Posts Tagged ‘Ambiance Mall’

Analysis Paralysis at – did you say – Food court!!

December 21, 2009 1 comment


Food courts are a relatively novel concept in India although they have been prevalent abroad. The greatest advantage of a food court is the variety of choice which, to me, is both a boon and a bane. If you don’t have a food fixation, a food court lets you to explore and choose from a large spread, suiting every taste and budget. On the flipside, the smorgasbord of cuisines leave you vexed for choice. In a large group, thrashing out an agreement for a meal menu, pandering to every taste can be gruesome. While it has been a pleasure eating out at food courts, I have found it impossible to achieve a harmonious blend of dishes that complement each other. More often I end up with an incongruous mixture, of items that caught my fancy as I checked out various counters.

The food court at third floor of Ambience Mall is one of the largest in Gurgaon. On weekends the atmosphere is noisy and festive. From the lunch table you can watch a swirling farrago of activity play out like a movie clip – shrieking children on a carousel with kaleidoscopic blinking lights, agitated mothers, starry eyed teenagers, amorous couples, septuagenarians, young, old, high class, middle class, aspiring class, tiffs, shouts, surreptitious glances et al. There are a bewildering array of counters offering anything from burgers, street food, dosa, pizza and kebabs to wraps, noodles, sushi and gelato making it tough to reign in one’s greed.

This weekend we sauntered from counter to counter to finally assemble this totally incompatible mix.

– Slice of stuffed vegetable pizza and a plate of baked potatoes from Sbarro, the Italian counter – Total Rs. 167.00
– Vegetarian combo with noodles, Thai red curry, spring roll and dip from Sala Thai – Total Rs.100.00
– Crispy vegetable wrap and Crispy chicken katsu wrap from Sushiya, the newly opened Japanese counter – Total Rs.145.00
– Tropical Banana Walnut ice cream from Fruzen – Total Rs. 39.00

Stuffed with paneer, sautéed onions and a smattering of tomato puree, the pizza tasted good even though it did not contain any vegetables. I was grateful to Sbarro for providing good quality plastic fork and knife. Crisp and medium spiced, the baked potato was savory too.

The Thai red curry went well with noodles, but had a faint ‘fishy’ whiff enough to put off vegetarians. The spring roll was crunchy. Nothing to write home about, but the combo lived up to our modest expectations.

Sushiya, the Japanese counter had opened only a week back. They had vegetarian sushi priced at Rs.25.00 each.  When I went to the counter to check, the sushi appeared tiny and not particularly appetizing. I struck up a conversation with Benny, the counter manager and found that Sushiya had seven outlets in Delhi already. Founded by Varun Modgil, the chain offered various combinations of sushi including ‘cosmopolitan zed’ (I guess, this meant modified for mass consumption) versions. Wasabi, the pungent accompaniment of sushi was imported by Sushiya from Japan, assured Benny. Anyways, in the end, we took wraps. The vegetarian wrap with large onion chunks and generous vegetable stuffing was delicious. The chicken wrap, with a substantial bulk of katsu (deep fried chicken strips) and salad dressing was also outstanding. It could give a run for your money to KFC Twister any day. Guess I’ll be back for more, sooner than later.

The tropical banana walnut ice cream from Fruzen is one of my personal favourites. I have had it countless times and ennui is yet to strike.

Despite the ludicrous combination, the meal was satisfactory. The food court by juxtaposing the most unlikely cuisines, in my opinion achieves a surrealistic eloquence a la Salvador Dali or Gaudi. Grotesque, bordering on the ridiculous, yet infinitely sublime. Am I going overboard? Happens to me, especially after screwball meals…

Click the link to visit Sushiya: Link
Foodiebay link to Sbarro menu: Link
Foodiebay link to Sala Thai menu: Link

Categories: Gastronomique

Aromas Of China

October 28, 2009 2 comments

As I have indicated before, Gurgaon offers multiplicity of choices for the gastronomically inclined. Most of the restaurants are in the mid to up market range. Those located near office complexes routinely offer buffet lunches at rates hovering near INR 400.00 inclusive of taxes, predominantly to cater to the corporate crowd. Lunching in these restaurants daily is not viable for average income guys like me. But once a month we end up at these watering holes under corporate sponsorship to “foster team SPIRIT”. This time our choice fell on Aromas of China.

The restaurant is located at the farthest end on the third floor food court inside Ambiance Mall. It is spacious and can comfortably sit more that 200 people at a time. There are several circular tables which are ideal for a group of 10. The staff is unobtrusive, courteous and well mannered. We were ushered into a comfortable table as soon as we entered. The table and chair were of the right height and seating was very comfortable.

As usual I sampled only the non-vegetarian section where the buffet menu consisted of Chicken dumplings, Chicken Sumai, Chicken cold meat salad, Spicy chicken Soya coriander thick soup, Soft fried prawns in Hunan sauce, Sliced chicken with pak choy, Sliced lamb in black bean sauce and Yang chow  fried rice among others. That was a lot of choice. I began with chicken dumpling, chicken sumai (another kind of dumpling) and the soup to stoke my appetite. Then I turned to fish fingers and fried prawns before settling on a main course of fried rice with sliced lamb and chicken. The dumplings and soup were superb. Fish fingers were mediocre. The fried rice and sliced chicken were interesting but sliced lamb was disappointing.

Apart from Darsaan (honey noodles) and Date Wonton they had an impressive array of desserts ranging from pineapple soufflé to strawberry pudding and two choices for ice creams along with plenty of cut fruits, marinated apricots and biscuits. As you have guessed by now, it is the desserts that get me going and I sampled them all. I was still gorging on while other patiently waited for me to finish. To be frank, I couldn’t resist a clandestine, pleasurable burp as we left.

The place is worth visiting again but you got to work up sufficient appetite to try it all. It is not strictly gourmet fare, but definitely worth the Rs.400.00 you fork out. On my version of the Michelin star scale, this one scores 8 out of 10. It is definitely en route to culinary nirvana.

Categories: Gastronomique