Aug 7 2012

Poco Loco, Bandra (w)- Review

Roochster

I went to try this swanky new Spanish restaurant at Pali Naka, Bandra. To be honest I was a little skeptical besides being excited because Spanish food would mean mostly non-vegetarian which I’m not, also this was my first shot at spanish cuisine. Here’s my review.

Food– Tapas, Paella (Saffron Rice), Patatas (Potatoes), Wines, Sangrias, etc. are Spanish specialities. There were 3 menus from which only 1 was for food which means their wine & sangrias are more popular here. My friend and I decided to call for 2 mocktails- I tried the Poco Loco Especial and my friend had the Maracuya Fizz (Passionfruit Fizz). Both tasted and looked the same; not to say that they were bad but I expected something more special from the ‘Poco Loco Especial’.

Tapas are like starters and unfortunately for veggies, there are barely any options at this fine dining restaurant besides Potato, mushroom and aubergine. I don’t like the latter two so we decided to call for Patatas Ali-Oli (baby potatoes in garlic mayo sauce with and crushed peanuts). Both of us really liked the dish and I think the nuts just made it better. We also tried the Patatas Bravas (Spicy potatoes in special tomato sauce) which was yummy, quite similar to the Kung pao sauce and I loved it! My friend thought the sauce tasted like tomato ketchup though and she refused to have more than 1-2 pieces. For main course, I decided to call for the Paella Vegetariana as that sounded the most exciting from the very few veg options. Paella is saffron rice cooked in olive oil with bell peppers, asparagus and other vegetables. At first I didn’t like it at all because the arborio rice was super sticky and oily but the taste and flavours set in soon after a few bites and you can’t help but love it. That coming from me, a person who’s not too fond of vegetables means it’s a must have! My friend Fash had Pollo a la Brasa, a wholsesome dish which consisted of half roasted chicken with spanish style mashed potatoes and vegetables. She felt that the chicken gravy was infused with thyme, the mashed potatoes were flavoursome if a bit salty, the beans were long enough to be like substitute spaghetti and the broccoli was ‘meh’.

For dessert we had a New York Cheesecake which was brilliant, soft and delicious and a Molten chocolate cake with caramel filling which was alright. The overall presentation of the food was very good but I wish the portion size of atleast the tapas was larger!

 Ambience– Just 10 steps away from Toto’s Garage at Pali Naka, Bandra (w), Poco Loco is a bar more than a restaurant and the décor is lovely. All the walls are different and you’ll find that they’ve made the most out of the space they have, including an open kitchen and bar. They have a mezzanine floor that is a bit cramped so I’d suggest you seat yourself downstairs instead. In a lot of ways it’s a warm, friendly place that automatically makes it perfect to go to on a date.

Service– The staff is courteous and decently informed about the dishes.

Prices– Its not a place where you can go regularly for sure unless you have that kind of money. For a drink maybe; but if you’re planning to eat a meal, be prepared to spend atleast 1200 per head without alcohol. The tapas start at Rs. 120 with small quantities. The Paella Vegetariana was for Rs. 395, our mocktails were for Rs. 175 each, Pollo a la Brasa was for Rs. 550. The wines and sangrias are priced at Rs. 250 onwards.

Verdict– Tasty Spanish food with an Indian twist and a glass of sangria. If that’s your style and if your pocket allows it, try Poco Loco. I wish they’d introduce more options for vegetarians though.

Rating– 3.5/5

 

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Aug 2 2012

CityBliss- Wellness on Wheels, Mumbai- Review

Roochster

The first thing that caught my attention about CityBliss was the fact that it’s a spa on wheels! What a great concept that I just had to try it!

Spa on wheels? CityBliss, Wellness on Wheels is based in Bandra, Hill Road but they travel all over Mumbai to serve you. They have a metallic blue van which is fully equipped to offer you a great spa experience while you travel from one place to another. They have various therapies such as Foot Reflexology, Head Massage, Face Massage, Spa Manicure & Pedicure and Facial that can be done in the movable spa. The idea struck Swadeep Patil (the owner) when he was travelling in 2010. One thought led to another and before he knew it, he had a spa on wheels ready by June 2011 which started its blissful journey across Mumbai.

I took my best friend Komal along so we could try CityBliss together and plus I wanted some company to go to Mahim market for shopping so she came along gladly. We started off at Colaba and decided to go for half n hour of foot and half n hour of head massage. A lot of my friends were apprehensive about the whole spa on wheels deal thinking it would be some shady van with shady masseurs and so they asked me to be very careful. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about any of that because the van was luxurious with polite and efficient staff. Also, we could see where we were going thanks to the camera attached to the front of the van and the screen in front of us.

Haha funny thing happened. Before getting the spa, Komal asks her masseuse, “So are you from Thailand?” The masseuse replies, “No we are from Manipur”. LOL! Popat!

The Experience– As we sat on the recliner chairs, we were given cute jute chappals to switch into which we barely wore for like 10 seconds and a soft sheet to cover ourselves. Our feet were washed with warm water and soap and then dried. Our massage started immediately then with Natures Co.’s lemon grass oil. The masseuses skillfully massaged our feet upto our knees, with perfect pressure. Komal and I were enjoying everyminute of it and before we knew it, our half n hour was over and our feet were wiped off with warm wet napkins. The next half n hour was going to be the head massage and we both knew we’d like that better. Our recliners were further reclined to rest our heads comfortably and their fingers worked their magic on our head, neck, back and arms with Rosemary oil from Nature’s Co. and relaxed us completely. We didn’t even realise where our half n hour went; I was almost asleep because of how blissful it was. Soon, we reached our destination, thanked them and left. The massage was truly amazing.

How much? For a truly luxurious, convenient and blissful experience, CityBliss comes at a price. If you book the van for 2, a foot/head massage for 30 mins (upto 10kms) would cost Rs.675 + taxes per person.  60 minutes (20kms) would cost Rs. 1050 + taxes per person and so on. If you choose to go alone, you’d be paying Rs. 900 + taxes and Rs. 1400 + taxes respectively. This cost is to save your travel money to go from one place to another and to make sure your time is blissfully spent. So I wouldn’t say its very expensive considering the value and quality of service.

Where and when? The van does not travel to Navi Mumbai, Thane, etc. and they operate from 11am to 11pm so make sure you book your appointment accordingly. Also, if your spa gets over in half n hour and you haven’t reached your desired location yet because of traffic, don’t worry, they wont throw you off the van. You can either sleep it off or extend your massage.

Websitehttp://www.citybliss.com/

Verdict– In between erratic schedules and crazy traffic in Mumbai, take a breather with CityBliss’s Spa on Wheels and just relax. If you know someone who’s getting married or want to gift someone something different and awesome, this is it! I recommend!

Rating– 4/5

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May 7 2012

Elephanta Caves (Gharapuri), Maharashtra

Roochster

I’m a typical Arien who needs something or the other to keep me going all the time and so I get pretty random and crazy ideas when I’m bored. I had made up my mind on Friday night that I have to do something exciting to get out of my daily school routine. Basically, I needed to do something different and so; I decided to go to Elephanta Caves! After making some last minute calls on Friday night, Fash agreed to come and I was super excited to finally get out and do something ‘different’ from the usual. Saturday was one such impulsive day and I honestly don’t regret it.

How to get to Elephanta Caves? Simple. Go to Gateway of India (Mumbai), buy tickets for the ferry to go to Elephanta. They’ll be available at the entrance and priced at Rs. 130 for a return journey to Elephanta and back. If you want to go on the upper deck, its Rs. 10 extra. Mondays closed. It takes a little more than an hour to reach so make sure you carry some sweet or something in case you’re the type who gets sea sick. Once you reach the island, there’s a mini train ride that costs Rs. 10 to drop you to the entrance of the Elephanta market leading to the caves.

The Journey– Before the market, you have to pay Rs. 5 as tax to enter the island properly. The market goes uphill towards the main entrance for the caves. You’ll find everything from Indian accessories to bags to tshirts to show pieces to leaf paintings to pretty wind chimes to what not! Oh yes, you’ll also find lots of monkeys so DO NOT buy corn on your way up because you wont be able to eat even 3 bites before a monkey comes and intimidates you and snatches your corn away! That happened to both me and Fash! These monkeys are big bullies! They even snatch bottles of water! To reach the top, it took us about 20 mins or so because there were so many steps!

The entry fee is Rs. 10 for adults and Rs. 250 for foreigners. Really sad! I wish the government wouldn’t be so shameless! Anyway, so then you walk ahead and you’ll find the first cave which is the main and the best cave. There are beautifully carved stone sculptures of Shiva and other Gods. They’re all works of art and it’s amazing how people had so much time thousands of years ago that they created such beautiful things for us to see. You’ll find 3-4 other caves ahead but they’re all incomplete and not as lovely. You might get a little bored after seeing the first 2 caves but make sure you see all of them since you don’t get to go to Elephanta Caves very often!

Food– After seeing all the caves, we decided to have some nimbu pani made by a local lady which was quite nice, especially in the garmi. And then Fash had some ‘Chicken Freiad rice’ (as it said at the small restaurant in the market where we ate) and we both had Fresh Lime Soda which was quite bad! I chose not to eat cause I was having a major Mc Donald’s craving so decided to go there once we reached Gateway. I bought corn on the way back though, once we crossed the marketplace (where the stupid monkeys were). So we had left at 10am from Gateway of India and were back by 3 in the afternoon.

Overall, it was a good trip. Not a ‘wow’ place but definitely worth visiting especially if you’re a Mumbaikar or if you haven’t seen the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad which are way better than the Elephanta caves for sure!

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