Sharmi on the Trot

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Archive for the tag “New Delhi Restaurants”

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

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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

Review: Elation

Nachos

Nachos

As a friend and I enter the famed Greater Kailash (GK) M block market on a Sunday morning, the place wore a deserted look. Usually buzzing with chirpy teens, middle-aged ladies with designer bags and sellers asking you check out their wares; the market seemed sleepy, yet to wake up from slumber on a winter morning.

Finding our way to Elation seemed easy enough. It’s located near Starbucks and the entrance is from behind the market. Taking the elevator up to the second floor, Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t stop the feeling’ greeted us as we walked through the door. It’s a pretty cozy place with comfortable indoor seating and dim lighting. However, it being winter in Delhi, we chose to sit outside on the balcony. This is literally the only time one can! They also have seating on the terrace which makes it perfect in this weather.

Delicious cold coffee

Delicious cold coffee

With beer and cold coffees ordered, we buried our faces in the menu card. Elation is a synonym for happiness. Good food is always a catalyst for such emotions. The variety of food Elation offers its patrons are extensive and honestly, I enjoyed every dish we tasted.

A big bowl of Nachos topped with cheese, handmade salsa and sour cream made an entrance. The salsa delicious and sour cream perfect, the nachos would be top of the line with a bit more cheese. Cheese makes everything better!

The sweet chilly garlic fish bites were delicious. Crispy bites tossed in the sauce and served on a white plate, it made for good photographs and the taste matched up to expectations.

Chicken ham and cheese sandwich with fries

Chicken ham and cheese sandwich with fries

We ordered the chicken ham and cheese sandwich and the recommended baked chicken sandwich. While the former came accompanied by fries (always a winning combination), the latter is what I enjoyed more. The baked sandwich is filling, well seasoned and one piece is enough to gorge on for a meal.

Gorgeous baked sandwich, a must try

Gorgeous baked sandwich, a must try

The Elation Special Wrap is definitely what I’ll recommend among the starters or finger food. It’s slightly on the sweeter side but with crispy chicken and mayo generously slathered inside, I could eat it all day provided of course I consumed nothing else!

Elation wrap

The Elation wrap

With the mains taking a bit of time, the chef sent chicken lollipops to the table. They were tasty but our focus was the mains.

First up, chicken Aglio-e-olio. It’s always a crowdpleaser – spaghetti tossed in olive oil and garlic. I must say it was well seasoned and fresh off the pan and absolutely delicious. The roast chicken breasts in peri peri sauce with mash and sautéed veggies hit the right spot. Spicy and tangy, it paired well with the mash.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti aglio-e-olio with chicken

Fish and lemon butter sauce

Fish in lemon butter sauce with mash and veggies

The last dish on the table was the grilled fish with lemon butter sauce, again accompanied by mash and veggies. I simply loved it. The sauce was not too lemony and not too buttery but just well balanced. The fish was grilled to perfection while the mash was creamy and delicious. I ate all the crunchy vegetables because it was drenched with the sauce making it delectable!

PS: For all the hookah lovers out there, Elation serves a variety of flavours. So what are you waiting for? Go check out the place!
PPS: With Christmas and New Year round the corner, check out Elation’s special offers.

Elation is located in GK 1 M Block Market, near Starbucks. Cost for one Rs 750/-
To enjoy a 20 % off on your total bill from January 1-21, 2017, please reserve a table through this link on DinerPlus 

I wrote this post in collaboration with DinerPlus. If you enjoyed what I wrote and want to try Elation, please book through the above mentioned link as I will get a small commission. As usual, I only recommend what I loved.

Review: Royal China

Table setting in Royal China

Table setting in Royal China

The elevator doors opened, I stepped inside and pressed on the 16th floor button. The contraption hurled upwards and my empty stomach churned with the sudden shift in momentum. “It’s the anticipation,” I thought. I love Chinese food and when I had the opportunity to review Royal China, I simply jumped at it. To relish a favourite meal and take in a breathtaking view of the city alongside, it wasn’t really a difficult decision to take.

Royal China is located in Eros Towers, Nehru Place, just beside Satyam Cinema Complex. On the top-most floor, it offers a calming view, away from the hustle and bustle of chaotic Nehru Place. The interiors are calm and soothing, the music playing in the background blends in and you immediately feel comfortable. Opt for a table near the glass windows because on a clear day the view of the Lotus Temple and its surroundings are lovely. The table is set with crisp linen, sauces that act as condiments, and chopsticks as menu cards are handed over with a warm greeting as you sit down. There’s so much to choose from!

Royal China has branches in Mumbai and Pune. I had been to their Mumbai branch years ago and remember absolutely loving every bite. Would this time round be just as good? Let me tell you right now, it was. Even better I might add. If you enjoy Chinese and you’re in Delhi, Royal China should be a must-visit. Right from the time you enter till the elevator transports you back to the ground floor, the staff looks after you, making sure you enjoy a lovely meal.

Royal China offers patrons an a la carte menu of course but those with a fixed idea of wanting to try a bit of everything, I would suggest try the Tasting Menu. It’s available for lunch (Rs 1550/Rs 2100 with alcohol) and dinner (Rs 1800/Rs 2500 with alcohol). They also have Set Meals on the lines of Seafood Gourmet (Rs 1950), House Dinner (Rs 1750) and Vegetarian Dinner (Rs 1500). They are best known for their dimsums. So, if you’re in the food to gorge only on different dimsums you can think of, definitely order the Unlimited Dimsum Menu (Rs 1750/Rs 2450 with alcohol).

The Lychee and Strawberry Martini is a delight to start the lunch with. Having grown up on James Bond films thanks to a fanatic father (who plays Bond best is a debate that rages every time I go home), I always end up ordering a vodka Martini (not in a deep champagne goblet though!). It was the first I tried a variation and was suitably impressed.

Set against the backdrop as seen from the 16th floor

Set against the backdrop as seen from the 16th floor

I like to try small portions so I ordered the Tasting Menu. It’s enough for two people and one gets a taste of what the fine-dining establishment offers. First came the appetizers. The Fried Soft Corn Curd with a mint and coriander sauce, Crispy Seaweed and Chicken with Dry Red Chilly. The Corn Curd is melt-in-your-mouth divine while the Seaweed is crisp as the name suggests. A big thumbs up to the two. The chicken is very good but I loved the vegetarian options more.

Chicken with Dry Red Chilly, Fried Soft Corn Curd and Crispy Seaweed

Chicken with Dry Red Chilly, Fried Soft Corn Curd and Crispy Seaweed

A full plate!

A full plate!

Then arrived the Roast Pork Puff. Take one bite and the puff flakes the right amount. The stuffing is on the sweeter side and the seasoning is spot on. It’s a good thing I stopped at one, else I could continue and fill up my stomach with just those tiny puffs.

Flaky puffs filled with roast pork

Flaky puffs filled with roast pork

Royal China’s stars are dimsums. They come in all fillings, shapes and sizes. Three bamboo steamers were placed on the table. As I lifted one lid, the steam escaped and left behind a gorgeous aroma of fresh dimsums. I have to say I’m biased towards dimsums because I can live on them. Every meal can be a dimsum meal, seriously I kid you not. Anyway I digress. The first steamer had Chicken and Chive, the second Chicken with Vegetables and the third Siu Mai. All three were juicy and tender as you popped them into the mouth.

Chicken and chives, chicken with veggies (background)

Chicken and chives, chicken with veggies (background)

Orange in colour but delicious in taste

Orange in colour but delicious in taste

Sui Mai

Siu Mai

The Crispy Aromatic Duck starred in the third course. The duck was golden and crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. It’s best eaten rolled inside a soft and steaming pancake with cucumbers, scallions and hoisin sauce. The duck in all it’s glory is shredded by expert hands in a matter of seconds. Then the sauce is spread on the pancake, the raw vegetables are placed on a side. The meat is added last and the pancake rolled up. There was nothing else to do except bite into it. The duck lived up to it’s visual temptation. Crispy and soft; the sauce and the vegetables combined perfectly for my taste buds to go into overdrive mode.

Crispy aromatic duck with its condiments (Before)

Crispy Aromatic Duck with its condiments (Before)

Crispy Aromatic Duck (After)

Crispy Aromatic Duck (After)

By the time the main course arrives, I’m already stuffed but when there’s Chinese food, the motto is never say never. Bowls containing Egg Fried Rice, Vegetable Hakka Noodles, Sliced Fish in Black bean sauce, Stir Fry Vegetables and Chicken in Chilly Oil fill up the table. My chopsticks couldn’t decide what to dig into first. The fish was so soft and the black bean sauce perfectly harmonised. It paired well with the noodles. The chicken was spicy and tasted wonderful with the fried rice. My favourite, however, was the stir fry! If my stomach allowed, I would have nibbled on them all day! Sigh… if only.

A full table filled with main courses

A full table filled with main courses

I love my plates full! This time with fried rice, noodles, fish, chicken and vegetables!

I love my plates full! This time with fried rice, noodles, fish, chicken and vegetables!

By this time, after a Martini refill and stuffed to the brim, the Banana Toffee with Vanilla Ice cream was a perfect way to end the long lunch. The ice cream neutralized the sweet and the taste buds ended on a high.

Banana Toffee and Ice cream

Banana Toffee and Ice cream

I would definitely recommend Royal China if you like Chinese or specifically, suffer from dimsum cravings like yours truly. Good food, great atmosphere and a wonderful view, what more can one ask for?

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: 16th Floor, Eros Towers, Nehru Place, New Delhi
Follow Royal China on Facebook and Instagram

Review: Piali – The Curry Bistro

I recently went to Piali the Curry Bistro for lunch. I was pretty hassled that afternoon as my day was just not going according to plan (and I’m a planner believe me. I even have a notebook to jot down the day’s proceedings). Cut to three hours later. I have a big smile (all teeth showing sorts) plastered on my face, my stomach way too full and having forgotten everything worry-inducing. That’s the effect the the four-month old restaurant in K Block Connaught Place, Delhi, had on me. I had one of the best meals there and I can’t wait to go back soon to try new things on the menu.

It’s a small restaurant, just a 70-seater, but extremely warm, cosy and inviting. It has a fine dining space, a lounge and a bar. One of the few child-friendly places, as the name suggests Piali the Curry Bistro, the restaurant serves up delicious curries from around the world. From different parts of India to Sri Lanka, Myanmar to Thailand to name a few. They specialize in curries but their appetizers range from Mumbai’s street food to Singapore’s satays. An amalgamation of sorts, they wet the appetite for the second course fragrant curries which are accompanied by rice or breads.

Delicious cocktails

Delicious cocktails

The Chapli (left) and the Galouti

The Chapli (left) and the Galouti

Jaffran Prawns and more

Jaffran Prawns and more

Accompanied by a friend for this review, we started off with Piali the Curry Bistro’s signature vodka-based cocktails – Sex on the Beach and Aam Panna. Feeling refreshed, we waited eagerly for tasting portions to arrive. And arrive they did. The Chapli Kebab (pashtun style minced kebab) was tastefully seasoned while the Galouti Kebab (a vegetarian version with mushroom and singhare) was literally melt-in-your-mouth. I’m a hardcore non vegetarian but I would have gladly had second helpings of the vegetarian galouti. Then arrived spicy Jaffran Prawns with Curry Leaf. A big thumbs up to the prawns as we dipped them into the sauce.

Corn Tempura (left) and Sindhi Chole Tikki

Corn Tempura (left) and Sindhi Chole Tikki

Chicken satays with peanut sauce

Chicken satays with peanut sauce

Mumbai's Dhabeli

Mumbai’s Dhabeli

Corn Tempura and Sindhi Chole Tikki left us floored. We were licking our fingers long after the plates had been removed. Had we been eating at home, we would have licked the plates clean. People can stare when you do it in public so we refrained! Biting into the Chicken Satays reminded me of my frequent visits to Singapore and I was transported to East Coast Park where delicious satays leave the mouth watering. Dahi Batata Puri and Mumbai’s famous Dhabeli rounded off the first round.

For the mains we chose to taste Khao Suey from Myanmar (a coconut based soup with noodles and garnish), Green Curry with sticky rice from Thailand, Ambul Thiyal (a spicy fish curry from neighbouring Sri Lanka), Martaban Meat (tender pieces of lamb cooked to perfection in an earthen pot) and being a Bengali, Daab Chingri (prawns in coconut curry served inside a coconut) was a must have.

Ambul Thiyal or spicy fish curry from Sri Lanka

Ambul Thiyal or spicy fish curry from Sri Lanka

Martaban Meat with butter rotis

Martaban Meat with butter rotis

Yum Daab Chingri

Yum Daab Chingri

Khao Suey with condiments

Khao Suey with condiments

Thai Green curry

Thai Green curry

The Martaban lamb was so tender the meat fell off the bones as I dug into the gravy with butter rotis. The Daab Chingri was perfectly cooked and the gravy paired well with steamed rice. The Ambul Thiyal had just the right amount of spice and the fish ever-so-soft. The green curry was fragrant while the Khao Suey was rich, a meal in a bowl.

Despite our stomachs giving us hints that it was ready to burst any moment, we couldn’t help but take a quick bite of the signature Pineapple Halwa. Decadence in a bowl is a better way to describe the delicacy! It’s a must try when there.

Pineapple Halwa

Pineapple Halwa

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and Beverage: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: K Block, Connaught Place, New Delhi

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