Feb 10 2014

Ankur, Fort- Review

Roochster

A vegetarian reviewing a Mangalorian restaurant that specializes in sea food? Well, we vegetarians eat too, you know? Anyway, here’s my review along with excerpts from my two non-vegetarian friends who accompanied me to Ankur at Fort.

Ankur 2Food– I hadn’t eaten Mangalorian food before and this was a first for me so we asked the owner Mr. Devdas to recommend things to eat. So, some of their dishes are named after places and they use masalas made in house. Even the paneer they use is made in house. He suggested we try the Kerala Paneer (Paneer mixed in an herbs & pepper paste). Even though a little spicy because of the pepper, the herbs used made the dish flavourful and delicious! I had that on my second visit as well because it was that good! My mouth still waters everytime I think of it! We tried the Kerala potatoes in the same paste but that was nothing compared to the paneer.  Another starter with potatoes was the Kundapur Potatoes. That was spicier and the blend of masalas gave off a nice aroma. Along with our starters we tried the Sol Kadi (which is not on the menu). It tasted like pink coloured (beetroot) spicy buttermilk with a strong taste of garlic and I loved it. You must try it when you go there.

 For main course we tried the Ankur Special (vegetables in red gravy). Now this I loved and repeated for my second visit too. I liked that it had a sweetish taste and it was indeed very special. The Paneer Chaman dish I had was by far the most different paneer dish and I like it for that. There was methi in it, tasted sweetish and not like the typical Paneer Makhani or Paneer Tikka Masala. One dish I didn’t like much was the Veg Gassi (Mixed vegetables in coconut-based masaledar gravy). Now this is a typical Mangalorian dish that’s coconut based. I’m not a fan of coconut-based dishes and so, I didn’t like it much. Now, those who know me already know that Malai Kofta (Cashew-based sweet gravy) is my favourite dish whenever I go out to a place that serves Indian food and by default I must have it. At Ankur it was good but not the best I’ve had. For breads, we tried the Neer Tella (Dosa) which was really soft and nice and tasted great with the ‘Ankur Special’ but I preferred the Butter Kulcha with my sabjis. We were pretty stuffed after eating so much food but that didn’t stop us from trying a dessert. We decided to call for a Caramel Custard thinking it would be light. How wrong of us to assume! Haha! It was rich dense and full of caramel, hence super sweet.

Excerpts from my Non-vegetarian friends:

Fash– Great: The Kerala Prawns, cooked in a spicy, roughly chopped pepper and curry leaf base, the Fish Thekady – in our case, surmai – was very fresh with a distinct flavor due to it being cooked with a mixture of spices custom made at Ankur and unique to the restaurant. The Squid Kundapur and Ravas Kaalimiri were tasty as well; mop up the former with some neer tellas/dosas.

Karan– At any sea food restaurant you want to be sure that the fish used is freshly caught and not frozen. At Ankur they just do that. They use daily catch in their meals along with freshly ground spices and all done by hand.

Fish Thekdey made with Surmai- The Surmai fish was marinated in hand ground spices and cooked to perfection. Most of the time whenever I have called for a tawa fried fish, I get a fish soaked in Oil and it’s overcooked, but at Ankur the fish was perfect, the marination to the final cooking, perfect. The surmai was just delectable.

Squid Kundapur- this is Mangalore food at its best.  What makes a difference is freshly caught squid; it was a joy to eat fresh squid with the signature Kundapur (Mangalorean) gravy.

Rawas Kalimiri-  Kalimiri is fresh peppercorns ground into a paste to make the base of the dish, the peppercorns were ground to a rough paste giving the fish an added texture on the outside, it was a little spicy for my taste buds but the fresh fish made up for everything spicy. It was a joy to eat this dish.

Sol Kadi – The Ankur Sol Kadi was a little different than the normal Konkan sol kadi. They use beetroot add more pink, I personally did not like it that much as it had more shades of garlic and ginger. I definitely prefer the traditional sol kadi any day, but would recommend to try it for sure.

Kerela Prawns- Sweet and tender prawns with the kerela type gravy was just amazing and wholesome. Definitely try it if you are a fan of coconut based gravies.

To sum it up it was the best food I have had so far with a warm and cozy atmosphere to eat in.

Thank you so much for the really awesome lunch 🙂 it was one of the best places I have had sea food at yet, Awesome company, best food, PERFECT!

Ambience– For those familiar with the Fort area, this place might be easy to find but otherwise it can be a little tricky to get there. So if you’re at Fountain, find Kandeel restaurant. Take that lane, go straight, turn left and take the right into M.P. Shetty Marg. You’ll see Ankur there welcoming you with lots of plants on the outside. When you walk in, you’ll find a dimly lit place. A little too dim for my liking if you plan to go for lunch but it gives you that warm, familiar, family restaurant type feel which I like. With comfortable seating arrangements, Ankur is a great place to go to with friends or family.

Ankur1Service– Been to Ankur twice and both my experiences have been great! The service is prompt and you will be well taken care of. They will do their best to guide you and suggest dishes according to what you like.

Prices– The dishes at Ankur are priced very well. The Veg starters are all less than Rs. 250. The Kerala Prawns were for Rs. 320. Fish Thekady (Surmai) – Rs. 320, Ravas Kaalimiri was for Rs. 350. The Veg sabjis were all between Rs. 190 and 240 and so on. So basically you’re paying for your money’s worth. The quality and taste of the food will leave you completely satisfied with your dining experience at Ankur.

Verdict– It might be known for its non-veg food, sea food especially, but the vegetarian food too is top class.  This is one of those places you would want to go to again and again for the love of food. Highly recommended!

Rating– 4/5

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May 17 2012

6th Street Yogurt, Kemps Corner- Review

Roochster

Yogurt has never been a part of my choice in desserts. I prefer ice creams or milkshakes to gelato or yogurt. 6th Street Yogurt was not on my ‘To try’ list but since I was in the area, I thought of trying it anyway.

Flavours & Toppings– We went on a day when they had just three flavours of yogurt- Original, Cranberry-Watermelon and Orange Cheesecake. I tasted all 3 and chose to have Cranberry- Watermelon and my friend Fash had the Original. Waise toh they have more flavours but that day some machine had gotten spoilt because of which we could only make a choice from 3 flavours. Both flavours tasted great and were thick and creamy. They have a good variety of toppings- chocolate-based to real fruits to marshmallows, etc. I chose the Ferrero Rocher sauce which was yummy yum yum with my Cranberry-Watermelon yogurt and Fash chose MnMs with her Original yogurt which was quite nice too. They don’t do kanjoosi with toppings which is a very good thing. They also have smoothies, waffles and parfaits which I would like to try some time for sure.

Ambience & Service– Located at Kemps Corner, near Gangar Opticians, 6th Street Yogurt is a small place where you can just buy your yogurt and get out. The staff is courteous and let you try the yogurt and even toppings before you make your choice.

Prices– They have various sizes of cups to choose from depending on how much you want to have. Rs. 40 for a small cup, Rs. 70 for a medium one, Rs.140 for a large one and Rs.180 for an extra large one. We both had the one for Rs. 40 and that much was perfect for a dessert after our meal. Toppings are Rs. 20 for Regular and Rs. 25 for Premium ones.  So, we paid Rs. 65 each for our respective yogurts with a topping each. Now, considering other yogurt places, this one’s not only good taste-wise but the most reasonable too.

Verdict– Value for money and Yummy in my Tummy! I recommend!

Rating– 4/5

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Aug 16 2010

The Hidden Village, Atgaon

Roochster

On India’s 63rd Independence Day, the Roly-poly Gang a.k.a , K, S, F & R (me) set out to explore “The Hidden Village” located at Atgaon in Maharashtra.  By the way this sad name (Roly-Poly Gang) was thought of by none other than Mr. K!

Being a Sunday, we were lucky enough to catch an empty train from C.S.T (earlier, and still known as V.T). Tony, the owner of The Hidden Village, instructed us to take a Kasara fast train and get off at Atgaon station from where a rickshaw driver called Sudham would come and pick us up. [People who are too cool for trains can go by car also!]

We were super duper excited about this trip, more so ‘cause it’s a very different place from any other we’ve been to! The moment we entered, there was this old stone which had “Hidden Village” engraved on it and trees all around. A little wooden bridge connected the entrance to the resort. The weather was awesome! It kept drizzling from time to time. We were greeted by a big black turkey that made funny sounds along with its follower turkeys. There was also a little lamb under a big hay basket. We couldn’t wait to start our day and were quite hungry so we jaldi se ate breakfast- anda bhurji, matki, roti and chai and headed to our room. Ashok was the guy in charge there.

Our cottage was sweet. 2 rooms with 2 double beds, 2 clean bathrooms, a tv and a refrigerator. Quite fancy for a place I thought was like a typical village. Each cottage had an open shower and a stone tub outside which I thought was quite cool!

On seeing the beauty around me, I quickly removed my camera from my bag and started clicking while K made sheesha for us. S as usual was posing away to glory. All 3 of them wanted to chill for some time while I wanted to explore the place and get pictures of the strangest creatures and other things with my camera. I was super restless! It was lunch time at 2 and I was hoping I’d get to eat some junk food, even though I knew we’d get only home type of food. They made gobi, chana, chicken, dal, roti, rice, chhaas & kheer. F and K enjoyed eating their chicken while S and I somehow tried to enjoy eating our veg food. It was quite spicy!

We were prepared to get into the water right after lunch, especially under the awesome waterfall! The feeling was great… being in the running river. There was also a small space where those Garra Rufas or Doctor Fish come and nibble on your feet… but the rainy season is not the best time for them so I couldn’t get my Fish Spa! F, S and K didn’t really care much about it…they were just chilling in the water. The waterfall was strong! It’s like getting a back massage or something. The water comes with so much force! Oh and something really funny happened. K and I saw ducks on the other end of the river and we started flapping our arms on the water like them. That must’ve scared the ducks ‘cause they came flying towards us and in turn scared the shit out of us!  Hahahah it was kinda funny now that I think about it! We were all running for our lives! As soon as that happened, we were out and headed back to our cottage. We didn’t spend much time in the river unfortunately. It was soon snacks time at 5ish and so they sent us Poha and Chai to our room and we happily ate!

After some more sheesha and feeling clean after a good bath, we headed to play some games. At the Hidden Village you’ll find a Games room which has Pool, T.T and Carrom. The good thing was that since it was Sunday evening, almost everyone had left. We had the entire Games room to ourselves! Good fun! We played T.T, Pool and Carrom after sooo long! The only sad part was that there was no fan there and it was very hot!

It wasn’t time for dinner yet so we headed back to our room, this time with the help of the resort people and their torches, since it was quite dark. S was fattoing already and thought it would be better if we sat in the room and ate; but we thought it was better to go back down and eat as there would be a lot of stuff for them to get to our room.

So we went down for dinner at about 8 30. For veg there was bhindi, cauliflower, dal, roti, rice; and for non-veg there was fish. I didn’t like the sabjis at all so I asked them if they could get dahi. Unfortunately the dahi was sour! We felt bad wasting it. The thing is that these people make the food with so much love and there’s always one person standing there to see if everything is ok, that you end up feeling really bad for wasting food.

But anyway, dinner was over and we proceeded to our room again. I slipped on the way because of my stupid slippers! By the time we reached it was only 9 30. We were wondering what to do for the rest of the night considering we didn’t really have any games or anything for time pass. We had sheesha, music and ourselves for conversations and that’s it. Of course, there were insects there too flying around and annoying us. Luckily we had Odomos to protect ourselves from the giant-sized mosquitoes. They gave us Odomos and Kachhua also.  F was already sleepy and went to sleep at 10! She came back an hour later though. The funny thing is that we thought we’d get bored and probably be asleep by 11 considering there was nothing to do really. But somehow we bonded and were up till 1 a.m talking! S and K told us about their love story which was very sweet! K also killed 2 big grasshoppers with his CAT shoes!

After getting good sleep at night, we woke up to leave. I didn’t want to, to be honest. I was loving the place. Oh and I also spotted a small snake crawling pretty close to where our cottage was… Scary! We quickly walked to the eating area and waited for the chai & biscuits to come but it was getting too late. We had a train at 8:40 and the next one at 10:25 and Fash had to get to work. So we had a few quick bites, paid up for the stay, food and thanked Ashok and the others and left in a hurry.

One thing I must say… The people working there took really good care of us. In fact, they were awake for us even at night and made sure we were happy with everything. Great service and great ambience! Ok the food was not my kind of food, but I guess it was just for a day so it’s fine. Next time I go there I’ll make sure someone or the other gets games or something for entertainment!

On reaching CST, S, K and I were hungry so we went to Radio Club for breakfast. Ate like bhukkads! Felt nice to be back to aamchi Mumbai but this one day trip was a much needed change. I will definitely want to go there again! 🙂

Psst!  Raj Parekh! Thanks to you I got to know about The Hidden Village. Awesome experience!

Website- www.hiddenvillage.in

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