Nov 16 2015

Loco Chino, Fort- Review

Roochster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating– 3.5/5

 

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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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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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Jan 8 2013

Cafe Sundance, Churchgate- Review

Roochster

Cafe SundanceSundance cafe is back after about 2 years, only more classy and sophisticated. However, it was my first time there and here’s what I thought.

Food– The Sundance menu is very cool! Designed like a newspaper with tempting visuals, it serves burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, salads, sides and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. My friend and I decided to share their Factory Nachos- Tortilla chips with cheese, guacamole, tomatoes. Now, it was good but the taste of the tortilla chips was so strong that we could barely taste the cheese sauce. Also, the quantity was barely enough for one person. For main course, my friend had the Terderloin Beef burger served with fries and salad. She really liked it but wished the bread was slightly crispier. I had the Penne in Alfredo sauce pasta sans mushrooms. It was good, a little bland but not meant for more than one person. Adding some bell peppers or corn would have helped. The Garlic bread was nice. My friend tried the Grapefruit Minty cooler which tasted more like Lemonade with a slight bitterness of Grapefruit. We were super full by now but decided to have a dessert anyway. We had their Baked Philadelphia cheesecake with Raspberry and really liked it but it would’ve tasted better warm. Also the sauce on the side tasted like Raspberry Tea sauce.

Cafe Sundance 2Ambience– I hadn’t eaten at the earlier one but I remember the decor used to be very different. Today, Cafe Sundance is classy, posh and expensive, located at Churchgate near Eros cinema. As you enter you’ll see an open kitchen to your left and a mezzanine floor above that. While you’re climbing the stairs, you’ll see some very cool items on display. The seating is comfortable and chic. The lighting is perfect. Also, they give the bill in an Archie’s comics book which is very unique!

Service– Our food came faster than expected and the staff is pretty efficient so no complaints there.

Prices– I understand that everything is getting very expensive but the prices at Cafe Sundance are a bit much for a casual dinner. The Terderloin burger was for Rs. 385, the Alfredo pasta was for Rs. 375, the Nachos were for Rs. 345, Grapefruit Minty cooler was Rs. 150, Cheesecake Rs. 240. And sadly I realized later that they charged us for a Garlic cheese bread when we had a normal Garlic bread portion. We were charged Rs.120 for it. With the taxes and service charge our bill amount came up to Rs. 1864!

Verdict– Good food, lovely ambience and prompt service but the prices are too high to go to for a casual meal.

Rating– 3.5/5

 

 

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Sep 24 2012

California Pizza Kitchen, Lower Parel- Review

Roochster

I’ve tried the pizzas at CPK on two occasions, both times for free. Now, it’s a good thing because I love pizzas. Here’s my review.

Food– Apart from pizzas, they have soups, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, pastas, desserts, etc. I tried their thin crust pizzas- Margherita- super bland with a prominent taste of tomato, Spicy Cayenne (spicy cayenne pepper sauce with cottage cheese, sliced onions, red, yellow and green bell peppers)- too salty in some parts and bland in some. It was a weird pizza! Five cheese & Fresh Tomato pizza- Ok. Their thin crust pizzas are wafer thin and barely filling. For appetizers I tried the Mediterranean Wonton Spring rolls (Sautéed shitake mushrooms, grilled eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and cheese) and the Margherita Wonton Spring Rolls (Fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, cheese) and again, both were superb bland! The Margherita was better though because of the cheese. So, in a way the food in general at CPK is bland and not meant for Indians.

Ambience– Walk into Phoenix Mills at Lower Parel, reach centre. Turn back towards Palladium and go up the escalator to California Pizza Kitchen. The place is dimly lit with comfy couches, a long bar and lots of brown! It looks more like a corporate place to dine rather than a place for young people or children.

Service– The staff is courteous and efficient. No complaints.

Prices– The wonton starter costs Rs. 295 which includes 2 types of wontons. The Margherita thin crust costs Rs. 425 and the Spicy Cayenne Pizza costs Rs. 325! So eating at CPK is not everyone’s cup of tea! Actually it would be, had the food been even remotely tasty!

Verdict– CPK is a big let down with probably the worst pizzas ever! Don’t even think about it!

Rating– 1.5/5

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Sep 18 2012

Twist Monkey, Nariman Point & FYI, Churchgate- Review

Roochster

Yogurts are the ‘In’ thing right now and I just thought it was better to write 2 reviews in 1 and fill you in on the latest ones in town. So, here they are.

Twist Monkey-Review:  Twist Monkey is a small stall that sells frozen yogurt located at Spoon Food Court at Inox, Nariman Point. I had Belgium Chocolate (delicious) in a mini cup (Rs. 40) with Ferrero Rocher sauce as topping (Rs. 40). The combination was good. I really liked the taste of the yogurt. The next time I went there I had the Honey Nut Crunch flavour (Rs. 40) with Mocha Ganache- bitter and tasty (Rs.40) as the topping. Now the part that sucks is that the cheapest toppings which are for Rs. 20 are just syrups. All the good toppings are for Rs. 40 so you have to end up spending Rs. 80 to have the smallest sized yogurt with a topping. I’ve also tried their other flavours- Blueberry- ok, Strawberry- yum!

Verdict– Twist Monkey is yummy! Most of their yogurts taste good and so do their toppings but I wish the pricing was better.

Rating– 4/5

FYI (Frozen Yogurt Inc.)- Review: FYI decided to be smart and locate themselves at Cafe Markiv’s, Churchgate where the college crowd is. Out of the ones I tried (Strawberry- superb, Blueberry- bad, Original- good) I thought their Fruitella flavour was yum so I decided to go for that (Rs. 40). Now the good part is that you pay per topping. So 1 topping is for Rs. 30, 2 for Rs. 40 and unlimited for Rs. 60 which is a fair deal. With my mini yogurt, I decided to try the red velvet topping (Rs. 30) which was not that great. As a promotional deal, they also added some Nutella sauce which made the bad taste of red velvet go away to a large extent.

Verdict– FYI is good and so is the pricing. Their yogurts taste great but they definitely should look at getting better toppings.

Rating– 3.5/5

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Aug 27 2012

Spices & Flavours, Fort- Review

Roochster

S&F has been around for a long time and we know about their outlets at Chowpatty and Worli. More than the food, people went there for sheesha. Now, they’ve opened a new outlet at Fort so I thought there must be something about their food which is what made me go there to try the place.

Food– Spices and Flavours is a multicuisine veg restaurant that serves almost everything. We were 3 of us and had gone for lunch. We called for Flavoured cheese bread which was more like chilli cheese toast and looked like the Shiv Sagar pizza but tasted really good. Next we had Cheese corn balls which were quite bland but tasty nonetheless. The quantity was quite good so we decided to call for main course- mix sauce pasta. It looked really weird cause it was yellow but we were surprised after tasting it. It was really well cooked with the right flavours. Their quantity is perfect! For drinks we called for an Oreo shake and a Diet Coke. My friend and I decided to share the Oreo shake and were glad we did because they gave us amazing quantity and it left us craving for more because it was superb!

Ambience– Located at Hamam street, right next to The Bombay Stock Exchange, Spices and Flavours is a well done up place. With chic décor and furniture, there’s lots of space and comfortable seating. They also have a banquet hall. You’ll find mainly office people here at lunch time because of its officey location.

Service– Their service is good, especially on a day when they don’t have too many customers. They customised our pasta for us which was really nice of them. Also, they forgot to get one of the dishes we had called for which is not a good thing but was good for us because we had over-ordered and luckily didn’t have to waste any food.

Prices–  The prices are reasonable and worth the food. The flavoured cheese bread and corn cheese balls were for Rs. 150 each, the Mixed sauce pasta was for Rs. 160, the Oreo shake was for Rs. 135 and diet coke was for Rs. 45. We paid Rs. 220 each for a wholesome meal. Also, they have a great offer for buffet lunch- Rs. 180 only! No taxes extra! Perfect for office people!

Verdict– Totally worth your money, Spices and Flavours is a great place with yummy food, good ambience and service! I’ll definitely go there again! 2 thumbs up from me!

Rating– 4/5

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Aug 21 2012

Salsa Wraps, Colaba- Review

Roochster

So this new Mexican place just opened very close to home, right next to the bus stop from where I catch my bus. I was super thrilled to try it out! Here’s my review.

Food– They’ve got Nachos, Burritos, Quesadillas and Tacos on their menu and I’ve tried all four now as I’ve visited the place multiple times. Their Nachos with cheese are nothing like what we’ve had at New Yorkers, Relish, etc. The Nacho chips are a little hard and the cheese sauce is bland and cold but the fact that they’re nachos makes you want to have them. They have various options in Burritos- Paneer, Mushroom, Chicken, Jain, Shrimp, etc. The Burrito I tried was the Paneer Burrito which had rice, black beans, paneer, vegetables, salsa, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. It was nice. Their quesadillas are my favourite. I always have the bean and cheese quesadilla. With the right amount of cheese, refried beans and sour cream, they taste awesome! The veg tacos (2 pieces) had beans, salsa, lettuce, guacamole in a taco shell. Again, the taco shells were quite hard and the filling was decent. The good part is that they have a lot of non-veg options especially for Burritos and also you can choose your fillings which is a great concept in itself!

Ambience– Located at Wodehouse road, next to Charagh Din and  a bus stop, Salsa Wraps is a Mexican fast food place, mainly into deliveries and take-away because of the struggle with space. Their food counter takes up most of the space and there’s place for only 4-5 chairs to fit on the other side. They do plan to have better seating arrangements in the near future though.

Service– Being a fast food place, you’ll get your order within 5 to 10 minutes. Good service and even the deliveries are quick.

Prices– Superb prices! The Veg Quesadilla is for Rs. 80, Nachos with cheese is for Rs. 45, The Veg Burritos are for Rs. 100 and non-veg for Rs. 120. The Veg Tacos are for Rs. 70. I would be happy with a Quesadilla and probably a Nachos or Tacos and I’m good. So, a good filling Mexican meal would cost me less than 200 bucks!

Verdict– They might not have the best Nachos but I’d swear by their Quesadillas and definitely continue to eat from there. Value for money! I recommend!

Rating– 3.5/5

 

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Jun 21 2012

Mantralaya Fire, June ’12

Roochster

A wild fire engulfed Mumbai’s very own Mantralaya on 21st June 2012 from 2:45 pm, after employees in the building probably must’ve just finished lunch. Some say it was a ‘saazish’ to destroy all the ‘Adarsh scam’ files and some say it was a short circuit that struck the 4th floor and then went upto the 7th floor.

I’ve never witnessed  such a huge fire and since I stay close by, I left my place and reached there by 4 30 pm and decided to do a photo story. The Mantralaya, for those who don’t know houses offices of the chief minister, key ministers and top officials. So this was a very important event and I went to capture it. Roads were blocked and there was a huge traffic jam starting from Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade. When I had reached at 4 30 pm, one side of the fire was almost under control whereas the other side was still growing. I could hear so many blasts from where I was standing- computers, acs, etc.  bursting, window glasses breaking and falling down and what not. Tons of fire engines, ambulances and police personnel, NGOs and NSS students from KC college were there.  I didn’t see the point in so many fire engines being there though because barely 4 to 5 of them had hose pipes that could reach so far and extinguish the fire. The others were just standing there and occupying space, going back and forth and making the cops shift us more and more behind. Luckily I had carried my DSLR which is why noone stopped me and I could continue shooting as a part of the press.

It was crazy ‘cause when the front side’s fire was almost doused, the right side was up in flames. Now, there’s a petrol pump just next door and I was only hoping that the fire wouldn’t spread and touch the petrol pump. Luckily it didn’t. Mad fire went on for more than 5 hours! All in all, it was something that shouldn’t have happened.

After standing for more than 3 hours, my feet were aching and I thought its best to go back home with the photos I got.

While going home, I stopped by next to Bandstand garden, had sugarcane juice, Maaza, bought Perk and Fatatat and went home. So yeah, quite an adventure it was! (Note: This line has been purposely added to highlight how lightly the incident was taken by the fire department of Mumbai and the government of India that it felt like an adventure being there and witnessing it. No offense.)

 

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Jun 4 2012

Sugadaddy, Hughes Road- Review

Roochster

I’d been wanting to try this place for a while now and finally got to try it just a few days ago. Here’s what I thought of it.

Desserts– They don’t like to limit themselves just at yogurts, as most dessert shops are doing so. They brand themselves as a place for softies, smoothies, milkshakes, cupcakes and other desserts besides just frozen yogurt. I decided to try their yogurt and so tasted whatever flavours they had. Unfortunately some of their machines were spoilt because of which I only got to try 4 flavours. Blueberry- more like the original with no taste of blueberry at all, Strawberry- good, Mango- ok and Toffee- very good. As a topping, as per their suggestion, I had the cookie sauce which was yum! So I decided to go for the Toffee yogurt with Cookie sauce as the topping. I truly enjoyed my yogurt and was happy with my choice. After that I decided to try their Red velvet cupcake. Now I liked the muffin bit but the cream on top was quite grainy even though it was quite tasty. I wanted to try a milkshake but have saved it for next time.  They also have hot beverages like coffee, tea, etc. in case you don’t want to have a dessert.

Ambience– Located at Hughes road near Sukh Sagar and Chowpatty, Sugadaddy is the new place in town for desserts. Pink, white and gold are the colours you’ll find here. It’s pretty and nice except for the section upstairs where they’ve spoilt it with red chairs and other mess lying around. So, yeah if you do plan to take some time and enjoy your dessert, you can go upstairs and rest your butt or settle in for their bar stools down.

Service– They’re friendly and polite and let you try their flavours before making your choice which is a good thing.

Prices– The yogurt comes in different ‘cup sizes’ as they mention on their menu. A- Rs.30, B- Rs. 70 and C- Rs.150. I chose cup size A because I think that much quantity was more than enough. Toppings are also Naughty (Rs.30 each) or Nice (Rs.20) I chose a naughty topping. So my yogurt + topping cost me Rs. 60 which was decent and worth it. The cupcake was for Rs. 65 which I felt should not have been more than Rs. 50. Their smoothies and milkshakes are for Rs. 150 and I decided to save trying them for later.  A tea/ coffee is for Rs. 65, Green tea for Rs. 85, etc.

Verdict– Sugadaddy is not the best place for yogurts or desserts but is not that bad either. Give it a shot and decide.

Rating– 2.5/5

 

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