Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Pizza Box Mumbai | Pizza Garlic Bread Pasta & More Cheese Overload | Food Review | Food Photography

Honestly,one of the best pizza places I have been to in recent times. Situated on main road, quite easy to spot, it is a colourful small place with indoor + outdoor seating for around 15-18 people, very quick and soft-spoken staff, and a menu choc-a-bloc with pizzas, sides, pasta, beverages-basically loads of stuff that comes under the heading of 'guilty pleasures' and 'forget the diet,take a chill pill'. Be it quantity or quality, this place is completely value for money. 

We started off with beverages and recommend the very refreshing Green Apple Mocktail (mom’s favourite) as well as Lemon Iced Tea which had the balanced citrusy flavour I wanted.

Among starters, we heartily recommend-

PANEER STROMBOLI – Mildly spicy, achari tikka flavoured Paneer and Cheese combo baked in bread like a wrap, how heavenly does this sound! Tastes even better.
PULL APART GARLIC BREAD- Share this among 3 people easily, loads of cheese and garlic, little smattering of herbs, easily the best I have ever had.
JAIN CROSTINI- Scrumptious combo of sweetish cream-cheese, American corn and kick of green chilli, every bite has a sharp sweet-spicy surprise = a MUST-HAVE. If you get hiccups by little pieces of chillies (my mom does), you should keep a sweet beverage by your side while having this one (mom did) :D

When we think of pizzas, we think of generous toppings, ample cheese, hearty flavours, right? On all these counts, Pizza Box delivers yummy perfection. Nope, it is not ‘imported from Italy, drizzled with organic truffle oil’ level of perfection, it is ‘Oh those paneer pieces were damn good and the smoky mushroom flavour refuses to leave my palate and I can have 2 more slices easily even though my stomach is about to burst’ perfection :D

We tried Half & Half 9” i.e. 6 slices of fiery HOT HEAD PIZZA + wholesome BBQ PANEER-MUSHROOM PIZZA. While hot head had a crunchy combo of colourful Bell Peppers, Chillies, Jalapenos and Onions, the barbecued flavour of paneer + rustic mushrooms was brilliant too. We LOVED both versions as the toppings, the flavour of all the veggies, the consistency of sauce, the fluffy crust and hot bubbling cheese, everything was just right. It had a homely feel too and next time, we would be trying their cheese burst crust (because who can ever have enough cheese :P)

We were completely full by now but were offered to try their new innovation of FRIED PIZZA which frankly looked too appetizing to pass up. Basically remember those fried bread pakodas we all love? Just apply the same logic to pizza. Fried pizza slices with stuffed veggies inside and a generous layer of creamy cheese on top, this is one heavy dish that needs to be shared among 4-5 people atleast. It is very different from usual pizza, I think it can be a hit if the stuffing inside is also customized with paneer, bell peppers, onions etc. Quite a good idea, and has about a million calories too!

I did not come here expecting anything gourmet and got something thousand times better than the ’30 minutes or free’ and similar pizza chains, so it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I would definitely be back whenever I am in the area, 100% recommended :)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Food Journey From Kashmir To Kanyakumari | Tiara Meluha The Fern Powai Mumbai | Indian Food Festival Review

Take a trip to the bylanes and nooks and corners of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari at Tiara at Meluha The Fern,Powai. This festival of top-notch pan-Indian delicacies from 16th-26th November for dinner buffet is a fantastic reason to head here with family :)

Eco-friendly and environmentally sensitive property this, Tiara is located on the ground floor, classy and classic architecture + earthy colors (with splashes of bright artworks) create THE perfect environment for any occasion be it corporate dining, family meal or even celebrating an engagement party. Right now, it is completely drenched in fabulous multi-coloured traditional Indian fabrics, artworks and motifs for the ongoing food festival.

Absolutely loved the different sections for large groups that also ensure plenty of privacy (and free space for kids to run around, why should adults have all the fun :D) Beautiful bar area and of course a huge buffet spread. Service is exemplary with every guest being looked after with impeccable warmth and genuine smiles, 5 stars for every staff member here, including the Executive Chef himself who loves taking feedback from guests on every aspect of food.

All the starters are must-try, right from the delicious multi-flavoured Blue Lassi from the Ghats of Benaras,
>> To buttery mouth-watering Parathas from Delhi’s Chandi Chowk (in three types – Aloo, Pyaaz & Lachcha),
>> To spicy Kachoris by famous Lal Balti in Lucknow and other lip smacking starters from Chef’s kitchen, like Mushrooms (south Indian style), Mumbai’s bhajiyas (softest and not at all dripping of oil, yet crunchy and tasty), Paneer wrap (with pudina and tomato chutneys) and softest Paneer Tikkas.
>> Also must try is the Tamil and Sri Lankan special Mulligattawny soup, which is made of lentils - thick, non spicy and flavourful – much like liquid Daal Puri

Coming to main course, we tried the following and found them all to be very much homely, hence memorable:

>>Dahi wada, Curd Rice, Chana Chaat and Kachumbar – all simple and healthy
>>Andhra Rice – Tamarind Rice with peanuts and curry leaves – very ‘made by nani maa’ feel
>>Daal (thick, the way we like it), Kashmiri Rajma (perfection), Chilli Masala (stuffed mirchi,ooh la la), Nadir Palak (crispy lotus stems with palak, exotic, must-have), Snake Gourd (something different), Papad ki sabji (yes, papad! It was scrumptious)

After tasting all of the above, there was barely any space left for anything more in our stomachs, but how can one avoid the dessert section!

>>Starting with their MUST-HAVE jelly ice creams in cones,
>>To Kesar boondi,
>>To Jumbo gulab jamuns with coconut shreds on top,
>>To Shrikhand tarts (another heavenly MUST try!)
>>To Thandai pastry (Thandai flavoured with baby gulab jamun on top,could have some more thandai flavour but this one was lip smacking too),
>>FINALLY we ended the night with Malpua and Ada Payasam (we were literally incapable of eating anything more otherwise we would have had another round of these two, they were fantastic)

Also, a special word of appreciation for bartender extraordinaire, Ripu, who took care of our alcoholic and non-alcoholic cravings with his special versions of Cranberry Margarita and White Sangria (with Brandy), both of which you will not find elsewhere!

A perfect journey through special Indian gastronomic delights, that is what Tiara offers us in Food Journey From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and it is completely value for money for the huge spread + impeccable service + serene ambiance. Will keep Tiara securely in my list of places to revisit with family :)

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Forest Essentials Gift Box Haul Review | Luxurious Ayurveda | Best Beauty Buy | Indian Lifestyle Blogger

I love Forest Essentials products. Very few of Forest Essentials products that I have tried have been absolute dud, most have been really good and worked on my skin as promised. In fact, Forest Essentials Tejasvi Ubtan and Forest Essentials Narangi & Nagkesar Ubtan are among my all time favorites.

So obviously I was overjoyed when my sister arrived one day with a gift box full of Forest Essentials goodies :D See, this is why siblings are important :P

Forest Essentials review beauty gift box luxurious Ayurveda haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

Forest Essentials review beauty gift box luxurious Ayurveda haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

Since my sister knows that I have got weird skin that is equal parts sensitive- acne prone- combination- weather dependent and what not, she got me a customized assortment of Forest Essentials products so I could try them out as an early birthday present and tell them which ones I would like as full size ones for actual birthday celebration (On December 5) :D Ok, I hear you all going 'awww' :)

Forest Essentials Review Beauty Gift Box Luxurious Ayurveda Haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

Forest Essentials is an Indian luxury beauty brand that proclaims to be 100% authentic Ayurvedic, devoid of all harmful chemicals, using only the best quality ingredients and formulated in purest way to impart real timeless beauty to our skin. Yup, this part is good. What is even better is, by using these mini-sizes beauty products, we get to try these for a month or so before deciding if a product is really worth it. Now, for a brand where even an Ubtan costs almost Rs. 1000, that is a great way to decide whether a product is worth splurging or not,right? :)

Forest Essentials Review Beauty Gift Box Luxurious Ayurveda Haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

At less than Rs. 2500 for this royal box, I got to try 6 different Forest Essentials beauty products for my skin and hair beauty concerns. The packaging is as usual fantastic and my sister even got 2 small samples of body mists with this box (they lasted 4 days each when she used them everyday). Also, there were rose petals strewn in this bag that basically made it smell like heaven. I am not ashamed to admit that I kept this bag literally on my workstation and sniffed it every 2-3 hours everyday for almost a week after I got it. These Forest Essentials folks got some serious mojo going on :D

Now I have tried all these little beauties for almost 1 and a half months (I was using them sparingly because I did not want them to get over quickly :D) so now, without any further ado, here is a review of my Forest Essentials Luxurious Ayurveda Customized Gift Box products :-

Forest Essentials Review Beauty Gift Box Luxurious Ayurveda Haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

1. Forest Essentials Delicate Facial Cleanser Mashobra Honey, Lemon & Rosewater = Available for Rs. 1175 for 200 ml at Flipkart, Amazon , it claims to deeply cleanse while soothing, smoothing, toning and moisturizing with real rose water, lemon juice, honey as ingredients. My sensitive skin did not breakout,nor did my weirdly dry cheeks feel parched on using this cleanser. It is very mild, has a heavenly calming fragrance and left my skin feeling normal but not deeply cleansed. My oily T-zone was left calm and oil free but my under-eye skin was a bit dry every time I used it, so I have mixed feelings about this. It is not the best face wash I have used but it is not bad either. It is a decent facial cleanser suited for dry skin types and for those who are not exposed to too much pollution on daily basis. My rating is 3/5.

2. Forest Essentials Silkening Shower Wash Madurai Jasmine & Mogra = Available for Rs. 875 for 200 ml at Flipkart, Amazon, it claims to cleanse and gently exfoliate to make skin silky smooth and I must say, it is a definite buy for normal or oily skin beauties. While I did not feel any exfoliation, it did cleanse nicely, had a nice faint jasmine fragrance that lingers for nearly half hour after shower, it did not lather a lot and my skin did not feel absolutely parched after using it. I still need my moisturizer but my sister (who has oily skin type) used this thrice and she did not need a moisturizer at all. My mother (normal skin type) used this twice and she really liked it too. It is expensive but surely gives a spa-like feel in shower :) My rating is 3.75/5.

Forest Essentials Review Beauty Gift Box Luxurious Ayurveda Haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

3.  Forest Essentials Bath & Shower Oil Madurai Jasmine & Mogra = Available at Rs. 1675 for 200 ml at Amazon, Flipkart, it claims to nourish, soften, tone, firm and deeply moisturize skin with ingredients such as Sweet Almond Oil, Mogra, Jasmine, Avocado Oil and Sunflower Oil. Dry skin types rejoice, THIS is awesome and a must-have to replace your existing moisturizer. I used this in 2 ways- first, I would mix 5- 6 drops in a bucket full of bath water and take bath with that or second,I would massage it in my skin immediately after shower while my skin was still moist. Both ways,it left my skin deeply moisturized, toned and feeling very healthy. Little is required each time so it lasts a long time too. Normal and dry skin types will love this while extremely dry skin types will need something even more hydrating. By the way,even my sister (oily skin) used it twice and she loved it too, no greasiness on her skin, just immense softness and that sweet light fragrance of jasmine is deadly good! My rating is 4.5/5.

4. Forest Essentials Ultra Rich Body Lotion Mashobra Honey & Vanilla = Available for Rs. 1175 for 200 ml at Amazon, Flipkart, it claims to deeply nourish, tone, firm, provide elasticity and antioxidant protection to skin and basically drench it in moisture with ingredients such as Almond Oil, Kokum Butter, Olive Oil and Honey. Just like the shower oil above, this one too is a complete winner for normal and dry skin types and I would be repurchasing it for sure. Smells like gentle walk in the park, it sinks in the skin very easily while providing a subtle glow and immense softness for straight 4-5 hours after which I would reapply. Within a week of using it,my skin felt healthier. Feels like luxurious spa treatment and works like a charm, I would suggest stocking up on this especially for the winters :) My rating is 4.5/5.

Forest Essentials Review Beauty Gift Box Luxurious Ayurveda Haul Indian lifestyle beauty blogger

5.  Forest Essentials Hair Cleanser Bhringraj & Shikakai = Available at Rs. 1175 for 200 ml at Amazon, Flipkart, it claims to reduce hair-fall, promote hair growth and control dandruff. Oh boy, it delivers and how! I had absolutely no expectations from this shampoo and it turned out to be maybe the best shampoo I have used so far in my life on my dehydrated, curly hair with itchy, dandruff-prone scalp. Nice light Ayurvedic fragrance, it does not lather much but leaves my scalp clean + itch-free, really reduces hair-fall from first wash itself and most importantly, leaves my hair soft instead of it feeling like straw! I need smaller quantity of conditioner after using this as compared to any other shampoo I have ever used. AND my severe dandruff problem got reduced almost by half within 3 washes with this hair cleanser. My rating is 5/5.

6.  Forest Essentials Hair Conditioner Bhringraj & Shikakai = Available at Rs. 1295 for 200 ml at Flipkart, Amazon, it claims to be the perfect daily care conditioner for dry hair and YES, it completely is the perfect companion product to Forest Essentials Hair Cleanser Bhringraj & Shikakai. Cleanser deeply cleanses the scalp while leaving hair soft, but my dehydrated curls need a little bit more nourishment which this conditioner provides with aplomb. My curls are left soft, well-defined, frizz is very much controlled, hair is bouncy + healthy. My only complaint is it gets over faster than the cleanser and as such, is extremely expensive. Still, I would definitely repurchase it because this cleanser + conditioner duo is perhaps the best luxury Ayurvedic combination for my dear tresses :) My rating is 4.75/5.

I think be it packaging, be it choice of products, be it pricing, getting a customized gift box from Forest Essentials is definitely a smart choice. Thank you little sister :)