Monday, January 30, 2006

International Meals - Recommendations!

From notes and from memory ill list a few places i have enjoyed some great meals.

Leicester Square, London
Great mediterranean pastas with good breads, great wine. Must visit especially if the weather outside is non-londonish. Its not very expensive around 12-15 Sterling($18-$20) but a nice place to spend an afternoon with friends.

Knightsbridge, London
A small restaurant but by no means cramped. Great food, big portions, a bit on the home made side of things in terms of style but delicious. A tad expensive ( about 35 quid or US$60) but worth it. Also if you are lucky to go in around the Grand Prix then you are guranteed to run into someone.

Monroe Ave Rochester, NY & Off Cornell campus Syracuse, NY
An all time fav. Meditarranean mix with both sides east and west. You have hummus, chili, baba ganoush & then pastas with goat cheese, sun dried tomatos that would make your eyes pop out of your head. Price was reasonable too all said and done you could be out of there for $20-$25.

Prince Street & SOHO New York City
Sushil took me there a few times fantastic malaysian food, spicy, brothy, with the greatest smelling coconut rice in the world. A tiki style place with some super attractrive servers. Go for a Roti Canai, Penang Satay, Clay Plot midori sour at least once. Damage about $35-$50

Texan Embassy
Cockspur St,( i think) Nearest tube is Piccadilly circus
A cantina style mexican place in a great location and a must stop by.Its a large place with two floors, good atmosphere , quite festive, the food itself is quite decent fare depending on who is in the kitchen. Go for Coronas, chile con queso, dinner salad, chips and guacomole, fajitas. Damage about 20quid (30$)

Beverly Hills Cafe
4000, N 46th Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
My cousin took me there after a night of partying. They have a great bunch of things you can choose from, All american fare, eggs, health food, soups. Go for the loaded potato, spicy peanut vinagirette salad. Rocking!!!! Damage - cant recall, cousin always paid.

Gramercy Tavern
East 20th Street, New York
I met a friend for drinks here and we decided to meet again there for dinner the following day. Although a meat eaters realm more than mine it had some interesting fare like the Portobello tart, Tomato basil salad, potato puree and a vegetable sandwich. Its a bit pricey, Damage was around $50 or so with drinks. I have been told its been voted one of the 50 best restaurants in the world in 2005.

Bon Marche
Yonge Street, Toronto Canada & Villa Marie, Montreal, Quebec
This was a real find. Recommended by my friend Nina Von and then i in turn recommended to my friend Sushil on a trip to Montreal. What a great idea, the restaurant gives you a sheet called passport, you go to different cuisine stalls (open market style) and get your dishes, they then stamp your passport and then you pay at the end. There are diff seating styles too, from fine dining, to bistro, to cafe style. Fantastic place, i have been there on every visit to Toronto and Montreal. Best part was i ate to my hearts content and never could crack the $25 barrier. Only problem is you can spend more time getting food and then you do conversing.

W 56th Street, New York
Went here for my best mates graduation dinner, great indian food. Paneer masala, dal makhani, naans, raita. Oh yeah, this is probably one of the best indian restaurants in the city, i have heard it is inconsistent but it was great the night i was there. The late great John Ritter was holding court the same night as well. Damage i would reckon around $35 a pop.

East 51st Street, New York
A smallish restaurant serving some great indian food, better than you would get in India. Its decorated in a rural indian motif with yellow walls, the food is super tasty, rich and heavy. The paneer, the naan and boatloads of rice. Damage around $25 without drinks.

Don Pablos
Jeffesron St, Rochester, NY
An old college haunt, had some great fun meals here with mates, they have 3 different salsas, margeritas you wouldnt believe, some good refried beans as well. Was cheap too $15-$20. With copious amounts of Dos Equis or Corona.

Borgospresso, Milan, Italy
Wow. Italians know how to enjoy a meal. I spent 2+ hours here just eating by myself. Being a vegetarian they were nice enough to indulge me and make alternatives to the traditional anti pasti meats with cheese and crunchy bread. The food was superlative but it wasnt a meal it was more like an experience. Damage was around $20

Mirabello Piazza
Another great meal, luscious pasta, delectable bread, cheese galore and half a bottle of wine. I dont remember anything else except how sinfully good the meal was. The place is a bit on the trendy side but i was there for lunch cost around $18 or so.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cafe Basilico

Rest :Cafe Basilico
Meal : Lunch
Date : 29/1/2006
Location :high Street Phoenix, Lower Parel
Company : Felix, Genevieve

Experience -Fortunately Felix & Gen were back in town just for the day, it was great to see them, not wanting to do the usual Sunday Brunch (at Not Just Jazz) so we decided a place i hadnt been and that they were familiar with. The service was reasonable, there was no greeter and i had to pick up the menu myself as well as Felix and Gen who picked the silverware themselves. Comepletely unacceptable.

Order - Felix & Gen ordered the Basilico lunch while i went for the potato, garlic soup for the entree i had a baked penne pasta with a red paste of tomato, basil and parmesan. Apple Crumble pie for me and Gen got a mousse cake.

Drinks - Diet Coke for me, Something Mango (Gen of course)

Food : The lunch had a bunch of salads, hummus, baba ganoush, pasta salad, they had entrees as well, spirals in arrabiata, ravioli in white sauce (might have been Alfredo). So it was an appetising spread, they used feta cheese as well, which is the greatest of cheeses. The soup was allright, different, kind of bland, but served hot with a side of onion foccacia bread. Not too bad, but not something i would pick again. The entree was another matter. Fantastic, succulent olive oily taste with the thick spicy paste. very good. recommend it def. The apple pie, was well, i got decieved into buying it because it looked like the heavenly one from Moshe (Moshe Shek is also the ex-partner chef of Basilico) I had a bit of the mousse cake and it wasnt too bad but not great. The side of bread served with the pasta was well, too heavy, id prefer a bread basket where i can choose what i want.
In the end, brilliant in patches, it seems like a place that might have been past its heyday, i hope i am wrong because i will give it another shot soon.

Rating :Food 8/10, Dessert 3/10 Service 6.5/10

Damage : $35(1500)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Spagetti Kitchen

Rest :Spagetti Kitchen
Meal : Dinner
Date : 20/1/2006
Location :high Street Phoenix, Lower Parel
Company : Gautam, Rishab

Experience -It was a spur of the moment decision, we were in the area and left a party early to get some eats and decided that though it was about 10 on Friday night High Street offered the most options for food even if the odd place was full. The service was patchy, they didnt do what was asked, too too long but it was a busy night and they were plenty polite.

Order - Lasagna with mushrooms, cheese, tomato bits, margerita pizza with bits of tomato and parmesan cheese, vodka penne

Drinks - Diet Pepsi, Heineken

Food : impressive. all of it. very good. The lasagna was a strong mushroomy taste, a lot heavier on the palate contrasted with the light, tomato fluffiness of the vodka penne, it melted in your mouth, the sauce seemed kind of bland but it wasnt, it was just so light it took a little effort to enjoy it. The pizza wasnt bad at all, thin crust, with parmesan cheese, excellent taste, parmesan is a great pizza cheese. The bits of tomato added to the bite.

Rating :Food 9/10, Service 6.5/10

Damage : $30(1200)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hidden Treasures - Buddha Bhelwala at Charni Road

Continuing with Hidden treasures again in south bombay in the charni road area adjacent to the street that leads to Hinduja college is the bhelpuri etc wala who we call Buddha (mainly coz my mother used to call him that)
i havent been by there for a while but when we do go by we make it a point to stop by. Its like a covered shack and is almost always crowded in the evenings.

They have the usual menu Pani Puri, Bhel Puri, Dahi puri, Chaat, Samosas, Tikki, Dahi vada and regular bhel along with kanji vadas (im afraid they arent upto the mark) but the rest of it is just fantastic street fare
The strategy is to go for the pani puri, when your spiced out you get a dahi puri next and then you get a chat or aloo tiki to get the fires burning again. At this point you can back to the dahi puri or go for the bhel. You pretty much cant go wrong with anything as long as you dont get kanji vadas (a dislike maybe coz i have had them only at home) Although its best to plan what you eat so you can get the best of the lot in.

its pretty cheap although a bit more expensive then street fare but the quality and taste you get it is a steal.

each item costs about 12-15 rupees so approx damages usually end up being something like 60 ($1.20)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hidden Treasures - Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel

For those of you who happen to pass the High Street Phoenix area in Lower Parel there are a bunch of restaurants within the complex- the ones i have been to Noodle Bar, Bombay Blue (not recommended) Sphagetti Kitchen, Monza McDonalds, Subway and Pizza Hut and Barista.


if you want to eat something with a great taste and instantaneous there is a small roll shack near the main quadrangle (McDonalds side) the shack is located diametrically opposite the Barista. They make a variety of rolls with chicken, veggies, paneer in diff sauces schezuan, satay, peanut with cuisine ranging from Thai, Malaysian, Indian, middle eastern.

The best thing of the lot is the falafal and hummus roll. I was standing near waiting for the car and decided to pick one up and lo & behold what a piece of work. The second best thing i have had off a shack (the best is the lebanese stand outside Brooks Brothers on Madison Ave in NYC for $6.50 you get falafal with hummus, brown rice, hot sauce and a sprite) it tastes almost authentic, ive had diff kinds of humus, this one is traditional and the whole thing just explodes in your mouth with taste. Im thinking of trekking up there for sometime this Sunday and am looking forward to see if it was a fluke.

Drink - Diet Pepsi

Damage - 90($2)

Rating - Thai Roll 6.5/10 Falafal Roll 9/10

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Starters and More

Rest :Starters and More
Meal : Dinner
Date : 18/1/2006
Location :Near Eros Cinema, Churchgate
Company : Sumeet, Bhavesh, Hussein, Brijesh

Experience - We walked in around 9ish and were seated right away. Menus were prompt as was the food. They had a live band playing some fabulous music, so the entertainment was great as was the tennis match on the big screen. the service itself was quite schizophrenic, in and out, prompt at times lost at others.A large number of expats seem to frequent the place, good to see a mix.

Order - French Onion soup, carrots in dip.

Drinks - Diet Pepsi

Food : The schezuan, chips n salsa as well as the beer from the night before had finally caught up with me and i wasnt up for any kinda dinner. So i decided to go light with my soup and carrots n dip. it was a preplanned commitment otherwise i would have cancelled alltogether. Having to look at my bastard friends eat the variety of platters that came in was extremely difficult. The dip was good, kind of tartar saucish, with a tomato tang. The carrots werent too bad, the cucumber was sub par. The French onion soup was great but not big enough in quantity. im looking forward to going back sometime soon.

Rating : Soups 9/10

Damage : unknown (left early)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oriental Blossom

Rest : Oriental Blossom
Meal : Dinner
Date : 17/1/2006
Location :Marine Plaza
Company : Vicky

Experience - We walked in around 9.45 and were seated right away. Menus were prompt as was the food. its a nice, quiet sort of place.

Order - Chicken Spicy Egg soup, Mushroom soup, Crispy bean curd, Crispy schezuan vegetables, three treasure salad.

Drinks - Water

Food : Having just finished a round of multiple beers at Geoffreys downstairs we headed up for food. Not being very hungry we decided to stick to soup and appetizers. My mushroom soup wasnt too bad. I mean they had mushrooms so it cant go wrong. The taste was kind of interesting but i wish it were a bigger bowl, kinda like they have at All Stir Fry. Vicky said his chicken soup was very very good, very different, spicy yet great. The appetizers were allright, the bean curd wasnt too bad but very spicy. The veg schezuan seemed a bit generic, but the three treasure salad was like a two treasure salad. Coz they had some greens in there which werent too attractive.

Rating : Soups 8/10 Food 7/10

Damage : 800 ($16)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hyderabad Blues Part 4 - Last meal in the city

Rest : Minerva
Meal : Lunch
Date : 14/1/2006
Location : Himmat Nagar, Hyderabad
Company : My taxi driver Hasan

Experience - I wanted to go a place which would offer me some South Indian Vegetarian delights. I didnt want to have any Dosa etc so i decided to go for the Thali and see what it would bring.

Order - 2 x South Indian Thalis

Drinks - Sprite

Food : Well it started off with this super small cup of soup with croutons, which was very good and left me wishing it was bigger. It came served with two white pappads. Not a bad start. The thali itself came with one dal, one vegetabl of corn and greenbeans which was dry, one thing i dont know what it was but it was brown and tasty, one sambar, one other dal thing, and another vegetable, cup of yoghurt. Two rotis and and the smallest container you have ever seen containing ghee. there was a Laddu of Boondi for dessrt. Being used to Gujarati thalis in Bombay it was off putting not to get 2 appetizers but it was ok, i could live with it, it was all served in a banana leaf in a plate.
The food was allright, the dal was quite good as was the brown vegetable thing. not bad at all. I was done with the rotis and this guy came with rice, man, HUGE bowl of rice so i took some and i had to use everything that came along with to finish it.

The meal itself was ok, not too bad. Not memorable either though, but it was good clean food i guess and i wouldnt complain. The service was prompt as well.

Rating : Food 7/10 for taste Service 8.4/10

Damage : 160 ($4)

Hyderabad Blues Part 3

Rest : Room Service
Meal : Dinner
Date : 13/1/2006
Location : Best Western Amrutha Castle, Secretariat, Hyderabad
Company : Seinfeld.

Experience - Was around 9.30 when i got back from the hotel. i walked around the neighbourhood to look for something of gastronomic interest. However it is avery downtownish part of town and at that time everyone had packed and gone. There werent that many restaurants nearby and i was tired. So defeated i ordered from the room service menu. The food itself came about 20 mins after i ordered it.

Order : Dal Makhani (Delicious black dal in butter), Naan, Biryani

Drinks : Coke

Food : The moment i saw the food i knew i had overestimated my hunger. But alas! i made the decision and i had to live with it. The Naan was a little rubbery coz i waited for a bit before i sat down. Thats what happens to Naans when you make them wait, quite a tempramental piece of bread that. The Dal was good, i didnt expect much but it was quite good. The Biryani was served with Salan (dunnow what that is) and raita. Both of which were very good, the Salan though very spicy was very rich in taste. The rait was a regular raita with cucumbers and stuff but it wasnt too bad. The Biryani itself, was allright, it was a regular Biryani i would have gotten here as well, so it didnt blow my socks off but it was still allright.

Rating : Food 7/10, Service 7/10
Damage : 260 ($6)

Hyderabad Blues Part 2 Breakfast of Champions

Hyderabad Blues continued. I will still sway from the original format, i had breakfast at my hotel the 4 star, Best Western Amrutha Castle.

Breakfast was a buffet and included in the tarriff. They served an Indian and a Continental section.
From memory the menu was

Baked beans, home style potatos, grilled tomato, toast, cereal, milk, juice (pineapple and cranberry both days)
The indian section was idlis, vadas, paneer paratha, aloo paratha, masala upma.

The food in general was allright, light, well prepared though extremely boring.

Rating : Food 6.5/10, Service 7.5

Hyderabad Blues Part 1 - At the the Taj.

Rest : Taj Krishna
Meal : Lunch, Dinner
Date : 12,13/1/06
Location : The Taj Krishna at Banajara Hills, Hyderabad
Company : Bunch of Delegates

A quick run down away from my usual format. I was in Hyderabad for Animation India 2006 organized by Nasscom. They served lunch on both days and dinner on the first. I dont recall the specifics of each meal but i will try and post a little about what it was like.
First day - Lunch,
i avoided most of it and stuck to the Chinese fare they had which was mostly noodles and some dark sauce stuff. The meal itself was ok.
First day - Dinner
Dont remember
Second Day - Lunch
aah, What a meal. They had a variety of things as usual, paneer in red hot gravy, they had vegetables in something brown, pulao, Naans and god save the King of Italy - an italian section. i avoided the indian fare and stuck to some nice bread rolls and penne in a tomato, olive oil and garlicy concoction. Fantastic, memorable.
Overall - the Taj of course upholds the high standards of service, presentation and management, the meals itself were patchy and produced to appeal to a variety of tastes. not bad at all.
Rating - Ill do an overall rating the food was 7/10 and the service 8.5/10

Monday, January 09, 2006

All Stir Fry

Rest : All Stir Fry
Meal : Lunch
Date : 9/1/2005
Location : Gordon House Hotel behind The Taj Mahal Hotel
Company : Kunal, Parag

Experience : Havent been out to a weekday lunch in ages. My friend Parag was visiting from NY and this was his only day in Bombay so we decided to trek up for some oriental delights and All Stir Fry was the automatic choice.

Order : Well since having tried and enjoyed the Wok that is what we decided to go for.

Drinks : Castle Lager, Rum n Coke

Food :
First bowl : I went for Flat, red udon noodles with Mushrooms, spring onions, bamboo shoots, done in Kung Pao sauce with lots of garlic and peanuts.
Same as last time, quite good. It is the tastiest sauce of the lot, not spicy, not sweet it just has a distinct taste to it and its a good one to go for.
Thin noodles, mushrooms, jalapenos, onions, garlic and peanuts in Mongolian sauce. The bowl wasnt too bad. The sauce is quite distincitve but it is along the lines of Kung Pao but it is redder and slightly spicier, but it dosent have a bite like Schezuan or Devil.
Third & last : I chose, thin noodles, mushrooms, onions in Chili & ginger sauce with chili flakes, garlic and peanuts. Not bad at all. A little different, i tasted the sauce before i ordered it and i was excited but it didnt taste the same, which is sad. It wasnt bad or anything but it was the weakest of the lot for sure.
Overall : I would give the Kung Pao a 9/10, Mongolian 8.9/10, Chili Ginger 8/10, Service 9/10

Damage : 2100 ($50)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cafe Moshe - Sit Down

Cafe Moshe

Rest : Cafe Moshe
Time : Sunday Brunch
Date : Jan8th 2006
Location : Crosswords bookstore, Kemps Corner
Company : Vishal

Experience: Got in around 1ish and got lucky with no crowds a slow sunday it is today. Got our menus almost immediately and the waiter was quite attentive.

Order: Couscous salad with greens, veggies and tomato salad in balsamic, crostini of marinated garlic, mushroom and belt pepper on mozzarella, baked dish of mushrooms, cheese, in a lasagna of sorts, cheese toast. dessert was blueberry cheesecake, apple pie and tiramisu

: ice tea, diet coke

Food: A better opportunity to try out different things today. So we went for the whole hog. The salad was great, the portion medium. As you delved into the salad it had even more tastes come out of it, then when you started. Chick peas, tomatos, couscous, very good. Vishals was good as well, you cant go wrong with balsamic marinade. The cheese toast was nice, melted cheese with some ketchup, perfect. The baked lasagna style lunch item for me was nice, was much bigger than i anticipated but it wasnt as heavy to eat, came with a side of red, brown and blue bread, very good taste, light tomato sauce, sweetish, creamish but still distinctive. The crostini was the same as last time, bloody good, Vishal had more olives and jalapenos put on it so it was a lot more tangy then i remembered. A special mention for the ice-t it was very good, cant say how they did it different, it also had a golden colour different from your dark brown lipton, i think its the sweetening agent they used, might have been honey, a must try.
The dessert was dissapointing. The tiramisu wasnt frothy enough, and usually when you dig deep thats when the taste hits you but it didnt work the same with this. The blueberry cheesecake, was ok, not too bad but still didnt work. Had apple pie take home which was weak as well. The desserts were dissapointing, should have gone for the ricotta cheesecake.

Overall : I would give the Salads 8.9/10, entrees 8.7/10, dessert 4/10 Service 9/10.

Damage : 990 INR ($20)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rampart Row - A foodie street

Rampart Row in Colaba is a foodie paradaise of sorts. For those who dont know where it is have a cabbie take you to Jehangir Art Gallery and then all you have to do is cross the street.

It is quiet peaceful place this with trees on both sides and ample parking space (5INR an hour). It s a slice of old Bombay, as to the right side you have Elphinstone college, Lund&Blockley opticians from early 1900's and the Sassoon library.

The restaurants begin with

Khyber - they serve some authentic indian, north indian food and is a great place to take a mate from abroad. I call it along with Gaylord my white people restaurant :). I take people here to ease into some indian tastes.

Silk Route - Stands on what used to be the much loved Wayside Inn. I dont know much about the food, i got some take out once but it was strictly average and therefore i havent bothered to go back since.

TGIF - The American eatery was average at best. They had some interesting middle eastern food but the prices were unreasonably high and the food was ok. Last i heard they had downed shutters.

Joss - Used to be the Sanuk Thai, then Sanuk Oriental both of which were quite good but i havent been to the latest avatar yet.

Chetna - Read my review of Chetna and beware.

Copper Chimney/Noodle Bar/Bombay Blue - Each is housed in one giant complex with different seating for each. The servie Indian/Oriental/TexMex. You can read my review of Noodle bar on the blog.

So there it is. You get about 9 different restaurants with 4 different cuisines, some good some not so good. But its all within walking distance of each other. If you find one crowded just hop into another one.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shiv Sagar

Rest : Shiv Sagar
Time : Evening
Date : Jan3rd 2006
Location : Kemps Corner
Company : Take out

Experience: Delivered within 20 minutes.

Order :Pav Bhaji, Plain Dosa

: None

Food: Shiv sagar is a typical South Indian run joint. Which means if done well they are consistent, clean, quick and reliable. Shiv sagar is all those things. The dosa was great, crisp, buttery, the sambar was like its been since the 90s. Just right. The pav bhaji(bread, vegetables mish mash cooked spicy a Bombay specialty) was great, not too spicy, enough masala, the bread was nice and buttery. Good stuff overall.

: I would give the food a 9/10 Service 8/10.

Damage : 140 INR ($3.50)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cafe Moshe - Takeout

Rest : Cafe Moshe
Time : Sunday Brunch
Date : Jan1st 2006
Location : Crosswords bookstore, Kemps Corner
Company : Me, myself and i

Experience: Got in around 12 pm the place was not as crowded as it is usually is. I got a table and was immediately given a menu but then i changed my mind and decided to go for a take home.
Order : For lunch a crostini of marinated garlic, mushroom and belt pepper on mozzarella. Additionally i took some dessert a crush apple pie, ricotta cheese cake, strawberry cheese cake. Also some onion foccacia bread and garlic rolls.

Drinks : None

Food: The crostini was fabulous. Looked like a pizza, ate like a pizza but the taste was absolutely heavenly. The marinade was probably balsamic vinegar which gave it a perfectly appropriate taste. The focaccia bread is very very well made, never thought meditarraneans could uses onions this well. In the dessert arena, the cheesecake was great and the apple pie was even better. The strawberry cheesecake was weak, not in the league with the rest of the food.

Overall : I would give the Sandwich 9/10, dessert 8.9/10, 8/10 Service 8/10.

Damage : 372 INR ($8)
Blog Widget by LinkWithin