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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

Indulging the Malayalee – a la gastronomique

December 15, 2009 9 comments
Malayalees are everywhere. It is said that when Tenzing and Hillary reached the pinnacle of Everest, they found a tea shop run by a Malayalee. This legendary ubiquitousness of Malayalee can be traced back to the lack of employment opportunities in Kerala and consequent migration all over the world, especially to Middle East. There are a substantial number of Malayalees in Gurgaon as well, as I have discovered over these years. However hard a Malayalee tries to hide his identity, the camouflage is easily betrayed by looks, intonation or pronunciation, providing much food to evergreen Mallu caricatures.
When Malayalees are around, Mallu restaurants cannot be far behind. However, these are so low profile that usually one comes to know of them either by sheer chance or by word of mouth. I had to search far n wide and high n low before I could find the two featured here.

The first one is Maria South India Restaurant near Gurgaon Sadar Bazaar, located next to Federal Bank.

The restaurant does complete justice to Malayalee’s appetite, offering delicious Kappa (Tapioca), Meen Curry (Fish curry), Appam (leavened bread), Kadala, Porotta, Chicken Curry, Chicken Biriyani, the dubious, stealthily whispered, notorious ‘Beef’ and a sumptuous Kerala Thali. The rates are reasonable and cleanliness passable. On Sundays, there is usually much rush around noon time, mostly returning church goers dropping for lunch. Parcels are available. It is better to check in advance for Kappa and beef since these are usually not available.
The second restaurant, Ammu’s is on the lower ground floor of Sushant Shopping Arcade, near Park Plaza. The fare is much the same as Maria and the same comments hold good.

This is the first time in history that the international network of computers (internet) has provided the hapless Mallu’s of Gurgaon a fair means of gastronomic indulgence, true Kerala style. Let us praise the Lord in this moment of joy before digging in..
Maria South Indian Restaurant
Shop No. 18-19, Chandan Deep Complex,
Near Federal Bank, Jail Road, Gurgaon
Contact: Roy, Mobile – 9810379916

Ammu’s Restaurant
LG-23, G-Block, Phase-I,
Sushant Shopping Arcade,
Sushant Lok, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-4040765
Contact: Pradeep,Mobile – 9810761567

R.I.P
“Simbly South”, the one decent shop in DT Mega Mall which quenched my appetite for Appam and Stew at an exorbitant price has closed down. Let us observe a moment of silence in pretended sorrow over this sad demise.

P.S
Coco Palm, the all things South Indian restaurant in Galleria has taken up the mantle of Simply South to provide Malabar Fish curry, again at an unaffordable rate. Auto-da-fé anyone…

Categories: Gastronomique

Grilled to Perfection – Barbeque Nation

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

 This week we visited Barbeque Nation, the restaurant chain with their hallmark “on the table” grills. It is a great place for lunch especially during winter when you can warm frozen hands over the coal fired grills while gobbling barbecued chicken, lamb and succulent prawns.

The restaurant is located inside Sushant Lok, Phase I, easily accessible from MG Road. Advance booking is advisable since it is almost always crowded during lunch time.

The restaurant staff was exceedingly courteous. As soon as we were seated hot grills were placed on cut outs at the centre of the table. Already marinades and dips with brushes to apply on the meat were kept on the table along with an explanatory leaflet. The marinades offered a chance to pretend to customize the grilled meat according to own taste.

Apart from an a la carte menu there are two buffet options to choose from. The standard buffet comes with a complimentary drink (beer, soft drinks, iced tea, mock tails etc), unlimited chicken, mutton and vegetable barbeques, main course and desserts. The second option which cost Rs.550 + taxes has grilled fish and prawns in addition to items on the standard buffet. Standard buffet (Rs.300 + taxes) is available only during lunch time on weekdays.

We chose the regular buffet which had grilled Mexican Chicken, Mutton Masala Kheema, Moroccoan vegetable and Paneer. I gorged on the exceptional barbeques and focused less on the main course which was pedestrian. Even though stuffed to the brim, I found room for the main course and crammed in some Dum Biriyani and Mutton Rogan Josh. I couldn’t resist a bit of orange soufflé, vanilla ice cream and Phirni to bring up the rear.

When compared to other restaurants of the same class, the standard buffet lunch at BN offer excellent value for money. The fish buffet seems a little pricey though. Overall I would rate BN 8 out of 10 for good ambience, excellent service and wonderful barbeques. The only minus is the humdrum main course which really doesn’t matter if you ask me.

Barbeque Nation, Ground Floor,
Ansal’s Shushant Plaza, Sushant Lok,
Block A, Phase I, Gurgaon – 122002, Haryana, India
Tel: +91-124-6060000, 6456297

gurgaon@barbeque-nation.com
http://www.barbeque-nation.com/

Categories: Gastronomique