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Veda and Djinggs, Gurgaon

Veda and Djinggs, Gurgaon

Ayushi Mathur

In the recent years, Delhi has been sensationalised by restaurants exhibiting innovative concepts around food and drinks. Even with the increase in popularity of modern food preparation techniques like molecular gastronomy, traditional Indian cuisine is highly appreciated. For almost a decade, Veda has been providing an exclusive Indian dining experience with flavours from across India woven into exquisite meals. Dining at Veda has been a wholesome experience brought to its patrons by the marvellous interiors, soothing classical music and matchless service. After a successful run in multiple cities, Veda is ready to take over Gurgaon with its all new concept of serving Indian and authentic Sichuan style Chinese cuisine under the same roof.

The people behind Veda are ready to unveil their new brainchild called Djinggs in the most popular food hub of Gurgaon – Sector 29. The interiors of the restaurant are designed by one of the most creative Indian designers Rohit Bal, keeping in mind both the cuisines offered. Half of the restaurant space is designed with huge mirrors with Indian carvings on them and the rest half is decorated with Chinese umbrellas. The ceiling of the restaurant is the main attraction, decorated with red lights and hangings of carved structures.

FullSizeRender-22The kitchen is divided into two sections, one for each type of cuisines offered, with specialised chefs. The Chinese dishes are a true reflection of Sichuan cooking with a liberal use of garlic, chilli peppers and green vegetables like Bok choy. The vegetarian dumplings are served with three varieties of sauces made with caramelised onions, garlic and hot peppers. Among the vegetarian dumplings, the spinach and bok choy dumpling and the mushroom dumpling are one of the best that the restaurant offers. Another stand out dish is the chilli garlic fish which is served with fried red peppers and parsley.

IMG_5619Veda is already known for its delectable Indian dishes. The Palak Patta chaat is the right amount of crunchy topped with curd, tamarind sauce and crispy sev. The Paneer Rumani Kebabs are rolls of thin sheets of cottage cheese that have a creamy texture with a wonderful smoky flavour. Achari fish tikka is a spicy well presented dish served with fresh vegetable salad, coriander and lemon. Curry leaves with fried vegetable chips are served with drinks that are a great alternative to regular snacks like nutcrackers and papad.

Overall, the restaurant has a majestic vibe with intricately done interiors, candle light and soulful music. Their concept of introducing Sichuan style of cooking worked truly well and it’s a great place to visit with friends and family to enjoy both types of cuisines. One visit is not enough to explore all the palatable delicacies offered at this restaurant. But it’s a highly recommended joint. I will definitely visit again.

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V CLUB, Gurgaon

V CLUB, Gurgaon

Ayushi Mathur

Gurgaon, the millennium city has been exhibited as the best city to work and live in. It offers a luxury lifestyle that is enjoyed by its residents as well as sojourners. A new addition to Gurgaon’s congregation of leisurely amenities is a beautifully built club by Vipul Group called the V club. Located on a busy Sohna Road, V club offers a lavish getaway from the demanding city life.

With unparalleled facilities like a multi-cuisine restaurant, cafe and bakery, fully functional sports arenas including Tennis courts, Squash courts, Table Tennis rooms, a fully equipped gym and swimming pool, V club has become the most preferred destination in Gurgaon. What exceeds expectation is the 24 seat movie theatre which gives an experience as good as the PVR gold class. Well, this is not it; the bar at the club is known for its unique cocktails including the V-club cappuccino and kaffir lime watermelon margarita. The V-club cappuccino is an absolute treat to your palette as it provides well blended flavours of pineapple juice, lime juice, cinnamon, cardamom and egg whites.

FullSizeRender-14Last weekend the V club invited us for a Bartending and Cooking Master class with the well renowned chef S.K Bhaskar. The master class included a bartending session where we got watch and learn how to make their signature cocktails. A cooking master class followed the bartending session that demonstrated appetizing dishes like meat ball pasta and broccoli and cheddar stuffed potato skins. The chef very eloquently demonstrated the steps involved in cooking each dish followed by a tasting session. The meat ball pasta was perfectly cooked in a mixture of red and white sauces enhancing the flavours of meat balls made with Indian spices. The broccoli and cheddar stuffed potato skins stole my heart as they were stuffed with ample amount of cheese that melted upon heating and gave an ideal smoky flavour to the dish.

FullSizeRender-13For lunch we were served Mutton seekh kebabs that were prepared with minced meat mixed with fresh crunchy vegetables. The main course included Butter chicken, Mutton Rogan josh, Chicken Biryani served with Raita and a variety of naans. Everything tasted absolutely fulfilling and I thoroughly enjoyed lunch.

V club offers a great overall experience to its members ranging from an unmatched dining to various periodical activities like Movie screenings, Zumba classes, Yoga classes, and festival celebrations among many more. V club is a true Gem stone added to Gurgaon’s luxury and I definitely wish to experience everything again.

 

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Pizza Express

 

Real Italian comes to Gurgaon

By Priyali Prakash

It’s time for some authentic Italian food in Gurgaon. PizzaExpress is all set to open its second outlet of the Delhi- NCR region. Delhi Food Walks is offering you a sneak peek into what this restaurant has to offer. Read on to find out!

A word of caution: if you are too accustomed to the Indian palate with its generous share of spices, this might not be the best place for you. But, if you are adventurous enough to try some Italian food exactly the way how it should be, PizzaExpress is the place to be at!

Their signature starter dish, the Doughballs, is a personal favourite. Little balls of lightly seasoned dough, served with an assortment of dips including garlic butter, pesto and pesto rosso, are the best thing to start the meal with. The doughballs are light and fluffy and served hot- the perfect beginning for an Italian meal.

Other starters include Polpette, chicken meatballs in chicken Bolognese sauce and Ramiro Al Forno for the vegetarians, sweet red pepper stuffed with goat’s cheese, mushrooms and mozzarella.

Pizzaexpress 1The pizzas at PizzaExpress come with an extremely thin crust. The management puts it as, “Simple and authentic pizzas, always served in style. Just the way the Italians do.” While the Apollo pizza comes with Tandoori chicken, modified specially for Indians, the Padana Romana with spinach, goat’s cheese, mozzarella and red and caramelised onions, finished with a drizzle of garlic oil, might be the tastiest option for vegetarians.

Also on the menu is the Pomodoro Pesto Romana. As the name suggests, pesto sauce is the hero among the toppings here, accompanied by cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and baby mozzarella. Though, the final drizzle of garlic oil makes the pizza a little too oily.

The pastas in general seem to be a little undercooked, but according to one of the very sweet staff members, that’s how the Italians like it. The Tagliatelle Pollo Bolognese, classic chicken Bolognese sauce with a little twist stands out as the best pasta on the menu. The Penne Pollo Picante would have tasted a lot better had the sauce not been as dry.

As far as the desserts are concerned, Banoffee Pie wins hands down. The classic dessert, served with a dollop of mascarpone cheese on the side is a sure shot winner.

PizzaExpress is all beautified and lit up to welcome you. Pay them a visit to find out more about what they have to offer!

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Holi Celebrations @Zambar

Holi Celebrations @Zambar

With a Scrumptious Rainbow Holi Thali and Chocolate Bomb Ghujiya!

By Bhuvaneshwari Sivakumar

Date – 5th and 6th March 2015

Timings –12 noon to 11 pm

Outlets – Ambience Mall, Gurgaon and DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon

Zambar – The Coastal Kitchen has come up with a special thali to celebrate the festive occasion of Holi. After the wild and crazy holi celebrations, an afternoon meal at this famed south-Indian restaurant is the perfect choice!

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Our trip to Zambar on 5th March was filled with wonderful surprises. The afternoon started with a glassful of hot rasam – a soup that south-Indians are accustomed to eating with rice in between a three-course meal – and a basketful of appalams (Papad). To serve the rasam an appetizer was not a bad idea at all. It had the right amount of tanginess; just enough to whet your appetite. Plus, drinking it out of a glass is always fun!

What followed was a treat to the eyes and to the taste buds as well! The Rainbow Holi Thali (Non-Veg), with a Malabar parotta bang at the center surrounded by a host of delectable dishes from across the South, was a culinary delight.

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The sambhar tasted brilliant. It was exactly how one would prepare it at home – balanced flavors, and perfect consistency. The only downside was that there was nothing to eat it with. A bowl of white rice would have been perfect.

The parotta was as authentic as the sambhar. It would have been better if it was a little thinner. It was well-roasted otherwise.

There were three dishes that you could team with the parotta – Chettinad Mutton Curry, Nilgiri Korma and Paneer Curry. The Chettinad Mutton Curry was the best dish on the thali, followed by the Nilgiri Chicken Korma, which is a famous Hyderabadi cuisine. With its delicious curry and succulent paneer cubes, the Paneer Curry was a close competitor to these two Non-veg dishes.

The next amazing dish on the plate was the Vegetable Thoran. It is a stir fry dish from Kerala made of finely chopped vegetables, famous for its simplicity. This particular thoran was prepared with beans, carrots and grated coconut. We were bowled over by its minimal yet incredible taste.

The lemon rice was a stand-alone dish. It was neither lemony nor was the choice of rice used correct. Using basmati rice for preparing lemon rice is an absolute no. A bowl of white rice in its place would have worked wonders for the thali. The same goes for the Chicken 65 which was dry and unsavory. Both these dishes were the weak points of an otherwise brilliantly-prepared and wholesome thali.

 Our afternoon meal ended with a plate of delectable Chocolate Ghujiyas and a cup of filter coffee. After such a heavy meal, we were unsure if we would be able to eat the ghujiyas. But one bite was enough to put an end to our suspicions. They were absolutely light and left you feeling pleasant! We even got a few packed to take home with us. Well, we just finished eating one each in the course of writing this review. Get up and head straight to Zambar! Now!

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Purani Dilli’s Al Karam – Purani Dilli in Gurgaon

Purani Dilli’s Al Karam – Purani Dilli in Gurgaon

By Anubhav Sapra

“Ek seekh kebab, ek nahari, ek korma, ek keema naan, ek shahi tukda…” and the sounds are still echoing in my ears. I visit Bazar Matia Mahal in the lanes of Jama Masjid, situated in Purani Dilli, almost four times in a week and these words echo every night when I go to sleep. For me, it was a bit unusual to hear the same words in the kitchen of a restaurant in Gurgaon. At one point of time, I thought I was again in an eatery in Matia Mahal.

I visited Purani Dilli’s Al Karam restaurant in Gurgaon the previous evening. The complete address is A-133, Supermart 1, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon.  Another branch of the same restaurant is in Satya Niketan. Even after attending the much hyped launch of Burger King in the morning, I was more excited to visit Al Karam’s to savour its kebabs and biryani. Indeed, the evening turned out to be “foodilicious”. The entrance of the restaurant greets you with a kebab stand, which was indeed very welcoming to a foodie like me. I reached at the very time the kebabchis were setting up the skewers to grill the kebabs. Within minutes, I was overjoyed to see the kebabs rolling.

While most restaurants in Delhi are run by the names of big chefs, Varun, the proud owner of the restaurant graciously introduced to me his kebabchi, Naushad, shagird of Lallu Kebabchi and Kallan Bawarchi in Jama Masjid. Naushad has also briefly worked in a kebab corner in Daryaganj for one and a half years before joining Al Karam’s. I had a short interaction with Naushad as he was leaving for a catering order in Gurgaon, but it still elevated my expectations. The journey of Al Karam’s started from Bazar Matia Mahal in Jama Masjid, where Varun met Umez Khan, the owner of Al Karam’s in Jama Masjid and both of them together set up Purani Dilli’s Al Karam in Gurgaon in November 2013.

WP_20141108_18_32_46_ProI left it completely to Varun to introduce me to the menu and my food journey began with gilafi kebab (Rs. 230), minced mutton kebabs in a crisp coating of beans, green chilies, and paneer. The kebabs were tossed with butter and cream and I liked them, however, I must admit I like my kebabs served with green chutney and onions, and nothing else. I have had gilafi kebabs with a coating of capsicum at another place but Al Karam’s has a very different taste altogether. Another type of kebabs I had at Al Karam’s was achari kebab (Rs. 230). This was an interesting mix of the mirch masala of pickles in minced mutton and was full of flavours.

WP_20141108_19_24_02_ProIn curries, I had hakeemi chicken tikka (Rs. 500) and changezi chicken (Rs. 500). Both of them again had an unusual taste. Hakeemi chicken consisted of pieces of roasted chicken mixed with loads of Nutralite butter, cream, crushed brown onions, and topped with slices of ginger. The brown crispy onions added a nice flavour to the chicken. Changezi chicken, in Varun’s words was “daandedar”, in the sense that it had “daanas” of brown onion in the gravy. I also had mutton biryani with the gravy of korma. The rice of the biryani was long and flavourful, and the mutton pieces were soft enough while leaving the bones.

In desserts, shahi tukda made with ghee and topped with cashew nuts is a must try. In Bazar Matia Mahal, shahi tukda has toppings of green and red cherries, which I always remove to get the real taste of shahi tukda. This was my kind of shahi tukda, simple and delicious.

The food journey ended with interesting discussions with Varun about the best places to eat nahari, paaya, korma, and biryani in Old Delhi, Zakir Nagar, and Lucknow, where DFW is next heading to, on the 22nd and the 23rd of November. I could not try one third of the menu but I am going to visit Al Karam’s again to meet the bawarchis and kebabchis, and taste the remaining dishes in the menu, which I am sure would be excellent.

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Crystal Jade

June 09, 2014

Crystal Jade 

By Venika Menon

Crystal Jade is tucked away in the corner of the small Central Plaza Mall but don’t let the unassuming exterior deceive you. With a seating capacity of 200 people including the top floor which can be booked for events, it’s no surprise that this international name in fine dining means business and is here to stay.

The seating is well spaced to provide optimum privacy and the round tables only add to the intimate food experience Crystal Jade aims to provide. The servers are polite and helpful and advise us, a team of five, on what to order. The drinks menu is short but has quite a few unique combinations (A Date with Crystal Jade- Dates, Strawberry and Honey, I am looking at you!). And though it does not serve alcohol yet, their bar will be well-stocked soon, we are told. We go in for a Cranberry Mojito, Mint Storm (i.e. plain Mojito), A Date with Crystal Jade, Crystal Queen and Eight Treasure Tea. The first two drinks werenot that impressive, but the rest of them should definitely be tried if you are looking for something new, especially, the Eight Treasure Tea. It is presented in the most exquisite glass pot to complement the many dried flowers and spices floating in it.

We were then presented with Poached Chicken Dumpling with Spicy Chilli Sauce and the Multi Flavoured Xiao Long Bao. The first had quite a strong, almost putrid taste and cannot really be called “spicy chilli sauce” because it definitely lacked the heat. On the other hand, the colourful Xiao Long Bao packed a punch of flavour with each spoonful tasting very different and unique.

IMG_20140601_165124For the main course, we ordered deep fried Prawn with Salad Sauce, Sautéed Diced Chicken with Dried Chilli and Cashew Nut, Braised Pork Belly (their speciality) and Pecking Roasted Duck. The prawns were tender and complemented the sauce well. The Chicken dish was average and could have been skipped whereas the braised pork was rich and soft. The sauce used, complemented the richness of the pork perfectly. The Pecking Roasted Duck arrived at our table on a side tray and looked scrumptious but unfortunately, the waiter stood behind it for quite a while, awkwardly trying to carve the meat as we tried not to stare. It was a painstaking process and by the end of it all, the eagerness to eat was gone.

20140601_151703We finished our meal off with Mango Pudding and Chilled Mango Cream with Sago and Pomelo. Though both were suggested by our smiling waiters, the first tasted like any other mango pudding- good but still just mango pudding. However, the mango cream was quite light and different. It marked a fitting end to our day’s culinary journey.

Our experience at Crystal Jade was a refreshing change from “Indian-ised Chinese” to say the least. The restaurant serves authentic Cantonese and Teochew cuisine whichis certainly not for everyone. Even within our team, there were mixed reviews about dishes like Poached Chicken Dumpling with Spicy Chilli Sauce. Nevertheless, I definitely urge you to give this place a try! Their pricing is as fair as other fine dining outlets in NCR even though their ingredients are mostly imported- from sauces to some meats- to try and preserve the traditional taste.The head Chef Leon, too, is from Singapore. This is clearly appreciated by their current clientele who are mostly the far-east expat community though Indian faces are not rare. Go into Crystal Jade with an open mind and an empty belly and from your first step to your last bite, this place will transport you to a foreign land!

 

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Kebab And Curry Festival @ Courtyard by Marriott

April 18th, 2014

Kebab And Curry Festival @ Courtyard by Marriott

By Anubhav Sapra

 

Event Details:
Date: 11th April to 20th April 2014
Time: 7pm – 11:30pm
Price: INR 1450 + taxes per person
Venue: MoMo Café, Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon
For reservations, call: +91 124 488 8444 / Ext 8245

Recently, I was invited by Courtyard by Marriott,Gurgaonto review their Kebab and Curry festival crafted by an imperial guest chef along with Executive Chef Ashis Rout. The evening started with an engrossing discussion with the Chef himself, whose expert understanding of the Hyderabadi, Awadhi and Kashmiri cuisines was astounding. He has spent substantial years in Kolkata, exploring its lanes for its food and spices.

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My gastronomical journey started with Rajmake kebab which was followed by a slew of mouth-watering dishes like the Subz Sheekhampuri, Chapli Kebabs, tikka masala, Shikampuri kebab served with ulte tawe ka paratha, and Hyderabadi Mahi Rezaal.With Lucknowi spices running deep into the kebabs, the tandoor-cooked Murgh Nishapuri was among the evening’s favourites.

The green chutney that was served with the Kebabs added dollops of flavor to the already juicy and succulent Kebabs.The Chapli kebab, which is a traditional dish from the Pakistani cuisine, was exceptionally spicy and melt-in-mouth delicious. It had a nice lemony tinge to it. The only downside is that it is difficult to find good Chapli Kebabs in Delhi.

ROGANJOSH (2)Among the curries served, I liked the Roganjosh – a perfect blend of spices and soft and succulent pieces of meat. The color of the curry was blood red, which comes from the Kashmiri dry red chillies used to prepare it. As told by the Chef Ashis, the signature spices for this dish are hing/asafoetida, fennel seeds and the dried ginger powder, along with a variation of a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. Yogurt is added to givea slight tanginess and texture to the sauce. There are no tomatoes added to the traditional dish, not even to enhance color.

The biggest disappointment for me was the Chicken Nahari. Nahari is usually made of Beef or lamb meat cooked overnight with spices at low flame, after which the meat becomes so soft that it simply melts in the mouth. Unfortunately, the chicken nahari served at the festival had big pieces which were not soft enough to melt and hence took the essence of the dish away.

MAKHANA KHEERFor desserts, I had Kulfi and Makhane ki Kheer. The kheer was simply delicious and the crispy crunchiness of the Makhana felt great in the mouth.

The Kebab & Curry Festival is on till April 20, from 7:00 pm to 11:30 pm. Don’t miss it!