Archive for Awesome

Theobroma (Mumbai)

Place: Theobroma
Location: Colaba/Lokhandwala
Meal: Dessert

I’ve always loved cakes and pastries more than ice-creams when it came to desserts, and Theobroma serves the best pastries in Mumbai, so I had to be here. After the heavy meal at Cafe Churchill, which included a Blueberry Cheesecake, and a long walk along Gateway, me and a friend dropped in to their store at Colaba. At around 4:00 PM, the place was pretty much packed (as usual).

We walked to the counter, and while we’re deciding on what to indulge on, the elderly lady at the counter suggested we try the Vodka Chilli Cheesecake. That apart, we asked for a Devil’s Mousse Cake.

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We took a seat in a corner, and the cakes were served immediately. The Cheesecake tasted very different from what I’ve ever tasted before (probably because of the liquor) and had a strong aftertaste thanks to the chilli. Thought not my favorite, it was good nevertheless.

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On the other hand, I absolutely loved the Devil’s Mousse. This flourless cake was creamy, very light, and melt in my mouth. I wouldn’t mind travelling to Mumbai again just for a taste of this cake. Yummilicious.

The very next day, met a few college friends and we dropped in to the store at Lokhandwala. Surprisingly, this place was empty, and had fewer options compared to the store at Colaba. While others tried a sugarless Brownie and Red Velvet Cheesecake, I opted for Banana Caramel Cupcake. I had tried their Blueberry mini cupcake the last time around at Colaba, and it turned out to be the best cupcake I’ve ever tasted, so had high expectations from this one.

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While it wasn’t as great as the one I remember, it was still pretty good. I don’t think it was fresh, and that is the reason it didn’t taste great.

If you love your desserts, this place is a must try in Mumbai. They have stores all over the city, but I’d suggest you try the one at Colaba. Everything is reasonably priced, the ambiance is pretty neat, and most of the cakes and pastries are excellent. I wish they opened a branch in Hyderabad. Go try their cakes now!

Food: 9/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Avg. Price per slice: Rs. 90/-

Verdict: 9/10

Cafe Churchill (Mumbai)

Place: Cafe Churchill
Location: Adj. Bata, Colaba, Mumbai
Cuisine: Global, Pizza
Meal: Lunch (with a friend)

Colaba happens to be my favorite part of Bombay for we used to stay around here during amma’s official tours ages ago (when I was in school). I often used to come here whenever I was bored during my stay in the city a couple of years ago, and on one such visit, I discovered a gem of a restaurant hidden behind the bustling street market. It’s a small place with less than ten tables, and has decent ambiance which actually gives you a feeling of walking down an old memory lane. Being a small joint, it’s packed most of the time, and walking in on a weekday afternoon, we initially had to share a table with an elderly couple before we were moved to a table next to the entrance.

An elderly Parsi aunty (one of the owners) handed us the menu, and after long contemplation, we ordered an Olive Pizza and King Papalina Lasagna. I had tasted their French Fries with Cheese long before, and unable to resist my temptation, I later added portion of the same to our order.

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The Fries were served in about ten minutes, looked mouth-watering and tasted absolutely delicious. There was cheese all over, and the fries were perfect. A little ketchup, and yum! The best part though was not just the cheese on the top, but there was cooked cream cheese stuffed on the bottom which was out-of-the-world good. I’m so glad that I couldn’t resist my temptation. Bliss!

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The pizza was served next, and this looked yum again. The thick crust pizza was covered with cheese, black and green olives and lots of oregano. While the pizza base wasn’t really great, the tomato sauce and thick layer of cheese with the oregano made this an excellent pizza.

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We were full by the time King Papalina arrived, but couldn’t resist digging in. Stuffed with tons of marinated mushrooms, loads of cheese and cooked cream cheese between layers of pasta, this was as good as a lasagna could get. Again, yummilicious!

Overall, an excellent meal. But we weren’t done yet. In the past, I’d observe their pastries displayed in a refrigerator near the entrance sell like hotcakes, and today was no different. Though we were heading to Theobroma after the meal, decided to give their famous Blueberry Cheesecake a try.

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Honestly, the cheesecake wasn’t as great as I expected. It was quite heavy and a little too sweet for my liking. However, it was bad by no means. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the rest of the meal.

With friendly service, decent ambiance and prices, and most importantly, delicious food, this place is a must visit for any foodaholic. Zomato calls it a Legendary restaurant, and my meal was truly legendary. Go hog!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 905/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

Relish (Mumbai)

Place: Relish – International Veg Cuisine
Location: Prem Court, Tata Road, Churchgate, Mumbai
Cuisine: Global
Meal: Lunch (with a friend)

I was in Mumbai last week, and my first meal had to be at one of my favorite restaurants ever, Relish. I walked in along with a friend around 2:00 PM, and the place was packed. We were lucky have found ourselves a table in the corner, without having to wait. The ambiance, as mentioned in my previous review, is just perfect – brightly lit with great interiors. We were attended to right away after being seated.

Their Veg Kaukswe (Indonesian curry served on a bed of buttered noodles) is my all time favorite, and so was ordered. My friend never tasted anything Mexican, so we decided to give the Chimichangas a try. The service was quick, and the food was served in about ten minutes.

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The Chimichangas were covered in a thick layer of molten cheese, and served with salsa and guacamole. They were very crispy and perfectly fried, such that I was able to cut into them with my fork easily. The stuffing, mostly containing red beans and onions in tomato base was super yummy, and tasted great along with the molten cheese. The salsa dip tasted alright, while the guacamole was a bit off.

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The Veg Kaukswe looked and tasted exactly the same as it did about 3 years ago. The gravy was thick, had a delicate flavor, and the noodles were oozing butter. I’ve said it before and I’d say it again, this is the best noodle dish I’ve tasted so far in my life. Yummilicious!

Overall, as expected, an excellent meal. The service was good, and the best part was that the meal was actually pocket friendly for the quantity of food served. If you still haven’t tried this place out, you’re definitely missing on something good. Go hog, now!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 528/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

K&C Bakers & Confectioners

Place: K&C Bakers & Confectioners (The Original King and Cardinal Bakery)
Location: Himayat Nagar X Roads
Cuisine: Bakers, Fast Food
Meal: Dinner

There are tons of places boasting to serve the best burger in Hyderabad, but nothing beats the ones you get at the original King and Cardinal Bakery. Forget Universal, Pick and Move, Big Byte, the burgers here are, wait-for-it, legendary!

The bakery has been split into two in the last few years, with another branch located two building next to it (which is called King and Cardinal). The newer place has better ambiance, and is a tad bit expensive than K&C, and their burgers are equally good. But I’d prefer the original K&C any day, which is on a lower ground compared to the newer place on every front but for the taste.

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For 50 bucks, these guys serve a sumptuous and juicy burger (I know it’s weird calling a veggie burger juicy, but this one is, trust me). The patty is yum, and their mayonnaise is finger licking good, oozing out with every bite. The bun too is super soft and fluffy. Overall, an amazing burger experience.

If your love your burgers, K&C must be on top of your list. The place, service and ambiance aren’t great, but who cares when their burgers are awesome. Their pizza’s are pretty famous too, but I’ve never tasted one so far (maybe next time). As of now, go grab their burger!!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 50 /-

Verdict: 9.5/10

Edit:

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I also tried out the Veggie Burger at the newer King and Cardinal, which has better ambiance. Priced the same, this burger gives close competition to the one at K&C, but is no where close to the original’s legendary taste.

Ram Ki Bandi

Place: Ram Tiffin Center (Ram Ki Bandi)
Location: Adj. lane to Arrow, Road No. 2, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Indian Tiffins
Meal: Lunch

Update: Ram Ki Bandi, Banjara Hills, has now upgraded to an air-conditioned joint with ample seating, and is open all day long 🙂

Read on…

I’ve been reading and hearing some raving reviews of Ram Ki Bandi at Nampally for a long time now, but never got an opportunity to visit the place as it’s open only in the mornings, and is kinda far from my place. But now that they’ve opened a new branch at Banjara Hills, I wasn’t gonna stay put. On a weekday afternoon, here I was to hog.

This place serves Idly, Vada and their speciality, dosas. On ambiance front, its put up in a small hall with standing area, nothing great. Who cares about the ambiance when the food is finger licking good? Anyways, I ordered a Butter Paneer Dosa, and was served in about five minutes.

Ram Ki Bandi Restaurant Review

Paneer Masala Dosa

Having seen how the dosa was being made, with tons of butter and paneer, my mouth wouldn’t stop watering. I gulped it down piece by piece, and realized that all the reviews I’ve heard so far weren’t exaggerating (surprisingly). This dosa was simply yum. It was crispy, and the masala rubbed across with the butter and paneer gave it an amazing taste, while the chutney served along also was delicious. I absolutely loved the dosa, but was kinda disappointed with the size for it didn’t even fill half of my tummy. So now ordered a Butter Cheese Dosa, which turned out to be even better than the Paneer Dosa. Awesome stuff!

Having tasted some amazing dosas at Khau Galli, Ghatkopar (Mumbai), I’ve always been apprehensive of the kind and variety you get in Hyderabad. Ram Ki Bandi served something on par with the dosas you get at in Mumbai. I wish and hope they would increase their menu offerings (such as Spring Roll Dosa, etc.).

Give this place a try if you haven’t yet. It’s something every Hyderabadi must taste 🙂

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 120/- (60 bucks for each dosa)

Verdict: 9.5/10

Click to add a blog post for Ram Tiffin Center on Zomato

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Place: Flying Spaghetti Monster
Location: Adj. Blue Cross, Road No. 35, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner

For dinner on my birthday, I was contemplating between Little Italy and Flying Spaghetti Monster, and finally chose the latter. I’ve read quite a few good things about this place, especially about the restaurant in Vizag, so was kinda excited. It’s located right at the end of Road No. 35, right next to Blue Cross Hyderabad. Walking in, there was option of sitting in either indoor or outdoor dining sections. I sat outside, at a corner table right next to the indoor dining area. The interiors of the indoor section were well done, with high ceiling and bright lights, while the outdoor was more rustic, and had a romantic touch to it.

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These guys have a long menu, and it was quite a task to choose from. I was thinking of ordering a starter and a pizza, but the chief chef and owner, Ajay, who was taking my order suggested that it might be too much, and recommended just the pizza with a drink. I ordered the Sicilia Pizza (sun-dried tomatoes, mushroom, onion, mozzarella, basil and chili oil), and a Pina Colada.

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The Pina Colada was served almost right away and tasted very very good. It was creamy, just the way I like it, and not too sweet either.

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In about 10-15 minutes, the pizza was served. It looked very colorful and was loaded with veggies. Taste wise, it was again very palatable. I loved the thin crust, and the onions and mushrooms, along with the tomatoes were giving it great flavor. I’ve been craving for some good pizza since I was in Singapore, and I finally got some. The size was pretty decent, and I was glad I hadn’t ordered a starter.

After a good meal so far, I was now yearning for an awesome dessert. While Ajay suggested the Chocolate Bomb, I was in no mood for chocolate, and so zeroed in on the Blueberry Cheesecake.DSC_0397

And boy oh boy, am glad that I did for I absolutely loved it. It was creamy, yet so light that it just melt in my mouth. Again, not too sweet, and the crust was baked perfectly. It was so good that I had an after taste for close to an hour after reaching home. Definitely the best cheesecake I’ve had in recent times (and better than the one I had at The Cheesecake Factory in Dubai a few months ago).

Overall, a perfect end to my birthday, and I walked out with a happy tummy. While the meal was heavy on the pocket, the ambiance, service and especially the food made up for it. The service was pretty neat and I loved the fact that the owner/chef himself was attending to the customers. The place was very well done, but I’m not sure if it has the appeal during day time.  It would have also been nice to have some music at the outdoor dining area. Nevertheless, I’m definitely coming back to this place soon, and suggest you try it as well.

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambience: 9/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 945/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

Shanbhag

Place: Shanbhag
Location: Basheerbagh, under the flyover
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Lunch

On my birthday, I was confused on where to go for lunch. I wasn’t really hungry, so the initial plans of going for a buffet were ditched. I wanted to have something yum, and that’s when I zeroed on my first favorite restaurant in town, the food I’ve been hogging from probably my first birthday!

I didn’t even have to look at the menu for I exactly knew what I wanted: Malai Kofta, Butter Naan and the amazingly yummy Ghee Rice.

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The food was served in about 10 minutes. I thought the Malai Kofta quantity was reduced for it was served in a smaller bowl. But I didn’t care for it tasted delicious. Unlike most other places which use paneer to make the kofta, Shanbhag still goes the old way using mashed lauki and other vegetables. The gravy was thick, and a little too spicy than usual, but tasted great with the awesome Butter Naan. Their Butter Naan is the best in town!

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Apart from the Naan, these guys also serve the best Ghee Rice in town, and today was no different. With tons of cashew nuts, it was simple yet yummy. However, I was a little disappointed for the gravy served along was too thin than usual, and lacked the authentic taste.

Overall, a palatable meal. Service was quick, and the ambiance has been the same for almost 20 years now. Though the quantity served has reduced, I still had enough leftovers for another meal. Their prices have increased over time, but I think they are still worth every penny. Go hog!

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 282/-

Verdict: 9/10

Queen

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After hearing some raving reviews, here I was watching Queen. And boy oh boy, I wasn’t disappointed one bit!

Directed by Vikas Bahl, Queen tell the story of Rani, an innocent young belle from Delhi who decides to go on her honeymoon alone after her fiance calls off the wedding. The story is simple, but Vikas handles it so well, that you connect with Rani easily. The witty dialogues by Anvita Dutt and Kangana herself add to the beautiful journey, while the screenplay  (by Parveez Shaikh, Chaitally Parmar and Vikas Bahl) is crisp. I loved the way the flashbacks kept coming in between the storyline. Direction is perfect, and Vikas was able to get right and beautiful emotions from every cast member. He is a director to look out for.

Kangana can take a bow. After some boisterous performances in the past, she portrays Rani with such ease and simplicity that you can’t stop falling in love with her. Her innocence charms you from the word go, and she comes up with an impeccable, probably her best performance till date. The rest of the cast is superb. Be it her foreign friends or her parents and relatives, everyone put up fine performances.

On technical front, music by Amit Trivedi is neither too loud nor weak; it’s just perfect. Editing by Abhijit Kokate and Anurag Kashyap, and cinematography by Siddharth Diwan and Bobby Singh are spot on. It’s nice to see a movie with no big star cast come so good, and proves the fact that script is the king/queen.

Is it worth your time and money??: Absolutely. It’s a brilliant film and should not be missed at any cost. Go enjoy Rani’s beautiful journey and get mesmerized by Kangana’s performance.

Worth mention: The episode when Rani gets drunk in Paris; and the end title credits.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 9/10

Verdict: 9/10 + 0.5 for Kangana!

Life of Pi

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 9.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Absolutely!! It’s a visual masterpiece. Ang Lee tells a simple story in a very effective way. The film grips you right at the start, and you are engrossed in Piscine Molitor aka Pi’s life all through. You can emotionally connect with Pi, feel his pain and joy, and that’s what makes the movie work. The subtle humor is wonderful. Acting by Suraj Sharma is superb and he couldn’t have asked for a better debut. He digs into the role with all his might and comes out a winner. Irrfan Khan is good as the older Pi, while Tabu looks stunningly beautiful as Pi’s mother. The Royal Bengal Tiger aka Richard Parker is a graphic wonder (to an extent that you would think he was real if no one told you that he were computer generated!!) Direction is perfect, and so is the screenplay. However, I was kinda disappointed with the ending, for it could have been much better. The graphics are simply wonderful. They look a little unrealistic at times, but I’ve never sailed in the Pacific at night, so I wouldn’t know :P!! The 3D effects are really good – they made me jump out of my seat on a couple of occasions.

A better and gripping ending could have made Life of Pi a magnum opus. But still, it’s a brilliant film nevertheless. Go rediscover yourself!!

Verdict: 9/10

Argo

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9.5/10
Technical Aspects: 9.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Oh yes!! It is definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. The story engulfs you right from the word go, and you enjoy the ride as if you are the ones involved in the crisis. Argo is a good story for USA to tell people, but Ben Affleck executed it brilliantly to make it stand apart. It’s an edge of the seat thriller with moments in abundance. The acting is just perfect, and so is the direction. But its the production and design  team that needs maximum applause. It’s not easy to create the eighties, but they do a superb job of it. The grainy look makes one believe that it is actually a film from the eighties (The use of the old Warner Bros logo made it even better). It’s sure to sweep the Oscars. Overall, an excellent film and a must watch for any movie lover. Don’t miss it!!

Verdict: 9.5/10