Thursday, 6 April 2017

Zaitoon - Bangalore!

Haven for non-vegetarians. And vegetarians, please buzz off, even if you see the section in the menu.
A simple family dining set-up, minimal decor, but great food. Ensure you are heading with the right company as you are going to have a gala time with food.

They have a lot to offer both Arabic and Mughlai. I was anxious to discover Arabic. We started off with BBQ pepper fry, absolutely bang on! I always want my bbq uniformly roasted post ample marination. And I was not disappointed. The pieces were done right left, right, center. We also ordered skewers, think they were Moroccan chicken. Again dry roast with flavors oozing out. Every thing was served on a bed of Koobus, with a side of hummus. The whole combination was new to me, presentation as well as Koobus with any dry variant you order. Though I was done after these two, Mutton biryani was a big recommendation at this place. I was not very impressed with the flavor of the biryani as a whole, but mutton in there was cooked nice. I was told it was not my biryani time at the place.
The menu is lot more exciting than what I could manage to explore, I may need 2-3 more visits to do justice with fish and prawn sections as well. Planning to put up another post for Zaitoon, if things click and push me enough to share again.

Taste buds yell: I am just not done yet
Pocket shouts: Super light
When I look around: Well lit, simple dine-in
Waiting time for tummy: Don’t mind if you get your food roasted right

Keep Gorging!
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Thursday, 9 March 2017

Churrolto - Hyderabad

Guys this tiny cafe in the heart of Madhapur happened to draw my attention, by it’s name. Yeah, it coins with Churros. They were the ones to introduce me to this famous Spanish snack dessert. The concept is similar to doughnut, baked and then coated with sugar and cinnamon on classic ones. Then you go on to create your variants. But these are not those fluffy buns with holes. These are crispy twisted soft stick-like, fresh out of frying pan with side dips. Absolutely loved it with Nutella. Next I am going to try espresso choco sauce. Also comes with Dark choco, white choco, toffee sauce. Must try, I think it’s exclusive in your city.

Churros just drags you in. But there is so much more to discover! This is actually an excellent patisserie. And I cannot talk about whole range as it keeps changing, I manage to find something new every time. Let me talk about the ones I have tried so far. The blueberry cheesecake, you can call it classic, but the berry jam was as real as it could be and I am going to say the same about strawberry because, I have always been a fan of real ingredients which are difficult to find these days. Triple mousse cake was also a delight, neatly crafted layers of Blueberry, Vanilla and chocolate mousse with a consistency that holds up on the deck but simply melts in your mouth. Post a terrible headache sat for Mocha once, it was one of the nicest I have had till now. But for the price, wanted my mug to be deeper. Cold coffee was not bad, but remember this is not what you should step in for. They also serve freshly made gelato and manage to make sandwiches binding between flattened Churros. Frankly, super excited to try them, not sure how many more visits it will take to cover all.
Last but not the least, my favorite, Mexican snack is brilliantly done here. Just had the hard-shell tacos. They had the right crunch and trust me, I was impressed with the authenticity in each layering. One just cannot miss the pine nuts. 
Per plating, they do it wherever there is a scope to satiate a fine diner in their small set-up, you can see in the pictures. Otherwise also, the wooden plates completely gel with their decor and any dessert you pick from the rack.
I am going to be here, till it stops surprising me. Really do not mind the tiny space.

Taste buds yell: I am just not done yet
Pocket shouts: In tears out of pain
When I look around: Cute little cafe 
Waiting time for tummy: Just a little per a dine-in

Keep Gorging!

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Churrolto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Lava Lounge - San Francisco

Love Ramen? Just cannot miss this little cozy lounge in SOMA.
Chic, not too loud bar and sitting area just make the place perfect for after work drinks. You can find better spots if it’s just about hanging out. But if it’s Ramen, you have to be here.
So they have their own secret broth. Like you build your own Burrito, here you make your own Ramen. The thing that fancies me most is the well calibarated Spice level - Nono (not spicy), Kilauea (medium spicy), Fuji (Spicy), Krakatoa (Extra Spicy), Lava (Super Spicy), Molten Lava (Extremely Spicy). And dare you undermine this. I am someone who has always enjoyed spice in life, be it with running nose. But with my several visits, I could not climb up beyond Krakatoa.
Yes, you can pick from a ready selection of broth, I liked both bell pepper and garlic chicken. Tick the spice level. Then the show stopper will be the topping. Shrimp tempura and lobster on special request are the must-try ones. And don’t explore your ramen ignoring these, learn from my mistakes. Right when they are crisp and just dipped, ensure you get them down. Don’t know if Japanese allow them to twirl in the pool and get soggy. Them you have all the time in the world with your chopsticks. Think I am done with Ramen Saga.
This place is reasonable and offers all quick snack options and no dearth of cocktails and drink. But for me, it’s Think Lava, Think Lava.

Taste buds yell: Love the heat, keep it coming
Pocket shouts: Easy
When I look around: Regular small cozy lounge
Waiting time for tummy: Just a little per a dine-in

Keep Gorging!
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Lava Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Crab house - San Francisco

Had heard tonnes about the Sea-food around Fisherman wharf and Pier 39, supposedly two most happening spots along side walk by the bay. Finally zeroed down on Crab House.
Had read missed reviews. But I was destined to have a treat to remember. Fortunately planned the visit on a Monday, when everybody was gearing up for long pending week at work. Visited Sea Lion spot, all were lazing around and growling. Then walked up the stairs. 
As the smiling waitress paved way for me, I was seated, made to gear up for the feast with a basket of tongs and apron. Then they laid the standee on the table and I waited for my Killer Crab! Came buzzing in my ears the sizzle of a giant crab on an Iron skillet. It was reddish orange lying vibrant on a secret garlic sauce. I had also ordered a side of Garlic fries and Fish Bait Strawberry Mojito, but the Killer crab just stole the show. Started as sophisticated diners, but in no time was digging, tearing left right and center. The crab meat was as fresh as it could get and a whip of garlic sauce just did the magic. Could have easily sat for another round. There were plenty of other sea food options as well, but was governed by the mood of the day.
All in all I had a great experience, with the good food on top of the charts and then the friendly environment, a romantic couple fine dining, a bunch of office-goers gorging. Definitely a must-visit in SF, would recommend to plan it early weekdays. Go for the Killer Crab!

Taste buds yell: Want more
Pocket shouts: Not too easy, but need to do it once
When I look around: Being right at the pier makes all the difference, mediocre decor
Waiting time for tummy: Dare to head only on a weekday!

Keep Gorging!
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Crab House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Fat Fanny's Cafe - Bangalore

Had heard a lot about it and was excited to pay my first visit. Had spread equal anxiety among all my friends. We book a cab and just stop when Maps say - ' Your destination is on left'. Left! Where! Anyways, just get down. We roll our eyes literally 360 degrees. All four of us missed it in the first go among all the glow boards of random eateries. Finally one of us points out a small scribble on the first floor right above us reading - Fat Fanny's Cafe. Thud!!!! Is this what I was so excited about.

We decide to take the rickety stairs and enter through a little door into a room with dull blue walls, glass on one side. Old, broken and ancient as it can get. At your first glance you can notice table made out of sewing machines. Sitting made out of huge old wooden trunks with just a piece of cushion on it. A table with a very old table fan and one of those very first telephones at the very entrance. A TV with that black and white kind of screen and a plump tube behind, it times of chic flat screens. Do not know if it was all feeing good or bad, but every corner had an unusual surprise element. Then the portrait on the wall catches your eyes, a collage of the lady - 'Fanny'. No one seems to be in a rush. So the waiter comes leisurely to handover a menu. Trust me, it's such an awesome storybook in the InstaVintage tone. It reads how Mrs.Fanny used to spell her magic into dishes, how people used fall in love with her dishes and the place was dedicated to her culinary brilliance. Even the antique lamp on the wall is a piece of furniture right from Fanny's own sweet home.

I just cannot get enough of the place to come down to food. But yes as the place so was the food. We had ordered very common dishes to be safe on the first visit. But the flavors again did surprise us. We could not help but lick the bowl clean of the yummy sauce of pasta Arrabbiata. It definitely tasted deliciously different from a restaurant pasta. Sandwich was also so simple yet juicily stuffed. The rustic look was stark with an antique knife tearing into it right at its center. Even the french toast with caramelized fruits on top was just out of the world. Watermelon slushy and Ice tea were a perfect punch to beat a lazy summer afternoon. But try to stay away from a pumpkin based drink, a strange blend of pumpkin, chocolate and orange. Mrs. Fanny was very daring when it comes to experiment in her den, her kitchen. She has all rights, but you can safely ignore this one mishap.
The place had no AC as Mrs. Fanny did not have one in her times in Bangalore. Who knew global warming will reach a point when fan will no more be enough in Bengaluru. Still I am raring to go back again, this time for a not so common dish from Mrs. Fanny's times.
Taste buds yell: Pleasant discovery
Pocket shouts: Easy
When I look around: A different era
Waiting time for tummy: Worth a little given the exclusivity awaited

Keep Gorging!
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The Fat Fanny's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

56 Bhoga Sweets - Bangalore

This post was long due and is going to be closest to my heart. When it comes to food, no doubt I am a die hard Odia. Like every Odia away from home, cravings do make their way intermittently and life was all about just living with it, till I stumbled onto '56 Bhoga Sweets' in Bangalore.
I really want to dedicate this post to one of the King of Sweets -' Chhenapoda'. Born and brought up in Odisha, no one will believe that this lip-smacking dessert was merely a chance discovery. A confectioner, Sudarshana Sahoo, just happened to add some sugar and seasoning to left over cheese and may be obeying some divine omen, happened to put it in a warm oven. Rest is history. So basically, Cheese is referred to as Chhena and Roasted Cheese as Poda. You would have definitely had roasted Yogurt, but little chances of roasted cheese, that to roasted till the outer crust becomes hard and crisp golden brown. All in all the dessert looks like a cake, and in ideal case the inner layers of Cheese are so soft that they literally melt away. you are suggested to dig a bite so you retain a thick head of outer crust and a long soft tail of soft inner cheese. No matter how hard I try, the flavors need to get a chance to burst in your mouth for you to know, what you have missed till now, if you are not from Odisha.

I think that Odisha specializes in a whole plethora of milk based desserts, Rasogolla not to be skipped among them. Though the battle is still on, over its inception, West Bengal or Odisha, if I am to be unbiased, I feel it has got to be Odisha. Any one who has tasted Bikalananda Kar Rasgolla all the way from Shalepur would agree with me. Another flagship brand is Pahala, which 56 Bhoga claims to replicate. I would say, it's hard to ditch someone who has experienced the original. But if this can be the closest you have access to in Bangalore, I am happy with it. Apart from this, you would also get to see Chhena jhili, Rasmalai (Odia Style) and so many other variants you can associate with if you have had some part of childhood spent in the Temple City. 
The place also serves range of other Odia snacks and meals, typically made with that authentic touch. Cannot brag about each of it, because rest of appreciation was more about my sentiment than an impartial verdict from a food-blogger. 
For me it was Nostalgia, for you it can be discovering whole range of 'Never had before' unique Indian Cheese journey. So Go for it!

Taste buds yell: Heaven never seen before!
Pocket shouts: Really easy
When I look around: Just a plain vanilla self-serve outlet
Waiting time for tummy: What's that!

Keep Gorging
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56 Bhoga Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Hole in the wall Cafe - Bangalore

It's a cafe carved out of a normal house amidst the bustle of the city. They serve breakfast menu round the clock. I have been here always for a brunch on a weekend. I will quickly wrap up the bad about this place. You got to brace yourselves up for a long long waiting time. I really wonder, I have never given up and have always pulled it off. Place is small and crowded. You are fortunate if you manage a table upstairs. Some air to breath, if you remember at all to, once food is on table.
Now let's check out the menu. I really appreciate the way menus is designed, a lot of effort has gone in connoting each name and then curating a very simple apt explanation. The Chicken Hole 9 Yard Hash makes the perfect start and goes great with fresh guava juice served here. It's really wholesome with almost all variants of chicken - salami, sausage, ham tossed with jalapenos, hash browns, capsicum, mushrooms. Topped with Fried eggs. Yeah highly recommended. Next in line is definitely The Chicken Steak Burger, with crumbs of tender chicken, just fried right and dipped in BBQ and then layered with coleslaw. I hate fried chicken otherwise, but this steak version is something even KFC should explore. They serve Naked burger also with fries. Some vegetarian sandwiches also could make to my list, specially the simple Spinach and corn. Omlette was also good, but would have liked it more, if the toppings would have got a chance to blend with the egg, rather than being served as a separate layer. There are many platters' where they serve cutlets with baked beans. I am personally not a fan of baked beans, so you rather take your own plunge.
Coming to drinks, would not give even a 3 on 5 to the coffee and tea. But actually I don't complain about it much because of the variety of fresh seasonal fruit juice served here. I just chose from a guava, watermelon, grape, mango and never get enough.
After all of this, if you manage only 1 dessert, has to be plain waffle with caramelized banana. If you see scope for 1 more then it has to be chocolate waffle with extra dips of Nutella. An honest confession, I have never been able to ditch waffles to make it to pan cakes. Next time may be :D
This place never needed a review, but today's brunch was dying to get penned down!

Taste buds yell: More!
Pocket shouts: I can take that!
When I look around: Homely
Waiting time for tummy: Almost tears in my eyes!

Keep gorging!
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The Hole in the Wall Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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