Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the month “March, 2017”

Review: Med Fest at ChaoBella

When I think Mediterranean food, images of hummus, pita, baba ganoush, olives, stuffed vines come to mind. However, to my American friend, the cuisine evokes memories of Greece and Italy, leaning more towards the western side of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region comprises a huge area and no matter if the countries surrounding it have distinct cuisines, there’s always a common thread – olive oil!

The variations of Mediterranean cuisine is loved world over and to give the people of Delhi an authentic experience, ChaoBella at Crowne Plaza Okhla have come up with a delicious food festival – the Med Fest. They bring together various Mediterranean delicacies from around the region to your table. How do I know it’s delicious? Because I’ve had the pleasure of tasting the portions which evoked happiness in every bite.

Shorba for the vegetarians

The Med Fest begins with a soup – Shorba (Chorba) for the vegetarians and a chicken for the non vegetarians. I love stews so Shorba was the automatic choice. It was very light and flavoursome, and most importantly, tangy which I adore in broths. In fact, every spoonful reminded me why I hadn’t made it at home for a while. It’s so easy and hearty that I promise you, Shorbas will become part of your weekly meals if you try it.


Fattoush or a bread salad with greens is something I can gorge on everyday but it was their non vegetarian option – smoked chicken and artichoke salad that blew me away. The combination of the chicken, artichoke, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, onions and lettuce with seasoning and balsamic was so tasty that I was reminiscing about the flavours the next morning!

The star – chicken and artichoke salad with pine nuts

Mostly from Southern Italy, the seafood pasta was a delight. Generously topped with fish and prawns, the seafood pasta grew on you with every bite.

Seafood pasta you’d want to eat over and over again

We ordered for the Norcini, or buffalo mozzarella, sausage, mushroom and tomato pizza. It was rustic which was very appealing because I am all for thin crust and crispy bites.

Pizza anyone?

It was then time for the mains. My tenderloin was a bit dry but very tasty. The chicken was well seasoned while the fish very well cooked. The accompanying greens and shitake made it a wholesome meal.

Tenderloin and greens

Chicken with veggies

Well cooked fish with veggies

For dessert, there was a pear and almond tart and blueberry cheesecake.

A very happy me! With a lot of running involved the next day!

The Med Fest is on till March 20 so if I were you, I’d head to Crowne Plaza Okhla with not a moment to spare to gorge on simple yet tasty Mediterranean food in Delhi.

Where: ChaoBella, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi in Okhla Phase 1
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Review: Jom Jom Malay at Ansal Plaza

Pretty interiors

Pretty interiors

Bright colours that catch your eye, a happy atmosphere, smiling and cheerful staff, and finger-licking delicious Malaysian food – that’s what Jom Jom Malay is all about. A recent addition to Delhi’s restaurant scene, and located at Ansal Plaza, Jom Jom Malay is the city’s first Malaysian restaurant.

From the moment you walk in, the vibrant setting gives you a comfortable vibe.The blue and pink cushions, wooden tables and typical Malaysian wall decor instantly makes you want to taste the food. And while you place an order and wait, try your hand at making sambal? Sambal is probably the most popular condiment in Malaysian cuisine and in many recipes, act as a foundation. The usual suspects are brought to the table – ginger, garlic, chilli, onion, lime, sugar, salt and chilli oil along with a mortar and pestle. Then comes an already-made array of sambals from the Jom Jom Malay kitchen. So, test your sambal-making skills as you grind the ingredients into a paste to the ones on the table. As I dug into the sambal that had shrimps, my attempt at recreating the condiment came nowhere close the taste!

The sambal attempt!

The sambal attempt!

First arrived an array of Baos – stuffed with chicken, lamb and duck. Soft, melt-in-your-mouth baos complimented each filling. Every bite had you craving another one. Each very distinctive, my favourite was the duck with it’s deep star anise flavour. Not many places can make good cocktails but Jom Jom Malay’s Cuban Malay had me floored. A burst of citrus in every sip, it complimented the baos perfectly.

Baos (from left) Lamb, Duck and Chicken

Baos (from left) Lamb, Duck and Chicken



Anyone who visits South East Asia, the first food item they bite into is a Satay. A satay is a piece of skewered and grilled meat that’s served with peanut sauce. Malaysians like their food to be more curried than dry so there’s an additional sauce served alongside crackers and a salad. If you like your satay to have a bit of gravy, just pour out a bit of the sauce on it and then dip it into the traditional peanut sauce. There were chicken, lamb, fish and prawn satays on offer. The lamb satay wins hands down. That would be my recommendation. The chicken was flavoursome while the fish was cooked perfectly, the prawns were slightly rubbery.

Satays and more

Satays and more

Next came sticky rice with an onion and sambal stuffing to be consumed with more shrimp sambal. Malaysian cuisine has a lot of Indian influence along with others from neighbouring South East Asian countries. Thus, when I took a bite of the stuffed pancakes or Murtabak, I was immediately reminded of the famous Mughlai paratha.

Sticky rice

Stuffed sticky rice

Stuffed pancakes!

Stuffed pancakes!

Jom Jom Malay believes in making everything from scratch. They grind their own pastes, make their own condiments and while at it, has added interesting twists to some flavours. For example, they use well seasoned dried mango skin in certain salads just to enhance the flavours. “The only thing we get is coconut milk because that would be difficult to make!” says Aftab Sidhu, who has conceptualised the menu.

Yup, that's me digging in!

Yup, that’s me digging in! The plate speaks my emotions!

The Nasi Goreng is an all-time favourite while the Rendang I make at home often. I was so glad that I got to taste both. With so many influences in the cuisine, debates rage on the origin of the dish. While they both may have originated in Indonesia, each country has made it their own with unique influences. In the Nasi Goreng, mix the sambal and crackers with an egg that binds the rice and serve it with coconut and chilli and a satay. Each bite is so pleasurable that if my stomach allowed, I would have asked for more. The Rendang was very different to the ones I’ve had earlier. I confess Malaysia has been left out of my South East Asian sojourns so far and I’m waiting to visit the country to try their food. The lamb was so soft and tender that it literally melted in your mouth. It was the perfect curry to have with roti canai. Also, the texture reminded me so much of Kosha Mangsho that I can’t wait to go home just to have my mother’s homemade mutton curry!

Just look at that Nasi Goreng!

Just look at that Nasi Goreng!

Lamb Rendang

Lamb Rendang

The name Jom Jom, loosely translated, means let’s go! So, what are you waiting for? Go and indulge in delectable Malaysian food right in the heart of Delhi!

Ambiance: 4.5/5
Food and beverage: 4.5/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Ansal Plaza at Khel Gaon Marg
Follow Jom Jom Malay on Facebook

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