Cafe Lalten is an innovative name and goes well with the ambiance of the cafe. The decor is chic though very homely at the same thing.
A make shift library adorns the walls on one side of the restaurant while the other side is stacked with Cafe Lalten mugs and bottles and other accessories. One can pick up any book and spend hours reading and subsequently forgetting about hoohalla outside. Infact, while we were seated there, we had enough of privacy along with a sense of tranquility that resulted in us losing track of time and reaching home late!
We were sitting in the AC section while most of the crowd was in the non-AC section probably for the WIFI available here. Probably that was the reason for the enhanced privacy, if I can say so. Oh my friend also noted that a lot of people who come to Lalten areaantels (slang for intellectuals) probably for the awesome ambiance and the WIFI.
Anyways, back to Lalten, we ordered for Watermelon Juice and Shaadi Walli Coffee. The watermelon Juice was fresh and extremely refreshing in this hot and humid weather. The coffee, besides being very frothy, wasn’t much different than a normal Nescafe coffee.
We also ordered for a Chicken Kebab Sandwich and an almond brownie. The Sandwich was fresh. It tasted fresh. The veggies were freshly cut, the bread felt fresh (and not microwave reheated bread) and the chicken was soft and tender. One single sandwich made me a fan of Cafe Lalten. Nevermind the great ambiance and the WIFI and the hours and hours one can spend here chitchatting. The almond brownie was a first for me! And they were very liberal with the almonds which truly made it an almond brownie and not just a brownie with a couple of almonds attached.
The food was good, the drinks were refreshing and the ambiance was pleasing. The pricing isn’t too bad either and easily affordable. Lalten also serves Chaat items which is what I really wanted to try but couldn’t as the counter was closed that day! Probably will keep it for my next visit!
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Been to Java Green and Mocha a few times already so though of doing a shootout. Read on to find which is better.
Mocha is a well established coffee house, well know among the urban youth. It is more than just a café as alcoholic beverages and hukka is also served here. These two put together put the vote in favour of Mocha. Don’t forget the coffee they serve here is far better than any other café in Mumbai. Try out the Brazilian or Colombian coffee or just the espresso. Coffee here is as good as it gets.
Java Green on the other hand has coffee that I would call ‘average’. It won’t keep you awake late in the night but that is not the point here. Coffee is cheap here but the flavours aren’t as diverse as what one may find at Mocha.
Coming to the food well it is a tie in that case. Though Java Green has far better Chicken Crispy Panini than Mocha. The bread is crispy and the chicken is tender. More important the chicken pieces are bigger than at Mocha which is a real disappointment. Overall, the food is better at Mocha.
Lastly, the ambiance at Java Green is no match for Mocha. At Mocha, one feels like spending time, chill out, relax, drink coffee and have conversations. Java Green seems more formal and the seating isn’t as comfortable here.
Overall, Mocha is excellent for Coffee, Hukka, Booze and Ambiance. Desserts are excellent here and as well as at Java Green. Prices are on the higher side at Mocha so if you are in the mood for some cheap food, coffee and desserts than Java Green is the place to be.
For those lazy to read, check the rating graph below.
Coffee: Mocha (M) – 9/10 | Java Green (JG) – 6/10
Food: M – 7/10 | JG – 7/10
Desserts: M – 8/10 | JG – 7/10
Ambiance: M – 9/10 | JG – 6/10
Service: M – 8/10 | JG – 8/10
Price: M – 6/10 | JG – 8/10
Have been to Pratap da Dhaba a few times already. My last few visits have been well documented here, here and here! I realised that I have yet to post pictures of this place and this time seems no different except for a few pictures but I hope that doesn’t disappoint.
The last time I went, we were disappointed but thankfully, that experience was a one-off. This time around, we went on a weekday and got the benefit of great service, courtesy relaxed waiters. Pratap da Dhaba has a good Dhaba feel to it and one can see all sorts of people here including families, friends and couples.
We started off with drinks including the age-old Lassi and the Panna Goday Naal. The later was an extremely tangy drink with pepper and salt mixed with lemon juice and water. It was a one of a kind drink and we loved it!
The drinks kept us going for a while after which we ordered for a Macchi Fry Amritsari. The Amritsari was ravas cooked in North Indian masalas and wasn’t as spicy as fish starters are in Maharashtra. The starter was excellent and the accompanying chutney was good as well.
While raving about how good the starters were, we went ahead with our order for the main course which was a Kukkad Dhania Adraki. A bit disappoint with the adrak which had a strong flavour but overall the dish was good. The Ginger-Garlic paste was liberal but so was the white chicken which was tender and juicy. We also ordered for a Lachha Paratha and again was a bit disappointed here. Prefer my Lachha Paratha a bit thinner than a Tandoori roti but that wasn’t the case here.
The place is a bit on the higher side but the food and the ambiance makes up for it. Pratap da Dhaba is highly recommended by http://talkreviews.wordpress.com!
Mia Cucina is a small restaurant Italian restaurant in Pali Naka Bandra. The place has an upmarket ambiance and a price to go with!
The ambiance is soothing and relaxing which is a big plus point of Mia Cucina. The crowd is essentially Bandraites along with foreign people who live nearly. We were there early but couldn’t find a table inside the A/C section so had to sit outside but thankfully, the cool evening breeze and lower humidity levels kept us from sweating.
The menu here is unique in a way that it is hand written. The person who wrote the menu has a clear handwriting! But this was a unique surprise especially after the hand written bill served to us by Deja Vu.
But we did order ourselves some coolers. We called for a Black Soda which was essentially cranberry juice with soda.
For starters we ordered for a Bruschetta Pollo. The bread was crunchy, cheesy and laden with Balsamic Vinegar. It had a nice taste to it, a bit tangy but tasty. However, I felt the Brushetta was a let down, especially compared to the food items we had subsequently.
For main course we called for Strozzapreti Con Pollo. Strozzapreti is what gave the meal its character. Parmesan cheese along with chicken cubes and tomato sauce made for a somewhat bland main course.
We were surprised we didn’t get any more sauces along with the main course. Probably should have asked but do not think they give any other sauces otherwise.
Overall, we opined that Mia Cucina served excellent Italian Food and the service isn’t bad either. However, the price was a bit higher but it made up for the ambiance and the food. The overall bill was Rs.709 with the breakup as follows: Black Soda: Rs.65, Bruschetta: Rs.150, Strozzapreti: Rs.275, White Chocolate Cheesecake: Rs. 140
I think Mia Cucina is a good place to hang out, have good food and soak in the environment. Outside seating is recommended especially late in the evenings. Apparently the pizzas here are nice so if any of you guys try it out, do not forget to leave your comments here!
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:
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).
A trip to beaches around Alibaug cannot be complete without trying out a restaurant there. We decided to go to Fulora in Alibaug City. Located a few meters away from the St. Bus Stand, Fulora is popular among locals and tourists alike. So Trance Dude, Rock Chic and Lord Chicken found a cosy table to relax and eat.
First up we ordered for Chicken Lollipops along with Prawns Chilly. The lollipops were pretty standard though the Prawns Chilly Dry was a big disappointment. Small in size were the prawns and the dish didn’t taste that good. It was below average for my liking. We though things may get better with the main course but the quality only went down. Ordered for a Chicken Afgani which was green in colour! The meal wasn’t spicy but quite oily. In fact we could only taste the oil and not the masala or the chicken.
Overall the food was a big disappointment as we had expected something better.
Cannot remember the last time Trance Dude checked out Gorai Beach. It was possibly, when he was a kid. This time on his bike with the Rock Chic, Trance Dude set out on his journey to Gorai. The beach was awesome, even visited the Global Pagoda. Gorai comes close to Goan beaches in terms of eateries on the beach itself. We went to one such shack which had a few pet dogs it seemed.
Hungry after hours of walking, we ordered for Chicken Fried Rice, Prawns Chilly and another Surmai. Unsurprisingly the prawns and fish was good while chicken was nothing great to write about.
The prawns they served us were big but not as big as the King Prawns. It tasted really nice even though we were very aware of the presence of Schzwan Sauce in the Prawns Chilly Dry! The dish wasn’t spicy though and once could taste the prawns through the sauce and masala. The fish was well cooked though small in size but at INR 80, it was the cheapest Surmai I have had in Mumbai.The prawns was priced at INR 100 as well, making it a cheap and good eating option if one is in Gorai.
I have some fond memories at Bob Marley’s shack at Candolim Beach in Goa. I go here everytime I am in Goa. I have always liked the food and drinks elsewhere but there is something about this shack that keeps inviting me back! This time around, I was there for a short duration. Got a large Kingfisher and to satiate my friend’s vegetarian needs ordered for Veg Pakoras. Took some time to arrive as usually they take a bit more time for the vegetarian dishes it seems. When the dish finally did arrive, it was a plesant surprise. The surprise was the size of em pakoras. Big and soft and extremely tasty! These were the best Pakoras I or my friend have every had! Infact we ended up ordering another couple of plates and were quite full by the time it was dawn!
But the best moment was, a beer in my hand, some awesome pakoras and Armin Van Buuren killing it at Sunburn 2009 in the background!
My first trip to Palolem couldn’t be complete without trying out a restaurant here and what better than Chascaa, located on the south end of the beach. The view from here is splendid and as the day progressed we found out the food here isn’t bad either!
Hadn’t had fish in Goa yet so couldn’t resist ordering a Fish Tikka and what a good choice it turned out to be! Not sure what fish it was but it was good. Cooked well it did not smell like the way it does in many small eateries. Fish Tikka and beer was enough to make my day! My veggie friend though had a full meal. From Veg Pakodas to Malai Kofta and Rice. Even the veg items were great. Cooked well, the Kofta and Pakodas tasted nice. The combination of Jeera rice and Malai Kofta was good as well. One of the best things at Chascaa was that the flavours came out really nice and none of the dishes had any one single flavour overpowering the others.
Overall the meal was good. In fact I’d say it was excellent as the veg and the non veg items were both very good! An amazing view of the beach and of the ocean coupled with good food makes Chascaa a must visit place on Palolem! Also, the beer here is really cheap, at INR 35, it is the least I have paid for a Kingfisher Pint!
The bonus for me was when the owner played the song ‘bliss – kissing’ twice while we were here. It is one of my favourite songs and its been ages since I heard it last!
A friend gave me a birthday treat at his club at Santacruz, Mumbai. He being veg, we decided, rather I decided to order veg starters. Started with a Cheese Paneer starter. Paneer is basically cottage cheese, so essential it was Cheese Cottage Cheese Crispy!! The dish was alright, nothing too special about it. The cheese was kinda too much as we couldn’t really taste the feel the paneer, feel and not taste as the Paneer is generally bland in nature. Following up the cottage cheese, or no cottage cheese dish was a special dish made from deep fried bread. forgot the name, but it was one heavy dish! extremely oily and could easily give anyone a heart attack. Thankfully I am a healthy (*cough* *cough*) bloke so could digest it without any problems!
The heart attack reciepe was followed up with the Paneer Crispy and then the Chicken Reshmi Kabab. Both was good dishes to end our dinner prematurely as none of us was hungry anymore for the main course! The Paneer crispy had a bit of colour (as in spice!) to it while the Reshmi Kebab as always was bright yellow. They just love their turmeric these club people!!
Anyways after an average meal which ended up being a good meal by the end of cost my friend INR 270. Not so cheap when you consider that people become members at various clubs so that they can avail of good and more importantly cheap food! But the booze prices at the clubs are quite cheap, infact so cheap that no other place in the city can compete with such low rates! I guess that makes these clubs a drunkards paradise!
Anyhoo, coming back to topic, well the meal was good. I have been here a few times before and I wouldn’t mind coming here again!
A note: You need to know someone who is a member of the club to eat there. This is the rule across all such clubs or gymkhana in Mumbai.