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Bhandardara Restaurant Reviews – Amruteshwar, MTDC and More!

March 10, 2010 5 comments



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!

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Raju Koliwada, Gorai Beach Shack

January 17, 2010 3 comments

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.

Chascaa Multicuisine Bar and Restaurant, Palolem, Goa

January 2, 2010 1 comment

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!

Harish Bar and Restaurant

December 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Irla is not a place I have eaten much at except for the overpriced Papillon and Amar Juice Centre. So it was a surprise for me when a friend suggested we go to Harish Bar and Restaurant for some choicest meat dishes and off course some drinks.

For starters, which for this post means drinks, we ordered for Royal Stag quarter at INR 220 which is quite reasonable by any standards! For the food though, there was a long list which included the choicest of prawns (Prawns Lassuni), the sweet tasting Crispy Chicken, Chicken Lollypop, and the evergreen Surmai Tawa Fry. I think the fish here was awesome and so were the prawns though the lollypops held forth for the chicken!

The main course included Chicken Hyderabadi and the Chicken Sukha. The Sukha I rather have at Janta Bar and Restaurant. Though not bad,  it wasn’t the same as at Janta. The Hyderabadi Chicken was lip-smackingly good as were the Parathas we had them with.

Overall the place is on the expensive side though the booze is reasonably priced.

Verdict

Food: 3.5/5 – No complaints with the food. Though the prices could be reduced a bit here.

Service: 4/5 – Attentive and friendly waiters.

Price: 3/5 – The real downer here. Harish could possible be a back up if only the food prices are slashed by 20% or more, which seems unlikely to happen!

Rasoi – Good Food, Great Service!

November 15, 2009 Leave a comment

This past week was a good one as far as finding new eateries is concerned. Rasoi is no different. Until last week, I didn’t know it existed. And on top, Daniel tells me it is a good restaurant. So I had to check out for myself. At first sight, Rasoi comes across as an expensive place. But then again, it is also a bar besides being a restaurant and a makeshift banquet hall.

But since we had travelled all the way to Malad just to try Rasoi, we weren’t going back now. So parked the bike and moved towards the restaurant as we were greeted by 2 gentlemen who led us inside a huge hall with four rows of tables and chairs. Upon request we were guided to table in the corner as opposed to sitting right in front of the exit! This was a good gesture I though as the other table was apparently reserved for someone else.

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Once seated, we were greeted by a North Eastern gentleman was kind enough to suggest us some dishes. Infact his friendly nature made us feel comfortable and at home at Rasoi. His first suggestion was the extra spicy Tangdi Kebab followed by the not so spicy Chicken Kadai. Ironic how the dish that is supposed to be spicy was nearly sweet while the Kebab was a spicy affair. In fact, we utilised their promotional offer of one-on-one free beer from the stable of Little Devil. The mild beer perfectly complimented the Kebabs but lost their usefulness once the starters were over.

P1040654The main course, Chicken Handi, was good to taste, albeit a bit sweet. The quantity was quite good as we were of the consensus that three can eat from this dish as opposed to the two of us then! Following the Handi were the Gulab Jamuns and the Malai Kulfi. My friend and me are in love with this combo which is akin to having a sizzling hot brownie – the only difference being this is an Indian version of the same! Mix a bit of sugar syrup with the Kulfi, and have the hot Gulab Jamun – the combo is just heavenly!

Whilst we were already contemplating another round of desserts the bill was served. The to

tal meal cost us INR 668 which for just the two of us is expensive! Minus the beer at INR 125, the price was still on the higher side for us (others may differ off course!). The food was good, the service even better but the not so affordable prices at this stage of our lives makes us wonder when next will we go to Rasoi!

Merhaba – Gourmet Cafe

November 13, 2009 1 comment

Discovered this outlet while on my way to Turner Road through the bylanes of Bandra starting from Carter Road! Located in the quiet Sherly Rajan Road, it is not suprising that no one knew about this place. Since it was around 11 PM, most of the shelf was already empty with only a couple of chicken and mutton cutlets remaining. Giving them some company were the pastries which were at the other end of a very long shelf! This rectangular shaped ‘cafe’ doesn’t have seating space, making it essentially a takeaway or a free home delivery option (which it does have).

Now, you will not associate a takeaway with an extensive menu. Normally, what you see is what you can get but here its something different. An extensive menu, with exactly 250 items (They have numbered every item in the menu. Did you really think I would count all 250 of em??), makes me wonder how they can manage to offer so much. If you look closely at the menu, it is easy to figure out that this place primarily serves Lebanese.

Merhaba1

Merhaba2Alright then, since it was late night and most of the items were already over, I decided to try the Mutton Cutlet which was covered with Vermicelli – making it a crispy delight. The presentation was a bit different wherein the cutlet wrapped around a thin stick in a way similar to the way chikken tikka is served in the many takeaways in Bandra. The cutlet wasn’t a hit with my taste buds. Maybe it was because the cutlet was made in the Lebanese style – less oily and less spicy – which was a bummer! Though less oily is a winner in my book, less spicy isn’t!

Merhaba extensively serves Lebanese and is the first such place I came across which does so. Otherwise, for instance, for Falafels you need to go somewhere and for Shawerma somewhere else! I am definitely coming back to try out their many dishes on offer.

Update: Went again here and ate a chicken shawerma. The shawerma was strictly ok. The pita bread was baked just about right and wasn’t hard to chew. Gotta give them that  – they do  know how to bake a pita bread to perfection! Though the chicken was a downer here. A bit too try and overcooked! There was a paneer shawerma that my friend had and she seemed to like it thought I couldn’t get to taste it!

Address: No.4, Hardik Villa, Sherly Rajan ROad, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050

Ph: 9222384321 | 9222394321

Diveagar & Harihareshwar Food jaunt!

October 20, 2009 3 comments

A trip to the beach and temple towns of Diveagar and Harihareshwar (in no particular order) proved to be good on the restaurant review front. We were able to try out different restaurants on both days to give us a sense of the kind of food you can expect there. To summarise right now, food is much better at Diveagar and there are quite a few options and most of them remain open till 9-10 PM which is a good thing for travelers like us who prefer to be just-in-time for dinner!

I would like to start in sequence from breakfast to dinner where we had breakfast at Vadkhal Naka and dinner at Harihareshwar. First up is Gandharv Family Restaurant which is located at the Vadkhal Naka on NH17. It is on the road that goes towards Mangaon. Gandharv is a veg-only restaurant (which we only realised the next day when we stopped for lunch and had to move out as we were in the mood for some prawns and chicken!). We stopped here for breakfast and had Tea and Puri Bhaji, a combination which rarely goes wrong anywhere! The food was pretty good, hot puris and hot bhaji along with chutney and sambhar which made for an odd but interesting combination! The tea was nice as well, full of milk instead of water! It was a full breakfast costing us INR 22 for the Puri Bhaji and INR 4 for the tea. A must go to place if on the NH17. Maybe next time, will try for lunch as well. There seem to be a couple more expensive places nearby but I think they will only charge more for the same quality food.

Breakfast was followed by lunch at Mihika Bhojnalaya which is located in Diveagar. The restaurant is situated inside Prathamesh Holiday Resorts. Mihika doesn’t have an extensive menu – it serves only fish in non-veg and Watana in Veg and there is Omlette Pav as well. We were served Surmai as there wasn’t anything else available, though they do seem to serve a couple more types of fishes, the names of which I cannot recall. The food here is pretty good and for INR 140 we got a Surmai Fry, Surmai Masala, some more Surmai Masala and plain rice and rotis – quite a lot for just INR 140! It was a hearty meal and I cannot remember eating so much fish for so less!

There is another restaurant, Prathamesh Holiday Homes, right opposite the resort where Mihika is located.  Holiday Homes also serves Punjabi food among other things, as the board outside clearly mentioned. Will try this place on my next visit!

We also had a chance to try out snacks at Grasshopper Inn (not sure what an ‘inn’ is doing inside a resort!) at the MTDC Resort at Harihareshwar which seems to be the only place far and wide to serve any kind of food! We had Kanda Bhajiya and Batata Bhajiya which was priced at INR 35 each. The Kanda Bhajiya was golden brown and not burnt, a serious sigh of relief! The Potato Bhajiya was oily but acceptable for it wasn’t dripping of oil! The snack at the MTDC Resort was followed by dinner at a roadside Chinese eatery, the name of which escapes my memory. The food here is nothing to talk about though everything you get here is edible. If atall there was a rating of 101 places to eat the same chinese food, then this place would be in the low 90s. The tandoori chicken we had here though wasn’t bad, a little too overcooked for my liking but tasty nonetheless. Ironic how a chinese branded eatery served better tandoor than chinese!!! The half tandoor we had was worth INR 70 while the Manchurian Rice cost us INR 60.This small eatery is on the way to Diveagar from Harihareshwar and was the only eatery we came across in the 35 kms stretch until we reached Diveagar.

We started the next day with Poha mixed with grated coconut at the Cottage where we stayed. It was a wonderful breakfast to kick start the day as the meal was nice and hot with a liberal addition of coconut. I think I will ask my mom to add coconut the next time she makes Poha! The Poha was enough to keep us going until lunch for which we stopped at Upkar Restaurant which is right next to the Gandharv Family Restaurant. Upkar was the choice as we wanted to have non-veg food. The boys ordered for a Prawns Masala, chicken fried rice and a chicken schezwan fried rice. The Prawns Masala was awesome – it wasn’t spicy and the prawns seemed fresh.  I guess we got there at the right time!! Had the prawns with Bhakri – a bread (more like a chapati) made of rice instead of wheat – which incidently was a first for me! The chicken fried rice was good and had a lot of chicken pieces in there. The meal was a cheap one as well as we spent a little less than INR 100 per person.

Interesting is the fact that two of the best places on the whole trip were located at Vadkhal Naka. In my view, this is a definate must stop place for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Also, Vadkhal has a more Veg places than non-veg places it seems as all I could see was veg resturants all throughout the Naka.

This was a good trip as I got to try out so many different places and more importantly different food items at every place. If it was fish at Diveagar then it was prawns at Vadkhal though I think the chicken and the veg food was good as well! Overall, the food was good and the trip was refreshing – nothing else matters beyond that!