Posted in bangalore, biryani, coorg, coorg hills, dum biryani, hills, india, indian, indian cuisine, karnataka, kaveri, kushalnagar, madikeri, mutton biryani, mysore, mysore palace, namdroling monastery, resort, south indian, south indian cuisine, thallakaveri, travel, travel diaries, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, western ghats

TRAVELOGUE COORG

We live in the vicinity of the Himalayas and it seems to be our first choice for a weekend getaway or even a long vacation. But when we are not yearning for an adventurous journey or a challenging trek, the hills of South India seem to be our next option.
Kodaikanal and Ooty have been on our bucket list for a long time now but we wanted a place away from the hustle bustle of the city life and touristy crowd. And that is where Coorg came in. No internet connection for two days with minimum network coverage can definitely leave anyone mad, but not when you are surrounded by three big hills, coffee plantation, colonial wood cottages, a small pond and an excellent hospitality.
Coorg is an enchanting travel destination located in the Western Ghats. When you head from Bangalore to the hilly slopes, the winding terrain bewitches you and it is difficult to take your eyes from the alluring scenic beauty.
Where to start: It takes around 6 hours from Bangalore to Coorg by a car through NH 2575 and en route you can enjoy the beauty of the famous Ramgarh hills where the legendary Sholay was filmed.
Pit stops: Kamat Upachar and Nakshatra
We had a light breakfast at Kamat located at Mudhugere, Bangalore Mysore Highway. The authentic South Indian Upma is to die for – a novelty for us North Indians.
A heavy lunch awaited us at Nakshatra located at the Bypass road, Hunsur on the Bangalore Mysore Road or NH 275. The chicken dum biryani was exceptional and it was the Mysore version of the biryani and was served with a spicy hot saalan or rasam. The vegetable curry was good though extra hot with the flavours of gun powder and garam masala igniting a lava on my palate. Washrooms are clean and ambience is good.


Just two hours from Coorg, we took a halt at Kushalnagar, which is home to several Tibetan settlements as well as the abode of Namdroling Monastery. A splendid Tibetan temple with a golden pagoda occupies the crest here. At around 4pm, you can hear the booming Buddhist chants when the monks gather in the main temple for their evening prayers. The chants sooth your clamorous soul and bring the eluding peace.
You can buy prayer flags, Tibetan handicrafts and paraphernalia from the shop at the starting of the monastery.

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The uphill drive starts after Kushalnagar with very narrow paths. The roads become narrower as we proceed with the forests and the sideway plants/trees growing thicker and denser. The roads are not dangerous compared to the Himalayas, but they are deserted with no sign of a living being for miles. So it is better to avoid driving or even visiting the resort after 6pm.
The roads are not jittery and you will not feel even an impulse to vomit. But if you are a newbie, better to carry Avomin.
We had booked a resort, Leisure Vacations Three Hills, which is located in the valley and three giant hills surround it. It had three separate cottages and there were rooms in the main villa as well, but we had booked a cottage for ourselves and each morning we were greeted with a raw, enchanting natural beauty. There is a little pond nearby and one can spot the ducks gracefully swimming in it.


We visited Talakaveri the next day which is the place where the river Kaveri originates. A temple is situated here and because of the extreme height at which it is located you will be greeted by clouds which will be floating away in front of your eyes. Now if that doesn’t leave you flabbergasted, what will!

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It is advisable to wear knee length or longer clothes to this place as you will not allowed to enter the temple. Additionally, they will rent out the traditional “lungi” or the wrap around garment at a meagre price of 10 bucks.


There are about hundreds of steps located near the temple and after climbing them, you can witness the whole picturesque and vividly green valley from the top. Though it would have been better if the temple authorities allow the tourists to wear footwear while climbing the stone steps, especially when the ground on the top is not levelled properly and has huge stones and boulders lying carelessly.
Our stay at the resort was pretty luxurious and relaxing. The steward assigned to us – Mr. Shiva took excellent care of the our requirements and was there to guide us about the place. We wished for authentic Coorg cuisine to be served to us and he, along with the cook presented the most explosive dishes to us. They were pretty new to us, extremely flavourful and way too spicy.

 

 

The dining area was in the main villa and the feasts were prepared on demand. We came to know about a local favourite here – Karimpettu – a rice and sooji steamed ball taken with spicy vegetable curry. Another favourite was the bread omelette they served us in the breakfast – fluffy yet thin omelettes wrapped around raw breads.

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After a stay of two nights, we headed back to Bangalore and what better than Mysore for an afternoon stop over?
Note: Do not forget to buy home made chocolates, organic honey, spices and cosmetics from the local shops while driving from Coorg to Madikeri. You won’t regret any bit of it.
Our next stop over was at Desi Platter, Mysore were we got to gorge upon the exploding Mysore mutton dum biryani and a vegetarian meal before heading on to the famed Mysore Palace.


The famed Mysore Palace, which is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore was next on our itinerary. Towering over you, the behemoth palace casts a spell on you with its beautifully crafted walls which light up in the evening.

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It was built by the 24th Raja of Mysore and is exquisitely designed. The glittery yet pastel shades of the ramparts and the ceilings can give those French balustrades a run for their money. The graceful and gigantic pillared halls echo with the voices of the tourists without losing their mysterious sheen.

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The marriage hall or the Kalyan Mandapa is a unique octagonal shaped hall with symmetry raging in every mosaic and motif. We were awed by the glass panels situated towards the top of the hall and we are pretty sure you will be too.

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Posted in chicken, chicken kebab, indian, indian cuisine, multigrain chicken, seekh kebab, south indian, south indian cuisine, spring roll, Uncategorized

Unplugged Courtyard

Unplugged Courtyard recently launched their Monsoon menu and things couldn’t get any better!! The restaurant is a perfect place to dine out and has an impressive ambience.
Here are the dishes that I tried-
Chennai Express Cutlet – This one is made with rice and has a south indian flavour to it. Crunchy to the core.

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Multi grain coated deep fried chicken fillet- As the whole world is getting obsessed with multigrains so why not coat chicken in it? An ingenious idea which is executed perfectly. It is crunchy as well as tangy.

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Mexican Spring Roll – For all the people who can’t get enough of Spring Rolls, this one is divine. The sweet chilli sauce with which it is served takes it on a whole new level. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Banana Chicken – This one is grilled to perfection and is oh so juicy and tender at the same time. The flavours are bang on. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Kurkure Seekh kebab – The deep fried crunchy outer covering which encloses a soft chewy kebab is a different take on the traditional seekh kebab. It is spicy as well which makes it a winner for me. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Posted in biryani, dum biryani, hyderabadi biryani, india, indian, indian cuisine, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, south indian, south indian cuisine, Uncategorized

Delhi Rasoi, East of Kailash, New Delhi

Since I have been on a spate of exploring the delivery outlets of Delhi NCR, I have experienced the preparations of a handful of them and needless to say, there are few of them which leave an everlasting impression on me.
Delhi Rasoi is one such outlet which scored a 5 on 5 when it came to providing an enriching culinary experience while sitting in the comfort of your home. The order arrived well in time and here are the delicacies that I relished on:
Chicken Tikka: Such mellowness and tenderness coupled with the precise penetration of spices to the core and the crunchy smokiness adorning its exterior – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Paneer Lababdar: Even a hard core non vegetarian like me fell in love with this. A thick buttery gravy with the bursting flavours of cardamom and tomatoes – each morsel tastes like divinity. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani: So finally after a long time, had a food gasmic biryani – the enchanting waft of long grained Basmati rice and spices topped with caramelised onions with chicken pieces drenched in the herbs to the core. The chicken is so well prepared that the flesh falls off easily from the bones – optimum moistness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Delhi Rasoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in andhra, biryani, chettinad, chettinad biryani, chicken, chocolate, dark chocolate brownie, delhi, dessert, dum biryani, Salad, soup, south indian, south indian cuisine, Uncategorized

Nariyal Café, Adchini

If you are bored with the food that you have on every outing with your family/friends, Nariyal Café is your saviour. The restaurant serves some delectable Andhra, Kerala, Goan, Thai and Continental food. So the next time you are craving for something different, give this place a try and you would not be disappointed.

Flavoured Nariyal Paan – This is what anyone will desire in this sweltering summer. I had strawberry flavoured one and it was really nice. The sweetness of strawberry is delightful and surprises you as well. Best part -they even carve your name on the coconut shell.  RECOMMENDED

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Malay Laksa in Coconut Shell – So given the fact that I am not a huge fan of soups and I found this utterly amazing should count for something. The soup is made from coconut milk and vegetable stalk and is served with peanuts, cucumber, mint leaves and radish. The crunchiness of peanuts in the soup delights you and the spiciness of red chilli hits you at the right moment making the experience extraordinary. The soup is perfect for those who love their food a bit spicy and the soup still remains delectable even after getting cold. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Forgotten Grains Curry Leaves Salad – The reason behind the naming is that people forget the grains that are used in this salad. It is a healthy salad consisting of jowar, barley, pomegranate, onions and tomatoes in apple cider dressing but was really bland.

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Chicken Gongura- A perfect starter for all the chicken lovers where the chicken is cooked in Gongura leaves and Andhra spices. It wasn’t too spicy and had juilens of ginger providing  flavours from time to time. The chicken was extremely juicy and had black pepper on it as well. If you are bored with all the chicken starters out there, do try this one, its lip-smacking. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chettinad Dum Biryani- The biryani is served with chettinad salan and Andhra raita. The raita was good but the salan was quite bitter. I had this kind of biryani for the first time and absolutely loved it. The chicken was juicy and was cooked to perfection. The spices had penetrated the inside of the chicken pieces taking it on a whole new level. (something which doesn’t happen with the biryanis I have always tried). Even though the chicken was perfect, the biryani was a little dry. RECOMMENDED

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Murugan Chocolate Bomb – The BEST dessert I have ever had!! It consists of a chocolate dome structure sitting in the middle of the plate surrounded by crushed brownie pieces and dry fruits. Then they pour hot chocolate over the dome and voila, the outer chocolate covering melts revealing coconut icecream inside. The amalgamation of the hot chocolate with the cool icecream and the soft brownie pieces with the crunchiness of dry fruits is just divine. Hats off to the chef!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Posted in appam, calamari, chicken, chicken 65, chicken dosa, chutney, delhi, dosa, fish, mutton, mutton stew, paneer 65, pomfret, prawn, south indian, south indian cuisine, stew, Uncategorized

Coastal Reef, Galleria market, DLF phase 4, Gurgaon

With the spate of authentic regional cuisine based restaurants increasing, can the delicious coastal ones be far behind? Hell no! And since the famed Galleria market is bustling with new eateries now and then, expect a South Indian setup to show up there.

Costal Reef is located in the Galleria market and has a beautiful ambience which will take you to the lands of beaches and subtle vines. There are customized chandeliers with oval bulbs adorning the roof and some tendrils and vines circling the railing shaped interiors on the walls. The service is top notch and the attendants do know about the cuisine and will recommend you dishes according to your preferences.

Sea food platter: Fish, crab, calamari and prawn – you name it and they have it. And each item is so uniquely created that you will be amazed beyond imagination. The crab meat is finely minced and cooked with curry leaves and coarse spices – the resultant is a fine sweet chewy dish with the hotness of garlic, onion and black pepper. The calamari roundels are coated in turmeric based mixture and fried as it is; the resultant not so appealing to me because of extra salt. The fish is so darn soft and grilled well but could have had a little more crust. It is slightly spicy, thus having that extra edge. The prawns are sweet and cooked well in garlic, ginger and curry leaves – expect explosion of myriad flavours. RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken 65: This Andhra based dish is known for its fiery eruption on the palette and this was no different. The boneless pieces were hot, crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside and went well with the fried curry leaves. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Paneer 65: Honestly speaking, this was a subtle version of a real paneer 65. The cottage cheese cubes were soft and raw and fried in a spicy mixture – the fried crust was actually coming out of the cubes.

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Fry Pomfret: My first experience with pomfret was not as good as expected. The spices did not penetrate the fish at all and there was a need of salt in them.

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Chicken dosa: Let us get over our usual aloo dosa, because dosa is too delicious to resist! The finely minced chicken was full of spices, tangy and hot. The dosa was paper thin and crispier than any dosa you have ever had. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Mutton stew with Appam: The stew was hot, light and had vegetables in addition to the succulent mutton pieces. It should have been a bit denser though. The appam was again light, fresh and thin but could have been a little bit fluffy. RECOMMENDED.

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Coastal Reef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bhaat, chutney, coconut chutney, delhi, dosa, gurgaon, Healthy, iddiyappam, pesarattu, rawa dosa, rawa idli, rawa masala dosa, rawa masala idli, south indian, south indian cuisine, sweet, Uncategorized, upma

Madhuban, Cross Point Mall, DLF phase 4, Gurgaon

Picture a setting where you can are enchanted by the aroma of incense and soothed by the calm ambience. Now imagine this place serving delectable vegetarian dishes sans onions and garlic. Will you pay a visit to this venue? I will, despite being a hard core non vegetarian.

Madhuban, a sattvic south Indian chain of restaurants has opened its gates to Gurgaon and we finally have a place to explore when we are on strict vegetarian diet. The USP of this outlet lies in its usage of fresh ingredients and home made ghee and pickles. And since this is an Andhra based chain, expect some fireworks when you eat.

Proceeding towards the dishes I tasted:

Poddi Idli: Soft idlis coated in ghee and gunpowder. The gunpowder masala is freshly prepared so the whole ensemble is a bit spicy. The consistency of the accompanying sambhar is perfect – not too runny with well cooked vegetables. There are four types of chutneys served with idlis : peanut based which is hot; tamarind based which is tangy and spicy and tomato based which is a bit sweet due to jaggery. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Pesarattu: A thin and soft dosa made out of moong dal and served with warm upma is a perfect breakfast. The pesarattu is slightly salty but has the richness of coriander and moong dal grounded into a fine paste. The upma is good and the presence of curry leaves and rai seeds make it pretty authentic. This is served with a ginger chutney which is a bit sweet (jaggery) and pungent.  RECOMMENDED.

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Semiyan Payesam: Move on over your slow cooked thick semiyan, because payesam semiyan is a light and delightful dessert. The vermicelli is just boiled and not ghee roasted and served in cold milk which is not cooked. RECOMMENDED.

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Idiyappam: My favourite. So instead of the fried form, I ate the boiled one and I relished it. The rice noodles are steamed to perfection and formed in perfect roundels and served with spicy vegetable korma and fresh coconut oil and milk. The korma is fiery hot concocted out of tomatoes and ginger and the coconut milk is oh-so-sweet and light. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bissi bhele bhaat: Finally savoured the most talked about dish of Karnataka. A strong whiff of desi ghee accompanies the bhaat and when you behold it, the copious amounts used will entice you. The maelstrom of varied flavours : tanginess and spiciness accompanied with the richness of ghee, the nutty chewiness of peanuts and the pungency of rai seeds will leave you wanting for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Cheese Dosa rolls: A fusion dish in their breakfast menu, this is worth trying. The presence of raw bell peppers compliments the crunchiness of the dosa. And the cheese, oh boy! The gooey cheese viscously pouring out of the dosa is overwhelming. But it is pretty salty – extra salt from cheese. RECOMMENDED.

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Madhuban- Sattvic South Indian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in chutney, dahi bada, delhi, dessert, dosa, gurgaon, Healthy, italian cuisine, kebab, kheer, sambhar, south indian, south indian cuisine, spinach, Uncategorized

Prankster, Sector 29, Gurgaon

Idling away in college canteen, playing pranks and games with wonderful buddies, bunking classes to relish the latest movies are some of the activities which define our college life. And no matter how far we go in life, we will always reminisce our college days.

Prankster, Gurgaon is one such place which will take you back to those wonderful times when life was fun and free. They have a section which will remind you of your Chemistry lab – complete with petri dishes, flasks, jars and individual wash basins on each table, a library having tons of academic books and Oxford dictionaries, with small study lamps on each table, a class room with a black board as well as an amphitheater, a college hostel section with bunk beds, a college canteen section with the specials written and a parking lot with a Chinese van selling exclusively the Chinese delicacies where you can sit on vehicle-cum seating chairs and tables.

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The feel of this place is so amazing and the dishes – more amazing than you thought. The dishes are available at competitive prices, thereby not burning a hole in your pockets. Their house brewed beer is kickass in taste as well in price (no pun intended). And the staff delights you with its swift service.

Moving on to the delicacies available here, let us explore the “progressive nostalgic” cuisine served at Prankster :

Lotus root Fritters: Finger food has been evolving gradually and these crispy fritters made out of lotus root could be the next “it” food! The crunch you get while binging on them is inexplicable and the tangy and spicy flavours are like cherries on a cake. RECOMMENDED.

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Dahi Bhalla ice cream with roomali roti crisps: Fancy having the usual dah Bhalla in a reinvented avatar? Because the dahi halla served here is in the form of ice cream – yes, you read this correctly. The dahi Bhalla is grounded into a fine paste and made into ice creams and served with green and red chutneys, pomegranate seeds and finely fried crisps of roomali roti. The ice cream has a very delicate sweet and soft texture.

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Sambhar Cappuccino with air fried dosa: Could it get healthier? Our North Indian version of the sambhar is served steaming hot in coffee cup along with air fried dosa crisps. The dosa crisps are thin and present a picture of finesse in the dosa mixture. The sambhar is thick, frothy and healthy.

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Pav Bhaajhi Zinger: So the Marathi Pav Bhaajhi is presented as a game – each zinger is covered by a Rubic’s cube box and the one who picks up an empty box has to play truth or dare. Interesting? Moving on to the zinger, the patty is made from a well cooked hot bhaajhi, which is crispy from the outside and soft and mushy from the inside. They are sandwiched between fine slices of onion, tomato and cheese with soft, buttered buns enclosing them. The occasional bite of cumin seeds in the patty will give you a major food gasm. And the buns are made in house.

Classic honey chilli potato: The classic “chakhna” which goes with our drinks is remodeled here – potato mash is cut into fingers and deep fried. So while gorging on these boys, you get the characteristic crunchiness of the honey chilli potato and the softness of the potato mash inside the crispy exterior.

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Chicken Tikka Fattirs: This is the Indian take on an Egyptian Pizza called Fattirs. Fattir is a layered pizza which is flaky – textured like a puff pastry. The pizza is light and the warm melted cheese is spread on the former in a very thin layer. The chicken tikka is pretty prominent here and while having this, you feel you are having the actual chicken tikka.

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Imli glazed Kung Pao with imli goli: So initially, you gobble up the imli goli or balls and then you eat the pung pao chicken which is heavenly soft and chewy and has a slightly tangy flavour because of tamarind.

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Tender Tandoori Lamb Chops: This has to be the best one of the incredible dishes presented here. The lamb is slow cooked and has a fibrous, soft and chewy texture. It is so excellently cooked that the meat comes clean off from the bones. The crust is delicately crispy from the outside.

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Rampuri mutton: Rampur is a place near Lucknow, known for its spicy dishes and the Rampuri mutton was no different. The mutton is tender and juicy and is drenched in a thick gravy which reeks of garam masala.

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Hand pulled butter chicken: The myriad flavours presented in this dish will transform you to a wonderland. The tomato based gravy with prominence of cumin and yoghurt is lovely to have and the chicken is pretty chewy and juicy.

Paneer barrels makhni: The cottage cheese is made in the form of barrels which are topped on a thick makhni gravy with flavours of lemongrass and coconut. The paneer is divinely soft and the gravy is rich in flavours.

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Gutwa Palak: Spinach haters, rejoice! For there is a dish which will dissolve your hate for this awesome but bitter leafy vegetable. The cottage cheese cubes are fried and presented over a thick creamy mixture of boiled spinach and cottage cheese. The spinach and cottage cheese mixture is warm and melt in the mouth and the typical bitterness of spinach is absent here.

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Litchi Kebab: Man, are these the ultimate kebabs the vegetarians have been yearning for? Because these were legendary! The litchi skin was stuffed with khoya and topped with grounded pistachios. The kebabs were warm, lusciously soft and sweet.

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Rose Kheer: For a rose lover, this dessert will be paradisiacal. The usual kheer is garnished with finely sliced pistachios, almond flakes and two fresh red roses that are nitrogen cooled. The kheer has got a thick consistency with luxuriant malai enriching it. The addition of green cardamom appends further flavours to this wonderfully made dessert.

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Deconstructed Christmas Cake: Deconstruction of dishes is very much in these days and deconstructed desserts rule the roost. And with Christmas around the corner, who doesn’t want to eat the deconstructed rum cakes? So a cream flavoured with cinnamon is sprayed on a mixture of eggless brownies and grapes and garnished with tutti-frutti, choco chips, orange peel and cinnamon. This whole setup is done on an edible chocolate plate. Such myriad flavours and heavenly taste!

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