Tag Archives: thai

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

 


 

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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

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

 

 


 

 

 


Thai High (Mehrauli) 7/10

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What’s a restaurant like you doing in a place like this? That’s the first question I asked as I entered this partially-open air restaurant in Mehrauli. Situated on a busy street next to the Mehrauli Bus Terminus, you would hardly expect an upmarket place amidst the rickshaws, honking cars and daredevil bikers. But, you drive up to the Ambavata Complex, get out of your car and the liveried valet is happy to take over the pains of finding parking space.

As you ascend the three stories (and one flight of stairs) to the rooftop restaurant, the mood changes further. You are now greeted by the maître d’, soft music, a fresh breeze and is that a hint of lemongrass? Difficult to imagine a tranquil ambience when you know of busy street below.

And really, the ambience of Thai High is one of its major selling points- primarily because of its location. But once you get over the environment (where the honking cars can still be heard, but far far away), you look around and spot the majestic Qutub Minar towering over the minions of houses and offices that crowd Mehrauli. At closer proximity is the tomb of Adham Khan.

The food is acceptable- although the vegetarian fare leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, as a hard-core non-vegetarian, that didnt pose of problem for me (read, vegetarians and vegans- stay away!) We ordered their signature Thai High Satay which was a bit of a let down. The chicken was slightly undercooked marring what would have been an absolutely fantastic starter. The peanut sauce was perfectly seasoned, although I would personally prefer the peanuts to be chopped slightly finer as opposed to something that resembles crunchy peanut butter.

The main course was a thai red curry (fish) and crispy noodles (chicken). While the crispy noodles were pretty good, drizzled with some kind of chicken strips barbequed in a tamarind sauce base, I was blown away with the red curry. I’m not a great fan of oriental food, particularly Chinese cuisine, but Thai food is ok. That said, the red curry was perfect. Not heavy at all, it struck the perfect balance between the zing of the lemon grass and the solid creamy base of coconut milk. We were left licking off the last dregs of the curry.

The Baileys chocolate mousse which we ordered for dessert was par for the course- nothing to write home about. The thai-style cooking at this restaurant remains its forte.

 

Ratings Scale (on 10)
Ambience 9
Ease of access 5
Service 8
Quality of food 7
Value for money 6
Would I go back there? Without a doubt
Meal for two INR 1500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted


Top Tips:

  • Going to Thai High for dinner is far better than lunch- the soft lighting and open air on a summer (or even autumn) night can be awesome
  • Also, they open up the upper terrace for better views of the Qutab, lit up in the darkness. You can see for miles around.
  • The upper terrace is also fantastic for private parties
  • The valets are highly courteous and helpful only once they know that you’re headed to Thai High
  • If you’re heading there on a weekend it would be helpful getting reservations
  • Vegetarians and vegans- you could possibly give this one a miss

Getting there: