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, 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 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 chicken, chicken dimsums, delhi, dimsums, farfalle, fish, french fries, fried fish, lasagna, nachos, Pasta, Satyaniketan, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

Frenzone, Satyaniketan, New Delhi

A quaint little café situated in the by lanes of Satyaniketan, Frenzone should be your go to place if you love the classic British cuisine and are also fascinated by some of the paraphernalia associated with the British pop culture.

The British influence is apparent when you enter the place. Two miniature royal guards dressed in red welcome you into a red door which is surprisingly a phone booth – Tardis from Doctor Who. The walls of the café are adorned with three dimensional plastic figurines of the famous buildings of London.

Moving on to the dishes I tried:

Lemonade: A light and breezy drink which is not overpowering, but it should have been more flavourful.

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Fish and chips: The classic British dish re-invented at this café. The fish is firm and fried so well that the crust does not peel out when you cut it. No crumbling as well when you break it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken and coriander dimsums: A dish which could have been the hero of the evening. The combination of minced chicken and coriander is so darn flavourful that you will wonder about not having it before. However, the minced chicken is so dense and stiff that it is an arduous task to even bite into it. Also, the skin is left raw at some of the portions.

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Butterfly pasta with chicken in arrabiata sauce: There is a name for these adorable butterfly shaped pasta and these guys should call it one – farfalle. The pasta was cooked al dante and the chicken was ohh-so-delicate and succulent. The white sauce was smooth and had a good consistency with hints of rosemary and garlic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Baked nachos with chicken: I shall call this dish a nacho lasagne. Because the nachos were arranged in layers with the filling of delectable minced chicken flavoured with herbs and tomatoes and topped with light gooey cheese. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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

Posted in chicken, chicken firdausi kebab, fish, fish steak, fried fish, Healthy, kebab, kolkata, lasagna, mogambo, mutton lasagna, park street, Pasta, russian salad, Salad, Uncategorized

Mogambo, Park Street, Kolkata

Mogambo is the same fine dine restaurant which refused to admit a lady with her driver. Though I do not wish to go into commenting about the infamously famous incident, I would love to write about my gastronomic experience there.

Situated at the famed Park Street, Kolkata, this is one of the best fine dine eatery in Kolkata. The personnel are polished and know their cuisines well. The ambience is opulent and seating comfortable, with light music complementing the relaxed feel of the place. The menu has a host of authentic and novel dishes and the prices are not sky high, unlike Delhi.

Let us not brag about this place so much, before we move on to the dishes I binged on:

Russian Salad: This has to be the ideal salad that I have tasted. Consisting of lightly boiled vegetables, having subtle creamy texture and tasting sweet and a bit a sour, this was authenticated by my Russian friend. The finely chopped peas and potatoes amalgamated well with the fine juliennes of cucumber and carrots. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Fish steak: Bengalis are the masters of fish based dishes and this steak was no different. The basa was grilled to perfection, tasted light, was not disintegrating and was served with crispy fried potatoes and sautéed mushrooms. The steak was stuffed with boiled potatoes and topped with light creamy mushroom sauce, thus amping up the taste. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Firdausi kebab: Where shall I even begin? A very unusual kebab – chicken roundels stuffed with minced chicken which tasted tangy because of yoghurt. The minced chicken taste fine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Fried fish: Crumb fried bhetki fish in its crispy glory served with light fried potato wedges, coleslaw and mustard dip is perfect for those evenings meant for gorging on fresh catch. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Mutton Lasagna: More than the ones served at Big Chill, Smoke House or Café Deli Heights, this dish is worth all those extra calories. Just one bite is enough to go into a food coma. The minced mutton is fresh, the white sauce is creamy but not cheesy – light and the fresh flavour of baked tomatoes in the lasagna is overwhelming. This lasagna won’t over fill your belly and that is why it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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