Thursday 30 March 2017

Quench All Day Pub | Destination Of Rocking Food Lovers | Food Review

When Guns N' Roses serenade you while the smell of freshly baked pizza makes you drool, you should understand that you are at Quench. At their recently launched new outlet at Andheri West, I had the chance to be a part of rocking bloggers meet and glance a bit at what they offer. Colorful ambiance, eclectic artwork, rock n roll music at its finest, a fabulous collection of drinks, innovative cocktails and quite decent food, served by extremely efficient staff, nothing to complain about here :)

After sitting through a particularly gruesome office day, I was here just for a short while but enough to satiate my hunger :D No alcohol for me, lime juice was all I could keep down while in food, tried out 3 distinct dishes. First up was very spicy Mushroom Cheese Schezwan, very flavorful and red hot! At first bite, cheese is not discernible though but it does have its presence right there under the peanut-y crunchy exterior, a nice explosion of flavors this one.

I really liked Cottage Cheese Paprika too, cheese was not dense and paprika flavor was very subtle,made it wholesome with soft Paneer chunks, would definitely reorder these whenever I go back,

Absolutely awesome was their Veg Pizza which I polished off half on my own :D It was on a sweeter side which is just how I like most things (sweet jaw alert!) but not too sweet either, it is just the corn and onions and perhaps truffle oil that altogether gave it a sweetish tinge, we needed no extra sauce or toppings to fall in love with this. This is what everyone should order to go with their drinks here, especially in large groups.

Needless to say, there is a new awesome chill-out zone in town and its open all day :)

Friday 24 March 2017

Mantraa Bar & Restaurant | Foodies Mantraa Perfection | Food Review

Foodies have only one Mantraa in life-to never leave any opportunity to have good food unattended and Mantraa Bar & Restaurant at Thane understands this perfectly well. This famous foodie destination is from the same group that has given us our perennial favorite Family Tree Restaurant, so obviously we landed here for our review invite with high expectations which were fulfilled 100%.

A vast dining space on the 1st floor of Dheeraj Residency Hotel, elegantly done up with some private alcoves and more than sufficient setup for large groups, it was jam packed with families as well as huge corporate groups by 9 PM on a weekday night, a good sign of things to come. The staff is very efficient, service is quick, there is camaraderie all around, music is mostly pop hits and both veggies as well as non veggies have more than ample Indian, Continental and Oriental choices in the menu at reasonable prices :) They have recently added many new dishes in the menu and we mostly tried from this selection only,

We suggest every foodie to start off a memorable meal with Mango Tamarind Mojito which reminded us of our childhood Mangola and Swad candies (all 90s kids,raise your hands :D), this is one chatpata drink to be relished. For those like my mom who need something fresher and smoother, go for their signature nitrogen wizardry based Raspberry Frost, a drink served like a gelato! Very subtle beautiful flavor, this can work like a dessert actually!

My sister was battling a sore throat so we ordered in 2 soups- Cream of Tomato Soup (which was similar to tomato soup at any other family restaurant) and Kashmiri Shalgam, the standout with Fresh Turnip Slow Cooked, Chilli, Ginger, a wholesome broth :)

Now get ready for an avalanche of starters, right on with Spinach and Kale Fingers that magically bring spinach & kale together and let Cheese, Chilli Flakes, Herb Mayo eliminate all bitterness of kale to replace it with a lovely must-have flavor for every palate,

All kebab lovers must try their melt in mouth Mushroom Galouti, heavenly kebabs of Ghee Roasted Mushroom, Galouti Masala, Crispy Bread, very reminiscent of authentic Lucknowi kebabs nobody seems to get enough of,

Paneer fanatics in the house, I swear their Rose Achari Paneer Tikka will make you come back here over & over, imagine huge chunks of softest Cottage Cheese ever with just a hint of rose and Mix Achar spice marination, this combination is enough to send anyone to heaven instantly, easily my most favorite dish this evening :)

My mom's favorite dish was Spinach Squares, another one of their bestsellers, an innovative take on Gujarati Dhokla or Mathura Petha, whichever you prefer :D With Fried Garlic, Spinach Mousse and Chilli Flakes providing a beautiful tapestry, get ready to enjoy little squares of spinach with hidden chestnuts inside, a crunch inside each mouthful, this is the kind of dish they serve on masterchef. An absolute stroke of genius!

We also liked Corn & Curd-American Fresh Corn, Sweet Hung Curd, Mango powder bringing this on the sweeter side, which might not be everyone's cup of tea, I loved it though since I am blessed with a sweet jaw :D These are served with cheesy dips that make it even denser, good for me but maybe not for someone like my mom who likes things spicy,

Among main course, we went with Jardalu Kofta-Apricot Hung Curd Kofta with Raisins, Lucknowi Gravy, Microgreens; again a bit on sweeter side, the gravy is rich and calorific and this is exactly the kind of dish you would have on a royal evening out with family, it went well with Garlic Naan and Stuffed Veg Kulcha, undoubtedly a very dense feast this! We were too full to try anything else so went straight to desserts :D

For those with craving for something very mildly sweet, go for plain yet delicious Panacotta, an Italian Dessert that my sister loved, think of it like a block of custard..actually, just have it for yourself and let me know how it was for you :D

Their standout is Toffee Apple Tart-Caramel Green Apple, Cinnamon, Mint, Vanilla Ice Cream, an explosion of sweet flavors!
Chocolate fanatics like me should attack Mud Chocolate Mousse, just like I did, very shamelessly :P It is smooth, rich, fluffy, enough said!

For every foodie whose mantraa in life is 'Live to Eat', Mantraa at Thane is where we proudly proclaim -Mission Accomplished :)

Monday 20 March 2017

38 Degree East | Good Pan Asian Cuisine | Food Review | Bloggers Launch Party

38 Degree East is a new entrant on the busy food Mumbai scene, the rationale being cuisine included in the menu here originating within 38 degrees from India, so Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Burmese and yes even Indian dishes provide a plethora of choices for everyone. I like the concept of something for everyone, especially when it comes wrapped in a cool colourful ambiance, very efficient staff, wholesale rate bar, omnipresent party vibe and ofcourse good food. We were here for the launch party bloggers meet and loved our dinner experience. 

We had some lovely mocktails with strong flavors and kickass presentation, absolutely loved Tango Twist with Mango, Orange, Vanilla Ice Cream blended to perfection while Cranberry Delight scored on its presentation in a two faced glass with dry ice creating a mystic effect,it was tangy and I would have liked a stronger cranberry flavor. But one thing is for sure, the bar here is choc a bloc with geniuses whipping up one marvel after another as we saw everyone around us crowding the area till the end :D

Then we moved on to delicious starters, right up front was Wanton Nachos i.e. crispy fried wanton wraps topped with beans in tomato sauce and sichuan sauce; appropriately crunchy and good to share with friends,

The best of the lot and my mom's favorite were Veg Tempura i.e. Jullienes of vegetables dipped in tempura batter and crispy fried, these might look like bhajiyas but the flavors are lovely & a bit exotic in there (and notice the dip alongside, it is extraordinary),

Gamja Jeon was another scrumptious starter, a bit on the oily side, but the generously filled crunchy veggies in the potato tikkis made us reach for more and we actually asked for a second serving :D

We also had Veg Sushi which I thought were a bit too bland (I polished off the plate nonetheless) and I would like it to be an amalgamation of more flavors -such as an acidic punch meeting a crunchy accessory in one bite :)

In main course, we really liked Veg 7 Jewel Rice i.e.fried rice with loads of veggies in spicy sauce, a bit on the oilier side but tasty nonetheless, while Veg Red Thai Curry i.e. in house red curry paste with coconut milk,herbs and spices with steamed rice was absolutely perfect,

Kudos to the staff since they accommodated a special request from my sister who was battling severe cold and provided her with warm and soothing Burmese Soup i.e. shredded vegetables and noodles cooked in creamy coconut soup, a generous bowl full of creamy goodness that made her feel much better afterwards :)

While we were almost full by now, my sweet jaw would not let me leave without trying out some desserts and we tried Pisang Goreng i.e. batter fried cripsy banana fritters topped with honey and served with vanilla ice cream -very innovative, quite good; as well as Gulab Jamun Truffle i.e. gulab jamun with cream rabdi, cake and topped with vanilla ice cream, the presentation was very good, the quantity is enough for 2 people, gulab jamuns were good but cream felt a bit sour-y and ice cream had sort of melted, making it a bit mushy, otherwise it is a good idea :)

A little bit of misses are just always expected when a place is just launched, as are some teething problems, so no major complaints on that front. The staff was doing impeccable service even in the midst of all the chaos and that is truly commendable as is the ease with which the kitchen was operating, we took a look at the menu and prices seem reasonable for the quantity and quality and the place is spread over 3 floors (family dining, bar as well as roof top) so we surely are keeping this on our list of repeat visits! 

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Above & Beyond | Hidden Gem Mumbai | Perfect Food | Review & Recommendation

Above & Beyond brings a food delectable food destination in an area with not many good options worth checking out, and its lively ambiance, superbly polite & efficient staff as well as delicious food at very reasonable prices ensures that we will visit here again :)

We started off with Cheese Garlic Bread, a bit more garlic flavor would make this perfect but it was delicious nonetheless,

For my sister's sore throat, the lovely combination of chocolate & coffee in piping hot Cafe Mocha was a health remedy in itself while I was delighted by the tangy creamy milkshake-like consistency of Mix Berry Smoothie that was not at all icy cold like smoothies at most other places, 


For mains, we started with one of the best pasta ever in the form of Pasta Alfredo Penne with Broccoli, Mushrooms and Bell Peppers where the proportion of cheese and veggies was just right to make it lip smacking, we cannot wait to come back here just for this,

Being an utter pizza lover,my sister decided to try out half and half flavors of Water Chestnut-Artichoke & Cottage Cheese-Bell Peppers and it was absolutely smashing, again the proportion of toppings & cheese was bang on;

The staff very kindly suggested us to try Oven Baked Jerk Potato Wedges and Sundried Tomato Polenta Square, a cheesy preparation, very dense and calorific, this should be accompanied with soda of some kind :D Definitely not what a diet conscious person would order but hey,hulks like us won't stop without licking the plate clean!

Even though we were full by now, we were tempted by the dessert section and tried out 2 deserts, both extraordinary- very veryyy sinful Smooth & Silk Chocolate Cake as well as mousse-like Mango Baked Yoghurt, wouldn't mind having these for breakfast,lunch and dinner :D A 100 gold stars for these alone!

Watch out Mahakali, Above & Beyond is here to stay :)

Thursday 9 March 2017

Sindhful | Fantastic Sindhi Cuisine | Food Review | 5 Star Recommendation

It is really puzzling how I managed to go to a college with overwhelming Sindhi population, yet never had the chance to taste even a single Sindhi dish! Spent more than a decade in Mumbai and yet only ever heard about the marvellous flavors of Sindhi delicacies like Dal Pakwan *sigh*

But thanks be to the Lords of food bloggers that Sindhful kindly extended a review invitation for me to finally partake in an excellent meal that I cannot wait have over & over. Food that tastes just like a loving grandma made it, Sindhful provides authentic Sindhi delicacies at quite value for money price points, mainly in a home delivery format but now they have added a very cute small seating area too which can seat 8 guests comfortably at one time :) Staff is very prompt, the seating area is lit up like a dreamland in evenings, I recommend all foodies make a trip here as soon as possible.

We started off with cooling Chaas that came in these cute milk bottles, the traditional way of ensuring proper digestion paving way for a veritable feast,

Started off with Tikra i.e. Sindhi Phulka pieced fried until golden crisp topped with Sindhi Masala, this one is perfect snack item anytime of the day (not to mention an ingenious way of using leftover phulkas, or so my mom mused :D) 

Up next was the very famous Dal Pakwan i.e. Chana Dal cooked in Sindhi Masalas served with authentic Sindhi Crispy FlatBread and a Tangy Chutney, this dish tasted as legendary as we expected it to, very wholesome, it actually felt like a chaat item that we could have day & night and not get bored at all :)

We also loved Green Seyal Pav i.e. Pav with authentic Sindhi Green Masalas, a bit on the spicier side with pav actually tasting like soft paneer chunks, 

Another legendary item is Chole Pattice with Pav and Chutney i.e. Chatpata Chana Dal stuffed Aloo Pattice topped with Sindhi Chole and served with Pavs and Tangy Chutney, just like Dal Pakwan, this one is an explosion of flavors, an item one can never get bored of,

For those really wanting to wade deep into the feeling of being fed by a grandma, best choice is Sindhi Curry Chawal i.e. Indian Vegetables cooked in a tempered Tomato Besan Curry served with Steamed Rice and Aloo Tuk, a little tangy, with inclusion of seasonal vegetables, this is one nutritious feast,

A special mention to Aloo Tuk i.e. Crispy Deep Fried Flattened Potato Wedges sprinkled with Sindhi Masalas, another perfect snack item like Tikri :).

For fans of Nadir (lotus stem) like my mom is, go for Bhee Tikki i.e. Chatpata Lotus Stem (Bhee) and Potatoes Tikki with a hint of Pudina; it has a judicious balance between spices and dense texture to provide wholesome foodie experience,

And after everything is done, go blindly for Sev Barfi, a traditional Sindhi Dessert, this one tastes like Kalakand or Milk Cakes and is extremely rich, heaven for someone with sweet jaw like me! 

This is my first foray into Sindhi food and such a brilliant introduction deserves to be applauded since my mom, my sister and myself are never going to pass up an opportunity to try Sindhi delicacies at every chance we get :) Keep up the good work Sindhful!