Posted in chicken, cochin, custard, fish, fish tikka, fried fish, grilled fish, kayaking, scuba diving, soup, south indian, south indian cuisine, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, upma

Travelogue – Come and enjoy the pristine white sand beaches of Lakshwadeep

Can you keep yourself away from the clear turquoise blue waters of Lakshwadeep after you have visited the Andamans? An absolute no!

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Compared to the Andaman islands, Laccadive and Minicoy are difficult to visit because prior permission is required from the Government of India. There is only one aeroplane which flies from Cochin to Agatti island once a day and the ships plying between different islands has a frequency of three days. Helicopter services are also available but at an added cost.

We could only visit one island but you should plan your trip in a way that you visit not only Kavaratti(where you can indulge in water sports) but also Bangaram(where you can enjoy the mesmerising view).

Day 1

We boarded the evening flight from Delhi to Cochin and reached the latter at 9pm. We had booked a studio apartment in the Atlas hotel which is just 2 kms from the airport. The pick up and drop services were provided by the hotel.

The studio apartment was nothing short of extraordinary. There was a big hall with a television, a dining area, a spacious kitchenette, two bedrooms, one with the attached washroom and a stand alone washroom. The amenities are top notch considering the price – 4800 for four people.

Day 2

Waking up early to relish the Cochin skyline was a good thought. A beautiful view with towering coconut trees awaited us as we opened the balcony doors. But we could not keep basking in this magnificence as we had a flight to catch at 8am.

A 36 seater Air India plane is responsible for carrying the dreamy eyed travellers heading for Lakshwadeep. The turbulent airs above the Arabian Sea make this journey a tad scary considering the small size of the plane. But adventure is always welcome!

We reached Agatti at around 10:30am. Since this is a military airport, we are not allowed to shoot once we are out of the plane – army personnel make sure of that. This is the smallest airstrip we had ever landed on. The surrounding turquoise blue waters do seduce you once in a while to steal a photo shoot but no rule breaking here.

From Agatti, ships and helicopters are the means of transport to the other islands. We were headed to the capital Kavaratti and a two hour eventful ship journey awaited us as we clambered on the slippery deck. We had booked our stay at SPORTS complex and one of their people accompanied us and carried our entire luggage, which was a relief as it is a huge task to carry heavy items across a boat which is swaying dangerously.

The waters of the Arabian Sea are ferocious and the waves have a tendency to move the ship by 1 or 2 metres – enough to give you nausea.

We reached Kavaratti around 1pm and had a delicious lunch at the SPORTS complex where we had booked a stay for three nights. It was a lovely change to hog on the authentic Lakshwadeep cuisine which has evolved from the Keralite one. And to have this while sitting at the beach and listening to the roaring waves is another experience in itself.

Lunch – a delectable spread of fried tuna, chicken curry, beetroot prepared with coconut and rai seeds, chappati and rice.

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Dinner – Slurpy sweet corn soup, spicy fried tuna, dry matar paneer, yellow dal, chicken curry and beans cooked in coconut milk.

Day 2

The second day started with us gearing ourselves for SCUBA diving in the lagoon area around Kavaratti. The SPORTS complex offers experienced instructors who first teach you about the do’s and don’ts of breathing underwater and then they give you a first hand training in the shallow waters of the beach, thus allowing you enough time to practise. While Shrenee was able to cope with equalising pressure, I had a difficult time getting used to venting air pressure through my ears.

After 10 minutes of practise, we were taken by a motor boat to the area where corals are in plenty with colourful shoals of fish and sea creatures residing in them. The deep turquoise blue waters hide a vibrant world reminding me of The Little Mermaid.

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The evening was spent in a jeep which took us to all the nooks and crannies of the island. We also got to see the eastern section of the island where the general public is not allowed to roam because of the shallowness of the continental shelf.

The Kavaratti light house is one place that you should visit. The view from the top is mesmerising and comes after a hard climb of 180 stairs. And you have to clamber the steps without your foot wear which are definitely not allowed inside.

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Breakfast: Idli, sambhar and chutney.

Lunch: North Indian spread

Dinner: Two types of chicken, mixed vegetables and caramel custard

Day 3

The third day started with a lovely breakfast spread of fluffy omelettes, breads and upma. The upma was prepared in a different way – finely grated carrots mixed well with roasted semolina.

We were taken a small glass boat to the borderline lagoon area from where we could relish the colourful corals and fishes. Bread crumbs were thrown to the fishes which merrily ate them and kept swimming near our boat for more treats. The zebra fish and the parrot fish are regular here and the boat men said that they actually wait for their arrival.

Lunch: Dal, roti and chicken cooked with caramelized onions. The dessert was a mouth watering coconut cheese cake.

Evening was spent in kayaking around the shallow waters. You can get the kayaking boat for 200 bucks for an hour. It is one of a kind of experience to row the boat yourself and go wherever you desire. The water is so clear that you can clearly view the sea bed.

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One more advantage of staying at the SPORTS complex was that you are always on the beach where you can sit back and relax. The hospitality here was top notch. We might have missed out on Bangaram but where could we have enjoyed seeing those colourful fishes and beautiful corals! There is so much more to enjoy in Lakshwadeep that we are not crossing it off our bucket list anytime soon!!

 

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Posted in cheese, cheese cake, chicken, chicken sausage, cottage cheese, creme brulee, dessert, fish, gnochhi, grilled fish, noodles, Salad, Uncategorized, yakisoba noodles

Raise the Bar Rooftop, Clarens Hotel, Sector 29, Gurgaon

Winters have officially arrived in Delhi NCR and it is time to come out of your closet and enjoy the glorious winter sun. The poisonous haze has gone for good now and you can embrace the chilly weather which is there to stay for a month or so.

And what better to do on a weekend than have a brunch on a roof top from where the Gurgaon skyline is visible? Located at the Clarens Hotel, Sector 29, Gurgaon, Raise the Bar Rooftop offers one of a kind experience. There is a huge bar counter running along half of the length and a special dessert and patisserie counter awaits you when you enter this place. The polished wooden interiors with a good seating arrangement promise a relaxed ambience and a slew of well trained servers is there to make your stay memorable.

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Patisserie special: All cheese – oregano filled pungent and layered Adam cheese, herb cheese filled with chilli flakes and gouda are prepared from cow milk and are imported. The crackers are light and crunchy, the pickled olives not so sour, raw papaya and cucumber subtle and the focaccia airy.  RECOMMENDED.

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Gnochhi salad: The gnocchi is oh so smooth and melt in the mouth and served on a pan fried spinach base with hints of garlic and ginger. The spinach is not so bitter and is easy to gobble on. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Barley salad with chicken and green beans: The tangy chicken sausage leaves you in a deep food coma, while the crunchy grilled green beans, plump and juicy cherry tomatoes add more depth to this salad. The best part – the sauce has penetrated to every element. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Fried chicken popsickles: Hats off to the chef who thought of this. Who wants ice popsickles if you can have fried chicken one? And they go well in the winters too. The finest chicken mince fried in bread crumbs to a lovely brown and golden hue and served with garlic mayo can leave you in splits. The crispy exterior and the soft mince like interior will definitely win your heart. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Herb crusted sole fillet: The very thin layer of herb curst with mellow insides – perfection of a well seared sole fillet. The potato wedges are served as sides and slightly soft. RECOMMENDED.

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Yakisoba noodles with vegetables: Disappointment. The noodles did not taste like Japanese noodles in Yakisoba sauce but resembled a desi pan fried version of our street food variant in flavours.

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Crème Brulee: Not good at all. The well defined crust is not there and the flavour of the cheesecake resembled the taste of raw eggs.

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Raise The Bar Rooftop-Clarens Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in cheese, chicken, chicken dimsums, chicken wrap, choco brownie shakes, dimsums, fish, fish and chips, fried fish, momos, Pasta, shakes, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

QRO Gourmeteriia by Darkhouse Cafe

A lot of hype was generated around this restaurant when it had opened and it is rightly so as QRO serves the most delectable shakes and pastas!  Pocket friendly for the students, the restaurant serves Continental food in addition to the usual Chinese and Italian.

So here are the dishes that I tried-

Baked Penne Mozarella- For all the cheese and pasta lovers out there, this is a perfect dish for you all. The goodness of penne combined with oodles of cheese is sure to win your heart. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Steamed Wheat Dimsums(chicken)- Well I am a huge dimsums fan and a restaurant serving the wheat ones is just heaven for me. These dimsums do have some amount of refined flour in them so as to stop the dough from getting blacked. The dimsums have a dense chicken filling and you don’t need any dip to go with it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Choco Brownie Shake- I have finally found my favourite shake in the town ! Choco Brownie Shakes are served everywhere but QRO sure knows how to make them the best. It is thick(as shakes should be!) and have a right amount of sweetness.It surprises you, delights you and casts a spell on you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Fish and Chips- I love this British street food but have never seen it served in a café. The fish had a subtle taste and a flaky texture.The dip was delectable and was the highpoint of the whole dish. RECOMMENDED.

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BBQ Chicken Wrap- Try all the dishes here but never try their wraps as they don’t make them good. The BBQ chicken was sweet in taste and there wasn’t much sauce in the wrap which proved extremely difficult to eat it.

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Posted in chicken, chicken dimsums, chicken hong kong, chicken schezwan dimsum, chinese cuisine, delhi, dimsums, fish, fish butter garlic, fried fish, grilled fish, kung pao chicken, noodles, Uncategorized

Spice Wok, Sector 50, Gurgaon

Their site mentions myriad cuisines and the pictures from every type are drool worthy to the core. Without much ado, I will start with my reviews for their Chinese dishes:

Fish in hot sauce: Soft lightly fried fish drenched in a thick sweet sauce and topped with spring onions, caramelised onions, carrots, bell peppers and crunchy peanuts – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Schezwan Dimsums: Artistic! Such softness of the dainty skin enclosing light minced chicken in a spicy gravy – mesmerising. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Fish in butter garlic sauce: If heaven is a dish, then this is it. Very lightly fried fish tossed in butter along with finely chopped garlic and peanuts is sure to melt in your mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Orange chicken: A very novel concept of pairing chicken with a citrus fruit – hats off! Small blobs of chicken fried to crusty perfection and tossed in oranges and sesame seeds – a plethora of flavours to serenade you. The sweet and sour refreshing flavour of orange coupled with  fine crunchiness of the sesame seeds is a winner for me. However, the chicken was slightly dry from the insides and the whole ensemble tasted too sweet sometimes. RECOMMENDED.

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Kung Pao chicken: Ahhh, the king of the Oriental main course. Those crunchy peanuts working their magic on soft and chewy boneless chicken pieces and the thick gravy lending the typical sweet flavour of vinegar – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Hakka Noodles: One of the best I have tasted – not too oily or dry and pretty thin and fine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Chicken Hong Kong style: Diced chicken again in a sweet sauce with chewy shiitake mushrooms – RECOMMENDED.

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The Spice Wok Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in chicken 65, chicken 65 bruschetta, chicken pizza, chilli mushroom, fish, fish fingers, grilled fish, grilled prawn, oreo shake, Pizza, Uncategorized

Uncultured Cafe & Bar, Kailash Colony, New Delhi

Situated in Kailash Colony, this is a fancy restaurant which serves some lip smacking dishes. Uncultured should be your go to place if you love trying on a myriad of cuisines. A great rooftop terrace is just one of the advantages of visiting this place.

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I recently got an opportunity to taste some of its items and here are a few of them:

Fish fingers: Served with a dip, these are crunchy and had a subtle taste. RECOMMENDED

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Oreo Shake: Yes we all are head-over-heels in love with this one already. Heavenly is just too small a word to describe this. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken pizza: When I order chicken pizza, I expect chicken to be there as well. But you need a magnifying glass to locate the chicken pieces on the pizza as there are hardly any.

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Primavera Pizza: Now atleast this pizza was not disappointing. It had a lot of bell peppers, olives, zucchini and a good amount of cheese as well. RECOMMENDED

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Chilli Mushroom: Its time to move on from the regular chilli chicken and chilli paneer and try this dish. As I am not a huge fan of mushrooms, it does taste a little bit weird in the starting. But the spiciness and the tanginess of the mushrooms will definitely delight you. Its spiciness hits you and tanginess makes you fall in love with this dish. RECOMMENDED

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Grilled Prawn: Ordering this one was a huge mistake as it is high on disappointment. The prawns were bitter and I could not even finish the one I tasted.

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Chicken 65 Bruschetta: After a huge disappointment faced from grilled prawns, this was a beautiful respite. It had oodles of cheese covering the soft juicy chicken placed on toasty bread which leaves you wanting for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Grilled Fish in lemon butter sauce: Served with a dip and side vegetables, the fish was mellow and had a sublte taste. Light on your stomach, it certainly leaves you wanting for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Uncultured Cafe & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in asian cuisine, bao, cheese cake, chicken, chilli chicken, delhi, dimsums, fish, french fries, fried fish, grilled fish, italian cuisine, japanese cuisine, kebab, oriental cuisine, Pizza, prawn, prawn tempura roll, sushi, tart, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

The Junction, Hauz Khas, New Delhi

This new property in Delhi is actually a junction of multiple cuisine trains. Spread across a huge area with different sections, this one boasts of a distinct sushi and dimsums bar, The Big Baker with a lovely assortment of desserts, a pizzeria, an outdoor seating area under the shade of trees (full marks for that) and indoor fine dine area. The Junction redefines the word multi-cuisine for you by serving multiple cuisines from all the courses. Here are a few of them that I recently tasted:

Veg pizza: The thinnest crust with a lovely succulency and the chewiness and juiciness of yellow and green zucchinis should not be missed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken dimsums: The exceptionally thin exterior is attractive but the extremely tangy flavour of the mine chicken mince is not acceptable.

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Mushroom wantons: I usually avoid wantons because they are deep fried but I could not keep my hands off this one. The finely chopped mushrooms were enveloped in a chewy exterior whichw as fried to crispy perfection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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California roll: Their sushis are a must try and this one was a burst of subtle flavours – sweet, tangy and piquant. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Mac n cheese: Ahh, the gooey cheese works its magic again! The al dante macaroni drenched in warm parmesan with bits of chicken is one dish which you would not want to miss! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Veg mezze platter: I have never ever tasted a mezze platter like this one! For the first time, the pita breads were slathered with butter and were soft yet crispy – the characteristic brittleness was absent here. Additionally, the beetroot flavoured dip was ohh-so-delicious! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Prawn dimsums: If you leave the intense watery aroma of prawns aside, the these dimsums are heavenly! The skin and the filling are perfect and better than the chicken ones here.

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Chicken and cashewnut dumplings: Who could have thought that the nuttiness and crunchiness of the cashewnuts could be used to innovate the usual chicken dimsums? These guys did and it turned out excellent! And the form of these lovelies are way too attractive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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The Junction Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in asian cuisine, chicken, chilli chicken, delhi, dessert, dimsums, dumpling, fish, oriental cuisine, red wine, Uncategorized

Feng Shui, Green Park main market, New Delhi

The term FENG-SHUI translates as “wind-water”. It is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonising everyone with the environment. Well, if you visit the Oriental fine dine restaurant lounge by the same name located in the Green Park market, then you will experience a positive aura on their first floo. And when on second floor, you can experience foot tapping music with a live bar and a covered roof – enjoying the external environment with no worries for the extreme weather.

The first outlet of Feng Shuii located in The Gallery,MG Road, Sultanpur was launched in June 2016. After getting an overwhelming response, they have opened another outlet in Green Park main market and here are a few items I tasted there:

Prawn chilli: I am glad that the chefs here have maintained the authenticity of the Asian preparations. The prawns are crispy and chewy in texture and not too chilly rather sweet in taste. Additionally, the bell peppers and onions are perfectly tossed in a hot sauce. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Shrimp dimsums: Soft but a bit smelly and the chopped garlic provides an unusual taste.

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Chicken and cheese dimsums: We have seen unique experimentations in the culinary world when it comes to dimums and I am flabbergasted by the addition of cheese to the common chicken dimsums. These were light, luscious and were soft and subtle because of cheese. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Mongolian lamb: A whiff of star anise greets you when this dish is served. However, it could have been better as it was way too chewy and undercooked.

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Corn and cheese dimums: Such softness, such delicateness and such finesse in vegetarian dimsums is a feat to achieve. The combination of corn and cheese is as delectable as it can get. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken dimsums: Oh boy, the inclusion of sweet chilli oil in the regular chicken dimsums makes them more soft and melt in the mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Feng Shuii Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato