Portobello Health Foods | Restaurant Review

Place: Portobello Health Foods  
Location:  269A Portobello Rd 
Cuisine: Fast-food 
Meal: Take-away
On: Saturday, 25 June 2022

Looking for Vegetarian food options near my place on Google, stumbled across this small Vegetarian/Vegan joint on Portobello Road. Given that this was a Saturday, headed out to try this place as well as to experience the Portobello Road Market.

We walked in at about 3:00 PM and saw this large spread of offerings from different cuisines. It is an order-your-meal kinda place where you pick anything you want from the offerings, in either small, medium, or large boxes. There is a small seating area in the store but that would cost you extra 60 pence.

Portobello Health Foods

We opted for the large box as we wanted to try a bit of everything, and this gave us more scope to do that. We asked for some lasagne, grilled mushrooms, beans, rice, vegetables, broccoli, a couple of other things I don’t remember, and loads of potato wedges.

The overall meal tasted good, but some of the items were a little too bland. I wish they had some kinda condiments and sauces to make things wild. The large box cost us about 10 quid, the medium is £8.95, and the small is for £7.2. I am not sure if these prices are justifiable, but for the variety, maybe it deserves a try once in a while.

Food: 8/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: £9.95

Verdict: 7.5/10

Apna Adda | Restaurant Review

Place: Apna Adda
Location: Leicester Square
Cuisine: Indian

June 2022     July 2022


Meal: Take-away
On: Thursday, 2 June 2022

After a fruitful day of celebrating Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, we were looking for a place to quench our hunger. Felt like eating Indian (again), and decided to drop in at Saravana Bhavan at Leicester Square. There was waiting, and while we did that, I looked at their menu and realized that everything was overpriced (as we just dined at SB at East Ham a few days ago which wasn’t expensive at all). So looked for alternates in the area and found this small Indian eatery right around the corner.

Apna Adda

A couple of blocks away from Empire Cinemas (Cineworld), located right next to Bella Italia, you’d probably miss this unless you look closely. Apna Adda is a small shop with just a couple of tables. Having realized that dining in will not be possible, we decided to do a take-away, and ordered a portion of Veg. Spring Rolls, Veg. Hakka Noodles, Kaju Curry, and a couple of Naan. I was told it would take about 30 minutes for the order to be ready.

We explored the Piccadilly Circus area for a while, picked up the food, and hopped on a bus home. Our lil one was hungry, so we opened the Spring Rolls on our way. 7 small rolls were served along with some sweet chilli sauce, and they tasted alright. They probably were frozen ones you get at a supermarket, which justifies the size and more or less bland taste.

We were really excited to try the noodles and didn’t waste any time dug in the moment we reached home (without clicking any pictures). Unfortunately, they turned out bleh. With excessive soy sauce, they had a strong taste which I did not enjoy.

The Kaju Curry however was yummy. Loaded with cashew nuts (Kaju), the tomato gravy was perfect. I would have maybe preferred it a little spicier though. The Naan was decent, but the corners were a little too thick.

Overall, an okay meal. Our Indo-Chinese experience was mediocre while Indian food turned out to be good. Reasonably priced, they have quite an extensive menu. I’d definitely try this place again, hopefully soon!

Food: 7.5/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 3: £22.46


Meal: Dinner (Take 2)
On: Thursday, 7 July 2022

Dropped in here last week for dinner before a movie, and ordered a Vegetable Biryani. I then settled at a table on the street where there were quite a few entertaining performances to keep me engaged while the food was being prepared. 

Biryani

In about 10 minutes, the Biryani was served alongside some raita. This was dum-style Biryani with the curry at the bottom and rice on top, garnished with some coriander and fried onions. While the rice was perfect, I thought the curry was a bit on the spicy side, which made me sweat at the end of my meal. It may not be the best Biryani, but wasn’t bad either.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 1: £6.95


Verdict: 8/10

Mumbai Dosa | Restaurant Review

Place: Mumbai Dosa  
Location: Anna Bazaar, High Rd, Wembley 
Cuisine: Indian & Chinese 
Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Thursday, 9 June 2022

While we were craving some good food, we came across this small joint at the far end of a bazaar at Wembley, and boy, we were glad to find it. It’s a small setup with about 6 tables placed close to each other and the ambience isn’t appealing at all. However, the easy-on-the-pocket food tastes great, and so, we’ve been dropping by this place almost every time we’re in Wembley.

This time around, we came in at about 7:00 PM, before heading for a movie on a weekday, and while the joint was packed, we were able to find a table in the corner. This is more of a fast-food joint, so the tables are shabby and unclean, and this was the case today as well.

It’s a self-serve restaurant, so I walked up to the counter to order a Sweet Corn Soup, Crispy Baby-corn, Veg. Manchurian Fried Rice, and a Paneer Biryani. Do note that the lady at the counter might seem rude for she’s always multi-tasking, but she’s actually very sweet.

Given that the place was packed, it took long, longer than expected for the food to come. While we’d hoped for the Soup to come first, the Fried Rice was ready after about 20 minutes.

Manchurian Fried Rice - Mumbai Dosa

I tried their Manchurian Noodles a while ago which were decent, and was looking forward to tasting the fried rice. Full of vegetables and some chopped Manchurian balls, this turned out to be delicious and better than the noodles. It was spicy enough and reminded me of the bandi fried rice you get back home in India. For £7, the quantity is abundant unlike most of the recent restaurants I’ve been to. Yum!

Paneer Biryani - Mumbai DosaThe Paneer Biryani came next and this again was equally good. Loaded not just with paneer but also vegetables, the biryani was full of flavour. Wifey preferred this over the fried rice.

Crispy Baby-corn - Mumbai Dosa

The Crispy Baby-corn tasted good. They were crispy, yes, but if not for the chaat masala sprinkled on top, were bland. 

We were struggling to finish these three items and also running late for the movie, so requested for the soup to be packed. We also asked for a Fruit Salad with Ice-cream to go. While the Fruit Salad was decent, the soup was passable; it also had a lot of vegetables but was very thick and had too much soy sauce for my liking.

Overall, an excellent and sumptuous meal. The joint is badly maintained and needs an uplift, yes, but the food makes it up. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend or go to such shabby places myself, but for the tasty and bang-for-buck food, I overlooked the mediocre ambience. The taste and quantity of food are better than the Saravana Bhavan located two blocks away. Do give this place a try if you’re in the area; I’d suggest to go!

Food: 8.5/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: 4/10
Meal for 3: £20.50

Verdict: 8.5/10

McDonald’s | Restaurant Review

Place: McDonald’s
Location: Delivery
Cuisine: Fast Food
Meal: Brunch (at home)

My last review of McDonald’s was back in 2013, and I said I’m no longer lovin’ it. Since then, over the last 8 years or so, I haven’t dined or ordered from McD but for the one-off visit to get a McFloat. I’ve realized over the years that most of the fast-food chains are not worth it for they all serve something very different from what is advertised (read on to understand what I mean).

So come last week, I get a call from an agency in Mumbai who wanted me to try and review McD’s Maharaja Mac meal and McSpicy Paneer burger. I said yes, and the burgers were delivered last morning.

Maharaja Mac Meal

On most occasions, fast food like pizza or burgers are not packed properly which results in them becoming squishy by the time you take a bite (I recently had a pizza delivered in a very bad, almost inedible state). Thankfully though, McD ensured that this was not the case today for they ensured very good packaging. Everything was in its place, and care was taken to ensure that the fully cling-wrapped coke was kept away from the burgers. 

As per their website, the Veg Maharaja Mac is supposed to be a Big Mac sesame seeds bun sandwiched with rich & crusty cheesy corn patty, topped with chunky vegetable-cocktail sauce served with pungent jalapeño slices, red onion slices, cheddar cheese slice & crisp iceberg lettuce. Sounds delicious right?

Now let us talk reality; the Veg Maharaja Mac was actually a Big Mac sesame seeds bun sandwiched with rich & crusty cheesy crunchy corn patty, topped with chunky vegetable-cocktail chipotle sauce served with (barely any) pungent jalapeño slices, red onion slices, cheddar cheese slice & lot of crisp wilted iceberg lettuce. It still doesn’t sound bad, but for someone who loves their cheese, not having the cheese slice or the cheesy patty is a big turn-off. 

The burger was huge and it took effort to take a bite. It tasted good, the few jalapeños and onion slices added a nice flavor, and the corn patty was crunchy. It was quite a meal in itself, and I was struggling to finish it. I however missed the cheese!

The McSpicy Paneer, thankfully, was much simpler with creamy sauce and crispy lettuce, and of course the paneer patty. Everything was as it needed to be, again with the same chipotle sauce and the burger was alright. The lettuce however was almost bad and added a bitter after taste. 

The Fries were standard, and Coke was, well, Coke 🙂

Overall, the burgers were decent but the lack of cheese in the Maharaja Mac and bad lettuce in the McSpicy Paneer were let off. I know every experience is different at McD (or even Burger King) and depends on the crew members working on the order, but they need to make sure and be stringent to ensure that the crew sticks to the recipe and does not miss steps. 

Food: 7/10
Packaging: 8.5/10
Delivery Experience: 8.5/10
Meal for 2: N/A (Tasting)

Verdict: 7.5/10

McDonald's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Guilt Trip | Restaurant Review

Place: Guilt Trip
Location: Road No. 9, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Fast-food
Meal: Dinner (with better half)

We wanted to drop into The Gallery Cafe again, but given that those guys were having an off day because of some power issues, we came down to Guilt Trip. While we’ve had desserts here on a couple of occasions before, never sat in for dinner. We settled down in a corner of their brightly lit lower floor lounge. The seating arrangements could have been more comfortable, but I guess they are fine for a small place like this one.

We ordered for a Margarita pizza, Pomodoro Pasta, and a Devils Own.

DSC_0926-001
Devils Own

The drink was served first, and this tasted alright. While the sugar was alright, I thought there was more coffee than required.

Guilt Trip Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Margarita

An oval-shaped pizza was served soon, and it looked yum. On taste front, while the crust was good, there were more than a couple of burnt edges. There could have added more cheese as well.

Guilt Trip Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Veg. Pomodoro

The Pasta turned out to be the best dish of the night. It was creamy enough, and had perfect seasoning.

To end the meal, we ordered for a Chocolate Mousse.

Guilt Trip Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Chocolate Mousse

Surprisingly, this had more white chocolate than dark chocolate (I’ve never come across a white chocolate mousse before). It tasted alright but it definitely didn’t meet my expectations. In fact, while people swear on this place for their desserts, I’ve never experienced nirvana on any of their stuff. Either my expectations are too high or other people’s tastes are very different from mine.

Overall, a passable meal. With friendly service and decent ambiance, Guilt Trip should be a good hang out joint for teenagers and college folk. Maybe I’ve grown too old to relish such atmosphere.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 663/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Guilt Trip Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Gallery Cafe | Restaurant Review

Place: The Gallery Cafe
Location: Road No. 10, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Fast-food
Meal: Dinner (with better half)

At a recent Zomato meetup, I heard people talk about this new cafe in town, and eventually decided to drop in on a Friday evening with my better half. Located almost opposite Ofen, The Gallery Cafe is a brightly lit restaurant with some neat interiors. As the name suggests, it’s a small gallery with a limited number of tables. There was just one table occupied when we walked in, and we made ourselves comfortable in a corner.

I had already read through their menu, so ordered food right away; Cheese Corn Nuggets with Tartar sauce, Grilled Pannini with Cheese, and Spaghetti in Fine Herbs and Cream sauce.

We also ordered a drink, Double Chocolate Shybby. This was served pretty quickly and tasted yum. Though a little too sweet for my liking, the extra dose of chocolate was much required after a long day.

The Gallery Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Cheese Corn Nuggets

The Nuggets came in soon enough. While the quantity served seemed minimal, they tasted amazingly good thanks to the overload of molten cheese under the crisp coating. They went perfectly well with the Tartar sauce served along.

The Gallery Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Grilled Panini with Cheese

The Panini was served with Coleslaw and Fries, and tasted equally good. The bread was fresh and the stuffing was near perfect (thanks to the cheese). The Coleslaw tasted decent while the Fries could have been crisp.

The Gallery Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Spaghetti in Fine Herbs and Cheese Sauce

Next came in the extra creamy Spaghetti, and that is exactly what the doctor ordered for. With perfect flavour and seasoning, it turned out to be yummilicious! The toast bread served along could have been better though.

Overall, a sumptuous satisfactory meal. Almost everything tasted perfect, thanks to an overload of cheese. The ambiance is great; you can bring in a book and chill, or work through the day thanks to electricity ports at every table. The service is prompt and the prices too are pocket friendly. Definitely one of the best cafes in town. Give it a shot!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 620

Verdict: 9/10

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The Big Mouth | Restaurant Review

Place: The Big Mouth
Location: Next to Ram Ki Bandi, Road No. 2, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Fast Food
Meal: Take away

Having read a  few good reviews about this place, dropped in one night to get some food for myself, amma and dad. The Big Mouth is a small kiosk next to a couple of other food joints including Ram Ki Bandi. There was one guy managing the place, and he was attending to another order when I reached.

I had to wait for about 10 minutes before he could take my order, and I asked for Couch Potato and Mushroom Italiano sandwiches, Chilli Cheese Burger, and a portion of Pav Bhaji. The guy started making the sandwiches one after the other, and so it took a while for my order to get ready.

DSC_0710

The sandwiches had gone cold by the time I reached home and I had to grill them for a couple of minutes before biting in. The sandwiches were stuffed adequately, and amma loved the Couch Potato sandwich. The Mushroom Italiano sandwich was equally yum, with butter oozing in every bite; one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Hyderabad.

DSC_0712

After biting into some yummy sandwiches, it was time for the Burger, which was quite small in size. It was stuffed with cheese, veggies and a thick patty, but overall, wasn’t really palatable. The bun wasn’t fresh, and the patty too didn’t taste good. Kinda disappointing.

DSC_0711

Pav Bhaji was probably an odd choice/order, but I opted for it wanting to taste most of their offerings. This was a major let down as the bhaji was very thin and lacked the punch. The Pav again wasn’t fresh.

Overall, a mixed meal. While the sandwiches were really yum, rest of the meal wasn’t up to the mark. The fact that I had to wait for about 30 minutes, standing, to get my food wasn’t a good experience either; they definitely need more people to manage the store. I might come back for the sandwiches, but then again, for 70 bucks, I could eat something more and fulfilling, can’t I?

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 3: Rs. 435/-

Verdict: 7/10

Wich Please | Restaurant Review

Place: Wich Please
Location: Next to Domino’s, Gachibowli
Cuisine: Fast food
Meal: Snack

Wanting to explore, decided to visit this town near Hyderabad, a town which came into existence only in last few years, a town I know nothing about: Gachibowli. Once in the town, I looked for a place I can hog at on Zomato, and zeroed in on the second highest rated place, Wich Please. This joint happens to be a small stall next to Domino’s store. I observed that the place had no stools or chairs around for people to sit on while eating. It might be a small kiosk, but that’s something you’d expect as a bare minimum.

Anyway, after some thinking, decided to have the Special Mayo Wich. The description read: finely diced veggies in mayonnaise and cheese. Sound yummy right?

And I observed the guy make the ‘wich’. On a loaf of Spencer’s bread, he put some coleslaw, and sprinkled some masala powder. Next, he took one more slice, added more coleslaw and placed it on the first loaf. He then covered it with another slice, and started toasting it. A little surprised, I asked him where the cheese was and I was told it’s mixed in the mixture. Where??

I had expected something extraordinarily good, but to my utter disappointment, I was served a triple deck coleslaw toast. Hoping that it would taste good, I took my first bite standing on the main road, and my feeling was ‘what the heck is this!’. The coleslaw was cold, and tasted really weird. When I told the guy that the stuffing was cold, his reply was ‘Is it? How can that be?’. The bread wasn’t toasted properly either and barely had any butter. And forget the cheese.

For a place with a tagline ‘why you eat no sandwich!’, it served one of the saddest sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve just tasted one of their many offerings, but that’s given me an insight on what’s in store. Obviously I wouldn’t have any more of their sandwiches.

I can’t believe that I actually went searching for this place! And I can’t believe I shelled out 80 bucks for some coleslaw between slices of bread!

Food: 6/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: Rs. 80/-

Verdict: 5/10

Bikanerwala | Restaurant Review

Place: Bikanerwala
Location: Road No. 1, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner

Me and a friend dropped into Bikanerwala wanting to have a light meal. Instead of walking up to the restaurant on the first floor, we decided to order at the food-court. I’ve never enjoyed the ambiance in the food-court section here, for it’s always crowded, and therefore, loud. My friend ordered Dahi Puri, while I opted for the North Indian Thali.

The food was ready soon, and we were busy hogging.

DSC_0736

Th thali came with a Paratha, Mixed Vegetable Curry, Paneer Butter Masala, Dal Makhni, Rice, Boondi Raitha and a sweet. On first sight, the quantity looked less, and I was apprehensive if this would fill my tummy. The Mixed Vegetable Curry was perfectly cooked and was one of the best I’ve had. The PBM was creamy and perfect. As expected, the paneer was fresh and melt in my mouth. The dal had too much masala, but was yum. All of them were made with shuddh ghee, and I could taste it in every bite. The parata was also baked in ghee, and so turned out to be super heavy.

The sweet turned out to be excellent.

Overall, an excellent meal. What I thought wouldn’t fill my tummy actually got me stuffed thanks to the ghee used. However, at 300 bucks, I think it’s quite an expensive affair.

PS: Kailash Parbat has similar thali priced lower, with more quantity.

Food: 9/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 300/-

Verdict: 8/10

Roll On | Restaurant Review

Place: Roll On
Location: Adj. Mom and Me, KPHB Colony
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner

I’ve been wanting to try this place since I’ve read about it on Zomato. I dropped down one night after a movie at Cinepolis, but it was already too late and they were done with all the veggie stuff. So here I was on another occasion, on my way to catch another movie. Roll On is a no fancy joint, a small kiosk on the corner of the road with a couple of stools laid in front of the kiosk.

I asked for a Mushroom Olive Cheese Roll, and it took about 5-10 minutes before I was handed the roll.

Roll On Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Mushroom Olive Cheese Roll

Unlike most other places which serve a maida based roll, this place served a wheat chapathi (which was good). The roll was oily, but on taste front it was very good. They used green Olives instead of black and the stuffing was perfect. For 80 bucks, this seemed more like an appetizer though.

Here I was again a few days later after watching another movie at PVR to try something more fulfilling; I ordered for an Egg-less Mushroom Cheese Shahi Paratha.

Roll On Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Mushroom Cheese Shahi Paratha

This time it took a bit longer, about 15 minutes for the paratha to be served. On first sight, the quantity seemed better. Taste wise, though pretty spicy, the paratha was excellent; there was tons of cheese with yummy mushroom masala. I was expecting for it to have some mayonnaise as well, but because I asked for a egg-less paratha, they skipped it. Nevertheless, it turned out to be yum and filled my tummy.

Overall, a decent joint which serves some good rolls and parathas. The rolls are a little overpriced, especially since they don’t really fill your tummy, but the Shahi Paratha was total value for money. Definitely worth a try if you’re in this part of the town, but only if you are willing to ignore the calories.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: Rs. 80/- for the Roll; Rs. 90 for the Paratha

Verdict: 8/10