21 October 2016

New In Town: Birdie Num Num opens in Global Foyer, Golf Course Road

A new kid on the block, the block that's soon going to be the talk of Gurgaon- Birdie Num Num opens in Global Foyer on Golf Course Road. With modern and regional Indian cuisine as the basis of their food menu, and quite an elaborate and quirky drinks menu, the place offers a lot of out-of-the-box things. The name Birdie Num Num comes from something the owner, Yuvna Damani Panwar, relates with her childhood and the memories she created back then. A lot of things on the menu with their names tell you how the restaurant's theme has been incorporated in the dishes' names and their presentation as well. It's all very visually depictive.

Spread across two floors, a ground floor and a mezzanine floor, the attraction of the restaurant is their huge shiny bar that cuts across the two floors. Warm lighting dominating the ambience, and a combination of different kinds of seating between chairs and sofas, and music that blends well with conversations is what they have to offer.

Gave quite a few dishes a try here and here's my two cents about them. The food and drinks have a lot of theatrics involved in their presentation. With dry ice and liquid nitrogen creating a buzz, it's sure a photo op when you come to Birdie Num Num. Bhoot Jholokiya Chilli Cheese Melt is a superb appetizer to order if you love chilli. On your first bite, this garlic bread with bhoot jholokiya chilli won't feel like it has any chilli at all, but the spice kicks in after a minute or two and you realise they weren't fooling you when they said order this only if you like chilli. Damn delicious though. Melting cheese with chilli on a crisp piece of bread, served with a sweet yoghurt dip to balance the spiciness. The Telangana Chilli Chicken and Ramu's Dahi Toast is a must order. Good old delicious chilli chicken with a peanut sauce, so the colour isn't red-orange, but more on the brown-grey side. Ramu's Dahi Toast is basically dahi kebab but in toasted bread. The hung curd mix inside the toast is finger-licking good! And the crunchy toast simply seals the deal. Something you must try making at home too, because of the delicious comfort food that it is. 

Mutton Kasundi Scotch Eggs is a lovely take on the fusion of Indian and modern cuisine. Yumm scotch eggs with an exterior of a flavour mix of minced mutton, perfectly spiced. The most amazing ingredient in the dish is the kasundi that's pungent but not overpowering, but what really brings the dish together. Love kasundi so lathered each bite with excessive doses of it. However, the Stuffed Snacke Gourd with potato mash was a really sad dish. The flavours weren't anything wow, I could only taste the texture of snakegourd and potatoes without any seasoning in it. Cornmeal Nest with Corn too wasn't something I would order again. The fried idiyappam lacked seasoning, but the masala corn was good. Overall as a dish, it didn't come together though. 

They have a concept of plated mains which is an excellent thing to do by a restaurant because of how the plated meal needs nothing more to be ordered with it. It's self-sufficient and you don't need to waste time in deciding dishes paired with sides. Tried the Royal Kolhapuri Boneless Mutton with Malabar Paratha and I was completely bowled over by this dish. What fantastic flavours! The gravy was with a medium thick consistency and the chilli kick in it was marvellous. The malabar paratha brought the yumminess of the dish out even more. Wiped off my plate within no time. A must must order here!

The Kerala Ishtew with Appam was too sweet for my liking. It was still good because the appams were fantastic and somewhat balanced the sweeteness of the stew to some extent. They have better options in their main course but- would prefer choosing from the rest of them.

Madras Masala Boneless Chicken was another great dish with which I chose Steamed Rice. A thick onion based masala with a soft and juicy chicken, mildy flavoured with coconut and so good in taste. The portions of main courses are good to be shared among two people if you order more sides.

The dessert is something that was unfortunately really upsetting. Deconstructed Rose Tea Cake. The cake was fantastic, had it been served by itself. Very gooey, very moist. Even the accompanying fresh cream would have gone so well with it. But the presence of dried rose petals is what brought the dessert crashing down for me. Excessive rose petals, overpowering the sense of smell and taste both. Either the content of the rose petals should be reduced by manifolds or they should consider keeping just the cake with the fresh cream. That would have made my meal end on such a good note. 

Birdie Num Num does a better job at their cocktails than they do at the food. Some of their dishes are great great in taste, but some fail to have that effect. But the drinks are all amazing. The Nest had hay infused vodka with lime and roasted barley syrup topped with soda. A drink that would be loved by all. Not too sweet and just very delicious. And as the name suggests, this one came in a nest with dry ice around it poured with liquid nitrogen on top for the smoke. Quite a theatre this drink creates! The Golden Year was a gin based drink where the gin was infused with saffron. It had egg white and lime juice, shaken well with a flavour of rose. A very different drink and not too overpowering with the sweetness too. Sun & Sand was a vodka based drink which has banana infused in the vodka, and the drink has a strong flavour of tender coconut. Coconut lovers are going to love this one, but I didn't, because of my aversion to coconut in my drinks. One of the bestsellers at Birdie is the Magic Egg which is a whiskey based cocktail with a flavour of roasted almond in it. Againa  drink that will be loved by all, with a very unique twist to it because of the presence of very little banana flavoured syrup. The cocktail menu is curated by mixologist Nitin Tewari, a widely known name in the industry for his incredible cocktail creations. The food menu is curated by the owner herself.


Birdie Num Num has some excellent options in food and some not-so-good ones too. But the food overall is really good. Dishes that have bangs of flavour. The only issue with the menu is the pricing that's on a higher side. Like the Dahi Toast is priced at 380++ and the Kolhapuri mutton at 600++, that's quite steep. The drinks are priced fine though. The place is designed really well and it's a good place to go chill at and grab some food.

Address: Ground Floor, Global Foyer, Golf Course Road, Sector-43, Gurgaon 122002
Contact: 011 30806524
Timings: 12Noon to 11PM

Disclaimer: The review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. All views expressed are unbiased in nature but readers are advised to exercise their own discretion.

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20 October 2016

Diva Spiced in Meharchand Market, Lodhi Road

Diva Spiced in Meharchand Market is one of the most underrated restaurants in Delhi. It hasn't been seen as people's preferred choice for Pan-Asian food, and seeing the food that they have to offer, that should really change. 

A nice warm ambience with wooden flooring and wooden furniture. Sleek chairs and tables with soft lighting from the lamps overhead, tables laid with paper mats of Diva's locations in Delhi, a small bar on the side that boasts of a lovely range of wines, and you have an outlet of Diva that's super classy. 

Their Crystal Dumplings are to die for! A yummy juicy Chicken, Chives and Coriander Root was the best one for me, but the Chinese Greens & Water Chestnut gave it a tough competition with the crunchy diced vegetables and the translucent coating on top. The Pork Confit and Chilli was superb too- with the soft pork flavoured so well with spices. The dumplings were served with three smacking dips- chilli, blackbean and ginger.

Simply outstanding Thai Spring Rolls with a crisp exterior and a yummy interior filled with glass noodles and vegetables, and a drop of sambal sauce on top. Mind-blowing good! Came with an equally great chilli dip on the side. The Rice Paper Rolls were an excellent choice too. Healthy, fresh and delicious, served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce on the side to balance the subtlety of the rolls.

19 October 2016

9 Reasons Why You Should Visit Asian Hawkers Market Food Festival

Veeba presents Asian Hawkers Market (read about AHM 1 and AHM 2) comes out with their third edition this year, taking place from 21st-23rd October, 2016. There are several reasons why you should attend this coveted food festival, with food being the primary one. See why you should attend Asian Hawkers Market and experience the feel of a food festival put together in the form of stalls and carts (21 stalls and 14 carts to be precise). A place where you get your chilli on and immerse yourself in the beautiful aroma of Asian food, with no less than 31 restaurants all set to treat your taste buds!! 

1. Exclusively Asian!

It's India's first food festival dedicated exclusively to Asian food. Asian food that ranges from Chinese, Japanese and Pan-Asian, to Korean, Burmese and Thai, everything from the Far East to South East Asia is covered under this festival. There's no confusion of whether you should order that pizza, pasta, Paneer Tikka and Mutton Curry or a plate of Chhole Bhature with Chicken Schnitzel, Hot Dog and Pav Bhaji. No, you don't get carried away by the complexities of a hundred different cuisines. You only devote your attention and energy to Asian food. Good old delicious comfort Asian food.

2. You can trust the makers blindly

Sourish Bhattacharya, Atul Sikand, Tanveer Kwatra and Sid Mathur are industry names that need no introduction. You have experts bringing to you something that's never been done before, and you need to trust their wide knowledge, their instincts, their experience, and their love for food to know that when they get their hands dirty into something, it creates a chatter like never before. You know you can trust the founders of Asian Hawkers Market blindly to know that the festival will be a hit.

18 October 2016

Suryagarh, Jaisalmer: An Indescribable Experience

Before I say anything else about this place, I want to say that Suryagarh Jaisalmer will remain one of the closest hotels to my heart I have ever been to. A boutique hotel just on the outskirts of Jaisalmer that speaks volumes about leisure coupled with heritage. The hotel is there to change your conception completely about how a guest should be pampered. They set the bar really high for your future trips, and by that I really do mean 'very high'.

How to reach:

Air: Take a flight to Jodhpur and drive down till Jaisalmer (a 4-5 hour journey)
Train: Take a train to Jodhpur and cover the distance till Jaisalmer in a rented car/bus
Road: A car/bus journey through the beautiful Rajasthan!

How the hotel welcomes you:

The hotel can arrange a pick up from Jodhpur city on a chargeable/non chargeable basis, depending on the package you take with them. Fortuners of the hotel with the most polite driver (Himmat Singh ji) to offer you wet towel in the scorching heat, some typical Rajasthani munchies to nibble on while you're on your way to the hotel, and some water and soft drinks for the road, was what was offered to us before we kickstarted our road journey from the Jodhpur airport. Small things that make all the difference and set the standard and mood for the rest of the trip.

2 October 2016

Masala Library, Janpath: A Nineteen-Course Tasting Menu

Masala Library opened in Delhi this July, right next to Le Meridien in Janpath. After its more than just successful time in Mumbai, it took its own sweet time to come to Delhi but came with a bang nevertheless. Zorawar Kalra has opened a lot of restaurants in India in the past few months, and Masala Library was easily the most awaited one out of the lot for us.

The restaurant has such nice plush interiors, with comfortable seating for you to settle in and eat your way through the menu. There's a huge bar made of glass with reflections falling beautifully (it looks even better at night), and a really high ceiling with an attractive chandelier in the center that's the highlight of the decor.

I went to Masala Library for their Chef's Tasting Menu paired with wine. Priced at Rs.2300 plus taxes for non vegetarian and 2100 plus taxes for vegetarian, the menu is real value for money. Looking at the dishes you get and the price you pay for it, you can't call the place expensive even though the image has been portrayed so. Masala Library has two time slots for dinner- 7:30PM and 9:30PM, and one slot for lunch, at 12:30PM.

A nineteen-course menu spread across snacks, starters, main course and dessert. The six snacks were all vegetarian (even in the non vegetarian menu), and are literally bite-sized. You do feel like you're craving for some more of that delicious snack, but as the menu progresses and other courses come to your table, you realise how that quantity was just fine for an appetizer. Because by the time you reach the desserts, you're pretty full. And that's not the conception you have when you start off.

The wine pairing begins with a Moet Chandon. A chilled sexy glass of Moet and you're all set! We started with an amuse Bouche called Fake Eggs, which was a coconut and mango mix (get the colours?) and you pop it into your mouth. Sets the tone for the meal ahead. Deceitfully presented with a purpose, and so so good in taste.

Madur Vada with rasam, served with a drop of tomato chutney was an absolute star! The vada is literally the size of one box of your finger, but the yummy spicy flavourful rasam and the crisp vada that you pop into your mouth with the chutney is like "oh my god, it doesn't get better than this". Really really leaves you wanting for another portion of it, but you have other things to try too.