Sharmi on the Trot

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Archive for the tag “Delhi restaurant”

Review: Cafe Yell

My first impression of Cafe Yell at Defence Colony Market was adorable. As you walk inside the cafe, the theme reminds you of clothes and tailors. After all, the cafe is a venture of the clothing brand Yell.

With oversized buttons, sewing machine, measuring tapes and coloured spools as decorations, Cafe Yell gives off a cozy and comforting feeling from the moment you step inside. It’s been about two months since the opening, but Cafe Yell has already made a name in the locality.

The smile is warm and inviting as you are seated. The menu cards are crisp and to the point, each dish described without much fuss, just how it should be. We order for iced tea, lemon soda and Yell watermelon mojito. They were perfect thirst quenchers in the heat which has engulfed Delhi and will continue to do so for some months.

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The food at Cafe Yell is what people are talking about. Let me tell you now how impressed I was. Right from starters to the mains, each dish was well balanced and left our tastebuds wishing for more (of course we’d need gigantic stomachs for that!)

First up, the Mozzarella Jalapeno Bombs had the perfect amount of gooey cheese and with their special dip, the taste just accentuated to a higher level. Don’t we all love Nachos? Well, you must try them at Cafe Yell because it has the perfect amount of topping and melted cheese. Together with salsa and sour cream, they make for a delicious start to your meal. The chicken Quesadilla was tasty and well-seasoned but somehow, didn’t quite hit the mark as much as the other two starters had.

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Mozzarella Jalapeno Bombs were the bomb!

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Chicken Quesadilla!

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Nachos anyone?

For the mains we started with pizza with four different types of toppings – Polo Speziato (chicken), pepperoni (pork), fungi (mushroom) and Spring Fling (assortment of veggies). The thin crust hand tossed pizza was simply outstanding. I’m not fond of veggies on my pizza much, but at Cafe Yell I licked the plate clean (just figuratively!) Then came the lamb burger with fries and slaw. The patty was succulent and well seasoned which is so important while the bun on its own was soft. But the highlight personally was the Risotto with bacon. There are some plates of food which look good but a taste undoes all expectations. At Cafe Yell, the moment the Risotto came out hot, just looking at it made us salivate. And as we took a spoonful to taste, we were left craving for more. The salt from the bacon complimented the creamy rice and took the experience to a different level altogether.

The desserts, however, didn’t live up to our expectations. While both, the salted caramel cheesecake and butterscotch brownie cup were good, we preferred the starters and mains more.

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Yell Watermelon mojito

We found out that Cafe Yell has a breakfast menu. So, the next time we are in the mood for some brekkie, we sure know where to head!

I would definitely recommend heading to Cafe Yell because the food is great, service fantastic and the pocket pinch not too much. So what are you waiting for!

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Review: 38 Barracks – A Twist on Traditional Navratra Celebrations

The interiors of 38 Barracks

The interiors of 38 Barracks

I had heard a lot about 38 Barracks but I visited the restaurant, situated in Connaught Place, thanks to a bloggers meet. Like most places, this eatery too was catering to the Navratra celebrations but unlike most restaurants which prefer to serve a set thali, 38 Barracks put a twist on it. “We are serving a four-course menu. One can either order each course separately, or the whole meal together,” says Ankur Agarwal, out host for the afternoon.

Another view of the interiors

Another view of the interiors

It’s a great concept because one often doesn’t like to devour a whole thali. It can be the case of wanting to pick and choose what to eat instead of everything the set thali offers. The four-course meal is priced at Rs 799 only and curated by Michelin-recommended chef Gautam Chaudhry.

The Special Navratra menu

The Special Navratra menu

The food is not the usual fare, trust me. The humble sabudana (Tapioca Sago) which is widely used during the festival, is paired with raisins and the sago risotto was mouth-watering! Even the dips are unusual with coconut chutney taking centre stage with most starters.
A look at what we devoured:

Hello Pina colada!

Hello Pina Colada!

The deep fried Kurkuri Kamal Kakdi

The deep fried Kurkuri Kamal Kakdi with Sabudana papad

Sabudana and Prunes ki Tikki

Sabudana and Prunes ki Tikki

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

Singhade aur Aloo ke Tikki

Singhade aur Aloo ke Tikki

Paneer Parcels on Sago Risotto

Paneer Parcels on Sago Risotto

Chironjee ki Daal

Chironjee ki Daal

Harissa Upma with Paneer Steaks (Not in the menu but just as delicious!)

Harissa Upma with Paneer Steaks (Not in the menu but just as delicious!)

Makhana kheer with fruits

Makhana Kheer with fruits

What really works is the ambiance. The old and retired colonel’s house-themed restaurant with nostalgic bric-a-brac on walls and fantastic live music for the visitors should be on the list of must-visit places in Delhi.

Ambiance: 5/5
Food and beverage: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Connaught Place, New Delhi
Follow 38 Barracks on Facebook and Instagram

Review: Sattvik – Celebrating Navratra with a Thali

Thirst quenchers

Thirst quenchers

As I walked into the vegetarian fine dining establishment at Select CITIWALK in Saket, I could only wait in anticipation as to what will come my way. I love vegetarian food but I don’t really end up cooking a lot of it or going to eateries which specialize in the theme. It’s only after I shifted to Delhi that I realized how big Navratra is in this part of India. The different foods which are served during this time are cooked sans garlic and onion. While many may balk at such a thought, I think it’s a refreshing challenge. It showcases intuitiveness, creativity and the will to experiment.

Niravan... in a pineapple!

Niravana… in a pineapple!

Sattvik has been around for nine years and is widely regarded as one of the best vegetation eateries in Delhi. I soon understood why. The décor and ambiance is soothing, the staff is extremely nice and goes out of their way to make you comfortable and the quality of food is unmatched. Cooked to perfection, everything I tasted would surely have me going back again.

There are thirst quenchers aplenty but as the restaurant labels them Rasa (divine nectars), the first sips of ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Disha’ were pure bliss on a hot summer day. Nirvana has pineapple, blueberry and orange blended and served in a scooped out pineapple while Disha is a mixture of banana, melon and pineapple juice presented inside a melon.

The best Dahi Kebabs I've had

The best Dahi Kebabs I’ve had

Beetroot Seekh Kebabs, very innovative and healthy

Beetroot Seekh Kebabs, very innovative and healthy

Though I had come for the special Navratra thali, I was served two appetizers – Mehroon Beet ki Sikki Seekh and Dahi Kebab. Let me stop right there. The Dahi Kebabs were the best I’ve ever had. Made with pure cow milk and cooked to perfection, I wasn’t at all surprised being informed they were a bestseller. The beet seekhs were extremely innovative and a healthier option which is usually ordered by an elder crowd.

The Navratra Thali

The Navratra Thali

As the Navratri celebrations last for nine nights and 10 days, I would definitely suggest heading to Sattvik to devour their Navratra thali. The thali is huge with more than enough to make sure you don’t suffer from hunger pangs. Priced at R595 (+ taxes), the thali has Chach (buttermilk), Paneer Malai Tikka and Tandoori Shakarkandi (sweet potato) as starters. Then are the accompaniments such as Saboodana ke papad, fresh fruit salad and Kheera aur Anar ka raita (cucumber and pomegranate raita). The main course has Paneer Makhani, Malai Kofta and Pudina wala Aloo served with steamed Samak ke Pulao and Kutta aur Singara ki Puri. The deserts offered are Samak ki Kesharia Phirnee and Gud Makhana.

Another view of the Thali

Another view of the Thali

The special Navratra menu

The special Navratra menu

Exteriors of the restaurant

Exteriors of the restaurant

As I tasted one bowl after the other, a smile spread across my face. Everything was absolutely delicious. The kofta was melt-in-your-mouth soft, the potato had the correct spices while the raita was thick. None of the dishes were overtly spicy or salty. All had a mellow flavour and the perfect seasoning. Upon inquiring, I learnt the kitchen will make a dish less or more spicy depending on the customer’s specification. They will also make a dish without onion and garlic if requested on a normal day. The personal favourite was the phirnee. I don’t have a sweet tooth but if I had the space I would have gulped down two more bowls!

Gur

Gud Makhana, sweet and deelish!

If you’re celebrating Navratri and want to eat out, head to Sattvik situated on the top floor of Select CITIWALK in Saket. You won’t be disappointed!

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and Beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: Select Citiwalk, Saket, New Delhi
Check out the restaurant website and visit Select CITIWALK

 

Review: Scooter On The Wall in SDA Market

The interiors

The interiors, nice isn’t it?

Walking up the steps, colourful walls kept me company till I reached the first floor. A tire which worked as a door knob, a rather large door knob at that, opened up to a lovely yellow light lit room with gorgeous out-of-the-box furniture while David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ on the music system had me humming along as I was seated.

Photo frames on the wall make a great style statement

Photo frames on the wall make a great style statement

I’ve been to cafes in India before which have an automobile theme, but none I’ve found to be as quaint as Scooter on the Wall. Located in Delhi’s SDA Market near the IIT, it takes a while to locate the first floor eatery but once you reach and eat, you go home satiated. Quirky interiors, funky music and delicious food – these words best sum up an afternoon lunch experience.

Glancing around I found all tables to be full of chatter and banter. From students to professionals, everyone seemed to be enjoying a long lazy lunch. The tables at the centre which has scooters as table stands simply added to the charm.

The Watermelon Kala Khatta and the Antioxidant. perfect to sip on

The Watermelon Kala Khatta (left) and the Antioxidant. perfect to sip on

As whiffs of freshly baked and cooked food filled the area, the ‘Watermelon Kala khatta’ mocktail hit the right spot on a humid day. Glancing across the menu, it was interesting to notice each food and beverage section had automobile-themed headings, from scooter shakes to the top gear, fuel tankers to headlights!

As the mocktail quenched my thirst, the taste made me go down memory lane… those school days when after the last bell to freedom rang out we would often rush to the chuski stand outside the gates. Kala khatta would be devoured with gusto as we exchanged gossip from different classrooms. Its strange how Proustian memory works isn’t it? After all, we all face the Madeleine Moment in our daily lives…

The peanut butter shake, don't let the colour fool you! But it goes well with the background doesn't it?

The peanut butter shake, don’t let the colour fool you! But it goes well with the background doesn’t it?

All the peanut butter lovers out there definitely order the peanut butter shake here. It’s an overload of peanut butter, which one can’t go wrong with, decorated with cream and sprinkles. It’s perfectly accompanied by spicy black pepper chicken.

Then came the ‘Shishtouk’ platter. Succulent kebabs, delicious hummus, pita and turshi all well balanced and complementing each other. I could indulge on this starter as a main by itself and all by myself. Well, I would have to run 10 km the next day, but hey, well worth it!

Delicious chicken

Delicious chicken

Shishtouk anyone?

Shishtouk anyone?

The steamed chicken suimai that followed came with soup and dipping sauces. Its presentation – on a tray – was nice, especially for pictures against the wooden table top. The butter chicken pasta or the ‘Desiride with Kukkad’ was interesting. With butter chicken extremely popular in this part of India, eateries often try and combine the flavours with Italian dishes. Lastly, the ‘Café Cheese Chicken Burger’ served with ketchup and fries is what I’ll definitely recommend.

Steaming dim sums, nice presentation isn't it?

Steaming dim sums, nice presentation isn’t it?

Butter chicken pasta!

Butter chicken pasta!

Really a good burger!

Really a good burger!

The portions ensure one doesn’t go hungry while the taste lives up to each dish sampled. The interiors make a patron comfortable while the music keeps a head nodding. For the ones hooked to hookah, don’t fear. One can enjoy it while snacking on the munchies!

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: 1st Floor, C-4, SDA Market, New Delhi

Review: Dimcha — Marrying Dimsums with Chai

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Green dimsums with beans

I love dimsums. Honestly, anytime is ‘momo time’. My sister, whom I share an apartment with in Delhi, often refuses to go out with me for dinner if I suggest going for dimsums because, let’s face it, when it comes to self control over stuffing my face with dimsums, I lack it completely. Secondly, I may have mentioned earlier how much I adore tea. Little wonder I dedicate a whole shelf in my kitchen to different types of teas from around the world. My favourite thing to buy on my travels to tea-friendly states and countries is – tea of course! So, when I get a chance to go to a place which has laid emphasis on two of my favourite things, it’s little wonder I didn’t do cartwheels. Well, maybe in my head.

Pickled ginger and kiwi coolers

Pickled ginger and kiwi coolers

The Concept

Dimcha, located in Nehru Place inside Epicuria Food Mall, is an interesting concept. Spinning off from the Chinese concept of Yum Cha (going for dimsums, this restaurant offers a wide array of dimsums and teas to accompany them. It’s not a very big place but has a very calm and laid back feel to it. The white and blue checkered floor gives it a very casual look. One can sit inside as well outside, though preferably in the winters. Considering it’s a dimsum place, the tables are laid out with chopsticks and very cute miniature coke bottles with sauce. And I loved their brown plates as I’m a sucker for pretty crockery. The walls are tiled and have popular recipes! The seating is very comfortable and one can see the live counter where chefs are preparing the meals.

The glass window kitchen

The glass window kitchen

Khowsuey soup!

Khowsuey soup!

Deliciousness Served

We started the meal with kiwi and pickled ginger coolers which were refreshing. Then were served two types of soups – Ba Mee and Khowsuey. The Burmese Khowsuey is usually served as a meal in a bowl but in Dimcha, the broth had been made lighter and portions smaller. The Ba Mee broth was spicy and had a good helping of vegetables and noodles. I would definitely recommend trying them if you enjoy spice.

Ba Mee - broth with noodles and veggies

Ba Mee – broth with noodles and veggies

Then came the raw papaya salad, a staple in many South East Asian regions. The crunchy peanuts paired very well with the lime-covered salad. But my favourite starter was the red turnip cake. I’m not a turnip fan at all. I avoid it at all cost. But it was just so delicious that I couldn’t help but ask for a second helping. Soft and subtly flavoured, I know what to order the next time I’m there.

Raw papaya salad

Raw papaya salad

Red turnip cakes, my favourite

Red turnip cakes, my favourite

Dimsums are the real deal at Dimcha. They have specially handcrafted  many on the menu with unusual pairings. Beet skin, carrot skin, prawns, chicken – each dumpling is created to suit every type of taste bud. You don’t like beans, no problem, try the steaming chicken one in Hoisin sauce instead. The beetroot and prawn ones were so succulent that I can’t wait to go back for them!

Mixed vegetable dimsums

Mixed vegetable dimsums

Prawn dimsums

Prawn dimsums

It’s a place I will recommend for dimsum lovers. Try their unique combinations because they really are good!

The crockery is really nice as the colours pop against the brown

The crockery is really nice as the colours pop against the brown

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Epicuria Food Mall, Nehru Place  

Review: Amreli, Hotel Diplomat

Welcome to Amreli

Welcome to Amreli

There’s something charming and gorgeous when you walk into an old building. Maybe it has something to do with nostalgia because the moment I walked into Hotel Diplomat, I was transported to a grandmother’s ancestral home back in Calcutta. The old-fashioned styled house with verandahs and railings nestled amidst greenery makes one feel welcome, makes one feel refreshed. What is so fabulous about Amreli, their restaurant, is that one can choose to sit indoors or outdoors amidst the luscious greenery. I would have loved to sit outdoors but rain played spoilsport. Well, there’s always a next time isn’t it.

The pretty menu

The pretty menu

Interesting concept
Amreli is an interesting concept which has been started by Sidhant Lamba. A cross between a diner and bistro, the 105-seating capacity upscale restaurant is perfect for families, friends or/and a perfect date. From the art hanging on the walls to the chequered flooring, the use of purple and gold on paper table mats with elephant-shaped side plates, Amreli offers a nice sobering ambiance, perfect for an elegant evening. The service was really good as everyone made me feel welcome, right from the time I entered till the time I left.

The restaurant

The restaurant

Comfortable seating

Comfortable seating

Delicious Starters

Peek-a-boo with the vegetarian dimsums

Peek-a-boo with the vegetarian dimsums

Amreli offers North Indian, South Indian and Pan Asian cuisines. I decided to try Pan Asian simply because I was craving it the past couple of days. And Chef Neelam made sure I wasn’t disappointed. The Chilli Prawns with coconut, scallion, pepper and onion were perfect as were the platter of vegetarian dim sums. Steamed perfectly, each bite was a delight. The prawns were cooked fine and the hints of chilli absolutely didn’t overpower. The size of the prawns and quantity left me impressed.

Hello there prawns

Hello there prawns

View from the top

View from the top (see the pretty flooring!)

Mains & Sweets
With two starters consumed along with a glass of Old Fashioned (did I mention they have a fabulous cocktail menu? Well, check it out for yourself when you visit!) I asked Chef Neelam for a tasting platter for the mains. The wait for a bit long-ish but when the food came, I wished I had more space in my stomach to eat more. For the vegetarian tasting platter there was Tofu in Sambal Sauce, Mushroom in Black Bean Sauce along with rice and noodles. The non-vegetarian platter had Red Thai Chicken Curry and Balinese Prawn Curry with sticky rice and fried rice. I like vegetarian food but the tofu blew me away. Given a choice I wouldn’t have ordered for it but I’m glad Chef Neelam made it. The softness of the Tofu was perfect with the spicy Sambal sauce. The Red Thai Chicken Curry was perfectly balanced with sticky rice and the prawns stood out on their own. I know what to eat when I go back next!
For dessert, Chef brought out a Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cake and Tiramisu. I would surely recommend the Tiramisu because the taste was great and it was light. The fudge cake tasted nice but it was too heavy for me personally to enjoy after such a decadent meal.

The non-veg platter

The non-veg platter – chicken and prawns

The vegetarian platter

The vegetarian platter – tofu and mushrooms

Close ups, smile please :)

Close ups, smile please 🙂

The light as feather Tiramisu

The light as feather Tiramisu

Decadent Fudge

Decadent Fudge

Would I go back?
Whenever visiting a new restaurant, the last question I ask myself after a meal is would I go back. If I say yes, there are three aspects involved in that decision. One, is the food obviously. Second, the price and third, the ambiance. After visiting Amreli, it was an easy decision for me. The food is definitely worth the money and the ambiance is wonderful. If you find yourself in Chanakyapuri, do go visit.

Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Hotel Diplomat, 9 Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, #011 46050200

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