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The pretty Gorai Beach and the imposing Pagoda

January 18, 2010 5 comments

Trance dude doesn’t quite remember when he went to Gorai beach but it sure was a long time ago! So TD (short for trance dude) and Rock Chic (RC) rode on TD’s pulsar on a hot Saturday afternoon towards the beach. But before that, the plan was to go the Global Pagoda at Esselworld, Gorai. The Pagoda, an immense structure in the suburbs of Mumbai, is one of a kind in South East Asia. Dedicated to Buddhism this imposing building is still under construction but does not fail to charm the onlookers with its golden colours and massive dome.

The Pagoda has four smaller similar Pagodas at the four ends of the structure. Since construction is under full swing, only one of the smaller Pagodas is accessible to the public.

Even the smaller one is immense and is a replica of the bigger Pagoda. intricate carvings on the Door and sayings of Gautam Buddha are abound in these Pagodas. There is also an exhibition on the life of Gautam Buddha. It is an intriguing one to say the least. A beautiful portrayal of Buddha’s life right from the his childhood to his enlightenment. A word of advice though: Start from the left as we made the mistake of starting from the right side of the room and saw his life backwards. Come to think of it, it was quite cool!!

There is a video session as well which shows why the Pagoda is being constructed,  how, donations received and purpose in the grander scheme of things. Lastly one can buy books and small items like fridge magnets (Trance dude loves fridge magnets and he bought one for himself).

The imposing pagoda is in the same complex as Essel World but we decided to hit the beach after a tiring walk around the structure. The nearest beach is Gorai and this is where we went. The beach is one of the prettiest along the Mumbai shoreline. The best part about the beach is that we can drive on in for most parts.

The pretty beach also has a few shacks and many private bungalows and resorts throughout the stretch. The grey colour sand does not please everyone but it wasn’t a problem for us. We actually liked this beach especially Rock Chic, for whom the beach is the best she has ever visited (doesn’t matter if Miramar in Goa is prettier but Gorai is the prettiest she says).

We even ate at the shack, Raju Koliwada, which is the closest one can get to experiencing Goa. Off course, still cannot sit on the beach and drink beer, a real shame though.  Anyways lunch was good and we continued checking out the beach. Riding on the beach made us lazy and I cannot remember walking on the Gorai sand! A low tide helped in bringing the bike right up till the waves which was an experience I will never forget. Imagine splashing sea water all over as you ride from one end of the beach to another!

Had earlier decided to check out other beaches but the calm ocean and the thrilling experience of riding in the sea kept us from leaving Gorai.

Not to forget the pretty treeline as far as the eyes can see. The beach grew more beautiful for Trance Dude as he spent more time on Gorai. And while there, we decided to stay back for the sunset as well. The evening lights brighten up the skies as if they are on fire. A shade of orange engulfs the sea and the sand and everything around them. It is such a pretty sight that I may never get enough of it, ever!

It was my first time to Gorai but most definitely not the last. A pretty beach like this tends to get crowded on holidays so planning ahead may help one avoid the crowds. It was lovely experience on the beach and for once a beach visit in Mumbai was a pleasant one!

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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.

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!

Dum Laga Ke – Not as good as before!

November 8, 2009 2 comments

A search for an apparently cheap eatery in Malad West led me to Dum Laga Ke which is an offshoot of the famous Borivali Biryani Centre. Though a friend suggested Rasoi (Which is close to Dum Laga Ke), we choose to go to Dum as it is a tried and tested place by my friends. I have been here only once, which was over a year ago, and honestly speaking, it was amazing back then! So for me, it was to know whether Dum was still maintaining the same standards!

Dum Laga KeOur order consisted of the Prawns and Chicken Tikka Biryani and also Brain Garlic Fry for starters. While there are no complaints about the Brain Garlic Fry we were a tad bit disappointed with Biryanis.

The quantity of rice was good but sadly that of the prawns wasn’t. We were hunting for the prawns in the sea of rice! Though my friend who ordered for the Chicken Tikka Biryani didn’t have any such problems he did complain about the Chicken Tikka not tasting like Chicken Tikka. Correct though he was, I think it was deliberately done so as a pungent Chicken Tikka negates the flavour of the Biryani so you either taste the tikka or the rice and not the Biryani. As a whole, it tasted like Biryani and not chicken pulav which was a good thing in my opinion.

What was missing from both the Biryanis was the distint aroma associated with the dish. My guess is that since the Biryani here is in such high demand they must be preparing the dish in huge quantities. That’s a shame really for food made like it’s an assembly line product never comes out as good as the one made with love and care!

In comparison though, the Biryani at ‘Just Biryani‘ at the same price is better!

The best meal of the night was the Brain! Cooked to perfection. Though expensive at INR 170 it was worth the money. Many write tales about how a certain dish at a certain place gets them hooked on for life. Well Dum Lage Ke did just that with their Garlic Brain preparation.

Lastly for drinks I ordered for Zaffran which is a Kesar flavoured drink. Last time I came, there were Kesar strands floating in the drink which gave it the peculiar taste. This time, it was just a sugary-flavoured drink! Recession affecting them?

Overall, the meal was satisfying. Though a bit disappointed with the Prawns Biryani but the Brain Garlic Fry more than made up for it!

Address: Shop No 2 & 3, Ganga Niwas, Next to Toyota Showroom, Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai

Rating: Ambiance – 3.5/5. Setting of the place is nice though intriguingly the seats here are a little too low and for tall people it could cause a major discomfort!

Food – 3/5

Price – 3/5. Definitely on the expensive side but they don’t cringe on the quantity. Not yet atleast.

(All the pictures are courtesy my friend Neville Chesan who was kind enough to click the pictures for me!)

Vibha Restaurant – Nagaon Walanj Paroda

October 13, 2009 2 comments

My Trip to Korlai was not just about ancient forts, lighthouses and pristine beaches but also about trying out the food in these areas. Sadly, there wasn’t anything available in Korlai so we went to Nagaon. A little tour of the beautiful Nagaon beach revealed that only Bhurji Pav was available at the many stalls at the beach. We weren’t looking for a snack but a full meal. So asked around a bit and finally arrived at Vibha – a full 30 minutes of searching!

It is amazing how place like Nagaon does not have as many restaurants as one would have liked. Do I smell a business opportunity here?? hehe! Anyways, once we reached Vibha, it become quite clear that there is indeed no other restaurant close to the beach. (Vibha itself would be around 15 minutes from the beach!). Though there are many resorts there, they do not offer lunch or dinner facilities to non-guests, which is quite a letdown!

Anyways, back to Vibha. The place itself looks like a makeshift restaurant, ready to be transported to any part of the town in a jiffy. We got the seat closest to the entrance but that didn’t matter really. The order was placed for two half Chicken Biryanis, one full Prawns Biryani and a Plain Rice and Dal Fry. The order took a long time to arrive as; apparently, we were in line as the tables previously occupied, were to be served first! A lot of people ordered for Biryanis – seems to be a favourite dish to order at Vibha! Until the food arrived, we quenched our thirst with Thumbs Up and Coke. Nearly 30 minutes late, the Biryanis arrived and so did the Plain Rice and Dal Fry.

The Biryanis weren’t as oily as I had expected, which is a good thing mind you! The chicken Biryani was tasted though the Prawns Biryani was delicious! The prawns were huge as well and not like the small ones we had at Murud. We also ordered a Chicken Kolhapuri to go with the Rice. This is where all the oil, which was apparently missing from the rice, was utilised! The chicken was good. wasn’t overcooked but wasn’t tender. Thankfully it wasn’t chewy or rubbery either. The meal was over in no time. The quantity was definitely lesser than what we had at Murud but the quality and the lack of oil made up for it! The total damage came to INR 500 (INR 120 for the Prawns Biryani and INR 50 for the half Chicken Biryani) which is reasonable for a full meal amongst 5 people!

Overall, the food was great though the slow service was a letdown. Pricing was great at well placing Vibha in my ‘must eat at Vibha when at Nagaon’ list :D.