Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “Food in Delhi”

Review: Twigly – Fresh Global Flavours

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The meal delivered from Twigly

Recently at office a colleague ordered for lunch and when the food arrived, it smelled heavenly. We were all sniffing at her food all the way from our desk much to her annoyance! That’s when I first heard about Twigly.

Twigly is a recent food delivery start up in the NCR region. Based in Gurgaon and South Delhi, they have a limited menu which changes everyday and while everything is locally sourced and freshly made, their delivery presentation gets top marks. The packaging is neat and clean, minimal which is what I like. I love my food and really appreciate the fact the need to keep a menu small so that what they serve and deliver is of the best quality.

When I got the opportunity to review Twigly, of course I jumped at it. After placing my order, I got a prompt message regarding the order details and the expected delivery time. And much to my delight, the food arrived hot and fresh within the time frame. Also a message on the bill welcoming me to the Twigly family is what sets this delivery service apart from the crowd. They are personalised and believe in serving good, delicious food to their customers.

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Pairing my meal to a book cover colour!

Twigly does good sandwiches I’d heard so first up was Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich with multigrain bread. The bread was fresh which is so necessary in a good sandwich, while the chicken filling had a tinge of spice. Over all, a good sandwich which I’d love to eat again.

The Chicken Alfredo Pasta was creamy with succulent pieces of chicken and vegetables like broccoli and carrots for the health conscious customers. The portion was size was more than enough for one person and they serve it with a golden crisp side of garlic bread.

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Pasta, fresh and delicious

They have a Hummus, Pita and Falafel platter. It’s good enough for two really because of the portion size and makes for a great starter.

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For the love of hummus!

Lastly, there was a Blueberry Brainfreezer milkshake. Personally, I found it a bit too sweet for my liking but my roommate loved it! What can I say, I’m jealous of people with a sweet tooth!

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My complete meal! 

Twigly is a very reasonably priced food delivery startup and honestly, I would definitely recommend them for your next meal!

Check out Twigly here and see their complete menu here

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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

Cheers?

Cheers?

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

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
Follow Taksim on Facebook

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

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: Tea Trails Café in Connaught Place

White tea served with a tea timer and details

Green tea served with a tea timer and tea details

For some, tea is passion. For some, it forms the very core of their being. Unable to function sans the morning cup, unable to think straight without that specific cup of chai with the mixture of cardamom, clove and ginger, tea becomes a way of life.
For Kavita Mathur, the co-founder of Tea Trails, tea is sheer passion. “I took a sabbatical some years ago. During that time I read up about tea. I visited places and realized tea is huge is other countries. We wanted to take the tea experience to another level in India and with our past expertise in franchising, we (with husband Uday) set up Tea Trails in Mumbai in 2013,” smiles Kavita. The name has grown across India with the aim to have many more such outlets across the nation by 2020.

Burmese tea salad paired along with white tea

Burmese tea salad paired along with white tea

Attention to detail
I visited their newly-opened bistro in Connaught Place on a weekday evening. The location is absolutely fabulous in the heart of the city. What impressed me as I stepped inside was the set up. From the pale green and white combination of colours to soothe the eye to dark polished seating, Tea Trails has got it spot on.
As you sit down, the smiling server offers you a welcome drink. With over 80-100 combinations of teas, coolers and chais on the menu, one has a lot to choose from. I loved that each tea is accompanied by a little note which explains the origins, brewing time and how best to drink it. And, their sampling table is perfect because one can decide on what to take back if one wants after tasting the various flavours.

The sampling counter

The sampling counter

Kavita Mathur

Kavita Mathur

Re-invention, re-discovery
The aim of Tea Trails is to re-invent the popular beverage. To get more people to rediscover tea. Tea Trails believe in pairing tea with food, with the use of leaves in many preparations. “It’s almost as if one pairs wine with food, we pair teas with food,” Kavita adds.
As a delicate white tea was served alongside a delicious Burmese Tea Salad with olive and sesame oil dressing, it paired beautifully with each sip. The balance of the leaves and the flavor was perfect.
Making tea is not an easy task. It depends on the quantity of leaves used, the temperature of water, the brewing time, the quality of the leaves and from where it’s procured. Tea Trails have tied up with tea gardens in Darjeeling, Assam and the Nilgiris to give the customers an authentic experience, alongside procuring leaves from different parts of the world.

Kashmiri Kahwa

Kashmiri Kahwa sans sugar

Delicate white tea

Delicate white tea

Another view of green tea from Kashmir

Another view of green tea from Kashmir

Too many varieties
For the first time I tasted Kashmiri Kahwa without oodles of sugar dissolved in it. It was beautiful. And it pair gorgeously with the olive and green tea bruschetta. My favourite was the smoky Lapsang Souchong from the Fujian province of China. The buttered apple tea was interesting as was the Red Zen tisane. The word tisane always takes me back to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirit who loved his sirops and tisanes!

Olive and green tea bruschetta

Olive and green tea bruschetta

A cup of smoky Lapsang Souchong

A cup of smoky Lapsang Souchong

Eggs Kejirwal, a deelish Mumbai favourite

Eggs Kejirwal, a deelish Mumbai favourite

Masala chai with lemongrass washed down with Bombay vada pav

Masala chai with lemongrass washed down with Bombay vada pav

Red Zen tisane!

Red Zen tisane!

My suggestion would be to go and check out this new café at your earliest. It’s pocket friendly and has something for all palates. Including filter coffee for the non-tea lovers!

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam

Review: Chaayos – Experiments with Tea

The humble masala chai with a lot of twists at Chaayos!

The humble masala chai with a lot of twists at Chaayos!

Bengalis are very particular about tea. Forget wanting to conquer territories, if the morning cup is not hot enough, the quantity of milk and sugar are off by a minuscule or the right blend hasn’t been used in the process, Bengalis are ready to go to war. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but being a Bengali myself, if I don’t have my morning cup the way I like it (let’s just keep it in the singular. I won’t scare you with my daily intake!) the day starts off wrong and my colleagues know it’s better to keep away.

Recently invited to review Chaayos, I jumped at the opportunity. How could I not go to a place which is literally, all about tea!

Hauz Khas Village is always busy. Shoppers, eaters, artists, groups of friends, couples… everyone finds something to do. Making my way up to the first floor, what struck me first was the quiet. The music playing in the background is not too loud, perfect to be able to have a conversation while the rustic décor keeps with the theme of tea-lovers coming into a place specially made for them. Add free wifi to the mix and you’ve sold it to chai-holics.

Combinations and Permutations

As established, I’m willing to run a mile for good tea, Chaayos is my kind of place. It brings out the absurd love I have for tea to the surface. Every tea is made fresh from scratch and can be suited to your taste buds. For example, the simple ‘chai’ can have less/more milk, less/more/no sugar, enhancers like ginger, tulsi, cinnamon, cardamom etc can be added and discarded as per taste. 25 varieties of tea can be customized in over 12000 ways. Yes, you read it right! The added attraction of unusual flavours such as Hari Mirch (Chilly), Rose-Cardamom and Aam-Papad make this chain a must-try.

Hari Mirch chai packs a punch.

Hari Mirch chai packs a punch.

Outlets Can Be Found…

Currently, Chaayos has 22 outlets in Delhi NCR and Mumbai. There are plans to open 100 by the end of the year across India. The cities in mind are Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore. Opening overseas is also in their expansion plans. From high-end stores to to-go outlets, Chaayos is successfully catching the 21-40 age-group customers. Many I met later told me they’ve become regulars! (There is a high possibility that I too will join that club).

Fresh Food and Pocket Pinch

Not only did I enjoy the different types of chai but fresh and tasty food was also on the mark. The Sicilian Chicken sandwich and the Mutton Lazeez Kebab wrap are delish. But what I enjoyed most was the bun maska, a chai essential. They not only serve the normal sorts but also flavoured bun maskas! And the best part about all of this is the affordable pricing. An average cost for 2 would be around Rs 500.

Yum food to munch on. Chicken and mutton

Yum food to munch on. Chicken and mutton

So, what are you waiting for? Go alone with a book or laptop for work, with a group of friends or with that special person. Chaayos is definitely worth your time if you live, breath, think tea!

Bun Maska with Honey Ginger Lemon tea

Bun Maska with Honey Ginger Lemon tea

Rose Cardamom anyone?

Rose Cardamom anyone?

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: Across Delhi NCR and Mumbai

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