Thursday 30 August 2018

Vedge XPRS R City Mall Mumbai | Multi-Cuisine Vegetarian Gourmet Family Feast | Food Review

Located at R-City Mall food court, Vedge Xprs offers pure vegetarian multi-cuisine delicacies. It was a pleasure trying out some of their offerings yesterday (we actually ended up trying enough to put a dozen elephants into a food coma :P) We had loved being to Vedge last year and this time was no different either.

Clean layout of the kiosk, lots of green to emphasize vegetarianism, I have to make a disclaimer here that please take out the misconception of 'vegetarian food is not tasty' right now. Their menu has got something for everyone and barring a few missteps, everything is really delicious. Priced in line with mall food courts' pricing policy, not cheap, not expensive. Quantity of each main course dish is enough for 1 hungry person, that's good. Special word for staff, they are extremely polite, helpful and service is fast

Started with beverages-

REGULAR MOJITO, PEACH MOJITO - Both were very refreshing and flavorsome, loved Peach more, 

FRESH LIME SODA SWEET - Very homely, not very sweet, good, 

VANILLA-COFFEE SHAKE - Good for strong coffee lovers, sister is a coffee-addict,she loved it,

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE SHAKE - MUST-HAVE for any chocolate lover, not very sweet but very very flavorful, 

CHOCO-HAZELNUT SHAKE - Sweeter than classic chocolate, hazelnut flavor could be a bit stronger but my sweet jaw loved it anyway :D

And then came the barrage of food -

FRESH DAHI BHALLA MATKA CHAAT - Loads of curd, dahi bhalla, pomegranates, sweet chutney, all in a matka, I liked it but mom found it a bit bland, can be made spicier, 

RAJASTHANI RAJ KACHORI - MUST-HAVE, Crispy kachori with mix of chutneys, dahi, little spices, loads of sev, pomegranates, absolutely loved it, just what a chaat-lover wants (I inherently like sweeter things by the way), 

CRISPY COTTAGE CHEESE TOSSED IN BLACK SESAME SAUCE - My sister liked it a lot, she is more into Indo-chinese cuisine, this one had big paneer blocks in dense black sesame-soy based sauce I suppose with some chopped veggies in there. I found it a bit saltier than needed but I am too sensitive about salt levels anyway, 

PERI PERI SPICED PANEER PIZZA -My whole family LOVED it. My dad would reorder this whenever we are here next :) Very Indian tadka of flavors, good mix of sauce and cheese, nicely baked, don't compare it with high-end authentic Italian gourmet pizza versions and just enjoy :P, 

BAKED PINK SAUCE PASTA- Another MUST-HAVE, nothing to do with high-end gourmet Italian anything. Cannot expect that for this price at a food court either :P What it IS is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. Generous layer of cheese on top and loads of pasta in tangy (on sweeter side) sauce underneath, it was a pleasure licking this one off the container ♥, 

VEG KOLHAPURI- TANDOORI ROTI Combo- My dad's FAVORITE. He loves Veg kolhapuri and this was pretty close to authentic, quite spicy, generous portion of vegetables and spicy-tangy gravy and delicious soft tandoori roti. 

PANEER TIKKA MASALA- BUTTER NAAN Combo- This was a bit of disappointment. While Butter Naan was amazing, the gravy was actually quite similar to Veg Kolhapuri! Just there was addition of 2 big soft paneer blocks. It was still tasty enough on its own but should taste distinct from other gravy.

VEDGE BIRYANI with Raita-Papad-Pickle - Nice :) Good biryani, this is the same level of biryani that many high-end restaurants serve. Meaning it is actually very good when considering this is in a food court (where one does not expect the same quality as a proper restaurant!) Good quantity, good mix of spices and veggies (and that kevda essence that seems synonymous with biryani at 90% of places :P) and THANK GOD, I did not find any elaichi :D, 

HOMEMADE PANEER PARATHA with Raita-Pickle - MUST-HAVE. Generous stuffing, soft, flavorful, did not want to share it with anyone :D 

Overall, just a few little bit of tweaks here and there is needed, but we absolutely LOVED being here and my family whole-heartedly recommends Vedge Xprs for a delicious meal :) 

Tuesday 28 August 2018

L'Paan | Traditional Indian Digestive Desserts In Artisanal Avatar | Food Review

Ah, the joy of having paan at the end of any meal...

I have seen my mom reminisce about the same. I myself have not been a paan lover, have had some versions of meetha paan maybe a decade ago but honestly it is not something I am inherently attracted to. My parents on the other hand have spent a lot of their youth in places like Calcutta, Benaras, so when they reminisce about some awesome paan, well they reminisce about something legendary :)

So when I got a chance to review some paans from L'Paan, I said yes just to know what my mom talks about. 3 types of Paan arrived really promptly packed securely and very hygienically in a peppy yellow little cute box. Promise of natural fresh ingredients in making these classic Indian digestive desserts was mentioned alongside other details on the box. No choona, No soopari, No kattha, No preservatives or artificial color in these paans, rather they have top-notch delicious spice mix that can be enjoyed by everyone.

CLASSIC/ORIGINAL THE PAAN - Mix of rose petals, cardamoms, cloves, dates, spices mix, this was VERY REFRESHING and it had generous amount of mint in there too, I felt it was very cooling on my palate, very strong punch of flavors.

CHOCOLATE PAAN - Traditional paan with chocolate truffle covering, the chocolate crust made all the difference in making this a MUST-HAVE. Maybe they can increase some chocolate quantity inside the paan to make it absolute heaven for chocolate lovers :D But otherwise too, pretty good and my sister's favorite. 

MEGA PAAN- Regular Paan loaded with cashews, almonds, raisins additionally with regular spices mix, the name made it sound like it would be huge in size but it was regular sized, the main difference being generous addition of dry fruits to the paan making it feel very rich, gourmet. My mom really liked this one and would like to definitely reorder it :)

As I said, I am not a big paan lover. It always conjures up soopari-choona version and I have stayed away from those. So I don't really have any pre-conceptions of how a good Paan should be or how should one judge a good paan's quality. But here, I enjoyed the offerings of L'Paan and so did my mom and sister, so I really do not have anything to complain about. Do try these as a modern twist on traditional Indian Paan :) Recommended!

Saturday 25 August 2018

Karmik Veda French Rose Clay Face Mask With Rose Petals Review | Vegetarian Handmade Chemical-Free | Beauty Review

100% Chemical-Free Handmade French Rose Clay Face Mask With Rose Petals by Karmik Veda. As soon as I saw these words at and the beautiful picture accompanying it, I knew I had to get it :D

I had landed at Qtrove by chance, because I was craving some homemade chocolate fudge and internet search threw up this amazing website with loads of products across categories of food, beauty, home decor and more, with the main differentiating factor being that these are natural, chemical-free, sustainable handmade products made not in factories but by artisans in batches! Phew, once you land at this website, it is impossible to leave without buying something. 

I just browsing through the beauty section and Karmik Veda products caught my fancy. They looked good and I just bought this clay mask as an impulsive purchase. Somebody was in a mood for self-pampering :D

Packaging of Karmik Veda French Rose Clay Face Mask is very simple, in a round airtight, unbreakable jar that feels travel friendly. Product is filled to the brim. What gives it a unique look is that it comes with a handmade paper attached to the jar with all details about the clay mask while the jar itself is completely devoid of anything other than the name of the brand and its logo. Gives a really beautiful simple yet special and luxurious feel :)

Ingredients list reads a who's who of exotic ingredients that are all good for our skin :) NO toxins, NO preservatives, NO chemicals, NO parabens at all. Yay!

Claims that it will detoxify and rejuvenate skin by drawing toxins out of the skin, reducing inflammation and reducing appearance of pores, acne, blackheads. Also, regular usage might lead to lifted firm appearance alongside helping in reducing wrinkles, age spots, scarring. 

Availability is limited only to online websites like Qtrove that sell such special handmade artisanal products (and Karmik Veda's own website). Pricing is Rs. 599 for 75 grams. 

Quantity is very good, I have been using it twice a week for last 1 month and it is just half empty. Will last 2 months easily because it is concentrated so a little is needed to cover whole face and neck.

Usage - The picture makes it look lighter here. It is actually baby pink in color (looks like pink Himalayan salt). It is suggested to mix it with honey, rose water, curd or any herbal tea and make a creamy paste. I cleanse my face and then make this creamy paste by using curd because curd suits my sensitive problematic skin the most. 

Karmik Veda French Rose Clay Face Mask smells different from usual packs. It is not unpleasant but unique. I can only explain it as some kind of 'metallic' smell, I think the French Clay is what I am describing, it just smells absolutely different from anything else I have used on my face. Anyway, the powder makes a real creamy paste. I put it all over my face and skin and let it dry for 10 minutes and then rinse it off.

Effect - I like it! The claims of Karmik Veda French Rose Clay Face Mask are not some overnight miracles. But they do promise detoxing, rejuvenating, light exfoliation, reducing blackheads, pores and in my experience, they do all this :) My skin does feel smooth every time after rinsing it off, my face does feel firmer, most importantly I have seen it shrink my little acne breakouts immediately. It is too early to say if it works on reducing wrinkles or pigmentation but I am just happy that my face feels softer, smoother and even little angry pimples have calmed down ever since I started using it

There has been no adverse reaction on my face on using it. My skin is ultra-sensitive and with first use I know which product is pure natural and which has chemicals. Karmik Veda French Rose Clay Face Mask is truly natural and chemical-free because every time I have used it, it just gives a luxurious spa-like feel, it slides like velvet on my skin and after rinsing it off I always like touching my smooth, glowing cheeks. It doesn't leave my skin dry but dry-skinned beauties may find it drying (it is clay after all!) and should use a heavy duty moisturizer.

  • Meets claims
  • No parabens, chemicals, toxins, preservatives
  • Handmade, Luxurious, Spa-like feel
  • Does not irritate my ultra sensitive skin
  • Calms pimples and small acne outbursts
  • Gives light exfoliation
  • Makes skin soft, smooth, mildly glowing
  • Can be used by anyone, age/skin type/ gender no bar
  • Made in India brand
  • Not easily available
  • It is clay which might be drying for dry-skinned people
  • On higher price range

Recommended -YES! Karmik Veda French Rose Clay Face Mask With Rose Petals is worthy to be included in regular skincare :) Rating is 4/5.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Parabola Hotel Rodas Powai Mumbai | Among Top 5 Foodie Destinations in Mumbai | Food Review | Restaurant Review

Hands down, one of TOP 5 dining destinations in Mumbai for my family. Centrally located, we walked in for a review session to find serenely elegant ambiance with soft music playing in the background alongside 2 LCD screens playing cricket matches. Quite spacious, it offers buffet for lunch and dinner at extremely economical rates alongside an extensive a-la-carte menu with something for everyone. 

The best part, all of this is supplemented with extraordinary level of service. Every staff member, including the Chef himself, gives personal attention to every customer to make their visit memorable. This means they will prepare anything off the menu for the customer too if needed. We saw a lot of regulars walk in and share friendly jokes with Chef. Easy to see why one would want to come back here again & again. Outstanding service.

Oh, also, this is an eco-friendly property and they waste nothing. So dining here is such a feel-good factor too as we end up caring for Mother Earth ♥

We tried a lot of their specials from the menu and buffet and were pleased by everything.


>>> LONG BEACH ICED TEA- Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Gin, Cointreau, Sweet & Sour Mix, Cranberry Juice= strong, delicious, just like my sister likes.

>>> FRUIT FAVOURITE PUNCH- Orange juice, Pineapple juice, Lemon juice = Tangy, refreshing, just like I love it.

>>> GUAVA PUNCH - (I don't exactly remember the name for this), it had Guava and Ice Cream, it was really awesome, perfect as a dessert drink for someone like my sister who is not big on traditional desserts :P


>>> SHAHI SEEKH KEBAB- Wholesome medley of chopped veggies, paneer in soft vegetarian kebab version, perfectly balanced spices, loved.

>>> PANEER RANGEELA TIKKA- (Name could be a bit different,this is what I think the name is!) Paneer Tikka taken a notch higher with stuffing of chopped veggies and big dollop of cheese. Unique and delicious. Soft, will reorder for sure.

>>> YAMS + SWEET BANANA CUTLET - MUST-HAVE. Ask Chef for this for sure. Innovative deliciousness. Yams & bananas cutlet with Guava Chilli sauce alongside. At first glance, it looked like chicken cutlet to be frank and I did not expect it to be so tasty, particularly because I am neither a fan of yams nor of bananas, but this cutlet was sooooooo good. I am salivating just thinking about it ♥

>>> SIZZLER- Perfect dish to order when here with couple of friends, having drinks. Stir fried veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) in sweet-sour-spicy oriental sauce, served alongside a good portion of perfectly salted crispy french fries, smokey sizzling flavor in everything. Again, personally not a big fan of sizzlers but this was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G ♥

>>> MUSHROOMS TIKKA - Much like Paneer Tikka, these were juicy Button Mushroom stuffed tikkas, real good, my sister finished it all :)


>>> LASOONI  PALAK- Real Spinach gravy (not the smooth spinach puree we get everywhere!), this was a heart stealer. MUST-HAVE. Garlic bits all over real, dense, wholesome, healthy spinach gravy. A little bit on bitter side because that is what REAL spinach tastes like. Such home-cooked goodness this one. Enough portion for 3 people.

>>> DAL MAKHANI - Black lentil cooked overnight on tandoor with butter, this one was another WINNER. MUST-MUST-HAVE. One of the BEST Dal Makhani in Mumbai. Really buttery, really smooth, that long-cook flavor shining through, a bit on sweeter side because that is how it is supposed to be :) Such a beautiful contrast with the Palak dish. Went beautifully together.

>>> We tried an assortment of TANDOORI ROTI, GARLIC NAAN, WHOLE WHEAT Garlic Naan and everything was perfect.

Alongside, we tried NOODLES, VEG PULAO, PANEER gravy from the buffet and it was all delicious too. Couldn't find even a single fault anywhere.

What we loved was that everything we tried had such distinct flavors. They do not use the same masalas in all their gravies (which is what happens in many buffets, almost all dishes taste the same)

We could not finish the main course and asked them to be packed for our dad's dinner. Chef ensured that he packed fresh,hot rotis for dad as well as a portion of extra kebabs and dessert alongside the gravies (something he did not need to do at all). Needless to say, dad loved everything and also agrees that this is one of the best dinners he had.


>>> MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE - Eggless Walnut Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream, amazing. 

>>> GULKAND BHARA GULAB JAMUN - MUST-HAVE. Different from usual gulab jamuns, these had gulkand in the center that made them ah-ma-zing to the hilt ♥

>>> ICE CREAM- Butterscotch & Strawberry with Chocolate Chips, creamy, yummy.

So, Delicious Food? Check.
Beautiful ambiance? Check.
Value for Money? Check.
Out-of-this-world Service by Superb Staff? Check.
Overall, Excellent Experience in Every Regard? Check.

Parabola should be a must-visit destination for every foodie. Bon Appetit!

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Thangabali South Indian Restaurant | Southern Feast For Family | Food Review | Restaurant Review

Thangabali, Kitta the first thing that crossed my mind on hearing that the famous South Indian restaurant Thangabali has now opened at Lokhandwala area. Yes, my family loves Deepika Padukone and Chennai Express movie and No, we are not even one bit embarrassed about that :P

Been hearing good things about Thangabali from some of my foodie friends, but they were all singing high praises mainly about its seafood. As a pure vegetarian, I was apprehensive if they had anything good for me too. Going for this review session made it clear that Thangabali is a clear winner for vegetarians too when it comes to South Indian food :)

Ambiance of Thangabali is simple, colorful, clean and pleasing. Staff is extremely friendly and courteous. Special appreciation for their disarming smiles, polite behavior and fast service. Prices are reasonable for quality and quantity. 

Usually on hearing 'South Indian food', we just think Idli-Dosa-Uttapam because that is what we get everywhere. Here there are many additions and emphasis is given on dishes from Andhra Pradesh, Mangalore, coastal Kerala. Menu is vast and has more non-vegetarian dishes but vegetarians have fair representation too.


SOL KADHI - Leaning on tangy side, kokum + coconut, refreshing
BUTTERMILK - Creamy, cool
STRAWBERRY LASSI - Thick, not too sweet, niiiiiiice
FILTER COFFEE - Mom liked it, strong
GREEN APPLE ICED TEA - Sister loved it, flavorful, refreshing, perfect for hot summer afternoon.


PANEER AJADINA - Soft Paneer chunks in generous coconut + spicy dry mix, (what is known as 'sukka' masala here in Maharashtra,it is mildly spicy), first time we tried Paneer like this and absolutely loved it. Usually our starter paneer choice in any restaurant is paneer tikka and this was just such a delightful surprise :D ♥

PANEER UTTAPAM - Medium Thick Uttapams with generous filling of delicious Paneer Bhurji, smashing dish ♥

VEG STEW & FLUFFY APPAMS - My FAV. Creamy coconut-milk based stew with veggies like carrots, peas, beans and curry leaves and loads of mustard seeds. Felt like drinking it by the gallon :D Very mildly on sweeter side (due to natural sweetness of coconut milk). Appams were a bit thicker than expected BUT extremely delicious with stew. MUST-HAVE ♥


MIX VEG CHETTINAD & MALABARI PARATHA - We tried Malabari Paratha which is basically a distinct cousin of our cherished Lachha Paratha of North Indian cuisine :D it is flaky, layered, crisp yet soft and has a distinct mild sweetness. Went extremely well with Mix Veg Chettinad curry which is mildly spicy. 

TAMARIND RICE - Delicious. Not very heavy on stomach. Again, mix veg chettinad curry went well with this. My sister vouches this is close to authentic as she has had different kinds of rice (including tamarind) at her best friend's house who is Tamil.

Apart from this, we also loved the various chutneys they served on our table, had that fresh home-made taste.


PAAL PAYASAM - We call this Rice Kheer in north. Just like our mom makes it. Rich, creamy, not too sweet, lavishly garnished with dry fruits. MUST-HAVE ♥

CARAMEL CUSTARD- The ONLY time I have loved caramel custard is here! At all other places I have ever tried this, it has come across as unbearably egg-y. But here, none of that, it is a MUST-HAVE, that caramel is the bomb ♥

In a word, Thangabali is Outstanding. 100% recommended. We are already making plans to come back :)