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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Feb 21 2015

Me so happi, Khar (west) – Review

Roochster

Me so happi, kharAfter an amazing Arijit Singh concert, the husband and I were returning to our nest but before that we needed to feed our empty stomachs. I suggested Me So Happi since it was so close to home and sounded like such a fun place! I quickly Zomato’d the place, checked what cuisine we get there and we were there. Such a happi name! The place must be twice as happi… or so I thought. Sigh!

Food– Karan wanted to drink so he ordered some Gin and Tonic for himself while I went through the menu thrice to look for some interesting Veg starters to call for. After not finding many options, I froze on a Bruschetta (Cherry tomatoes, olives & Mozzarella cheese on garlic bread). It was exactly that. Cut cherry tomatoes, olives and small blobs of Mozzarella cheese on garlic bread with very few basil leaves sprinkled here and there. Bland, effortless and a complete let down. Karan being the non-vegetarian foodie that he is, called for a Bombillo (Bombay duck fried and tossed chilli style). He thought it was ok. Nothing spectacular. For main course I tried their Broadway sandwich (Cottage cheese, aubergine and tomato with pesto between breads). Now, I expected there to be small pieces of aubergine. This sandwich had huge slices of aubergine, some tomatoes and a big piece of cottage cheese which spoilt it for me. There was also barely any pesto. It lacked flavour, salt and character. Karan was craving a burger so he called for a Mighty Melt (Chicken patty, chicken bacon, chimi churi sauce and egg). The patty was huge and the burger looked pretty big but tastewise as Karan put it, it was pretentious and badly westernised, just like all the other food we had. By that he meant that it all looked really fancy and nice but tastewise it all lacked the flavours and special ingredients that would make us want to come back and have any of the dishes again. After the not-so-tasty dinner it was dessert time. I went to the counter, checked it all out and decided to call for the Double Chocolate pudding. That too was a tad disappointing. It looked better than it tasted. The saving grace was the last (but not the least) dish- The Crème Brulee. It was almost perfect. Just needed a little cooling.

Ambience– Nice, quirky, youth-appealing interiors. The tall chairs and tables add to the fun aura, perfect for a bar/pub feel but I would have liked to sit on a normal chair to eat my dinner.  The music is happi and they have a few games too, to keep you entertained. I love the lamps and the paintings on the wall.

Service– So even though the food is bland and honestly not that great, the service is excellent! The staff deserve the service charge amount and a good tip for the wonderful service. Our food was also brought to our table quicker than we expected.

Prices– Not worth the food we had. At all. The Might Melt (burger) was for Rs. 400, Bruschetta for Rs. 200, Bombillo (Fish starter) for Rs. 300, Broadway (Sandwich) for Rs. 270, Pudding and Crème Brulee for Rs. 150 each, Gin for Rs. 150, Tonic water Rs. 125. Now add service charge, Vat, Service tax to all of this. So we paid around Rs. 1700 for just the food (which we did not like at all) and the remaining for the 3 Gins and 2 Tonic water.  Our total was Rs. 2691! Pricey, much?

Verdict–  Unfortunately it was a not so happi experience for both of us and we’re not so sure if we would like to go back there again unless it’s just for drinks. More  effort to make better tasting food may change that though.

Rating– 2.5/5

 

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Jan 13 2015

Biryani360, Bandra (w)- Review

Roochster

Biryani360 RoochsterSo I’ve tried biryani at many places in Mumbai and inadvertently it’s only been ordered ‘cause there’s still some space in the stomach after eating some naan and sabzi. Other than that I’d have some biryani at weddings. Yeah, so I am a vegetarian and I don’t find biryani fascinating the way a non-vegetarian would find it that too because of the mutton, mostly.  Lucky, Harpal, Copper Chimney, Samrat, Santoor, Shiv Sagar are a few places I have eaten biryani at. I also tried some in Hyderabad when I went there since ‘Hyderabad Biryani’ is so famous (Nothing to brag about, really!) Oh but let me not forget the most ridiculously  ridiculous ‘Birizza’ (Pizza Biryani) from Pizza Hut. So that’smy little summary of how important biryani is in my life. And then came Biryani360. *drum roll*

The Build up– So on a random day I received an email from the very good looking Shayan Italia who is the man behind Biryani360. I was on my honeymoon then and promised I would get in touch in January once back. After many email exchanges, we froze on Friday night to try some Veg Biryani. Karan (mi amor) and I went to his place along with blogger Uday and his friend. Now Karan being a complete non vegetarian and not-interested-in-biryani-because-of-all-the-oil-and-garam-masala kinda guy, he was a bit apprehensive and not excited at all to go try the biryani with me. But well, things did change the moment we entered Shayan’s place. The aroma of saffron mixed with flavourful herbs and rice filled our nostrils. The next half an hour or so Shayan spoke about how Biryani360 as a concept came along sprinkling some PR dust onto us and while all that was going on, all I could think about was the biryani!

The Experience– As we sat on the dining table, Shayan filled some Biryani360 onto our plates and left us there to photograph, analyze, savour, compare and feast on the mouth watering Biryani and raita. After taking our first bites all of us gave him our nod of approval and gobbled up every morsel. Once we told him how we felt about it, he gaveus a small serving of some Lucky Biryani. Now let’s compare.

  • Oil: Biryani360– Very little oil and the vegetables are cooked to perfection. Lucky– Rice and veggies soaked in oil.
  • Spices and flavours: Biryani360– Just the right amount of spicy, using natural herbs and spices. Lucky– Oil overpowering the spices and flavours.
  • Freshness: Biryani360– No artificial colours or preservatives. The biryani stays fresh only for upto 6 hours. Lucky– Has colours, preservatives and can be consumed even after 12 hours.
  • Price point: Biryani360– Light on the stomach but heavy on pocket. Lucky– Heavy on stomach and pocket friendly.
  • Portion: Biryani360– Portion only for one person. Lucky– Portion sufficient for two people.

So after some comparisons, I have gathered that Biryani 360 is the sure shot healthy option. However, there are pros and cons which I shall mention too.

Pros of Biryani360:

  • A good meal option for office goers.
  • The biryani is rich in herbs, spices and uses very little oil so it is good for those struggling to maintain weight.
  • It is undoubtedly yummyinmytummy, thoughtfully made with the finest, premium
  • The raita that comes along with the biryani is lip smackingly delicious! It goes very well with the biryani.
  • The Veg biryani is given equal importance (if not more) as compared to the Un- Veg biryani so a non-vegetarian will also love the veg biryani without the pieces of chicken or meat.

Cons of Biryani360:

  • 360 for a Veg Biryani is a bit much for a regular meal. So for a family of 4, spending Rs. 1440 on just Biryanithat too to be eaten at home would be quite expensive.
  • They only accept online payments.
  • No dining in as of now. Once they begin operations, the delivery will be limited to Bandra and Khar.
  • No variety. Vegetarians can eat only one type of Biryani. Non-vegetarians can have Un-Veg or Veg biryani which is still a limited choice.
  • If the ingredients are premium and fresh, having potatoes and paneer variations in Biryani would be another reason for one to call for the biryani more often.

Verdict– My mouth is watering as I say this… Biryani360’s biryani is the best Veg Biryani I have ever had and highly recommend you to try it atleast once. The raita is super amazing too! It is a bit heavy on the pocket but I promise you it will be worth every penny! Must try!

Rating– 4/5

 

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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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Sep 15 2013

Saffron Bay, Chowpatty- Review

Roochster

Saffron Bay I remember going to Saffron Bay in the first week of its opening less than a year back. Unfortunately I didn’t think it necessary to carry cash and they didn’t accept cards so we had to walk out without eating and decided to go to Cream Centre instead. Less than a year later, they still have a problem with their credit card system. Ummm… well, getting to my review.

Food– If you look at their menu it comprises of mainly Mughlai food but they also have continental food for the ones who would like some variety in food. For starters we tried the Malai Corn Tikki, a very different kind. The outer layer is covered in fried almonds and inside you’ll find a mixture of corn, paneer and cheese, chocolate sauce as accompaniment. Interesting yet strange combo. The tikki looked great on the outside and even tasted decent without or without chocolate sauce but was very bland. For main course we tried the Paneer Butter Masala which was tasty but the overpowering ginger taste could have been avoided. With that we had the Garlic butter naan which was nice and crisp with the right amount of garlic but slightly bland and Roomali Roti which was just right. We called for a Fresh lime soda and asked them to split it one by two. They went a step ahead and gave us almost two full glasses instead and it tasted great. For dessert we had the ‘dessert of the day’ which happened to be the Swiss Chocolate pastry. Now taste-wise it wasn’t out of the world but the quantity was perfect for two people. Overall the food was very well presented and the quantity wasn’t disappointing at all.

Saffron Bay2 copyAmbience– Now here’s a venue that’s at a prime South Mumbai location- Chowpatty. Saffron Bay is bang opposite the Girgaon Chowpatty beach. Several restaurants and Banquet halls have come and gone to replace the very famous ‘Revival’ that was known a long time ago. The restaurant is beautifully designed, keeping it contemporary with an Indian touch. I love the ceiling lights and overall colours in the restaurant. I just wish they played better music. When we just came in, they had some early 2000s Hindi music playing. A while later they had English pop music from the end of 90s playing. Neither of the two goes with the theme of the place but I excuse them because there was no one at the restaurant apart from us and the poor souls put that music for themselves and probably didn’t think to change it. Anyway, it’s a great place for a nice quiet dinner as there are several booths that make your experience more personal.

Service– Since we were just two of us, we had all the attention. Our food arrived after about 15-20 minutes of placing the order which is normal. Good staff and good service overall.

Prices– When you look at the prices you would estimate a spending of atleast Rs. 750-800 but once you order the food you will realise that the prices aren’t just for the heck of a fine dining experience. The Malai Corn Tikki starter was for Rs. 250, Paneer Butter Masala was for Rs. 350, Garlic Butter Naan and Roomali Roti for Rs. 50 and Rs. 45 each, Fresh Lime Soda for Rs. 100, Dessert of the day for Rs. 180. With taxes our bill came to Rs. 1136. Not bad at all.

Verdict– A nice experience overall apart from a few things that need to be worked on.

Rating– 3/5

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Jul 2 2013

The Baker’s Dozen, Prabhadevi- Review

Roochster

TBD BreadsI’ve reviewed restaurants, cafes, dessert shops and pubs but this is the first time I got to review a bread shop. On a random evening a friend and I walked into ‘The Baker’s Dozen’ at Prabhadevi with the intention of grabbing a nice chocolate pastry. We were in for a surprise when we discovered it was a lovely little bread shop. Now since we didn’t want to buy any bread, we were obviously embarrassed and so walked out. But little did I know that I was to try the breads very soon!

Breads– After trying TBD I realised what I was missing out on. I feel privileged to have tried almost all their breads and will fill you in on what’s hot and what’s not!  There are some breads that go great with a dip, some you can eat for breakfast and some as sandwiches in snacks. TBD gave me the opportunity to experiment and discover what goes well with what and how good bread can make such a huge difference to a sandwich!

Now there are some that might be a little chewy or hard to eat but such is the nature of the breads says the chef. Also, after a bit of reading up, I found out that most German breads are dense and chewy. What is the same however is that all the breads are fresh, healthy, of good quality and well priced.

Four Grain (Rs.120) – This is probably the healthiest bread I’ve ever had! It has 4 different types of seeds- Pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower. Rich in fibre and high in nutrition. When I saw it first I cringed but after tasting I didn’t think twice before picking up another slice. It would taste superb toasted with butter! This is a type of German bread and hence is a bit chewy.

TBD CiabattaPain Au Levain with Apricots & Cherries (Rs. 120) – Don’t expect to find bits of the actual fruit. They are present in a tutti-frutti form which I didn’t enjoy that much. Also, being a type of German bread it was quite chewy and hard.  Try it with butter or jam.

Puccia (Rs. 30) – A pack of two small Italian dinner rolls filled with olives. Nice! Have with butter as a soup accompaniment.

Ragi Crackers (Rs. 50) – An Indian healthy snack which you can eat without feeling guilty. Unless of course, you choose a cheesepread as a dip like I did. Superb to munch while watching a movie.

Ciabatta (Rs. 30) – Now this is an Italian ‘Panini bread’ which I was really looking forward to trying so I decided to make a panini for dinner using the Ciabatta bread. I have to say that it might have tasted great but the crust was very hard and it took forever to finish eating my grilled panini. I would have preferred it soft.

Croutons (Rs. 30) – Filled with olives, these munchies are great to have with salad or soup. They’ll also go well with cheese fondue.

TBD FoccaciaPain Au Levain with Blueberries & Cranberries (Rs. 200) – This bread is similar to the apricots and cherries one and after having that I decided to try something fun with it. I made a dessert! I crushed about 3-4 slices of the bread and mixed with Amul’s Vanilla ice cream and topped with Chocolate sauce. It tasted great! Try and see!

Foccacia (Rs. 60) – This was my favourite bread of them all! Super soft, filled with olives and delicious! I decided to make a little Foccacia pizza using the simplest recipe! Cut slices of the bread, spread some pizza sauce over it, top it with whatever toppings you want and add a good amount of cheese. Put it in the oven for about 5 minutes and voila! You will have your very own scrumptious Foccacia pizza! This bread is so good, had I known earlier, I would have liked to make my panini with this bread!

Pain De Complet- Plain (Rs. 50)/ Multigrain (Rs. 80) – These are your regular sandwich breads, only softer and tastier. My family and I had some really good sandwiches made from these breads! If I had an option, I would get these instead of the usual Britannia/ Modern/Wibs bread, etc. Multigrain is obviously a healthier and better option.

TBD DessertBrioche (Rs. 100) – Egg is a very important ingredient in this bread and hence it is super soft and has a prominent egg taste. It is also sweet. Have it with Nutella, butter or jam and you will love it.

So yeah I’ve tried almost all their breads and thought some were really good and some were ok. I wish they also kept the basic- Garlic Breads, Croissants, Burger buns, Pizza breads, Pav Bhaji Buns, etc. But then of course, they’ve just started off and have a long way to go. I look forward to trying their other breads like Challah, Pain au Cereal and Pain au Levain with walnuts & raisins.

Location & Delivery– Their main kitchen is in Wadala and their little outlet is at Prabhadevi. If you’re around those areas, you can either pay them a visit to pick up breads or ask them to deliver at home. Their numbers are 86553 31313 and 022 6743 1313. In case you’re slightly hungry while shopping for your breads, they have a small seating arrangement at Prabhadevi where you can happily hog.

TBDPackaging– When you’re at their outlet, you will see their slicer machine which can slice your bread into perfect slices and its fun to watch it happening. But once that’s done, your breads are given in paper bags which are eco friendly and look great, yes but not practical, especially in the rainy season. Also, their Ragi Crackers which are pre-packed in paper bags may have the tiniest hole letting in the right amount of air to soften the crackers. That’s what happened to me and I had to eat soft Ragi Crackers no matter how tasty. So using plastic might definitely help.

Storage Advice: In case you’ve bought Ragi Crackers or Croutons to munch on, store them in an air tight container as soon as you get them home.

Verdict– The Baker’s Dozen is a great concept and they have some really healthy breads that are freshly prepared everyday. I recommend Foccacia, Ragi Crackers, Four Grain, Pain de Complet Multigrain and the Croutons!

Rating– 3/5

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Jun 27 2013

Chez Moi, Oshiwara- Review

Roochster

Chez Moi, Oshiwara Roochster‘Chez Moi’ in French means ‘At my house’. When you walk into this charming restaurant at Oshiwara, you will feel like you are stepping into one of those vintage European homes, so beautifully designed and decorated. I’m so grateful to Chez Moi and El Sol for inviting me to try the place and do a review! Here’s what I thought.

Food– I was quite hungry and super excited to try the food ever since my friend Sneha had mentioned that the one in Bandra is very good. We were lucky to have met the chef of the Oshiwara restaurant- Roshanwho suggested some of the food we had. For starters in veg, we tried the Cheese & Leek cigars with Ponhzu sauce by the chef’s recommendation. A unique, tasty and ‘must have’ dish! My friend had a chicken wings starter which he happily wiped off clean! For drinks, I had a very well made Strawberry iced tea which was neither too sweet nor bitter. Just right. My friend seemed to enjoy his Dirty Martini which I thought was quite bitter. Being a pizza lover I just had to try a pizza to judge the place better and I must say that it did not disappoint. It was a 12” Margherita thin crust and was absolutely delicious! We were pretty full by now but still wanted to try something more so we called for a Pasta Creole (A mix of red and white sauce) with veggies in it. That was the least favourite dish from all that we tried. But the best part about our meal was still to come- the desserts. We decided to try the Baked cheesecake (with a few blueberries inside) and the Chocolate Torte which were both heavenly and scrumptious! I wished they would never get over! Oh and I also tried the cold coffee which came in a small glass. It was good but the iced tea was better. And yes, superb presentation of food!

Ambience– Chez Moi is a beautiful bistro and pub located near Oshiwara Police Station, in the same lane as Sreeji restaurant. The decor is tastefully done, following a European theme throughout. There’s an al fresco area as well as an indoor section much like a pretty looking house. When you enter, you will find a small bar, a fireplace, a sweet kitchen with bar stools and a tall table. Gorgeous interiors that make for a great place to come with someone special.

Chez Moi Oshiwara 2 RoochsterService– Most of our communication was with the chef and manager so I can probably judge the service better the next time I go there without being known as the “reviewer”.

Prices– The cheese and leek cigars starter was for Rs. 220, the Chicken wings starter was for Rs. 245, The Margherita Pizza was for Rs. 245, and the Pasta Creole was for Rs. 300. The Iced tea was for Rs. 90, the cold coffee for Rs. 95. The Dirty martini was for Rs. 350. The desserts were for Rs. 220 each. I think apart from the pasta and cold coffee, everything else was worth the price, keeping in mind this is a slightly high-end place. So with taxes and without alcohol one would end up spending about Rs. 750-800 per head. For such good food and a wonderful dining experience, the prices are worth it.

Verdict– I had a great dining experience at Chez Moi, Oshiwara and can’t wait to go try the Bandra one since its closer to home! I loved it and so will you!

Rating– 3.5/5

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Jun 25 2013

Paninaro, Worli- Review

Roochster

Paninaro1I’ve been to the tiny Paninaro kiosk at Nariman Point several times and picked up a couple of paninis to eat at home.  The one at Atria Mall, Worli just opened a couple of months ago and I went there to try a lot more from their new menu. Here’s my review.

Food– If you’re a healthy eater or wish to have something light for lunch or a snack, Paninaro is the place! Besides paninis, it has plenty of other options- sandwiches, bagels, baguettes, salads, soups, juices, coffee, tea, light munchies with dips and desserts. Not bad huh? In the past I’ve tried the Grilled Exotics, cheese & burnt garlic panini which I love and recommend and the Tandoori Paneer & Minty Mayo panini which is decent but can be better. I’ve also tried and relished the Chocolate Truffle pastry which is to die for! For my recent visit to the outlet at Atria I took a friend along and we decided to share everything we ordered. We tried the Mexican bean & cottage cheese baguette which barely had any beans, a generous amount of cheese, onions, cottage cheese and lettuce. I loved it and would totally recommend it! Next we tried the Feta, Olives & Caramelized Onions bagel. I asked them to grill it so it would be a bit crispy which is how I like my bagel to be. I thought it was alright but my friend really liked it. It had a slightly sweetish taste because of the caramelized onions. I hadn’t tried their sandwiches earlier so did that too. We had the Basil rubbed cottage cheese sandwich which I thought was nice and healthy but a bit bland. A nice sauce inside would do wonders! I got to try the Mixed Berry smoothie which tasted good but I wish it was “smoother”. I took home their Babaganoush with Pita and Onion & Garlic dip with nachos. Both the dips were great but I wish there was more Pita bread and Nachos to go along with them (quantity). For dessert, The Fudgy chocolate was amazing and chocolicious and the Tiramisu was perfect!

Ambience– Paninaro is a brightly lit, contemporary cafe at Atria Mall, Worli where you’d like to go for that cup of coffee and a sandwich or bagel with your work mate. They have outlets at BKC, Lower Parel and Nariman Point too. With a bright red wall ornamented with beautifully shot photos, it is a happy place to be at. I wish they played some fun music though.

Paninaro2Service– The food doesn’t take too long to arrive since it just needs to be heated and served in thermocol plates. You wont find a reason to complain about slow service either. Efficient staff.

Prices– The Mexican Bean & Cottage cheese baguette was for Rs. 90, the Feta, olives & Caramelized onion bagel was for Rs. 90, the veg paninis are for Rs. 120 and non-veg for Rs. 130, the sides with dips are for Rs.70, the desserts range from Rs. 40 for a muffin to Rs. 90 for their pastry/ cheesecake. The mixed berry smoothie is for Rs. 100. Next time if you’re wondering where to have a quick bite that’s inexpensive, Paninaro is the place! Reasonable with good quality healthy food. A combination we all look out for wherever we eat.

Verdict– Total value for money, Paninaro is here to stay. Must try!

Rating– 4/5

 

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May 8 2013

36 Oak & Barley, Gowalia Tank- Review

Roochster

36 Oak & barleyI went to 36 Oak & Barley for my best friend’s birthday dinner. I had heard good things about it and couldn’t wait to try the food and see for myself!

Food– We were super hungry when we reached and picked Nachos as the first item from the menu as a starter. The taste was good; the nacho chips were most certainly from a readymade packet and the quantity very less.  Next we tried their famous Chilly Cheese toast, nice but 4 pieces that were less even for one person and hence had to order one more. Next we tried their spiced scrambled cottage cheese bruschetta. Sounds fancy, right? Well, expect nothing more than paneer bhurji on bread. After that, I decided I just had to try their pizza and see if that was worth it. We called for two different ones. One was a simple margherita pizza with mushrooms, olives and onions as toppings. That was decent. The other one was a 3 cheese pizza, ok because it was quite bitter and the pizza sauce didn’t make the bitterness less. The herbed cheese pasta with bell peppers as topping was good but the quantity, less again. My cold coffee with hazelnut was divine! I wanted more but controlled. I wouldn’t recommend the desserts here at all. We had the Vertigo cake which was very ok and the Mud Cake which was bad. The ice cream was yum! For those of you who drink, they have happy hours throughout the day which means ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ on all alcohol options.

Ambience– Close to Cumballa Hill Hospital, 36 Oak & Barley wont be very easy to locate if you’re not familiar with Mumbai roads. It is close to August Kranti Maidan. Once you enter, you’ll find a chic and classy looking place with lots of space, a long bar and a big screen for watching matches. There’s also a smoking area made separately outside which is cool. A perfect place to go grab a drink!

36 O&B 2

Service– The service is very good! The waiter knew his stuff and was prompt. We got our food pretty quickly. It would be nice to see how it gets when the place is crowded. When we went, there were barely 4-5 tables full so the waiters didn’t have much to do but serve us well. Good job nonetheless.

Prices– The prices are a bit much for the quantity. The Nachos with cheese was for Rs. 225, the Chilly Cheese toast was for Rs. 150, the 3 cheese pizza and pasta were for Rs. 350 each, the cold coffee was for Rs. 150, the Mud Cake was for Rs. 325. We were 5 of us and the total bill amount was Rs.5600 with alcohol and taxes.

Verdict– The food is decent but not for the price. It’s an ideal place if you want to go grab a drink with your buddies. I recommend their cold coffee!

Rating– 3/5

 

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Jan 31 2013

Pizza Express, Colaba- Review

Roochster

Pizza Express, ColabaI’m crazy about pizza and you probably already know that. For me Pizzeria a.k.a Pizza by the Bay sets the bar for good pizza. Is the latest UK based Pizza Express better or worse? You’re just about to find out.

Food– Considering the place is called ‘Pizza Express’ it’s not a surprise that you’ll find pizzas on the menu along with pasta, salads, sides, etc. We were super hungry and so decided to call for 2 portions of Garlic Bread first. It was a small round loaf which we had to ask them to cut into 3 slices each. Really good bread but where was the garlic? Next there were Baked Mushrooms… about 5 small ones served with dough balls to fill the plate. I don’t like mushrooms so didn’t have it but from what I saw, it looked pretty decent with some cheese as a filling. Thinking that the prices are steep, we decided to call for 1 veg and 1 non-veg 14” pizza. The Veg Giardiniera had mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, artichokes, olives and cheese. I didn’t like it at all but the general review of it was just ok. The non-vegetarians had Pollo Ad Astra pizza which they thought was ok and adding a proper amount of toppings would help. Now we thought two 14” pizzas would suffice but we were wrong. We had to call for 2 more 14” pizzas- a Margherita which was boring and a Veg Calabrese (jalapenos, bell peppers, cheese) which was eaten mainly to fill our stomachs. But no, we did have to call for pasta to make sure. It was a simple red and white sauce penne pasta but they had the talent to make it an Indianised version or as our friend Sandeep very rightly called it ‘Penne Makhani’. In short, the pizzas have barely any toppings, the pizza sauce is not that great, the crust is super thin and not filling at all. The pasta is avoidable. Oh and I had to call for ketchup to make the pizza taste better but instead I got the same sauce they put on the pizza and pasta so the pizza didn’t taste any better.

Ambience– Pizza Express is located in Colaba, close to Gateway of India and opposite Indigo Deli. The decor is chic, fun and casual at the same time. I love the little booths and all the sayings all around the restaurant. The place is quite huge and has an upstairs section as well. The black and white flooring adds more character to the interiors. They have some pretty cool ceiling lamps too!

Service– Let’s just say we went on the wrong day. There was an event happening upstairs because of which the place was super noisy and crowded. Also, the staff seemed to be pretty disoriented and confused. They came to our table so many times with food that belonged to another table that we did get a bit impatient to get our food. Also, they are probably too confident that their pizzas are very good and so they just don’t have tomato ketchup. They shouldn’t forget that in India, most people like their pizza with ketchup.

Prices– I’m just going to list the prices first. Garlic bread- Rs. 150, Pollo Ad Astra (Chicken) 14” pizza- Rs. 595, Baked Mushrooms- Rs.280, Veg Calabrese 14”- Rs.725, Margherita 14”- Rs. 450 and Penne pasta- Rs. 495. Total- Rs. 3425 + taxes = Rs. 4125. I’m ok with paying Rs.700 per head as long as the quality and quantity of the food is good. Unfortunately, Pizza Express lacked both.

Verdict– Pizza Express doesn’t even come close to Pizza by the Bay in terms of taste, quality and awesomeness. I’m not sure if I want to go there again.

Rating– 2.5/5

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