Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amour Bistro, New Delhi

All right this one is about Amour Bistro. I was in Chanakya Puri area and was catching up with a childhood friend.  We ended up going to Malcha Marg market and there were quite a few options. Lazeez for Indian, Fujiya for Chinese. As we walked around, by the process of elimination, we decided to go to Amour Bistro for Italian.

Situated on the corner, right next to the Yes bank ATM, this bistro overlooks a quiet road adjoining with lush green trees and a residential area. As we walked in, it was just great ambiance. I was quite impressed. Rustic white walls, wooden slabs on the ceiling, comfortable couches along the wall. Furniture was quite simple and light, cane furniture, wrought iron lamp shades and a visible furnace where the pizzas were being wood fired. To the left, there were large transparent glasses overlooking the lush green trees adjacent to the road. Looked pretty relaxing, where you’d like to come over the weekend or on your leave days, settle down with a book and relax with a few coffees or some snacks.

Well I was definitely charmed with the ambiance and full marks from my side. I didn't really expect such a thing in India, or perhaps in Delhi. I might have expected something like this in Australia, but very impressed and liked it.

Coming to the menu, well, there quite a few interesting ones. I noticed that they also serve pork as well. For me, the options were chicken or veg. We ordered the 3 cheese soufflé. In the main course, there were the options of either going for Pasta’s, burgers, wood fired pizza’s. At this point, I really do admit that the menu looked quite international. I mean, having traveled to various parts of the world myself, I was actually impressed with the menu and the choice of dishes. There was no standard Indianization of international cuisine. Again, may be all these years outside India make me think differently about my own country, but a good impressive menu.
 
The soufflé was quite yum. Well presented, on a white dish with a transparent glass bell shaped cover. As you take of the cover , there’s fluffy three cheese soufflé . On the side there was a bit of chocolate syrup and topped with nuts. The soufflé was really yum, with a distinct strong flavor of goat cheese.
  
I was quite tempted to order the lamb burger to be honest.  However, I was then informed that they have wood fired pizza’s, and that probably changed my mind. We ordered two large pizza’s. The Basilica which was the vegetarian Pizza and the second being the Quattro stagioni. The pizza’s were delicious and the most important part for me was that it was wood fired. Referring to my previous post on pizza’s I have previously expressed my love for thin crust pizza’s and especially wood fired(http://foodiechatter.blogspot.com/2013/02/pizzas-so-far.html)


My favourite wood fired pizza at Sydney is the wood fire kiribilli (http://foodiechatter.blogspot.com/2013/02/woodfire-kirrbilli.html)


The basilica pizza had sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, goat cheese and basil. The Quattro stagioni was the chicken pizza which had olives garlic and chicken. All in all both the pizzas were quite good and I loved it. Highly recommended.
The ice tea is pretty good, not too sweet and they make it themselves and serve it in a square container.
Being a new place, we did have the pretty owner coming over and saying hello and enquiring on food etc.


All in all, my comments for this place are that I loved it here. Great décor, nice menu. Food is really nice. In terms of cost, an average starter ranges from Rs. 350- Rs.500. The main course – pizza’s were priced Rs 400/-. The ice tea was for Rs 145/-. Given the place and the ambience, I didn’t find it expensive. A meal cost about Rs. 3000/-, which I find reasonable to be honest, although we were sharing. However, not exactly a cheap-eat at the same time.  

Average price for a couple is approx. Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2500/- for a couple.

My recommendation- Go for it, but only if you like Italian cuisine.

Amour Bistro
10/48 Malcha Marg, New Delhi
Phone: 9654126687, 9212126687


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Naivedyam, Gurgaon

All right. This one is about Naivedyam. Well, Inthe NCR region- Delhi, Gurgaon, there are lot of restaurants which serve South Indian food. Most are general purpose restaurants which serves almost all cuisines. then there are some special restaurant which serve only specific cuisines. Even in such speciality restaurants, there are some which are one off and then there some chain restaurants.

When it comes to South Indian Cuisine usually the most famous names in terms of a restaurant chains is probably Sagar Restaurant, which is deemed to be authentic and having branches all across Delhi.

For me, it is not Sagar Ratna. Personally I find it too highly branded, expensive and not so great food. If I were in Gurgaon and I have a craving to eat south Indian food, the place I'd recommend is Naivedyam. Naivedyam in Gurgaon is at Sushant Lok, C block, in a building called Vipul Square. Situated on the top floor, this is a restaurant which has been around for close to 8 years. Reason why I like it is because of few sraightforward reasons- simplicity, good food, good price, easy and accessible.

Usual fare for my order at Naivedyam is a plate of Vada Sambhar to start off with. I like my Vada's crispy and dry. It is served with Sambhar, Coconut Chutney and another variant of chutney which looks a bit orange. I have ordered the oothapam at a different occasion, and found it to be ok.

In the main course, usually we order Dosa's. The ones I would order is the Mysore Masala Dosa, Paneer Dosa. The mysore masala dosa is not too crispy. It is like pancake material with a stuffing of potatoes in the center. Pretty good and I order this almost every time. The differentiating factor for this dosa is that it has coating of a orange paste on the insides of the dosa, which is more like a bit spicy paste of garlic and spices. Due to this the dosa is not as crisp as the stereotyped image we have of a crispy dosa.

Next we come to is the paper masala dosa. While having the masala dosa, we craved for a crispy dosa. This one is super crispy and comes in the form of a open ended cylinder. No paste, so its crispy and has a bit of the stufing of potatoes in the center. Pretty good again.

Next comes the Paneer Masala Dosa, again a good one and a bit heavy and fulfilling as well. Highly recommended.

There is also the south Indian Thali - Veg thali, executive thai which are served. On a different occasion I have had this and I can recall it was quite fullfilling, but again just about descent and average.





I tried the Malabar Parantha, which is supposed to be a flaky parantha, more like the lacha parantha. Now I was quite excited at trying this parantha and I asked the waiter what I should have it with. It is served with a vegetable kurma. Now I probably thought it would be a Qorma called as Kurma. Once served, there were two protions of the paranthas and the kurma was more lik a cocnut based gravy with beans and carrots. To be honest, I didnt like it. Was just about avergae and nothing to boast about.

The best part of the meal comes at the end. It is the filter coffee. True authentic south indian filter coffee. Strong, a bit bitter and frothy, served in a steel glass and a small bowl with it. Love to just take this hot cup of coffee, add sugar and then pour it from the glass into the bowl and then back into the glass, repeatedly in a long stream and making more froth.  A full meal followed by the coffee just hits the spot.

This is a great place for South Indian Food. No Frills, just good food.

Average price for meal for two costs Rs 300/- to Rs 500/-.

Naivedyam Vipul Square, B Block, Sushant Lok, Gurgaon

Khan Chacha’s


All right Khan Chacha is probably a very famous one in Delhi. Situated at Khan Market, many are aware of the delicious sizzling morsels of marinated meat that the Khans make. A few years back, it was in news when the landlord of the property evicted them and started using the brand name Khan Chacha.


For me, about 4 years back I did go to Khan Market, and into the little back alley to try out Khan Chacha. Unfortunately, afternoon time and there was some issue and we ended up going to another Kebab joint, diametrically oppsite to the Khan chacha shp, as you proceed in the back alley to the other side if the U shaped road. Since then it has been on the cards, but unfortunately never did go to Khan Market. Luckily it seems fortune favors those who are passionate for food. Khan Chacha opened a branch in DLF Galleria, DLF City-IV, Gurgaon. Can you believe it?

And so, on a cold foggy night in November mid, I ventured out with my mother and brother, in search of some soul stirring food. While I had a hot cup of piping soup in my mind initially, and I didn’t want to end up going to a restaurant to be honest. I drove around DLF, until Galleria and then Khan Chacha. Now this shop is a small eatery. As you enter in, a few tables, with casual dining, or you can just do a take away. A quick look into their menu, and its just perfect. Not too many options so mot too much confusion. Its either Kebabs and tikkas, or Non- Veg Rolls. They do have a few veg options as well as I can recall. In addition, a few single items- Roomali roti’s, mutton korma and chicken Biryani.

The order started with the fish tikka’s. Beautiful. Well cooked fish tikka’s with a spicy coating of masala and spices. Just perfect. I mean that’s the beauty of Delhi. In the cold winter night when you get that piping hot fish tikka’s and whether you put it straight in your mouth or you take it with onion lacha’s and pudina chutney, the heat in your mouth making you speechless, the feeling is unbelievable. That’s the love of Delhi. The same feeling at Khan Chacha. Perfect.

Next comes the chicken tikka’s. Roasted to perfection. Slightly orange colored and slightly burnt. Grilled in front of you on a charcoal flame in the open kitchen. The morel of chicken breasts are perfect. Full marks again. In the market, you probably have every tom dick and harry making tandoori chicken and chicken tikkas. Most are over colored and over spicy. But then ones at Khan Chacha are one of the very few ones which were just perfect.

Coming to Mutton Seekh Kebabs. Awesome again. I mean every subsequent dish was on above the other. When it comes to kebabs out of minced meat. There is one which is made by Kareems, which has no parallel. The ones at Khan Chacha, are the other category. Bright redding orangish minced meat mixture put on skewers and grilled in a charcoal flame.  This spicy and juicy. Loved it. Again ten on ten.

Next comes the Haryali Kebabs which is again chicken. This one has a green coating. Much subtle flavours and not as pronounced or loud as the previous ones. The Haryali Kebabs were mild and I was wondering if it were the right choice, especially after such spicy flavored chicken tikkas and mutton seekh kebab. But once served, and one bite and I knew it definitely was. The Haryali Tikkas while subtle, were extremely juicy with flavors of pudina and coriander.  I loved this one as well.

The last item for the night was the mutton tikka’s. I usually like mutton tikka’s because they are a bit chewy and usually the most spiciest.  Again, it didn’t disappoint me at all. Very spicy and a bit chewy to perfection. Loved it.

All in all, Khan Chacha gets a 10/10 from me. Full marks for perfectly grilled, charcoal flamed tikka’s. Loved every morsel and every bite. Khan Chacha has earned a die hard loyal  fan here.

From a cost perspective, very very economical. Each plate of kebab costs about Rs 150/- . The Fish was about Rs 250/-. The roomali rotis are for Rs 20/-. A meal for three cost us about Rs 1000/-.

Highly Recommended.

Khan Chacha’s

90, Ground Floor, DLF Galleria, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon-122002



+91 9810671103, 0124 4033449

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ki Hangla

All right this one is about Ki Hangla, a Bengali and Dhakai cuisine restaurant. Now, before I move in, a few facets about myself. I am myself from a Bengali family and well versed with Bengali cuisine. Now having said that, because I am Bengali, I have never really gone out to eat Bengali food. This is because of two reasons. Firstly, being a Bengali, I never fathomed the need to go out and try something that I myself am associated with. Secondly because until recently, Bengali hasn’t been really a cuisine that is very popular.
I had often heard about Oh Calcutta, which by the way I have never tried. Ki Hangla, has been around in my vicinity neighborhood market for the last few years. I had tried it briefly a few years back, when it operated as simple small eatery. The experience back then was about ok. I did intend to write, but perhaps it was probably limited to a starter.
Now as a Bengali, it is also important to tell you that aside from the  regular dishes that I have at home, the other aspect of the Bengali food are the savories that you get during Durga Puja. I am on the look out but usually this is more like an annual things which you get at the food stalls in the pandals.
 
This year, for a change on the night before Diwali, we decided to try out Ki hangla. Amongst various reasons, was also a recommendation from one of my friends. Well to begin with, Ki Hangla is probably doing well and that is evident from the fact that It has a new dine in restaurant in addition to the old set up. The new dine in is good décor, a bit cramped but nonetheless, good. One of the walls has this large collage about Bengal, celebrities, cartoons, Tanga’s and trams.
Coming to the menu, quite a long list of menu items. Many starters, curries. The vegetarian section as well is quite long. Well, to begin with I was quite impressed with the diverse menu. About 112 items listed in the menu and many pictures which I think would help people ordering to know what they would get.
That’s  probably where the awe stopped. I had come into this store, thinking of fishes. Chicken and Mutton, you get every where, but good fish is something which really had me excited. Unfortunately and to my utter surprise, I was told there was no fish. No Hilsa. All right, I tried asking if there was at least any other fish for curry and promptly I was told nopes. No Rohu, No Hilsa, NO Bhetki. Ok, still patient, I tried asking if there was at least fish fry, and again a No. I was actually amused and I asked the waiter what the hell was happening. A Bengali restaurant with no fish. Yes, prawns were available, but nothing else. I was told I was oo late. A look at the watch and I see 8:30 P.M. and yet I am too late? Anyways, I decide not to hold it against the restaurant and move onto other things.
The order from our end has a Mutton Chop as an appetizer. For main course, we order for a Chicken Bharta, which by the way is not on the menu, but recommended. The other main course is the Mutton Kasha. Along with that we order luchi which is basically the Bengali version of Poori. Luchi is more white as it is made out of maida, while poori are made from atta. We also roder Tawa roti’s.
Now, as we complete the order we request for water. And then comes the big surprise. Sorry sir, you have to go for bottled water. I think I have made a mistake in hearing and say, no, I want regular water. Again, I am casually told sorry you have to go for bottled water. Now I don’t intend on paying for water, just because someone wants me to. Then I am told, the water at the restaurant is not filtered. Well I am wondering then if perhaps the food cooked is with mineral water? Another pathetic state of things which I chose to ignore.
 
The food comes up. But only after I have to remind a few times. A wait of 30-40 minutes seems exceptionally long. Again comes a response, the delivery orders are high in number. Thanks you very much for making me realize, I am not welcome as a guest.
Now come to the food. The Mutton chop. Looks great. Crumb Fried, and huge. Two balls of crumb fried chops. Now, take a bite and it extremely crispy on the outside. Inside, there is a mash of potatoes and goat meat with onions. The mutton chop, while looks perfect, tasted slightly stale on the inside. It felt and perhaps raised a doubt if the filling inside was fresh or perhaps a day or two old. If you would ask me, naah. I wouldn’t order again.
 
Next came the chicken bharta. Now this dish actually looked tantalizing and delicious. Strips or shredded chicken with spices, and a slight paste types of curry embalmed on the chicken. This was topped with shredded paneer. Now this dish was just yum. I am telling you. Worth it. Very tasty. Not too spicy and yet had the perfect Indian touch. Very nice and I would really recommend this dish.
 
Next comes the mutton kasha. If you are a Bengali, then you’d probably know kasha basically means, mutton which has been cooked, without water. Usually at our homes, when mutton is cooked, usually first the onion tomatoes are firred with all the spices and then the mutton added and stirred. The state when mutton is continuously cooked without water which leads to a thick gravy, with a bit of oil floating in red colour. Now whn this dish was served. Looks wise it was really good. The ortion size was good and had probably 3 pieces of mutton. Taste wise also descent with the curry. But when it came to the mutton, it wasn’t too good. The meat was probably from a too old a goat. Dark colured meat, not too soft. Usually mutton being expensive, people don’t serve too much of a quantity. While the quantity was good, the quality of mutton could have been better. It was just about ok, and left you wanting for more.
Next came the luchi’s and the rotis, which were good. A word of advise. If you think this is a regular restaurant, and rotis’ luchis can be reordered and would be ordered at no time, you are in for a rude shock. This was probably my next most frustrating moment. We had ordered four rotis and four luchi’s. We ordered for another round, and you may not believe it but it took another 20 minutes for just another 4 rotis and poori’s. The wait was never ending. The eating was stalled and all the food went cold. I had this time get up and raise my voice, and still it took another 5 minutes.
While we were eating, suddenly the waitress appears and put the bill and departs. So I politely call her back and ask her that I am not done and I have not asked for a bill. To which I am told, its closing time and that’s it. I call the head waiter and give him a card for payment and am told that I have to give cash because they have shutdown the computer.
All in all, this place falls short of my expectations from a huge mile. Hey have potential, but they are not there. Poor service, lack of food items on the menu to be served. Too much time for serving food, staff is uneducated. You can serve Bengali food to people who are not Bengalis and get away, but you really need to work your food and service. Serving portions size is descent. Interiors are good.
And please serve water in your restaurant. In my humble opinion it seems to be a basic need, to be honest.

Main course dishes range from Rs 200- Rs 400/- A meal for us three above was Rs 1000/- Not too bad.


Would I go there? Not Again. Too bad an experience.  NOT RECOMMENDED.
 
Ki Hangla
A-201 (Dine In) & B 101 (Take Away) DLF Super Mart I, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon
Cyber City Gurgaon
Phone: 9717955956, 0124-3221303