish Chilli Wine … The sauce was quite similar, though on the whole, both of them are worth trying. Mildly spiced, they don’t have the spices standing out, yet you can find chilli flakes in the sauce, adding to the flavour of the wine sauce.
The ambience is not authentic Chinese, as is the food not authentic Chinese either, thankfully, considering that if there is one reason we are able to eat Chinese food, its because of the Calcutta (or Punjab, depending on your viewpoint) influence. The bar is tastefully presented, though nothing much to write home about. Besides, since I was here for Lunch on a working day, I wasn’t indulging. Though the bar does blend nicely into the ambience.

Another restaurant which I decided to eat at, is another old favourite (one of my favourites in the neighbourhood, in fact), that is Eats n Treats. Not much to write home about, the ambience is reasonably well done, not great, and not bad, the lighting is dim, which is nice, though the service leaves a lot to be desired. When here, one must not leave without trying the Fish Punjabi, which is like a Zeeshan or Siraj version of a Punjabi curry, and is something which leaves a wonderful flavour, the Fish is fresh, and the curry is very good. Another must try is the Mutton, or for the faint-hearted, the Chicken Rizala … the Rizala, as we all know, is the contribution of amader Kolkata to the world, and Eats n Treats makes this as good as any reasonably good restaurant in the city. Must have, something you would really like. The Daal Makhani is not much to write home about, though.

So this was about the last two days, and the places I went around eating at. And more to follow …

Mainland China, Kolkata …

Dinner at Mainland China at Kolkata … And though I haven’t been to their establishments in other cities (given a choice i much prefer Daal Makhani!) here in Kolkata, the restaurant is not really shining in the service. The gent serving our table was quite good … He actually advised us against ordering the larger portion. Which is quite pleasant I must say …

The issue … The time it took to get the Soup. If you order Vegetable Sweet Corn Soup …and this is basic, and it takes half an hour and then some more for Crispy Chilly Babycorn, they need to do something about it I guess. Though they needed to be reminded to clear the plates, refilling the glasses … Its only Water, guys!

Coming to the core of the matter … The food still has it. Whether the Soup or the Babycorn, they were both delicious. And then the long wait for the main course … in keeping with the starters, the main course didn’t disappoint, in the time it took them to come to the table … though the Crackling Spinach, the Sitake Mushroom Golden Onion Fried Rice, the Prawn Hakka Noodles, and the Sizzling Fish Green Onion were every bit as delicious as they have ever been, and as good as anywhere else you might go out to eat.

And, they even gave us complimentary Ice-Cream (to make up for the wait?), though the ice-cream bowls had some strange green colouration, which were told was Khus syrup … it seems they use Khus syrup at the bar, but then, what were Ice-Cream bowls doing there, even though the flavour was Butterscotch …

Hyderabadi Biryani … in Bangalore

I am currently at Bangalore … and, the team went out for Lunch today. We went to … guess … Hyderabad House. Hyderabadi Biryani in the heart of Bangalore. And, every bit one of the best Biryanis i have ever had. I took the Mutton Biryani, and not only was the Biryani very well done, the Mutton was just right … tender, juicy, and amply immersed in the spices.

Spices reminds me … the Biryani was spicy. In true Hyderabad style, the spices were subtle, but at the same time, effective, if you know what i mean. Friends tell me … There is a Double Masala Biryani … one which is enough to have you smoking with the spices they put in there. Every bit worth the wait (you better make sure you reach there before 1 pm on weekdays, if you dont want to wait for half an hour). And definitely, worth repeat visits (this was my fourth!).