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Posts Tagged ‘gurgaon restaurants’

A Culinary Omnium Gatherum

May 21, 2010 2 comments

Last weekend, driven by the relentless summer heat, we sought refuge in various restaurants and food courts. There wasn’t much else we could do. Movies? well, there weren’t many we cared to watch. Travelling was out of question. Half the population of Delhi was making a beeline for the mountains during weekends. Flight tickets were expensive. Reservation was not available in trains. Hotel rooms were at a premium. Stranded in the city, all we could think as a means of entertainment was eating.

Driving you crazy with their noodles

Crazy Noodles at the Galleria was the first on our circuit. The shapeless and squiggly structure of the restaurant seemed inspired by an amoeba. Its funky, ultra modern interior was done up in pale pink, pastel green and pitch black. Splodgy tables, chairs and sofas followed the amorphous contours of the transparent plexiglass wall through which outside world gaped at the dining chatterati.

The weirdness of the restaurant was not limited to the facade or flashy ambience. It was manifest in the waiter’s attire, the service and the cutlery. The moment we were seated, our waiter tossed two convex bottomed glasses on the table filling water in them with dramatic flourish. The pendular motion of the glasses kept us in perpetual suspense of a spill for the rest of the dinner. Later he brought two tablets inscribed “CRAZY” in a small bowl asking us to dip them in water. Before our astounded eyes the tablets pulled themselves erect into wet wipes. The erotic symbolism of this phallic miracle was not entirely lost on us as we shyly unfurled the wipe and applied it to our face and hands.  A circular menu exhibiting some measure of order and symmetry succeeded the wipe episode announcing temporary respite from miracles.

After painstaking debate and some enlightening (and pricey) suggestions from our table attendant we chose

1. Vietnamese Paper Rolls (Veg)
2. Veg Thukpa
3. Mint Caprioska
4. Lychee Chill

Our post order vigil and covert surveillance of other patrons was interrupted by the waiter who didn’t want to stop at indulging our taste buds; he intended to provide us some intellectual nourishment as well. We were enticed into grappling with a puzzle by the promise of an extra drink if we solved it. Meanwhile the paper rolls and the drinks made their appearance. Despite a surfeit of crushed ice, the Mint Caprioska retained the taste of mint, basil and lemon. Lychee Chill was sugary sweet and not quite appealing. The rolls, glass noodles, peanuts and basil leaves wrapped in thin rice paper, tasted delicate.

We declined the promised drink and asked for more puzzles and ended up solving all four they had while distractedly supping delicious Thukpa from voluminous bowls. We went on to order a plate of vegetable Dimsum and the signature dessert of the restaurant – chocolate money bags. The Dimsum was okay while the dessert was more memorable for the ice-cream scoops than the miniscule chocolate bags.

Personally I prefer quiet dining environs devoid of razzmatazz and gimmickry. But, I wouldn’t mind a rerun of this joint for the wonderful food they serve. The drinks and the money bag dessert are, in my opinion, dough down the drain. But the rest are definitely worth it, for the taste and the enormous proportions as well.

CRAZY NOODLES
TRAK SERVICES PVT. LTD.
R-003, GALLERIA, DLF PHASE IV
GURGAON
Contact: 0124-4255758

Gastronomics
Vietnamese Paper Rolls (Veg) – Rs.125.00
Veg Thukpa – Rs.150.00
Mint Caprioska – Rs.85.00
Lychee Chill – Rs.85.00
Veg Dimsum – Rs.95.00
Chocolate Money Bags – Rs.125.00
The Detestables – VAT 12.5%, Service Charge – 7.5%, VAT Surcharge

Opinion: Avoid the drinks. They are expensive. Besides, most of them are piles of crushed ice topped with the flavouring concoction. I have been told that the banana milk shake is the only good drink.

Crazy Noodles menu at Foodiebay: Not available at the time of writing this post

Ikays – Buffet Ambush

This was a golden honey trap. The Rs.225.00 + taxes buffet was the lure. And we fell for it.

Inside the restaurant it was green and gloom all over. Monster.com green, tropical rain forest green, Greenpeace green. Chairs, sofas, walls, pillars, uniforms of the staff – green, green, green. Jewel studded imitation Mughal jugs and bowls mocked us from wall niches. Feng Shui bamboo vases and laughing monks lend much needed astrological support to this tardy restaurant.

The buffet? well, I have seen much better buffets. It was not totally hopeless as far as a vegetarian was concerned. My non-vegetarian soul sank to the deepest depths of misery at the sight of the sole unappetizing bowl of butter chicken. To give the restaurant its due, I should admit that they had a reasonable array of standard salad items and some vegetarian dishes were tasty. But somehow, with such minimal non vegetarian fare and with just one dessert, it didn’t seem quite worth it. For another 30 bucks, Bawarchi offered a far better deal.

What surprised us most was a rave review of the restaurant being telecast on TV – on CNEB Channel – while we were dining. The restaurant staff (including the distinguished chef whose culinary expertise on Mushroom Kurkure was being showcased) were all busy watching and recording the show on their mobile phones. That was not all. A large framed certificate from TIMES Research (????!!!!!!!) rating Ikays as the best multi-cuisine restaurant in Gurgaon hung prominently on the wall. If the buffet was any indication, the quality of food that come out of the kitchen was no great shakes, mediocre at best. Same for the service. TIMES Research seems to have done a pretty shoddy business of their researching as far as I could tell.

My sincerest advice to prospective patrons of Ikays is to give it a skip and try the DLF Mega Mall food court instead, if you really care for the “Joy of Eating”.

IKAYS (“Misery of Eating”)
Multi-cuisine Restaurant & Bar
2nd Floor, DT Mega Mall, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4278640, 9971695958

Ikays menu and reviews at Foodiebay: Click Here

DLF Megamall Foodcourt – 3rd Floor

Mann Salva – Excellent Kebabs.
I have tried the Boti Kebab (6 pieces of boneless mutton) with a Rumali Roti. Rs.176.00 including taxes. Worth every rupee. Mann Salva is one of the surviving members of the original cast of counters that made up this food court.

Contact: 0124-4051200 for delivery

Mann Salva menu at Foodiebay: Click Here

There is of course McDonalds and Subway and homely food at Sip n Bite. Bamboo Dynasty has some okay soups. The Excess Chocolate Cake at Lavazza is worth trying. It is not too sweet. (Rs.84.00 inclusive of taxes)

Bamboo Dynasty
Contact: 0124-4114163

Categories: Gastronomique

Something sure smells FISHY here…

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

As usual, finding a place for dinner that suited everyone’s preferences was a dilemma. After trawling through Foodiebay we finally decided upon Swagath. It wasn’t too far from home and fairly out of way of rush hour traffic. When we reached around 7.15 PM parking was still available in the small space in front. Most tables were occupied by late evening office party crowd interspersed by a scattering of families. The restaurant was quite spacious; more than 100 covers for sure. Dark brown slats segmented the space while modern art, large and small, relieved the uniform beige decor that shrouded the walls, tables and chairs and even sneaked into the uniform of waiters.

Our table which stood bang in front of the bar offered a clear view through a swing door to the restaurant innards. The serving brigade comprising captains in black suits, waiters and busboys in beige n white and cleaning staff in green bustled about us. A procession of dishes piled with interesting stuff (that made me drool, needless to say) issued forth from the kitchen and made their way to various tables; to be scrutinized, commented upon, piled into plates, scooped into mouths, smelled, tasted, chewed, swallowed and eventually digested. From the bar came the clink of countless bottles of Kingfisher beer. The parade of tall glasses filled with enticing pink and green liquid topped with lemon and cocktail umbrella commenced their journey from the bar counter, meandered among the tables, caught the attention, elicited the admiration and excited desire of many before finally disappearing down thirsty gullets clamoring to be quenched.

The menu offered umpteen choice of vernacular cuisine – Manglorean, Malabari, Sawantwadi, Konkan, Chettinad – most of which featured fish, prawns and lobster; a dream come true for a fish  fanatic like me. The trouble was matching the menu to our budget. We pondered a bit and finally placed an order for Tomato Soup, Surmai Fry, Fish Biriyani, Neer Dosa and Veg Gassi.

Soup didn’t take long in coming and was drained in fraction of a second. We watched expectantly each time the swing door opened and a waiter emerged carrying yet another pile of mouthwatering food. The passive act of observing this kaleidoscopic tableau of food and drinks actively worked up our appetite. Our stomachs were screaming at the top of their voice by the time the food arrived. Surmai fry had a large centre portion of fish almost occupying the entire plate; succulent pieces of fish buried under a substantial heap of orange and brown Basmati rice constituted the Fish Biriyani. Infusion of turmeric and red chilly marinade gave the fish fry a distinctive taste as we chewed though the white fibrous flesh. The taste and odour of fish dominated the Biriyani, overpowering the flavour of spices. The plate of Neer Dosa had four tender rice n coconut milk Dosa’s that went wonderfully with the thick brown gravy of Veg Gassi.

Our collective sigh of satisfaction as we scraped the last bit of Biriyani and Neer Dosa out of the plate was proof of a thoroughly enjoyed evening (to be soon spoilt by a whopping bill).

Swagath
Plot No. 16-17, Sector – 29, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4760600, 4760601

Website: http://www.swagath.in/
Cuisine: Mughlai, Chinese, South Indian
Free home delivery available

Gastronomics
Cream of Tomato soup – Rs.105.00
Surmai Fry – Rs.275.00
Fish Biriyani – Rs.405.00
Veg Gassi – Rs.155.00
Plate of Neer Dosa – Rs.100.00 (4 Dosa’s per plate)
The tax guillotine: VAT – 12.5%, Service Charge – 10%, Service Tax – 12.5%, Surcharge – 5%, SCH – 5% (god knows what this one is!!)
BORN FREE, TAXED TO DEATH!!! (so goes my Tantra T-shirt logo!!!)

Rating
Ambience – 7/10, No great shakes. The place is roomy and clean
Service – 7/10, Considering the rush, a few lapses here and there are pardonable.
Food – 8/10, Taste is better than average. I really appreciate the variety on offer.
Overall – 7/10, Pretty good. Worth a visit.

Swagath Menu at Foodiebay: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Buffet Largesse

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

 

Plenty of restaurants in Gurgaon offer buffet lunches on weekdays. But if you are looking for a reasonably priced buffet dinner or a weekend buffet lunch, Bawarchi is probably the only answer. For Rs.289.00 inclusive of taxes, the restaurant provides a decent dining experience.

Bawarchi is located on the second floor of a three story building dwarfed by the vertiginous concrete expanse of DLF Belaire luxury apartment complex, in a small lane off golf course road. A Pipal tree and a tiny, makeshift shrine beside the ground floor entrance dispense divine benediction all around. Inside the restaurant, dark furniture, muted light and a wickerwork ceiling convey the impression of a solar eclipse in progress. Blood red translucent glasses accentuate the gloom. On the wall are Thai dancers in plaster relief. A wine rack, strategically placed facing the door, dispel any doubts of alcohol availability. Through a glass window on the far side white toques of chefs waver through wisps of smoke rising from Tandoors. Flickering light from a wall mounted LCD panel cast a ghostly spark in our eyes.

The buffet comes with a complimentary drink – choice of mock tails, soft drinks or a bottle of beer. We settle for bright yellow fruit punch delivered in a fluted glass. The unremitting flow of starters – Paneer Tikka, Dry Veg Manchurian, Murg Malai Kebab, Chilly Chicken, Tandoori Chicken – soon have us satiated. Yet we manage to cram in some Kaen Kai, Rogan Josh and Murg Kadaiwala with Roti and Sada Chawal. Phirni, Kesar Kheer and Gulab Jamun also somehow find a place in our increasingly bulging bellies.

Overall, buffet at Bawarchi is a great bargain. The dishes are unambitious, yet tasty; quantity copious; the staff attentive and courteous and the ambience easy on the eye.

Handy tip – work up an appetite before you plan to visit.

Bawarchi Indian Restaurant
Amilal & Sons Building
2nd Floor, Golf Course Road
Opp. IBIS Hotel
DLF Phase V, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-2396101, 102, 9958077798
Website: Click Here

Foodienomics
Buffet: Rs.289.00 (inclusive of taxes)

Rating
Food: 6/10
Ambience: 6/10
Service: 7/10
Overall : 6/10
Comment: Great value for money

Bawarchi Menu on Foodiebay: Click Here

Photo Courtesy: V P Vinod

Categories: Gastronomique

Oriental Heat

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Back from a brief sabbatical! Been travelling, resting and recuperating – generally lazing around, to be frank.

Summer has really caught on, stinging eyes and skin with a million acupuncture needles. We put on sunglasses and apply a generous coat of sunscreen before stepping out into the furnace blaze.

At Centre Point, cars were parked crookedly under every tree. Fortunately someone backed out and we eagerly grabbed the slot. Under a striped red and white awning, the entrance to Red Hot Cafe was guarded by swaying potted plants. The restaurant name was spelt “Rred” instead of Red, a numerological influence probably, or did it signal the spiciness of the fare? We slunk in and found a comfortable corner table. The restaurant was shaped like a horseshoe with one entrance from outside and another from atrium. The vista outside the restaurant window was gashed diagonally by the Metro line below which trees careened in the hot summer breeze, a washed-out blue sky shone starkly lambent above it. Framed charcoal embossing of Balinese dancers and musicians adorned yellow walls. Horizontally striped burgundy colour table mats dangled over granite textured fiber top tables.

We spent some time poring over the exotic names and descriptions in the menu before deciding upon soup, starter and a Thai noodle main course. The milky white canvas of Tom Kha veg soup was streaked with pastel green strokes of coriander stems. This aromatic soup with strong flavours of lemon, galangal and coconut milk was an superb match to our starter, crispy basil leaf babycorn. The steamed baby corn, lightly battered, deep fried and tossed with basil leaf worked the sweat glands when took with red chili paste. Our main course was Kaho Suey – a coconut milk based noodle soup spiced with red chili; and Khee Mao Chae – Thai flat noodles sautéed with crushed peanuts, broccoli, mushroom, basil leaves and a drop of Thai red curry. The Khao Suey, creamy and glutinous, was tasty and quite filling. The flat noodles of Khee Mao was a bit rubbery and had to be consumed quickly. Once cold, it tended to lump together making chewing an ordeal.

The show stopper of the meal was Thai Dessert – amaranth pink litchi jelly served in a bowl of coconut milk and cream, topped with a mint leaf . An unusual combination – sensuous and beguiling; we were completely sold on this one.

Overall, it was a spectacular meal, well worth the jaunt in sweltering heat. Although, this time I had restricted myself to vegetarian, there were several prawn, fish, chicken and mutton dishes that caught my eye. Their turn will come, till then, Sawatdee….
Red Hot Cafe
Thai, Chinese & Malaysian Cuisine
UG-1, Centre Point
Sushant Lot – 1, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-2572477, 4104154, 4104155, 4014658

Foodienomics
Tom Kha Veg Soup – Rs.100.00
Crispy Basil Babycorn – Rs.180.00 (very large platter)
Khao Suey Veg – Rs.155.00
Khee Mao Veg Noodles – Rs.155.00
Thai Dessert – Rs.100.00
The despicables: Service Charge – 7%, VAT – 12.5% extra

Rating
Food – 8/10
Ambience – 6/10
Service – 7/10
Overall – 7/10
Definitely worth a visit

Foodiebay Menu of Red Hot Cafe: Click Here

Check out Wikipedia on Thai Cuisine: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Love in times of Gastronomique

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently attended a two day corporate training program at Park Premier, Gurgaon. After 4 hours of leadership spiel, the lunch break acquired an almost desperate charm. Down Town Cafe, the hotel restaurant with an alabaster finish had a bright earthen coloured mural adorning the rear wall. Sun light filtering through brown curtains with large polka dots lit sofa backs and cast elliptical shadows on tables. The restaurant overlooked the hotel atrium where executives leafed through papers or clobbered at laptops. Behind the buffet counter chefs turned chicken fillets on the grill. An enormous vase of artificial flowers spread like a banyan tree over the salad counter.

Our 45 minute lunch break was much too small to plunder the vast array of dishes on offer. So, with uncanny intuition, I decided to limit the intake of flora to desserts and fruits and concentrate on fauna for the main course.  On day one, a cursory flirt between grilled chicken in pepper sauce and parantha was followed by an earnest courtship of sliced fish in hot ‘n sour sauce and steamed rice. My brief dalliance with baby corn in mustard sauce was delightful. Day two, sliced lamb with black bean sauce and parantha surpassed expectations while grilled fish with Veronique didn’t quite scale the benchmark. On both days, desserts outshone each another in sweetness and appeal, be it blueberry or pineapple gateaux, strawberry soufflé, kiwi mousse or banana pudding.

The food at Down Town Cafe is fantastic, the ambience pleasing and service outstanding. This temple to gastronomy is worth all the devotion it deserves. My only prayer at its altar is for slightly more reasonable rates. Amen.

Park Premier
353-357, Sector 29
Gurgaon, Haryana 122001, India
0124 4604616
Website:
http://www.parkpremierhotels.com/

Foodienomics
Lunch Buffet – Rs.549.00 + taxes 
Dinner Buffet – Rs.699.00 + taxes 

Overheard:
“Our normal rate is Rs.850.00 + taxes, but we have special rates these days”
Please take note of this cryptic message. Don’t blame me if your eyes pop out on seeing the bill.

Rating
Food – 9/10
Ambience – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Overall – 8/10

 

Categories: Gastronomique

Turning a new leaf!!!

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

With a bad cold and a blocked ear, I was not in such great spirits on Saturday afternoon. The day was hot, signaling the onset of a grueling summer. Mercury had been steadily rising. The car doubled up as a baking oven and dust assailed our eyes, nostrils and mouth. My grumpiness had not abated when we parked and went inside Mint Leaf. The restaurant reviews were decent which pushed our expectations up a couple of notches.

Within, most of the tables were taken up by a cacophonous gang of senior citizens having a binge, so we ended up at a corner seat with me right under the air conditioner draught. Not my day, really. The restaurant decor didn’t demand poetic ebullience – one long hall with a mirror encrusted wall near the kitchen, a few nondescript paintings on the wall; it was clean, comfortable and spacious enough to seat approximately 50.

The menu had many exotic dishes, ranging from Nariyal Mirchi Macchi Rolls to Laurence Road ke Tikkey. We went for a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian as was our long standing tradition. The choice of starters were Chicken 65 (succumbed to my friend’s choice, I preferred Murgh Varuval) and Chenna Anjeer ke Kebab. Chicken 65 was a bit on the garlicky side – fried chicken with a thin layer of batter spiced with coriander, green chili, curry leaves and mustard. Wrapped in a coil of Chenna (a form of Paneer), the Kebab had a slightly squishy feel and a crunchy, mildly sweet inner core of figs and mango; simply delectable!

The main course too had an unusual cast – we settled for Meat Belli Ram (sic), Khumani aur Bael ka Kofta and Mirchi Parantha. Meat Belli Ram with mutton chunks rearing up like ice bergs in a pool of cumin flavoured spicy dark brown gravy was a perfect companion to Mirchi Paranthas sprinkled with chili flakes. Kofta never turned me on and this one – despite the inspired coalition of apricot and Bael Murabba – was no different.

Mint Leaf has a definite edge over the ragtag restaurants of the city in terms of a remarkable carte du jour and reasonable fare. It wouldn’t bust your domestic budget to check out dishes that have outlandish names and inviting descriptions. I, for one, certainly intend to return.

Mint Leaf
LG-11/ 12, Center Point
A-Block, Sushant Lok Phase I
Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4044122 – 33, 9810003382

Foodienomics
Chicken 65 – Rs 160.00 (8 Pieces)
Chenna Anjeer ke Kebab – Rs.150.00 (5 Pieces)
Meat Belli Ram – Rs.240.00 (4 Pieces)
Khumani aur Bael ka Kofta – 170.00 (4 Pieces)
Mirchi Parantha – Rs.30.00 per Parantha
Boondi Raita – Rs.60.00
The detestables -12.5 % VAT, 10% Service Tax

Rating
Ambience – Comfortable but Utilitarian
Service – Friendly, Prompt
Food – Pretty diverse, unusual combinations, quite good
Overall – 7/10
Definitely Worth Visiting

Mint Leaf menu on Foodiebay: Click Here
A review of the restaurant by P Anima in the Hindu: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Uma Dhaba – Another Brick in the Wall

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Not a soul in sight when we reached Uma Dhaba early evening. A lone waiter took our order immediately, with minimal fuss. Sizzling hot, Masala sprinkled Tandoori chicken was served with mint chutney, thin onion ribbons and half a slice of lemon in clean white plates. Chicken Methi came in a large steel bowl, chunks of chicken submerged below fulvous gravy pock marked with Methi and embellished with a lazy doodle of cream. The dwindling stack of soft, puffy Phulkas on our table was promptly replenished by the attentive waiter. The food was decimated as efficiently as it was served. We rose, paid up, sighed in satisfaction, tipped the waiter and left. No racking of brains over the menu, no hailing of waiters, no mooning over the ambience, no background music, no VAT, no service tax, no nothing – just us and plain good food, and the sacred act of eating, washing up and leaving. I liked that immensely, for a change.

 

As far as Dhabas go, this is a decent one. Purely utilitarian – serves good food sans frills. The restaurant is located on a narrow cul-de-sac near Qutub Motors next to Gate-2 of Ridgewood estate, best approached on foot or on a two wheeler. I have included a sketch of the restaurant location, just in case you fancy a visit. Though advertised as a family restaurant, I can’t think of bringing my wife here for dinner; it is strictly meant for bachelor’s staying in the vicinity.

Food Economics:
Tandoori Chicken Half – Rs.100 (4 Pieces)
Chicken Methi Half – Rs.180 (6 – 7 Pieces)
Tawa Roti (Phulka) – Rs.5.00 each

Uma Dhaba & Caterers
Behind Police Station
B-Block Sushant Lok-I
Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-4043448
Home Delivery: 0124-2573751, 9811550088

Rating:
Good food, quick service
Worth a visit if you stay in the vicinity

Foodiebay menu of Uma Dhaba: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique