Rigged and Rigmaroled

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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category


Posted by Rani on December 22, 2009

As any food reviewer worth her steak will tell you – never review once the food’s gone cold. Not literally so, but about the memory. Nevertheless….. 

This lounge-ish restobar (adjacent to Manipal Center, Dickenson Road) apparently marries science with gastronomy (think nitrogen cooling), making for a rather interesting menu read (but also rending it faaaar too expensive). The inaugral ‘palate cleanser’ also made for an interesting start. 

Palates cleansed, we started with a veg platter of mashed chickpeas on tortilla-esque chips, lettuce wraps, some veg fritter….sigh. With our expectations now set a little low, and yet not quite unhappy (c’mon – lettuce wraps! how exotic!), we moved on to the main course, which garnered some brownie points for the waiter’s genuine reassurance that we could re-order at no extra cost if we didn’t like what was served (pre-emptive damage control?). And my friend had to – the risotto was much unliked, and the replacement penne was better albeit with a tad too much bite still. My seafood fusilli was incredibly fine and delicate, but….something too fishy. 

What almost completely redeemed my evening though, was the “oh you must order” dessert platter, with three different kinds of dessert surrounded by a most interesting coil of wire-like strands. Apparently that was sugar, supercooled on some fancy surface in some fancy way. Ooh la la. 

Just Desserts, with Strings Attached

The bill almost killed me, and yet this is the kind of place one needs to visit at least once. Almost. 

pinch factor: excruciatingly ouch…. almost 3k for just food? (swoon) 

service, ambience et al: very nice. makes the pinch a whole lot more bearable.


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Delhi belly, the kind you’d like

Posted by Rani on December 17, 2009

Constant pressure of “why no new posts” demanded I get off my block and finally write…on one of my favorite topics: Food (that’s all I could go on – all I’ve done of late has been to eat out a lot, cook some, and generally dwell in gastroheaven).

A recent trip to Delhi struck a real chord in my intestines..errm, yeah..with the Rockman’s B Island – loved that place. Situated in Ambience Mall (Gurgaon), its a loooong restobar. We headed straight to the loudest part. Since its USP of “brewed right in front of you” beer obviously didn’t appeal to me, I still had to give it to them for decor – brewing tanks right in front of you, and large casks with high seats for dining and seating. Nice. And 80’s pop, albeit remixed, but who’s complaining when you can sing along with most of them?

The menu had some delights – duck, pork, chicken (booooring), quail (!!)…. but ordered just some German franks and made did with that. This was on the promise we’d get some “real (cheaper) food” which never happened. Oh the quail that never was! But 10,000 brownie points to my waiter, who knew what I wanted even before I said much. Or else, I may have just ordered the chicken (shudder).

Next on would be 4s in Def Col (South Delhi). Quiet, unassuming, and with good(ish) food, this place doesn’t quite match up to Bangalore’s Pecos or even Windsor’s, but me still likey likey. A favorite haunt of my Delhi-based friends, the sentimental value added to its charm. Plus the reaaaally low rates (they always get everything at 50% discount!), what a steal!

And of course, 4 days and no homestyle food ensured the fabulous beef fry, chicken curry, and light-n’-fluffy parottas were gulped down in record time (albeit off designer plates). Coming to you courtesy northie cooks (!!) under a Mallu manager @ hole-in-the-wall Ammu’s behind Sahara Mall (Gurgaon).

Rodeo at Connaught Place didn’t appeal much, in spite of their really happy ‘happy hours’ (what is it with Delhi and encouraging such blatant buying? tsk tsk). Apparently Rodeo’s was the place to be a couple of years back. Not so much anymore (who finds cowboy hats appealing anyway?), but after shopping for a while up and down Janpath, all you want to do is sit. And eat. Nachos. Pasta. Mushrooms. Yumm.

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Global Tree Cafe (F&B)

Posted by Rani on July 29, 2009

With a previous failed attempt to eat at the “sunny, lovely restaurant of Bacchus off St.Mark’s Road” courtesy their only-buffet meals, I made reservations with a rather over-zealous restaurant manager, with some amount of trepidation. Some of it was warranted, for we had to extend our reservation by an hour, and still ended there 20 minutes late owing to terrible terrible traffic.

As with all buffets, the first rule of thumb is to be there as soon it starts. Having missed the bus on that one, we still made the most of our meal. The place is pretty, and bright, and skillfully done. Closer inspection shows optimal use of inexpensive deco items, but so so tastefully done. You’d never notice the difference, unless you’re me, trying to be smart.

The seating was cramped. They put two tables together for a group of 8, and technically each table is a (small) 4-seater. Two small ones together meant the ones sitting in the middle were cramped no end, and the r-manager got rather defensive when the feedback was (nicely) given, when leaving. Oh well.

Meals @ 360 is the theme, and not in the traditional buffet layout. The food is not laid out for you to choose from, but is given to each table in courses. The waiters seemed efficient, friendly, and quite obliging to grant personal wishes. They brought the entire set of starters in succession, and while the veggie items didnt score too high, as didn’t the chicken wings, we were quite taken in by the fish patties, chicken skewers, keema balls, and beef . We didn’t bother with the few soups available, but did check a few salads out. Nothing amazingly eye-catching or lip-smacking there, though I thought the shredded chicken with boiled beans was quite alright.

Service, while good mostly, tended to lag in spots but they largely made up for it by being nice. But that may not go down well with a fussier group, especially since it wasn’t cheap exactly, and aspires to be a “fine-dining place”.

The meal comes with a buy-one-then-get-the-rest-free drinks option, though that is limited to just beer, wine, and cocktails. I thought it unfair to not include juices and mocktails to that option. Eitherways, you’re only allowed repeats and can’t change your choice once made. Their being nice was in allowing two changes within the group. But 1 – we asked them real nice and 2 – we didn’t push our luck too far, and asked for those two even only because the original was hated.

Before we knew it, it was 3pm, and the guys would’ve enjoyed more time sipping their margharitas and LIITs (girlie ones, yes, but you weren’t allowed any other, remember?). Last orders given and “no, you can’t order for 4 rounds now”  a little grudgingly honored (and I must say, TGI Friday really scores there, they have such a loyal following only because of their flexible last order rules), we ordered the main courses.

The main course consists of your typical continental options (albeit sans a real steak), with a sprinkling of Indian thrown in for good measure. The place claims to have a Pan-Asian angle too, but that seemed to pass us by.

The portions looked small when they arrived but in retrospect, which started as soon as the meal was over, we decided that’s a brilliant idea to minimize waste. Plus, you can order multiple rounds. It’s a buffet, after all. The restaurant began to empty only post 3:45pm, and to give them credit, they didnt hurry us…much.

It’s a pity they don’t have the a la carte option, even on weekdays. But the buffet leaves little to complain about.

Pinch Factor –  food: not even a nip, the food is worth the cost

drinks: a little too ouch, I guess

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Cafe Terra

Posted by Rani on July 16, 2009

Situated on the Koramangala 80 ft road right above Band Box dry cleaners, this is one of those minimalistic spaces converted to a restaurant and is apparently located at the erstwhile Belgian Chocolates something.

Other smallish areas done better come to mind, but no complaints for the place is air-conditioned (though I daresay I may have preferred patio dining, the first floor and very noisy traffic notwithstanding!) and a window-wall ensures plenty of bright, happy sunshine streaming in. The comic book collection was definitely appealing, though none were in their “designated” spaces, and an unexpected collection of Indian political cartoons was a bonus.

We got a bowl of popcorn “on the house”, and there the generosity ends. No, that’s not right. There the freebies end, cheapos that we are. No such thing as a free lunch, and this place definitely lives up to that maxim, and how. We ordered a drink each, of the lemonade or mocktail kind (no watering hole, this), and without fail, each of our drinks was terrible. Synthetic, horribly overpriced considering the settings, and not cold enough. But there’s something about a sunny place that makes you overlook these minor (ahem) details and we plodded on through the menu and decided on a plate of momos. Excellent choice, that. Yumm, perfectly spiced, and unlike their momo couterparts in similar sized joints, extremely fine and delicate.

The main dishes (available only for lunch) got neutral to good reviews. One friend swore by the chicken alfredo [here] (albeit made with penne, not fettuccini) though I found some spice (I couldn’t place what, oregano perhaps) a tad overpowering. The other friend’s dish of chicken catalan was very red, and very lots, with too little rice (and I cant seem to find a related recipe online). But she liked. My Sri Lankan curry and rice blew us all away in terms of how much they gave. Its easily a meal-for-two dish. The next point that blew us away was how big the veggies were cut, and that didnt make me any too happy, since they were a little undone too.

The curry reminded me too much of something I might’ve cooked – it was too home-made, and not in the comfort food way. Having said that, I still thought the gravy was something excellent. There were vague suspicions of something-slightly-burnt in the curry, which prompted my friend to say that another web review [here] he had read was along similar lines. But definitely not enough to complain about (much).

The place hurries you not a bit, so obviously we stayed on for coffee. We all loved the banana crepe and waffles, though the “maple syrup” was suspiciously like honey. I thought the coffee was fine too.

Pinch factor: considering the basic settings, a little much ouch

Food for 3: rs.840

I want to give their breakfast a shot, the idea of a lazy breakfast is too appealing to resist, and they seem to have some interesting options. And yes, breakfast is an all-day affair here.

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Take 5

Posted by Rani on July 15, 2009

Too loud music at TGI Fridays prompted an impromptu visit to the friendly, neighbourhood “dinner with jazz” joint. Not that impromptu really, considering I had called to make reservations only to be told it opened only by 19:00, a contradiction to the Times review I had read. The phone-answerer was none too helpful (and deliberately dense, I suspected), and a quick hanging up ensured my mood remained upbeat.

The place is getting dark..too dark to see…oh wait, that’s a song. Dark, which made me suspect the food, since the rule of thumb is supposed to be that the louder the music and the dimmer the lights, the worse the food. That thumb was lying, I’ve eaten at great places where I ended up picking food off my neighbour’s plate ‘cuz it was too dark to tell the difference.

Albeit dark, I liked the place. And while no live band was on, the soft jazz in the background added to the mood. Cut to two hours later when they suddenly started playing much louder music. And no jazz that, but since it was ’80s pop we could handle it. Seating, while good looking, was surprisingly uncomfortable — either too low seats, or too benchy. Can’t comment on the offside where more standard dining seats were available [we didn’t sit there], but isn’t a lounge area supposed to encourage lounging?

I had my signature virgin colada, the mocktail version of the pina colada. And I liked. But I thought the drinks were terribly overpriced though at that point, we had just come out of TGI Friday, so….relative, isn’t it? ..we thought it cheap.

The chilli beef appetizer was popular with my friends, and while I thought it was pretty good, I felt the pieces were too chunky. A few hours and more friends later, we ordered dinner, which disappointed me thoroughly, especially at the rates we were paying. Everything looked so good and a friend had highly recommended the food here, so my salivatory expectation was high, to say the least. The beef steak in pepper sauce had a mean sauce and mashed potatoes, but they seemed to have overcooked the meat thereby rendering it too tender, ’twas a tad burnt (!!), and a little fibrous to boot. I think the chicken steak proved better, at least my friends seemed to like. My fish soup looked rich and creamy, and so it was, but I cannot figure how a creamy soup could be so sour.

Take 5 doesn’t get my vote on food, though it seemed a nice-ish place to hang out, the funny seating notwithstanding. A round with a live band might be a lot more interesting.

Pinch Factor: ouch

Food for 3: rs .1000

Liquids for 4, including my mocktails: rs.2600

Nevertheless, an overall 6/10 rating. It was pretty!

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