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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

PIZZA EXPRESS - AUTHENTICITY AT ITS BEST





This is in continuation to our pizza journey which started with WPJ- World Pizza Journey,HKV; the next pit stop was at NYC PIE, Gurgaon; and then at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon; where a new Pizza outlet has opened " Pizza Express " . Pizza Express’s eighth restaurant in India six across Mumbai / Thane and one each in Delhi/ Gurgaon.

We were fortunate to have met and have a detailed discussion with Mr. Sanjay Nandrajog (CEO) and Mr. Ramit Bharti Mittal (Head of Strategy & Bus. Dev) at Gourmet Investments Pvt Ltd (a Bharti Family Office Company) which has brought this brand to India. Pizza Express is, today, one of the world’s leading casual dining and consumer brands. Established in 1965, in London, UK, it now operates over 500 Restaurants in 14 different countries.

Pizza express has been obsessed with pizza ever since its founder Peter Boizot opened first Pizza express restaurant on Wardour Street in 1965. Peter was a big foodie and took pride in pioneering beautiful pizzas on the high street and working with the best to do this. Pizza Express was one of the restaurants to adopt open kitchens and was also a pioneer in taking restaurants into interesting building from old churches to Banks to Dairies. 
Interiors

Corporate Chef - Mr. UDAY PATIL


 The menu at Pizza express is kept concise and delicious. Started with their signature Dough balls (Rs.165) served with freshly made pesto, garlic butter and sun-dried tomato dip…. Awesome ….. The Pollo Affumicato (Rs.385) salad,full of  smoked chicken, pomegranate , walnuts and lollo rosso leaves in chilli oil, The thin crust Calabrese (Rs.750) from the Calabria in Italy, an Italian spicy sausage with rocket pesto and oregano and red chillies is a very nice and hearty pizza and the Giardiniera Classic (Rs.510) pizza with button mushrooms on a tomato & pesto base are some of the most relished delicacies.
Dough Balls, Goats Cheese Salad, Meat balls


  The Goat’s Cheese salad with watermelon was very nice with a unique addition to it which was onions, some may love it and some may not. The use of rocket leaves in most salads and pizzas is a refreshing change and makes the whole experience very crunchy and gives a peppery feel to it.  We also loved the Ramiro Al Farno (Rs.285), red bell peppers stuffed with cheese and mushrooms. The Dolcetti (mini versions of dessert) served with a hot cup of coffee takes care of the calorie conscious dessert lovers. Also Baked Vanilla cheesecake and mini version of Dough Balls with Nutella are surely worth a try for all dessert lovers…..

PizzaExpress Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Open Kitchen  and Cans of Passata Sauce
Apart from the secret dough recipe, the tomato passata sauce used for the pizza is sourced especially from a tomato farming Greci farms near Parma, Italy…..and I tell you, this makes a big difference to the taste of pizzas and the pastas…… The Coroporate Chef Mr. Uday Patil is a thorough professional with full knowledge of Italian recipes and terms and bla bla bla………He has a very good team of chefs turning the best of ingredients into the best of creations……..

They also have a combo menu or as they call it “Piccolo Menu” for Rs.450/- ++ in which one can have a 3 course meal which includes their signature dough balls, a pizza / pasta and a dessert with a soft drink.

The yummy creations are carved by the skilled Pizzaiolos - Pizza chefs dressed in Black and white stripes. These Pizzaiolos add to the virtual treat of seeing the pizza tossed and stretched ensuring the perfect dough. 

Pizzaiolos in Action
 This place had a unique design philosophy inspired by local surroundings adapting Gurgaon's rich industrial heritage with a fusion of corporate culture……

Parents should take their kids to this place … It is a real fun place where kids enjoy making their own pizzas from dough to toppings to actual baking…..in the heart of restaurant in the open kitchens…The Restaurant Satff is very courteous and the service is very good........

Pizza making by children
So Ladies and Gentleman … if you wanna stop for having authentic Italian pizza made from authentic passata sauce imported from Italy , the Pit stop’s is : PIZZA EXPRESS at Ambience Mall , Gurgaon .

TWCI with Chef ( Uday Patil)  Senior Management (Mr. Nandrajog & Mr. Ramit Bharti Mittal)


Wishing them All the Best for all their future endeavours……….


PIZZA EXPRESS
T-317, 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall,
Gurgaon.




Written By : Vickrham Vicky & Ambika Sukumar
Pics By : Vickrham Vicky

Friday, 20 March 2015

KITCHEN DISTRICT - HYATT REGENCY GURGAON




A cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific region, country or culture. Most traditions have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions, preferences, and practices, the study of which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by-way-of food, not just by consumption. Global cuisines can be defined as cuisine based upon global, continental, national, state or local regions; essentially as cuisines of the world.
If you encounter a place where you can get 5 unique cuisines and many styles of cooking under one roof, that too in front of your eyes in an open kitchen format with absolutely no support of any back end kitchen………With the freshest and most authentic ingredients used under the supervision of the most talented chef lot.  What will you call such a place???

Seating Options
High Table (Bar type seating)

We better know it as, Kitchen District. The most happening and talked about food place in Gurgaon, nowadays. One of the signature restaurants of the newly opened five star Hotel, Hyatt Regency, Gurgaon. I was always phobic of going to this place, as I thought I had to drive for long and face lots of hassle and traffic. But to my surprise!!! It took only 20 minutes from my home in Gurgaon to reach, HYATT. People from all over Delhi, Gurgaon and other nearby areas are flocking this hotel for eating, spending their weekends and for other relaxation and leisure activities (SPA, POOL etc.)
Hyatt Regency Gurgaon is located in the fringe of corporate headquarters in the rapidly growing industrial belt of Gurgaon and Manesar. The largest convention hotel in the city with an area of 40,000 sq.ft, the hotel can accommodate up to 3000 people.

Hyatt Regency Gurgaon
One can be easily spoilt for choice when it comes to eating at Hyatt, Gurgaon.  One can Experience a wide array of authentic Indian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Western and Asian cuisines that are for sure, unparalleled gastronomical treat through different restaurants and bars at this hotel.
Soothingly warm, vibrant and vivacious this restaurant, Kitchen District offers a unique and exclusive dining experience as it showcases a wide range and array of dishes to suit every palate. With five standalone kitchens designed to offer unique and exclusive cuisines yet coexisting in perfect harmony to form a singular culinary district……….A perfect example of Unity in Diversity………Like our country , India.

We as TWCI – The Writers Collective of India were invited by the hotel, to review their beautiful restaurant, Kitchen District. On entering the premises from the main NH-8 expressway, I was mesmerized by the size and grandeur of the property. It’s a tall and huge hotel with all glass façade. As you enter the lobby, you get a feel of the modernly designed interiors with different and very unique lounging options. Done in Blacks, purple and shades of grey………We were escorted by the most gorgeous and of course hospitable, Ms. Anadita Singh ( Mgr. Marcomm ) to the most beautiful and vibrant, Kitchen District located on the First floor. 

Open Kitchens


As you enter, you get a feel of expansiveness…..spaciousness……lavishly grand yet a cozy feel of being at home. Natural light flows thru large windows on two sides. To give it a real casual feel, the furniture is not standardized in uniformity. They have done it in unique manner, with different seating options, ranging from sofas, dining chairs, casual chairs to long bar type chairs. All the kitchens are placed in such manner that it feels they are a part of the whole dining experience……You can order and see the dish being made in front of your eyes……the best being the Japanese , as it requires knife skills etc. which can be a visual treat for the eyes. 

We ordered 2-3 dishes from each section of the menu i.e. the Indian, Western, Oriental, Mediterranean and Asian to get a better view of the culinary skills of the chefs…….. We met Chef Senthil of the Indian kitchen and he suggested us to try some coastal cuisine. He got us some nicely done Chettinad kozy curry and also a specially prepared dish (not on menu) Meen Moily. Both the dishes were highly authentic and tasted yumm. Being an ardent lover of sushi, I could not stay away from ordering it for long. The sushi was very well done with the best and freshest of ingredients. The salmon sushi roll and the eel nigiri , both were perfectly rolled. Hats off to the most talented, Chef Keitaro (Japanese) and his enthusiasm. He even wants to introduce the regular and staple Japanese food in India. We also tried the Yakitori (grill) asparagus and the pork belly glazed with honey and soy. Very subtle and nicely prepared skewers served on small faux grills…..

The western dishes like Casarecce Pasta ( pesto, potato and green beans) was good but nothing over the top. The crispy roast duck was a piece of art. Beautifully done up dish on a canvas, I must admit. The Pomello was made with perfection and the duck tasted so good.
The Raw papaya salad was also one of the highlights of the whole meal, very well prepared with a perfect balance of sweet and sour. 


Laksa, a very popular dish from the Peranakan cuisine (Mix of Chinese and Malay) was also done in an authentic way with full flavor of coconut milk, lemon grass and curry leaves etc. I also ordered the Caesar Salad, which was not up to my expectations but was reasonably good. The fish dumplings in a light broth with mix of veggies and noodles was a refreshing change and I loved it , it was whole meal in itself. One of my colleagues ordered the Risotto (morels and pecorino) and she liked it a lot. As per me it could have been creamier but still was not bad. One of the Hyderabadi style kebabs, Charminar Kebab was very good, with all the lovely flavors of curry leaves and red chillies...It was boneless lamb cut done up in curry leaves and other south Indian spices. 

Wines on Display
Last but not the least; we were in for a surprise when the desserts came to our table. I am short of words, for the most talented Dessert Chef, I have encountered as of now , Chef Ashutosh. The creations he put in front of us were really magical. The presentation was so good and awesome , one could not dig into it and spoil the beauty of it…….Ranging from Cheese cakes, macaroon ice cream sandwich, Nougat Tart, Chocolate hazelnut mousse, Praline passion fruit mousse to the Wild Berry Panna Cota and not to forget the Chocolate Mousse with olive oil and sea salt. The best of best was displayed on our table and the lusty look in our eyes could well be seen. I don’t have enough words in my dictionary of appreciation for dessert chef and his team. Excellent quality, the most luscious and the most delicious Cheese cake and the Chocolate Mousse, we have ever eaten in our lives. I loved the wild berry compote in the perfectly made Panna Cota. The Nougat Tart was filed with toffee and nuts…I am almost drooling even now…..Kudos to the team…..I can go back to Kitchen District , only for the desserts………
Dessert Chef Ashutosh & His Creations

We could not meet the Executive Chef Adam Szczechura, as he was travelling. But, I will definitely appreciate his choice and deep knowledge of different cuisines which he has imbibed in the last 15-16 years of his globetrotting career. He has brought with him some of the best kept culinary secrets of various world cuisines. Adams’s philosophy is clear, “Keep it simple, using the freshest and the local ingredients”.

All in all, I can say , it was a wholesome experience with dishes ranging from one continent to the other and our taste buds jumping up and down craving for something more…..Nobody can be disappointed with this place. Kitchen District surely has something or the other to offer everyone………


Team TWCI with G.M. Mr..Roger Wright (Center) & Ms. Anadita Singh ( Mgr. Marcomm)

I hope to visit it again, soon plus the other highlights of the property and take you all on a new journey again……. Cheers !!!





Kitchen District - Hyatt Regency
Sector 83, Delhi NCR,
Hyatt Regency, NH 8, Sector 83, Gurgaon

Kitchen District - Hyatt Regency Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Written By : Vickrham Vicky (TWCI)




Thursday, 19 March 2015

CHARCOAL TANDOOR GRILL




CHARCOAL TANDOOR GRILL - A  nice and cozy hideout in Safdarjung Enclave Mkt,  Opp. Deer Park.......exterior look of the place is very nice and upmarket ..The interiors are done nicely too....colour tones of black, white and hues of orange give this place a warm look.....

 
We as TWCI - THE WRITERS COLLECTIVE OF INDIA visited this place for lunch and it was  occupied with 4-5 people having their meals....This place serves Indian as well as European grills...

We started with their platters....Veg platter had tandoori mushrooms, broccoli, paneer tikka and bharwan aaloo (stuffed potato)...Broccoli was nice and creamy...Paneer was soft, mushrooms were juicy....3.5/5
Non veg platter had mutton burrah (ok ok) mutton Seekh (not too good) Tandoori Murgh and Afghani murgh (both were good).....3.0/5


The Charcoal Platter had Nimbu murgh and Nimbu mutton..Very well marinated, tender and succulent with lovely flavors of coal....4.0/5 and The Wings of Fire ( chicken wings) was good , not too spicy yet flavorful...


They also serve Salads, Bruschettas and Pastas...We tried the Caesar salad which was good......(European Section)




Charcoal Tandoori Raan was really good and had lovely texture and flavors of masala...well marinated and well cooked....4.0/5



Main course dishes like Dal makhni, Paneer Butter masala and Laal Maas were very well prepared....The Laal maas ( Rajasthani Dish) had all lovely flavors of spices and Dal was too good. We also tried the methi Malai matar...It was just ok ok....needs some enhancement of flavors....
Dal Makhani 4.0/5 ....Laal Maas 4.0/5 Paneer Btr.Masala 3.5/5 ....Methi Malai matar 3.0/5


Drinks like Virgin Mojito and Virgin Mary were well created and the Desserts like Chocolate Brownie with Ice cream was very good....4.5/5…..Though Phirni needs much improvement.......





Overall It's a nice place with good food....They also have outdoor seating for 7-8 people... Service is very good and the staff is well groomed….Liquor license is yet to come and they are also revamping their menu to add in more European dishes......

Wishing them all the best for the future.....Cheers ! ! ! 

Charcoal Tandoor Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Location : B-6/5, Ground Floor, Shopping Centre, 
Opposite Deer Park, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi

 

Friday, 13 March 2015

The California Boulevard - Hollywood in Gurgaon



I have always loved this place since I first visited their Rajouri Garden outlet....When they opened up in Gurgaon....It was like a dream come true...Very convenient location...Just off IFFCO Chowk Metro Stn.…….


As you enter the premises a Harley Davidson Bike welcomes you at the entrance. ..Inside, the ambiance is totally Hollywood LA style....Star Named Floor tiles...Pics of Hollywood legends on walls....LED screens displaying Hollywood stars' pics and trivia.....Beautiful furniture in vintage style....The Bar area is made inside a Tram, bright red in color and the bar is fully equipped with poisons from all over the world….They also have a very nicely done al fresco seating area......with ample natural light....They celebrate the birthdays of the Hollywood stars too.............





Coming to the food ...It's always very good...Vast menu ranging from Indian.. Italian, Mexican...Oriental and much more....Chef Karren is a real gem...She does wonders with her magical hands....Beautifully done dishes with awesome presentation and taste.....


This time we tried the Sunday Brunch which they have started just a month back.....Starters ranging from veg as well as non veg kebabs and tikkas done in front of your eyes on live Weber grills....Chaat corner with awesome Papri chaat, Dahi Bhallas and mouth watering Golgappas....Chinese Wok with options ranging from veggies to meat..to prawns....Awesome salad counter with good variety of greens, dressings, veggies, nuts, dried fruits and Cold cuts like bacon, salami, smoked salmon. I also ordered a plate of Sushi (spicy tuna) which was very well made and presented (not part of buffet)........




Main course had dishes in both veg as well as non veg....No problems with taste at all.... They also have a wide range of options in drinks both alcoholic as well as non alcoholic. We tried some of their concoctions like Dead Bastard, Cosmopolitan, Ginger Rogers and some of the best Mocktails like spicy guava and Californian punch……

The Desserts were good....Halwa....Gulab Jamun....Puddings....Cakes...Tarts etc....I loved their waffles, freshly prepared and customized as per our choice with toppings of fruits, nuts and syrups.....Lovely.....The variety could be enhanced in the dessert section, just a suggestion from my side…….


 
Such good variety with awesome taste...Service is class apart....Very hospitable and well groomed staff.....Kudos to the owner and biker Rajan Sethi for making such lovely place and for the overall conceptualisation.......

I am definitely going back for more soon.......Cheers !!!



Brunch Pricing –
Rs. 800 ++
Rs. 1000 ++ with IMFL
Rs. 1200 ++ with Imported Liquor

The California Boulevard,
SCO 383 & 384, Sector 29, Next to IFFCO Metro Stn. Gurgaon