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Surviving Brix

February 25, 2010 3 comments

The concrete and glass jungle of DLF Cybercity harbours several species of restaurants – Punjabi, Continental, Chinese, Sushi, what not. Most of them dwell on the ground floor and cater primarily to the crowd within the campus. Parking here is in short supply. Without a DLF parking sticker, a close encounter with one these restaurants is virtually out of bounds, unless you decide to trudge it all the way.

Brix, a relatively new entrant in this overcrowded territory is strategically located at the courtyard adjacent to building 10B; its prominent gold emblem begging attention as you saunter by. Inside, the coffee and forest green decor is soothing and sedentary. A large wooden barrel topped with a gramophone welcomes you as you walk in. Wrought iron lamp posts, plush green sofas, high backed mahogany coloured tables and chairs, black and white sails on the ceiling, a double sided clock – the kind you find in railway stations, wooden floor and paneling and  exposed brick rear wall, these lend the place a somber grandeur. Rhythmic thump from a cordoned off Pioneer music system standing next to the bar accentuates the indolent atmosphere.

We sit facing framed photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Michael Jackson. The relationship between the pictures, apart from the aesthetics, is ambiguous aside from the fact that they are all dead. An existentialist twist, perhaps. Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley adore other walls. A few tables are occupied. Waiters in black, white and pinstripes flit about. The service is brisk.

Honey chilly potatoes, Hara Kebab, Chilly Chicken and Mutton Seekh Kebab arrive and depart cradled in stylish tableware – a perpetual cycle till we get ready for main course. We wait in queue for the buffet offering of Dal Makhani, Paneer Lababdar, Rogan Josh, Murg Makhni and Penne Pasta. Vanilla ice cream, Gulab Jamun and Darsaan wraps up our lunch.

Will I visit Brix again? Unlikely. Guess it is a matter of priorities. If I were a love struck Romeo seeking a cozy dark corner to serenade my Juliet sans interference, Brix would be my top choice. Or if I were a clueless foreigner who couldn’t distinguish between Gulab Jamun and a plum, I would relish Brix. I am neither. To me it is always a matter of taste. On that front Brix barely rise above the average.

In the increasingly competitive restaurant space of Gurgaon, the fittest to survive would be the ones that court taste buds more than the ambience. As Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s put it “It all comes back to the basic. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back”. Brix, hope you are listening…

Brix
Upper Ground Floor, Building 10-B,Dlf Cyber City, DLF Phase – 2, Gurgaon – 122002
Contact: 0124-4366020

Foodiebay Brix Menu: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Yumz – Ragbag Mediocrity

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Walk boldly into this vividly dichromatic world on the darker side of the spectrum – bright red sofas and chairs, jet black walls and ceiling – even the air conditioners are painted black, a mirror studded orb cast fuzzy oblong patterns in a corner, red n white checkered table cloth spread over black table covers, waiters split in half – black till the torso, bright red waist up, a mirrored wall on one side flip this deeply contrasted world into eternity where fragmented reflections stare back at you. In the LCD screen on the rear wall Nigella Lawson mutely follows Kylie Kwong while high decibel crooning of Madonna and Michael Jackson drive you to distraction. Welcome to the scarlet-black never-land of Yumz!

This intersection and overlap of discordant themes is further amplified by the restaurant menu which features Indian, Continental, Chinese, Mexican and Italian in an overarching ambition to shrink-wrap an entire food-court within its narrow confines.

As soon as we sit down and soak in this eerie ambience the waiter is at our elbow to take order. Our Chicken Shorba arrives piping hot and leave a pleasant lingering taste. The Boti Kebab (barbecued boneless lamb chunks tossed Yumz style) that follows is commonplace.  Swallowing mounting skepticism we order Chicken Goli Mirch recommended by the waiter. This work of art with generous lumps of chicken immersed in creamy uninspiring gravy dominated by the flavour of ground black pepper does precious little to salvage the rapidly deteriorating impression. By the time we finish the meal I do not have much faith left in the Yumz way of churning out grub.

On the brighter side, the service was efficient, the staff solicitous and attentive. The portions were substantial. Price – quite reasonable. Quality of chicken and lamb used in the dishes were excellent. However, the Yumz way of cooking was appalling despite the best ingredients. In my opinion, the attempt to be the jack of all trades turned the restaurant into master in none! Of course I admit that such limited sampling of the menu is inadequate to make sweeping judgments. Yet, I cannot help feeling that Yumz food lack character, the vital ingredient that draws returning customers. After all one cannot be everything to everyone and still remain something special.
Chicken Shorba – Rs. 65.00
Boti Kebab – Rs. 170.00
Chicken Goli Mirch – Rs. 190.00 (Half)
Tandoori Roti Rs.4.00 each

Yumz
H 8 – 9, Qutub Plaza
DLF Phse 1, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4275511, 3017789, 9873431314
Foodiebay Yumz Menu: Click Here
Web:
www.yumzmeal.com
Home delivery available within 3 KM
Accepts Ticket Restaurant coupons

Categories: Gastronomique

The Snow Leopard – A Zen Meditation

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Just finished reading The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen.

In this epic journey Matthiessen accompany biologist George Schaller to Crystal Mountain in the Inner Dolpo region of Nepal to examine the behaviour of Bharal (blue sheep) during oestrus. It is as much a journey through Himalayas as an inner quest, a pilgrimage as well as a scientific expedition. Matthiessen never actually sights a Snow Leopard, but has to content with numerous pug marks. But the experience and the narrative are spellbinding.

I read a large part of the book in fragments while travelling, though the last 100 pages or so I finished in a near single sitting.

The grueling trek across a frozen wasteland, surmounting high passes, braving blizzards and crossing murderous torrents along valleys and summits of the Himalayas; the Sherpa’s and porters, yak herds, Lamas, the monasteries and Gompas, fluttering prayer flags, the reverberations of Om Mani Padme Hum, occasional references toYeti, the stalking of blue sheep, the birds, beasts and men that he meets along the way – all of it makes compelling reading. The ice crested pinnacles and falling snow vividly coloured my imagination as I walked the trail along with the author. The inner peace and the sense of being one with nature and the scheme of things that comes to Matthiessen permeated me too. I regretted his return to civilization at the end of the expedition as much as Matthiessen.

The book is semi-autobiographical with many references to his children and deceased wife. There are several allusions to Buddhism, its history and practice which demands reflective reading. To me the book  is definitely among the ones that have touched an inner chord. I guess I’ll return to it again and again. 

Most recommended.

 

Categories: Bibliophilia

Gurgaon Potpourri

February 6, 2010 3 comments

Kishti

The restaurant menu was loquacious over Kashmir.
It explained Kishti as “flat-bottomed boat or light skiff used for quick transport over the waterways in Kashmir”.
The lengthy menu preamble was encyclopaedic:
“When Timur invaded India in the 15th century he unknowingly introduced to the country a cuisine that is perhaps unrivalled in the world – Wazwaan. For the first time ever, the exotic treasury of secret recipes from the renowned family of Wazwa – the master chefs of Kashmir – are made available to all those who love the cuisine of the beautiful valley. The preparation is considered an art and is traditionally done by a Vasta Wazwa, or head chef, with the assistance of a court of Wazwas, or chefs. The Waswaan is most often prepared for a big event, especially marriages. Guests are grouped into four for serving of the Wazwaan“.

With all that eloquence, my expectations soared, but fell flat in the face of incompetent service.

The restaurant was a 30 seater on one of the labyrinths of Qutub Plaza. Not really spacious; one harried waiter served all tables.

Our starter – Rista Kanti, hand pounded mutton balls shallow fried with fresh onion and spices -arrived after an interminable wait which made me wonder if the Wazwas were chasing goats out there for their balls. It eventually appeared drenched in oil and sinfully tasty. The meat had a crunchy-chewy feel marvellously augmented by supple sweet onions. My rating index which was scraping the bottom till then went up several notches.

However, our main course proved a near disaster. Roti with Lal Maas. A sudden bout of sheer stupidity made me order it, a Kishti chef speciality according to the menu. I fell for the descriptive flair – fiery hot Rajasthani meat stew gently simmered in a red chilly & spices paste, finished with desi ghee and ginger. Whoever wrote it had copious imagination and considerable genius for writing. The Lal Maas when it came was hot and fiery for sure, almost sanguinary, with thick gravy – all onion and tomato and every spice on earth; with an extra measure of salt thrown in as bonus. The mutton pieces were disappointing too. Whenever I order a mutton dish I am prepared for bones. But this one was all bones and very little meat. Clearly we were devouring the leftovers of a hunt. Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I should not have ordered a Rajasthani dish at a Kashmiri restaurant.

It is not all doom and gloom though. The silver lining is that the restaurant’s Kashmiri oeuvre definitely passes muster. But for the clumsy service, Kishti is a decent restaurant by our standards. By all means check it out. But stick to their Kashmiri fare. Core competency – see what I mean. Never stick out your neck and try the others. Or else…

Rista Kanti – Rs.165.00
Lal Maas – Rs. 230.00 ($$$)
Plain Roti – Rs.7.00 each

Kishti
H-10, Qutub Plaza Market
DLF Phase – I, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4051991, 3020044, 3020045, 9311879607, 9310152559
Free Home Delivery Available

Kishti Foodiebay Menu: Click Here

Pind Balluchi

Pind Balluchi (see my earlier post) has an outlet within the concrete canyons of DLF Cybercity, underneath building no. 9A, opposite Mainland China. Rustic setting, earthen walls decorated with Rangoli, strategically placed musical paraphernalia – Ektara, Dhol, Tabla and flute, a corner decked in bangles, a giant plastic tree reigning over the floor, an open air Tandoor, brass studded king size chairs and tables… Inside a glass bell jar electric arcs jab a bottle of Kingfisher Premium lager beer.

Service is prompt. Much rush at noon time. To be on safer side better book a table in advance if there is a large group. But I guess one can walk in and find an empty table or two any day if you reach early.

Be sure to check out these delicacies:
Murg Malai Tikka – Succulent, drool some… (Rs. 160.00 – Six pieces)
Mushroom Kurkure – My concession to veggies. Yet Outstanding!!! (Rs.150.00 – Six pieces)
(Ever watched Inspector Clouseau’s (Steve Martin) first encounter with a hamburger in Pink Panther (2006)? This is close!)
Dahi Kebab – Finger licking good… (Rs.120.00)
Mutton Kheema Masala – Passable (Rs.180.00)
Chicken Biriyani, served in a clay pot – Passable (Rs.180.00)

Pind Balluchi
Contact: 0124-4218880
Address: Ground Floor, Building No. 9A, DLF Cybercity, Gurgaon

Pind Balluchi  Foodiebay Menu: Click Here

 

Apni Rasoi
This one is a little way from the DLF Cybercity office complex, but well worth dodging all those rushing cars, flying spittle and billowing dust if you are intent on a healthy vegetarian meal.

Located in one of the by lanes of Sector-31, the Rasoi is popular among locals and the singles.

Mud walls, bamboo screens, thatched roof…

Spacious, airy and clean, this place with no pretensions dish out excellent North Indian fare and very good Thali’s. It cast a vegetarian spell on a hardcore non-vegetarian like me. Even though the seating capacity is fairly large evenings here can be crowded. So be sure to reach early…

Special Thali (Dal, Paneer dish, Sabzi, Raita, Papad, sweet, rice, 4 Tawa Roti’, salad) – Rs. 70.00 (Value for money!!)

Apni Rasoi
Contact: 0124-2566088, 9873111724, 9716008892
Address: U-71/4, DLF Phase-III, Gurgaon
Accepts Ticket restaurant and Sodex Pass coupons as well.
Home delivery available.

Apni Rasoi  Foodiebay Menu: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Reinventing Innovation!!

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

You are about to witness dire necessity and the power of lateral thinking in hilarious fusion!

Einstein – your creativity pales against this genius… This is the mother of all innovations… Do you hear God’s Last Sigh!!! Look Down….

Categories: Musings

National Anthem

February 5, 2010 1 comment

Saif Ali Khan was awarded Padma Shri.
This created a furore.
An agonized Bal Thakeray penned the epic ‘Padma Ghotala’
Taporifying Saif,
Unalloyed jealousy I would say
Bishnoi’s staged a protest
Didn’t understand what for..
The nation debated for a while
And lost interest
If Obama can win the Nobel, then
Saif might as well keep the Padma Shree
Tit for Tat…
Salman Khan and Rakhi Sawant will have to wait till
Next year, sad to say..

And Shah Rukh Khan?
Oh, he has his cup full..
With Shiv Sena baying for his blood..
The entire clan is out
Fangs bared, claws extended
Tigers on rampage
Burning posters and effigies
That’s all they are capable of
Paper tigers, burning bright…
Setting fire to buses
Making life miserable
On the streets of Mumbai
Reasserting their claim to
Being the real tapori’s
The real idiots
A senile man and two jerks
Screwing up lives
Fragmenting a nation forged out of non violence and suffering
Through their divisive politics
And mindless violence
Speak Marathi if you want to live here, they yell
What for?
Language is for communication
Why stuff it down our throats
But they slap, they coerce,
They rip off our clothes
The police, impotent
Standby and watch the fun
No law to shackle the goons
No will to restrain
Treating these thugs with kid gloves
Sterility masquerading as legendary tolerance!

Narendra Modi
The author of “My experiments with carnage”
Believes that politics
Is the means to alleviate poverty
So we are told
By none other than Nitin Gadkari
The BJP president
It seems Gandhiji believed it too…
Reflected glory
Or the meeting of Titans?
Great minds think alike! [Chorus]
Modi is a man of many faces
We have seen but a few…
The revelation…
The saintly incarnation..
The angel in the demon..
The true Avataar..
It might soon come to pass
Meanwhile
Let us suspend disbelief
And wipe off that silly smirk…

Categories: Musings