27 April 2014

Breakfast at Oasis, Vivanta by Taj, Surajkund

Oasis, Taj Vivanta, has been known for it's Sunday Brunch since forever. Anybody who wants to go for a long drive, to a place far away from Delhi(not so much, literally) can opt for a meal here. But a Sunday Brunch was something I didn't opt for. Instead, I went for a breakfast buffet. Buffets and me have a connection that is evergreen. Nobody can ever separate me from buffets, and a breakfast buffet is something that is immensely heart-warming! 

The pretty picturesque drive to this place and a brilliant coincidence of an extraordinary weather, what more could I ask for?! Opted for the outdoor seating(quite obviously) and almost instantly fell in love with the beautiful property! So green, so lush - it was breathtaking! Water fountains to make the outdoors look all the more marvelous, a little drizzle made sure my experience was absolutely phenomenal! And all this even before I could have a look at the buffet.

The buffet spread was really nice! Nothing like the Oberoi Threesixtyone breakfast buffet, but awesome nonetheless.

Started off with the basic cereals and a cup of warm milk. Nothing to talk about here.

Placed an order for a double omelette with cheese, with a portion of bacon on the side. The omelette was delicious as hell, thoroughly filled with thick strands of grated cheese, accompanied by the beautiful crispy bacon! Looked beautiful, but on tasting found it to be too chewy.

23 April 2014

Restaurant Review : Harry's, Khan Market, New Delhi

A new pub in the vicinity, the vicinity that everyone has been slowly and steadily been forgetting about because the onset of the most recent and the trendiest additions - Hauz Khas Village and Cyber Hub, Khan Market is catching up with places like these with the help of cafes and bars like Harry's.

Having already opened an outlet in Saket, this is Harry's second outlet in Delhi. A location that's convenient to all, they sure didn't go wrong on this front.

Paid a visit to this bar on a Saturday night. The place was dimly-lit, with bar stools along the bar, low-lying tables and chairs with sofas for the seating, an outdoor area that's good to go during the pleasant/cold Delhi evenings, yellow light in places dominating the lighting scene, and a huge screen on one wall screening whatever match that is happening on that day.

Bustling with activity like that's the only place to be in Khan Market, I was really uncertain about settling down there or moving to another restaurant as the crowded place looked too claustrophobic to me. Nevertheless, saw a small vacant table and decided to give the place a try.

Just like I've heard from all other people who have visited the place, Harry's IS damn congested! Having tables placed close to each other, having the bar occupied by people more than it could accommodate, having an outside area that couldn't have had a more crowded scene, they should really do something about the seating and the crowd management! Don't let people enter if the place is going to be so crowded! And no, I'm not talking about the place being 'packed', I'm talking about it being overcrowded! A major turn-off the moment I entered. Waiters couldn't walk to your table without zig-zagging their way through the other tables, you couldn't walk outside without saying 'sorry' to 3 other tables, and basically, just struggling a lot with the space! The tables were very low-lying in comparison to the height of the seats - very uncomfortable, and the seating wasn't all that pleasing too!

Leaving all this aside, we moved to the food. The menu is quite vast and there's a LOT to order from it! We went with Crispy Chilli Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken and Harry's Nachos with Keema Chilli Con Carne. While waiting for our food, they placed a bowl of peanuts on the table for nibbling on.

The Chilly Chicken was nice, not the best I've had, but nice. The punch of chilli and the crispiness of the chicken was lacking, but the taste overall was nice.

The Chicken Tikka was fabulous! The authentic chicken tikka that's hard to find even at the best Mughali places, was right here at Harry's!

Caesar Salad was really delicious! Very fresh lettuce, gorgeous dressing and perfectly grilled chicken!

The Nachos looked so appetizing, but the first bite and we were quite disappointed. The overall approach towards these Nachos was very dry. There was cheese and there was keema, just like it was given in the menu, but that was just about it. Built in a mountain sort of a way, the more you finish the nachos on the top and moved to the ones on the bottom, the more you felt the Nachos were extremely dry. Having tried Chicken Nachos at almost all the places I have visited till now, these were nowhere close to being even half-decent.

For drinks, we went with their classics - Eye Candy and Green Lantern.

Eye Candy was a Fresh Watermelon Martini according to the menu, and it was exactly that! Very refreshing, with the perfect alcohol content, truly a classic!

Green Lantern was a white rum based cocktail. A little skeptical about trying this, but our server convinced me that I can't go wrong with this choice. And right, he was. One of the best cocktails that I've ever had! Sweet, with a dash of zing, and the not-so-overpowering alcohol content.

For mains, we went with Spiced Chicken and Cheese Burger, and a Harry's Club Sandwich.

Their burgers are the classics here, and not ordering a burger would have been a sin. The burger, when it arrived, looked really really good! But a few bites into it and I realised that the burger was very very average. The chicken patty was really dry, the bun of the burger was dry, and there were not sufficient dressings inside the burger as well. A few pickles and jalapenos mixed with chicken, that's all I could taste in every bite. Left my burger halfway through, that's how average it was.

The Harry's Club was also nothing great. Fried egg, a very very chewy bacon, chicken, ham and cheese. The issue still persists with their breads - too dry. The sandwich on a whole was very dry; nothing happening inside with respect to the flavours.

The place was really disappointing on the food front, but the drinks, they were really nice! 

The place was full, the people were loving watching a football game on the big screen, enjoying their drinks. But irrespective of this, I don't think I will be paying a visit to this place exclusively for their food. The chicken tikka and chilli chicken will be nice accompaniments for drinks, but for just a meal alone, I don't think it's the place for me. It's not like the food was moderately priced, so I would really give it a thought before spending that much money and heading to a place with absolutely average food. Conveyed the same to the Manager too. Told him how the food had nothing happening for the taste buds, asked him to convey the same to their chef, and the manager said he would take care of it.

Address : 62, Second Floor, Khan Market (Above Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf)

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10 April 2014

Restaurant Review: The Chatter House, Nehru Place, New Delhi

A place that has really become extremely famous in Nehru Place, Chatter House is that kind of a place where you can have a few drinks after work, where you can come for a sumptuous lunch, celebrate an occasion with the friends at night, and come to while away your time to chill with your companions. It has something for everyone!

The place is done up in a rustic wooden and stone look, with yellow lights dominating the scene. An outdoor area that can accommodate 30-40 people at one time, this is a perfect place to be in that wonderful Delhi weather! The outdoor seating has a huge open oven where they so fantastically make wood-fired oven pizzas right in front of your eyes, and the indoor seating has a superb bar where the bartenders showcase their skills. The seating is a mix of wooden tables and chairs, aluminium chairs, bar stools and tables, and so on.

Starting with their food and drinks :

Their 'House Specials' consisted of Aam Panna Vodka. A typical Aam Panna being consumed in a liquid form, this one had more masala than I would like. 

Bubblegum Martini was such an exquisite drink! Sweet, with a bubblegum flavour, this drink had a lollipop in it, something you can enjoy after your drink too. Tasted simply awesome!

Amrood Chaat was a mocktail I've never had before. So different, so out of the box! The flavour of amrood with some tangy masalas in it, not overpowering because of the sweet taste of the drink - this was one hell of a unique drink!

Their Blue Angel Mocktail was just another version of Blue Curcasso. Nothing extraordinary, but refreshing for sure.

Kiwi and Watermelon Sangria - White wine with diced chunks of kiwi and watermelon. Yummy yummy drink!

Watermelon Bomb - The presentation was absolutely kickass! Watermelon being my favourite fruit, there's gotta be some bias here! Watermelon juice, energy drink with some superb white rum - what a concoction!

Spanish Potato Croquettes and Onion Rings with Classic Garlic Dip. Perfectly crisp from the outside, that crispy golden colour shone from a distance - beautiful stuff! Something to nibble on while you sip on your drinks.

The Feta Stuffed Crispy Mushrooms were such a delight! Fried with a gorgeous stuffing, it was a complete melt-in-the-mouth! Vegetarian, but surprisingly amazing!

Barbequed Pork Ribs tasted really really amazing, but what was a real bummer was that it was undercooked. Very very sad specially when the sauce is so good!

The Bacon Wrapped Mac and Cheese Bites had the exact same problem. the bacon wasn't cooked. It was so so chewy that it was impossible to swallow.

Non Veg Tandoori Platter consisted of Chicken Tikka, Chicken Malai Tikka, Chicken Seekh Kebab and Fish Tikka. The Chicken Malai Tikka and Fish Tikka simply melted on the first bite itself. Such awesome tikkas at a place like Chatter House - wasn't expected at all! But on the other hand, the Seekh Kebab and Chicken Tikka were too too dry. Very chewy, again.

The Fish n Chips were the stars! Crunchy, soft and just marvelous! 

Galouti is supposed to just melt in the mouth, but it wasn't the case here. Irrespective, it tasted nice.

The Veg Toastadas were really nice. With supremely mashed potatoes topped with that beautiful cheese, this one appetizer is really filling.

Their pizzas are one extraordinary affaire! Perfectly thin crust with a delicious sauce on the base and the superlative cheese on the top, everything else in the middle was just heavenly! Tried some chicken pizza which I don't remember now, and the 'Pizzette Platter' which had 3 mini pizzas in it. Quattro Formaggi, Herb Marinated Vegetarian Pizza and Margherita Pizza. All the pizzas tasted divine!

Chatterhouse Vegetarian Platter consisted of Paneer Tikka, Jacket Potatoes with Feta Cheese, Onion Rings, Crispy Stuffed Mushrooms, Hummus, Pita Bread and Labne with fresh basil and tomatoes. The Labne stoof out for me! So different, so delicious, almost velvety; the perfect combination with fresh basil and tomatoes! Paneer Tikka was nice, Jacket Potatoes were good too, and the stuffed mushrooms were spectacular! One crazy thing to order for the vegetarians!

Their burgers are a real let-down. Tried the Mini Sliders : chicken, tenderloin, lamb and falafel haloumi, and their Juicy Lucy Chicken Burger. The patties were too dry, the buns were too dry, the dressing in the burgers wasn't sufficient and it was just a disappointment in one word. The only good thing was the oozing cheese our of the Juicy Lucy Burger.

This place has done an out-of-this-world job with their drinks, but not so much with their food. The pricing too, is not on the lower side, or even close to mediocre for that matter. Hence, the food should really really be awesome for the price we pay. I would definitely come back here but not for their burgers, pork chops, seekh kebab, etc. but for their onion rings, pizzas, and fish n chips mainly. What I would come here for repeatedly, is without a doubt, their drinks. The delicious delicious drinks! Each drink different from the other, each drink better than the other, it's an amazing place to visit for some cocktails and drinks with your friends, but not so much for a proper meal.

Address: Lower Basement, Epicuria Food Mall, Nehru Place, New Delhi

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