Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the month “February, 2017”

Review: Taksim at Ansal Plaza

Cocktails at Taksim

Cocktails at Taksim

I stay very close to Ansal Plaza located in Khel Gaon, yet in the short years that I’ve stayed in the city, I’d never manage to go there. It looked so run down from afar. But now there’s a buzz. New restaurants have opened, many more are in the pipeline while a sporting goods store has many visiting Ansal Plaza on a daily basis. Taksim opened its doors in December 2016 but their alcohol license came only a month later. It’s only been some weeks, but Taksim has managed to garner a crowd of regulars, which I might add, is difficult in this city.

“Why Ansal Plaza?” I asked. Sahil, who manages Taksim, replied, “Why not? It’s in the heart of the city, has a huge parking space, a prime location and convenient.” And going by the crowd, it seemed Taksim had hit upon a jackpot — jam-packed on a weekday evening!

The cutlery wall

The cutlery wall

As we walked into Taksim, the music from the good old days filled the air. Lip syncing to Abba and Whigfield and remembering the last time I heard their music, I felt impressed with Taksim’s interiors at first glance. Spacious, a lot of wood, pretty walls and an open space – a really good combination. The menus were placed in front of us as we ordered for drinks – Cosmo for the sister and Taksim Square (vodka with pomegranate seeds and basil) for me. Sipping on the delicious cocktails (both hit the mark), we ordered for the food.

Fish fish, spicy spicy

Fish fish, spicy spicy

First arrived Kohliwada Fish Tikka. Played against white, it stood out against the brown table. As a food blogger, we do tend to let the food get cold just to capture that perfect shot. But not this time! The smell was just too enticing so pictures captured, we dug in. Spicy just the way I like with a mint dip, it set the mood for the rest of the evening.

Crispy spinach with curd, tamarind and mint

Crispy spinach with curd, tamarind and mint

Then came the Palak Patta Ki Milly Filly Chaat (Crispy spinach leaves with yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney). Each bite had a great balance of sweet and sour. The Ishq Sufiana (cottage cheese or paneer with fennel) was the highlight for me. I’m a strict non vegetarian but the paneer had me the moment it touched my mouth. So soft and well seasoned that each bite had me craving for more.

Paneer love aka Ishq Sufiana

Paneer love aka Ishq Sufiana

The Thai Basil Chicken is a good appetizer option with drinks and cocktails while the Chicken Shawarma is an option when you visit in a group. Served with pita and hummus: tear, fill and gobble! The cottage cheese steak pao is a meal in itself. A slab of cottage cheese in between a bun served with a huge serving of fries and dips, is definitely an option for a main at Taksim.

Chicken Shawarma platter

Chicken Shawarma platter

Thai Basil Chicken

Thai Basil Chicken

Who can so no to dessert right? We ordered the Blueberry cheesecake and Banoffee Pie. By then the lights had dimmed, the 90s music had given way to live Sufi music as the crowd swayed to the rhythm. Taksim actually has music theme nights – from reliving the 90s to EDM and live acts. Realise the kind of music you’re in the mood for and head to Taksim to enjoy a fulfilled evening with good food and music.

Paneer pao

The paneer pao is very filling

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Ansal Plaza at Khel Gaon Marg
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Review: Chinese New Year Celebrations at ChaoBella

The Chinese New Year Menu!

The Chinese New Year Menu!

When we think of Chinese food, what is the first thing that comes to mind? I don’t know about you but my mind lights up with the thought of steamed dumplings in bamboo steamers. That’s what most of us immediately associate Chinese food with I presume. So, to celebrate the Year of the Rooster, ChaoBella at Crowne Plaza Today Okhla have decided to let patrons get a taste of authentic food, beyond the usual fare. Their Chinese New Year celebrations are on till February 13, 2017 and starts from Rs 450 onwards.

As I walk into the hotel’s Italian and Chinese restaurant ChaoBella, my stomach growls in anticipation. Chinese is an all-time favourite and actually works as comfort food. I think at least once I week I do indulge in Chinese food, homemade if not store bought. I’ve probably imbibed this from my father. He needs to try Chinese at least once wherever he travels to, even if in a place which has no Chinese connections!

Anyway I digress. So as I was seated by the window, I was presented with the menu. It looked tempting so with a glass of Limoncello Colin (so so good) I was set for an afternoon of indulgence.

Glassnoodles soup

Glassnoodles soup

First arrived a hot bowl of Glass Noodles soup. A light well balanced broth and crunchy vegetables and chicken was the perfect way to start a meal. As we are celebrating Chinese New Year, Hargow represents good luck and wealth. So, the chef specially sent over spinach and prawn dumplings to the table, which was consumed with much gusto.

Prawn Har Gaw

Prawn Har Gow

Prawns and cocktails!

Prawns and cocktails!

The starter that arrived was named Emperor Salt Baked Tiger Prawn. I must say I was extremely impressed as its aftertaste left me craving more.

Sweet and Sour Tenderoin

Sweet and Sour Tenderloin

The mains that arrived on the table were Sweet and Sour Tenderloin, Steamed Salmon in black bean sauce and Cantonese Chicken, accompanied by fried rice with olives and vegetable noodles. The outright star was the fish preparation. It was the first time I had the combination of Salmon and black bean sauce which left me feeling blissful. The fish was cooked perfectly. The tenderloin was a bit too sweet for me personally as I lack a sweet tooth but tasted well otherwise. The chicken had a very nice balance and combined well with the fried rice.

Salmon with black bean sauce

Salmon with black bean sauce

Cantonese Chicken

Cantonese Chicken

Fried rice and noodles

Fried rice and noodles

A full full plate!

A full full plate!

Stuffed to the brim, out came a trio of deserts – date pancake, black sesame ice cream and dumplings with a peanut coating and chocolate. The ice cream was outstanding. The texture was unique and paired excellently with the sweet pancake. The dumpling resembled the Rosogolla but when cut, out poured chocolate. The glutinous coating was very nice, something I tasted for the first time.

Sweet platter

Sweet platter

The well-thought of Chinese New Year menu is on for a short span (February 13, 2017). I would recommend not missing it because the flavours are an eclectic mix. And definitely don’t miss the Salmon. It’s been days but I’m still drooling at the thought!

A happy food blogger aka me!

A happy food blogger aka me!

Where: ChaoBella, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi in Okhla Phase 1

Review: Johnny Rockets – An All-You-Can-Eat Heaven

It's all about the burgers at Johnny Rockets

It’s all about the burgers at Johnny Rockets

Walk into the Johnny Rockets outlet at DLF Promenade in Vasant Kunj and you think you’re transported to the Archie comics world. Right from the juke box at the door, the seating style at booths and the counter, the Pop Tate-styled old fashioned diner hats on the servers and the smell of hamburgers – it seems you’ve actually stepped into an old-fashioned American diner, right out of Riverdale!

The specialty of Johnny Rockets is their commitment to fresh produce and no short cuts. When they say their shakes are dairy based, they mean it. The burgers are cooked fresh and customised accordingly. Thick and rich, they pair beautifully with the hot burgers that come to your table fresh off the grill. Eating at Johnny Rockets is definitely where good times roll.

Hello chocolate shake!

Hello chocolate shake!

Johnny Rockets has recently come up with a winner. They have started an ‘All-you-can-eat buffet’ (priced at Rs 449 for vegetarians and Rs 499 for non vegetarians without taxes, per person) which is a complete steal. For the amount, the whole Johnny Rockets menu is open to you – starting with shakes, pre-appetizers, appetizers, salad of the day, burgers and dessert —and is unlimited! If you have the appetite, eat to your heart’s content. It’s such a jaw dropping promotion that people find it very hard to believe. “We get calls to ask if it’s actually true,” I’m told as I munch on the appetizers. I’m partial to tater tots so guess what I indulged in the most out of all the different appetizers laid out in front of me.

Spoilt for choice! Which one to gorge on?

Spoilt for choice! Which one to gorge on?

Small portions of chicken wings with a barbecue sauce, chicken poprocks with a peri peri dressing, spicy sausages accompanied by ranch were placed in front at first as I slurped the thick chocolate shake. Then came crisp onion rings and tater tots. More milkshake and more bite-sized appetizers kept me going as the staff at Johnny Rockets burst into dance much to the amusement of other patrons. Camera flashes were instantaneous as we all clapped along!

I guess Onion Rings make for good photo ops!

I guess Onion Rings make for good photo ops!

It was now time for the main course aka Burgers. Take your pick from chicken, vegetarian, lamb and tenderloin and six variations. Think hard, not too much though as there’s always a possibility of seconds if the stomach allows. The best burgers are the no nonsense ones so I chose the simplest – tenderloin patty, caramelized onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese all tucked into brioche buns aka Route 66. Personal recommendation: always go for Brioche for more flavour and eat it while it’s hot.

The Route 66

The Route 66

The burger was spot on. Perfectly grilled patty that paired beautifully with the Brioche buns while the cheese, onions and mushrooms enhanced the flavour. I wish the glutton in me had more space so I could eat another but alas, the appetite does decrease with age. Or so I’m told!

A gentleman comes up and stares at the menu card. “It’s unlimited?” he questions. It didn’t seem to register that the whole menu was open to him at a nominal price. “Really? Ok then get me this and this. Don’t get any of the vegetarian ones… This and keep repeating,” he orders pointing to his chosen dishes.

For the ones with sweet tooth, delicious brownie with ice cream

For the ones with sweet tooth, delicious brownie with ice cream

By the time I could barely finish my brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce, the gentleman in question had wolfed down two burgers and was on his second shake, asking the staff to repeat the starters! I was very envious of his appetite!

A very very happy food blogger aka Me!

A very very happy food blogger aka Me!

There is no nearby expiration date of the All-You-Can-Eat offer at either of the Johnny Rockets outlets. So what are you waiting for?

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: The All You Can Eat promotion available only at DLF Promenade (Vasant Kunj) and Ambience Mall (Gurgaon) outlets
Follow Johnny Rockets on Facebook

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