Monday, November 19, 2012

Eat At Lucknow, Lucknow

Eat At Lucknow
Chowdhury Charan Singh Airport
Lucknow

Eat at Lucknow is the only sit-down option at the new airport terminal. Smartly, while it has a common kitchen, it has entrances on both sides, separated by a divider, so that visitors to the airport and travellers who have checked in, can both partake of their offerings. However, since the eatery is located before security check, travellers do need to keep their eyes on the clock.

The menu has about 30 items. Breakfast options being bread omlette with a complimentary chai, parathas, puris and dosas. They have a range of sandwiches for the day, in both vegetarian and non vegetarian options. Meals include some standard North Indian/Punjabi gravies and rotis/rice.

After the 2 hour drive from Kanpur and a looming 4.5 hour flight to Ahmedabad on Jet Connect (no hot meals provided), we stepped in for a quick bite. They promised to provide quick service, so we ordered a bread omlette 106/-, chicken tikka 207/- (I'd been on a vegetarian diet for a week) and  cappucino 69/- and seated ourselves.

The eatery was clean enough and tables were being wiped frequently during the steady stream of customers who mostly took away a hot drink.

The bread omlette had a chai bundled with it in the menu. While ordering, my husband had asked if it could be swapped with a cappucino and they said it couldn't. So he told them to skip the chai and just bill us for the cappucino.

It took about 10 minutes for the bread omlette to arrive and the server brought us the chai too and when my husband said he didn't want it, he was quite upset
"iske saath mein aata hain saab, aap pi lijiye"
"nahin chahiye bhai, humne coffee mangaya hain"
"par saab, yeh aapke order ke saath aata hain, aapne iska paisa diya hain"
"toh aap pilijiye bhai, hume nahin chahiye"
I'm sure he must be still retelling the story of the mad couple who pays for food that they have no intention of consuming.

While the cappucino wasn't bad, the omlette and chicken was undercooked. The omlette was pale yellow with no browning at all and the chicken was raw in the center. The chicken was also a little salty for me, but then I also find most food in UP, on the saltier side.

Service was average, but the food we ordered wasn't good. Maybe we should have stuck to sandwiches or something. The dosas that were going out to neighbouring tables looked quite good too.

Prices are average for an airport eatery. Prices mentioned above then have 12.36% ST and 14%VAT tagged on before final billing.

Its an ok option to grab a cup of coffee/tea before a flight. But you'd be better off eating something at home or waiting to arrive at your destination to have a meal.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dreaming of eating out in Melbourne

Masterchef Australia and Masterchef UK are the only 2 versions of the program that I like to watch as they both actually focus on the food.

The latest series of Masterchef Australia is currently airing on StarWorld in India and the contestants have been racing around Australia visiting wonderful food markets and competing with or learning from fantastic chefs and eating reward lunches at the most delightful restaurants.

This made me wonder, that if I ever got a chance to visit Australia which restaurants would I want to eat at. But the choice was so vast, that I decided to begin planning my fantasy trip by restricting myself to Melbourne.


Of course the easiest way to do this would be if I could get  Matt Preston to design the trip for me. As the Creative Director of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (until 2009), I'm sure he would know the best places to eat and would be able to design a brilliant holiday revolving around places to eat and drink at, markets to shop for the best local produce and the best hands-on masterclasses in the region.

But since that is just a pipe dream, I have to go with a more achieveable dream of planning the trip myself. :)

Melbourne has 3 - 3 hatted restaurants, so those are obviously on the top of my wish list: Ben Shewry's Attica where I'd love to experience the Tuesdays chefs table or order poached marron tail with prosciutto glaze, crowned by pork lardo, bass grouper and roasted quinoa in a shiitake broth or a crisp tile of pork tail with a rich, morcilla puree. The Franco Australian Jacques Reymond where he combines classical technique with an Asian sensibility, and of course Shannon Bennett's Vue De Monde for the 10-plus-course degustation.


Melbourne also has 12 - 2 hatted restaurants, which would be next on my wishlist.
The Italian Cafe Di Stasio for seafood, suckling pig and wild boar and Guy Grossi's Grossi Florentino with its high theatre style for black rice risotto topped with a Moreton Bay bug and parmesan sabayon and the Valrhona chocolate souffle.

The contemporary restaurants: Jake Nicolson's Circa, The Prince, which is even open for breakfast is famous for his whole beast cookery and mostly homegrown outstanding produce, Cutler & Co which also won the Diners Choice award, Ezard for one of Melbourne's destination dishes – master stock fried pork hock with chilli caramel, Matteos with its Japanese and Chinese inspirations and Neil Perry's Rockpool Bar & Grill to pay homage at his aged-meat shrine before feasting on some woodgrilled beef and saffron shellfish stew.


Then there are those restaurants serving traditional cuisines:
The Cantonese Flower Drum where dining off-menu would mean a lovely modern-Cantonese selection: gingery chicken on rice noodles, pearl meat on its shell with white asparagus, showstopper 'noodles' made from wild barramundi minced with Chinese sausage, satiny wagyu and theatrical toffee apple.

The modern Spanish Movida, for calamari tubes stuffed with minced pork and sherry-braised beef cheek.

The modern Mediterranean Stokehouse, for Beef tartare flavoured with capers and cornichons, the Stokehouse staple - John Dory fillet, slow-cooked wagyu rump with truffle-infused jus and desserts like ginger cannoli with cherries.

And how could I not round it up with George Calombaris's Modern Greek restaurant - The Press Club where I definitely want to be seated at the kitchen-side chef's table. I would certainly want to taste the capsicum terrine in his deconstructed Chef's salad and end with ouzo pannacotta.


Melbourne also has around 50 1 hatted restaurants, of which (if forced) I would narrow my wishlist down to
Paladarr for some fiery hot Thai cuisine and also one of their cooking classes.


Chef Shigeo Nonaka's Shoya, where I would definitely feast on Melbourne's most authentic Japanese experience with unusual seafood offerings such as the 'Hatching Ocean Egg', a steamed egg custard with spinach puree and scampi tempura; or the ocean cornucopia 'Umi no Megumi' – green-tea soba in lobster-rich broth with Hokkaido scallop, luxurious Japanese king crab and grilled calamari.


Neil Perry's ode to modern Chinese at Spice Temple includes cumin spiced lamb pancakes, watermelon granitas with ginger syrup and wonderful seafood dressed in various Chinese style sauces.

I'd love to try modern Vietnamese cuisine at Dandelion, where Chef Geoff Lindsay has his own twists on classic Vietnamese food. His rice paper rolls are stuffed with ingredients like soft-shell crab or peppered wagyu and Pho is studded with tuna tartare or corn-fed chicken.

Chef Chris Donnellan at Teage Ezard's Gingerboy serves Modern South East Asian food. The menu is divided into snacks and shared dishes and is street food with a polish serving dishes like Pork and shiitake dumplings, Coconut chicken salad and duck sang choy bao.


I'd also love to taste some MENA (Middle East & North African) flavours that I've been missing since we moved back to India from Egypt.

George Colombaris is also part owner of Maha where chef Shane Delia's Maltese heritage is combined with Eastern Mediterranean's best. Labna rolled in zaatar, olives in a Maltese bread-and-chilli paste, roast potato foam and jamon crumbs, 12-hour lamb, saffron-slicked pork belly and Turkish delight-filled doughnuts, all sound amazing and will definitely taste as good.

The Lebanese Abla's for kibbe, chicken and rice, Lebanese green beans is very reasonable but the food is cooked with love.


The North African Canvas, where Algerian-born chef Pierre Khodja’s serves his signature slow-cooked tagines and dishes like scallops baked with pork and pomegranate, quail stuffed with grapes and almonds, Cinnamon spiced lemony broad-bean soup and cous cous with raisins and ghee.


The modern European Sapore for the 12-hour slow-cooked pork with fork-tender meat and faultless crackling and Honeycomb-topped limoncello semifreddo with Manuka honey sabayon.

Chef Darren Daley at Livingroom, serves beetroot-cured salmon with vanilla pickled cucumber; or lemon thyme and goat's cheese fritters with truffle honey . Polenta-crusted sea bream is plated with warm ni├žoise salad, Crystal Bay prawns with herby salad and crema catalana with fennel shortbread for dessert.


And how can I not indulge in Melbournes best seafood at Chef Michael Bacash's Bacash? Char-grilled calamari on tomato, chorizo and Puy lentils with parsley puree, Nori rolls filled with garfish, salmon and prawn farce, Cape Grim eye fillet and rich duck confit are just some of the wonders that they serve.


These are just my must-try's among the hatted restaurants at Melbourne.

Then there are a ton of cafes like the one in the auction rooms  in the old auction house that have character and serve good food and Fandango with its crochet blankets, cupcakes, hot chocolates and pancakes with homemade honeyed cream cheese is like a grandmothers living room.


The city is also filled with pubs and bars that also serve great food.

Then there are the markets that sell fresh produce and have lovely food stalls too. Some of them are only in season markets like the Caulfield Farmers Market, Spotswood Farmers Market, Williamstown Farmers Market, Queen Victora Market, Dandenong Market. The Sunday Markets at the Arts Centre, Docklands and North Melbourne.

If I am going to be shopping, I'd also like to cover the crafts markets for unique hand crafted products that I can bring back as gifts for my friends and family. The Yarraville Market, Hawthorn Craft Market, Carribbean Gardens,


And how can I leave without visiting the specialised bookshop - "Books for Cooks"?

Since I'm going to be in Melbourne anyhow, I should also catch up on some sightseeing covering history and wildlife. The walks will also help me digest what I've eaten and make space for more food :)


There are so many options for a wildlife enthusiast to spend the day in Melbourne.

The Shark and Ray centre is the world's largest shark and sting ray feeding experience, the Aquarium with its 360 degree Oceanarium and Great Barrier Reef exhibit, the zoo where you can view koalas, platypus, kangaroos, wombats and other unique native wildlife in the Australian bush setting and the moonlit sanctuary where you can cuddle up to koalas, feed kangaroos and wallabies and maybe even spend a night at the luxury safari accomodation at the Werribee Open Range Zoo.

The Melbourne Heritage Walk is a comfortable 2km stroll visiitng buildings built as far back as 1869. The walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens will also be very beautiful and pleasant without the distraction of wanting to photograph beautiful buildings! The Homestead to Gellibrand Hill Trail at 11km sounds a little more strenuous but will be worth it to visit the historic Woodlands Homestead, a large pre-fabricated timber house brought out from Britain in 1843. There are also plenty of food and wine tours on offer which would satisfy both my requirements of good food and a bit of exercise (just enough to whet the appetite). There are other walking tours too with focus on arts, ghosts, particular areas, photography and history.

My husband of course would love to do one of the Sports tours, instead of hanging around with me in the markets, he would prefer to pay homage at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and the National Sports Museum.


But it would be romantic to take a Moonlight Kayak tour together.

Melbourne also has a rich Aboriginal history that I'd love to get aquainted with as it is something I have absolutely no idea about. This area was originally home to five Aboriginal language groups, which together formed the Kulin Nation. Melbourne offers multiple ways to do this. There is an Aboriginal heritage walk, sites of significance that you can visit, art galleries which display Aboriginal art, the Koorie Heritage trust which cares for a diverse range of artefacts, artworks, crafts, oral histories, books, manuscripts, historical material and photographs and houses four gallery spaces; a permanent interactive exhibition that teaches about our history and culture, and a retail shop that sells authentic products.

There are plenty of other options for family activities, but I would be happy rounding off my trip with a visit to the Royal Exhibition building, Monstsalvat and the Mornington Peninsula .

Oh My! with such a long list, I might as well move to Australia for awhile, but its so difficult to shortlist just a few, when the range is so vast and amazing!



What do you think of my list of places, am I being too ambitious? Have I missed something out? If someone told you that "It's your time to visit Melbourne NOW!", what would you like to add to your itinerary?

All pictures are from: http://www.visitmelbourne.com/in

Thursday, July 26, 2012

1st Porkaholics Pig-Out @ Lings, Mumbai

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when Rhea of Euphorhea created a Porkaholics group on Facebook. Now, Rhea had first grabbed my undivided attention when she posted a recipe for Bacon Whisky Jam on her blog. Any woman who could find a recipe for bacon jam and try it out was sure to be a fantastic moderator for a group of Porkaholics. I signed up as soon as I saw it.

There were a few familiar friends and foodies already on the group and a lot of others whom I knew nothing about, except that they shared my obsession for all things "pork"

They started talking about having a pig out sometime soon & since I had a trip to Mumbai coming up, I begged them to have it while I was in town so I could join the fun and they all very sweetly acquiesced. The Pig-Out was planned for 26th July at Lings in Colaba (behind Regal cinema, same road as Mondegar) and I could barely contain my excitement until D-day.

So we met up today & the meal was so yum, that I had to snap out of my blogging ennui & write about it, even though its 3am & I have an early start to the day tomorrow too.


Kurush & Rhea had a chat with Baba Ling and finalised the all pork menu with a bok choy thrown in for a friend who needs at least 1 side of veggies in a meal (a major problem for her when she visits me) :) and 12 of us assembled this evening at the Lings temple to pay homage to Porcine goodness.

For starters we had the most amazing Char Siu Bao. The Chinese bun was exactly the texture & sweetness that I love filled with a simple pork mince (pics are from top to down and then look left). This was served with a mustard sauce with a fierce kick, roasted chilli sauce and sweet chilli sauce. I have now plagiarised Kurush's dream to visit Lings and eat only the Char Siu Bao until I can eat no more.

The soupy pork dumplings were momos filled with pork mince + soup that exploded into a riot of flavours in my mouth. Taking Kurush's expert advice (he's been a regular at Lings for aeons) we topped each dumpling with a few drops of vinegar. The toughest part was waiting for the dumplings to cool down enough, so we could eat it without burning our tongues.Burning my tongue is de-rigeur for me at any sizzler place, but I knew 8 more fantastic dishes were to follow and I wanted to be able to savour them all.

The Chilli Garlic pork ribs were completely boneless slices of pork - batter fried and tossed in chilli garlic. Inspite of being deep fried it was still very light and easy on the stomach.


The final starter was Baba Lings special sliced roast pork. A slightly sweet sauce caressed the softest tenderest bits of roast pork that I have eaten in a long time.

While we were raring to order more helpings of the starters, we knew there was more in store and resisted as hard as we could.

The bok choy with stir fried garlic was good, but the die hard porkaholic in me just tasted it for tastings sake. As a rule, I do not fill my tummy with "ghaas poos" when good quality protein is in sniffing distance. (When I downloaded the pics, I also realised that I hadn't even bothered to click a pic of this dish!)

The dry Pork with blackbean sauce and mushrooms was a very unusual flavour combination, that I haven't tried before. The chillies in this were dynamite and had a lovely smoky flavour.

The pork stew with bamboo shoot was the lightest dish of the day. Suprisingly the Shitake mushrooms in this dish were much, much tastier than the pork itself (Given the meaty flavour and texture of Shitaake, they are completely exempt from my "ghaas poos" dismissal.


The twice cooked pork with bell peppers and Shitake mushrooms were the surprise hit of the meal, this disappeared from the table in 3 minutes flat. If you eat only one item at Lings, then this is THE ONE that you should order!

The last main dish was an innocuous looking mass of meat surrounded with a bit of liquid - but a ton of flavour was packed into it. Pork mince with a bit of soup. I could happily sit with a bowl of this dish, add a little more soup and maybe a few strands of noodles. It could keep me happy on any night. Warm, soul food. Goodness in a bowl!

The suprise of the evening was Steamed rice with chinese pork sausage. Rice cooked in a clay pot topped with thin slivers of Chinese Pork sausage. This sweetish sausage looked so pretty when topped over the rice. The little flecks of fat gleaming like jewels in the light.

Chinese tea was constantly replineshed and left me with a light stomach inspite of how much meat & fat I was consuming.

The first part of the meal was ingested in almost complete silence. We were all immersed in offerring it the respect it deserved. It was only when were more than half way through the meal, that we looked up from our plates & started being more social with one another. The conversations between the 12 of us, only finally took off at full velocity once the meal was finished, the empty platters (about 30 of them) were taken away and we started fantasising about what would be the perfect dessert for a pig-out. Bacon ice cream got the most "likes", but we had to settle for lychees & ice cream.

The split bill cost around 1000/- per person and it was definitely VFM given the quantities that we gorged on.

It was so much fun to meet people whom I've only known through their blogs and so many others who all share my love for pork and I hope I get the opportunity to keep coming back to meet them and join in more such fantastic assemblies.

As Rhea says "May the Pork be With You!"

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Pizza Hut, Ahmedabad

Alpha One Mall in Ahmedabad does not have too many options for Non Vegetarians like me. There is either KFC or Pizza Hut The entire Food Court is pure Vegetarian - a fact that the carnivore in me, still needs to come to terms with.

After our sojourn in Egypt, Fast Food isn't very exciting as an option for us, but we did not have any other option. Since we had, had a reasonably good experience at the Pizza Hut in Guwahati, we walked in for lunch.

Given the 40C temperature outside, we immediately ordered a Mojito Blast (85/-)  and a Masala Lemonade (69/-). Contrary to our previous Pizza Hut experience, these drinks weren't synthetic tasting and were quite refreshing.

For starters, we called for the Jamaican Jerk Chicken skewers (115/-) and the Fish & Wedges (195/-) The batter fried boneless fish fingers were extremely tasty and the dips accompanying them both were excellent in taste and texture.

We then asked for a medium Chicken Supreme - Pan Pizza (435/-) and since I've been experiencing pork withdrawal symptoms since we moved here 25 days ago, I asked for extra pepperoni (40/-) on top. Pizza Hut makes excellent Pan Pizzas, but these have to be eaten instore, sadly they lose their light pillow-like fluffy interiors and crispy exteriors the minute they are enclosed in the cardboard delivery box.

To celebrate their 15 years of presence in India, Pizza Hut has launched a whole range of Indian themed pizzas which include a sev puri pizza and a chicken chaat pizza, both come topped with haldiram bhujiya. Most of them also have capsicums as one of the toppings. I need to be in an experimentative mood to try the chickne chaat pizza. Maybe on our next visit.

Service was polite and courteous.

They often have problems with their air conditioning at this outlet, so make sure you check for your comfort before you sit down and get settled.

Service Tax of 10%, VAT @ 12.5% and an additional tax of 2.5% were added to the bill. I'm assuming the additional 2.5% tax is the increased sevice tax in effect from today.

Until more restaurants open up at Alpha One Mall, this is the place we will be eating at on each visit.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pizza Hut, Guwahati

Pizza Hut
Ground Floor - Dona Planet
GS Road
Guwahati

It had been a long time since we had set foot in a Pizza Hut - around 8 years or so. Given the excellent delivery system of Dominoes in India and Egypt, we did not really look beyond the Pepperoni & cheese medium wheat thin crust, garlic bread and dip and choco lava cake on the days we wanted to indulge on a carb fest. Cairo also had the excellent Maison Thomas, which is one of the few food outlets I miss from that country.

However, Pizza Hut in Guwahati is very conveniently located at Dona Planet and if you are hungry between regular meal times (when Machaan & Mainland China are closed) and are waiting for your movie to start at Cinemax, then this is the only option.

They are also the only location that serves Diet Pepsi in Guwahati.


A quick glance at their menu, showed that it had dramatically expanded since the last time we visited. They now included a large variety of starters and mocktails. The Chicken skewer 12 piece 185/- had 6 piees marinated in a Jamaican jerk mix and 6 in a Thai mix. The Thai mix version was much tastier. Chicken drumsticks can be ordered in a variety of flavours.



The minestrone soup 49/- was average, but the tomato basil soup is excellent for those chilly nights and the times when you are sick and just want a hot bowl of soup.

The accompanying drink mixes were quite bad though. Both the orange mojito 79/- and the chunky apple ice tea 69/- were extremely synthetic tasting and impossible to finish.

For main course, we ordered the Chicken tortilla 109/- which was like a thin crust pizza and the Tuscani pollo haven personal pizza 310/- which was very good.

For dessert we ordered the 3 piece assorted cheesecake 129/- which had the chocolate, blueberry and caramel flavours. However continuing with the theme of the mocktails, these were very synthetic tasting too. I'm not sure if only Guwahati outlet is using inferior quality fruit squashes and toppings or the quality is the same all over India. What I do know is that while I quite enjoyed their starters, tomato soup and pizzas, I'm never ordering a mocktail or dessert here, ever again.

They do add service charge and VAT to the prices.

While Pizza Hut promises home delivery, a lot of the items on the menu aren't home delivered, these include the tastier options of Tomato soups and the newer range of pizzas. In this case, its easier, cheaper and tastier to order from Dominoes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mainland China, Guwahati

Mainland China
Dona Planet, 4th Floor
GS Road
Guwahati

0361 2466 222/3

Mainland China is one of the 2 Speciality Restaurant franchises opened in Guwahati and both of them have been our favourites here, since the day we arrived. We kept returning to Mainland China and Machaan time and again because of the wonderful service and excellent quality food.

Mainland China offers weekday lunch buffets which are excellent VFM given the huge range of items on the menu. However, since they do not offer dinner buffets, we mostly ordered a la carte and have been rarely disappointed.

Mainland China does not  serve typical Indian Chinese. The other day I was dining alone and the older gentleman at the next table was complaining loudly to his son " yeh kaisa Chinese restaurant hain?  Manchurian chicken, Chilli Chicken, Chopsuey, Garlic Chicken - koi bhi nahin hain!" (What kind of Chinese retaurant is this? They don't even have Manchurian chicken, Chilli Chicken, Chopsuey, Garlic Chicken on the menu!)

I don't know about that old man, but we have loved their food and have been regulars at the restaurant. Service is muted and attentive without being overbearing.

Complimentary starters of  pickled cucumbers and cabbage khimchi are laid on the table, before you even settle yourself. They also offer complimentary Chinese Jasmine tea and keep refreshing your cup through the meal. They offer a choice between traditional cutlery and chopstics.

Wontons 170/- are served with sweet chilli sauce and dimsum (pan fried / steamed) are served with a choice of 3 different sauces - a spicy red chilli paste, a herby green leaf ginger salsa and honey mustard sauce. We especially love their pan fried chicken & mushroom dumplings 190/-


Some of the other starters that we have enjoyed, include their Diced chicken with assorted pepper & ginger 330/-, crispy corn chilli pepper 280, sliced chicken with chillis 340, drums of heaven in Schezwan sauce, Mongolian skewered lamb 370/- (served on your table on a mini chhula) and fried sichuan chicken with dried chilli & peanuts 360/-

Among their soups, the hot & sour chicken soup 150/- is excellent, but the Shangsi crabmeat soup 120/- is average. I could not taste too much crab in my soup.

Their main courses are very good too. Crabmeat fried rice in XO chilli sauce 250/-, Burnt garlic fish 395/-, Chilli garlic noodles (vegetarian) 230/-, Chicken Shaoxiang with cashewnuts 360/- and the Roast chicken fried rice (subtle bursts of flavour from the chicken) 270/- are some of our favourites. The black Pepper lamb has been heavily recommended and I will try it the next time I visit.




For a Chinese restaurant, they do have a large selection of non-fruit based desserts and that makes me very happy indeed. The darsaan -honey noodles with almond flakes 130/-, hot chocolate rolls with vanilla ice cream 120/- and steamed coconut dumplings in a honey butter sauce 120/- are among the best. You can always add 2 scoops of ice cream 90/- to your dessert for varying temperatures and textures. However, their best dessert s something called fried milk balls which are not on the menu. They are sometimes available during the buffets. This is a dessert that I can skip appetisers and main course too, to ravish.

They do serve alcohol and make some good cocktails. Alcoholic caipirojka 190/- and non-alcoholic Mint storm 105/- are my favourites. A Johnny Walker Black label large costs 520/-


The staff here is almost like family. Extremely helpful, polite and well mannered and are part of the reason why we keep going back.

Rating : 5 / 5

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Machaan, Guwahati

Machaan
Dona Planet, 4th Floor
GS Road
Guwahati

0361 2466 158

Machaan is one of the 2 Speciality Restaurant franchises opened in Guwahati and both of them have been our favourites here, since the day we arrived. We kept returning to Mainland China and Machaan time and again because of the wonderful service and excellent quality food.

We often settled for their buffets, because such a wide variety of food was available for us to sample.

The weekday afternoon buffet lunch at Machaan is 350/- with taxes it works out to 414/- Weekday dinners at 395/- pre-tax and weekend buffets are 425/- pre tax. Dinners normally include prawns in the kebab section of the buffet.

The interiors are done up like a jungle with large semiautomaton animals, so you normally find a lot of families with kids at this restaurant. The staff handles the kids quite well and try to keep them from intruding on other diners.


The buffet at Machaan has 5 vegetarian or 5 non vegetarian kebabs that are served fresh at your table straight from the tandoor. A chaat side table offers paani puri and papdi chaat during lunch and sometimes at dinner too. The actual buffet table is loaded with 2-3 vegetarian and 2 non-vegetarain salads. 5 vegetarian main courses (including dal) and 3 non-vegetarian main courses (fish, chicken & mutton). You can definitely expect to find one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian rice/pulao/biryani. Choice of Indian breads include rotis, phulkas and naans.


The dessert table offers ice cream and 4 other Indian sweets. The malpuris with rabdi or ice cream are an all time favourite.


The chaas 70/- and ice tea 60/- are lovely drinks to beat the heat.

From the ala carte menu, we love chappali kebab 310/-, the cheese kulcha 90/- and the dal machaan (kaali dal) 125/- However since the buffet menu is so good, we normally end up just choosing that and add a cheese kulcha or 2.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yo China, Guwahati

Yo China
Adityam
GS Road
Ullubari
Guwahati

Ph: 0361 246 7999

When we first arrived here in Guwahati, a friend mentioned that Yo China was even better than Mainland China in this city. I had, had really bad food at a couple of Yo China restaurants in Delhi & Gurgaon and had decided never to set foot in another branch again.

But with the recommendation being recommended by a couple of foodie friends in the city too, I thought they might have better cooks in Guwahati than in NCR.

The complimentary starters that were laid on the table were pickled cucumber strips, cabbage khimchi and spiced peanuts. The nuts were really good, although the other sides were average. But I was quite excited on trying the peanuts and anticipated better things to come.

I ordered Chicken Chopsuey 159Rs, Pork pepper garlic 229Rs and a classic mojito 129Rs. The mojito was average, the chopsuey looked familiarly appetising, but the noodles used were very thick and the sauce overwhelmingly sweet. The pork pepper garlic was full of fat & all I could taste was fat, completely overwhelming the flavours of the pepper and the garlic. While placing the order, I had also ordered a takeaway of  Tom Yum Prawn soup 99Rs for the hubby who only wanted soup for his cold, but he wasn't impressed with his soup either.

Mainland China is still our favourite Chinese restaurant in Guwahati and I never returned to Yo China! in the 9 months that we were based here in the city. However if you want average Indian-Chinese at low prices, then this place may work for you.

Do remember, that there is VAT on Food 5% and VAT on Bev 13.5%

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Loyans Bakery & Confectionery, Guwahati

Loyans Bakery & Confectionery
House No 52
F C Road
Uzan Bazar
Guwahati

Ph: 0361 2130123, 97060 13032

Loyans is one of the more recent entries among the bakeries of Guwahati and they have a wide range of sweet & savoury products.

While a plain cake costs 95Rs, a dry fruit cake costs 120Rs, pineapple cake is priced at 375Rs and the more exotic cakes like Butterscotch, Black Forest, Fresh Fruit, Truffle walnut, chocolate fudge and chocolate mudcakes are in the 450-520Rs range. They sometimes have cheesecakes (I've seen blueberry, strawberry & mango in stock) too and these cost 575Rs.

Loyans also offers wedding cakes and eggless cakes.

Savoury items include vegetarian and chicken patties, rolls, croissants and quiches in the 18-45Rs range. Single serve pastries include eclairs, tarts, tiramisu and cheesecake slices are in the range of 28-65Rs. They also sell French bread, garlic bread, multi grain bread, cheese masala bread, American rye bread and whole wheat bread for 30-45Rs. Their cookies cost between 225-370Rs/kg

As far as I know, Loyans is the only place in Guwahati that offers cheesecakes, tiramisu, pies and quiches.

They have a small sit in area (4 tables) at the back of the store, in case you want to sit down and enjoy your pastry hot. They also serve cappucino(35Rs), cold coffee(40Rs) and soft drinks(25Rs).

I've enjoyed many of their biscuits and pastries. The brown & multi grain breads here are the most authentic in Guwahati (I haven't tried Le Chocolat's  brown bread as it doesn't come pre-sliced). I find their quiche a little too eggy in the filling, but on the other hand, they are the only ones offerring it in Guwahati. The rolls are thick on pastry and taste best when eaten fresh rather than re-heated the next day. The rest of the savoury items are very good.

However, my favourite items at Loyan's are their mini chocolate brownies (18Rs each) and their black forest cake (450Rs). Loyans and Le Chocolat are my 2 favourite bakeries in Guwahati.But, Loyan's mini brownies are the among the best I've eaten across the globe and I'm going to miss them.

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