The Treacherous Tambrahm!

The Treacherous Tambrahm; makes for an interesting change from a routine breakfast.  ‘Perfectly done toast, spread with mayo or butter, covered with a thin, plain omelette, topped with a selection of vegetables cooked in a south Indian format, liberally splashed with chili powder chutney, served with a tall chilled glass of coconut water‘.


  • Coconut Water
  • Toast
  • Mayo or butter
  • 2 Eggs beaten with milk and a little salt (make the omelette! No recipes for that here.)
  • Selection of Vegetables
    • Carrots (sliced thin)
    • French beans (thinly chopped)
  • Curry Leaves
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Whole dried red chili
  • Chili chutney powder
  • Urad dal
  • Oil

The quantities aren’t mentioned as they depend on the number of portions being made. They’re very simple ingredients however and you should be able to work it out to your liking. 


1.Heat some oil till it is hot enough to make the mustard seeds crackle.
2.Next, add the salt, chili, whole dried red chili and finally the curry leaves.
3.Swirl it around a bit, then add the urad dal and then the vegetables. Lower the flame, cover the pan and leave it. 
4.In the meanwhile, make the omelette, the toast and the chutney (by mixing some oil and the powder).
5.You could also (carefully) hack open the green coconuts (if you have any) to extract the coconut water.
6.When the vegetables are done (cooked but a bit crunchy), take them off the flame.
7.Cut the omelette into four quarters.
8.Spread each toast with anything you like (mayo, butter, dairy free… whatever), cover it with the omelette quarter, top with the vegetables, sprinkle with the chutney and serve with a glass of chilled coconut water.

Remember to keep a patiently pained expression on your face whilst eating the stuff with a sterling silver fork and knife.

There, you have it!

Make it even more treacherous by adding a slice of ham under the omelette or a finely sliced rasher of bacon in the vegetables. Also, you could roll and serve as a snack.


Pasto – Italian Kitchen [Closed]

Pasto is a reinvention of Masala Magic – a very drastic and total transmogrification actually.

Looking for a bite after treating myself to a new phone (Nokia E62) we decided to finally try Pasto. On all earlier occasions I have avoided the place thinking it would probably serve different renditions of the cliched and ubiquitous ‘pasta with cheese’. Whatever I may have thought, nothing, I repeat, nothing could have prepared me for the experience that lay ahead.

The decor has been changed since Masala Magic. It is still minimalistic and nothing too fancy, but looks good at the same time. Still around 30 covers in the area I was seated. Chilli flakes, mixed herbs and a combo container of olive oil and balsamic vinegar at every table.

The owner was here again (I like the way he can be found at his restaurant – unlike most others) and guided us through the menu. He was also nice enough to treat my daughter to a bowl of penne in a cheese sauce. The menu was a single page, with 4 separate sections (or was it 3). I *love* small menus since in my experience they turn out to be backed by good food and this was no exception.

Anyway, here’s what we ate – Chicken Stuffed with Ham, Tuna in a creamy sauce and Herb encrusted Grilled Chicken. Each dish had a distinct taste and and was quite good. The chicken was actually slices of breast stuffed rolled with ham, sautéed or grilled, with some mixed vegetables (quite nicely cut I must say) and topped with a delicate sauce. It was served with a mini helping of spaghetti and two slices of crisp bread with garlic butter. Beautiful to look at and even better to eat. I didn’t get to eat the wife’s tuna, which she devoured, all the while complaining that the portion was too large. My mother in law though couldn’t manage to finish the large portion of herb encrusted chicken. I couldn’t make out the composition of the crust… well actually, I was too busy making sounds of appreciation and chewing the chicken slathered with generous portions of the accompanying sauce of sun dried tomatoes. My daughter too gave up and handed her pasta to me, which I proceed to consume with the same gusto. Here too, the cheese sauce was very delicately flavored (basil?) and an absolute delight.

Did I mention the bread basket with home baked, warm bread and herb butter served whilst our order was being processed?

Pasto certainly doesn’t figure in the economical range of restaurants anymore (unlike Masala Magic) and my eyebrows did go up a tad when I saw the prices, but after the meal I happy signed the card voucher and also added a little something for the excellent service. It is so nice to hear words like ‘balsamic vinegar’ coming from a person waiting on you in a restaurant rather than the grunts and monosyllabic replies to simple questions.

Meal for two: INR 700 – 1000
Rating: 9/10


Jalapeno Cheese Snacker

This is a quick way to put together a nice and different snack. You’ll need:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Different types of bread (garlic, french, pita…)
  • Pickled Jalapenos with a generous portion of the pickling fluid
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)
  • Cheeses (cheddar, brie, stilton, wensleydale, anything you like…)
  1. Cut the bread in different ways or just keep it whole to be torn off in chunks.
  2. For the dip, mix the olive oil, jalapenos, jalapeno fluid, salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce.
  3. Place the dip, breads and the cheeses on a board.
  4. Serve.

To eat: Tear off a hunk of bread and slice off a sliver of cheese. Dip the bread in the olive oil mixture, eat whole with the cheese and a slice of jalapeno.

As ordinary as it sounds… you’ll be surprised how quickly it disappears.



Masala Magic

[Rating:3.5/5] (This place has been changed to serve Italian food)

Every once in a while you come across a place that is truly a pleasure to be at. This time it’s Masala Magic.

We were looking for a quick bite at Yo China, the wife had to visit a client and the child was cranky and the husband (me) had to get back to work after buying a new UPS. Looking up around for the familiar yellow billboard, we spotted another sign – ‘Masala Magic, Goan Chettinad and Punjabi’. Now that was one hell of a combination! The adventurer in me sufficiently aroused, we decided to push our luck with another new restaurant. The entrace could have been a little less camouflaged.

Entering, you find a cosy little room (30 covers) with really thoughtful decor and best of all, appropriate music. Here it was guitar based stuff. Since I don’t follow music groups or types much, all I know, is that it matched my mood and the mood of the place.

The menu wasn’t extensive but it was enough. You have to see it to understand what I mean. Some places believe the more items they stuff their menu with, the more $$$ they earn. I’m not sure thats true, since I’ve only seen one place where the menu was chock full and each item was good – Nirose, Jaipur.

We ordered Pork Sorpotel, Nilgiri Vegetable Korma and Rice with tall glasses of chilled peach ice tea. Everything was good and I think I could daresay… homemade. We had a nice time. The service was outstanding, the prices reasonable and the ambience all one could ask for.

I will definitely be going again and would recommend it anyday.

Meal for two: 500
Rating: 8/10
[1 less point for selling bottled water above MRP. While the (very polite and well spoken) owner had a point, I still believe the law is the law and if you’re not adding any value, sell at MRP. Else, build it into the price of the meal and make it seem complimentary]



Radisson Coffee Shop


The Raddison Hotel, Near IGI Airport, New Delhi

On the second day of training, we went to the buffet at the coffee shop at the Raddison. Very good looking buffer and a huge spread. Indian, cold cuts and continental food.


I’m told my expression was worth recording for posterity as I withdrew a strand of hair from my mouth. Told a waiter, he told the manager and then comes to me with a brief ‘sorry sir’. The manager doesn’t even have the courtesy to talk to me.

Again, they should thank their lucky stars I was part of a group and not paying for it individually.

My friend narrates an incident when he was staying there and following the instructions on the key card, just inserted it and left it in there and tried to open it. It didn’t. The cleaner who was about, told him to remove it and then try the knob. It worked. Since he is a helpful fellow, very unlike me, he decided to tell the manager that it may be nice to include a note on the card to ‘withdraw’, along with the ‘insert’ they had printed. The manager says ‘people who are used to staying in good hotels know this already’. The cheek of the little man! Anyhow, my friend, who is not one to be left behind in such circumstances, especially with cheap people in cheap hotels tells him, ‘the last time i was at the hyatt, they had proximity cards, which didn’t need to be inserted. what is that?’ the manager says ‘ah, that is much better technology than ours’. to which my friend replies, ‘i guess thats what they use in better hotels right?’, leaving the manager looking like what he was… a fool.

After spending two days in close proximity to the hotel, i do not think i will be visiting them again for anything except of course their excellent kabab joint in NOIDA – The Great Kabab Factory

Conclusion: Try it out. If you don’t get hair, its good.

Rating: 8/10 AND 2/10 (Normal / With Hair)
Meal for two: INR 1500 (whereabouts)




[Rating:2/5] The Raddison Hotel (Near IGI Airport)

I hapenned to be attending a training programme (7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – by FranklinCovey South Asia, Highly recommended) in the Raddison. Since it was a full day programme, lunch was part of the programme.

The restaurant’s name is I’Ching (or something equally silly, since the I’Ching is a Chinese text dated around 5000BC – I really don’t know what it has to do with food). Walking in, its obvious they’ve spent a packet on the decor, silverware et al. Its when you start eating that you wish lunch were at one of the numerous dhabas opposite the hotel.

The food was possibly one of the worst renditions of chinese I have ever tasted. The service was even worse. Since we were part of the training group, the waiters may have felt, since they aren’t going to get any tips, might as well get them out quickly. So we saw food being unceremoniously dumped on our plates unasked, sloppily at that. The attitude was worse, with questions being answered through monosyllables or neanderthal grunts. I dont think I’ll forget the look of astonishment on our trainer’s face as he was in earnest discussion with the person opposite him, when a bunch of noodles was dumped into his plate by the person serving us. He was polite enough to ask the person to please serve him when he asks for it. I may not have been so patient.

Since I was part of a group, it may have been out of line to say anything, but I did fill in a feedback form nonetheless. They probably wont read it.

All in all – MUST NOT VISIT.

Rating: 1/10 (for the good cutlery)
Price: Don’t know, don’t care



Kabab Market, Sector 29, NOIDA

The kabab market in the sector 29 market NOIDA, doesn’t exist before 6:00p . What was flat pavement a few hours previously becomes transformed into a collection of non vegetarian dishes at prices that would make anyone drool. Check out the mutton, chicken and egg wraps, mutton and chicken korma, biryani, veg and chicken momos, boti kababs. From bland to extra spicy its all available here.

Of course, traditional staples like shammi kabab, seekh kabab and chicken tikka are also very much available. On the vegetarian side, you have paneer tikka, corn in cups, spicy vegetable momos, bhelpuri, papdi chaat, gol guppas et al.

Meal for two: Rs. 100
Rating: 9/10
Category: Street Food



Punjabi Tadka


Centrestage Mall, Sector 18, NOIDA

We had people coming over and needed to take them out for lunch. One of the guests insisted on Indian food, as that was all she liked. Fair enough. Each one to his/her own. So, instead of a quick Chinese (american?) meal at Mark Pi, we went to the restaurant opposite it – Punjabi Tadka. Punjabi Fatka would have been more appropriate, as we found out later.

The place had a buffet, so it instantly won a small place in my stomach, sorry heart. The number of covers that the place could have seated normally was doubled by subjecting diners to cramped seats and the ‘pushback-bang-sorry’ syndrome. For those of you that don’t know what that means, the pushback-bang-sorry syndrome happens when there is about 2 inches of space between the back of your chair and the back of another patrons chair. So you decide to get up and PUSH BACK, then you BANG and then you say SORRY.

Anyway, we stuck to normal (read sordid and boring) food – Tadka Dal (langar wali as per the menu), Kadhai Paneer, Malai Kofta, Sweet corn soup (is that Punjabi?) and Mutton something for me. We also asked for a mixed basket of rotis. Incidently, I’m the only carnivore left in the family now.

The soup arrived. Extra salty. Sent it back.
The food arrived. Kadhai paneer – 2 pieces of paneer, 1 inch all ways.
Mutton – I would help myself, put the spoon in, the oil would flow in and then I would drain it in a plate just for this use, and then repeat the process.
Malai Kofta – Touch it and the malai kofta turned into paneer bhurji.
Dal – Ok
Rotis – Exceptional!

Finger bowls – cold water. Asked for warm/hot water. Again arrived – Cold water. ‘Sir geyser nahin chal raha hai’. That did it. Went to the manager and requested him to provide hot finger bowls, or I will go to the buffet, take down a dish and wash my hands in the bowl of hot water underneath it. The geyser suddenly started working and we had hot water.

The bill arrived. All ok. Except that two bottles of mineral water had been priced at Rs 27 each, mentioned as ‘water mix’. No can do mate! Went to the manager

BigFatMan: “This is the mineral water?”
Manager: “Yes sir”

BFM: “You’re selling bottled water above the MRP?”
M: “Its water mix sir”

BFM: “Is it mentioned on the menu?”
M: “No sir. Its water mix”

BFM: “Are you aware I will send you a notice for this, on your name”
M: “But its not mineral water sir”

BFM: [whips out his camera and takes a picture of the table and bottles] BFM: “still water mix?”
M: “Please give me the bill sir, I’ll amend it”

BFM: “I shall be eternally greatful and obliged for your generosity”

Anyhow, I’m not sure we’re going there again. I did like the rotis though. Did I mention the service sucked? No? Well it did! Can’t blame the manager actually. The owners make most of these policies and can’t be bothered either way. He’s just doing his job.

Rating: 3/10
Meal for Two: INR 500

Find Punjabi Tadka Menu, Reviews and contacts on FoodieBay




[Rating:2.5/5] Sector 29, NOIDA

After being turned away from the Arun Vihar Officers Institute (it was 11pm) we turned towards Samarkand.

Let me be very honest here. I have a bias against places that serve chindian, pinglish and standard north indian fare. Being part of a group and hungry as hell, I didn’t have much of a choice but to follow everybody into the place.

I was due for a surprise.

The cutlery was clean and sparkling. The tablecloths were white and maroon and totally spotless, service was polite, wood panelled walls, the decor, while quintessentially punjabi (read ostentatious, shiny and overdone) was not over the top, christmas decorations were nice. I did feel the artificial roses at the table could have been real ones and the music perhaps a little more sophisticated ("tu cheez badi hai…"), but then let me not start whining, the place had already exceeed expectations.

The plates were laid. Wonder of wonders – they had been warmed! At this point I started looking forward to the food. The ever present pickled onions and pickles were placed on the table. I did miss the green chutkey + yoghurt that is normally there.

Coming to the food. We ordered Kadhai Chicken, Green peas in a thick green gravy, dal makhni, tadka dal, mixed rotis and some paneer. Don’t know because I didn’t do the ordering. Just sat and hogged like a good little glutton.

Let me now admit – The food was great! The service was excellent and overall the experience was wonderful. Though I don’t generally eat Indian out, if I do have to go Indian again, this is the place I’m going to hit. BTW: They serve alcohol as well.

Rating: 8.5/10
Meal for two: 400