Saturday, 23 August 2014

Wai Yu Mun Ching

I fell in love with the food of this place! I had to figure out a way of remembering it's name (to show off and recommend it to all my friends) and thats when I realized the punch: WHY YOU MUNCHING? :D
I have to mention why restaurant information websites can be highly misleading sometimes (specially when you don't read reviews). This restaurant was a quick-pick for a special occasion dinner and I read the following about it before going there:

1. outdoor seating available (implies good ambiance)
2. chinese and thai (implies safe cuisines)
3. good rating (implies reasonably good food)
4. not cheap (definitely implies good ambiance)

Since the restaurant is in Gurgaon (and I stay in Noida), I had no clue about the reputation of the location of this place, and the above combined factors made it seem like a fancy fine-dine restaurant to me.
What I found out when I actually reached was nothing like I expected.

It was a compact little restaurant with a seating for not more than 20 people, in a busy market full of small casual eating joints. It seemed like a place you would usually come for a takeaway and the so called outdoor seating was the foldable table placed in the passage right outside the door (blocking the way of people passing by). I was petrified at first, since I wore a cocktail dress and 6 inch stilettos which made me feel so out of place. But since I care less about these things, I shifted my focus on all the amazing things that I eventually noticed:

1. My reservation for the outdoor seating was taken so seriously that they decorated the table with flowers and the ceiling was placed with fairy lights.
2. It was nothing like a fine-dine but they assigned us a personal attendant (in such casual places, you just call him bhaiya)
3. The owner (a very pleasant and professional woman) came several times to make sure that we had a good time.

Thanks to all the above factors, I started ignoring the fact that I'm not in a dreamy up-market diner. When I go out, I just need something to strike me and all the personal attention in this one had already gotten me to like the place. But the main element was yet to come. THE FOOD. Golden Fried Jumbo Prawns, Spring Rolls, Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce, Noodles (I ordered a safe course). Just the smell of the food gave me an adrenaline rush (this happens to foodies like me :P). I ate. A burst of flavors in my mouth. The kind of spices that tingle your taste buds, and lasts long enough on your tongue so that you relish this bite before you take in the next one in. There were elements with the right crunch and other elements which melt in your mouth. And to top it, all those elements work so well together to create a savory experience. Take it from a person who has been to the best Chinese chains in town, this small little bombshell instantly became a winner for me. You can make the seafood, chicken and sauces better than the rest, but how in the world did they manage to make their noodles stand out? I was too engrossed in the food to care. Every bite was followed by a sigh of satisfaction. Call me crazy, but even their lemon soda is worth a mention. By the look of the place, the menu initially seemed over-priced, but right after the meal, I was happy to pay (which is rare for a foodie who is also a miser). The hangover of the food was such, that I came back for lunch the following day to try thai, which too was incredible. Bali prawn appetizer was the star of that meal. The aroma of the lemon grass in the restaurant added happiness. So thanks to the internet, I accidently found a gem of a place, which gave me abundant reasons to revisit.
I only get positive feedbacks and praises of the food from whosoever I recommend the restaurant to. Lots of people love the soups and fried rice (which I plan on trying soon).

- This place is just about the mind-blowing food. Don't go here for ambiance or anything else. The service is impeccably fast, friendly and suggestive.
- Atmosphere is very casual (don't be me, wear your pajamas)
- Great for a takeaway/delivery.
- They also have lunch-time offers for a more reasonable meal.

Its a must-go if you stay in Gurgaon (It has 3 outlets, this review is for the one in DLF Phase 4)

You're gona spend: 1K INR for a good meal for two.

PS: I hope they open up soon in Delhi and Noida, till then, its going to be on my list on all my visits to Gurgaon.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Foodista at FIO, Garden OF Five Senses

I don't often say WOW when I enter into a restaurant (yeah, I don't judge most things by the looks) but this one forced me to say it (it was a reflex reaction). Its more of a beautiful, breath-taking garden (with a lot of tables full of food) that you pay to visit (and you pay ALOT) and is less of a restaurant.
The most romantic aspect of this place is the location itself, since you land in a hilly terrain in Delhi (not literally, but its not the typical Delhi-like), so you already start feeling that you're in a foreign far-off area, just for a meal.. which makes the whole feeling of going out really special.
I was just so charmed by the idea of being in this place, that I completely forgot about the food (which is very unlike me.. scanning the menu and eating are usually my only purposes of visiting a restaurant). I was seated on a table under the moon (yes, it was night time), with a fine breeze (enhanced by a personal fan for my table) and a huge scented candle (I wish I could put the aroma in words). Lost in the freshness of flora and fauna (and the music which magically matched the surroundings), I was given the menu by an extremely well-groomed waiter (the guy knew his job.. 'make them feel special but don't pile on'). It was a complete fairy-tale (before I looked upon the pricey right-side of the menu card and realized that it would need a real prince to pay for a heavy meal). That is when I used my previous research knowledge of the restaurant to carefully select items that would (a) Fill me up (b) Fit my budget (c) Bring me the best of flavors the place could offer (yeah working on all the factors requires too much mind work.. I realized I had to increase my budget).

I took a beer in my hand and went around to admire the whole restaurant and click pictures (I wouldn't usually do that in a regular fine-dine, non-garden like restaurant). The interiors seemed great too, but I would never choose that over the gardens (obviously, unless its a hot sunny afternoon). Anyway, I reached back to my table to find complimentary bread and a pickle dip waiting for me.. it tasted so well (more so 'coz i wasn't gona pay for it) and was followed by my Borolo Braised Tiger Prawns and saffron risotto, which had an outstanding impact 'coz of the presentation. However, by the look of the plate, I thought the 2 prawns (of my share) would make me want to stop at Mcdonalds (for a takeaway) post dinner, but by the time I was half done with my wood-oven Smoked Chicken pizza (the second and final dish), I was so full that I wasted the last slice (and that pinched). Both the dishes were well cooked and had the perfect Italian flavors. The food was more of an add on to the entire experience. I was done with the food but I wanted to spend more time in there (but usually you're supposed to leave after the meal). I cleared the cheque (which was a big amount) and inhaled the rosy air of the place to bid goodbye to Fio for a long time (I don't intend on spending that much money mainly for ambiance too often).
Before leaving the Garden Of Five Senses, I took a walk  (in the middle of the night). I want to let you guys know that there's a real camel there (for rides) which is tied in the night (I took it for a statue and freaked out when it moved.. I was so shaken, that later, I was scared to pass by elephant statues).
All in all, its an outing I would always cherish.

Money you're going to spend: 4K INR (for a modest meal and a beer each for two people)
It's great for a date or a big day, also for people who don't mind spending a little extra for an exclusive experience.

PS: If you want to go out on a budget outing with your friends and want to stuff yourself with food till you cant breathe (I love that feeling), give this place a miss and save it for a special occasion.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Foodista at Rico's (Hudson Lane, North Campus)

What is your idea of a perfect life partner? Good looks (you may deny it, but we all know it counts), Substantial (yes, what's on the inside is the main point), unconditional love for each other (the 'always and forever' kind, as the cool kids say it), understanding on the fact that your pocket-money is limited and you can't spend it all on dates and the X factor (sharing a comfort zone and being experimental at the same time)..
I wrote all this only to explain how Rico's is the perfect life partner of all the foodies in North Campus. Here's why this compact cafe is a personal favorite of (almost) everyone who has been there..

1. Good looks, Good looks and Good looks:

When the plate is served, you feel no less than a Masterchef Judge (who has an eye for presentation) who has to be served the beauty contest winner of the dishes (creativity unleashed). They make your plate a visual treat in the literal sense and you start enjoying it even before it goes into your mouth. Talk about those waffles with generous amounts of whipped cream and designer sauces, the artistically presented hummus on a platter, the burgers with softened cheese or the delectable dessert counter, they ace it all, with precision. (Looks can kill.. in this case, we have some killer picture perfect dishes).

2. Its not just about the looks, sweetheart:

Yes, looks can charm you for a while, but it cant keep you forever. Thats why the so called love eventually fades away. But these people at Rico's make sure that those killer food looks do full justice to your taste buds. They don't serve you truckload quantities in a plate but for every bite you put in your mouth, you release a breath of satisfaction (ah! delectable). Special focus is given on flavors!

3. 'Get me the cheque please' (and the heartbeat about to stop):

The above statement in the bracket is not applicable at the cheque calling time in Rico's. No matter  how fancy looking (or sounding) the dish is, the average price of it would be 150 INR (No, I am not kidding). The costliest dish would be around 300 bucks (which are fish delicacies). Rico's has proven that love (for food) isn't all about money!

4. The Cozy Comforting part (Yeah! It's like my own place):

There is nothing miraculous about the ambiance but the personalized (and extremely classy) touch given to the interiors is what makes it so appealing (every time I see the pillar full of STICKY NOTES in the pictures, I think of what I wrote and it brings back memories). Not to forget the graffiti on the entrance passage and the bookshelves inside. And of course, the consistently quick service assures that you can finish a meal before your next lecture begins (obviously if you've made it to your table, fighting the waiting line of hungry kids spread across two staircases).

5. What more do you have for me? (We all love variety and experimentation, don't we?)

Full marks again to Rico's on this one. The menu card can keep you engrossed longer than the conversation with the person sitting next to you! They've got a little something for all kinds of people. Pastas, Burgers, Salads, Pizzas for people who like to play safe, Steaks, Panini, Quesadillas, Risottos for the fancy food lovers, heavenly shakes and a range of sweet course for the ones with a sweet tooth (not that I am generalizing, I belong to all the categories). Its just that every time you visit this place, the never ending menu has something new to offer.

Yeah, since this makes Rico's the ideal life (at the campus) partner, most students around are loyal lovers. And talk of loyalty, food is most promising in the most obvious manner: The more you love (read as: eat) it, the more it loves you back (read as: stays in the form of fat tyres on your body :P)
Nevertheless, Rico's would always be a personal favorite (and a recommendation to all the non-north-campus people)

PS: I would love to have some comments/suggestions about this post!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Foodista at Dimsum Bros on a Wednesday night

I am a BHUKKAD (they call it glutton in english.. i just found out). I love the idea of eating food, I love the fact that there's a possibility to eat endless new kind of dishes, I love exploring food and I love paying for an unlimited meal, which is one reason I always look for buffets. But wait! This one got UNLIMITED ALCOHOL too! I was love-struck after reading about this offer online!. After failing for a couple of wednesdays, due to one reason or another, I finally landed at Ambience Mall (Gurgaon) into this lovely restaurant (everything seems beautiful when you know you're gona make them regret putting this offer on a menu 'coz you're going to raid this place nigga).
There was one thing I wasn't too sure about: How are dim sums going to make up a whole meal for me? (they made more than a blissful meal in the end) My idea of dim sums were the regular momos I had when I went out for a walk (Yes, I like eating even on my about fitness), or the expensive momos in Chinese restaurants that I never bother to order 'coz yeah they were too pricey and a few pieces could never fill me up (the quantity they put in my plate is what appeals to me, my friend). That is one reason I wouldn't try this place without the unlimited offer (Dude I wont pay a grand for Momos? duh!) Okay so my strategy that day was simple: Gulp in about 5 beers, 2 whiskeys and 5 plates of a combination of seafood and chicken dim sums and it won't pinch when you pay.
Sweet! so I got seated, excited (but not very hopeful 'coz schemes like these usually have something hidden that would disappoint) but then I saw the menu card elaborating the scheme: YOU CANT BE SERIOUS!!! Unlimited Blackdog, Vladvir, MojitosMargaritas, Mocktails, Fosters (not a favorite but I was gona adjust), some brand of Gin and another drink which I didn't order (it wasn't too easy to pronounce). Now dude, if they gave me JUST the unlimited alcohol in that price, I would take it, but there was a page long variety of dim sums too.!
So after thanking my stars for bringing me to this heavenly (and reasonable) land of food and beverage, I started giving a tough time to the waiters:  Fish dim sums (flavorful and soft), prawn ones (it was one dish served in continuously at my table.. They were crunchy, perfectly cooked), chicken (which had a couple of delicious variants.. Schezwan ones being the winner for me), pork ones (didn't waste too much space of my stomach on those, since I didn't like the thick sweet coating)..I ordered repeatedly, along with asking for the next drink before I could finish the glass in my hand! There were some amazing veg cheese rolls (something like spring rolls with more cheese than veggies and they literally melted in my mouth). I wanted to order those again but I was really really done! God I was drunk, I was full but my heart wanted more (greedy me). I wish I could eat another meal of the next day in advance! 
Well.. after reading this, one shouldn't care much about the ambience (I mean the atmosphere, not the mall :P) or anything else but just so that you know: the crowd was decent and the place looks great (the lighting is dim). Its neither a fine dine with a lot of privacy nor a casual hangout. Its a perfect mix of both (considering the space and service). Oh yes, the service is rude. Its not very slow or bad but yeah they act like helpless furious peasants being looted (dude! its your offer so don't blame us for bombarding you with orders). Nevertheless the whole experience compensated for everything else. And yeah, if you have a car (and a person sober after the meal to drive it), it is more than safe, the restaurant being in a populated mall.
In short, the experience was a FOOD PARTY. I would also recommend reserving a table since its Wednesday night PEOPLE (Gosh! I missed saying that ever since Domino's stopped their Wednesday one plus one scheme)

Money you're gona spend: 1K per head (if you don't order extra soda/softdrink along with your whiskeys and vodkas.. It was all on the rocks for me ;))

Ideal for corporate parties, a date, an outing with friends or a birthday treat, will fill up everyone to their satisfaction. Adequate variety for vegetarians too.

PS: Later, I got so obsessed with this dish called dim sums that I started reading about them. Momos originate from Nepal and are the usual ones we get in street stalls. They are stuffed with vegetables or chicken. Dim sums make a whole cuisine altogether.. with a variety of fillings, coatings and foldings (sui mai being the ones with the tops can see the stuffing.. and deep fried wontons which look like money bags, there are more than 20 dimsum types listed on wikipedia). Dumpling, basically is anything with a filling inside (it includes momos, dim sums, samosas and even the sweet modaks). So this outing helped me differentiate (I fell in love with dim sums but my pocket-friendly momos have a special place in my heart)