Posted in asparagus, chicken, chicken dimsums, chicken schezwan dimsum, chocolate, chocolate roulade, delhi, dessert, desserts, dimsums, gurgaon, gurgaon restaurants, hakka noodles, icecream, noodles, schezwan, shredded chicken, things to do in delhi, tofu, Uncategorized, vanilla icecream

Nooba, DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon

I am slowly learning to move from Indianised versions of the global dishes and gradually falling in love with the authentic versions. Nooba provided a perfect opportunity for me to explore Schezwan cuisine fashioned from the expert hands of chefs from China.

Nooba should be recognized as a family restaurant with serene interiors. The staff is courteous and the managers know their cuisine very well. All the ingredients are imported from China so the authenticity is maintained.

Shredded Chicken: The chicken is fresh, juicy and not chewy which was a relief! The flavour is subtle and not too overpowering. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Fried Prawn: The prawns are fried but not deep fried and topped with peppery garnish and spring onions. The prawns were a fresh catch and tender in texture. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Asparagus in Bean Curd: Kudos to these guys for giving tofu an appealing texture. And kudos to the presentation as well! The lightly sautéed asparagus are delicately placed in crusty tofu and drenched in a light vinegar based sauce. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken & Black Mushroom Dimsums: The dainty mushrooms enclosing a very subtle mixture of finely chopped chicken mince and black mushrooms should be hogged on to even when not hungry. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Mixed Meat Noodles in White Garlic Sauce: Wok tossed Hakka Noodles with a plethora of vegetables, lamb and chicken in a silky smooth white garlic sauce – subtlety at its best! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Chocolate Roulade: Move over brownies, the delicately rolled chocolate rolls enclosing gooey chocolate syrup and served with a scoop of cool vanilla ice-cream is the perfect way to end a delicious meal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Nooba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Posted in chicken sandwich, chocolate brownie, dehradun, dessert, desserts, dhanaulti, grilled chicken sandwich, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mountain, mountains, mussoorie, north indian, pancakes, penne, penne pasta, sandwich, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

Winter special – Dehradun and Mussoorie diaries

I could never understand the fondness associated with Mussoorie amongst the hearts of the north Indians. In the 29 years of my not-so-boring life, I had never been in Mussoorie for than an hour and that too whilst visiting some village while crossing it.

And the title of “Queen of the Hills”? Maybe the Britishers gave that title. But I had to find out, enough years had already passed.

A friend’s reception at Dehradun brought the perfect opportunity Dehradun, Mussoorie and Dhanaulti. A mutual friend and travel buddy had some exigency, so I was left solo to wander these lands.

2018 winters bloomed early and below 10 degrees temperature was expected to hover on. After bidding goodbye to Nanda Devi Express, the biting cold welcomed me at 5:45 a.m. at Dehradun. I took the local taxi from the railway station to J.P. Manor, Barlowgunj which comes 4km before Mussoorie.

The taxi driver was a local Pahadi and kept on assuring me that I will be able to withstand the chill as I was shivering like hell despite the fact that only my eyes were visible. I was alone so slightly scared of catching the commonest of all colds.

It took me just an hour and a half to reach J.P. Manor and the journey from the taxi to the hotel reception was a battle between my body and the morning chill. Ask my knees, they will tell you better.

The staff at J.P. Manor was extremely helpful and courteous. Since the rooms were not available as the check out time is 2pm, they offered me the spa facilities for refreshing myself. They also upgraded my booking with least charges when one of the rooms got an early check out at the Valley View Tower.

And trust me, the room was fabulous with French windows, shared lawn and a view to die for. The only caveat was or were the monkeys who were monkeying around the lawn premises. I could only open the curtains and not windows. Sigh!

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And these naughty apes got more excited as my heavenly English breakfast came. The sight of omelette, bacon and sausages must have excited them and they kept on knocking on the window.

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An hour’s sleep and I was ready to visit Dhanaulti. The local taxi stand at Mussoorie has a good amount of experienced drivers who know the ways in and around. I was advised to visit the Eco park at Dhanaulti and the Mall road considering the shortage of time.

The road connecting Mussoorie and Dhanaulti is a winding one and offers spectacular views of the Greater Himalayas. I constantly bothered the taxi driver to stop at such locations and he told me eagerly about the various peaks visible. Kedarnath and Badrinath being some of them.

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I expected the Eco park to be just another playful park for kids, but the sight surprised me. The area is pretty close to a virgin forest where the vegetation is left in its most natural state. The greenery reminded me of the Maphland Sacred Grove at Shillong. The towering Deodars and Pine trees were in full bloom and the air was cold but fresh. The silence of the park was broken down by our footsteps and the monkeying around of the monkeys.

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I wished to go deeper into the woods but was scared of the monkeys. I have already gone through the Rabipure series against a cat bite. Hell no I am going for that again!

There were many gazebos and swings on which you could relax and revel in the serenity.

After the tryst here, I requested the driver to take me to those step farms where cauliflowers are planted. I expected a vibrant scene but got a very dry terrain. The locals told us that monsoon is the time of fully bloomed cauliflowers. Better luck next time.

The journey from Dhanaulti to the Mall road was slightly dreadful as my altitude sickness came back and the heaviness in my head increased fourfold. I was dropped at the Picture Palace from wherein I started exploring the bylanes of Mussoorie. The road is dotted with a plethora of cafes, bakeries, woollen apparels shops and of course the Maggie & the momos vendors. My first destination was the ropeway to the Gun Point hill so had to keep an empty stomach.

While the ropeway vault was full of newly-wed couples stealing a selfie or an embrace (which I tried to overlook), the underlying view was refreshing.

Gun Point hill was slightly disappointing because of the clichéd outlets there. Or rather I played those games in my childhood that they no more the charm anymore. But if you have a book to read, an empty belly to hog on to the piping hot Maggie and ample time to bask in the blazing sun, then please take a table for some time.

The Maggie definitely warmed my insides and the sunlight the exterior of course. My altitude sickness also got relieved. I could not see the Camel back road from there although I was advised that it will be visible from there.

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My target was to reach the hotel by 5pm because I had no intention of facing the zero degree temperature after an eventful day. I got free earlier though, at 4pm, after having a freshly brewed cuppa of Earl Grey tea at a café.

Since I had not slept in the train because of small berths and cool temperatures, I went into a short lived slumber before heading to Café Manor – the hotel’s Italian dining restaurant.

I ordered my favourites – chicken ravioli in white sauce and vegetables loaded pizza. The ravioli was freshly prepared and had the right quantity of cheese and cream. The veggie pizza when brought for the first time was slightly burnt but after a request by the manager, a second version was provided which was perfection. The quantity and quality both are excellent here.

The second day was reserved for the journey to Dehradun and trust me it was not an easy one. The winding roads wreaked their havoc  again and deep breaths were my only respite. Though when the cab driver took the car through the greenery loaded area of Garhi Cantt, I was in for a peaceful drive.

I checked into Saffron Leaf (where my friend’s reception party was due) and ordered a chicken sandwich. I was extremely surprised by the quantity of the breakfast – the potato wedges and the coleslaw were the icing on the cake! After a brief period of reading and resting, I was ready for the Buddhist Monastery in Clement town.

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After a drive of about 4km, prayer flags greet you as are en route to the monastery. It is a huge complex having a slew of stupas, temples, rotating drums and gardens. The setting sun casted a beautiful shadow around the huge Buddha statue and it becomes worthwhile to take a snap before it gets dark as well as late.

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The evening was spent at the Singh Sour Bar where the myriad variety of momos will baffle you. Vegetarian, paneer, chicken, mutton and cheese – you name it, they have it. We explored the vegetarian, vegetarian cheese, chicken and mutton momos and they were all food gasmic. The cheese ones tasted as if a small portion of Domino’s pizza had been enclosed in the momos sheet.

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And the evening would have incomplete without grabbing a sweet bite at Ellora’s Melting Moments. We tried Cinnamon Danish and Christmas Brownie and somehow I felt that the place is over rated. The Danish is supposed to be flaky & airy and instead it was doughy & chewy. The brownie was good but could have been better.

The second day began with a visit to Sahastradhara. It is situated on the outskirts of Dehradun and is usually thronged by Hindu believers. There are sulphur springs situated here and the waters are believed to heal one of diseases. But somehow I felt that this place would have been picturesque a few years back but is now marred by garbage and people bathing in it. The streams have a lesser amount of water which sometimes stagnates because of the underlying garbage. Nevertheless, the place is tranquil and the numerous tiny cascades with the music of flowing water provide a serene atmosphere.

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It is advisable to be wary of the transportation issues while visiting this place. Ola/Uber does not work here and a solitary auto came to our aide when we wanted to go back to city.

Dehradun is known for many cozy cafes serving comfort food and who am I to turn down the delicious affairs of these outlets? We wanted to explore The Orchard while enjoying the view of the mountains but unfortunately it open at 1pm. We decided to visit Café Marigold instead and the visit reminded us of our college days.

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The menu is not very extensive but the quality is to die for. The penne alfredo was beyond perfection and the maple syrup pancakes were charismatic save for a few raw bites. The honey lemon ginger tea actually tastes like the ingredients used for preparing it and Marigold special Coffee is their unique offering, which I did not taste because of my aversion to caffeine.

Overall the visit to Dehradun was refreshing and I fell in love with the ubiquitous greenery. The bougainvilleas in myriad colours, the sunflowers and the enormous roses are charming and beckon you to come here again and again.

Posted in biryani, chicken, chicken biryani, delhi, dessert, desserts, dum biryani, imarti, jalebi, kashmiri soup, kulfi, mutton, paan kulfi, radisson blu, rogan josh, soup, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, yakhni soup

Kashmir to Kabul – The Great Kebab Factory, Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi Airport

Radisson does it again and with utmost poise. After experiencing their Thai restaurant Neung Roi, it was time for their Kashmir to Kabul food festival at The Great Kebab Factory.

The elaborate menu for this particular festival features an assortment of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian kebabs, curries and biryani. The non vegetarian kebab platter is a sinful and delectable affair with mellow galouti kebabs, smoked buttery Sumac Jheengha (prawns sourced from Kashmir), Saufiyani Kashmiri kebab which are subtle yet smoky, fine, tender & crusty lamb chops or Tabak Maaz, black pepper laced luscious Murg Kanti kebab and crispy Ajwain fried fish. I only tasted lotus stem or Nadru ke kebab which had a lovely grainy texture.

Usually, such buffet spreads prefer to not concentrate around light beverages and breads but the vegetarian Yakhni soup with sweet breads, Sheermal, salty & watery Chaanch are there to relieve your belly from the onslaught of delicious main course.

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The Rogan Josh served here was excellent with the prominence of cumin seeds and tomatoes and went well with soft Afghani naans. The chicken biryani was flavourful with succulent chicken pieces.

The dessert platter could not be more sinful! The crispy jalebis with thick and smooth rabri, the saffron & pistachio infused milky kulfi, the refreshing Paan ice-cream, the tepid Kheer and the unusual apple halwa will fill your alimentary canal up to the brim.

Happy Eating!

The Great Kabab Factory - Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in cheese gunafa, chicken, chicken adana kebab, chicken shish touk, delhi, dessert, desserts, DLF cyber hub, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, gurgaon, gurgaon restaurants, hummus, kebab, lamb, lamb kebab, lebanese, lebanese cuisine, lebanese food, olive hummus, rice, Salad, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, yamini chicken mandi rice

Zizo, DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon

Fattoush Salad: It is always considered “healthy” to begin a meal with a light sweet and savoury salad. My holiday lunch began with this light salad consisting of diced zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, crispy pita chips and pomegranate seeds in a slightly tangy sauce. RECOMMENDED.

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Hummus Rasasfour: This is a special type of hummus served with pomegranate, molasses and diced chicken. The chicken pieces are extra juicy and have well imbibed the flavours of the molasses.

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Mixed Grill Platter: A refreshing break from the regular spiced laden Tandoori platter. The Turkish Adana and lamb kebabs were very juicy, firm, tender and resembled our very own Seekh kebab, albeit subtler but hot. Shish Touk was ohh-so-luscious with the goodness of mint  and smoked to perfection with butter. Iranian Urfa chicken kebab was slightly hotter, drier and saltier. RECOMMENDED.

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Yamini Chicken Manfi Rice: I shall call this Yemenese biryani. Two humongous pieces of chicken leg and breast on a bed of spiced rice is surely my dream meal. The rice was cooked in Yemenese spices as well as our coarse ones – black cardomam, cloves and black pepper and topped with caramelised onions. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Cheese Gunafa: I though desserts fashioned out of cheese were only the expertise of Europeans. But no, hell no, Middle Eastern cuisine also uses cheese to prepare delectable sugary bites. The cheese gunafa is warm and moderately sweet with fried vermicelli dipped in sugar syrup on top. Not to forget the finely chopped pistachios. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Zizo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in baguette, baguette sandwich, bakery, cake, carrot cake, cheddar, cheese, cheese platter, coffee caramel cake, croissant, croissant sandwich, delhi, dessert, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, healthy food, lemon meringue tart, meringue, panini sandwich, sandwich, smoked cheese, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, vegetable sandwich

Dolce Tonino, M.G. Road, New Delhi

Not many bakeries can boast of producing gluten free desserts and home made cheese. But Dolce Tonino, situated at the Tonino café does. And it does that with Italian elan.

Carrot cake: The mellowness of this spongy cake is unparalleled! The sweet flavour of the grated carrots along with the subtlety of grated coconut transforms you into heaven! Add to this the light icing – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Coffee caramel cake: Never knew that the combination of bitter coffee and smoky caramel could blend in so seamlessly! And let us not forget the sponginess of the gluten free beauty! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Cheese platter: You know you are in for a roll when a variety of in house made cheese is being served to you. The pungent cheddar, the milky provolone, the smoked gouda cheese and cheddar fermented to a higher degree.

Grilled vegetables and cheese Panini: The Panini breads are freshly baked, crunchy and airy and I bet that you would not find such lovely texture in the ones from the usual delivery outlets. And the filling of grilled juicy vegetables – aubergine, bell peppers, mushrooms and zuchhini in a rich layer of fine textured cheese is scintillating. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Grilled mushroom and cheese baguette sandwich: The sole presence of mushroom with cheese is not very impressive. The baguette breads are slighty chewy.

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Grilled vegetable croissant sandwich: Vegetables and cheese are in a good shape but the croissant could have been more flaky and light instead of clightly chewy. RECOMMENDED.

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Lemon Meringue Tart: Whenever and wherever I have this dessert in Delhi, I am utterly disappointed. But Dolce Tonino surprised me with this light sweet ensemble. The meringue is subtle, airy and lemony on a brittle tart bed which is easier to dig into. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Dolce Tonino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Belgian chocolate, chocolate, chocolate cake, Chocolate truffle, dark chocolate, delhi, dessert, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized

Choko La, DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj

My first visit to the Choko La store couldn’t be better! Being an avid chocolate lover, specifically the dark chocolates, I crave for binging on them now and then.

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And when it is Belgian chocolate and the desserts fashioned out of it, it is pretty arduous to stop myself.

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The attendants Sudha and Raman, at the Vasant Kunj store cheerfully greeted me and told me the nitty – gritties of the Choko La brand. The Belgian chocolate is of course imported, different combinations of dark and milk chocolates used and no compound chocolate is tolerated. Temperature is a very important parameter in keeping these chocolate desserts in good shape so 18 degrees will welcome you at all their stores.

The purity of the chocolate can be gauged from the fact that the chocolate readily melts in your mouth – palate warmth having it’s effect on the former.

The fact that Choko La is an Indian brand striving to carve a niche in the sector of gourmet chocolates is definitely going to linger in your mind.

35% milk chocolate and 55% dark chocolate pellets: These miniature chocolates will melt on your palate this imparting a pleasant warmth.

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Belgian chocolate truffle pastry: Sinful, decadent and I am falling short of adjectives to describe this dessert. The three layered pastry is gooey, sticky and leaves a pleasant after taste. Highly recommended.

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Coffee caramel pastry: The grainy exterior and mellow interior speak volumes about this caramel coffee mousse based dessert. It is indeed relaxing to dive your way in this pastry and hog it to your heart’s content.

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Berry cheesecake: The thing about cheesecakes is that you don’t have to bake them otherwise the tart is super crusty and therefore difficult to break into. Choko La is one of the very few dessert parlours which knows that cheesecakes are best when served in their lovely luscious texture. And that fresh berry compote on top – icing on the cake. Or rather pastry!

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Chocolate coated butterscotch and rochers: Talk about nutty snacks and these will come in handy. Extra points for amalgamating butterscotch with chocolate – never knew that this combination will work!

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Choko la Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bisi bele bath, butter masala dosa, buttermilk, chutney, coconut chutney, coriander chutney, delhi, dessert, dosa, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, gurgaon, gurgaon restaurants, home made icecream, ice cream, idli, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mango icecream, masala dosa, masala idli, obattu, ratnagiri mango icecream, rawa dosa, rawa masala dosa, rice idli, rose icecream, sambhar, south indian, south indian cuisine, strawberry, strawberry icecream, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, uttapam

Carnatic Café, Sector 15, Gurgaon

Let us please move over the likes of Sagar Ratnas, the Uddupis and the Bhawans when it comes to pure vegetarian South Indian cuisine. We, the Delhiites, the north Indians are least bit aware about the home made delicacies prepared in the Karnataka region. And that is where the sorcery of Carnatic café comes in.

Quick fact – water is served in bronze glasses here, thus reminding you of the older and simpler days. The interiors are classy and give a nostalgic feeling of the South Indian cafes of the 90’s. The servers and the manager are humble and know their cuisine well and are swift to suggest the specials.

Buttermilk: Freshly prepared and frothing gloriously to the brim, the classic and the masala buttermilk are the best way to begin an authentic South Indian meal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Rice Idli: Fluffy and soft idlis with a prominent sour flavour served with piping hot sambhar; onion, coconut and coriander chutney. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Rawa coconut dosa: Loaded with desi ghee, crispy with embedded cumin and enclosing grated coconut – just how better it can get? The flavours are simple and not overpowering and when the dosa is served separately with mashed potatoes tempered in mustard seeds, onion and garlic, the taste is enhanced. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Malleshwaram 18th cross dosa: The air becomes redolent with the aroma of pure desi ghee when this dosa is brought to you. It is not a paper thin variety but a thick, crispy and fluffy one with the insides coated with white butter and podi or gunpowder mixture. HIGHYLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bombat dosa: This one is a bomb! Thick yet crispy variety with the insides layered with white butter, cinnamon and finely powdered onion garlic mixture. You can taste the prominent hotness of the cinnamon in this one – enough to ignite a small volcano inside your mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bisi-bele-bath: A hot maelstrom of short rice, lentils, vegetables and spices served with a crispy pappad/poppadam and crunchy boondi, this one is a complete meal in itself. RECOMMENDED.

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Onion and Tomato Uttapam: A lovely soft pancake where the tomatoes are squished, thus imparting their tangy juicy flavour to the ensemble. The only drawback is its oiliness. RECOMMENDED.

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Obatto: You will have second thoughts of tasting this after having a hearty meal. But trust me, you won’t regret a bite. The crepe is oily yet crispy and encloses finely pulverised jaggery which is moderately sweet with aromatic green cardamom. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Home made ice-cream: I usually avoid ice creams because of my childhood over indulgence. But, each and every flavour here is prepared in house and extracted from its natural source. I happened to binge on the Ratnagiri mango one and the strawberry & rose one and both were light, subtle and out of this world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Carnatic Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato