Apr 5 2016

The American Joint, BKC- Review

Roochster

The American Joint 1I was invited to try ‘The American Joint’, an Indo-western restaurant that makes organic food. The moment I read ‘Organic’ I knew I had to visit it. They had a special menu for us bloggers and influencers as a part of their pre-opening trials and to get some honest feedback. Well, here is mine.

The American Joint, BKCFood and drinks-There were limited items on the Foodie menu but trust me we tried almost everthing so I’m briefly going to write what I liked or didn’t like about the stuff we had.

  • Lemonade Stand- So this is supposed to be your regular Nimbu pani using organic lemons but ends up being a real thirst quencher which refreshes instantly. It tasted like Mosambi juice with a lemon twist and it wasn’t even that sweet! I highly recommend this!
  • Southern sweet tea- This is basically your regular tea that’s cold sans milk. I didn’t like it much but if you’re a tea addict, this would be a great cooler in the summer.American Joint
  • Tex Mex Taters- These are basically jacket potatoes topped with beans, cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives and jalapenos. Taste-wise it was ok and would be way better if had with a nice sweet-spicy sauce.
  • Hummus To-You- This is hands down the best dish we had at The American Joint. It was perfect in every way. Right from the flavour of the hummus to the soft Pita bread, this is a definite must have at the restaurant and the best Hummus+pita I have ever had. I swear the first word that came from my mouth was ‘YUM’! Karan, my husband agrees.American Joint
  •  Southwestern COBB- This is one salad I would love to have everyday. Neatly portioned, you will find lettuce, beans, bell peppers, American corn and cheese. It is served with a creamy cilantro-lime dressing. It’s a great mix of sweetness, garlic, crunchiness and freshness.American Joint c
  • In Queso Emergency- Nacho chips with a delicious cheesy dip consisting of cheddar cheese, tomatoes, chillies and cilantro. I like that they served the dip separately instead of on top so you can have it un-soggy.
  • Mac & Tikka- A concept I’ve never tried before. The usual Mac n Cheese with a Tikka sauce on top. It was decent but I didn’t like that the macaroni was cold under the tikka sauce. Also, I’m not sure if people would like to mix their favourite Mac N cheese with an Indian topping. I for one may not want to have it again only because I like my Mac N cheese as is.American Joint b
  • San Fransisco Garlic fries- Super delicious fries that are too hard to resist. A must have.
  • Bombay Streets fries- These fries had Green chutney and Red chutney on top along with cheese. Both Karan and I didn’t like these fries at all. Somehow the green chutney was slightly bitter and didn’t go with the fries at all. A big no.
  • Say Cheeeese fries- This was a great combination and I’d love to have it again. Super cheesy, super yum.
  • Chilli Cheese Burger- The patty inside was nice and crisp, the bread was soft. The right amount of chilli and cheese.American Joint
  • Coffee & Donuts- The donuts I didn’t enjoy much. They were hard from inside and didn’t taste that great. The Choco-coffee dip on the other hand was delicious. I think instead of the donuts, if there was a mildly sweet sponge cake to dip inside the lip-smacking Nutella Espresso sauce, it would taste better.
  • Al Cappuccino- This was a nice, regular cappuccino with a lot of foam.

Ambience– The Capital building at BKC is pretty easy to find. Once you do, take the escalator up to the first floor and walk in to The American Joint, a small café-like restaurant with an open kitchen. You will find lots of green, brown and white, giving it a clean, earthy feel. The aromas of some of the dishes will pull you in and make your mouth water.

IMG_20160329_213520279 hService– We had gone there much before the restaurant even started so the staff was completely unaware about the items on the menu and didn’t quite place our orders properly. However, the owners of the restaurant were there and helped us quite a bit.

Prices– A thought that would come to anyone at first would be that organic food will be expensive. The people at The American Joint disagree. They source their organic supplies from a farm in Nashik and make sure the customer gets as promised. Their salads are about Rs.225-250, starters for Rs. 180-210, Mains for Rs.275-290, Fries for Rs. 110-120, Beverages for Rs.80-100 and desserts for Rs.75-110. They also have breakfast options priced reasonably. The portion size for all is good.

Verdict– This is one place I would like to go back to and have a hearty meal without feeling a pinch in my pocket. I’d consider it as a ‘Value for money’ place to dine. Go try!

Rating– 4/5

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Mar 18 2016

Kapoor and Sons- Movie Review

Roochster

kapoorandsons posterYou know how some movies take you in emotionally and leave you speechless. Kapoor and Sons is just that kind of movie. Who would’ve thought!

Plot in short– Arjun, the younger brother (Sidharth Malhotra) works as a bartender and a struggling writer in New Jersey while Rahul (Fawad Khan), the older brother, successful writer and entrepreneur is happy in London. They’re forced to come back to their roots, in Coonoor when their 89 years old grandfather (Rishi Kapoor) suffers a heart attack. During their time together at home, they find out that their parents (Ratna Pathak and Rajat Kapoor) are going through a rough marriage and financially, their father is finding it difficult to cope with the times. They also meet Tia (Alia Bhatt) and develop fondness and friendships individually. The brothers too have their own issues which need to be sorted amongst themselves. How will this dysfunctional family who throws crockery at each other while fighting be able to be happy and together again?

The Good– There are very few movies that have a mix of everything, the kind we call ‘Masala movies’ in Bollywood. The perception one has for this label is that these movies have music, dance, romance, melodrama, action and comedy. Movies like DDDLJ, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Dil to pagal hai, Dil, Om Shanti Om, Jab We Met, etc. are great examples. I could see myself feeling all the emotions that were meant to be felt while watching the film. Director Shakun Batra is fantastic! He knows how to draw your attention and not let it leave the screen. I swear I did not look at my phone except for in the interval to say how much I’m enjoying the film. The screenplay writing is so perfect that I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s written for the audience of today, an audience that will relate and accept and love. There are a lot of lovely colours and beautiful looking sets that make Coonoor look picture perfect. And lets also give some credit to the performances. The actors, all of them- Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan are brilliant. Even the guy who plays the Kishor, the servant is such a natural. I don’t think the film would have been so good without the realistic performances. It’s just overall such a fun, emotional and happy film that I can’t help but sing praises of it.

The Not-so-good– While I loved the film in its entirety, there are some flaws which can easily be ignored because you’ll be having such a good time. Things like chemistry- Alia Bhatt with Sidharth Malhotra… just didn’t see any. Also, funny how staying in Coonoor or abroad, they all have a typical ‘Bambaiya’ accent. The Mandakini and potty jokes were a bit too much.

Verdict– Get out and watch Kapoor and Sons NOW! You just can’t miss it, dude! Once you see it, you will know why I said so. Ok bye!

Rating– 4.5/5

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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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Feb 26 2016

Aligarh- Movie Review

Roochster

The proverb ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ holds true for Aligarh as Manoj Bajpai’s flawless performance takes you through his emotional journey in the most sensitive and intense manner leaving you with a heavy heart.

Rating- 4/5

Aligarh poster

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Feb 12 2016

Fitoor- Movie Review

Roochster

Fitoor posterIn Kamaal R Khan’s words, “What a Wahiyat, Ghatiya, Pakaoo film #Fitoor! It will beat #BombayVelvet easily. Abhishek has defeated Anurag Kashyap by far”. So, I thought it would be boring and slow too but that’s ‘cause sometimes movies like these that look too ‘artsy’ turn out to be complete rubbish. Now, here’s how it turned out to be for real.

Plot in short– As a young boy from Kashmir, Noor (Aditya Roy Kapur) falls in love with Begum Hazrat’s (Tabu) daughter Firdaus (Katrina Kaif) and she too somewhere has feelings for him. They are separated when Firdaus moves to London for further studies. When he’s old enough to make a living, Begum makes Noor meet the gorgeous, sexy and totally different Firdaus in Delhi, where she now lives. She helps him make a career out of his passion that is art and painting and pushes him to go after Firdaus about whom he’s already smitten. Will their love stand the test of time and materialize into something?

The Good– One thing about Fitoor you can’t deny is that it is visually stunning! The snow falling like musical notes onto their faces, the houses, Begum Hazrat’s creepy yet beautiful mansion, Katrina’s red hair, Aditya’s body and natural acting which we have never seen before, Tabu…everything about her, the dialogues, the soulful music, the red and yellow dry leaves dancing around with the breeze… There’s basically a lot of beauty in the look and feel of the film which I loved. What I like about director Abhishek Kapoor is that like in Rock On and Kai Po Che, he makes sure his characters are well sketched and each stands out from the other making their own presence felt in the film. With Fitoor too, Tabu’s sadness is seen in the way she’s lying on the diwan, smoking sheesha and the longing she has in her eyes for love. I also absolutely loved Aditi Rao Hydari. She’s one of the understated actresses in Bollywood and I think she should get more recognition.

The Not-so-good– Although the film moves at a pace of its own, it could have been crisper in terms of screenplay and editing. I can’t really think of anything major that I did not like because there was so many wonderful things to watch.

Verdict– With a fairytale-ish feel to it, Fitoor is engrossing, visually  beautiful and Tabu is just brilliant!

Rating– 3.5/5

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Jan 29 2016

Saala Khadoos- Movie Review

Roochster

Saala khadoos posterA couple of days before release, I read tweets from so many celebrities and movie critics who got to attend preview shows of Saala Khadoos, all saying the same thing- that the film is brilliant and the actress Ritika Singh is a great performer. Well, maybe not brilliant but the film is very gripping and entertaining and yes Ritika Singh is a fresh face with a rawness in her which stands out.

Plot in short– A boxing coach Adi Tomar (R. Madhavan) from Hissar (Haryana) is transferred by the Sports Association of India to Chennai on false charges of sexually harassing the players. Knowing this is because of the old enmity between Adi Tomar and a villainous coach from the association (Zakir Hussain) he agrees and goes, hoping to find gems to participate at the national level. He doesn’t quite see the fire he wants in any players until he meets Madhi, a Macchi-bechnewali (Ritika Singh) who is aggressive and fights like her boxing idol Mohammed Ali. He convinces her to play, bribing her with 500 bucks a day which is good to keep her poor family happy. Will she be able to be the boxing champion as Adi, her coach had imagined her to be?

The Good– The character sketches were vividly drawn out in a mish-mash of a story that is scripted really well. There is never a dull moment. In fact, I think there is a lot of energy in the performances, songs and background score. The film is action packed and it’s fun to watch the journeys of both the protagonists. Ritika Singh is like any other girl without all the girly nakhras except for maybe one scene where she’s all dressed up in a saree when she’s going to tell her coach about her feelings for him. R. Madhavan is fantastic as the rude, angry coach. He’s bulky, looks like a mess but has the arrogance and confidence that women like me love. I wish he spoke more clearly though. Zakir Hussain, the selector coach has become an expert at doing these villainous roles and is perfect. Nasser with his south Indian accent and funny scenes, especially where he’s talking about alcohol and eating liver is a lot of fun to watch. All the other supporting actors have made it movie worth watching. I like that the actors are wearing as good as no make up, natural, junglee hair and old faded clothes to keep it as real as possible.

The Not-so-good–  Even though the movie as a whole is entertaining, I couldn’t help but be reminded of some recent movies which are almost the same; namely, Chak De India, Mary Kom and Million Dollay Baby. Also, I find it a little funny that the girl who stays in the slums of Chennai and sells fish for a living doesn’t have a south Indian accent and neither does her family. Only the Junior coach (Nasser) has an accent for that matter. Nobody else in the entire film. Also, there was nothing in the film I didn’t expect. It was all quite predictable, fun to watch nonetheless.

Verdict– First time director Sudha Kongara’s Saala Khadoos is worth a watch for the performances and the quick paced screenplay.

Rating– 3.5/5

 

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Dec 1 2015

Vanilla Infused Kitchen, Bandra (W)- Review

Roochster

I had been following Vanilla Infused Kitchen on Instagram for a while before I actually got to try some of the stuff. The completely self-taught home baker Shazli from Bandra has mastered the art of making beautiful cakes after 4 years of R&D and she has arrived! Yup, she has, alright.

VIK 1Desserts– Vanilla Infused Kitchen is your dessert heaven. They bake various kinds of cakes, Jar desserts, cupcakes, Brownies, chocolates and a lot more. Their cakes range from Rs. 1000- 1800 per kg depending on the cake you choose. For cupcakes, you need to order minimum 12 pieces. They also make Chocolate Hampers for occasions.

The first time I tried her stuff, the delivery had gone terribly wrong because of which all the desserts she had sent were mixed into each other, causing a flavourful confusion of sorts. So the second time around, she made sure she sent me a proper box with 6 cupcakes so I could taste each one properly. Here’s what I thought.

VIK 2Gooey Chocolate Brownie (Rs. 750 for 750gms) – Excellent taste and texture of the brownie. It could have been more gooey but otherwise, it was absolutely yummyinmytummy.

Red Velvet cupcake (Rs. 70 per piece) – Not many can get the Red Velvet right in terms of everything. I enjoyed every bite of this one!

Salted Caramel Kitkat (Rs. 70 per piece) – The crunchiness of the Kitkat along with the cupcake made it a very enjoyable eating experience.

Boston Cream Pastry cupcake (Rs. 75 per piece) – My favourite from all the cupcakes I tried! It was amazing how the cream came oozing out after my first bite. I can’t tell you how much I loved it! I was left craving for more after I finished gobbling it down within seconds! An absolute must have for sure!

Homemade Toffee Buttercream cupcake (Rs. 70 per piece) – This was my least favourite cupcake to be honest. I felt the icing was too strong in flavour and it overpowered the muffin underneath.

Hummus (Rs.250 for 450gms) – Now, she doesn’t usually make Hummus unless you’re an old client of hers or unless she really loves you but I have to say I’m just lucky cause I got to try her Hummus. It is perfect, probably the best hummus I’ve ever had! If you’re lucky too or get the chance to, you must order the Hummus for any party or when you want to have a healthy meal.

VIK HUmmusWhere? – Currently Shazli works out of her home kitchen in Bandra near Mount Mary Church. You can call her on 9819652129 to place an order or follow Vanilla Infused Kitchen on Instagram and Facebook to see delicious, mouth watering pictures of all the cakes she bakes!

Verdict– Vanilla Infused Kitchen has lip smacking desserts which you just can’t resist. I’ve only tried the cupcakes yet, but I can’t wait to try all the other items on her menu. I recommend the Boston Cream pastry cupcake, Brownie and Hummus! Go try!

Rating– 4/5

 

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Nov 12 2015

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo- Movie Review

Roochster

prdp-posterI had been seeing every single ‘Dubsmash’ of the much awaited Salman-Sonam starrer ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo’ since about a month and it only made me more and more curious to know how it would be as a film. Salman Khan of course was my biggest reasons but Sonam Kapoor definitely made her presence felt with all the social media posts everyday with regards to her outfits and all the promotions that the duo were doing.

Plot in short-Vijay Singh (Salman Khan) belongs to a Royal family with an evil brother and the CEO (Armaan Kohli) who want to kill him and two step sisters who are not in talking terms with him because they think he wants to rule with all the wealth from his ancestors. His manager (Anupam Kher) somehow saves him and has doctors attending to him 24/7 so he can attend his coronation ceremony with his Bride-to-be Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor) in four days. In Ayodhya, Prem Dilwale, who looks exactly like Prince Vijay Singh (Salman Khan) is a small time actor who does Ram Leela shows for a living. Not knowing if Prince Vijay would be able well enough to attend his coronation ceremony, he requests Prem Dilwale to pretend to be Prince Vijay for those four days until Princess Maithili is with them. Turns out that Prem and Maithilee fall in love and the family comes together as one. What happens to the Vijay then? D’oh! The film’s title is only ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ so that would be an easy guess.

The Good– Salman Khan is the biggest reason to watch this film and I would totally watch it again. It’s so nice to see him in movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sooraj Barjatya films like these where he plays the kind of person you want to marry. I wont deny that Sooraj Barjatya went a little overboard with trying too hard to instill good values and old school romance but we’ll come to that a bit later. What I really like about the film is that human emotions are shown in the most simple, pure form, not sliding towards ‘just- an- adult- audience’ to get eyeballs. The sets and styling add to the grandeur of the film. I also thought Sonam Kapoor was not that bad compared to her previous really bad performances. Anupam Kher, Armaan Mallik, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Swara Bhaskara are all a great support to the film.

The Not-so-good– Sooraj Barjatya has great intentions but he has forgotten that an audience in the 21st century is watching his film. The story is kacha and the characters are not sketched out properly, leaving a very incomplete-ish, half-hearted story that could have been written better. The screenplay is all over the place, especially in the first half where you’re like what the hell am I watching and from which generation! It’s a little too corny and most people, who are not Salman Khan or Sooraj Barjatya fans, will wait to run out of the theatre! The visual effects are quite amateurish; especially the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ parts. The music by Himesh Reshammiya is not appealing at all. I’m surprised I was actually waiting for the title song to play till the end because all the other songs were so stupid and unnecessary. Not that I love the title track but it’s an example to tell you how bad the other songs were. So yes, quite a few flaws in a film that also has a very funny title.

Verdict– Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is not the kind of film most people would like but if you’re a Salman Khan fan and also a Sooraj Barjatya fan, you wont mind sitting through the entire film and even get teary eyed. I did, multiple times.

Rating– 3/5

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Oct 5 2015

Brewbot, Andheri (W)- Review

Roochster
Pizza and Lemon Cheesecake

Pizza and Lemon Cheesecake

Came here for the second time and it’s been an equally disappointing experience.

Food– The food is bland, the quantity is less and nothing great about the taste overall.
They brew their own beer and we had called for the Mojo Rising 2 ltrs tower which was nice and malty. I had a Cranberry Basil punch which was good.
The fries were so less…smaller than Mc Donald’s regular sized fries. The boys had the Chicken slider which is basically 3 mini burgers that they said were very bad. Karan said that the bread was more flavourful than the pattie. Shame! He would rate that dish -1 on 5. Uuhhh yeah that bad.
The Farmhouse pizza which had a pesto base, topped with bell peppers and pine nuts was so-so. Bland again. We avoided the mushrooms and pumpkin on it. Thank God!
The Onion rings were… wait for it… bland again. Less oily though, which is a good thing.
The Lemon cheesecake was thankfully our last order and luckily tasted good with the right texture and taste. I would have it again if I ever went there.

Ambience– Great place to hang out with a nice vibe, good music and comfortable seating. They have Jenga and Uno to entertain. It’s quite a large place actually with an inside and outside section along with a space on top as well.

Service–  Good service. We would have liked better recommendations for food though.

Prices– We paid Rs. 3549 in total for the 4 of us  including the Beer tower which is not bad but it pinched ‘cause the food was not good at all.

Verdict– Gave it a second chance and was disappointed again. I’m not sure if I’d go there again. Oh well.

Rating– 1.5/5

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Sep 11 2015

Hero- Movie Review

Roochster

A typical Bollywood masala film with a screenplay written for the 90s era, made for star kids from 2015 who can barely act.

Rating- 2.5/5

Hero-2015-Movie-Poster

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