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Esfahaan – disappointing dinning

Esfahaan is a newly opened restaurant located in Bandra near KFC. The restaurant stands where Sahibaan stood earlier.

An extremely small eatery, it is ironic that the restaurant is frequented by groups of 5 or more. We too were such a group and occupied 1/4th of the restaurant.

Busy chatting and laughing, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves for quite sometime before the crowds started pouring in.

While chatting, we ordered for a couple of drinks including an Ice Tea and Fresh Lime Soda. I think the drinks are expensive for the quality on offer. Though its good, for Rs.90 a glass, other places offer better Ice Tea. The Ice Tea at Sahibaan used to be excellent in my opinion.

Moving on to the starters, we ordered a few of those!

First up for the Almond Smoked Chicken, Cheese Frittas, Fish Fingers, Manchow Soup, Nachos, Murg Malai Tikka and Crispy Baby Corn.
The starters here are extremely good. One should try the Cheese Frittas and the Nachos here. They are excellent especially the Frittas where the cheese is in liberal dosage. The Nachos were accompanied by spicy gravy. However, the tomato cheese sauce was the icing on the cake and ordered for a couple more to be had with other starters!
The Fish Fingers are a bit pungent and sharp in taste which could have been avoided, me thinks! Again, the starter was accompanied by spicy gravy!

The Manchau Soup was a bit different. It wasn’t watery but wasn’t the thick white soup that one generally accepts!

The almost smoked chicken was a delight though. Rich aromas filled the entire room when it was bought and even the veggies thought twice before denying themselves an opportunity to taste this exotic cuisine.

The Murg Malai Tikka was the usual Malai Tikka fare that one gets in most restaurants.

The Veg crispy/Crispy baby corn was good fare too. The baby corn especially seemed fresh.

The main course was a bit of a disappointment. The two gravies we ordered were thin and not exactly what we expected. The meal wasn’t spicy nor tangent and it felt like someone had forgotten to put in enough salt and masalas.

Murg Eshfani Malai was a bigger disappointment than the Murg Shabnami which had a far thicker gravy. However, the good thing was the chicken was soft, tender and well cooked.

The veggies ordered for a Paneer Shashlik Sizzler which was a bit bland for our taste buds. The paneer was soft and the gravy that came with the sizzler was a rich mix of veggies.

Not yet content with the food, me the gluttonous biryani lover ordered for a Chicken Biryani and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. The biryani wasn’t oily and was good enough for two people. But priced at INR 180, it was far more expensive than Biryani elsewhere which is where the disappointment stems from. Places like Just Biryani offer far better course and are cheaper as well.

Esfahaan is a multi-cuisine restaurant and we felt that it lost the essence of good food by trying to be more than what it had bargained for. A tiny kitchen can only give certain number of items and as for the rest, one has to do with subtle or sometimes major changes. Our biggest disappointment was their failed efforts to add spice to nearly every food item served which ensured that food didn’t taste the way it was meant to! Main Course was disappointment as well, as the gravies weren’t filling nor were they tasty.

Besides not to so good food were the not so good prices. Most starters were in the range of Rs.120-160, main course in the range of Rs.180-250 and the biryani for Rs.180. Clearly, the prices are on the higher side and I fail to understand what they plan to achieve with such high prices. Thankfully, we had Mydala.com coupons so the final bill wasn’t heavy on the wallet.

However, it seemed that the Tandoor items were in great demand here and probably that is something we should have tried out but couldn’t at that time.

My overall rating of this place are as follows:

Ambiance: 2/5 – There isn’t much of an ambiance to speak of here.

Food: 2/5 – I generally don’t give such low ratings but having tried a wide range of dishes on a single day, I have no other choice!

Price: 1/5 – Very very expensive is what I would term it as.

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Shalimar Bandra, Excellent North Indian Cuisine

April 25, 2010 5 comments

Shalimar is located opposite Shoppers Stop Bandra, The Great Punjab and Persian Darbar. In the company of such stalwarts, Shalimar holds its own and has done so for many years. The place is popular amongst those craving for North Indian cuisines.

We ordered for a Special Chef Chicken and Chicken Peshawari along with Garlic Naan without bothering to order starters. Earlier in the day we spent time at Sheeshas so didn’t feel the need to order for starters.

We thought the quantity was a bit less but the taste made up for it. The chef special was a delightful mix of chicken and masala gravy without being too pungent. The Peshawari was the usual chicken cooked in fine ginger garlic paste and some black pepper too.

There was only a faint but linger taste of ginger which was good as not many like a lot of ginger in their food.

The garlic Naan was nice as well and it seemed like an overdose of garlic from the naan and from the Peshawari Chicken. The meal uptil now was filling but when 4 hoggers meet, nothing is enough. So to stuff ourselves further, we ordered for a chicken biryani.

The Biryani was pungent but it tasted good. Chicken was succulent and the Biryani quantity was good enough for four especially after the roti-sabzi!

The food was good but we weren’t finished yet! So ordered for desserts including Mango Bowl and Shahi Tukda. I think mom makes excellent Shahi Tukda but the one at Shalimar was good too. Laced with cream, it was delectable though I can only imagine how many calories one must have gained! The mango bowl was freshly cut mango pieces in cream – an excellent combination, which I have tried at home as well already!

The food was excellent but the prices were a bit steep for our liking. The Biryani and the chef special were priced at Rs.170 each while the Peshawari was Rs.145. The shahi Tukda was worth Rs.135, which is expensive as the same can be made at home for far cheaper!

The service here is good too with waiters being attentive (Even with the IPL action going on!) and quick to respond. The ambiance of the place isn’t much really as it is more of a no-frills eating place, an excellent one at that, mind you!

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Sheesha’s @ Shopper’s Stop, Sheesh at the Hukka!

April 15, 2010 7 comments

Sheesha’s at Shoppers Stop, Bandra is a must visit place to escape the searing heat. No No, there is no AC section here (for that, please stay in your respective homes and office :P) but it is an open air restaurant that has its own charm.

There is something about rooftop places, the view, the ambiance, the wind, the comfort, the feeling of being on top of the world and a satisfied feeling too if the food is good. We were all of this as strong gusts of wind kept the sweat away from our brows, quite literally. Since Sheesha serves Hukkas (and we were there for hukkas), we ordered for a Blue Berry Hukka. Though, I think, he served us a Pan Masala Hukka. We didn’t mind but later realised an error we committed while ordering the Hukka. We ordered for a normal Hukka and not the one with ice. We realised that the flavour ran out soon as the water warmed up and with temperatures already soaring high, we ended up paying dearly for this error – more like paying but not enjoying for long!

Accompanying the Hukka were a couple of starters. One was a Reshmi Tikka and another was a Mutton Sheekh Kebab. Both were excellent. The Reshmi Tikka was succulent. The Sheekh Kebab was made of finely minced meat and the flavours were well-balanced without any one flavour overpowering the others. The kebabs did break apart a bit suggesting that the dough probably needed to be kept aside longer. The kebabs tasted pretty good nonetheless.

Overall, it was a meal that was a bit pricey at Rs.250 per person especially since we didn’t have main course here. The hukka ran out too early and kinda spoiled the mood for us. Next time, shall remember to order the Iced Hukka!

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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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Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

March 5, 2010 1 comment

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) was recommended by Daniel soon after he discovered my love for coffee!  So a bunch of us went here and got ourselves a nice cosy seating at the end of the cafe. For the uninitiated, CBTL is located in the same building as the erstwhile Cream Centre, which has now been shifted to Oberoi Mall in Goregaon East.

Yes they are actual employees, just not in the Indian outlet, not yet atleast!

We ordered for our respective coffees including a Cappuchino, Mocha Latte, White Chocolate Latte, Vanilla Latte, Cafe Latte, Americano and a Pure Caramel shake. Damn that is a lot of coffee! To think, we drank coffee, at around 10 in the night (and oh, bless the poor soul who drank Americano!), is insane! Yet we did exactly that!

They have small regular and large and most of the coffees were large and hence prices accordingly with the Cafe Latte and Americano being priced INR 100 each. Looking at the size, one can safely assume that coffee here is value for money.

The coffee here is very good. A little cheaper than Barista and a whole lot better than coffee at Java Expresso and Java Green. Freshly grounded coffee beans, milk and some sugar is all one needs to complement a conversation that can go on for hours.

Besides coffee, we also ordered for sandwiches including a Chicken Club sandwich, Chicken Cumberland Sandwich and a Jerk Chicken Sandwich along with Veg Lasagne.

The club s/w like everywhere else was pretty big and stuffed with salads and chicken pattice. Though it makes for a healthy meal, there is the the minimal Jerk Chicken stuffed with salami.

The white chocolate Latte was a bit like milky bar and coffee put together. But the best of the lot was the Caramel Drink with whipped cream. It was a lot of caramel and had to be shared amongst people.

Overall, CBTL is an excellent place for its coffee and the ambiance. Relax, hold a meeting or go on a date CBTL serves every one. The ambiance is very chilled out here and one can relax for hours.  Though service here is a bit slow but that is no complain especially if you get to have some good coffee over conversations!

Hangla @ Bandra – Authentic Bengali Street Food

December 11, 2009 12 comments


Been around for more than two years, Hangla had escaped my rumbling stomach and my ever-growing appetite for new delicacies; but not anymore. A friend brought to my attention the new outlet opened in Bandra, opposite the erstwhile Cream Centre (anyone know what happened to it?). The foodie that I am, I couldn’t resist the call of duty of my relentless pursuit for new trials (still trying my hand with these big words, so be tolerant will ya :P). Went there twice already and haven’t been disappointed yet.

The first time I tried the Double Chicken Roll, a safe bet generally. The roti, draped with egg, included 10 pieces of chicken (OMG!) and some veggies to go with it. It was an absolute delight having the roll that never seemed to get over! The chicken was well cooked and the roti was soft, I guess because of the egg. Next time (the next day actually) I tried the Chicken Kasha and Laccha Paratha. The first thing I did like to say about this dish is that if I could have it, I did eat it everyday! The Paratha made me an instant fan and so did the spicy chicken kasha. A half plate costing INR 70 coupled with Laccha Paratha worth INR 20 was enough to fill my tummy. Makes me wonder, how much do Bengalis really eat?? Little wonder then that the place is called Hangla, meaning glutton in Bengali. If I may add a bit of Marathi here, Hangla is changla! :D.

Besides  the chicken dishes, also tried the Fish Chop (prepared from Bhetki Fish). The chop accompanied by mustard sauce, a special mustard sauce, is apparently hard to get in Mumbai. Never have I liked mustard as much as I did here (wonder what is their secret mustard recipe). The Fish meanwhile was non-smelly, less oily (surprisingly at that!) and very tasty!

I wouldn’t know Bengali food so asked my Bengali friends who positively confirmed that the food here tastes like the food prepared in Kolkata.

The prices though maybe a downer for some people but a full meal can be had for less than INR 100 which I think is a big positive. I rather spend less here and get more than vice versa elsewhere.

The Verdict

Food: 5/5 – Not since Carter Blue have I felt like going to the same place again and again for its rolls and other items. Kudos to Hangla’s for bring out the glutton in me ;).

Service: 4/5 – Loved it. Good fun interacting with the guy at the counter. He seemed a gem of a person!

Ashamed of: Not trying the outlet at Lokhandwala and Malad before!

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!