Sunday 2 December 2018

New Year Event Experience Nostalgia | Or What A New Year Party Should Never Be Like | Mumbai NYE 2019

"Happy New Year"

Three words that inspire immense happiness and hope and a zeal for celebration. Food, Fun, Friends, Frolic. After witnessing amazing New Year Parties in countless Bollywood movies, it is but natural for a Mumbai resident (like moi) to want to indulge in some out-of-this-world party. This is what happened 10 years ago...

My college friends (who were avid nightclub goers) decided on a long drive at first but at last minute the plan had to be cancelled because the farmhouse they had rented was rented out to someone else by mistake and there was a lot of confusion. This happened just 2 days before the New Year Eve! And remember, since this was 10 years ago, we did not have active social media scene like now- twitter, facebook were in nascent stage, instgram had not captured our attention and we did not have any centralized website to find out options for celebrating New Year. We had to go by connections, word-of-mouth, all that jazz!

So finally we decided that we would gate-crash whichever NYE Mumbai party we could score last-minute tickets for. Turns out that one of my friend's mother had a friend who got us 8 tickets for a New Year party at a resort at Madh Island. Yoohoo, we were so excited now. Madh Island sounded rad (that was the cool party term back then :P) So 6 of us friends and the kind lady who scored us the tickets plus 1 of her friends, we all landed at this huge resort at Madh Island on 31 December by 9 PM, dressed in our finest part attire and ready to boogie the night away.

(What we expected)

At first glance, it seemed okay. Guests were still streaming in. Of course, real party won't start before 11 PM, we all thought. Till then, we were ready to maybe play some fun games, indulge in light dancing, nosh on some nibbles, down some cocktails...but guess what, there was nothing in sight! Sure the place was all decked up, balloons and streamers and some stray disco balls too, but no food or drinks in sight at all. The invite had made it sound like there would be some entertainment program too but all we witnessed was a sad DJ belting some retro tunes sporadically.

(What we got)

We waited and waited some more. More guests streamed in and finally we saw some servers with trays roaming around. After frantically flailing our arms for 5 minutes, we managed to capture attention of one of them. Chicken drumsticks, that's what arrived. Now half of our party was vegetarians, so our non-vegetarian compatriots polished the plate clean and sent a special request for some vegetarian delicacies. Half an hour later, we got a plate of Paneer tikkas after 4 rounds of about half a dozen non-vegetarian dishes had paraded through the area. Come on, this is India, it is not difficult to come up with 3-4 good vegetarian appetizers at a New Year Eve Party. 

Meanwhile, 2 singers had started a sort-of entertainment program on the vast stage. They were good, but this was not supposed to be a singing event. Where was entertainment? Dancers? Maybe a magician? Maybe an emcee with some jokes, some fun games? Something to make it an interactive event? No idea. 

(What we wanted)

Finally around 11.30 PM, we were famished and started searching for proper food. There had to be main course and dessert, right? Especially for us vegetarians who by now were fed up of Paneer Tikka :P We found a small shack with literally 3 items- Fried Rice, Manchurian, some Mutton gravy. That's it. And unlimited Vanilla/ Strawberry scoops of ice cream. Yay!

(What we got was worse than this)

After dancing for 15 more minutes and watching a half-hearted cracker bursting at the stroke of midnight, we left the venue, trying very hard to convince ourselves that we had not been to just a kid's birthday party and this really was a New Year Eve Party. We reached home by 3 AM and the ride in car on the way back was more entertaining than the entire 3 hours we spent at this so-called New Year Party celebration.

But fret not, 10 years later, I know now that no situation like this can happen with my group of friends on NYE 2019. Just came across HighApe that seems to be the ultimate one-stop platform for discovering India's best nightlife options. And guess what, they have a handpicked list of New Year Events & Parties in Mumbai. No more landing at strange places with false promises of a rocking time, HighApe is where we get to pick and choose our poison aka New Year 2019 Event ourselves. 

How does a 'Masquerade Experience' sound? Intriguing enough? Or maybe NYE 2019 Event at an amusement park is more your thing..well how does 'New Year Bash at Imagica' sounds then? Fun, Food, Friends, Music, Dancing, Live Acts and is all there ready for us to choose from and make our New Year 2019 very special. I am logging on to make NYE 2019 awesome for me and my friends, and hope you do so too :)

Source : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Mukta A2 Cinemas Jai Hind Lalbaug Mumbai | Blockbuster Movie Watching Experience | Fantastic Beasts Crimes of Grindelwald

Mumbai is synonymous with Bollywood. The city of dreams. The city of glitz and glamour. The city of stars. Obviously, being a Mumbaikar, a true-blue citizen of this glorious megapolis, watching movies every weekend is one of my biggest hobbies. Spending 2-3 hours immersed in a fantasy land, what could be better than that. How about adding a super-cozy ambiance, excellent food and beverage options (delivered on seat) and such perks? We got it all at Mukta A2 Jai Hind Cinema, Lalbaug, Mumbai last Sunday when we watched Fantastic Beasts : Crimes of Grindelwald (Hindi dubbed version) here :)

Once upon a time, I used to believe that all movie theatres are alike. How much difference can there be among a bunch of buildings that house super-dark halls with huge white screens? Well, turns out, a lot! In my childhood (that was spent in a really small city), going to movie theatres was a mixed experience. Ofcourse, this was back when there was no Netflix, no internet, no youtube, no Amazon Prime…watching movies on the big screen was the big family thing and we were naturally elated. BUT it also meant going to theatres with cramped leg space, 1-2 horrible and stale food options, a lot of crowd, wailing babies and I kid you not- we even sometimes found termites in seats. Yup, all this and more.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised on arriving in Mumbai and visiting its many famed cinema halls to find that watching movies in theatre can truly be an enchanting experience. Especially now with the advent of multiplexes everywhere and movie-goers getting more demanding with each passing day, the theatre owners have also upped their game. This was my first visit to Mukta A2 Cinemas at Lalbaug, Mumbai and we found it top-notch in every department.

The building itself is quite colourful and stands out in Lalbaug area. Buying tickets is a breeze. The lounge on ground floor has some vintage framed colourful movie posters, very inviting touch for any movie lover. Lift was out of order on the day we went but that’s okay, sometimes these things happen. Taking the stairs just meant a bit of cardio for us, always a welcome idea :D Right outside the theatre, there was a food-beverage station (Cafe Park) with a bevy of choices for us.

Prices are very affordable, both when it comes to movie tickets as well as for food and beverage options. We had Nachos, Samosa, Burger, Sandwiches, Popcorn, Coffee, Cold Drinks to choose from. And we enjoyed Veg Coleslaw Sandwich, Caramel Popcorn, couple of Cold Drinks, Hot Coffee and couple of Samosas, to the hilt. Everything is fresh and tasty, especially the Samosas were fantastic. On-seat service meant additional convenience for us. 

The theatre itself was very clean. The entrance stairs' carpet has prints of movie-reels, nice and quirky. Seats had more than ample leg space, something I am very particular about because cramped spaces give my knee trouble and I want to avoid that at all cost (thinking about my family’s history of arthritis here!). Here I could comfortably move my leg around, made it a very cozy experience for me. The screen is wide, both visual and audio quality top notch. Volume was just right, not too loud and not too low. 

Completely relaxed from beginning to end, we loved being at Mukta A2 Cinemas Jai Hind, Lalbaug, Mumbai. That’s a complete blockbuster movie-watching experience right here :)

Delhi Highway Marol Mumbai | Authentic Royal Vegetarian Delhi Punjabi Feast | Times Square Andheri East | Food Review | Restaurant Review

visit to Delhi Highway was on my wish-list since 2 years now but stars just would not align for me to fix a visit here. A chance day-off for both me and my sister happened this week and we visited here with family for lunch review session, finally :D

Imposing architecture and elegant interiors welcomed us. Loved the utilization of space, artworks on the walls reminiscent of old Delhi forts and Royal Darbars, the color combination of golden and blue plus the cutlery with coppery layers. Very Indian, Very Delhi, Very Vintage. Instantly put us in a happy mood. Perfect place for families. Even the seats are beautiful. 

Staff is very polite and quick on their feet. The place was completely packed by 1.30 PM even on a weekday and service was still excellent. Menu has delicacies from Delhi-mainly Punjabi cuisine-with some fusion additions (pasta,tacos,cheese mushrooms etc.) and prices are very reasonable for quantity plus quality. Mainly the Thali here is very popular, but there is an a-la-carte menu too and we tried both the options.

--- Started with BEVERAGES (not a part of Thali)-

FRESH LIME SODA- Nice, I asked it to be mildly sweet and they obliged :)
SPICY GUAVA- Decent= Guava Juice, Tabasco Sauce, Worchestire Sauce, Sugar Syrup,
FRUIT PUNCH- Nice, not too cold = Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Mango Juice, Fresh Cream, 
KOKUM MOJITO- A bit too cold for me, had ice slush on top, but dad liked it = Kokum, Mint Leaves, Lemon Juice, Soda, 
DELHI SPECIAL LASSI- My FAVORITE, Rich and creamy lassi, with dry fruits garnish, MUST-HAVE!
KESAR THANDAI- Another AMAZING drink = Milk, Saffron, Spices, MUST-HAVE, 
CHAAS- Excellent, came as part of Thali.

--- Moved onto STARTERS (part of THALI)-

The Thali comes with a long list of chaats and kebabs and if you are not careful, your stomach will be filled even before the main course arrives :P

BHALLA PAPDI CHAAT- Soft and Spongy Bhalla, Creamy Curd, Mint Chutney, Dates Chutney, Special Pulses and Coriander garnish, this was EXCELLENT,
MATAR KULCHE- Authentic Delhi style kulcha bread with green matar, decent, 
PANEER TIKKA- Very spicy Pesto marinated Paneer tikka, very soft, 
VEG KEBAB- Decent, I usually find all Kebabs dry, these were okay with the mint chutney alongside, 
TANDOORI ALOO- Tangy-Spicy Achari marination and smattering of cheese on top, will not be everyone's favorite, I personally found them okay but my dad does not like tangy flavor at all so he left this one uneaten, 
HARABHARA KEBAB- Just like veg kebab, decent, soft, filled with green peas mash, 
NARAM DIL KEBAB- BEST ONE, soft paneer mash, melt-in-mouth flavor inside, crunchy outside, 

--- Finally went to THALI MAIN COURSE -

PANEER BHURJI- EXCELLENT, Softest Paneer bhurji, creamy, mildly spicy,
VEG KOFTA CURRY- Decent, Veg Koftas in hearty tangy tomato-onion based gravy, 
DAL DELHI HIGHWAY- EXCELLENT, Famous Punjabi Black Daal, 
PINDI CHANA- Cooked Rawal Pindi style, a bit too tangy and full of achari-kinda flavor,
VEG BIRYANI- Nice but did not feel it was biryani, more like spicy pulao, 
Tandoori ROTI & PLAIN NAAN- Both were EXCELLENT, went well with all the curries.

Apart from Thali, we also tried some items from a-la-carte menu- 

MALAI KOFTA- Paneer, Mawa, Dry Fruits dumplings in creamy white gravy with a hint of sweetness, MUST-HAVE, this is one of the few places this was simply perfection, not unnecessarily sweet but very creamy, extremely delicious, my family's FAVORITE :)

SAFFRON SPICE- Paneer cooked in cashew nut and red gravy infused with saffron concentrate,it was okay, frankly we did not get any saffron flavor but the gravy was typical tomato-onions based spicy and again tangy achari-kinda flavorful,

MIX VEG KULCHA- GOOD, it was mainly stuffed with peas and a bit of onions, 


--- For DESSERTS, as part of Thali we had-

KESAR KHEER- EXCELLENT, Rich and creamy kesar kheer garnished with loads of dry fruits,

We additionally also had GULAB JAMUN stuffed with mawa and dry fruits, one of the BEST in Mumbai, extremely rich, delicious :)

>>> In summation, we had an excellent time with some superb delicacies. We have some relatives in Delhi and having visited them multiple times, we know how much they love the authentic Delhi Punjabi cuisine and how much they love their 'achari' flavors, their spices. So keeping that in mind, yes the food at Delhi Highway is very authentic, very Delhi style and excellent. Their Thali is also very value for money for the sheer quantity of items they provide.

But, here in Mumbai our tastebuds are a bit different and all the spices, all the tanginess, all the 'achari' flavor might get a bit too overwhelming for some people. Like-my dad did not finish a couple of dishes in Thali starters + main course section because he cannot stand tanginess in his food at all. For people like them, I would suggest go through the a-la-carte menu and choose dishes such as Malai Kofta that are flavorful without being too Delhi-ite! Also, food is very heavy because authentic Punjabi cuisine is not at all known for being healthy/light, so do keep that in mind and go here with enough hunger to eat a dinosaur :D   

Monday 19 November 2018

BioBloom Hair Oil Hair Strengthening Review | Hibiscus Peppermint Basil | Beauty Review

Just like my skin is super problematic, my hair and scalp is also not easy to deal with! 

My scalp gets super-itchy and gets dandruff with change of seasons, 
My hair is super-dry and frizzy no matter what conditioner I use, 
If I use a strong anti-dandruff shampoo then my scalp itches due to dryness, 
If I use a mild shampoo then my scalp becomes too on and so forth. 

So I am always switching between shampoos, hair conditioners and hair oils to find something to calm my scalp and smoothen my hair as much as possible. 

Among the latest batch of hair products I used is BioBloom Hair Oil Hair Strengthening with Hibiscus Peppermint and Basil, let us see how it fared :)

Packaging of BioBloom Hair Oil Hair Strengthening is simple, in a plastic rectangular bottle. It looks travel friendly but I have not tested out this theory in practice. A simple label has all information about its ingredients, price, best before, usage etc.

Ingredients list is full of pure Ayurvedic herbs/base oils + essential oils i.e. Sunflower oil processed with Amla, Red Sandalwood, Henna, Rose, Musk Root, Jojoba Oil, Hibiscus, Basil Oil, Peppermint, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil,  Almond Oil. NO Parabens, NO sulphates, NO petrochemicals, NO Formaldehyde.

Claims that this LLP Free oil provides nutrition to hair, strengthening it and preventing hair fall.

Availability of BioBloom Hair Oil Hair Strengthening is quite common online on Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart etc. I bought it from Amazon for Rs. 499 for 100 ml.

Quantity is very good as I have used it three times a week for over 5 weeks. Value for money looking at all the amazing ingredients and its efficacy.

Usage - Apply to scalp and hair, massage thoroughly in circular motions, let it stay for at least 20 minutes before washing off. Leave overnight for increased effectiveness.

Effect - My childhood is replete with memories of getting oil massage from mom. My hair was so much better back then. In my college days, I went without oiling my hair for months on end and it completely damaged my hair. Also, our modern lifestyle, pollution, stress and use of all the chemical-filled shampoos & conditioners have completely messed up my hair. It is always dry, frizzy, itchy... So now I oil three times a week without fail

I was browsing through some new hair oils to try and landed on BioBloom Hair Oil Hair Strengthening with Hibiscus Peppermint Basil. The ingredients looked so tempting that I just had to buy it. 

It has a very strong smell, after all it has ingredients like Basil, Peppermint, Coconut, Olive..but the smell is not overpowering or bad in any way, rather it is a reminder of how many amazing ingredients this oil is made up of and I feel better on applying it. In fact there is a cooling sensation on application too.

I apply it generously all over my hair and scalp by massaging for 15 minutes and then leave it for 2 hours before shampoo. Over 5 weeks of its constant usage, I did feel like my hair fall reduced a bit. Frankly,  there are very few hair oils that show immediate miraculous result, they take their own sweet time to show results. But even in 5 weeks, I saw that my hair was always left soft after shampoo + condition, hair fall was less and my scalp itchiness was also a bit subdued. I had a very bad experience with Streax Pro Nutri Care Repair Max Masque but I started using this oil very soon after that and my itchiness problem was much reduced.

Overall I am quite happy with the product and feel like I got my money's worth.

  • Loads of pure ingredients and essential oils
  • NO Parabens, Sulphates, Petrochemicals, Formaldehyde
  • Hair fall reduced to some extent
  • Hair was soft, roots feel a bit stronger over 5 weeks of usage
  • Easy to rinse off while shampooing, did not linger on to make scalp oily
  • Mild cooling and calming effect on scalp
  • Potent smell that made me feel sure that the product is pure and is working well
  • Can be bought from Amazon or other online e-commerce sites

  • Can seem costly for the quantity but quality is worth it
  • If you are really bothered by any kind of fragrance, you might not like its very strong smell. Honestly though, the smell is of natural ingredients and not bothersome to me at all.

Recommended -YES. This is a powerhouse hair oil that should definitely be tried out by everyone. Rating is 4.5/5.  

Friday 16 November 2018

Bombay Dessert Company Mahakali Mumbai Review | Vegetarian Fried Ice Cream Pancakes Milkshakes Waffles | Food Review

Situated in a part of Mumbai that does not feel like Mumbai at all (you will know what I mean when you go to Mahakali area!), Bombay Dessert Company is like an oasis in a dessert :D Small but cute, very bright and clean place with a menu full of desserts,desserts and more desserts. Service is fast, prices are very reasonable for quantity and quality, they are open till late for midnight dessert cravings and staff is very helpful in suggesting the best things from the menu.

The menu has something for everyone. Their specialties are Fried Ice creams and Stuffed little pancake bombs. Alongside there are bubble waffles and milkshakes too. Literally everything is utterly delicious. For someone like me with a sweet jaw, this is pure heaven. Even my sister who is not much into desserts 100% LOVED everything. We had-

-- NUTELLA BUBBLE WAFFLE- Soft (but not chewy) bubble shaped waffle, loads of nutella, loads of dark chocolate sauce, what is not to love! Can be served with ice cream too, their ice creams are very creamy and flavorful.

-- RED VELVET MINI PANCAKE- Mini round pancake bombs with full bodied (but not overly sugary) red velvet flavor, enveloped in generous white chocolate & caramel sauce, beautiful sweet-salty flavors, worked amazingly well. My sister loved this one.

-- BLUEBERRY MINI PANCAKE- Another round of small pancake bombs with fresh tangy blueberry flavor, enveloped in generous dark chocolate sauce & chocolate chips. MY FAVORITE. What a delight ♥

-- BANANA CARAMEL MILKSHAKE- Bananas, Caramel sauce, a bit of white chocolate, yummy in tummy :D Not overly cold, not overly sweet/sugary, just PERFECT.

-- PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIE MILKSHAKE- The STAR for me. Peanut butter, brownie, a bit chunky, a lot dark, dense, mini-meal of sorts :D

-- JELLY STRAWBERRY FRICECREAM - Perfected the technique of fried ice creams, the coating does not overpower the ice cream at all, and they serve it nicely with all toppings in place. This one had delectable strawberry ice cream in a crispy fried ball alongside loads of jellies and sprinkles, making us feel like 9 year olds!

-- VANILLA NUTELLA FERRERO FRICECREAM - Subtle creamy vanilla ice cream in a crispy fried ball with loads of nutella & ferrero rocher pieces enveloping it, making it simple yet yummazing.

We  made a complete dinner of our invite here and can confidently say that this is THE place to be, for ages 9 to 99, this Hungry Hippo recommends whole-heartedly :)