As the title reads, Papa Pancho does serve a big glass of Lassi. Served in a traditional way, the Lassi alone can satiate a lot of people, for the quantity is a lot. The only other place I know of which serves a huge glass of Lassi is the now closed down Grill Cottage at Carter Road.
The glutton that I am, a lassi wouldn’t satisfy me. So I ordered for a Bhuna Gosht Meal and a Lachcha Paratha. Since it was two people sharing the meal, my first impressions was that the main course quantity was low. No complains with the food though. We thoroughly enjoyed the red meat (mutton) which was succulent. The Lachcha Paratha was one of the better Parathas I have had in recent times.
The meal was expensive at INR 250 for the Bhuna Gosht and INR 35 for the Lachcha Paratha. The Lassi priced at INR 85, a bit exorbitant, even as the quantity was quite good.
Wouldn’t mind visiting the place again to try the chicken fare but that may not happening anytime soon due to the high prices here.
Oh, and before I forget the ambiance here reminded me of Pratap da Dhaba, though on a smaller scale. Though I love Bandra, I rather go to Pratap da Dhaba for some affordable Punjabi Food. Though, I think, I will miss the bada lassi da glass!
Traveling to Churhgate, the southern most tip of the Western Railway in Mumbai, isn’t something I do often. Most of the eating (aka hogging) happens at the station itself. But today, I was here with a purpose. To have a beer and some chicken along with it. The only place I knew which was close to the station was Churchgate Restaurant. Opposite 210 Degrees, this is a quaint little place. Nothing much to speak off as far as ambiance is concerned, there is however, an antique clock hanging next to the TV set, lending a bit of charm to the entire place. The ceiling is high as well, a feature absent from most new structures.
We grabbed the biggest seat there was for the three of us and ordered for a pitcher of beer. It wasn’t chilled but it wasn’t warm either. Ordered some Chana Dal with the beer and for starters a Chicken 65. Was a bit aghast with the quantity which was way too less for my liking. At INR 100, I have had better chicken 65 and in far greater quantity as well.
Next up we ordered for our main course – Chicken Masala Fry. The quantity was less here as well. They do not serve Tandoori Roti so had to do with chapati (which is a thinner version of a Tandoori Roti). The Masala Fry was just about ok. The thick gravy had a consistent flavour which drowned any other flavour present in the dish. In the meantime, we ordered for another pitcher.
Overall, the food is nothing to write home about. Beer wasn’t chilled but if it was, I wouldn’t be able to have it for my ongoing sinus problems! So no issues for me! The thing is though, sitting at Churchgate and having beer makes me feel ‘cool’. The place doesn’t have a beer bar ambiance but that is a good thing in my book.
Service: 4/5 – Service was excellent. The waiter was busy but he always had a smile on his face and did not hesitate to answer any queries we had. Though if only he had told us, food isn’t so good, we could have gone elsewhere!
Price: Pitcher: INR 190 (INR 130 on Sundays, A real bargain IMO).
Other offers: Chicken Dhansak (INR 110 on Fridays and Saturdays)
5 Spice serves one of the best Chinese Foods in Mumbai. There is little doubt that good food and great ambiance are one of its biggest attractions. However, 5 Spice also serves excellent desserts. One of them being Summer Bliss. Sinful, to say the least, it is much like a sizzling brownie except it comes in a humongous glass bowl. Brownies, ice cream and a liberal dosage of nuts makes it an excellent dessert option. off course it is for INR 140 but if five people can share it, then price doesn’t matter.
Besides Summer Bliss for dessert one can try out the Spicy Pot Chicken which is a complete meal full of rice, veggies and offcourse chicken! To have along with the Spicy Pot Chicken, one can order for a Lemon Mojito Mocktail which is an excellent cooler for the hot summer months in Mumbai.
There is something about a beach. The sound of the waves crashing, the touch of sand and the chills of the cold seawater on bare feet is but a generalization of an experience one can have on a beach. Yet it is amazing how each of these experiences is unique.
Over the last four months I stepped foot on more than 20 different beaches across Maharashtra and Goa. It is not an achievement I brag about (Well maybe I do ) but it is the experience that I treasure. Some of these visits seemed mundane while others were pure bliss. After all what is a visit to a beach if it does not enrich your soul, calm your mind and clear your head?
It all began with a trip to Kashid and Murud beaches which are ahead of Alibaug. Regarded as one of the prettiest beaches in all of Maharashtra, Kashid was one place I was eager to go. White sands and calm and cool waters was what I expected and it is what I got, or rather, experienced. A blog post about the trip to Kashid and Murud is up here.
But little did I know, that this little trip will set in motion a chain of events that would lead me to the point of penning down my experience of many more beaches, some of them pristine, untouched paradises!
The long-deserted stretch of the Diveagar beach won me over while the more famous Harihareshwar was only a small visit for the sake of proof through photographs for I was too eager to head back to my new found solitude at Diveagar. Harihareshwar though is an excellent beach with the waters calm all throughout the year!
Then, after a lull, came Goa. This party destination is the destination of choice to spend my new years eve. Unless I find another beach destination with lesser people and same old Trance/Techno/House/Electro music, Goa will continue to remain my preferred destination to ring in the new year. But this is not the only reason why Goa is a preferred destination.
For one, I am in love with Goan beaches and can never get enough of them. Secondly, beaches have a calming effect and no where but in Goa am I at peace within.
Be it basking in the sun on Calangute, or having dinner at Souza Lobo at Baga, or light snacks at Bob Marley Shack at Candolim, Goan beaches offer a lot more than sun, sand and booze and apparently great sights too .
Chill on every beach and enjoy the unique beauty was my moto on this trip. Offcourse, like a dog, I left my imprint on each beach I visited. The massive early morning waves at Calangute are not to be missed while the serene waters of Colva and the unpolluted ocean at Palolem is as close to heaven as any living mortal can get.
Anjuna has its own charm as well. The erstwhile rave capital of Goa still thrives just like any other beach. Tall cliffs that overlook the ocean make for a perfect sunset point. Baga, on the other hand, is dotted with clubs and discs and shacks that go on all night, but it is Anjuna where the real parties happen. It is not just the parties, the coarse Anjuna sand and the strong water currents are an attraction of their own.
But really, the most fun is the long stretch starting from Baga and ending at Taj Aguada. Different sands and a different colour of the sea every few 100 meters is a sight that greets one. It is like a beach buffet – every delicacy is there – choose the one you want! Speaking of delicacies, one should try out the Bob Marley’s Shack at Candolim. They serve good Vindaloo and excellent Veg Pakodas. It is also located in one of the less crowded parts of Candolim, partly due to the anchored ship there, which apparently no one wants to take responsibility for. Then there is X-Bar Restaurant at Calangute which serves good biryani and good food in general. Another is Manik which serves good Hukka too and has excellent chicken tikka! It is located just ahead of X-Bar on the road that leads to Baga Beach.
Moving away from the more commercialized yet very pretty north Goa beaches, we checked out the long deserted stretch of Colva. The day we went, there was a strike by the locals forcing us to take the longer, prettier road to the beach. Once there, didn’t feel like leaving.
A beach with so few people on it – surely this cannot be Goa in December. But it turned out that the strike was in part responsible for the desolation that was Colva. Anglers’ beach primarily, this is where many locals come as do the tourists.
The prettiest beach in all of Goa and by far the prettiest I have stepped foot on, Palolem was as enchanting as they come. A round cape, rocks and boulders mark the edges on either side. While the beach is pretty, it is the southern tip, which caught my attention. A natural pool by the sea, it was a pretty sight.
So much so that I chose to spend time sitting on the rocks there gazing out to the endless sea as if there was no tomorrow. A quick lunch at Chascaa was preceded by a long walk.
Amazed by the beauty, I felt sorry for the beach wondering how much pollution the resulting commercialization must be causing. But it was a clean beach suggesting that shack owners could be responsible for preserving its beauty.
Goa has so much more besides beaches. There is Fort Aguada with its majestic Lighthouse and the panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.
Then there is the Anjuna Flea Market which is probably the biggest I have seen so far. Excellent place to buy gifts and everyday items at throw away prices. Offcourse, one would need to bargain hard to get those throw away prices in the first place!
Palolem was my last beach visit in Goa. However, beach hopping did not end there. It continued with frequent visits to beaches across Mumbai and Maharashtra. I have penned down my subsequent travelogues in the following posts:
Its been more than two years since I went to Open Affair last. This time thought of trying out something Italian in this multi cuisine restaurant. But before that, we ordered for a Pahadi Kebab which was just about ok. I distinctly remember the food being really good when I was here last time around. The Kebab was a bit spicy but the chicken was a disappointment. It felt like the chicken wasn’t fresh. It wasn’t juicy or tender either.
Next up we ordered for a Risotto. It is an Italian dish and according to the Wikipedia – Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish cooked with broth and flavored with parmesan cheese and other ingredients, which can include meat, fish or vegetables. The name means literally “little rice” and it is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Well, a Risotto should ideally include a lot of veggies, meat, cheese and sauce.
The one offered at Open Affair is accompanied by one of the three sauces including a Paprika sauce which we ordered for. The sauce is mildly spicy but not as good as the one at Out of the Blue.
The rice used was a short grain rice which is what a Risotto should be made of which was good to see. However, the menu said Arborio rice which I am not sure you get here (unless imported, which explains the high price) though a similar variety is available from South India. The cheese though, wasn’t sure which one it was. The disappointment though was the lack of veggies. There were a few salad items here and there and garlic bread too but overall the Risotto seemed to lack the veggies which otherwise would have made it a great dish!
Overall, the Risotto was good but could have been better. The Pahadi Kebab was a major let down while the drink was ok. Honestly, I am disappointed with Open Affair for they have increased the prices but the Quality of food hasn’t gotten any better.
Food: 3/5 – Good Food but wouldn’t come here again if the prices remain the same!
Price: 2/5 – Too expensive. Don’t mind paying but the food should live up to its price tag!
Ambiance: 3/5 – The outside section is too noisy but cannot blame them for the restaurant is right on Carter Road.
La Sani Kebab Kitchen is in the same courtyard as Java Green and other eateries, both Veg and Non Veg. La Sani offers both but the quality isn’t much to talk about. We ordered for a Chicken Tikka Masala and Roti. The Tikka Masala was for Rs.99 but frankly, wasn’t worth more than Rs.50. They served us quickly and offered to let us use the table fan to keep the summer heat at bay. But the food did not live up to the mark. Though if it was cheaper, La Suni would be my first choice for Punjabi food since it wasn’t so bad but could have been better and cheaper!
The second time around (For the first review read here), visited Java Expresso for its free WIFI. Got a new phone to keep up cricket updates from the Indian Premier League (IPL). But my LG GT 505 ran out juice (hadn’t charged it for over 2 days!) so couldn’t really use the free WIFI. Anyhoo, this gave me the chance to try something new here. So ordered for a Cafe Hazelnut which was really nice. Though, it disappointed a bit since the hazelnut flavour was less and the coffee didn’t seem right.
Besides the Hazelnut coffee, ordered a Java Potato Basket for the gang. You cannot go wrong with the Java Potato Basket, period. Another new coffee we tried was the Iced Caramel. The difference between the Coffee Caramelo and the Iced Caramelo is the ice though the iced version is Rs.10 extra. Wondering how and when water became so costly?
BTW, there is a Java Expresso at Goregoan East as well. Had the Chocolate Excess (pastry) here. Was descent for its price. It is located in the second lane after Oberoi Mall in Goregaon. This lane leads up to to Oberoi Woods, a residential complex.
Amruteshwar and MTDC are resorts (or hotels) in the scenic hill station of Bhandardara. Both have restaurants to serve their patrons digestive needs however, neither serves food upto the standard you’d expect.
Amruteshwar’s restaurant (Valley View Garden Restaurant) should be avoided even by those staying at the hotel. The food they serve either smells and tastes weird or the food is stale – either ways it is a no-eat! We had ordered for Poha (Which was on the breakfast menu) and Tea. Never thought one could go wrong with the tea, but here at Valley View, they give a whole new definition to it! The Poha too was nothing special and we had to leave it and head to MTDC for breakfast.
The view though, is spectacular. Hence the name, Valley View. No other restaurant than Amruteshwar has a better view! But pretty sights alone do not satiate one’s hunger, pun intended!
We headed to MTDC for lunch at its Lake View Restaurant. The non veggies ordered for fish (a local variety caught from the lake) and Chicken Masala. The fish is quite bony and has we had a touch time but the well cooked preparation had us licking our fingers!The chicken masala though was nothing special. It was slightly pungent and had us ordering a couple of lime juices to negate the flavour!For dessert we ordered for Shrikhand and never has anyone of us seen nearly 200 grams of Shrikhand served for just Rs.25. Though the MTDC restaurant is cheap on the wallet, it doesn’t really leave you wanting for more. So my hunt for good food continued.
For dinner, went to Panch Sheel which is down the road from MTDC. It was a place recommended but we didn’t find it up to the mark (or maybe up to the mark of what we thought it would be). We ordered for butter chicken and Jeera Rice. The butter chicken was half the quantity and yet it was still a lot for us. It tasted like a south Indian dish with lot of Kadipatta (Curry Tree) minus the richness of butter and ghee generally found in Butter Chickens in Mumbai. The Masala Papad here was very pungent, so much so that, we had to remove the masala, mainly composed of tomato and red chilly sauce!, and just have the roast papad. Though I must say, the super heavy dinner, helped us sleep like babies especially after being awake for more than 24 hours!
Next day, we went for breakfast to road side stall named Coffee Dam Corner. Owned by Sanjay, a BCom graduate, this highly profitable stall serves the best Batata Vada (made of potato) and tea. They also have Bhajiyas (again made of potato) which are awesome. The food here is just too good. The best food/snacks in Bhandardara was being served in this small stall. It is easy to find as well as the ST Bus stops next to the bus stand and the road to MTDC begins from this stall.
While coming back home, we went to Manas Lifestyle Resort for lunch. ‘Sweet Poison’ is one of the two restaurants at Manas. We ordered for a Chicken Biryani. The lucknowi version of biryani, it was one of the best I have had so far but shelling out INR 300 for it was way too much I thought.
Bhandardara is an excellent place but disappointing on the food part. Though for sure, there will be a few more which I hope to visit on my next visit!
Sahibaan at Colaba is apparently the first of the many Sahibaan restaurants open in Mumbai. Being the first, it boasts of an extensive menu, Chinese and India, that most of its brethren do not.
We were at Colaba searching for a place to chill and have dinner and chanced upon Sahibaan. Did not hesitate to walk in. The place is pretty small but has good seating arrangement. They generously offered us a table for six people even though we were just two!
Have already had the sizzlers from here so decided to try out something new. For me, new meant having Momos. So ordered for Steam Chicken Momos which were served along with three different sauces. One was sweet, one a bit sweet and sour and another just plain spicy!
After the momos, we ordered for Chicken Pot Rice. Very much like Biryani cooked in an earthen pot, the Pot Rice was served in a ceramic bowl. Steamed chicken was the delicacy of the day for us with loads of freshly cut veggies. We were given chop sticks too. It was my first time with a chop stick and I think I didn’t do a bad job afterall. The pot rice was a bit bland and had to be mixed with some Soy Sauce (which I like) .
The food was delicious. The thing with Chinese food is the magic of the various sauces and when done right makes any thing you can have into a tasty delicacy. But we weren’t done yet. Ordered for a Sizzling Brownie (had to order something sizzling at Sahibaan!). The chocolate was a bit burnt and the brownie was just a plain old brownie, had hoped to find some nuts in there.
Had a chance not to long ago to visit Kelwa beach. A free weekend meant I could laze on the sand at a beach nearby while clicking some pictures for memories sake. Instead of the rush and dash to visit many beaches, this time there was only one. Apparently, the Queen of the Beaches in the Virar-Vasai belt, Kelwa is located near Saphale railway station and is easily accessible by rail or road.
Had planned this trip earlier but due to lack of time couldn’t really free myself for this trip. But this weekend I finally managed to ride all the way to Kelwa. Taking the Western Express Highway, one can drive down to Manor or take a l from Saphale. The Mumbai-Saphale Link Road is supposedly more scenic but we missed it and instead had to take the left from Manor.
Going through an industrial town early in the morning wasn’t what we had hoped for but it helped us reach the beach in quick time. Once there, we were greeted by an empty patch of sand that stretched for more than a mile on either side. A long and pretty beach is Kelwa but for some reason the far end of the beach looked visibly prettier even as it was hazy in the morning!
There is a small outpost (people call it fort) on the left end of the beach while on the right end is a dam. We did not have time to check out the entire beach but it was still fun walking the long stretch to the outpost.
The outpost needs to be climbed up on and only those who dared were successful. We on the other hand, were happy to lay besides the calm sea with the water gently caressing our feet. While sitting on the beach, we noticed a lot of crabs dancing around from one hole to the other. They got accustomed to our prolonged presence and did not seemed to mind us sitting there – they would go around us to reach their destination!
As the day progressed the crowds only got bigger. Conclusions were drawn. Kelwa is the Juhu Beach of the far-flung suburbs! There are quite a few stalls there selling cold drinks, nimboo pani and small biscuits and tea. So refreshments are easily available. Though behind the trees, there is market where the choice of the sellers is dried fish, lots of it! Probably a fish market more than anything else but it is kinda nice to see fishermen and women selling fish though would have loved to see some freshly caught ones.
There are horse rides available from the entrance to the fort and back though a walk on the beach wouldn’t do any damage. It is a pretty beach no doubt, and for my next trip I plan to check out the other end of the beach which looked deserted.
We rode back home in the afternoon and stopped at Vitthal Kamat at Manor for lunch and then back home via. NH8.
Britannia was a name I had heard a lot from a Parsi friend of mine. It just so happened that I ended up at Britannia while on my way back home from my father’s office and decided to try out this place.
We were greeted by an old and friendly gentleman who took down our names (and even remembered our names while we were leaving from there! awesome stuff). If this friendliness wasn’t enough, we were served by another old man who was the darling of everyone there with nearly ever person in Britannia wanting to click a picture with him!.
He came over to take our order with a big broad smile. I can tell u, that made my day! We ordered for a Chicken Berry Pulav which seemed to be the preferred meal for most there. The Pulav was a first for me with berries in it. Though it looked like fried onions it was infact berries and made for a unique combination with chicken and rice. The chicken itself was tender and juicy and cooked really well.
Though the rice was bit expensive for my liking, the experience, the service and food made up for it.
Britannia is most definitely worth visiting more than once but mind you, the place is only open during lunch hours (mostly from 1 PM to 4 PM).
Wanton House is this, surprisingly, little known place opposite Spice Tree in Bandra. A Chinese outlet, Wanton House is similar in ambiance to Dynasty in Santacruz though the former is bit more cramped up especially for big people (like your’s truly).
Went for dinner with Rock Chic and since we were both hungry, we set aside our dieting goals to gorge on some Chinese goodness. First up we ordered for Wantons (now don’t be surprised at the choice!) and Chicken Shanghai Fried Rice. The Wantons were deep fried but were quite different from what I thought are Wantons. The filling is too small even as the number of Wantons is quite good (about 10). This was followed by the crunchy Shanghai Fried Rice which could easily suffice 3 people. The quantity is extremely good at Wanton House, though the pricing is about double that of Jimmy’s Kitchen. At Rs.160 for the rice, it wasn’t the best made Chinese food, far from it! The schzewan was a little over the top, negating any other flavours in the meal. I would have expected better for Rs.160!
A cramped up place, Wanton House is quite good for a cosy meal with the advantage of free WIFI. Though I would rate it 3/5 for food, the service was good, a smiling waiter/waitress will always get bonus points (double points for a waitress!) from me!