Wednesday 29 June 2016

Dublin Square | Oasis Of Calm & Beauty | Phoenix Marketcity Kurla Mumbai

Browsing through beautiful places that provide an oasis of calmness and peace even in midst of a megapolis like Mumbai is one of the little joys of life. Earlier, people would go sit by a lake or zoom through the forests, but hey this is an urban jungle and it is heartening to see the efforts taken by modern architects and planners to provide us with something refreshing within unexpected formats. 

Now who would expect a sort of mini city within a shopping mall? The whole idea of a shopping mall started with providing a place to shop for various brands under one roof, maybe throw in some entertainment, games and food options and sit back. Today however, most (if not all) of our major shopping malls have turned into one stop for not only shopping but events, product launches, customer interaction, entertainment hubs, gourmet magnet, foodie haunts and a place to relax. I love the Dublin Square at Phoenix Marketcity Mall, Kurla, Mumbai because it simply transports me to some faraway European village right in the middle of Mumbai. 

The color combination, the beautiful art deco architecture, the artifacts that give some brilliant home decor tips, the rustic ambiance, that feeling of having read about this kind of architecture and atmosphere in perhaps some Shakespearean play or Jane Austen novel, it is ethereal to say the least :) I was just browsing through the Bloom City Experience as well as Dino Island Experience at Phoenix Marketcity Kurla and realized that I had taken pictures of Dublin City later on when I had visited the mall during daytime too! So here you go, enjoy and don't forget to let me know what you think about them :)

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Morselo | Powai | Mumbai | Food Review

Surprise in every bite. And a delicious one at that! 

Let us ponder over some things. Today,we are eating out or getting food home/office delivered more than ever, right? So what is the first thing we think of when it comes to ordering food, quickly? Pizzas,Sandwiches, Burgers or Chinese. There you go! Very rarely do we think 'Hey let us order some Naan or Khichdi with Spicy Veg Gravy', because Indian food by and large gets messy & needs paraphernalia whereas pizza slices or sandwiches or burgers are so easy to order,gobble up on the go! We are always on the go,who needs a mess on their hands, right? 

That is exactly what a bunch of eclectic food lovers thought of and did something never done before. How about creating something absolutely unique while retaining the soul of India? That is what Morselo is all about. Taking authentic,delicious,hearty,wholesome Indian food and creating bite sized delicacies that can be enjoyed on the go without hurting the wallet. Stunning is the word for the concept as well as the execution. This team has done everything on their own, from creating the menu to designing the packaging,everything to showcase the passion for 'Yes Indian food can be packaged,promoted and enjoyed like this too!' 

Of all the tasting sessions I have done in recent times, this one takes the cake by impressing me the most. This is a small outlet in Hiranandani Galleria, Powai (for now, I hope they open up at more places soon!) with very little space to sit but hey,the whole concept is to have amazing food on the go. So either pick something from here or get it home delivered. 

There are Quickie and Relish sized meals to choose from in both Veg as well as Non Veg categories. Craving for some Naan and Subzi? Go for Dal Morselo, Naan baked with Dal inside! Tastes much better than I have made it sound :D Love Dahi ke Kebab? Go for Crispy Dahi, these babies take 18 hours to prepare and every bite is a delicious testament to that! Love Biryani? Go for Fusion Rice, full of fragrant flavor and that feeling of having had perfectly spiced Biryani or if you are like me, go for morsel bite Khichdi as Comfy Rice! See what they have done, taken all our favorites and created their bite sized counterparts full of flavors, just pick them up and eat! I recommend the Veg Indulgence Platter as my personal favorite Paneer comes here in Smoked as well as Minty variety, it is impossible to have just one. The best part is that these platters, even the Quickie one is perfect for a filling meal for one person and it IS healthy too, having carbs, proteins, fats, salads, all that we need in proper proportions (this is my personal observation) :) This makes the Morselo platters here far more preferable to me than just gobbling down a sandwich or burger or pizza slice for my lunch or dinner! 

Not in the mood for a complete platter? Go for fried baby potatoes with secret sauce on top as Potato Smashers or Fried Choco Fruits (which will derail anyone's gym plans for a week) the sinful indulgence of having seasonal fruits or chocolates deep fried, it is both a dessert as well as a savory side dish at the same time. And no matter how full you are, this you WILL dig into! They are THAT good :D 

For fellow dessert lovers, Gooey Chocolate Brownie (which frankly was the softest,gooey-est brownie I have had in over a year at least!) and Dodha Tart (there are no words to describe this,it is 7th level of dessert heaven) are there, so even if you are not having anything else, do have these. Just do that. You will thank me forever :) And the in-house Chaas, Lemon Twist and Orange Chilli Tango drinks are also ready to bring back nostalgic memories of childhood. Oh this is one distinguishing factor for every dish here, it evokes memories. Fantastic! 

Honestly,I cannot find a single thing out of sync with anything here. 
Innovative, unique idea? Check. 
Deliciousness in every bite? Check. 
Simply the best desserts EVER? Check. 
Highest quality ingredients used? Check. 
Good portions and proportions of all that we need? Check. 
Pocket friendly? Check. 

I am just waiting for them to open up near my home / office so that I could finally convince my mom that I will not survive on a daily diet of pizzas or noodles or cheesy burgers for the rest of my life :D Morselo is here, why fear :)

Monday 27 June 2016

IndiKitchen | Lower Parel | Mumbai | Food Review

Just last week, a friend had mentioned IndiKitchen during a routine conversation and it seems the Food Gods smiled on me as I got the honor of trying some of their dishes for lunch. Delivered on time, packaged extremely securely, generous portions and outstanding taste, IndiKitchen is mighty impressive :) 

I thought there would be just 2-3 dishes to taste and review, but I got so much food that my entire family feasted on that! Thank you to the kind peoples at IndiKitchen. We had Onion Kulcha, Garlic Naan, Chana Masala, Paneer Makhani, Dal Makhani, Veg Fried Rice, Paneer Biryani, Paneer Lasooni and Chocolate Samosa. Phew! 

Onion Kulcha, Paneer Makhani, Paneer Biryani and Paneer Lasooni are my personal favourites. Kulcha was smooth, soft, generously filled with lovely onion bits, with that yummy Tandoori flavour. Still making my mouth water :D My sister also wants to recommend this, so there! Paneer Makhani was on the sweetish side, which made me polish it off on its own :P Smooth gravy, softest chunks of Paneer, this is perfection. Paneer Lasooni had bigger chunks which were also melt-in-mouth, I suspect they do not use frozen paneer and rather either make it themselves or source it from a farm where they make fresh paneer every morning because this is sinful. My whole family LOVED Paneer to the hilt. 

Paneer Biryani was much better than the Pulav served as Biryani in many places. Fragrant rice, decently spiced and big chunks of Tandoori Paneer made this a delight to have with the accompanying Garlic Raita, makes this the perfect lunch item for 1 person or 4 PM snack for 2 foodies, especially during monsoons :) 

My dad loved Garlic Naan and my mom loved Chana Masala which was prepared just like they do it in Punjab/ Haryana. My parents spent a little time in Punjab so they are well versed with the kind of authentic food the dhabas serve there, and this Chana Masala was just like that. Hats off to the Chef for this level of authenticity, all it needs is a Bhatura to compliment it perfectly, or in our case we had it with Veg Fried Rice and it was yummy in the tummy :D 

My sister loves Dal Makhani and she found the version here decent enough because it was different from the usual ghee laden ones we get in restaurant. My mom said it was because they had a tomato base making it a bit more acidic than usual and it was not dripping in Ghee which I suppose is good news for our arteries :D Dal lovers may try this. 

Chocolate Samosa is a good dessert to end such a royal feast on a high note with crispy samosa shell and dense, indulgent chocolate filling within, loved it and would recommend to all sweet lovers. 

A look at the menu establishes that it is extremely value for money for the authentic, delicious food they serve, especially Punjabi dishes have that much-longed-for dhaba ka tadka wala swaad :) I am interested in trying out everything else on the menu and especially love their idea of make your own meal (just like Wok!) Do try them out, there is something for everyone here, that too while making the wallet happy.

Sunday 26 June 2016

Grand Food Festival | 3rd Anniversary Celebrations | Vivana Mall | Thane

It was just another day, just another food festival to be attended.

Or, was it? :)

The invite to a Grand Food Festival at Viviana Mall (Thane) glistened in my inbox. 
Occasion? Viviana Mall's 3rd Year Anniversary Celebrations. 

Now I & my sister live way far too off from Thane to just go there on a whim. So we needed to figure out if this was going to be worth it. And therein lies the starting point of a beautiful journey.

All Pictures Credit : Prachi Shailendra Photography

I have quite a few friends in Thane-Mulund area whom I would always ask about entertainment & leisure options in the area. See, I love spending time in shopping malls. They are the new temples of our urban lifestyle,aren't they :) Shopping, Entertainment, Events, Food, we get everything here under one roof. Chilling with friends, catching up on latest movies, connecting with family over gourmet options and much more, shopping malls are our one-stop destination. And I, like many other people, was under the impression that the best and greatest is only in Mumbai :P I love High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel, Phoenix Marketcity in Kurla, Inorbit Mall in Vashi and I never thought that people living in Thane have any such awesome options. Big mistake!

Viviana Mall is one of the largest and most premium destination malls in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Spread across 1 million square feet with over 240 stores featuring some of the most premium shopping brands, 14 cinema screens, international standard gaming experience options and more, this is one place no shopping/leisure/gaming/food/entertainment fanatic can miss! That is why I am so glad we got to experience the grandeur of its 3rd anniversary celebrations in form of a grand food festival.

Viviana Mall is situated right on the Eastern Expressway, very easy to locate. Walk in and be spoiled for choice as every favorite brand of ours is present here, right from Shopper's Stop & Lifestyle to Tanishq & Hypermart, from Jughead's & Tea Trails to Mad over Donuts & Rajdhani Thali. Shop at India's biggest retail outlet of Bata, let your kids take a ride on the Panda trail or the colorful train, eat at one of the multitude gourmet restaurants or the massive food court options and watch movie in a whole new way at Cinepolis 4DX cinema. Just one walk through Viviana Mall and we could see why it garnered so many accolades for its architecture, design and management within one year of its operations. It is not just a mall, it is a city in itself! A city of dreams indeed.

The best part is Viviana Mall being the only visually-impaired friendly mall in India, with a special resource center situated right inside the mall in association with St. Xavier's College, albeit away from the public areas and all the hustle-bustle that could distract them. In fact, even all the restaurants here have special menus in Braille, a solid step towards something much needed in our life and times :) Corporate Social Responsibility at its best!

We walked in and got right in the middle of anniversary celebrations bonhomie. There are many stunning offers going on right now, such as -shop for Rs. 2000 from the mall and get a chance to win a stunning car! Or shop for Rs. 3000 and spin a wheel to win vouchers of brands such as Rajdhani, AromaThai, MOD and so on. It is for this occasion that a special anniversary menu has been planned in various restaurants and some select bloggers were invited to try out a part of it. We went to Northern Tadka for starters, The Yellow Chilli for main course and British Brewing Company for desserts. This is what the good life is all about :)

Northern Tadka was the first step in our Grand Food Festival tour during Viviana Mall's 3rd Anniversary Celebrations. The ambiance is rustic, colorful and so very Punjabi in flavor. A little bit on the expensive side, menu has all the famous Punjabi and North Indian delicacies we crave for, portions are generous and service is extremely polite and helpful. We tried the Tandoori Platter and it was enough for 4 people's light meal! Spicy Marinated Paneer Tikka, Melt in the Mouth Softest Malai Paneer Tikka, Juicy Flavorful Mushrooms and Corn, Stuffed Mildly Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Dahi Ke Kebab, this is one awesome starter any day. Also had a Kiwi Punch Mocktail which was creamy,not too sweet, not too much The amazing staff made sure we wouldn't leave without trying their Crispy Luscious Piping Hot Jalebis with Mildly Sweet & Oh-So-Dense Rabdi :) I suggest everyone walk in here to get a taste of the famous Punjabi dishes as well as hospitality,not to mention get brilliant home decor tips from the numerous paintings, artifacts, puppets and mirror-work all around. Definitely recommended for all food lovers.

The Yellow Chilli was the second stop for us in our Grand Food Festival tour during Viviana Mall's 3rd Anniversary Celebrations. The ambiance is contemporary, elegant and lends itself well to an enjoyable dining experience with family. Right now they have a monsoon special menu in effect with the regular menu too. Staff is very helpful and would suggest dishes as per your preference. We were already a bit full from the heavy dose of starters at Northern Tadka. So we were not ready to have a boatload of main course dishes. We ordered for a bunch of Mocktails - Evil Princess, Deep Sea Diving, Daredevil and they were all great. Just the right kind of refreshing and deliciously fresh. In main course, we had Roomali Roti, Plain Naan and Pyaaz Mirchi ki Roti with Adrak Dhaniya Paneer & Shaam Savera. While Pyaaz Mirchi ki Roti was delicious itself to have on its own, Adrak Dhaniya Paneer had a good balance of spices to make it delectable and Shaam Savera was the most exotic Creamy Tomato Gravy nestling Soft Spinach Koftas, definitely THE dish of the day. Sanjeev Kapoor's name and focus on quality makes this a good place to land up for lunch/dinner, however it definitely is quite expensive, especially considering the portions of dishes. I would still keep it in a list of places to check out at least once.

British Brewing Company was the final stop for us bloggers in our Grand Food Festival tour during Viviana Mall's 3rd Anniversary Celebrations, specifically for Desserts. Their outlet in Palladium Mall, Lower Parel is far too spacious and seeped in nostalgic, 19th century English novels' ambiance while this one is more contemporary and has the rustic English Pub feel. Polite and helpful staff. The menu is brought on an ipad that directly syncs with the kitchen, so just order, let the staff repeat and confirm it and sit back, relax, enjoy :) We ordered for a bunch of Dessert pastries and they were all fabulous. Chocolate Mousse (soft and creamy), Lava Lava (most sinful molten chocolate I have had in a long time), New York Cheesecake (dense yet light in texture), Chocolate Hazelnut Mocha (dark and divine), Chocolate Brownie (decent enough), Chocolate Gooey (classic!) are what I can remember relishing right now, salivating at the mere mention :D The quality of every ingredient is top-notch which makes even a little expensive price point all right for a real food lover :)

I will never again ask my friends from this area about where are they going for shopping/watching movies anytime again. In fact, I am going to be jealous of them a bit and search for excuses to land here :D Here is wishing Viviana Mall many more fantastic anniversaries and grand celebrations in years to come.

All Pictures Credit : Prachi Shailendra Photography