Goa Coconut and Cashew festival 2015

Goa in a nutshell

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Coconut and Cashew Festival hosted by Goa Tourism along with a few food and travel bloggers.

EntranceThis 5 day festival from 29th April’15 – 3rd May’15 showcased artifacts, cashew feni and food made using coconuts and cashews along with various performances and entertainment. We attended 2 days of the festival along with exploring a lot more of Goa, which I’ll cover in the following post.

Before the event we got a chance to meet Mr.Nikhil Desai, MD of Goa Tourism. He briefed us about the event as well as recent efforts made by Goa Tourism to introduce new activities for tourists.

Mr.Nikhil Desai, MD of Goa Tourism
             Mr.Nikhil Desai, MD of Goa Tourism

In the evening we headed off to the venue where cashews and coconut were very prominent, not just in the food but in the festival decor as well. Check out the huge coconut and cashews at the entrance!

Huge coconut and cashew installations

Cashew feni was the most famous product at the festival. There was even a live distillation unit at the venue.

Feni distillation unit
                                Feni distillation unit
Fresh cashew fruit
                                                         Fresh cashew fruit

I have never been a fan of feni because of it’s odor but the cocktails available at the stalls made it pretty easy to try this potent liquor after a few sips. You can clearly see the difference in a few sips!😉

Feni drinking stages - clicked by Amrita Rana of Life ki Recipe
                                  Feni drinking stages – clicked by Amrita Rana of Life ki Recipe

The food variety at the festival was huge, ranging from poi filled with meat, Goan curries, rice and whole lot of seafood.

Chicken Cafreal
                                                            Chicken Cafreal
More food at the festival!
                                                  More food at the festival!

We tried the local dishes the stalls had to offer and for us the Goan poi filled with spicy chorizo and prawns crusted with crisp cashews were the highlights of the evening.

Goan chorizo poi
                                           Goan chorizo poi
Cashew crusted prawns - picture courtesy Amrita Rana of Life ki Recipe
Cashew crusted prawns – picture courtesy Amrita Rana of Life ki Recipe

While we were stuffing our faces, Lorna, known as the ‘Nightingale of Goa’ was mesmerizing the crowd with her lovely voice.

Performances at the festival
                    Performances at the festival

On the second day we did a bit of shopping along with eating ofcourse! There were bottles, cups, spoons and glasses made of coconut shell as well as plates and tiles with Goan paintings.

Artifacts at the festival
                                   Artifacts at the festival

We also got back a special bottle of feni with the label designed by Mario Miranda.

Feni label designed by Mario Miranda
Feni label designed by Mario Miranda

With Rodney’s super charged performance filled with hit Bollywood songs, we ended our 2 days in Goa on a high note.

Head to Goa Tourism’s Facebook page to check all updates regarding the festival and new events and plan a visit next year to enjoy ‘the Goan experience in a nut shell’!

Goa in a nutshell

Product review – Rolling pin by Engrave

cake topper

With Christmas round the corner everyone is trying to figure out what to gift our friends and relatives. I feel that something personalized or homemade is always a great idea for a gift. Recently I received a personalized rolling pin from Engrave which is a great gift idea. You can personalize a message or name engraved onto the rolling pin and also make a batch of cookies using them and gift. Personalized as well as a delicious Christmas gift I say!

Rolling pin by Engrave
Rolling pin by Engrave

You can also you the rolling pin and engrave the text onto rolled fondant, then cut them into different shapes and use the fondant pieces to decorate cupcakes/cookies/cakes/brownies.

I tried my hand at using this rolling pin and I’d say the text gets well engraved onto fondant as well as cookie dough. Unfortunately the images aren’t getting uploaded onto the blog due to some error. Will surely upload them soon🙂

Apart from the rolling pin I fell in love with personalized cake toppers as well as the chopping boards they have to offer.

cake topper
Personalized cake topper
chopping board
Personalized chopping board

These products surely are a great option for Christmas gifts but also great wedding and birthday gifts! Do check out their website : www.Engrave.in for more gifting options.

Will update the post picutres soon!

#Care4Food Campaign by Tupperware

Tupperware products (Image courtesy Tupperware)

I received a mail from Tupperware recently regarding their Care4Food campaign through which they are promoting proper storage of food and leftover management. I have been using Tupperware products since really long as they are easy to use, helps keep vegetables fresh, leak proof,has made storage in general very convenient and they also come in pretty colours! To top it all they offer lifetime warranty! So I decided to support the campaign and share my thoughts about food storage and leftover management.

Tupperware products (Image courtesy Tupperware)
Tupperware products (Image courtesy Tupperware)

So as the Care4Food supports proper storage of leftovers as well as creating something delicious from them too I thought why not brainstorm regarding easy leftover recipes.

If you’ve been following my blog you must have come across the super easy and delicious recipe of Masala idlis using leftover idlis. You can check out the recipe here.

Masala idlis

Another great option is to use leftover risotto to make Arancini (rice balls coated with breadcrumbs and fried). They taste delicious with a spicy chili sauce and make for a perfect party snack!

You could also use leftover dry sabzis like spiced potatoes, aloo methi or even spiced green beans and use it to make a toasted sandwich or even a spring roll!

Spiced potato spring rolls
Spiced potato spring rolls

Another quick fix is making spiced rice using leftover rice and a few spices. I usually make this by heating up some oil to which I add mustard seeds, tumeric, green chilies, curry leaves, roughly chopped onion and red chili powder. Once the spices are cooked I add leftover rice and a bit of water and stir it around till the rice is coated well with the spices. It tastes really nice with a  mix vegetable raita or even plain dal.

Tupperware clearly makes it really convenient to store leftovers and in-return obviously reduce food wastage. I’d say get your creative caps on and reinvent leftovers and also do share your ideas with me!

Flavours of Pondicherry

Pondi doors

After 12 days of non stop baking, 70 kgs of chocolate, 800 jar treats and going crazy while racing against time, Diwali madness finally came to an end and I decided to take a much deserved break and head to Pondicherry for 5 days!

I had come up with a really long ‘must-eat’ list for this trip and I’m pretty happy that I ended up trying most of the places on my list🙂

We decided to take a cab from Chennai to Pondicherry and stop over at Mahabalipuram for lunch and some tourist-y sightseeing. Even though Moonrakers was recommended by a lot of people we chose to try out Hotel Guru, which i where the locals eat. The place was packed and we had to wait 15 minutes to get our table and then the food just kept of coming! We opted for the meal with fish fry and prawn masala on the side. The meal included beetroot sabzi, white pumpkin sabzi, pickle, rice (lots of it!!), chicken gravy, prawn gravy, sambar and rasam served on a bright green banana leaf. Everything was perfect – quick service, hot fresh food and the flavours were spot on.

Meal at Hotel GuruAfter stuffing our faces we visited the Shore temple, Five Rathas and Krishna’s butter ball post which we made our way to Pondicherry via ECR.

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram Krishna's Butter Ball, Mahabalipuram

But before we reached Pondicherry we had to try Kumbakonam Degree Coffee which is available throughout the ECR route. The strong filter coffee that kept us up post a heavy meal so that we could enjoy the scenic drive to Pondicherry.

In Pondicherry we were staying at The Promenade by Hidesign which was located, well at The Promenade also known as the Beach Road or Goubert Avenue.

Our room at The Promenade by Hidesign
Our room at The Promenade by Hidesign

The Promenade is a much cleaner version of our Marine drive or Worli seaface and the best part is that it is a car free zone from 6pm to 7.30 am everyday! So it is perfect for a stroll in the evening without any honking and an amazing view of the Bay of Bengal.

The Promenade
The Promenade
The Promenade
The Promenade
The Promenade
The Promenade

Our stay at the hotel was very pleasant with great facilities and room service, courteous staff and a good breakfast spread which could do with a bit more rotational menu but flavour wise nothing was bad.

Breakfast at The Promenade by Hidesign
Breakfast at The Promenade by Hidesign
Super fluffy scrambled egg at The Promenade
Super fluffy scrambled egg at The Promenade

We also ended up spending a pleasant evening at the hotel bar – Risque during our stay and we were not disappointed. Our evening was filled with chilled beers, nice music, great bar munchies, view of the Promenade and a delicious crispy prawn starter with spicy chili sauce.

Crispy prawns with chili sauce
Crispy prawns with chili sauce

We did end up eating a lot and by a lot I mean A LOT in Pondicherry and not one meal was disappointing!

We started off with a dinner at Cafe Xtasi  on Mission street which was flocked with college kids relishing these super huge wood fired oven pizzas. We settled for the Xtasi special with pepperoni, chicken, salami, bell peppers, corn and gooey stringy cheese. A small is more than enough for two so think twice before you go ordering in excitement after seeing the huge variety they have on offer.

Cafe Xtasi

Then we headed to Zuka which specializes in everything chocolate. The place was packed so we decided to take away a Tuscan mousse pastry. The pastry was moist but not loaded with sugar syrup and the mousse was light and not too sweet.

Tuscan mousse pastry from Zuka
Tuscan mousse pastry from Zuka

Next day we made our way to Auroville and Matrimandir to enjoy some peace before we again went hunting for our next meal.

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Matrimandir
Matrimandir viewing point

For lunch we headed to the super famous Tanto for crisp wood fired margherita pizza, refreshingly light Mediterranean pasta and a litre bottle of the most amazing iced team I’ve ever had!! The perfect ending for the delicious meal was the rich yet light dark chocolate orange zest mousse.

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mediterranean pasta, margherita pizza and iced tea bottle at Tanto
Mediterranean pasta, margherita pizza and iced tea bottle at Tanto

To burn off the meal so that we could eat more in the evening we headed off to Aurobindho Ashram and the handmade paper factory.

Next stop on our food trail was Baker Street where we enjoyed hot cups of coffee, the most flakiest chocolate croissant, passionfruit macaron and chocolate mousse raspberry pastry. Except for the macaron everything else was spot on.

Chocolate mousse and raspberry pastry and pasionfruit macaron at Baker Street
Chocolate mousse and raspberry pastry and pasionfruit macaron at Baker Street
Chocolate croissant at Baker street
Chocolate croissant at Baker street

We did end up visiting Baker street everyday of our trip and we tried their uniquely tart Lemon tart, another winner – spinach and veg croissant sandwich, some more coffee and eclairs filled with the lightest chocolate and coffee diplomat creme. I was in love!!

Chocolate eclair at Baker street
Chocolate eclair at Baker street
Lemon tart at Baker street
Lemon tart at Baker street

Another place we couldn’t get enough of was Zuka. After the Tuscan mousse pastry we headed there again for their famous Hot chocolate which is served along with a chocolate spoon as well as grated chocolate sachets. You need to stir the hot chocolate with the chocolate spoon and as it melts the hot chocolate gets richer and if this is not enough you can add the grated chocolate too! Despite so much chocolate in one tiny little cup the drink doesn’t feel too rich or heavy.

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We also tried their coffee and caramel crunch pastries out of which the caramel crunch was my favourite because the coffee was strong so I cudn’t finish the entire pastry.

Coffee and caramel crunch pastries from Zuka
Coffee and caramel crunch pastries from Zuka

We found that the perfect way to digest all the food we were indulging in was to walk and explore the tiny and immensely beautiful lanes of the French quarter.

The super pretty Palais De Mahe Hotel
The super pretty Palais De Mahe Hotel
Outside Spice Route restaurant
Outside Spice Route restaurant

Pondi doors

Graffiti outside Cafe Des Arts
Graffiti outside Cafe Des Arts
Graffiti outside Cafe Des Arts
Graffiti outside Cafe Des Arts

On our third day in Pondicherry we chose to try the Chettinad non veg meal at Anjappar which was a steal at Rs.99!! but the dull lighting of the restaurant was a major turn off. Nevertheless the meal was good but the picture isn’t.

Non veg meal from Anjappar
Non veg meal from Anjappar

At night we headed to Surguru spot on Nehru street to and wiped off the rava dosa, parota and kurma in minutes. The dosa was served with a unique tomato sabzi along with the standard chutneys and sambar. Next day after more exploring but this time we checked out Nehru street and MG Road and then headed to the quaint restaurant – Carte Blanc located inside Hotel de L’Orient.

Hotel de L'Orient
Hotel de L’Orient

I happily hogged on pan grilled chicken fillet with finger licking good lemon mustard sauce with a side of perfectly flavoured garlic coriander potatoes.

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The next place was the highlight of our trip. Villa Shanti stole my heart as soon I walked in. Minimal ambiance in shades of white and grey with the plants adding some colour. We visited this place twice in one day! In the afternoon we licked the dressing off the plate of the green papaya salad along with a couple of beers and warm bread with beetroot spread.

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At night we started off our meal with masala prawns which were juicy and perfectly spiced followed by a simple pasta dish of penne in Alfredo sauce and vegetables but  mind you, it was the best Alfredo pasta I’ve ever tasted. It was a huge portion but didn’t take more than a few minutes for it to disappear! We got a bit greedy and decided to call for another main because well, it was our last dinner in Pondicherry. We opted for tawa fried crisp fish with tangy tomato sauce and lemon rice. It was another winner! Sorry the pictures aren’t too clear.

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We didn’t stop here and called for almond orange flourless cake topped with chocolate mousse. The cake was rich and nutty with refreshing orange zest flavour and the light mousse did cut through the richness of the cake.

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I’d say that Villa Shanti can’t be skipped if you head to Pondicherry!

For our last lunch in Pondi we chose to try the veg special thali at Surguru Spot. We were a bit surprised that the meal started with soup which can be skipped easily. But when the thali arrived we had a big smile on our face!

IMG_20141105_122513Puri, apalam, sambar, rasam, rice, pickle, curd, payasam, tamarind rice, spinach sabzi, spiced potatoes, raita, pumpkin in yogurt gravy, some kind of dal came sitting pretty in a thali. And if this wasn’t enough they got us a scoop of ice cream to end our meal. I couldn’t move after eating the thali but thanks to this meal did end up sleeping through the drive back to Chennai airport.

Overall Pondicherry did treat us really well and we came back with our heart and belly filled with happiness!😀

Review : New set lunch at Hakkasan, Mumbai

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A lot of people consider Hakkasan to be a pricey dining option but they are trying to break away from this with their latest offer of a set lunch menu priced at Rs.1200 + tax. The set lunch menu is on till the end of June and included 3 small eats, 2 mains, 2 rice/noodles and 1 dessert. Apart from the set lunch they also have a weekly lunch menu with new dishes added weekly along with the favourites.

We started off with a large spread of small eats and a round of refreshing cocktails. See what our table looked like!

IMG_20140610_141150My favorites from the small eats were the fresh and juicy Hargau with its prawn filling, crisp Chicken roll served along with a delicious mango chili sauce, pretty purple pakchoi dumpling with crunchy veg filling and veg chive dumpling with its pretty green wrapper and corn filling.

Prawn Hargau
Prawn Hargau
Veg Pakchoy Dumpling
Veg Pakchoy Dumpling
Veg chive dumpling
Veg chive dumpling
Crispy chicken roll
Crispy chicken roll

Apart from these we called for the crispy duck rolls and prawn cheung fun, both didn’t disappoint!

crispy duck roll
Crispy duck roll
prawn cheung fun
Prawn cheung fun

After all these we moved on to the mains. My favourites were the crunchy stir fry french beans in a nice soy sauce, chicken Ho Fun Noodles were perfect, steamed salmon in black bean sauce was amazing and tasted really nice with the fried rice. For the vegetarians Ho Fun Noodles with mock meat is a good option.

Stir fry french beans
Stir fry french beans
Steamed Indian salmon with black bean sauce
Steamed Indian salmon with black bean sauce
Chicken Ho Fun Noodles
Chicken Ho Fun Noodles

After the mains we still wanted to try the desserts. We did decide not to eat for the rest of the day! I enjoyed the three chocolate bavarois with coconut and lemon sorbet and from the a la carte the coconut panna cotta with pineapple coconut sorbet was light and refreshing, though I’d wish for more panna cotta in this dessert. We also tried the white chocolate parfait with blueberry sorbet. I found the parfait too sweet but the blueberry sorbet was a big hit!

Coconut panna cotta with pineapple coconut sorbet
Coconut panna cotta with pineapple coconut sorbet
Three chocolate bavarois with coconut lemon sorbet
Three chocolate bavarois with coconut lemon sorbet
White chocolate parfait with blueberry sorbet
White chocolate parfait with blueberry sorbet

We enjoyed the lunch thoroughly and felt that the set menu is a great deal to go for.

Restaurant details can be found on their Facebook page here.

Turkiye..in photos

Hot air balloon in Goreme, Cappadocia

I took a 10 day trip to Turkey this March and fell in love with their food, architecture, markets and beauty! We made our way through the chilly and quaint Cappadocia, the stone beaches of Antalya, snow white calcium clouds of Pammukale, the rustic ruins of Ephesus, the buzzing waterfront of Kusadasi and finally ended on a high note with the energy of Istanbul! If I end up writing about Turkey this post will end up being really long so I decided to make it into a photo blog. Here it goes..

Start of our journey
Start of our journey
The picnic basket in the domestic Turkish Airlines
The picnic basket in the domestic Turkish Airlines
Gozleme (cheese paratha)  at Şüküroğulları Restaurant, Urgup
Gozleme (cheese paratha) at Şüküroğulları Restaurant, Urgup
Our first breakfast at the MDC Hotel, Urgup, Cappadocia
Our first breakfast at the MDC Hotel, Urgup, Cappadocia
The sweetest orange (Portakal I've ever had!
The sweetest orange (Portakal I’ve ever had!
Hot air balloon in Goreme, Cappadocia
Hot air balloon in Goreme, Cappadocia
Sofra Restaurant, Urgup, Cappadocia
Sofra Restaurant, Urgup, Cappadocia
Chicken shish with rice, side salad, bread, pickled vegetables and Tukey's local beer - Efes at Sofra Restaurant
Chicken shish with rice, side salad, bread, pickled vegetables and Tukey’s local beer – Efes at Sofra Restaurant
Crisp cigars filled with local cheese at Sofra Restaurant
Crisp cigars filled with local cheese at Sofra Restaurant
Beans and rice at Sofra Restaurant
Beans and rice at Sofra Restaurant
Cay (Chai) and Apple Tea at Sofra Restaurant
Cay (Chai) and Apple Tea at Sofra Restaurant
Dondurma (Turkish ice cream) at Merkez Pastanesi, Urgup
Dondurma (Turkish ice cream) at Merkez Pastanesi, Urgup
Cay (chai), Apple tea and  Walnut and cream baklava at Merkez Pastanesi, Urgup
Cay (chai), Apple tea and Walnut and cream baklava at Merkez Pastanesi, Urgup
Delicious Walnut and cream baklava at Merkez Pastanesi, Urgup
Delicious Walnut and cream baklava at Merkez Pastanesi, Urgup
Bulgur pilaf with roasted veg curry at a local restaurant in Cappadocia we visited during sightseeing
Bulgur pilaf with roasted veg curry at a local restaurant in Cappadocia we visited during sightseeing
Lentil soup at a local restaurant in Cappadocia we visited during sightseeing
Lentil soup at a local restaurant in Cappadocia we visited during sightseeing
Ayran - Turkey's Chaas
Ayran – Turkey’s Chaas
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Efes beer on Konyaalti Beach, Antalya
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Simit (Crusty sesame bread) sold on the streets
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Cay or Chai at Best Western Hotel, Antalya
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Dinner buffet at Best Western Hotel, Antalya
Lunch at a local resaurant in Pammukale
Lunch at a local restaurant in Pammukale
Tea with a view at Charisma Deluxe Hotel, Kusadasi
Tea with a view at Charisma Deluxe Hotel, Kusadasi
Breakfast at Charisma Deluxxe Hotel, Kusadasi
Breakfast at Charisma Deluxe Hotel, Kusadasi
Manti (mini dumplings filled with meat) in yogurt sauce at Konyali Restaurant, Kusadasi
Manti (mini dumplings filled with meat) in yogurt sauce at Konyali Restaurant, Kusadasi
Cig Kofte and meze at Konyali Restaurant, Kusadasi
Cig Kofte and meze at Konyali Restaurant, Kusadasi
Ruins of Ephesus City
Ruins of Ephesus City
Ayran, white bean salad and meat balls at a tiny restaurant in Hocapasa Sokak, Istanbul
Ayran, white bean salad and meat balls at a tiny restaurant in Hocapasa Sokak, Istanbul
Baklava display in Istanbul
Baklava display in Istanbul
Veg pasta at Esmer Cafe, Istiklal Street
Veg pasta at Esmer Cafe, Istiklal Street
Chicken doner sandwich at Taksim Square
Chicken doner sandwich at Taksim Square
Chocolate, Vanilla and Pistachio dondurma from Mado, Istanbul
Chocolate, Vanilla and Pistachio dondurma from Mado, Istanbul
roasted chestnuts on the streets of Istanbul
roasted chestnuts on the streets of Istanbul
Tost (Toasted cheese and spicy sausage) and Cay (chai) on the Bosphorus cruise
Tost (Toasted cheese and spicy sausage) and Cay (chai) on the Bosphorus cruise
Meat kebabs at a tiny restaurant on Istiklal street
Meat kebabs at a tiny restaurant on Istiklal street
Spicy minced meat pizza at Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, Istiklal street, Istanbul
Spicy minced meat pizza at Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, Istiklal street, Istanbul
Hummus and pita at Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, Istiklal street, Istanbul
Hummus and pita at Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, Istiklal street, Istanbul
Sweet fried bread at The Spice Market, Istanbul
Sweet fried bread at The Spice Market, Istanbul
Lemon with candied lemon dondurma from Mado, Istanbul
Lemon with candied lemon dondurma from Mado, Istanbul
The best place for kebabs and grills in Istanbul
The best place for kebabs and grills in Istanbul
Spicy seekh kebab with warm pita, tzatziki, crisp pita, grilled tomato and chili at Zubeyir Ocakbasi, Istanbul
Spicy seekh kebab with warm pita, tzatziki, crisp pita, grilled tomato and chili at Zubeyir Ocakbasi, Istanbul
Turkish delight from Hafiz Mustafa
Turkish delight from Hafiz Mustafa, Istanbul
The picnic basket in the domestic Turkish Airlines
The picnic basket in the domestic Turkish Airlines on our way back

Food in the city of lakes – Udaipur

View from Hotel Hilltop Palace

I’ve been meaning to write about the food that Udaipur has to offer but never got to it. So finally after my two trips to the city of lakes I’ve come up with a concise list of ‘must eat’ in Udaipur.

Thali :

Natraj Thali

Quick, delicious and filling are apt words to describe the thali that Natraj has to offer. Piping hot food, ghee smeared chapatis and a cold glass of chaas can easily ensure you overeat at this restaurant.

Natraj Thali
Natraj Thali

Garden Restaurant

This is another thali place located inside the Vintage Car Museum which serves simple food but yet again thanks to hot food, ghee laden chapatis and unlimited servings you’ll end up overeating. I personally do prefer Natraj’s thali over Garden Restaurant but it’s not bad either.

Garden Restaurant Thali
Garden Restaurant Thali

Aapni Dhani

This is a smaller version of Chokhi Dhani from Jaipur. Aapni Dhani doesn’t offer a lot in terms of entertainment or ambience but it surely won’t disappoint you on the food front. The meal included Dal baati, bajra khichda, bajra roti, two varieties of vegetables, gatte ka saag, sprouts, papad, salad, amazing garlic chutney, white butter and loads of ghee! And if this wasn’t enough they stuff your faces with piping hot, crisp and not too sweet jalebis!!

Thali at Aapni Dhani
Thali at Aapni Dhani

Rajasthani / Punjabi cuisine :

Ambrai

Located on the banks of Lake Pichola, this open air restaurant surely provides a great view of the City Palace and Lake Palace. They do serve up food to match the amazing ambiance. The laal maas here is perfectly cooked with succulent meat and has a big punch from the chili.

Ras Leela

Ras Leela is another open air restaurant located on the banks of Lake Pichola is adorned with bright pink chairs but unlike Ambrai they fall short on the food front. The starters and service were highly okay and their liquor menu is fairly limited, but their main course was served hot and fresh. It can be your choice if you fail to get a table at Ambrai!

ras leela

Hotel Hilltop Palace

Located on top of Ambavgarh hill, Hilltop Palace Hotel has a great view of Fatehsagar lake. Their rooftop bar is perfect to grab a few drinks and munchies while enjoying the scenic beauty of Fatehsagar. Post drinks head down to their restaurant which has good Indian and Chinese food spread on offer.

View from Hotel Hilltop Palace
View from Hotel Hilltop Palace

Kabab Mistri

Located inside hotel Jaisingh Garh, Kabab Mistri is a great roof top restaurant serving up lip smacking Indian food. After a few Indian meals in Udaipur you will notice that most of the restaurants pretty much offer the same menu. So if you wish to try something different and still stick to North Indian cuisine then head to Kabab mistri and try their kebabs, palak ghosht and crisp garlic naan.

Kabab Mistri
Kabab Mistri

Drinks:

Jagat Niwas & Upre

These two restaurants are pretty famous and were recommended by lot but I was disappointed. Food was nothing special but their location and ambiance puts them in my ‘to go for drinks’ list. So I’d suggest enjoy the view with a couple of drinks and step out to eat somewhere else.

Jagat Niwas
This photo of Jagat Niwas is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Upre
This photo of Upre is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Panna Vilas Palace

Popular amongst the younger crowd of Udaipur, Panna Villas is a great place to hangout with friends over snacks and drinks with nice music playing in the background.

 

Panna Vilas Palace
Panna Vilas Palace
Lights at Panna Vilas
Lights at Panna Vilas

Italian cuisine:

Palki Khana

Situated in the compound of The City Palace, Palki Khana offers delicious large portions of Italian food. Try their Cafe mocha, creamy veg risotto and Ceaser’s salad (ask for no bacon). The prices here are steep but thanks to the portion size it doesn’t hurt a lot.

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Gateway

Gateway is pretty close to The City Palace so if Palki Khana doesn’t fancy you then you can surely head here. They offer only vegetarian Italian fare but trust me it is delicious. Try their pasta in pesto cream sauce, pizzas, linguini in cream sauce and grilled veg sandwich.

Pizza at Gateway
Pizza at Gateway
Penne in creamy pesto
Penne in creamy pesto

Savage Garden

Udaipur city has really tiny lanes and it is a task to find a restaurant hidden in these tiny tiny lanes. But once you find Savage Garden tucked on the by-lanes of Chand Pol you’ll be delighted to see this open air, all blue restaurant. They serve amazing spinach and mushroom ravioli and spaghetti in penne sauce garnished with plump pink pomegranate seeds.

Shakes & Delight

This is another place which is famous among the locals but just didn’t work for me. The penne in pesto sauce had no basil or any herb flavour, the burritos were just spicy and the pizza was highly okay. The only thing that saved our meal was their oreo shake which is more than enough for two people. I’d say stick to the shakes they have to offer.

Cafes:

Govinda’s Cafeteria

Govinda’s is a tiny cafe located very close to Gateway Restaurant where you can laze around while enjoying their delicious coffee (hot/cold). I haven’t tried the food here yet, may be during my next visit🙂

German Bakery

German Bakery, also known as Cafe Edelweiss is a small homely cafe located near Gangaur ghat. It is a great place for breakfast but make sure you reach early as it always flooded with tourists and they’ll run out of their famous chili brownie! You can fill your stomach happily with omlettes, coffee, toast and any dessert that fancies your taste buds before heading out to explore the city.

Brewmen

This one year old cafe Udaipur is located near Sahelion ki Badi. Modern decor, menu printed on brown envelopes, courteous staff, sandwiches made with crusty bread and a wide range of teas and coffee surely adds this cafe in your must visit place.

Street Food:

This section excites me the most about any city and truly gives a great essence of the food and people of the place. Street food is a refreshing change after the repetitive menus in most of the restaurants. So here is a list of my favourites..

Kamlesh tea stall

Fatehsagar is a must visit for any tourist in Udaipur and it should be considering the number of food stalls there. Amongst all the hustle bustle and crazy crowd this tiny tea stall makes piping hot, fresh from the kadai crisp and spicy bread pakodas. If visiting Udaipur during the winters then wash down the bread pakoda with a hot cup of tea!

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Vinod fast food and cafe

Mr.P had shared his love for the kulhar coffee and cold coffee that Vinod has to offer here but apart from the coffee I’d recommend their spicy chili maggi and pizzas (not authentic considering it is street food but truly delicious!)

Kulhar coffee

Egg World

Egg world is located near Chetak circle and is always crowded! Head to this place in your car as there is ample of parking in the lanes nearby. There is self service here so get your food and enjoy it in peace, away from the maddening crowd at the stall. Must try here is their super spicy boiled egg burji and tandoori omelette (bread slices wrapped in a tandoori masala omelette, cooked on a huge tawa and then topped with mayo, spicy sauce, sev and corriander.

egg worldDhabeli

Sukhadia circle is another place flocked with street vendors and hungry souls😛 You have a huge variety of snacks on offer here ranging from paneer chili to pizzas, pav bhaji to sandwiches and even ice creams. But the one I really love is the dhabeli at this tiny stall near Sukhadia circle. The dhabeli here is made with soft pav filled with dhabeli stuffing, masala peanuts and chutneys (red and green). He also crisps up the dhabeli a bit on the tawa with loads of butter!!

Shiv Shakti chaat

In the crazy chaos of Bapu bazaar we found this super tiny chaat shop and they make amazingly addictive dahi kachori chaat! Warm dal stuffed kachori is crushed then topped with chilled curd, green chutney, sweet and sour chutney, sliced onions, masalas and sev..what’s not to love!?

Shiv Shakti's chaat
Shiv Shakti’s chaat

Others:

Tiluram’s

This store has a huge variety of pickles and chutneys, so if you are crazy behind pickles then head to Tiluram’s in Bapu Bazaar. I  highly recommend their red chili pickle and garlic chutney. The garlic chutney makes for a great addition to our Bombay pav bhaji!

JMB (Jagdish Misthan Bhandar)

My last stop in Udaipur has always been JMB to pack some of their ghee laden milk cake! It tastes great as it is but to make the milk cake even better just warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds and it is just spectacular!

Around Udaipur:

Devigarh Palace is located about 30 kms from Udaipur. It is a mighty tall fort which has been restored and converted into an ‘all white’ heritage hotel. The restaurant has a magnificent scenic views and menu has a mix of contemporary twist on Indian food, traditional Indian dishes, Continental and Chinese dishes too. The food is not spectacular, portions are small, the twist on Indian dishes and an eggy creme brulee didn’t work for me. But that said the hotel’s fort structure , the view and a few drinks can easily lead to a great lazy afternoon.

Kumbalgarh

It takes about an hour and half to get to Kumbalgarh from Udaipur. And while you are there to admire the great wall of the Kumbalgarh Fort the walk in the fort can surely work up an appetite. There are not a lot of options to eat around here but these are some places I recommend:

Chowka, at The Aodhi Hotel

When we arrived at Chowka it was empty so we were a bit skeptical at first so decided to go with the regular dishes on the menu. We stuck to lal maas, paneer lababdar, dal tadka and rotis. The lal maas wasn’t exactly “lal maas” but it was a good mutton dish. The meat was cooked well in a lightly spiced gravy unlike the authentic lal maas but not bad. On the other hand, paneer lababdar, dal tadka and rotis were delicious. The prices here are slightly on the higher side but I guess it’s because of the fewer dining options available in the area.

Kumbalgarh Forest Retreat

This is a new addition to the hotel scene in Kumbalgarh. I didn’t dine here but my sister and her husband did during their stay and they fell in love with their egg curry!

Paratha place outside Club Mahindra

This is another place my sister tried during her two days stay in Kumbalgarh. There was a tiny hut on the road right out Club Mahindra which was serving up hot hot parathas and considering it was a cold night they went crazy over these parathas.

This is a long list of places to eat in Udaipur but if there is any other place I’ve missed and is truly worth a try then do let me know!

 

Review : BusaGO, BKC

Veg sticky bomb

I love the food Busaba (you can check out my post on Busaba here) and BusaGO at Pali Naka have to offer. BusaGO opened it’s second outlet in the FIFC building in BKC recently and I was really excited to check it out. Compared to the Pali Naka outlet the BKC one bigger and has no outside seating but still has that casual eatery vibe.

I’ve visited their Pali Naka outlet many times and always end up eating the Khow suey (which I love!!), so this time I decided to try the other things on the menu. Here’s what we called for:

Momos – Veg and Chicken

Chicken Momos

Thin casing, perfectly steamed with flavourful and perfectly cooked fillings! The momos were just exquisite. And they were best accompanied by Chib’s red chili, sweet chili and green chili sauces.

We fell in love with the sauces and just kept on eating them without any momos too.

Green Veg Curry with steamed rice

Green thai curry

The curry was light and had a nice spice hit. It had strong lemon grass and kaffir lime flavours but I loved that the vegetables in the curry still had a bite to them.

Sticky veg bomb

Veg sticky bombA new addition to BusaGO’s menu and also to my list of favourite dishes! Sticky rice steamed with mushrooms,carrots, pakchoy, bell pepper and water chestnuts came in a bowl and was served along with an amazing ginger soy sauce. A simple dish but it just hit the right spot. The addition of water chestnuts gave a nice crunch to the dish and the ginger soy sauce complimented the rice really well. But if this sauce still doesn’t do it for you and you need that extra spice then Chib’s red chili sauce also tasted really nice with the rice.

Chocolate tart and Banoffee in-a-cup

Chocolate tart

Banoffee in-a-cup

The good part about these desserts is their quantity. Their pretty generous portions can suffice for two people. But their flavours didn’t work for me. The chocolate tart could do with a bit of salt in the pastry base whereas the banoffee needed a little dark chocolate and also the pastry crumbs needed a tab bit of salt to balance off the sweetness of the toffee.

I highly recommend you try the food at BusaGO and you surely won’t be disappointed. I’m already planning my next trip to BusaGO after writing this post!

You can check out their details here.

Review : D’Bell, Lower Parel

Chicken wrapped bacon

I know that I’ve been away for really long but if you’ve been following me on Instagram / Facebook, you know how crazy Knead with Love’s kitchen has been. Recently I was also part of a super fun event in Mumbai – The Tea Party at Sanctum store, Khar(W) which was organized by Small Fry Co. You can check out snippets from the event here. Anyway, I hope to be more regular on the blog now and keep on sharing some cool recipes and reviews of places where to eat yummy food.

So, I recently got an opportunity to try out the new cafe-lounge in Mumbai – D’bell. Located in Indiabulls Centre in Lower Parel, D’Bell has a casual dining area and also a lounge where they keep on having regular gigs. We started off our meal with not one, not two but four starters!

Cottage cheese satay had soft paneer pieces but I found this dish to be a bit salty and the peanut sauce didn’t help and just enhanced the saltiness even more. If the salt gets adjusted this can be a good dish.

Corn cigar roll which were like tiny spring rolls but made with phyllo sheets and filled with American corn and cheese mix served along with a spicy tomato sauce. The rolls were oily and soggy but I guess that’s cause the phyllo sheets were fried. If baked they could have been crisp.

Corn cigar rolls
Corn cigar rolls

Wasabi prawns had perfectly cooked prawns but could do with a bit more of wasabi hit.

wasabi prawns
wasabi prawns

Bacon wrapped chicken Involtini was the best starter we had. Soft chicken pieces stuffed with cheese and wrapped with salty bacon were perfectly cooked and were tossed in a spicy tomato sauce.

Chicken wrapped bacon
Chicken wrapped bacon

For drinks we called for the Bellini which was perfect, Long island iced tea which was dominated by the iced tea flavour, Sour apple martini which was potent and had great apple flavour and Creamy chocolate martini which well was a chocolate drink.

Bellini
Bellini
sour apple martini
sour apple martini
Creamy chocolate martini
Creamy chocolate martini

For the main course we called for Char grilled fish fillet and Scarmorza stuffed Baked chicken breast.

Char grilled fish fillet
Char grilled fish fillet

The fish main was excellent with perfectly cooked fish fillet served along with lime coriander sauce and spice tossed vegetables. The only let down on the plate were the over baked potato wedges.

Chicken breast stuffed with Scarmoza
Chicken breast stuffed with Scarmorza

Whereas the chicken dish had good sides of spice tossed vegetables, caper sauce and creamy mashed potatoes but the chicken was chewy and pink and the lavash like bread wasn’t crunchy.

They do not have a fixed dessert menu so we asked our server for options. They had blueberry cheesecake, baked cheesecake, a chocolate dessert and tiramisu. We picked the tiramisu and like many other places in Mumbai this too didn’t have any coffee liqueur flavour but just sponge soaked in coffee syrup and the creamy mascarpone layer was replaced by some sort of mousse. If renamed as a coffee mousse cake this dessert would work better.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu

Overall D’bell had a few hits and misses. The service was good, drinks not too bad but the food was bit of a let down. Another thing that didn’t impress us was the food plating and I feel it shouldn’t be ignored.

You can check out their Facebook page here or follow them on Twitter: @DBellMumbai

Raksha Bandhan Special Menu

5

Raksha Bandhan is approaching and we at Knead with Love have prepared a new “yum” filled menu for Mumbai to show their love towards their siblings. Call us on 8080236611 or drop us a mail at kneadwithlove@gmail.com to place your orders.

1 2 3 4 5Order now!!🙂