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Friday, 27 February 2015

Daawat-e-Lazeez - Awadhi Food Festival, The Westin, Gurgaon


Awadhi cuisine is from the land of Nawabs, Lucknow, in our very own princely state Uttar Pradesh. The cooking style in Lucknow is an amalgamation of cuisines from Central Asia, Middle East and Northern India and comprises of both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. As opposed to conventional thought, Awadhi food does not make use of hundred-odd spices to produce each dish but a blend of handful but not so common spices. The truth lies in the manner in which the food is cooked on a slow fire……….. The Dum style of cooking was invented by the very talented Bawarchis (Chefs) and the Rakabdaars (Gourmet Cooks)

It is said that no or only few parallels can be drawn to the grandeur and style of the traditional Dastarkhwan (royal spread of food). The cooking style goes back a long time, when the former Nawabs of Lucknow had a specialized Bawarchi for each dish that was made in their homes.

The secret to the taste lies in a jugalbandi  ( fusion and mixing) of hand-pounded aromatic herbs and spices and food does not ‘float in oil’ as is the common misconception. “Ghee and spices are used in moderation……… 


I have always been a fan of Mughlai, Awadhi and Purani Dilli Cuisine and was elated to receive an Invite to cover and review the ongoing festival , Daawat-e-Lazeez, Awadhi Food at Seasonal Tastes, The Westin, Gurgaon.  

With loads of excitement, I reached the place with my respected colleague Mr.Avininder Singh aka Foodie Surdie from our group, TWCI- The Writers Collective of India............

We were  welcomed by the PR of “The Westin” , Ms. Sukhdeep Bahara and were escorted to the restaurant. Where we met the executive chef of the hotel Mr. Deepak Bhatia. It was pleasure talking to him . He introduced us to the Mughlai Chef, who is taking care of the Awadhi Cuisine as well, Chef Qadir Khan. He was well versed with his dishes and style of cooking.

Qadir Khan (left)

We started with kebabs. First served with Galawtis , both veg (subz)as well as Lamb. Very well minced and mixed, reasonably spiced  flavors, which were very soothing to the palette. Then came the Kakori Kabab, a lamb mince kabab mixed with raw papaya used as a tenderizer or Gilawat. The texture was melt in the mouth and the flavors were good. We also had the Chicken Tikka which were just normal, nothing over the top.

Kebabs
Galawtis

Biryani

This festival is not only for the Non-Vegetarians as many Vegetarian dishes have been incorporated too. We were served the main course, which comprised of an array of dishes. The Mutton Nihari, Murg Pista Qorma, Chicken as well as Mutton Biryani, Chana Dal, the Bhindi Masala, Aaloo Nazaakat,Paneer Awadhi and so on……

Main Course- Nihari, Qorma, Dal, Paneer, Bhindi etc.
The Nihari was very good but not exactly authentic. The Paneer was really made well and was one of the best I had in recent times with lovely flavor of fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi). The Pista Qorma was a royally lavish dish, and was mild and subtle in flavors. I have always been a great fan of Lucknowi Biryani and this Biryani was really good. The meat was fall of the bone and the rice was well cooked with flavors of meat coming out very well. I also tried bits of vegetarian dishes, which were good but nothing gourmet about them…….

Khubani ka Meetha, Phirni and assorted desserts

From the Awadhi dessert section, we tried the Sevvaiya ka Muzzafar (Sweet Vermicelli mixed with ghee and nuts), Phirni and the Khubani ka Meetha (Apricot in Sugar Syrup with Nuts).
My favorite came out to be the Phirni, very delicately prepared and not very sweet.


Overall, a very nicely planned festival with good selection of dishes. I would suggest all the foodies to plan ASAP as the Festival is on for only a couple of days now.

Cheers !!!



Details Below:
Where: Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi
When: 16th February to 28th February, 2015
Timings: 7.00 pm to 11.30 pm
Contact: 91.124.497.7831
Price: INR 2400/- plus taxes




Written By : Vickrham Vicky
    Pics By : Vickrham Vicky

Sunday, 22 February 2015

NYC PIE - NY in INDIA



If you love your pizza pies....you need to be at NYC PIE..... Thoroughly passionate about his product...... Mr Raj Rao has started this venture about 4-5 months back and already has a presence both in Gurgaon as well as South Delhi at Defence Colony........this man needs no special introduction as everyone in the hospitality industry knows him well. Mr. Rao is the one who opened the much coveted Threesixty at Oberoi, New Delhi, when he was working for their F & B. He has an eye for detail and is committed towards quality.

Signages
 
Menu ,Interior, Oven and Topping Station

We visited NYC PIE couple of days back, as TWCI- The Writers Collective of India. We started with the Chicken wings...which were coated in their signature sauce called straight to hell sauce....coz of its spiciness and tanginess. .Totally made in house......Very good I must say. ....We also had Spaghetti with Meatballs. ...Loved it a lot....very nicely prepared sauce.....with flavors of herbs and tomatoes.....The most lovely pizza as per me was La Bomba.....Full of Spanish chorizo,Italian sausage, Black forest Ham and Pepperoni....awesome flavors....The Duck Walk was another one which is unique in many ways…Roasted pulled duck meat with cranberry relish is a real good combo….And the Fromagi Fromagi - 4 cheese pizza with lovely flavors of blue cheese.....Wow....The veg pizza Paradiso was also a fresh change to the normal toppings we have usually…….Quite well designed menu for both Vegetarians and as well as meat eaters…….

Fromagi, Pesto, La Bomba, Firecracker etc.
Chicken Wings, Garlic Bread and Pizza Slices
 NYC PIE has a nicely done cute looking all brick oven running on gas....but Pizzas baked in that turn out to be too good.....The crust comes out very nice and crispy.....I also loved the sautéed mushrooms on garlic and olive oil....Very nice and subtle flavors.....

Sauteed Mushrooms, Penne Arabiatta & Spaghetti Meatballs
 They will soon be starting Grinders ( NY style Sandwiches made of French Bread) with 4-5 stuffing combis. Eagerly awaiting for them...........
Quality product, comparable to the best fine dine places in town or I must say NY....... What more one can ask for!!!
Team TWCI

I wish them All the very best. .... To carry on high and big.....Maintain your product and service. ....Keep it on....Cheers!!!


NYC.PIE
G 7, Baani Square, Sector 50,
South City 2, Gurgaon
Ph. 0124 4369156
+91 7042192389




Written By : Vickrham Vicky
Pics by : Vickrham Vicky




Tuesday, 17 February 2015

KINBUCK 2 - A ROMAN BISTRO



KINBUCK 2 - A ROMAN BISTRO


Beautiful place, lovely ambience, awesome food and best of best service. Do we need anything more??? Yes may be….lolzz…..Superb location in the heart of New Delhi viz Connaught Place, bang on outer circle just before we turn towards Shivaji Stadium…..Ample parking space for cars with a parking lot of almost 100 cars just behind the building…..

Signages
 As we enter the place there is a big wall display made up of glass which holds wines…..On the other side is a double height wall with lovely graffiti  and murals on it……multicolored paintings and wall writings look so beautiful…….Well stocked Bar and Live Performance Area…….

Interiors
The concept of this place is based on a small town or as they call it, a Hamlet located in Scotland, called KINBUCK….The walls are done in fly ash bricks (rustic) inspired by a bistro located in Norway……with beautiful furniture and ambient lighting on one level and an open terrace as well as a main road facing balcony with Al Fresco seating make this place a unique one, altogether…. The passionate owner Anshul Garg is a very creative and artistic guy….. This young chap in his mid twenties has put his heart and soul in this project. He told me that how tough it was to convince his parents for opening up a restaurant which was non-veg centric… As he belongs to a very traditional and religious family background….

Wall Murals & Graffiti
Now the main point of discussion, the FOOD………..

Yes, the food is the most important aspect of any restaurant. At the end of the day, if your food is not good, howsoever beautiful your place may be. You are dead…….The case here is exactly opposite. The food is as good as the ambience and location. This place has been themed as the first Roman Bistro in town. The celebrated Chef Anay Mukherjee has done the menu beautifully. He has magical hands; we first met at top notch café in Delhi few months back. Chef Anay has travelled a lot and even served the Royal Family of Britain. Chef Anay Mukherjee is at the helm of affairs. With his 23 years plus of experience, having worked his way through countries like Qatar, Malaysia and Thailand. Now back in India, the seasoned chef has worked for The Ashok Hotel and restaurants like Tabula Rasa and Manre before setting up the kitchen at Little Italy and The Townhouse Café and many more……

Chef Anay Mukherjee & Me (Inset)
 
Chef at Work
Pork Chops, Carpaccio, Umpluti - Veg & Non-Veg


He let us try his beautiful creations like the 12 hour Pork Roast, Pork Carpaccio, Roast lamb leg- Toba, the Sarmale, Pork Chops, Umpluti – veg and non veg (stuffed bell peppers) both the shish kebab, sangerete and the chatak matak chicken and Sushi too ….

Sushi

Mid-eastern Dips and (Inset) Flavored Butters


The Pork roast was done in a traditional roman style, overnight in a rotisserie oven. This makes the meat soft and succulent filled with its own juices. The lamb leg meat was awesome, with full flavors of mild spices and meat. The Carpaccio was a very nice and subtle preparation (cold cut) with almost no spice.....as its traditionally made......

Shish Kebab in making
 The shish kebab is a kind of seekh kebab but made on a flat skewer resembling a sword. Fabulous taste and texture…….I always love it….Chicken chatak matak was also made well…….The Piftie was too good, it’s a stuffed chicken breast or wings with red wine sauce . Sarmale is a cabbage leaf stuffed with mince meat, again served with sour cream or a sauce. It was good but not as per my palette…Sushi was as colorful as it can be.....the texture was not too good but it was made nicely.....

Roast Pork Leg
 
Lebanese Platter and Spaggeti

The special breads were also the highlight of the meal. The Dutch, Tiger Bread (natural texture of the bread is like tiger skin), the sour dough breads and many more.  The flavored butters made by the chef were too good. 

Breads
Even after having small bites of each dish, I was stuffed like a pillow….. hahaaaa…. The meatiest and the most lavish meal of my life. Hats Off to Chef Anay Mukherjee for making us feel so special and royal……Now I have realized why this Chef has been chosen to cater the Presidents of Sweden and Tanzania and also the Diplomats of many countries like Kuwait, Sweden UK etc…… Chef we are coming for more soon……

TWCI Team with Guests


 
Good wishes to all the people involved ………. Keep it on…. Cheers  !!!




KINBUCK2,
P 10/90, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi


Written By : Vickrham Vicky
Pics Courtesy : Vickrham Vicky


Monday, 9 February 2015

BULLDOGS - HKV



Bulldogs

 
What comes to mind when you name a restaurant “Bulldogs” It’s not a regular name for a restaurant in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi. Yes, the makers really thought of an innovative name I must say. The impulse reaction is that it has something to do with hotdogs.
They have ample space and the place is spread over three floors with different styles of seating. Bed Style Lounge, Sofa Style Lounge and Casual dining with Open Terrace, Vibrant décor, good music, Big Screen, everything you need to have a good time. You say it and you have it here.
It provides the much needed stimulation and excitement for everyone and every mood.
It’s an ideal place for both hanging out with friends and enjoying nightlife with great amount of space and lovely music.

 
The selection of hot dogs from Big Bad Dog to Bite Sizes from 22” to 5” can delight you illimitably.
Well it’s not only that, they also have started an innovative concept of the bar meter, a drink exchange like the stock exchange. There are TV sets installed on all three floors which show live prices of liquor served, fluctuating every minute. The catch is you can buy in multiples once the price goes down for any specific liquor. And also, twice a day the market or the liquor exchange as they call it, crashes. So, all the prices come down to rock bottom, when one can buy more.


They have changed the whole concept of happy hours applied in most restaurants. This one’s guest driven and all day. Guests can enjoy an expansive food and cocktail menu including 15 different kinds of hotdogs and speciality cocktails made out of 12 spirits.



It’s something of a rage already in Hauz Khaz Village with youngsters coming in herds.
As they are serving world cuisine, so keeping high standards and maintaining taste is a little difficult in all spheres but yes overall it’s ok...There is a lot of variety in food but the drinks really need to be worked upon....



In starters we had Greek Salad which was good, Macaroni Pasta Salad was okay, Stuffed Cheese Mushroom was well done, Fish Sticks were crispy along with tartar sauce, and dahi kebab was delicious.

We tried the Shot dogs ( 5’ in size)  - Veg Seekh, bacon and pork sausage and Mutton Seekh served with Coleslaw and French fries along with Margarita Pizza. We also tried Fajita Sizzler with Cottage cheese, grilled and served with corn, tortillas, salsa n sour cream with Dips-Tzatziki, hummus, along with pita bread was good to taste and well done. Desserts variety was good. We tried the Apple pie with Vanilla Ice crème which was really very good and Choco lava cake was good....


Overall, as per us, they should try and improvise the Drinks and some parts of the menu should also be taken care of...... All in all a very Hip-Hop Happening place for the youth to have fun. .... Cheers !!!


BULLDOGS,
T 6B, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Floor,
Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi


Written By : Karan Puri and Vickrham Vicky
Pics Courtesy : Vickrham Vicky