Mar 2 2016

O:Cha, Lower Parel- Review

Roochster

Oh Cha aHello! I think it’s been a while since I’ve written a full length review. Well, that’s because of so much happening at my end- house getting done, weddings, travelling with family and friends, blocked nose and bad throat, events, etc. etc. Clearly, I’ve also gotten lazy to sit and write so much but I think it’s time to bounce back now.

I was invited to try Oh:Cha and finally went there last week. I left it to the restaurant manager Monisha to send us Veg and Non Veg items according to our preferences in smaller portions. That gave us the opportunity to try 20 items from the menu. Boy were we lucky!

Drinks– We were both rushing from one meeting to another so obviously we couldn’t consume any cocktails. However, we did try some mocktails. I had the Orange & Kaffir Lime Caipiroska which had a nice citrusy zing to it. Karan had the Apple & Cucumber Fizz which would have tasted better had there been real apple juice instead of it being canned. We also tried the Mango Chilli Rocker which was basically mango milkshake with a hint of chilli. The Fresh Lime Soda was nice but quite syrup-y.

Oh cha bFood– For starters in Veg, I tried the Vegetable Chive Dumpling which was light and tasty. Karan tried the Chicken roll and said although it was soft and tender, he did not like the prominent chicken smell that came from it. On the other hand, he absolutely loved the texture and flavours of the Prawns cake with Lemon Grass starter. The Fried Turnip cake in black pepper sauce was one of my favourites. Who knew Turnip tasted that good! It was on the spicier side though. Next, the Stir Fried Sriracha Tofu was super soft and super spicy too. The Gai Hor Bai Toey or Pandan wrapped Chicken with Sriracha lemon chilli garlic sauce was a perfect 5 on 5 according to Karan. He loved the smokey chicken taste. The Gado Gado salad (Assorted veggies in Indonesian style peanut dressing) was a nice flavourful salad and I almost finished the entire thing by myself. Karan loved the Som Tam (Thai spicy raw papaya salad) and ended up eating quite a bit of it. After having so many starters and salads, it was time for main course. The Veg Phad thai noodles were great, more so because of the tamarind sauce and sprouts. We also called for Burnt garlic fried rice as I prefer rice to noodles and I have to say it was perfectly cooked! To go along with the noodles and rice, we had Tofu and Stir fried veggies in Sweet & Sour sauce which I thought was absolutely delicious! Karan had Stir fried prawns in Oyster mushroom sauce which was a bit too salty and it overpowered the taste of the dish.

Oh cha cOh Cha dDesserts– By now, we were pretty full but not stuffed, mind you. There’s always room for desserts, isn’t there? Ha! So we chose to try 4 different desserts! Yes you read right! First we tried the Chilli Chocolate tart with cremed Coconut icecream & chocolate soil. Now, this was basically a chocolate tart with a hint of chilli, coconut icecream with real shredded coconut, topped with Bournvita which they called chocolate soil. So I’d eat this dessert again but totally be ok without the Coconut Icecream. Also, maybe cake/brownie crumbs would be better than the Bournvita. Next was the Lemongrass Crème Brulee which was nice but could have been less sweet, a bit cool and with a bit more lemongrass flavour. The Gooey Chocolate Cake was lipsmacking! Wish they melted it and got it though so it would be a bit more gooey. The final dessert was the Passionfuit pudding with cashew and dates which was the least favourite of them all. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh cha eAmbience– Located at the Mathuradas Mills compound, Lower Parel, O:h Cha is easy to find. From the time you enter, you will see a lot of grey, high ceiling, a big eagle, huge cane lamps, a big bar and a very fine dine sorta feel. The music they were playing that day was awesome! Amazing covers of hits by Michael Jackson by some lady singer. (I would like to know the artist.) The place is pretty big and can easily be used for parties and events.

Service– We were served by 3-4 different servers and when we asked any of them about any dish, they all knew what it was so that’s good. They were all very warm and welcoming.

Prices-Considering the quality of ingredients used in making the dishes, the restaurant has priced everything decently but slightly on the expensive side. The starters range from Rs. 350- Rs. 650. The soups and salads are priced at Rs.300-350. Main course dishes range from Rs. 450 for Veg, to Rs. 550 for Chicken based and Rs. 650 for sea food. The rice and noodles range from Rs. 400 to Rs. 750. Desserts are all for Rs. 300. So in all you would end up spending about Rs.1000-1300 per head without alcohol easily.

Verdict– If you love Chinese and Thai food, you must try O:h Cha but I suggest you skip the desserts here.

Rating– 3.5/5

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Nov 16 2015

Loco Chino, Fort- Review

Roochster

Loco Chino 1Being a frequenter at the Carter Road Food lane, Bandra, I had seen Loco Chino several times but never really thought of trying the food there for some reason. Thankfully, I was invited to try Loco Chino at Fort and I’m so glad I did!

Food– I took my Foodie brother along for this review as he’s going to the RannUtsav in Kutch for 4 months and I’m going to miss him! He was more excited than me though to try the food! Being a pre-set menu for just the two of us, we were served smaller portions of loads of dishes. The Veg Fiesta Nachos was the first thing we tried and I have to admit, we were disappointed that there was less cheese. Also, the nacho chips could have been better tasting.  Next we tried the Kung Pao potatoes and trust me when I say that they are an absolute must have! After 5 Spice, only Loco Chino serves the crispiest, tastiest and most flavourful Kung Pao potatoes. We also tried the Chili Basil Paneer which was not something I had tried before. I loved the basil flavour on paneer! For drinks we had the Sassy Senorita, a signature drink which is a tasty concoction of orange juice, passion fruit, grapefruit and a prominent peachy zing mixed with soda. Sassy indeed! We then tried the Assorted Sautéed Veg Quesadilla which was a perfect assortment of veggies and cheese and tasted really good. Next we tried the dimsums. We were lucky enough to get to try 3 different types of Dim Sums at Loco Chino. The Spinach and Parmesan was the best one with amazing texture and taste. The Thai Sambal Cottage cheese was like having paneer makhani sabzi in a dumpling. Different and yummy.  The Edamame Truffle dimsum was my least favourite. It was a little bland so in order to get some flavour, I had to dip it in the sauces on the table. We were half full and had some space for main course so tried a wok where we could choose rice or noodles, the sauce, veggies, proteins and toppings. I chose Steamed rice as the base, Brocoli, Bell peppers and Corn as the veggies, Cottage Cheese as the protein (Very few chinese places offer paneer), Sweet and sour sauce and for toppings there were spring onions, Fried Onion and roasted peanuts. I felt the sweet and sour sauce was a little sweeter than I thought. I would have liked it to be slightly spicy too. After all of this, there was no way we could eat more after this for sure except for some dessert, of course.

We had two desserts and both were fantastic! The Tres Leches Cake (Vanilla sponge cake dipped in liquid milkmaid. When I saw it at first, I thought what the hell am I going to be eating but one bite changed it all. It was amazingggg! The Sumatra Chocolate was basically chocolate mousse with coconut. Now, I am not a coconut fan but this mousse was too good! There was a perfect amount of coconut, not overpowering the taste of chocolate and the consistency of the mousse. Absolutely loved it.

Loco Chino 2Ambience– Located at Fort, near ‘Ayub’s’ and ‘Forbe’s One’, Loco Chino is this colourful little restaurant that has a young, fun vibe. The furniture and décor is inspired from Mexico and Spain is what I see; nothing Chino in it. The tables with Moroccan tiles look beautiful but I’m not quite sure they go with the coloured plastic chairs. I loved the Mexican Hat lamps though. Very cool. One thing I would like them to pay urgent attention to is the washroom. It was quite dirty, wet and not well maintained.

Service– Being a complimentary lunch, I can’t really say much about the service but from what I observed, it was pretty good and the customers seemed to be eating their lunch happily.

Loco Chino 3Prices– I think with the quality and quantity you get here, Loco Chino is very reasonably priced. The Veg starters range from Rs. 169-189 and non-veg is between Rs.199-269. The Dim Sums all range from Rs. 199-239. The Veg Wok is for Rs. 199, non veg for Rs. 209 and seafood for Rs. 249. Desserts are all for Rs. 149. The Sassy Senorita was for Rs. 89. So it would cost approximately Rs. 350-400 each after eating very comfortably. That is amazing considering how expensive it is to eat out at other places.

Verdict-Loco Chino has good food and is reasonably priced. If you’re there, please have the Kung Pao potatoes, the Spinach & Parmesan Dim sum, Thai Sambal Dim Sum and Sumatra Chocolate!

Rating– 3.5/5

 

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Aug 3 2015

Noodle Play, Powai- Review

Roochster

Noodle PlaycopyWhen I heard about the concept of food according to star signs, I was intrigued more than anything. How does the star sign of a person define their likes/dislikes of a particular dish? That one question was enough to get me excited to try Noodle Play.

Food– I am an Arien and Karan is a Virgo so the gravy and rice was selected by them accordingly. I got Thai Chili Basil Rice to go with a Mixed veggies in Hunan gravy. While the Thai Chili Basil Rice was perfect, every grain separated by a burst of exactly the flavours promised.  Karan got Egg Fried Rice with Chicken in Sopa gravy. He liked the gravy but felt the chicken could have been juicier. As a starter we got Paneer in Black Pepper which was superb! It wasn’t too spicy neither too sweet. Even though we had it cold, it tasted great so I can imagine how delicious it would be when it’s nice and hot. Great concept and so far they were pretty accurate about the food according to starsigns. However, I would love to try their Kung Pao gravy to get a better idea the next time around.

Prices- The prices are competitive with a lot of other Chinese and Thai places that have opened serving custom made noodles or rice in a paper container that surprisingly stays well inside. The starters are priced at Rs. 200, my Veg Thai Chili Basil rice was for Rs. 130, Egg Fried Rice was for Rs. 140, Gravies are for Rs. 150 for Veg, Rs. 200 for gravy with Paneer and Rs. 220 for gravies with chicken. They also have lemonade and Iced Tea priced at Rs. 60 if you’d like some. So a vegetarian would end up spending about Rs.250 if shared between two. Not bad at all!

Verdict– Apart from the star sign concept, which I think is just a gimmick, the food here is really good and I would definitely like to call from there again.

Rating– 3.5/5

 

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Jul 6 2015

Wok Express, Bandra (W)- Review

Roochster

Wok Express 2It’s been a while since I’ve written a review of any restaurant. Well, I guess being married keeps you busy in some way or another whether it’s paying social visits to relatives or figuring out news ways to having a good work life. Since my husband is as much or perhaps an even bigger foodie than I am, he has been accompanying me to most of my Foodie meets where he tells me how the non-veg food is and I continue to enjoy my Veg food. Anyhow, here’s a place I went to recently at Pali Hill. This one’s another Wok place that’s now competing with several others such as Wok Hei, Wok in the box, Wok this way, Wok & Roll, All Stir Fry, etc. How good was Wok Express? Read on.

Wok Express 3Food– We started our evening with Bubble Teas by Boba. Now, we tried their Strawberry, Guava, Coffee Vanilla, Thai and Peach flavours out of which I liked Guava and Strawberry flavours the best but I would not recommend the bubbles (tapioca balls) ‘cause they’re chewy and taste weird, leaving an aftertaste I did not like. Karan liked the Thai Bubble tea the best. The coffee vanilla was more like watery cold coffee with the bubbles. Euh! Along with our iced teas we tried some Dim sums/Dumplings. The Crystal Dumpling (filled with carrot, mushroom and water chestnuts) tasted alright but the outlayer was super sticky. The other Veg Dumpling- Edammame & Truffle Dumpling was hands down the best dumpling I’ve ever had. Filled with Edamame flavouring, mashed potato, topped with carrot, we all agreed that it was melt in your mouth types and well made, an absolute MUST HAVE at Wok Express. Next we tried the Veg Bun. The sweetness and thickness of the rice bun mixed with the gingery, mushroomy flavours inside it didn’t go too well with my palette and I put it down after two attempts. It was now Wok time and like other Wok places, you choose your veggies, sauce, rice or noodles and garnishing. I chose the Udon noodles with veggies in Kung Pao sauce garnished with burnt garlic, peanuts and fried onion. I thought the Udon noodles were well cooked but the Kung Pao sauce lacked the sweetness and spiciness that I would expect. It was somewhere in between. It was a lot to finish though even though I had a medium size, the quantity is perfect especially if you plan to have just a Wok. Karan went for the Sambal sauce with chicken and left it at two bites because of how bland it tasted. For dessert we tried the Wok Kachang dessert which was more like a Roohafza flavoured Milkmaid Gola served in a plastic glass garnished with peanuts, or was it the Tab Tim Grob? Uhh…they tasted the same except that one had water chestnuts at the bottom and the other had peanuts on top. Avoidable.

Ambience– Wok in the box is located at Pali Hill, Bandra in place of Pinkberry Yoghurt and close to 5 Spice. They serve dim sums, bubble teas and of course customizable woks. The furniture is well spread out, giving each group their space. So even when it’s full, people can still walk up to make their Wok at the counter. They don’t have a washroom though so do all the deeds before getting there otherwise, like me you would have to go to the 5 Spice loo. Also, unfortunately on the day we went, their exhausts weren’t working and because of that, our eyes were burning and watering due to the spices and herbs used in cooking.

Wok Express 1Service– It’s all self service so there’s not much I can say in that department.

Prices– Given the fact that going to a restaurant now cannot happen too often because of the amount of taxes and cost of making food ends up becoming a burden on our head, Wok Express plays it safe between the reasonable eateries and the more expensive ones. Out here, if you have a medium sized wok and a drink, you pay about Rs.300 for a meal that will fill you up to the brim. The Veg Woks, medium size are for Rs.190 Chicken/Fish for Rs.210 and Prawns for Rs. 240. Large sized woks- Veg- Rs. 250, Chicken/ Fish- Rs.280 and Prawns for Rs. 310.a If you plan to share a starter plus wok plus drinks/ dessert it would make sense too. The Dumplings cost about Rs. 250. The Bubble teas are priced at Rs. 70 each. The dessert is priced at Rs. 100. Have it if you must.

Verdict– In a nutshell, Wok Express will have to up their game and make more flavourful food to want customers visiting again. Apart from the Edammame & Truffle dumpling, I don’t have any other reason to go back there.

Rating– 2/5

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