11 East Street Cafe: My first restaurant review

Being an armchair traveller has helped me experience many things. One of them is to roam the streets of London, guided by an ever enthusiastic Rebecca Bloomwood of Shopaholic fame. I have Sophie Kinsella to thank for helping me feel the squelching mud beneath my feet in the rain or to sip some tea with kit kats in a cosy little apartment.

Little did I know that I would get a chance to experience London, in our very own, Pune Maharashtra. One day, when I was in (arguably) one of the most British areas of Pune- Camp, I chanced upon a red bus. This bus wasn’t taking me to some part of Pune and it most certainly didn’t have any Marathi script or writing on it.

A closer look revealed that it was part of a bigger set up.

I was in the area to get my phone repaired and I honestly had no intention of going anywhere new, but the huge double decker red bus lured me in and honestly, I just couldn’t resist. I stepped in and I was in awe of what I saw. The sound of the fountain’s trickling waters had such a calming effect, in addition to the sunshine that was streaming in. The cobbled stones beneath my feet and strategically placed streetlights transported me to a different world. Seeing signs of ‘The Cigar Shop’ and ‘Marks and Spencer’, I smiled to myself, knowing that my transition to another world was complete.

A very satisfying supper later (It was at 6:30 and I was in ‘Britain’- of course it had to be supper), I had a conversation with the manager, who invited me to brunch on Sunday. Being the foodie that I am, I couldn’t resist such a generous offer.

That’s where my next Sunday Brunch expedition took me.

When I entered the café again, I was delighted to hear Ed Sheeran crooning, asking his lady to give him love. That’s what I realized I really liked about the place- their music was a good mix of soulful and upbeat, which added to the experience of the meal.

Crispy honey potatoes

Crispy honey potatoes

The first appetizer we tasted was crispy honey potatoes. I’m normally not a huge fan of sweet things (apart from cravings), but I really liked how the dish came out. The potatoes were tender without being soggy, and the side of vegetables it was served with was just right to eat the potatoes with as they came with a dash of pepper which made for a pretty interesting culinary mix of spicy and sweet. I particularly liked the vegetables as they were crisp and cool, setting off an interesting contrast between the potatoes and themselves.

Lamb Chilli

Lamb Chilli

Next we were served Lamb chilli. I couldn’t eat it for obvious reasons, but my photographer, Dattaraj did. According to him, the meat was tender, chewy with a pretty good amount of sauce. He liked its quantity and  it definitely got his nod of approval.

Cheese stuffed mushrooms- my new favourite dish

Cheese stuffed mushrooms- my new favourite dish

Following that was a plate of cheesy stuffed mushrooms. I’m terribly partial towards mushrooms so I was salivating even before he could finish photographing the dish. My high expectations were not disappointed in the least as I bit into the warm mushrooms and gooey cheese oozed into my mouth. The crumbs were tickling my tongue as I eagerly ate it all up. I’m not a fan of when the flavour of mushrooms overwhelms a dish- in fact it puts me off a little. But this dish was done perfectly. I wasn’t alone in thinking this as Datta also admitted that it was the most delicious stuffed mushrooms he had ever eaten at any restaurant.

Next up on our list was a round of Chicken Piri Piri. Reviewed by Datta, he said that its skin was crispy and the meat was moist as it should be.

Ratatouille Bruschetta- Not too much cheese after all

Ratatouille Bruschetta- Not too much cheese after all

Followed up that was the Ratatouille Bruschetta. Now, this particular dish had a base strongly grounded in tomatoes with a generous amount of cheese on top. I eyed the dish apprehensively as I wondered how I was going to finish it all without the cheese becoming too much for me. Luckily, the chef’s magic ensured that despite the generous topping of cheese, the flavour does not overwhelm the tomato base, nor does it get too heavy. The Bruschetta was topped with a mixture of black olives, green olives with what appeared to be a layer of salsa sauce beneath. The flavours blended together really well to make a really good dish that was definitely worth trying.

Murgh Zaffrani Kebab

Murgh Zaffrani Kebab

The Murgh Zaffrani Kebab certainly looked tempting as it was placed before us. I looked on woefully as Datta relished the dish. He looked slightly surprised as he told me that the kebab was so authentic that he expected it to be the kind of thing that would be served at a proper Afghani restaurant. Coming from a restaurant that prides itself on being British, they definitely take a lot of effort in getting the flavours of the food right.

Being brunch, I obviously couldn’t resist ordering for an omlette and oh, how glad I was that I did. The omlette was a masala omlette that was light and fluffy. It had some vegetables that integrated really well into the natural flavor of the egg and the chillis in it ensured that it wasn’t bland. I don’t think I tasted any vegetable stand alone, but I could tell it made a hell of a difference to the dish.

Pani Puri with a twist!

Pani Puri with a twist!

As part of the chaat counter, we were served Chicken Bhel and Vodka pani puri. I had been eyeing the latter since the day I first read the brunch menu and I was not disappointed. These two outlandish dishes definitely took us by surprise as we dove into the experience of these two strange new dishes.

I’m told that the chicken bhel was innovative in its ideas. It wasn’t something you’d find in a regular place. It was a good mix of spices but the chicken does not overpower the flavor of the dish. There were a decent number of chicken pieces, but the Bhel still managed to emerge as the star of the show.

The vodka pani puri was nothing like anything I had ever tasted. It was a slightly experimental deviation from regular pani puri and it caught me off guard in a good way. When we helped ourselves to puris, there was a burst of flavour that hit you a moment later, and throws you off balance. The flavours interrupted the pace of our leisurely brunch, making me feel, for the first time in the day that I was truly awake.

Surprise mocktails!

Surprise mocktails!

Just as we were about to get started on our main course, a couple of mocktails arrived. An inviting pink watermelon mocktail and an alluring green mint mocktail. They served as a welcome break from the flavours of food that I was slowly getting accustomed to. The pink watermelon mocktail was sweet, and vaguely reminded me of a Jolly Rancher lollipop, but I wasn’t complaining. There were playful hints of lime that came out and randomly tickled my taste buds when I least expected it. It was really refreshing. The lime mint mocktail wasn’t far behind either, and if you’re the kind of person who enjoys sweet nimbu paani, you would most definitely enjoy this one.

We finally made it to the main course, and the first thing I sampled was the vegetable au gratin. Judging from the name, I assumed it would be a dish of vegetables steamed and cooked in a white sauce, but I was surprised when I bit into a pineapple. I certainly hadn’t tasted that before. It made for a rather interesting and unique dish.

Spaghetti with bell peppers in tomato sauce (as expected) had strong tomato accents and because it was spicy, it felt slightly indianised, but I enjoyed the dish overall.

Spaghetti in creamy bell pepper sauce

Spaghetti in creamy bell pepper sauce

I also tried my hand at the Chinese chilli garlic noodles. It wasn’t as spicy as expected which was a relief for me as I don’t like it when spicy flavours overwhelm the entire dish. The dish came together beautifully as a few hot notes still tickled the back of my throat, staying true to its name.

I had the noodles with stir fried vegetables in black bean sauce. I was a little apprehensive of it because I hadn’t tasted it before and I frankly am not a big fan of beans. However, the taste of beans wasn’t an issue at all since they took a backseat to the taste of pepper and ginger. The vegetables were juicy and not soggy, which generally happens to me since I tend to be a slow eater, but the guys at 11 East Street Café definitely get brownie points for a dish that maintains consistency despite my leisurely eating pace.

My photographer was Goan, so I asked him to try the Goan fish curry. He thought that “it was a beautiful renidition of a Goan fish curry, but its not quite the same thing” as it lacked spice. Yet, he pointed out that the quality of the fish was very good as it was white on the inside and it was just the right amount of tender. He went on to call the quality of fish ‘exquisite’ and recommended it to anyone who likes eating fish. As an accompaniment, he ate it with plain steamed rice which he described as light, fresh and refreshing to the palate.

Then came the part of the meal that I was personally looking forward to the most. The Desserts! We were served samples of the desserts on a neat little plate and they all looked so delicious, I was reaching for my fork even before the plate was set down. The first item I picked up was a slice of Banana chocolate tea cake. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever tasted. It was a fun light dish that was the perfect blend of moist and soft. The flavours of the banana and chocolate went together so effortlessly without either overpowering each other making it the most delightful thing I had eaten in a while.

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I was slightly uncertain about digging in to the black forest pastry as I’m not a big fan of them, but all my doubts were quietened when I tasted it. The cake wasn’t too sweet which was a really good thing. The cream complimented the cake and went rather well with the dessert. It was sprinkled with chocolate flakes which tasted absolutely marvellous. Extremely enjoyable dessert.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

The last dish of this sumptuous Sunday brunch was Tiramisu. I was eager to dig in as it is one of my favourite desserts. It was rich and creamy; the sprinkling of cocoa powder on top proved to be an effective distraction, or the dish would’ve been too much of a good thing.

The brunch experience was an overall a wonderful one. The wait staff was friendly and fairly fast (considering the place was quite crowded) and were happy to tend to our needs. The restaurant itself was reasonably cool despite the temperature outside being warm. I would rate my brunch experience at 11 East Street Café in terms of food eaten as follows

 

Appetizers

Dish Rating
Crispy honey potatoes

 

 

 

Ratatouille Bruschetta

 

Cheese stuffed mushrooms

 

4.3/5

A personal bias effectively busted. Good going guys!

 

 

4.6/5

 

 

5.0/5

 

I officially have a new favourite dish.

 

 

Main course

Dish Rating
Vegetable Au Gratin

 

 

 

Creamy Tomato Spaghetti with Bell peppers and sun dried tomatoes

 

 

Chilli Garlic Noodles

 

 

 

 

Stir fried vegetables in black bean sauce

3.9/5

A dish packed with surprises, albeit slightly heavier than expected.

 

 

4.2/5

I’m not a fan of Spaghetti normally, but I quite enjoyed this one.

 

 

4.6/5

Brownie points for not letting spice dominate other flavours.

 

 

 

 

 

4.5/5

Delicious and very well done.

 

Desserts

Dessert Rating
Banana Chocolate Tea Cake

 

 

 

Black forest pastry

 

 

 

Tiramisu

4.8/5

My only complaint? I wish the portion was slightly bigger.

 

 

4.5/5

I’m finally convinced that I actually like Black Forest Pastry.

 

 

4.9/5

The dessert I enjoyed the most.

 

So any time you feel like you need a change of scenery, head over to this quaint little restaurant in Camp to be transported to another country on short notice. Do you have any experiences at 11 East Street Cafe? Do let me know in the comments below!

TALES OF A LAZY SUNDAY BRUNCH: Tien restaurant review

It was a lazy Sunday morning, and we’d set out on our quest for brunch. The day had ambitious plans ahead, but first, we needed energy. The air was warm, sleepy and content as we made our way to Tien, a restaurant situated in Model Colony. It’s so small and cozily tucked away that you’d miss it if you weren’t looking for it. It’s constructed in such a way that during the daytime, natural light fills the room, making everything look well lit.

The wait staff were cloaked in black, dressed with a smile on their faces as they greeted us warmly. I ordered an open faced frittata with baked beans toast, and chose to add mushrooms and black olives to my omlette. Priced at Rs. 180, the omlette was warm and soft; of perfect consistency, served with a side of roasted baby potatoes.

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Baked beans toast with an open face fritata

There were also baked beans, served with tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cilantro on it along with wheat bread. The bread was toasted to perfection and when I spooned the baked beans on to the toast, the flavours took me to a completely different dimension. This ‘baked beans toast’ had some wonderfully sweet notes that served as a welcome break from the warm savoury flavours that the omlette and the baby potatoes brought to the table. What I liked the most was that the bread was firm and crisp and you could smell a whiff of butter when you picked up the bread to chew.

Also, this was close to the best damn omlette I've ever had.

Also, this was close to the best damn omlette I’ve ever had.

Since it was a warm sunny day out, I had to order something to help me cool myself off. I picked my all-time favourite drink- lemon iced tea, priced at Rs. 80. The menu claimed it was freshly brewed, but I was still a little skeptical.

Actual Lemon Iced Tea

Actual Lemon Iced Tea

It was served to me in a mason jar with a wedge of lemon and mint leaves casually sprinkled on top and I was pleasantly surprised when they actually stuck to their promise! I could taste flavours of lime and tea leaves and it tasted true to the essence of iced tea.

As main course, I ordered Pasta with Neapolitan sauce priced at Rs. 260. The Penne pasta was soft and well cooked, topped with grated parmesan cheese and more cilantro herbs.

Penne Pasta with Neapolitan sauce.

Penne Pasta with Neapolitan sauce.

It was slightly on the bland side and what it lacked in flavor, it made up for in quantity. I was served a huge dish of pasta that I honestly found difficult to finish. It was served with a side of wheat bread, which complemented the dish perfectly.

So here’s the final verdict!

Ambience- 4/5- cosy not cramped.

Food Quality- 4.9/5

Value for money- 4.1/5- most dishes are slightly pricey, but they definitely make up for that in terms of quality and quantity.

Overall- 4.8/5. Don’t think twice. Go right ahead if you’re looking for a gourmet meal on a budget.

BONUS!: Here’s a picture of an interesting dish I ate the first time I visited Tien. The Mushroom and Broccoli couscous combined two of my favourite vegetables served with grated red lettuce in a salad topped with a hint of vinegar. It was pretty unique in its use of the couscous which is something that continental food tends to do- shy away from Indian flavours. I wouldn’t give this dish a 5/5 because I do have my issues with how the couscous didn’t really get the taste across in the right manner,  but I’d be happy to give it a 3.8/5 for the brave attempts at uniqueness.

Mushroom and Broccoli CousCous. Quite an interesting dish.

Mushroom and Broccoli CousCous. Quite an interesting dish.

Mushroom mania!

I took a deep breath, trying to calm my racing heart. My fingers trembled as I searched for what I was looking for on Google. I needed a hit. I was desperate. I thought that it would do if I got my fix at that dark shady restaurant that night… but I clearly needed more. That’s when I decided I had to take matters into my own hands. I had to come up with a secret formula that would help me scratch the itch and satisfy me.

I needed my [mu]shrooms.

So when I was prowling the restless aisles of the supermarket, my eyes widened as my gaze landed on a packet. They were right there. I had to have them. That’s when I decided. I was going to make BBQ grilled mushrooms at home. I laughed an evil laugh and the checkout clerk looked at me wearily as I harboured a maniacal glint in my eye. I licked my parched lips and laughed to myself. Nothing could stop me anymore.

All clean and ready for action!

All clean and ready for action!

I spent the next few hours, tirelessly prowling the internet, looking for the perfect recipe and when I found it, I got to work. Deja vu plagued me as I began mixing the marinade ingredients together. I had flashes of the first time I tried to bake a cake at home (Read all about it here) But luckily for me, the ingredients blended smoothly to make one hell of a spicy mixture that made my skin burn when there was contact. My mouth was burning and my heart racing as I put the marinade on the mushrooms and let it sit, in an test of patience. My journey had only just begun.

Eventually, I began prepping the OTG to cook them and I found myself putting the mushrooms into the OTG with an excited sense of trepidation. But this time, I was prepared. I wasn’t going to let an hour’s worth of effort go to waste. I propped myself up in front of the OTG on a tiny stool with a torch light handy. I felt like Dora the Explorer on a Culinary mission. I watched intently, as the mushrooms slowly turned. It was a climactic build up that had my mouth watering in anticipation. It was literally food porn, happening right there in front of my eyes.

I got them out of the OTG and when I bit into them, I knew that my life was on the right path. It felt so good because I actually made it from scratch and it was super spicy and yummy. There was just something so satisfying about actually getting it right. I always thought that cooking was never my forte, but I guess now might be time to revaluate that.

Aren't they beautiful :')

Aren’t they beautiful :’)

So it was ultimately 10:30 when I actually ate my dinner and it consisted of idlies, green chutney and the grilled mushrooms XD

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Because absolutely nothing on this planet can beat a home cooked meal. Especially Idlis.

Doing this was a ton of fun because I personally loved getting my hands messy. Taking matters into my own hands also meant a lot of gravy on my shirt, but like the Surf Excel ad says, stains are good, and I agree because damn, I had so much fun.

Messy me :P

Messy me :P

Have you ever done crazy things for a craving? Let me know in the comments below! Also, here’s the recipe to make the grilled mushrooms, just like I did. Itch the scratch. Give in 😉

WIA: McDonald’s edition

I’m all for forgiving restaurants and giving them second chances, but I will draw the line when food from your restaurant makes me ill. Yeah, I’m never coming back if my bad experience extends beyond the taste of the food I ate and I end up having acidity or food poisoning or things like that.

On that note, hello again my lovelies! I’m back with the second post in the What I Ate (WIA) series. (Yay!) So for those of you who missed my last post, WIA is a section where I review the food I ate at a restaurant instead of the restaurants itself (there’s lots of blogs for that.). My first WIA post was at Haji Ali, Besant Nagar. Today, I’ll be writing about the food I ate at McDonalds(Though it honestly cannot be called a restaurant).

I remember the first time I ate at McDonald’s. I was 12, and we’d gone on a trip to Bangalore. Chennai wasn’t as posh as it is today and Bangalore was this big shiny city that had the coolest malls, the most amazing restaurants and so many great sights to see. I stepped inside McDonald’s in Forum mall and I still remember that excited feeling as I ate a veggie burger for the first time. I don’t remember how it tasted (I’m not superhuman the trip was 9 years ago) but I remember lovingly preserving the bright red paper cartons that the fries came in, as memories. It somehow didn’t occur to me that one day, Chennai would have its own McDonalds.

Which did happen eventually. An IT park by the name of Ascendas had a big swanky food court that had Chennai’s very first McDonald’s outlet. I remember being ecstatic at hearing the news and I was one of the first people to line up and buy something. Then my parents used to take me to Ascendas on Sunday mornings as an occasional treat, for breakfast. Of course, McDonald’s didn’t have their breakfast menus back then, but over time, things slowly began changing.

I soon began to realise that the food that McDonald’s was serving me, wasn’t actual food. I had a vague feeling of guilt when I ate it and when my friends and I began to frequent KFC, I realised how McDonald’s, though cheaper, actually tasted terrible. I also was aware that it was unhealthy and so that made it easier for me to stay away.

I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s for close to six months. Eating a dinner from McDonald’s today, was honestly one of the stupider decisions I’d made. A new McDonald’s had opened recently, about two streets from my house, and my sister asked me if I wanted dinner from there. I unwittingly agreed, thinking ‘hey, I could use a change from the food I normally eat’

I tend to forget that all change isn’t good.

Little did I know of the atrocities this plastic bag carried.

Little did I know of the atrocities this plastic bag carried.

My sister announced that she’d asked for foccacia bread topped with oregano for our burger buns. I honestly thought that was a pretty lame marketing gimmick, it’s like trying to make Rani in Queen posh without actually sending her to Europe. But I thought to myself if it tastes good, why not?

My dinner for the night. Apologies for the slightly shaky image, I was hungry and impatient.

My dinner for the night. Apologies for the slightly shaky image, I was hungry and impatient.

The first mess up was that she’d ordered the focaccia bread on both our McSpicy Panneer burgers, but they only gave us the said bread on one burger. I ordered a McSpicy because when I’ve consumed a McSpicy Panneer burger before, it was hardly spicy at all (I mean I’ve tasted Maggi my mom makes which is spicier than that). However, today, when I bit into the burger, I had to pause and acknowledge that they actually got it right this time. It was actually kind of spicy, but the burger still tasted pathetic because the flavours of the Foccaccia bread were completely overshadowed by the dominant spicy flavour of the burger. The menu on the McDonald’s website claims that the McSpicy Panneer burger is a burger which is supposed to have a mix of flavours and keep you guessing at every bite. Um, y’all actually failed. Big time. It just tasted spicy, and maybe if you had used more than a tiny teaspoon of sauce, there might be an inkling of flavour apart from bland spice and panneer. (I know bland spice is an oxymoron, but that’s what I call it when food has no flavour but spice)

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Look at those strangely white fries.

It also made me feel weirdly full when I was done eating it, but the fries weren’t done yet, so my sister and I agreed to finish them together. I kid you not, those terrible fries were nearly white, weren’t warm, and tasted squishy, bland and felt so weird in my mouth. The only saving grace was McIlhenny’s mild jalapeno bell pepper sauce that I purchased recently (Will review that one as well), but I only finished it because I don’t like wasting food. It was one of the most terrible meals I’d had in a long time and I honestly do not want to eat at McDonald’s again as long as I’m alive, unless its for a good reason. Good reason being apocalypse.

The burger even had some sad, brownish green leaf like things lying beneath the burger. Note even going to try eating it or figuring out what it was.

I felt ashamed to put my blog's watermark on this photo.

I felt ashamed to put my blog’s watermark on this photo.

So good or bad, here’s WIA

McSpicy Paneer burger- 1.0/5

It was honestly just a sad little burger with no purpose in life other than to carry McDonald’s brand name. I will however, give it points for its consistency and for the fact that it seemed remotely cooked. Though paying extra money for a foccacia and oregano bun was a waste because the burger was so spicy, it completely dominated the already vague and subtle flavours in the bun.

French fries- 0/5

These fries redefined rock bottom as far as standards were concerned. McDonald’s, please take note, albino french fries are the worst type of fries. Maybe you could try actually cooking your food before serving it to us- cold and soggy the next time?

McIlhenny’s mild Tabasco Bell Pepper sauce- 4.9/5

I’ve always been in love with McIlhenny because they recognized that not everyone can handle a super spicy tabasco sauce and they actually went and made a mild sauce. It’s flavoured with Jalapenos, so it’s still got that slight spicy tang to it, but it won’t set your tongue on fire, and has slight undertones of garlic, pepper and some sort of sweetening agent I can’t quite put my finger on.

What a waste of money. Oh well. At least my blog gave me an opportunity to vent.

Have you had a bad experience with McDonald’s before? Let me know in the comments section below.

UPDATE: After eating dinner last night, I suffered from mild acidity. After all my efforts to keep my acid reflux at bay, something as dumb as a McDonald’s burger brings it up again. That’s just great. 😐

What I Ate (WIA): Taste of Mumbai, Haji Ali

After a brief hiatus, I am back on my beloved blog! Of course, it was a long and difficult journey, having to overcome all sorts of ridiculous obstacles like a faulty internet connection, a new obsession with shopping for weird things from a chinese website (this includes mood rings and fedora hats) and of course, eating all sorts of food cooked by my beloved mom.

Today, I am going to do a post about What I Ate (WIA for short.) It’s not a review of the restaurant itself, but a more detailed review of the food that I ate. The logic behind it is simply this- I believe in second chances. A restaurant may have 9 terrible tasting dishes but 1 saving grace of a dish that makes your visit worthwhile. Or it may have 9 stupendous dishes but 1 dish that makes you blanch. Most of the time, such situations play a role in the restaurant getting a good or a bad review. Let’s also not forget the fact that sometimes restaurants have good days and bad days. I’m willing to overlook that.

My day at Haji Ali, was an amazing one.

It all started on one random evening. I was craving sandwiches, and exhaustive research revealed to me that a tiny shop in Royapettah called Royal Sandwiches was one of the best in Chennai and had close to 150 varieties of sandwiches. It had a 4.7 rating on Zomato, and thats kind of a huge deal. So imagine the crushing disappointment that I felt in my chest as I stared at the closed shutters. It was closed on account of it being a Sunday! :(

However, I was not to be deterred. The drive from Royapettah to Besant Nagar was one that involved a good bit of traffic and a cow. But we made it to Haji Ali and our table had quite an interesting view…

I guess that's what happens when you go with a fashionista lol.

I guess that’s what happens when you go with a fashionista lol.

We then placed our orders for the food and waited impatiently. I wasn’t very impressed when the food arrived because it didn’t look very different, but the taste is what had me dancing to a whole different tune. The first thing I noticed about it was that it wasn’t piping hot- in fact, it was just the right temperature. Hot, without being scalding. I hate eagerly biting into food that has arrived, only to hurt my teeth and burn my tongue (I have really sensitive teeth). The bread was white and perfectly toasted. I have huge issues when the bread is too hard, but what I loved, is that the sandwich remained soft throughout the time I took to eat it; and that’s a huge deal because I’m a really slow eater.

Look at that beauty.

Look at that beauty.

As you can see in the picture, the sandwich was oozing cheese and I just loved it. I love it when you bite into something cheesy and a long string of cheese follows. It’s so much fun playing with your food like that. Also LOVE grilled sandwiches above all else. What I ordered was a Mozarella veg cheese grill sandwich that had tomatoes, potatoes, capscicum and (of course) mozarella cheese. It had a single tiny chilli next to it on the menu, but the actual food that arrived was really subtly flavoured. Yours truly has been recovering from a mild case of acidity, so it was a really really good option to go for.

My Mozarella Veg Cheese Grilled Sandwich.

My Mozarella Veg Cheese Grilled Sandwich.

Admittedly, the flavouring was so subtle that it was borderline bland. So we went ahead and asked for chilli sauce. Surprisingly the sauce itself tasted really good. That’s rare coming from me because I have this strange hang up because I don’t like tomato sauce or any sauce that’s sweet to taste. We also ordered Masala French fries that day. I’ve tasted masala fries at other restaurants before, and what I was expecting was a bunch of fries with garam masala thrown on top. I was so not expecting what we actually got.

Masala Fries

Masala Fries

What we got, was possibly the poshest version of masala fries, ever. It had no garam masala at all and I was so grateful for that. I could taste salt and pepper and a third flavouring agent which mildly reminded me of Oregano. Thyme, maybe? I dunno.
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All I know, is that these fries tasted epic.

So this is WIA

Veg Mozarella Cheese Sandwich
Price: Rs. 95
Rating: 3.8/5
– I would’ve liked the sandwiches to just have a tad bit more flavour and actually give the chilli next to it on the menu, some meaning.

Masala Fries
Price: Rs. 90
Rating: 4.2/5
– I loved how it took three people to finish this bowl of fries. Great taste, but a tad bit stiff. If the fries had achieved the right mix of soft and crunchy, then I wouldn’t hesitate to give it 5 stars.

Water
Price: Free!
Rating: 3.5/5
– I really like restaurants that leave a full jug on your table along with empty glasses. Haji Ali, unfortunately, wasn’t one of them! The water tasted alright, but I hate having to flag down a waiter just for water. Restaurants, please take note.

So that’s WIA at Taste of Mumbai, Haji Ali. Don’t forget to let me know what you think by commenting, liking or reblogging this post. Much love people. Until next time! <3

Posh Nosh Chocolate Fudge sauce review!

Many girls get excited when they go to malls. Their hearts race when they’re walking along rows of shows in the colours of the rainbow. They sigh in ecstasy as they stand before racks of jewllery, hanging daintily in the pale yellow light of the store. A happy smile plays upon their lips as they triumphantly grasp their shopping bags in their fingers, a bedazzling necklace, an elegant scarf or a timeless dress nestled inside of it.

Me?

I feel the same way at supermarkets.

A smile automatically finds its ways to my lips as I step through the glass doors, welcomed by the air conditioning. I sigh in joy as I stand before rows and rows of brightly coloured fruit juices, promising to back your health up in no time. I need to suppress a gleeful giggle as I walk past the rows of potato chips in different shapes and sizes. My eyes light up as I look at all the different chocolates, just waiting for me to grab them and put them in my basket.

I’ve always been the kind of person who believes that food is nothing short of magical.

So one day, I was idyllically standing in front of the open fridge at Nilgiris, contemplating on buying a block of blue cheese and some sour cream when I met her for the first time.

There she was, between happy cow cheese and a jar of Mayo. That’s when I first met…

She was so beautiful

I picked up the intriguing looking dark jar and I turned it over, trying to know more. Turns out it was by an Indian entrepreneur and was actually marginally cheaper than Nutella. It was founded by Aditi Gupta, a foodie who studied in Britain. She came back to India and realised that the foriegn ingredients you get here are not only expensive, but they’re also full of preservatives! (*GASP!*).

So that’s when Posh Nosh foods was born(In early 2014). She swears that the ingredients are preservatives free and the sauces she makes are a 100% vegetarian. That’s great. So far, so good.

It took quite a bit of effort to crack open the jar and we had to try all sorts of crazy tactics that included inverting the jar upside down in a vessel of hot water. (I was personally just happy that the jar didn’t crack)

It was so good looking that I couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the lid and I was astounded by how amazing it tasted. It had the same consistency as a bar of fully melted dark chocolate and tasted just as good. The flavour played out easily on my tongue, just the right blend of sweet and bitter.
It was nearly dinnertime and I was super excited to try this new spread on some toast.
Yes. I most definitely licked the spoon clean.

So I was all riled up to try the new spread on some goddamn delicious brown wheat bread. I took one bite and stopped short. Something was definitely not right. I took another and my tongue got thoroughly confused with what was going on. The toast on the surface tasted sweet because of the spread, but it tasted… odd otherwise.

Something’s not right…
I suddenly remembered something my mother had told me. That my cousin’s friend who is a chef, runs a cafe nearby had sent over some whole wheat bread and masala rye bread. I asked mom which of the two it was and she shrugged and replied that it was one of the two and that she didn’t check which one it was. A few more bites of my toast left spicy notes at the back of my mouth and I realised my mistake.
When you facepalm so hard your glasses disappear.

But then again, I am a foodie! I am resillient and I was not ready to give up so easily. So after finishing dinner, I decided to try something a little safer.

That is a generous helping of the chocolate fudge spread on a Marie biscuit.
Now, I had a chance to properly try out the amazingness that is the chocolate fudge sauce. At first, the chocolaty taste takes over your mouth. A more slow, lingering taste reveals a deeper, richer flavour that is characteristic of the pure cocoa that it says it has. It tasted to me, like a blend of two very familiar flavours- that of Diary milk and Amul dark chocolate but there was a third flavour that I couldn’t quite place my finger on and that’s what makes me love it so much. It’s consistency at room temperature is slightly thick, just like a freshly melted bar of chocolate and has a bitter, chocolaty scent to it.
I like it because in my opinion, this one gives Nutella a run for its money. Some people complain that Nutella is too sweet and this is just perfect for people who feel that way. I like the packaging as well because it is quite sturdy and though it was glass, it wasn’t the least bit slippery (Which is great for someone like me because I tend to be a bit of a butterfingers). I liked the fact this is also supposed to be just as versatile. You can use it on toast, on ice cream, as icing on cake… The possibilities are endless.
Oh and also, I’ve tried a jar of Hershey’s hot fudge sauce once. I love Hersheys and everything but this is SO not the same. This is way way better. So go ahead, give an Indian entrepreneur some ‘brownie’ points for trying and splurge on this jar of Chocolate fudge sauce. If you like anything remotely chocolatey and… well, fudgey, you won’t regret this.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Why Food > People

The human race can be so tiresome sometimes. They finish the last slice of pizza, they steal popcorn from you at the movies and they judge you when you eat too much food… I’m not necessarily anti-social, but I do have my moments. I thought long and hard about it, and here’s a list of reasons why food is way better than people

1. People say harsh things- an idly will never fail to be soft and gentle with you.

Photo courtesy: Google Images

2. There’s always a risk of someone you make plans with, cancelling for various reasons- I have a headache, I need to work overtime etc etc. But think about it. Has pizza EVER let you down?

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

3. Caesar salad doesn’t care if its the first healthy thing you’ve eaten all month.

Photo courtesy: The Hills Bar & Grille

4. A huge perk of going to restaurants alone and eating is that you can eat as much as you want without anyone judging you. So go right ahead and order a whole plate of spring rolls and treat yo self.

Photo courtesy: foodandmeal.com -> Do check this blog out. They have an amazing Thai Spring rolls recipe

5. Dosa won’t ever make promises it can’t keep.

Image courtesy: traveldadi.in

6. Chocolate is the best shoulder to cry on.

Image courtesy: foodporndaily.com

7. Mac and Cheese doesn’t care if you feel like its dying when its that time of the month. Mac and cheese soothes your tongue, directly speaking to your soul.

Photo courtesy: Reddit

8. Ice cream won’t let you down like your boyfriend/girlfriend did.

Photo courtesy: jokeroo.com

9. Maggi understands that you have finals and submissions and that it’s been a long tough week and you just need food at 3 in the morning.

Photo courtesy: PeekNCook

10. Parathas won’t ask you when you’re going to get married.

Photo courtesy: cookingandme.com

11. Pani Puri has faith in your gastrointestinal abilities.

Image courtesy: desinema.com

12. You will never feel the sting of betrayal from biriyani.

Photo courtesy: lekhafoods.com

13. Masala omlette knows that it is the closest to protein you’re going to have. Masala omlette cares about you.

Photo courtesy: thecherryshare.com

14. Momos know how hard you’re trying. Steamed momos are healthy AND they understand you.

Photo courtesy: younminerecipes.blogspot.com

15. Nutella is the closest you will get to finding pure, unadulterated love- free from judgment, hate and snide remarks about how that dress makes you look.

Photo courtesy: ecoosfera.com

16. Cupcakes restore your faith in humankind

Photo courtesy: favim.com

17. It’s been scientifically proven that the smell that wafts out of the oven when warm brownies are baking are the elixer of life.

Image courtsey: Collegehumor.com

18. Humans are horrible for wasting perfectly good birthday cake by putting it on other people’s faces. Same for food fights. God.

Darn those kids. Image courtesy: adamjacobs.11.wordpress.com

19. A hot cup of soup on a rainy day helps you feel a lot less lonely (If you were lonely to begin with. If not, its a really awesome meal nevertheless)

Image courtesy: babble.com

20. Food makes you feel warm and happy on the inside, like you’re in love. Only better.

Image courtesy: Pinterest