Tag Archives: multi-cuisine

Zen (Connaught Place) 7/10

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Zen

One of the old stalwarts on the Inner Circle, Zen provides wholesome Chinese food. Given my innate bias against Chinese food, I’d say the place is acceptable. The décor is a little dated, but I guess the old-world charm works.

It’s a pity we were seated next to an obnoxious group- most likely a family celebrating some sort of birthday or the like. Really loud and slightly drunk. The fact that there were a couple of toddlers on that table didn’t help either.

We started with the soup. Warning! Stay away from the Hot and Sour. It’s really heavy, mostly hot, not sour enough and the chicken pieces are rather insipid. On the other hand, the Wanton (try the Zen special) Soup is light and perfectly balanced. An old favourite with the missus, we also ordered the Honey Chilli Potatoes. According to her, north campus still has the best HCP.

Moving on to the main course, we ordered the penang curry, shrimp flat noodles, the grilled saki maki, a tofu in black bean sauce and a vegetarian shallow fried noodles. The penang curry was good- albeit the overpowering flavor of peanuts. The shrimp flat noodles- which I’m guessing is Zen’s attempt at a Char Poy Tao- a wonderfully wholesome dish local to Malaysia- wasn’t bad either. I wasn’t exactly transported back to a hot and sticky marketplace in Kuala Lumpur, but a good attempt, nonetheless. If you’re looking to have something apart from the regular Chinese fare, I’d say this is the dish to try out. The tofu and the shallow fried noodles were par for the course- although the noodles could do with less frying.

The grilled saki maki on the other hand- is awesome. It looks small on the plate but boy, is it filling. The hand rolls are perfectly made and the fish is well seasoned. Will have to go back to try out more of their sushi.

Don’t even think of trying the Italian fare. Zen has been and presently is a predominantly Chinese restaurant. Let them stick to what they know best.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 6
Ease of access 9
Service 7
Quality of food 5
Value for money 8
Would I go back there? Atleast one more time to try the sushi
Meal for two Rs 1600
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

 

 

Top Tips:

  • Careful while ordering. Their portions are huge!
  • Take a stroll down to Keventers for a butterscotch milkshake after meal
  • Parking is an issue. Try taking the metro. Its right on the inner circle- block B

 


 

Sushi (Defence Colony) 4.7/10

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Note: this is a guest post by good friend and fellow foodie Paroma Ray who tried out Sushi by Moet’s at Defence Colony

I decided to give one last chance to Moets. I tried their Chinese (available in their restaurant called Sushi) in Defence colony, New Delhi.

I am not going back there. This is why:

1) The crispy fried vegetables were so salty (yes, salt sprinkled on top!) that I did not eat it

2) The chicken hakka noodle had raw chicken smelly chicken which on inspection proved to be raw. When I complained to the staff they just could not understand what was wrong with the whole dish. They took it to the kitchen and their “chef” sent it back saying nothing was wrong with the dish. Needless to say I could not eat that either

3) The chilli chicken was way too steeped in oil and ajina moto. We took our first helpings and finished them but could not bring ourselves to take second helpings. Food wasted.

We skipped dessert. The only thing that we could have without complaining was the fresh lime water and the clear vegetable soup.

Word of advice. Skip this place. If you want to have inexpensive Indian Chinese and a few drinks for a working lunch, hop across to 4S. Much, much better.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 7
Ease of access 8
Service 7
Quality of food 1
Value for money 1
Would I go back there? No.
Meal for two Rs 1200 –1500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Gunpowder (Hauz Khas village) 6.2/10

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One flight of stairs is fine. But four stories? You’ve got to be kidding me! The food better be worth it. These are are thoughts that would undoubtedly cross your mind on your way to Gunpowder. But more on the stairs later. Getting to the entrance itself is a bit of a problem. Hauz Khas village is a maze of tiny alleys and lanes that twist and turn all over the place and will, more often than not, lead you on a wild goose chase that’ll get you back to where you started. But here’s (hopefully) a helpful way to get to Gunpowder.

Start with the main entrance- leading to Naivedyam. Go past Naivedyam on your left and continue down the alley. You should pass a newish-looking Mediterranean place on your left and the lane curves to the left. Take the first right again and follow the curves of the lane. This should lead you down very close to the boundary wall between the village and the Hauz Khas lake. Follow the boundary wall until you see a sign for Gunpowder- its a fairly nondescript door, so keep a look out.  Then come the stairs. All eight flights, four stories of them- a tough climb for many. But purgatory is worth it. The balcony gives you a panoramic view of the Hauz Khas lake and the surrounding woods, which on a winter afternoon is a most pleasurable sight.

Onto the food then! Gunpowder has firmly established itself as a fantastic place to get Malabar/ Konkani/ Hyderabadi food and more. And the best part is- its not just vegetarian. For from it in fact. For starters we ordered the Buff Fry (buffalo), the Mutton Fry, the Aila Fry (mackerel) and the Koothu Parantha with chicken. The Buff Fry was an instant hit- except for the fact that it might come across as a little too spicy. The Koothu Parantha was bland in comparison, but just as awesome. What blew us away though, was the mackerel and the mutton fry. The mackerel was firm, smoky and came off the bone like butter. The mutton on the other hand was soft, succulent and easier on the spicy scale.

Between the five of us, four starters were enough to put a massive dent in our appetites- the portions are that huge. So it was onto a very small order of the mains- Chicken Gassala and the Iddukki Pork. The Gassala is refreshingly light, tangy and zesty- we just couldnt get enough of it. However, the flavours didnt seep into the chicken much- rendering it slightly insipid. On the other hand, the pork was unacceptable. Not marinated enough, overcooked, dry and fibrous. To top it off, the four out of the five that had the pork all have upset tummys today. Not recommended.

However, you can usually count on the backwater prawn or a malabar curry. Plus, given the portions and the overall quality of food, I’d say Gunpowder, minus the odd hiccup like the pork, is still a first choice at Hauz Khas Village.

Top Tips:

  • Get reservations. Seriously.
  • The climb up does work on your appetite.
  • Lunch on the balcony on a winter afternoon- few others beat that
  • If you get lost, dont check your gmaps. Ask.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 5
Ease of access 5
Service 6
Quality of food 8
Value for money 8
Would I go back there? Without a doubt- everytime
Meal for two Rs 1000 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes (just beer though)
Credit cards Accepted

http://maps.google.co.in/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Gunpowder,+Hauz+Khas,+New+Delhi&aq=&sll=21.125498,81.914063&sspn=46.177157,86.572266&ie=UTF8&hq=Gunpowder,&hnear=Hauz+Khas,+New+Delhi,+Delhi&t=m&ll=28.554899,77.194166&spn=0.006295,0.006295&output=embed
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Blanco (Khan Market) 6.1/10

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Approximately half of all eateries in Khan Market involve a climb up a long, narrow flight of stairs to get to the restaurant to begin with. Blanco is no different. At one point of time, this was my favourite place in Khan Market- but one bad experience with a steak last May changed all that. After almost a year, I thought it was time to give it another shot to see if things had gotten better.

I was not disappointed. While the decor remains the same, the staff service seems to have improved and the steak is infinitely better than last time. However, the lack of steak knives is surprising and counts as a bit of a let down. The mushroom and pepper sauce was perfect and the flavours did penetrate right into the meat. However, I can safely say that the steak, much like most other restaurants in Delhi, is buffalo meat and not beef. This wasnt the case with them originally, where they would use beef say- a couple of years back.

Fellow foodie Rukmini ordered her favourite- the fish and chips, which wasnt undercooked like in Xes Cafe, nor was it breaded like the ones you get at Route 04 (which she prefers, I don’t). The tartar sauce was excellent to the point that we actually had to order a second bowl. The new menu also seems to be interesting.

But all said and done, a Saturday lunch on the terrace, while the sounds of Khan Market below filter up is a most enjoyable meal. Add to that the present offer of Rs 109 for a mug of draught beer and you’re pretty much sorted.

 

 

Top Tips

  • Like with all other places in Khan Market, parking is a pain, especially on weekends
  • Not for the arthritic or those suffering from rheumatism or obese enough not to be able to climb stairs
  • New menu!
  • Forget the desserts, Big Chill and that crepes place reign supreme

 

 

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 8
Ease of access 7
Service 6
Quality of food 7
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? Sure, just not every month
Meal for two Rs 1500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Sidewok (Khan Market) 6/10

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Khan Market? Sure! But where do we go? With so many options, most of them either continental, or oriental- it gets a little difficult to decide exactly what would tickle your fancy on that day.

With a dim, distant memory of Sidewok for a New Years Eve dinner some years back, I headed there again, this time solely to sample the sushi. Unfortunately, having had the excellent chinese and thai food there before, I was quite disappointed with the sushi. The prawns were soggy and curiously sour. The tuna was inedible. The saving grace on the seafood platter was the salmon, really.

However, having said that, the Bejing Chicken is brilliant- as is most of their non-Japanese fare. Having had the chicken aniseed and the shredded lamb in garlic sauce earlier, I can vouch that if you’re looking for a decent Chinese meal- you shouldnt go wrong with Sidewok.

The ambience isn’t anything to write home about really- semi dim lighting with ostensibly oriental looking wall-hangings and decoration pieces carefully arranged around the place. However, we were suitably impressed with their service. Polite, prompt and mostly silent- just the way it should be.

Top Tips:

  • Getting in and out of, and parking at Khan Market is a pain at times- especially during the brunch hours on a weekend
  • Just dont try the sushi- everything else is pretty much standard
  • They dont serve alcohol (atleast not anymore)
  • Get ready to climb- like with most other restaurants in Khan Market
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 5
Ease of access 8
Service 7
Quality of food 6
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? After I’ve tried almost everything else in Khan
Meal for two Rs 1500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol No
Credit cards Accepted

Magique (Garden of Five Senses) 7/10

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Tucked away in the middle of the Garden of Five Senses, is this gem of a restaurant. Magique ranks up there with Lodi Restaurant and Thai High in terms of ambience. Additionally, where it scores over many of the other high-end establishments in Delhi is the quality of food. One cant really categorise the cuisine into any particular type. The chefs have been creative (and adventurous) enough to do a kind of mix and match between cuisines. So be prepared for a continental style pasta with a lemon grass flavour!

However, be prepared to shell out quite a bit. Magique is not what you’d call a reasonable restaurant. For example- a full meal, which included two starters, two mains, a glass of wine and a cup of tea set us back by 4K plus! So, make sure you have full pockets before you get there.

We started with the Bali inspired sushi- involving search chicken and crab maki rolls and a platter of grilled skewers which had a selection of chicken, lamb and fish. While the sushi was up to par, we found that the fish (salmon) was simply out of this world. Next time, I intend to tell them to hold the chicken and the lamb- and just get us the fish.

For the mains, we chose the grilled halibut and the tenderloin in green peppercorn sauce. The tenderloin was up to par- medium rare, as requested and the green peppercorn sauce was spicy enough to offset the tannin provided by the Chilean merlot I had on the side. The grilled halibut however, was a bit of a let down- it could have possibly been seasoned a little more- the seafood pungency had remained in the fish.

The portions are just right. At the end of one starter and one main each, both fellow foodie Rukmini and me were stuffed to the gills. Hence it didnt make sense for dessert. As an aside, I have been to Magique before- do try the grilled sausages (but ask before you order them- they usually dont have all three varieties at the same time) and the stir fried chicken. Diners of the vegetarian variety should try the Stir fried shitake, oyster and cloud ear  mushrooms. But like I said- its expensive.

Top Tips:

  • You wont need a reservation
  • Try going when the weather is nice- possibly during the cooler months for a sit-out lunch
  • They do have valet parking
  • The wine list is impressive!
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 9
Ease of access 5
Service 8
Quality of food 8
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? As many times as my credit card allows
Meal for two Rs 3500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Swagath (Noida) 2.8/10

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What does one do for good south-Indian seafood in Delhi? Well, there is Gunpowder- but who wants to climb 8 flights of stairs on an empty stomach and then down again on a full one? Enter Swagath- a well established chain, supposedly renowned for their seafood. Having dined at the Swagath at the Park Hotel, we had certain expectations from the Noida branch. Sadly, the Noida branch fell far short of these expectations.

Bang in the middle of the Sector 18 market in Noida, under Centrestage Mall, getting in and out, and what is infinitely worse- parking, is a nightmare. Perhaps a valet system should be in the offing for the premium rates that the Swagath menu commands.

There’s also the issue of the ambience and decor. Nothing that stands out really- pretty much a bland, run-of the-mill stuff that most other restaurants you would go to. Unless of course you’re in their basement (which I suppose has been pressed into service primarily because the main restaurant is too small). There’s hardly any daylight entering the basement and the staff make it a point to keep the lights low- adding to an already depressing and dingy atmosphere.

We started with the Fish Amritsari, which I will admit, is more than acceptable. The kebab would not be out of place in a top class buffet. The portion was enough for two people and it did match up to our expectations. Unfortunately, we were greatly let down by the Chettinad Pepper Chicken. The tamarind didnt come through, the pepper was overpowering and where the hell is the boiled egg? The chicken itself was dry and stringy, having been overcooked. By the end of it, we were more congenial to the Malabar Paranthas that we’d ordered to accompany the chettinad.

Top Tips:

  • Park in the Centrestage Mall and walk there, if you must go at all
  • Ridiculously expensive for the quality of food and service
  • Speaking of service, expect nothing
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 3
Ease of access 4
Service 2
Quality of food 3
Value for money 2
Would I go back there? Burn it down. Now.
Meal for two Rs 3000 (with alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Ichiban (Pandara Road) 4.9/10

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An old haven for Oriental food seekers, usually late at night, Ichiban provides acceptable food, but is not likely to burn a hole in your pocket.

After a walkaround at Dill Haat, we headed over to Ichibaan on a cold December night mostly in search of soup to fend off the chill. While the restaurant is small- 20 guests at best, it does have a warm, cosy feeling to it. The soft lighting and the almost-hidden citronella oil dispenser does add to the ambience.

For starters we ordered the chilli potatoes and the crispy lamb. Since there were three of us, we figured to go with two starters at least. Both were acceptable, but I’d still prefer the honey cilli potatoes at Zen in CP. One must note here- the portions are HUGE. One plate of anything, whether it be soup, starters or the main course will easily provide for two people. We didn’t know that- ah well.

Onto the soup. Having ordered the Mie Bakso (an Indonesian soup with meatballs), the chicken hot ‘n sour and the seafood/seaweed soups, we were disappointed with all but the seafood soup. The Mie Bakso has this weird burnt flavor to it and the meatballs weren’t really cooked through. The chicken hot ‘n sour is acceptable at best, but no better than the ones you’d get in any roadside Chinese food stall or even at Majnu ka Tila. The high point really, was the seafood soup. Even though it had the seafood flavours- it had none of the pungency that one would usually associate with seafood (see my comment on the Miso soup at Sushi earlier). Perfect!

Ichiban serves a variety of Oriental cuisines, including sushi, much to the delight of fellow foodie Rukmini. So sushi it was for her. Also fellow foodie, chef par excellence and mother Sahana looked up and down the menu, searching for a Thai red curry with fish. It wasn’t there. Upon request, the chef did agree to make a fish red curry. Highly commendable, I say! I ordered a dry lamb.

I would have to say that the food is up to par. The Sushi did come with the dipping bowl, wasabi and ginger. The red curry was excellent and the fish cooked just right. The let down was the lamb- a little overcooked and therefore too stringy.

But, like I mentioned earlier, we didn’t know how large the portions were going to be and ended up over-ordering. The food just described would be enough for 5 people. We ended up packing most of it.

 

Top Tips:

  • The Pandara Road eateries are quite interesting. Do try out Gulati’s sometime
  • The service is woefully slow. From taking orders to serving.
  • Parking is an issue. Most weekend nights will have you hunting for parking space along the narrow bylane. These guys should get together and have a valet parking system

 

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 6
Ease of access 3
Service 3
Quality of food 5
Value for money 7
Would I go back there? Sure, just not often though. Would probably head to Gulati’s instead
Meal for two Rs 1200 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol No
Credit cards Accepted

 

 


 

 

 


Sushi (Moets- Defence Colony) 4.5/10

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Of late, there’s been a flurry of activity in the Japanese cuisine space in Delhi. Perhaps it’s a sign of the growing affluence of the middle class, who now can afford exotic gourmet cuisine in the Capital. While I would always prefer the lunch spread at Threesixty at the Oberoi or the platter at Sidewok in Khan Market, we decided to try out a place none of us had been to before. So, enter Sushi- Moets’ offering in Oriental cuisine. The reservations were made- something that was recommended. Plus, since it was fellow foodie (and now fiancee) Rukmini’s birthday, I wanted it to be perfect.

Getting there wasnt an issue at all. Defence Colony is well connected, being in the heart of South Delhi. As you climb up the narrow stairs to the first floor of the building that is unofficially referred to as ‘Moet’s’, you begin to soak in the warm ambience, the soft lighting and the background music. The maitre d shows you to your table, which we had to change a couple of times- they had left the air-conditioning on way too high for early December

The wine list is impressive, but we were there just for the Sushi. And its a pity they didnt have any sake. I mean, come on! What kind of self respecting Japanese restaurant doesnt serve sake? I dont need warm- cold will also do. Sighing at our sake-less fate, we ordered the miso soup, the veggie tempura and the seafood platter.

The miso soup was wonderful- just what we needed on a nippy evening. Although initially, I did think they could have put in a little less fish stock/ sauce. Then it was time to go on to the tempura veggies. Again, while the batter and the light soup that accompanies tempura were acceptable, I found it a little difficult to imagine why would the chef subject his poor guests to such mammoth sized pieces. And try cutting a stick of asparagus with a pair of chopsticks. Go ahead, do try.

Now comes the seafood platter. Oh wait, did I say platter? No no, that cant be right. This was a well decorated plate, replete with wasabi and ginger and- hod your breath two types of sushi. One was a prawn nigri which was by far- the high point of the meal (four pieces) and the other was a generic tuna and salmon roll (four pieces each) with which I wasnt impressed. At all. Overall, we felt that a restaurant that serves a sushi platter, that too for close to Rs 1000 a plate needs to have more than 3 types of sushi on it. Where’s the yellowtail? Where’s the sashimi?

The service was another issue. Painfully slow, the waiters had to be reminded twice of our order. Finally, when the sushi did arrive, it did so sans soya sauce. They got the soya sauce (not the low sodium version) and looked at me blankly when I asked for a second bowl (it is considered inappropriate to share a dipping bowl when having sushi).

To top it off, fellow foodie Rukmini, who happens to really like sushi, fell ill the day after. I think I’ll stick to Sidewok or Threesixty next time.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 7
Ease of access 7
Service 3
Quality of food 4
Value for money 2
Would I go back there? Only if you promise me that we wont have sushi
Meal for two Rs 1800 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Top Tips:

  • The ‘valet’ (the boy who will take your keys when you park the car) will ask for Rs 20. The parking ticket says rs 10. Your call.
  • Strange how the other offerings of Moets, such as Stone are in a different league altogether.
  • Sushi does serve other oriental cuisine (apart from Japanese). I sincerely hope they do that better than their namesake.

Cafe Delhi Heights (Galleria, Gurgaon) 7.7/10

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After having dined Delhi Heights thrice in the last month or so, I’m happy to say that this is one gem of a place, which is yet mostly unknown, except for residents of the area. Diagonally opposite Galleria market- next to the Looks salon, there’s plenty of parking space and none of the crowds that have become the bane of Galleria. Also, Galleria needed a slightly classy eatery as opposed to the ubiquitous chaat wala.

Look for Enrique- a most helpful chap. Of course, we found the entire staff to be polite and courteous (even the DJ, who very kindly turned down the music at our request), but Enrique clearly stands out. The menu, while slightly confusing, shows you that these guys can pretty much deliver most kinds of cuisines and its fun watching the chefs in action in the open kitchen.

Try the Asahi beer. Even if the waiter doesnt mention it, they usually have a few bottles stashed away. This Japanese beer is a good accompaniment to most kinds of cuisine. Upon Enrique’s recommendation, we tried the galouti kebab- amidst much trepidation, I might add. I strongly believe that super-specialty food (such as a kebab from a specific location in UP) is best left to specialty restaurants. However, I am happy to report that the galouti kebab at Delhi Heights does live up to its recommendation. The skin is slightly crispy, offering the slightest resistance before the fork breaks through into this perfectly minced and marinated meat. While its not exactly melt-in-your-mouth (which is the realm of Al-Bake in New Friends Colony), the kebab is a viable option as a starter. You could also try the mezze platter which includes their own twist- a beetroot paste!

Onto the main course, the standout dish of choice is the singapore laksa- the Singaporean twist to the Burmese khao swey. You could also try the tenderloin- one of the few places in the NCR where I would recommend a steak. The juicy lucy burger is also an option. However, stay away from the schnitzel- the chefs could do well to slice the lamb less thinly so that there’s more meat and less crumb. You could also give the pizzas a miss. But do try the tiramisu!

 

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 8
Ease of access 7
Service 9
Quality of food 8
Value for money 6
Would I go back there? Absolutely!
Meal for two INR 1500 + taxes (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Top Tips:

  • Try having breakfast here- interesting menu for the mornings
  • The decor is fairly minimal, but do check out the mini-TVs for each booth and the no smoking sign that starts with a large SEX!!! on top