Highway food is seldom gourmet unless if you find those hidden gems usually small scale, family owned and run ! This Pune trip I took a late evening stop at Punjabi Rasoi for a quick meal and their food left me hungry for more. In juxtaposition to what I said above, this place is massive with seating for 250-300 people with an AC and an open air section which offers Charpai seating with candles illuminating the tables.
The menu is multi cuisine with the in-demand Chindian options but you should go here for their Punjabi fare as the name suggests. Their litmus test begins with THE Paneer Tikka, the rotis and the Green chutney. The black dal impresses and so does their paneer from their tandoor in a Goan Green Rechado like masala. The Rabri to end yet again speaks volumes about the food. I went their again in two days and they kept up their good work. Kudos to their team and i take a point from them for their visible hygiene levels, sticky menus, low ambient lighting and soggy roasted papads.
Your search for exquisite northwest frontier/Awadhi food ends here and that too at unbelievable prices. I call the place luxury because good food is luxury today. The Frontier Post a 2 week old eatery is all ready to regale you in its Bedouin tent interiors. I have eaten there twice already and Chef Vishal Chandnani fails to disappoint. Tomato and Adraki shorbas,the Gucchi ki Gilawat, Dahi Ke kabab, Nadroo ke kofte, Dal Frontier Post, Subz Biryani and lastly the Gulab Pankhudi Firni are some of the dishes that left us hungry for more. This stand alone Indian restaurant is doing a fine job and will certainly stand tall amidst some legendary five star diners. I will go back soon. Frontier Post, please do not increase the prices so soon, yeah 🙂
Nadroo or Kamal Kakdi or Lotus Stem gravy
Located diagonally opposite J W Marriott the Ten One opened a few days back apparently. The place is modern with vectors and caricatures on the walls and the Udipiesque banquette seating is comfortable. The menu on a A3 hardboard is a melange of Udipi fervour and continental awareness. From the Kolhapuri Misal to Bagel Pizza, from the Gowd Saraswat Biscuit Ambades to Risottos. from Puri Sheera to Quinoa salad, from Malaysian coconut soup to the humble Rasam, the place has a bit of everything.
I tried the Malaysian coconut soup it was mild and tepid, the bagel pizza was good, the biscuit ambade and rasam perfect. What stood out was the Kolhapuri Misal with tari on the side and the rice vermicelli upma a rare find in the city. I ended with a sinful ghee Sheera and a filter coffee. I left the continental fare for some other day. Last words, Ten One is not a fine dine, but it is certainly a very fine Udipi.
The Tasting Room owned by the folks behind Good Earth, an upscale home decor boutique next door also looks like a store on display albeit this one is a wine bar and an all day diner. And yes, many items including the chandeliers are for sale! Located at the deep end of the Raghuvanshi mill compound this one sits on the first floor at peace and you can feel it in the air.
Monday afternoon was relatively quiet as I dropped by for a quick-lunch. For a wine bar, the menu is reasonable but it doesn’t stand out for its selection. Nonetheless unlike any other place in the city they have wine flights comprising Indian and international wines and for those looking for an affordable wine fix, their endless stem or unlimited wine (a red and a white both international) offer at Rs 1150 a head is very popular. Can you imagine a weekend night with than offer?
Food is European and familiar. The quinoa salad with asparagus, grapes, hazelnut and blue cheese was brilliant, an interplay of textures and myriad flavours and so was the goat cheese samosas in phyllo. For mains the kale and spinach tortellini was cooked right and had a bite to it with the piquancy of the tomato playing apt for a hot afternoon.
The carrot cake with the cumin beetroot sorbet was a joke. The carrot cake was baked to perfection and the mascarpone quenelle paired well. The beetroot sorbet with bracing acidity and cumin was disastrous, but for adding colour to the plate it only did harm,it was best left untouched. I have patronized Tasting room many a times a few years back and it was nice to be back. The place looks glorious as always and has a lot of potential, they must up the food and beverage scene quickly especially given the competition around.
When I think Grand Hyatt, China House and Celini are top of mind recall and Soma ends up at the bottom of their F&B offering. This is certainly my opinion based on the communication happening for the former on all media outlets. Perhaps ‘Soma is already doing well and doesn’t need any marketing’ must be the hotel’s line of thought we analysed after tasting their food over whiskies.
I experienced Chef Vinod Rana’s cooking on Father’s day as he forth a menu to pair Indian single malt whiskies from the house of Paul John. The food from the tandoor was Smoky yet elegant, the veg seek crumbly yet moist and the mutter tikki stuffed with cheese had the softness of galouti but the mushy pea graininess remained. The aragula salad with pomegranate seeds was a great complement. The mains with a mild and saffron-scented paneer gravy was delightful with the sheermal and so did the birista (fried onions) topped wild rice with the rich black dal. You definitely have to go to quality restaurants for food experiences like these.
We ended with sweet spice laden Bibinka fritters paired with a slightly peated but sweet malt. Soma is a gem at the Grand Hyatt, watch for their set-meal promotions from time to time ;they are a steal. This was priced at Rs 2750 per head inclusive of the whiskies.
Great Wall the Chinese restaurant at The Leela, Mumbai is one of the pioneers of the cuisine in the city, the Hunan and Sichuan cuisines being their core. What drew me to the restaurant after long was their new menu coupled with the four-course set lunch priced at attractive Rs 1010 per person on through the week.
My table overlooking the green landscape replete with a waterfall set the vibrancy to the afternoon despite the 90’s décor. The set lunch comprised soup, starter, mains and a dessert; it had the basics but plausible options like the classic turnip cakes, crystal dumplings, and the Great wall special hot and sour soup. I also looked beyond it for the new menu items like the asparagus cheung fans and the main dish, chestnut, sugar snap peas, tofu, shiitake and white fungus in a light citrusy sauce with Japanese inspirations, both exquisite. The mapo tofu for mains was classic and did me in. The cream of mango with sago pearls was refreshing with the acidity and the new dessert Gula Melaka of Sino-Malay origin, a combination of sago, coconut milk and Palm jaggery was silken albeit heavy.
Great Wall impressed with the food like always and their set menu we thought is a steal especially for those who look forward to see what Chinese food with quality ingredients taste like.
To every man there were 5 women, glasses of Sangria and cosmopolitans on the table reminded me of the Sex and the City episodes which got the latter famous and this marked my entry to the Lord of the Drinks. It was the Sorority night we understood later, the sprightly vibe coupled with the décor made a perfect start to the evening.
Lords of the Drink is a new entrant to the vibrant F&B neighbourhood of Andheri. The décor has a flavour of luxury with the lighting and the sense of space yet a touch of rusticity with the back bar design and it stands out. The food attempts to satisfy all palates with selection of cuisines, courses and choices of vegetables and meat. Chukandar Galouti, bamboo shoot and water chestnut kebab, broccoli tikka with cheddar drizzle were exquisite and my opinion of the place from a pub changed to a gastro-pub. From a grilled mushroom salad to a shorba to a Quattro fromaggi to the paneer tacos the place spans cuisines and from my experiences from just the appetizers, they sure are doing a wonderful job. The drinks a smoked old-fashioned to the Mumbai Margarita with Aaam Panna were concocted well, however I still would have loved to see more savory or neutral options on the menu than most with syrups. The music is commercial but gets louder as the night descends, stay away post 930 if you like to converse over drinks.
For me, Lord of drinks is a great place to go early evenings for some good food and drinks and for the nocturnality in the ghetto; it with its music can keep you going….