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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!


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


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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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