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Archive for March, 2010

Papa Pancho da Dhaba, bada lassi da glass

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!

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Churchgate Restaurant, Simple name!

March 29, 2010 4 comments

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.

Food: 2/5

Ambiance: 3.5/5

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)

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WOW at Summer Bliss at 5 Spice

March 27, 2010 3 comments

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.

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Beach Hopping: The Goa Experience – Part I

March 22, 2010 16 comments

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 :P) 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!

My second beach trip was not very far apart. An overnight trip to Diveagar and Harihareshwar concluded in mid-October 2009.

Diveagar

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!

Harihareshwar Beach

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.

Anjuna Beach

Sunset at Calangute.

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.

The Calangute Waves

The long deserted stretch of Colva. It was the only beach that wore a deserted look in Goa!

Palolem is a very pretty beach!

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.

Anjuna Beach.

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.

Calangute again, the sands stretch right upto Fort Aguada.

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 beach provided us with many photographic moments. Colva is a pretty beach to visit and with minimal crowds is an excellent place to relax, let go and just enjoy the beach.

But not satisfied with only one, we ventured on the roads once again to go to Palolem. So much I had heard of this beach that it was only a matter of time until I made it here.

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.

The Fort

The Lighthouse

The View

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!

The Tibetan Market inside the Flea Market. This is one of the two major Tibetan Markets there.

Would you like to  buy some pipes?

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:

Beach Hopping Part II: Alibaug Expedition

Beach Hopping: The Mumbai Excursion – Part III

Another one of those beach trips: Kelwa Beach

The pretty Gorai Beach and the imposing Pagoda

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Open affair, an affair with Italian cuisine

March 21, 2010 3 comments

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.

We also ordered for a Blue Sea, made out of ice, sprite and curacao. The Blue Sea is a nice drink.

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.

Ratings:

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.

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Theobroma, Bandra

March 20, 2010 3 comments

‘Food of the Gods’, the literal translation of Theobroma, a Greek word, doesn’t necessarily mean the food has to be godly! Sadly it wasn’t. We had a couple of chicken croissants and a coffee cappuccino to go with it. The croissant wasn’t as good but then again, I never expected it to. For me, the Chicken Malai Croissant at Cheron is the best one can get for just Rs.30! It has spoiled me so much that I judge other croissants for the coveted second place while the first has been safely reserved for Cheron. However, the croissant at Theobroma was a bit spicy and had less chicken to go with it. I like my croissant to be full of stuffing and the one at Theobroma wasn’t, sadly.

The coffee isn’t anything special either. Rather go to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or for something cheap to Java Green and Java Expresso.

Though, I bought wheat bread from here and thought it was a really nice. Wheat Bread from Venus is my all time favourite though Theobroma does manage to satisfy this demi-god :D.

Overall though, Theobroma may serve the food of the gods but it couldn’t satisfy a mere mortal!

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La Sani, Kebab Kitchen – Wished they were better!

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!

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