Categories
Reviews

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]

-sid

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Reviews

Radisson Coffee Shop

[Rating:2/5]

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.

Yum.
Bleeeeaaakhhhh!!!

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)

-sid

Categories
Reviews

I’Ching

[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

BFM

Categories
Reviews

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

-sid

Categories
Reviews

Punjabi Tadka

[Rating:2/5]

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

-sid

Categories
Reviews

Samarkand

[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

-sid

Categories
Reviews

The Great Kabab Factory

[Rating:2.5/5] Ansals Fortune Arcade, Sector 18, NOIDA

The Great Kabab Factory was earlier the exclusive preserve of the Radisson near the international airport in Delhi. After deciding to show mercy to poor souls like me, it opened up a branch in sector 18, NOIDA.

Walk in and you are struck by the same decor that seems to be a statement. I’ve seen it in the Radisson, NOIDA and Jallandhar. Identical, down to the uniforms.

They have fixed menus for the day, so dont come expecting an a la carte meal. Both veg and nonvegetarian options are available. A typical non vegetarian menu is:

Mutton Galauti Kabab
Amritsari Fish Kabab
Chicken Boti Kabab
Mutton Chhaap Kabab
Chicken Tangri Kabab

Before the kababs comes a huge platter of salad including some very good water melon. Each of the kababs are tailored to your individual tastes and preferences. The kababs are accompanied by different ‘breads’ like

Ulte tave ka parantha
butter naan
Tandoori Roti
Lacchha Parantha
XYZ Bread (I cant remember the name, but this is a griddle roti with a very bready texture)

When you’re nearly through with the kababs your waiter will bring to your table a selection of the days ‘food’, that is normally one daal and two vegetable dishes. Buttermilk is served and refilled throughout the meal just like everything else. When you’re done with the kababs, its time for biryani. Mutton or chicken biryani served with a plain raita.

When you’re done with this as well, its time for desert. The collection normally available is:
Ice cream (three flavours)
A Rice pudding
Halwa
Gulab Jamun
Kheer

Even at the end of the meal, feel free to start off again with the kababs if you so desire. Normal people will find that one of each kabab and one of everything will see them fit to burst. Gourmands (not to be confused with Gourmet) like me take gluttony to the level of a fine science. I find keeping a side plate of water melon, using the breads for nothing more than wiping your hands and only taking the occassional sip of butter milk, takes me to the as-yet-unbroken record of 5 refills of everything! I do like to ensure my waiters are fit and healthy through many trips to the kitchen. Personally, I avoid the daal, vegetables and only take a peck at the biryani. Its the kababs that interest me the most. If anyone else has ideas on how to improve performance at The Great Kabab Factory, drop me a line.

Meal for two: Around 1200/- including service tax.
Rating: 9/10
Category: Fine Dining

Categories
Recipes

Sunday Night Dinner

Had the family over for dinner. Pondered over the menu and decided to make it a little fun. The menu was:

  • Mixed Dry Salad [leaves, grapes, baby corn, olives, carrots, jalapenos…]
  • Sushi [2 types of nigiri-zushi and 1 of maki-zushi]
  • Sweet Chilli Fish [1.5lb fillet, served whole, slightly caramelised] (check it out in the recipes section)
  • Braised lamb with vegetables
  • Chicken in Green Curry
  • Steamed white rice

All we had left was 2 pieces of maki-zushi… and that makes me very happy. :)

-sid

Categories
Recipes

Sweet Chilli Fish

If you want to make a meal as a reminder of all things Thai but would rather not try the ubiquitous Thai Red and Green Curries for your dinner on a bed of rice, my guess is you’ll find this simple dish with fish very delightful. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fillet of firm fish
  • Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Garlic Salt
  • Japanese Rice Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Sesame Oil

Method

1.Mix the sweet chilli sauce, vinegar and 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
2.Cover one side of the fish with the sauce mixture.
3.Sprinkle with the salt, rub well.
4.Flip the fillet and rub the other side similarly.
5.Marinate for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
6.Quickly fry both sides in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a non-stick pan.
7.Flip over again, cover and leave for about 5 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the fillet), till it is lightly caramelised and the sauce has darkened considerably, but not burnt.
8.Serve on a flat white plate, pour sauce from pan on to the fish.

Tips

It may be interesting to slice it on the table into thin slices. If the fish isn’t the firm kind, don’t try slicing it or you’ll end up with scrambled fish.