Sunday, June 30, 2013

Malabar

All right. This one is about Malabar at Crows Nest. My best friend departing for Perth ans myself get invited by another of my close friends to his place for a catch up. He stays in St Leonards. Its a cold day and we settle into his couch and start talking and pretty soon I am narrating incidents about my India trip this year in May and how I am nearly molested but innocent people on the train and the heat. Anyways, we are then talking about where to go for dinner. Options vary from the nearby Nilgiri's to a host of restaurants at Crows Nest, an srea nearby. We walk down and it is a 5-10 minutes walk. We purposefully avoid the Pacific Highway and take the bye lanes of St Leonards and Crows Nest till we hit the market on the Willoughby Road. There are many memories that I have with St Leonards and this area. Many years ago I havr stayed in this area and later with a certain friend there have been many crazy nights. Anyways so as we head on the Willoughby street and there are lines of eateries and restaurants. We then head onto Pacific Highway and then onto Malabar. As we enter we are promptly seated. The interiors are a bit stereotyped but cozy. Dim lighting, big posters of the Mysore procession and the elephant and at the counter there is a little bar with a stacks of bottle. We get going and order. There are four of us. Two Dosa's- one masala and one of another variant. One uttapam. When It comes to me, I love people who eat vegetarian but then I cant be that person else I cant love myself. Besides it was a Thursday. Coming to Chettinaad cuisine, I was quite tempted and eager to have it after many years. I recall a few in the past- The Royal Dakshin in Delhi at Jamali Kamali in the big park near Qutab Minar, and then Anjappar and Korai Kudi at Chennai.

Well the thought of all these institutions aggravates my senses and makes me drool at the thought of the Chettinaad cuisine I have had so far. The spicy fried chicken, kotthu paranthas and the chicken Chettinaad.

Usually we as Indians think majorly of south Indian food as dosa samabhar idly utthapams etc. These however are just stereotyped image of south Indian food, just like butter chicken and tandoori chicken and chaats is to north Indian food. Often dosa's idly's etc are also referred to as tiffin in southern India. But like any cuisines southern Indian cuisines has many variants based on region and Chettinaad being one of them.

Eventually I rose above the occasion and ended up ordering the chicken chettinaad and the malabar parantha.

I think the restaurant staff could feel the rise in positive energy and could recognize a true foodie had arrived. It was that moment when Neo is christened as the One in Matrix. And to celebrate this moment the first dish they serve is the Chicken Chettinaad and the Malabar Parantha.  Now it is purely coincidental that although chicken takes more time to cook than dosa and the chances are that I was served something already cooked before, but purely coincidental again. And I wouldn't criticize the great camaraderie and noble character shown by the staff there to recognize me out of all the patrons.

Coming to the food. Dosas- crisp and awesome. One of the best dosas in Sydney. For those of you who don't know what a Dosa, it is made out of rice flour and a thin paper crisp cylinder with a stuffing of potato, or cottage cheese or sometime with no filling. It is usually accompanied with a few chutneys and hot piping vegetables and lentil soup called the sambhar. So dosa's were perfect. Erstwhile Malabar, I liked dosa's at NIlgiris and a few other Sri Lankan joints. But this was clearly the best. Also I was quite amused thinking the fact that the menu had regular and large size and the regular size in itself was so big, I dare not think how big the large dosa would be.

The uttapam my friend had was topped with onions and tomatoes. I think it was quite descent as well. I am personally not a too big fan of the uttapams but I did taste it was good. My friend was quite full and took some effort to finish it off.

Now coming to the chicken chettinaad and the malabar paranthas. The malabar paranthas are simple paranthas with layers in it. Multiple layers of dough bakes to become like a flaky pastry kind of a bread with oil. The paranthas were good. The chicken chettinaad was awesome. Not too spicy, thick curry with a strong coconut flavour and south indian style of cooking with their spices.  the portion served in a copper karahi looked small initially but to tell you the truth it is sufficient for 2 people. I hsd to do a take away as I could finish the entire dish. I guess the chicken chettinaad made me over come the pang of south indian chicken.

Price wise the meals are descently priced. An avergae meal for two could be from $25 -$50. All in all a good place and I would definitely visit and recommend to others as well.

Accepts EFTPOS

http://www.malabarcuisine.com.au/Malabar_%40_Crows_Nest/HOME.html

334 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest
NSW 2065 

T: (02) 9906 7343
    (02) 9438 4207 (Take away only)
F: (02) 9332 3745

Opening hours
Lunch: Sunday - Friday 12.00 - 14.30
Dinner: Monday - Sunday 17.30 until late

Malabar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doo-Ri, Sydney

All right, this is one is about Doo-Ri, the Korean restaurant just below my house. I live in Strathfield and this suburb is the place for Korean food. Close to 15 eat outs for Korean alone. One of my close friend was departing for Perth and after a maddening day at work before a release, we got to celebrate for sure. after a glass of Moscato at home we realize that its 9:30. Heading out to any suburb is a waste of time. Not too interested into Indian. Korean isn't too much of an option considering we had Korean on Wednesday itself. We head of to one of the better restaurants around the corner. Our intent is on trying out the Korean barbecue  The other day on Wednesday when we had Korean it was more like cooked Korean food. Today we wanted to sit down, grill food and have a relaxing meal. Last day and it was pretty cold outside as well. Well the so called good restaurant politely refused saying that it was closed. Next we head over to another one on the same line but they don't have barbecue. Not to keen for regular Korean food, we start thinking what if Thai, but as I am crossing the car park, I suddenly take a turn and head for Doo-ri.

Doo-ri is more like regular hang out as I can see it is always full of people and open up until late. It is right below my apartment and I have been here once before.

There is a middle aged lady who runs this place and graciously accepts us even though its 10 pm. We order for the set course menu. This one is for AUD 25 per person. It has a mix of meats for barbecue, accompanied with a sea food soup. Being Indians we request and replace all the meats with only chicken and the soup with chicken as well. Also order two portions of rice and Soju.

The Soju is an interesting one . Called as the Korean wine, it comes in a green bottle with 19% alcohol and served with shot glasses, this is mean and nasty. One bottle equates to about 5.8 standard drinks.

Very quickly in a couple of min we have a number of small bowls served to us. There is potato salad consisting of cold mashed potato, another bowl of Kimchi salad, the traditional Korean salad with cabbage and lettuce. Next there is a bowl of green veggies which is basically stir fried spinach served cold. Fish cakes and mushroom with oyesters are also served separately.

Next comes a big tray with coral lettuce leaves. Then a plate filled with chicken is served. The chicken is marinated and raw. Comes in two flavors, spicy chicken and the moderate chicken. Soon the Korean lady come and removes a steel top from the table and lights the burner below it. Surrounding the burner they put water all around and then cover the burner with another perforated steel plate. We put the chicken over this plate and start to cook. We are given a pair of tongs and scissors. Initially we put the whole big chunks of chicken breasts and kept cooking it. Very soon another pretty Korean girl comes over and uses the scissors to cut it for us. After 15-20 minutes when the chicken pieces are suitably cooked and charred to be honest we pick up pieces onto our small plates.

The middle age lady at this point comes over and explains how it goes. Take a big lettuce leave. Put the spicy salad on top of the leave. Then takes the chicken. Dip in the first sauce. Put it on top of the salad. Then using your chopstick or the spoon take a little bit of the peanut kind of sauce and put it over it. Next put the other sauce to make t spicy and then wrap the lettuce and eat the roll. In fact she went onto to try and feed my friend in a very motherly way. We did a few rolls with both the chicken.. Alternate with the soju and the soup. Let me tell you that on a cold night like this one, this meal warmed you up not just physically but also warmed the soul.
The soup was very simple and yet tasty. With chicken cabbage lettuce and tofu, it was simple and nice. Next among the chicken my preference was for the spicy chicken.

The serving size of this fixed menu was enormous. Imagine two boys- one bachelor and the other temporarily bachelor with drinks and a cold night had enough food that they couldn't finish.  Eventually we ran out of the lettuce and continued to have the chicken with the rice. The rice was sticky and brown, but perhaps it goes well with chopsticks. They also served about six fried dumplings which I loved. These are veg dumpling slightly fried but really yum.

All in all Id definitely go here again if I have a chance.

Eventually it turns to be 11 in the night and the waitresses, kitchen staff sat at a nearby table and ate their meals. Some rice, some noodle soup etc.

The food was excellent, serving size was big, value for money was good. The atmosphere is casual. Usually open till late and not too expensive this joint is popular with lots of Korean young folks. What I really like is the middle age lady and her hospitality. Every time I have come here, she pays a lot of attention. She is helpful, assists you in making decisions and is very sweet.

The other disk I have tried here previously was the chicken schnitzel with spring rolls and also the spicy chicken with cheese. I didn't like both of them. the spicy chicken with cheese was too cheesy and a combination I didn't like. The chicken Schnitzel was
Let me tell you my first experience in this restaurant  was not wow when it came to food. 

Yet I came over again only to try and this time I was not disappointed. If I were to comes here again, Id go for the soup and the barbecue.

http://www.doori.com.au/

Address : Shop 136-137 20-34 Albert Road, Strathfield 
Tel : 9746 7111

Doo Ri on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 24, 2013

Canopy Cafe, Dorrigo Rainforest Center


If you are in the Coffs Harbour and are looking for things to do, then you would be told about the Big Banana and the Dorrigo National Park. In fact there are 7 world heritage rain forests in this area. You would have to drive from Coffs Harbour to Dorrigo. The drive is extremely scenic and beautiful. One of the most scenic drives I have been on. Vast expanses of green fields and meadows, lined up trees in red and green, animals leisurely roaming around, curved roads slithering like a snake and timeless waterfalls flowing in ecstasy. It gave me the feeling as in the movie lord of the rings when you take an aerial shot on entering the palace the first time.  Enroute we cross the town of Bellingen, a small hippy village frozen in time.After a 60 km drive there is a turn in the road which leads to the Dorrigo Rain forest center. After driving for a few kms in the hardcore countryside, you reach upon the Rain forest Center. This is the entry to the rain forest and there are multiple walks, scenic lookout points and a Picnic Area.  Specifically there is a Wonga Wonga walk which a 6.6 kms walk circuit from the Rainforest center. Fully into the dense forest with thick foliage and vegetation and no one in sight. Walking through the jungle is a pristine experience in itself. Hearing the sounds of various birds is exotic along with the sound of silence, rustling of the leaves with the wind and never ending tall trees which make you feel like an ant. The whole experience is mesmerizing and breathtaking. In the long Wonga Wonga walk you come across a two amazing waterfalls, one in which you can stand behind the waterfall. What made this whole journey exciting and on the edge was the fact the jungle is raw and pure with no rangers and no mobile network. In particular, when me and my friend crossed the second waterfall and we were about 2.4 kms away from the final exit and the sun set. Night trekking with the mobile phone torches was eerie and a bit on the edge, specially when you could here rustling in the jungle.
Well now you would probably think wheres the food and that where I take you back to the Dorrigo Rainforest Center Cafe. With seating inside and and outside, I expected a self service at the start but to my surprise there was seat service available. We settled for the inside seat and could see the vast expanses of the never ending rain forest. It took about 20 minutes for some one to came and take the order by which we were starving. The menu had many items and there were four of us. We decided to order the grilled fish with fresh salad, the chicken breast with pasta and the veg curry.
The atmosphere is relaxed, how can it not be in an environment surrounded by nature's best the beauty of an ancient rainforest.The café won the award 'Best new Restaurant' of the Restaurant & Catering Association and is a finalist 'Australian Small Business Champions Awards' in 2012 and 2013.
It seems that most of the dishes take time as they prepare it freshly. Lets start with the reviews. The grilled fish came  with two fillets of full fish, grilled served with parsley and salad. The electricity had gone off, so instead of the fries, we got some rice.  Initially while ordering, my friend and me said, we will order the fish and the chicken and if one of them go bad, we'll dig into the other. I was at the time of order thinking the chicken dish would be crap and I may have to dig into the fish. I was thinking this would be the regular beer battered fish with chips. To our surprise this was the simple fish with no fries.
The vegetable curry, my friends wife said was exquisite and better than what they had in Sydney.  It is a selection of seasonal vegetables grown in the Coffs Harbour region, with Dorrigo potato in a traditional curry and served on a bed of steamed piping hot rice.  No comments there as I didnt try it, but I take it, it was really nice. It looked like a yellow Indian gravy with a mix of fresh veggies.
Coming to the Fish & Chips, the grilled Barramundi fish fillet with herb and butter, let me tell you it was yuck. I hated it. The smell of fish was too strong and I didnt like it. I wouldn't ever think of ordering it ever.
But coming to the roasted chicken breast with mushroom and pasta- it was heavenly .This dish was exquisite and hit the spot. Just too good. One of the best pasta I have ever had. Served on a base of flat fettucine pasta topped with chicken breast portions diced and cooked with mushrooms, sun dried tomato and white sauce. On one side, it was served with a generous portion of Parmesan cheese shavings. This dish was just heavenly and out of the world and I wonder how could it be so awesome. I mean I know I can drive again from Coffs Harbour just to have this dish again. You know how I have mentioned that there are very few places where I can and like the pastas and this is definitely a place Id highly recommend.
Average cost of the main course dishes is approximately AUD 16 to AUD 25. 
Overall verdict: the place might be remote and the service might be slow, but I have had one of the best pasta's ever. 

http://canopycafedorrigo.com/canopycafe.php
Dorrigo Rainforest CentreAddress: Dome Rd, Dorrigo, New South Wales 2453

Phone: +61 6657 2309 Fax: +61 6657 2145Email: kathryn.wood@environment.nsw.gov.au

Canopy Cafe Dorrigo

Address: Dome Rd, Dorrigo, New South Wales 2453

Phone: +61 6657 1541
Email: elegant.epicure@gmail.com

Canopy Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Taste of North India, Coffs Harbour


All right, This is day 2 at Coffs Harbour. After what I can probably say was the best day in a very long time, I was tired and just looking forward for a great dinner and crashing to bed. Well, before I tell you how the restaurant was, I guess, you got to hear what I want to say about my awesome day. Well it started at 6:30, when I woke up and went alone to the beach which was 100 m away from my place. It was divine, with the sun rising and everything clean and untouched. the dew drops preserved on the leaves and the great Aussie lifestyle. People out for a job, swim, surf and kayaking at as early as 7 in the morning. A sumptuous breakfast of eggs and bread at a petrol station, a morning local street market next to the beach followed by a drive to Dorigo and a 7 kms walk in the rain forest, which nearly made me think I might not make it. Pristine rain forest and yet the sunset at 5:15, with 3 kms to trek back was the adrenaline rush. with no lights, no mobile network, no rangers was just on the edge. Using the flashlight on the mobile, we made it through the last 3 kms in darkness. After all this, as we drove back to Coffs Harbour, All I wanted was a good meal and then sleep.

I decided to try out Taste of North India once again. For one, I am a pure North Indian and I got to admit that this is the first I have seen where a restaurant is dedicated to north Indian Cuisine. Although yesterday we didn't get a chance, today at 6:30 in the evening it was abuzz with people. It seems to be quite a popular restaurant over here. We entered and settled down. There is a long pathway for  outside seating. Inside a number of tables and let me tell you, in the next half an hour, there were no seats left.

Come to the order, we started with the Keema samosa (lamb mince patties) and the Seekh Kebabs (lamb mince on skewers). the samosas were to my liking. Freshly deep fried, you could see the oil on the paper. Perhaps if the restaurant guys had used some absorbing paper before serving. But nonetheless, the Samosa were delicious. In fact most of the other tables also seemed to be ordering the same entree. The filling was cooked and spiced lamb mince and served with a mint chutney. Perfect.

The seekh Kebabs on the other hand were just about average and nothing to boast about. It is probably the kind of kebabs which I don't like too much and perhaps gets served at every Indian restaurant outside India. 

For mains I wanted to have chicken but I didn't want to go for the stereotyped butter chicken or chicken tikka masala etc. So I order the dish called Chicken Fry- Boneless chicken cooked with onions and tomato do piazza style. There were no goat dishes so the other dish we ordered was the Bhuna Ghost or the Pure north Indian dish cooked with cumin, crushed coriander seeds , ginger and fresh coriander leaves, For breads, we ordered a mix of Keema Naan, Garlic Naan, Peshawari Naan and Roti.

The Chicken Do Piazza was great. Lightly cooked with pure tomato and onion gravy with finely diced garlic. It resembled more of the pure north Indian chicken curry cooked at the Punjabi households in Delhi and Punjab. Actually it was just what I wanted. You know how sometimes you winge at Indian food, eating outside despite being an Indian, when you want something simple and not over spiced. Well this was it. Coupled with the keema naan, it was really tasty. The keema naan or the bread with a lamb mince stuffing was also really good quality bread, baked and served hot.

The bhuna ghost was also amazing. I mean lamb is usually chewy and not as soft as goat. Come to Indian restaurants, they mostly serve goat dishes which turn out to be actually lamb. But in this case, I was surprised to see lamb with no smell and so soft. In a copper karahi, served with julienne ginger and  chopped red chillies, this dish was also quite delicious, although not as light as the chicken.

The garlic naan was also pretty good. Id say all the breads were perfectly and freshly baked and served hot. What was the discovery of the evening was the peshawari naan. The description on the menu read as stuffed with almonds, cashew nuts and sultana. Well to begin with the bread was just too sweet, but it was really yum. You wouldn't have this bread with a spicy curry, but I used it as a sweet dish and I loved it. Really nice.

We followed with a cup of tea and then the urge for a sweet dish overpowered me. And then came the Gulab Jamun. it was pretty different for presentation. Two Gulab Jamuns, topped with grated coconut and served with cream between two lemon wedges. The gulab jamuns were delicious, although I wished it was a bit more hot.

All in all, Id say this restaurant is  the number one Indian restaurant in Coffs Harbour. Really delicious food. Its quite popular. There was group of school girls who had apparently finished a performance came over with their teachers and settled in. The vibrancy and buzz won my heart out in this place.

A meal for four ended up being about $90. Highly recommended 

Taste of North India
396A Harbour Drive (Jetty Strip)
Coffs Harbour

Phone: 02 66511668
www.tasteofnorthindia.com.au


Taste of North India on Urbanspoon

Tahruah Eastern Thai, Coffs Harbour




Day 1 at Coff's Harbour. After a long tiring day driving and then some pathtic Indian food at one of the restaurants, I head back home to crash on the bed and snore like a dinosaur for the next 4 hours and finally wake up at 8. Only to head back into town again for dinner. i admit after the Indian lunch at 4 and then sleeping, I am not too keen on eating out to be honest. I can feel the curry is still on my food pipe, but its the fear of not finding any food later in the night that propels us. While we head back to the same Harbour Drive and I decide to take a walk. We are walking down the strip and wanted to go to a Thai restaurant called the Crying Tiger. As we walk in, we are told that its full and no availability for today. Next we head down on the same lane to Tahruah Thai. Tahruah Thai is a Eastern Thai Cuisine restaurant. While my friends settle down, Me and another friend head for a walk to locate an ATM, chemist shop and Grocery store.

We come back and then settle down. the restaurant is full of people, buzz with all the evening conversation and great food. Its quite cosy inside, with couches and cushions next to the wall. A bit of rustic look with the walls slightly crumbled, but purposefully to give that look. The ceiling has wooden planks, just like those old houses.As we settle in, we look at the menu. There are four of us for dinner, We order the chicken satay and money bags for starters. One of my friend who doesn't eat chicken orders the Pad See Yew with Prawns. For the rest of us we go for the panang curry in chicken, and a stir fry Pad Pik in Prawns.
The food comes in eventually. The chicken satay are 4 chicken strips served on sticks, smothered with chefs recipe peanut sauce. on top of this, there are sprinkled nuts on top. Well, to be honest, what i do remember about this is that the chicken was incredibly juicy and tasty. Coming to Satay's there are different version I have had. The balinese ones at Cairns were superb. Then there is the one at Chat Thai and Mamak in Sydney. But this one was unquely different. I would probably say that it was ncice, not out of the worl, but nice. Next were the money bags, which were parcels of minced chicken and prawns, wrapped in bean curd skin, and then the parcels were deep fried. Served with sweet chilli sauce, this was also descent.

The main course came up soon. The red curry again was quite nice and different. A bit too liquidy or rather low viscous, with loads of vegetable.The curry was filled with carrots, beans, eggplant and chicken. served with Jasmine rice, but delicious. The chicken again were boiled and I would have preferred either smaller  pieces, or slightly fried rather than boiled chicken. But its interesting though to have different kind of red curry's as well. the thai lime leafs and the basil were quite interesting. 

Next was the Pad Pik. Now when we ordered this, i was basically under the impression that it would be a stir fry. The description read 'A stir fry in red chillipaste, shredded lime leaves and Thai Basil,Hot or Very hot'. I ordered this with the prawns. Now when the dish was arrived, I was actually quite surprised, as it was moer of a curry, thick curry. It was red and had a little bit of oil floating on top of it. It resembled to me a bit more like the Indian curries which mum makes at home. Definitely not a stir fry. Well taste wise, it was about ok. Not too spicy, and the prawns very fresh.the curry again had a lot of veggies like carrots, beans, cucumber etc. To me this dish was about ok, I would say bad but neither would I say it was too good. Probably the oil floating on the top and on the sides made me burp a bit and create that burning sensation. By the end of it, I ended up finishing all the prawns.

The Pad See Yew were descent. Quite a large portion served with flat noodles, with eggs, vegetables. Served on a plate with noodles made out of carrot and topped with black pepper. The dish was quite descent and tasty, with loads of prawns in it. It looked quite filling and I was sure If I had this, I would have blasted. I tasted it from my friend and it was pretty good with the soy and oyster sauce. 

Overall the food quality was good and the serving size were quite big and generous. On an average, each of the dishes on the menu - salads, stir fry's rice, noodles, were all in the range of $16 to $20. 

The total bill again for four of us was approx AUD 80. If I am in Coffs Harbour, I would come over if I am craving for Thai.What I'd remember for this place is the great ambience, the cosy setting and the great conversation people were having.

Tahruah Thai
390 Harbour Drive
Coffs Harbour, NSW
Phone 02-66515992
www.tahruahthai.webs.com









Tahruah Thai on Urbanspoon

Oberoi's Indian Restaurant, Coff's Harbour, NSW

All right. Picture this. It is the long weekend for the Queens Birthday. Full night partying at my place till 4 a.m. and then we drive down to Coffs Harbour, NSW. About 550 kms away from Sydney, departing at about 7 in the morning and reaching at 2:30 approx. I am starving is an understatement, because our good friend riving doesn't like to stop the car, and hence its just about a chicken pie and a cup of coffee. 

Anyways, as we reach Coff's Harbour and settle in our accommodation, I check out Trip Advisor for some options. The questions is as always- Indian or Thai or Italian. Italian isn't too much of a popular options with 4 Indians. Thai gets a nod but the friends Mrs has reservations so we head back for Indian. A short drive to main strip in town- near the Coffs Harbour Jetty lands us there. We are looking for a restaurant called Taste of North India. When we reach there, we are told that its too late and that they would be opening at 5:00 pm. The time is 3:30. I could eat whole kangaroo if I could get one, but no way was I going to wait for another hour and a half. Probably bad luck for the restaurant and as we are walking back the street, we enter this restaurant called Oberoi's another Indian restaurant. For those unaware, Oberoi is a popular surname in the north, especially in Punjab. With great expectations, we walk into a restaurant which is pretty normal to be honest and totally empty. 

There is middle aged lady on the higher side.may be like 55 who seats us. We quickly order for the chicken tikkas and the onion bhajjji. Well to our surprise it is served almost too quickly for our expectation. It is only later we realize that it probably looks as if it has been microwaved. The chicken tikka's are despicable. Not spiced properly, too much of artificial color, The onion bhajji is also about just average.The serving size it just too small and so we decide to order another set- onion bhajji and chicken tikkas. 4 starters for 4 people.

Suddenly the lady comes and nearly throws a plate of yellow rice on the table and I think may be its a complimentary.For main course we order the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Goat Curry and some breads.

The food arrives shortly. Well its a bit cold and the food is steaming hot, so that's good. The chicken Tikka Masala is again a disappointment. It is sweet. And way too sweet to be true. Its like butter chicken with the chicken tikkas served earlier, popped into the curry, except that would have tasted better. 



The Goat curry was unbelievably horrible as well. The curry seemed to be too spicy with coarse pieces of   pepper. While another friend of mine, did seem to like it initially. I can tell you this friend of mine is a quack and all he savors is just chilli and excessive spicy food. While I personally think this friend of mine is a lunatic and doesn't have taste in the very first place, I still can tell you that even a freak like him didn't like the food eventually.
For me this level of spice doesn't add to the favor of the food, but destroys it. Well, after all the partying the night before, the travelling and empty stomach, I can tell you even the chicken tikka masala seemed to be soothing and better. 


I had also ordered a chilli chicken naan. Boy the naan was actually super hot, if you ask me. Probably the only thing which I liked. I had initially been curious to see what a chilli chicken naan would be like, because in India, chili chicken is usually associated with the Chinese version. Over here, it was a normal naan stuffed with shredded chicken with green chilies  

While I was eating the lady appeared and started asking us if she could clear the plates. Bloody Rude.

The unit is run by a Sikh couple who have been here for the last 35 years. The gentleman was polite and did ask a few times how the food was. He was helpful to tell us the places around to visit. Apparently there is a Gurudwara, some 25 kms away from a Coffs Harbour on a hill and Sikhs have been here since 1935. Amazing isn't it, when you think about a remote place like Coffs Harbour and you find an Indian presence. 

Overall cost is AUD 80. But not value for money.

Well Overall, Not recommended at all. Very poor food and I just didnt like any bit of it. At the risk, I can tell you one of the most pathetic Indian Restaurants.

Oberoi's Indian Restaurant
376 Harbour Drive, Jetty Strip
Coffs Harbour 
Ph: 02-66519699

Oberois Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 10, 2013

Interesting.


Now that is something interesting I'd say. Never thought of something like this.
@Coff's Harbour, NSW


Friday, June 7, 2013

Biryani Blues

All right.... I have stayed in Gurgaon and Delhi for most of my life. One of the staple dishes that we have is the Biryani. Biryani is basically rice cooked with spices and meat. The meat is usually chicken or mutton. The rice can be white or colored.

Now as I have grown up and traveled to various parts of the country, there are different versions of the biryani at different places. As with India with the diversity is so vast, where every 50 kms the dialect changes, it is but obvious to expect that the even the cooking styles and signature also change. For instance the biryani in Delhi is far too different from the Biryani in Lucknow and different from that in Hyderabad.

Traditionally biryani in Kashmir consists of the yakhni, which involves cooking a stew with the meat and then cooking the rice in the stew. On the contrary we have Hyderabadi Biryani which is equally famous which involves slow cooking and often referred to as the dum biryani. Equally interesting and distinct flavored is the Lucknow biryani. IN Lucknow at Tunde Kebab, the biryani is bright yellow and white and orange rice mixed with meat.
Other than these three areas renowned for BIryani, every other city has its own style and flavor. I do admit at other places there is a lot of abuse as well in the name of Biryani. Often soggy rices or over cooked and then recooked with spices and meat does make it difficult for people with taste to take the trash. I have had biryani also at other places such as Pune, Delhi, Kanpur etc.

Coming to Hyderabadi Biryani, if you are in Hyderabad, then you would know the taste and how great it is. Be it at Paradise at Secunderabad or Hyderabad House chains all across or Hyderabad restaurant at Yusufguda or Bawarchi or any place for that matter. The city loves its biryani. Different packs, sizes but quintessentially the same style of biryani, served with one full chicken leg, mirchi ka salan, the thin watery curd raita with onion tomato and coriander leaves. Some have boiled eggs on top of them, some with egg and chicken 65. There is single packs, family packs, jumbo packs. I still remember during my MBA days when we used to hog on biryani but when we saw nearby Hyderabadi or Telegu people and their rice eating skills was phenomenal. We used to have parties with the BBC gang on terrace tops, the bottles on one end and then two if us going on a bike to Yousufguda or some place and picking up the jumbo packs, with 3-5 kgs of biryani. After getting smashed and sloshed and all the singing, dancing, it came down to the biryani bags and the chicken in it. Those were the days.

I left Hyderabad in 2007 and since then I have had biryani but I was amused whenever I saw Hyderabadi Biryani in Gurgaon. I chuckled and said to my self as if these clowns have a clue. On many instances I tried only to be disappointed. Years have passed and I still wonder when I would be going back again to Hyderabad.

Coming back to my review for a place I tried and my apologies for such a long foreplay as I did get overwhelmed and swept away.

This year while visiting India and being at home after such a long time, I realized my craving for Biryani was again resurfacing. One of these days in the market opposite to my house, which is otherwise called DLF Super Mart -I, I saw a board from outside saying Biryani Blues. So I decide to check it out. The interiors are pretty descent Id say. Small shop but elegantly done with small wooden tables with wrought iron and simple chairs, white walls with brick layout design made it look spacious and bigger and at least not cramped up. The wall had many funny posters explaining local Hyderabadi Lingo. I got a feeling as if it was a pretty new start up but when I asked the counter guy, he mentioned its been there for 3 months now. At 8:30 in the night it was quite busy, mostly for delivery orders.

I looked at the menu and being in a rush I ordered the mutton or the goat biryani. The order was given in about 5 minutes and cost about Rs 400/-. I head back home and opened the takeaway box. This Birayani was yum. It is probably the closest and best Hyderabadi Biryani I have had so far outside Hyderabad.

It just hit the spot and one bite made me remember the Hyderabad days. The goat meat, was to my amazement, so tender. I mean usually outside, at regular and most restaurants, the quality of mutton is not so good. Awfully chopped pieces to bones and chewy meat are all symptoms that are like nightmares for the goat meat lovers. Anyways the biryani here was really really good. Well spiced. Served with mirchi ka salan and thin raita. All authentic.

Let me tell you how Much I liked this biryani. On the day when I was to fly back to Sydney, I was busy throughout the day like crazy. I had my cab booked at 7:15 p.m. I took my car to the nearby market for one last time to buy medicines and on the way back,  the aroma and scent hit my senses once again and I got tempted to visit again for a takeaway. Knowing I am getting late, I reached back at 7:00 and had the biryani before I head off for the airport. I mean imagine, bollywood would be so disappointed with me. Not following the stereotyped scenes where the hero rushes to the airport to say good bye and profess undying love for one last time, here I am rushing to have the final biryani and savor the taste for one last time.

Highly recommended to my readers.


Biryani Blues - Flavours of Hyderabad
Thea Kitchen Private Limited, 
B 204 Upper Ground Floor, 
Supermart 1 DLF Phase IV, 
Gurgaon - 122002 
email: aparna@biryaniblues.com  or info@biryaniblues.com 
+91 124 4227308
+91 9871032020

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wengers, Delhi

Well what do I say about this classic. All through out as I have grown up in Delhi, it has been about CP and Wengers. Whenever CP its Wengers and Keventers.

Even now when I visit India and am back to Delhi and GUrgaon, it is on my checklist of to do before I leave.

Wengers is a confectionary that has been operating for more than 30 years. If you remember when we were kids and growing up there was a distinct business model arond confectionary shops. Shops that would sell bakery products, cakes, sandwiches, biscuits and savouries. As we neared the end of 90s gradually the model evolved and very few still contnued while most confectionaries closed in the light of other emerging trends such as coffee joints, baristas and fast foods. Confectionaries changed to Bakeries but the old format of confectionary which was rampantly popular and easy to find at every nook and corner, now reduced in numbers.

Well, Wengers is one of those shops which have still retained the same format and has the old world charm. It still has the same feel. Simple shop, good food and value. The reason it has been able to do so and retain is because they were popular and vision to retain to their core business.

Situated at A block of Inner Circle at Connaught Place, this joint has simple layout. As you enter, there are two rows. On the left column is the savouries, sandwhiches and breads while on the right is the section of cakes, biscuits, toffees.

If I were ever in Wengers this is what I would have or recommend you to try. Patties chicken or mutton- simply delicious. Flaky pastry with a filling of indian spiced meat.

Shammi Kebabs- minced patties of goat meat and lentils, spiced and then crumb fried.

Quiche- the chicken sausage quiche is heavely.
Baguette is also nice and recommended.

On the sweet section I would go for their chocolate eclairs and the butter toffees and then do a take away of the dark chocolate cake. Its simply delicious.

If you have seen Kumar and Harrold go to white castle, and you know what craving is and how it feels when the craving is satisfied, Id say this is my white castle. No trip to CP for is me complete till I eat here.

To top up all the food, get out of the store, walk left to the corner and you will find Keventer. A simple shop that sells milkshakes. In flavours of chocolate, mango and strwaberry, the shakes are served in glass bottles with option of ice cream in it. This is still the same again  since the old days.

Wengers and Keventers must have.

Highly recommended.