Tag Archives: options

Delicious and worth devouring

Who can resist the quintessential golden brown, Belgian delicacy- waffles. Made with leavened batter or dough, freshly made waffles with myriad toppings are any gourmands dream come true. And I am no exception. While I do enjoy the savoury waffles that have made their way into restaurant menus, I still prefer the original sweet ones, I must confess.

A popular breakfast item, I love to indulge myself every now and then when I am in the mood to pile on calories or be sure I can burn them off. Several places in Mumbai apart from five star hotels serve waffles but few, offer the real ones.

Coffee by Di Bella, is one such chain which offers delectable, good quality ones.

With new additions to their waffle menu, naturally, a visit was in order. So, this morning, on a Sunday, I decided to savour some waffles. After all waffles are the perfect weekend treat.

As always, the coffee, my favourite cappucino that I began with was creamy, strong and piping hot. The banana salted caramel crunch waffle was a treat for the eyes. It lived upto its promise as described on the menu. The caramel crusted banana slices offered the right crunch and flavour to the waffles served with fresh cream and a dollop of ice cream. The waffles were firm yet, soft, fluffy and each bite was an explosion of palate-pleasing flavours.

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Chocolate lovers or kids are going to love the varied offerings with chocolate- The ultimate chocolate explosion waffle, Nutella oreo crunch waffle and the dark chocolate sundae waffle. Of course others can opt for the Churro rush waffle.

The quality of ingredients used is of good quality and the portions generous. Priced at rs 350, this waffle may seem steep at a glance, but once you have relished it, you realize it is your money’s worth.

So the next time you are craving for your waffle fix, head straight to any of the Coffee by Di Bella outlets in Mumbai and indulge in the best selection. Trust me, you will never be disappointed.

Rating : 4/5

 

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Greco : Simply Greek in Goa

A cheerful vibe envelopes you as you enter the Greek cuisine restaurant Greco replete with pristine white and bright blue decor – quintessentially Greek. Although located at Radisson Blu Resort, Cavelossim in South Goa, the separate entrance with the menu placed outside, gives you an option to enter this place, without having to go through the Hotel.

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The striking decor actually transports you to Greece and you could well be in a taverna with a relaxed setting. An arch way leads you to the outdoor seating which is of the inimitable courtyard style and offers a spectacular view. Of course, there is ample seating inside too. In fact the plush interiors, with a swish, well-stocked bar and the mood lighting creates an unparalleled atmosphere.

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A  simple but complete menu largely representative of Crete island in Greece,  is palced before you. However, there are other specialities from other parts of Greece too, giving a diner an insight into this cuisine. The menu has been cleverly crafted by Chef Stelios, a native of Greece. Sea food expectedly abounds in the offerings.

My Psarosopa is a medley of sea food flavours- subtle and comforting. The sea food stock has been cleverly used and is not overpowering. The Greek Mezze here is quite different from the various versions that are often passed off as the original mezze. The tzatziki is bang on in flavours and textures. The kalamata olive paste wows my palate as well, but it is the aubergine salad which unexpectedly stands out. With the warm pita bread dipped into these in turns, I relish every morsel I eat.

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The garides saganaki- a simple but flavourful prawns dish in tomatoes with a dash of ouzo (liqueur) perks up my taste buds. The prawns are fresh and of a superior quality. The tragani feta bursting with fresh flavours, encased in a crisp covering drizzled with honey, with a characteristic sweet and savoury flavour, was the piece de resistance for the evening. It clearly bore testimony to the chef’s mastery over his craft.

The gyros chicken is well-made too. Sea food and poultry apart, for hard-core carnivores, there is a fair amount to choose from. Vegetarians need not despair as there is ample variety too.

My dessert is special, yet, traditional. Galaktoboureko – a sweet and sour cream on a pastry crust immersed me in a food coma. A bite into the crispy phyllo and the creamy semoilna custard filled one’s mouth. Made to perfection, it was a dessert which left you satiated and yet, craving for more.

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I observed that nowhere in my entire meal, did the spices (although minimal) drown the flavours of the core ingredients and the chef had donejustice to all the ingredients by using simple cooking methods.

The use of extra virgin olive oil, ouzo and fresh authentic ingredients adds the right amount of punch and flavour to the dishes. The food is high on flavours and the quality of the ingredients, shines through. It is simple and uncomplicated fare.

If a cocktail is what you fancy, the bartender behind the glitzy bar will make you something to your taste. And of course the selection of wines will lure you as well.

The staff is well-informed about the menu and the service is quick and alert.

Greco truly surpassed my expectations and I felt that for the first time in India, I had a Greek meal which was an honest representation of this simple but flavoursome cuisine.

Rating: 4.5/5

Snack your way to good health

 
Nibble, munch, crunch… are routine, where snacks are concerned. But there are rules to the snacking game. The quantity and the quality of food that you snack on, is the cause of your woes or joys of a healthy living.
 
We are all obsessed with snacks and snacking too often,  or at the wrong time and place can make you obese.  Not snacking at all, too has its flaws. This sounds contradictory, but it is true.
 
So what are the best snacks to consume? Simple, something that you can nibble, munch, crunch which is salted, sweet or spiced and at the same time makes you feel satisfied. Satiety value is important.
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So the best way is; kill old eating habits, pick the right snacks, eat at the right time and the right amount.  Choose nutrient-dense snacks and what better way than snacking on fruits and nuts?
 
It is a known fact that dry fruits and nuts packed with abundant sources of proteins, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and essential nutrients, keep diseases and stress away. And thus you need to include it in your diet.
 
While the Pistachos, Almonds, Cashews and other dry fruits contain the right blend of unsaturated fats, vitamin B and minerals, they are conducive for the proper functioning of the crucial organs of our body. They prevent cardiovascular problems, Anemia, Maintain Cholestrol, Improve Hemogoblin levels, and improve the functioning of the brain.
 
A tasty and convenient snack, dry fruits and nuts are the ideal substitute for high-calorie snacks. With natural sugars and fibre, zero cholesterol and fats, and a variety of delectable flavors, dry fruits and nuts are an easy source of all essential nutrients. The right and regular mix of almonds, cashews, pistachios, cranberries, strawberries and other dry fruits and nuts are all you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
 
Gourmia, from KBB Nuts Pvt Ltd. the latest entrant in the market, with an array of products like Roasted Pistachios, Almonds and Cashews in classic salted, salt-pepper, tangy masala and Jalapeno flavours are worth a try as the variety is tremendous.  The nuts they offer are crisp, crunchy and tasty.
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Their seasonal fruits range consists of Cranberries, Strawberries, Prunes, Mangoes, Kiwis and Pineapple. These are equally luscious and perfectly sweet to appease your taste-buds.   
 Hygienically packed and affordably priced, each variant is available in packages of 200 gms and 40 gms. The nuts and fruits are handpicked and their flavours unfurl flamboyantly at every bite.
Go for these this festive season and indulge in your guilty pleasures!

Coastal Delights

The sheer variety at Barbeque Nation always baffles me. But yes, it gives me an opportunity to try those many more dishes, so I am not complaining.

Sea food is my weakness so I decided to experience the ongoing Best of Coast Festival, that is on till March 13.

The menu was an exercise in choices. There was sea food galore, but I was amazed to see the unique dishes crafted for vegetarians too.

Mr. Joju, COO, Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd., told me, “Best of the Coast” is Barbeque Nation’s way of paying tribute to and celebrating regional culinary traditions. Western Maharashtra has unique Konkani cuisine, a culmination of centuries of cooking traditions. While we are incorporating some traditional Marathi food into our menu, we also want to offer our patrons the best of regional and global seafood cuisines and have bought in Malayali, Sri Lankan and Thai dishes. We hope to give our guests an unforgettable culinary experience.”

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Well, I certainly began my gourmet odyssey with the best. A well-fried spicy and piquant grilled pomfret. Oh! It teased my taste buds mercilessly. Fresh and soft, the fish fillet simply melt in my mouth.

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The squid rings paled in comparison. However, the chili gherkin mayo served along side caught my fancy.

There were lots of chicken options and mutton too in the appetizers, but who wants anything else when the best of sea food is around?

The grilled prawns too were well-marinated and yes, fresh too, as was the basa.

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Sea Bass Ambul Thiyal – sour fish curry. Different fish cuts (Lemon Sole, Tilapia fish) in Maharashtrian Koliand Srilankan marinades could be sampled from the ‘live counters’, where the chefs adeptly fried the fish. I tried the Rawas and Tilapia. They were faultless.

Hawaiian Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato served with Garlic Bread, Aztec Poblano Paneer, Dry Patara and Raw Mango Papaya salad, were some of the interesting Vegetarian dishes on offer. Quite innovative I thought.

The main course offered kosha mangsho, biryani, Manglorean fish curry, Chicken Hydrabadi, shrimp rice and more for the carnivores. The Biryani was a treat, boasted of some subtle flavours. The Chicken preparation bowled me over completely. A unique masala, made the gravy stand out. The shrimp rice too was delicious but the Kosha Mangsho was anything, but authentic and had far too many bones, than there ought to have been. A tad disappointing.

 

Ada Pradhaman – Kerala style Payasam prepared with jaggery, rice ada and coconut milk was a decadent dessert which I enjoyed thoroughly. There were other options like kulfi, angoor gulab jamun and phirni, but I decided to skip those.

As always, the service was prompt and attentive and the place was buzzing. The soulful rendition of songs by the singer, enhanced the dining experience.

For sea food lovers, there can be no better place than Barbeque Nation to sample the best and freshest catch in myriad preparations and forms. And there’s something for every fish lover’s palate!

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Light and Healthy Eats

Now that the festive season is over, and we have begun a new year,  may be we all want to eat light and healthy for a few days at least. I sure am trying. It is a healthy winter soup each night for dinner- pumpkin, cauliflower, spinach, and so on. I also tried an interesting turkey lentil soup recently. Aromatic, flavourful and warm. A soup is meant to be an appetiser, but sometimes ends up becoming the meal itself.

Not that I am feeling guilty for the over-indulgence. But it’s just nice to give the body a bit of a rest before we start again. Salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches can be varied and healthy. A low calorie meal can still satisfy your hunger.

And trust me, these need not be bland or boring.  Can be carefully planned and jazzed up. Who can ever tire of the classic soup and salad meal? Not me for sure. I love it. Only make sure your salads are varied and have many colourful ingredients, so that boredom does not set in.

A hearty soup stock with winter vegetables is satisfying  enough or at best pair it with a sandwich made with leftover chicken or ham. And yes, wholewheat bread. When eating a salad, try and avoid heavy salad dressings or dips. I prefer a lot of mustard instead, or even lime, for that zing in a salad.

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A salad with mixed leafy greens, crunchy celery, carrots and tomatoes makes for a delicious meal. For a heartier salad, add tuna or salmon, croutons and cheese. Yes, a bit of cheating is allowed, if only to pamper your taste buds a bit. Jazz up your salad with seasonal fruits. Nothing like apples and oranges in salads. A sea food salad is a good bet too.

Pasta salad makes a filling, but still light, meal. Add veggies to your pasta, as well as some chicken, and a dash of olive oil and you have a tasty meal ready.

Wraps with smoked chicken are one of my favourites. The wraps should be of whole wheat though. Or a falafel wrap maybe?

One must keep in mind that more of protein and less carbs is ideal these days. And of course fatty foods and fried stuff should be completely avoided. Red meat is best stayed away from. After all you have had enough of sorpotel and sanna during Christmas. Haven’t you?

Steamed vegetables, legumes and beans are again a wonderful way to detox your body. Keep away from those sausages, burgers, nuggets and pate. Those may be handy and easy to consume, but are heavy and far from healthy. Processed food is a big no-no for me.

Exotic Mushroom Ramen  - The Fatty Bao - Photo Courtesy Kunal Chandra-

Consciously add green leafy vegetables, whole grains to your diet. Hummus chicken with brown rice pilaf is a treat and yet, light. The brown rice chicken pilaf at Nothing But Chicken or their Bistro salad are great options too.

So keep eating light and healthy meals the next few days, to ease off your system. Stay fit, Stay healthy. Tell me how January goes.

Worth Taking This World Tour

Who doesn’t like travelling and that too if it is a culinary tour? I embarked on world tour to discover the best burgers and beers at Woodside Andheri West, as part of their Around The World in 20 days Beer and Burgers Festival. Of course one has an option to go to their Colaba outlet too.

As I bit into I first burger, I could not help lament the fact that though this festival was in its 8th edition, I was stepping in to experience it for the first time. Better late than never I guess!

Pioneering the concept of pairing freshly flipped burgers and hand-crafted brews, Woodside this year,  has upped its offerings and has introduced burgers and beers from around the world, starting from July 14 to August 2, 2015.

The specially curated Burger Menu by Executive Chef. Subhash Shirke was impressive and well-rounded. He was catering to every palate. Burgers from India, France, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Japan, USA. Whew!  And in keeping with the latest craze for Craft Beers, they had handpicked artisanal craft beers from Gateway Brewing Company and Independence Brewing Company to enhance  the dining experience.

Not a beer fan exactly, I decided to steer clear from those. The best ones could not tempt me. Burgers were enough to satiate me. My Argentinian Chimichuri Chicken Burger arrived. Well-presented with french fries in a paper boat, an exciting dip, salad, et al. I settled for a sesame bun. The chicken patty was juicy and moist, unlike several burgers one is used to eating in Mumbai. And had exciting flavours to it too. Well spiced, it needed no dip actually. This robust burger was perfect just by itself.

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The Peruvian Rock shrimp burger, was my next choice. A generous helping of shrimps for sure, as the shrimps kept falling out of my burger bun. The shrimps were fresh and of a superior quality.  Absolutely melt-in-the-mouth. The flavours were a bit reminiscent of a Thai dish, but I was not complaining. Subtle no doubt, but delectable to the core. The dip along with was citrusy and extremely appetizing.

Sumptuous and filling, one could not think of tasting any other burger from the exhaustive menu. These were truly world class burgers.

The Napoli’  – Italian chicken burger (Italy), Brit sun day roast! (Britain), B’ in a ‘B’ – healthy eating in a bowl (US),  Duck Confit Burger  (France), Spanish RoastPork Belly Burger (Spain), were the other options and definitely sounded inviting. Meat lovers are going to relish these.

Apart from the non-veg selections, there were several unusual Veg ones. The Thai spiced lentil burger and Japanese Teriyaki Tofu Burger caught my attention. Would love to go back for those.

Each burger was aptly paired with a beer. Given the quality and freshness of the ingredients, portion sizes, the burgers were well-priced I thought.

The attentive staff and their prompt service, bowled me over. Not obtrusive, just the way I love it. It is always a pleasure to interact with polite and well-informed F&B staff and Cyril, was all that and more.

I returned home, with my taste-buds tingling in excitement, my tummy happy with the delicious burgers I had sampled. Good to have been to Woodside I thought!

Rating: 4/5