25 July 2014

Sunday Brunch Preview: Chez Nini, Meher Chand Market (CLOSED)

Chez Nini organised a beautiful brunch for a few food writers and bloggers at 'Upstairs at Chez Nini' and created an almost magical set up for us. Seating on the floor, the entire place embellished with jasmine flowers, sketches on the wall, an astoundingly set up table with flowers, mats, decorative napkins, name tags for each guest on his designated table, and a beautifully lit room. The decor was really nice and not at all over the top.

22 July 2014

Restaurant Review : The Hiatus, Clarion Collection, Qutab

Situated inside the Qutab Clarion Hotel, The Hiatus is a rather recent addition to the hotel. Done up very tastefully, the place has both an indoor and outdoor seating, with the outdoor seating more favoured during brunches, winters and romantic dinners.

Cushioned chairs and tables of fine wood, wooden flooring, lighting that's not too bright, a place that looks so appealing and absolutely spic n span, The Hiatus is a very nice restaurant to head to when you're looking to going out for a lavish evening yet not so expensive. Expensive for sure, but not as much as its counterparts in Delhi. 

We started our meal with the Watermelon Salad. The watermelon was really fresh but the feta cheese was too much in content. A nice start to the meal though.

We then went ahead with ordering for the starters - a Chef Special Mezze Platter, Tonkatsu Meat Sliders, Thai Herbs Chicken Wings and Curry Marinated Lamb Dumplings.

While we were waiting for the starters to be served, we were treated with a bread basket that came with 4 kinds of butter. Something nice to nibble on, the bread was really really soft! The butter varieties - very very unique, different kinds for different palettes.

The Chef Special Mezze Platter consisted of Sundried Tomato and Basil Hummus, Eggplant Salsa which was an improvised version of Baba Ganoush, Tzatziki, Falafel and Mini Kulchas(fresh pita) sprinkled with sumac. The platter was absolutely gorgeous! Each component stood out with such finesse! With the western fusion in them, the dips were to die for! The falafel - superbly crisp from the outside and deliciously soft on the inside!

The Tonkatsu Sliders were pulled pork with mini kulchas. Nice, but not as flavourful. The pork was cooked well, the dish was presented well, but the flavours lacked in it.

The Curry Marinated Lamb Dumpling as a dish came in 3 components - 3 lamb dumplings on a plate, 5 different kinds of sauces to go with the dumplings, and a small kettle that consisted of the broth. The dumplings were nice but nothing extraordinary. The 5 sauces were marvelous, each different from the other. The broth was also really really nice! So flavourful, your heart would melt with joy. The presentation for this one - a full 5 on 5.

Thai Herbs Chicken Wings - Just like the name suggests, the dish was immaculately infused with thai flavours. Beautifully done! The wings were for those people who like to get their hands dirty and like their wings really saucy! Very very nice work with this one as far as the sauce is concerned. The dish as a whole - not that appealing but. The sauce wasn't sticking to the wings. Being more like a thick gravy, the sauce kept falling off the wings.

Along with the food we tried a few of their drinks as well.

Melon Mojito - A watermelon based drink infused with fresh mint leaves and lemon. The drink was really refreshing, really yummy!
Berry Twist mocktail - Nice and fizzy with the sweet berry flavour. A good accompaniment for your food.
Mango Martini - A fresh mango based drink. Who doesn't like mangoes! A really delicious drink again.
The Cosmopolitan - Very sweet this classic cocktail was. Going wrong with a classic wasn't expected here.

For the mains we went with a Red Thai Curry with Prawns, served with Steam Rice, and Crispy Chicken in Hot Basil Sauce served with Hakka Noodles.

The Red Thai Curry was nice, but not the best I've had. Having said that, it is certainly not anything short of 'nice', just not the best. Consisted of carrots, broccoli, prawns and was really fragrant!

The Chicken in Hot Basil Sauce - simply lip-smacking! Perfectly cooked chicken, perfectly balanced flavours, very very delicious! I wish I would have ordered the Chilly Garlic Noodles and not the Hakka Noodles with this. Nevertheless, the noodles and the chicken were a perfect end to my main course!

For the desserts we went with Blueberry Cheesecake and Classic Tiramisu.

The Cheesecake was a baked one, and was served warm. Baked fresh and topped with cotton candy that was also freshly prepared, this was a nice dessert. The cotton candy wasn't as smooth, but the effort of making this in-house is really appreciated! The cheesecake was nice and all, but there was hardly any content or flavour of blueberry in it.

The Tiramisu - Excellent presentation but the taste wasn't as good. Not enough coffee and too creamy for my liking.

The restaurant has a lot of potential. The concept of western infusion in their food is a mind-blowing concept, executed really well in a few dishes and not so well in the other. It's a nice place for a romantic evening, kitty parties, lavish dinners and family outings alike. The place caters to all occasions and all age groups. 

The pricing is effective when you consider where you're dining. Some of their dishes are really reasonably priced as well. Service - very efficient, very polite. The servers know the menu pretty well.

The food was nice, but it wasn't superlative. Nothing that would make me crave to pay a visit, but it was nice comfort food.

Have a heard a lot about their highly affordable and very elaborate Sunday Brunch, so will definitely visit them very soon exclusively for this!

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10 July 2014

Restaurant Review : Olive Kitchen and Bar's Summer Menu

A summer menu is simply something that you feel like having in summers - something that's fresh and refreshing on both your palate and your stomach. Olive's summer menu was just that - not at all overpowering in terms of the flavours and spices, not something that you would feel like giving up on after a few bites.

The decor - very soothing, very serene. Done in hues of white and cream, the furniture and the lighting of this place is done in very subtle shades. Comfortable furniture with a rugged look on the white walls, lighting not too dim and not too bright - it's a perfect balance of the cosy and classy elements here.

The Amuse Bouche was simply superb! Goat cheese with sun-dried tomatoes topped on pumpkin crackers, this came along with some Pea Shoot. What gorgeous little things those pumpkin crackers were! The presentation is what really stole my heart here!

We started off with the Goat's cheese mousse with salt baked beetroot. The goat's cheese mousse was the star of the dish! So velvety, so smooth, so delicious. Worked perfectly with the rocket leaves and walnuts. The orange purée in this - absolutely gorgeous! We started off our meal on a very good note.

Chicken and mushroom consommé - I was not too keen on trying the soup as I'm so not a soup person. It's like a waste of appetite for me. Soup has always been a choice when on a diet, but a strict no-no otherwise. Ordered it for my sister and had a spoonful of it, and my my, what brilliance! No exaggeration here, no going overboard with the views, the soup was a burst of flavours in each spoonful! The tortellini - the cherry on the top. So so so refined, so delicious!

Braised Belgium Pork Belly - Was it crazy or was it crazy! A spectacular pork belly with perfectly crusted bread, the mustard glaze apple was a perfect balance here. I really couldn't stop raving about the pork belly!

Pan seared salmon with seafood bouillabaisse and saffron potatoes - The seafood bouillabaisse was very subtle in its flavours as the salmon was to be the star of the dish. A nice humble dish in totality.

While we were at it, we ordered for the Olive signature bread basket. Freshly baked bread with a sizzling tomato paste to go with it. I can never get enough of this bread basket! My most favourite one in Delhi!

The Corn fed chicken breast was a superb chicken dish! Not so much a fan of its presentation, the chicken more than just made up for it. The combination of hazelnut jus with chicken breast - sheer brilliance! Though the dish revolved around chicken, the potatoes were equally delicious as the chicken for me, if not more. Very well cooked, damn tasty!

Now come 2 of my most favourite dishes from the summer menu - Zucchini wrapped steamed reef cod and Baked gnocchi. The first dish consisted of a delicious helping of reef cod rolled beautifully rolled in a smooth layer of zucchini, and served with the most outstanding potato spaghetti ever! Topped with crispy leek and served with prawn mousse, so many components working so well in a dish was nothing new for Olive, but what truly stood out for me here was the potato spaghetti. Excellent job!

The Baked gnocchi was nothing short of deliciousness. It was so so so good that I could have an entire meal of just that! Perfectly cooked with chunks of broccoli well mixed with the bake that consisted of salsa pomodoro, the garlic in the dish was like magic! My favourite dish from the summer menu, hands down! It was food for the soul!

We were served a Palate Cleanser before our mains that was made in-house - the Limoncello Sorbet.

Moving on the desserts, we tried the Mille Feuille of mango. This particular dessert had so much happening in it! - Mango ice cream, mango sorbet, puff pastry, mascarpone mousse, fresh mango and so much more! It was perfection in each bite. Not too sweet, with each component done so well!

The next dessert that we tried was an absolute opposite of the previous one. It was sheer chocolate decadence! Pavé of chocolate ganache, the most mesmerizing end to such a spectacular meal! Dark chocolate that is easily one of the best I've ever tasted! Dark chocolate pavé, chocolate soil, chocolate glass, chocolate ganache, popcorn, and orange sorbet to give a tinge to our palate. This dessert, just like the mille feuille, wasn't overly sweet, and tasted something that cannot be described in words. I can go back to Olive only for these 2 desserts while the summer menu is on!

We also had a couple of martinis to go with our food, martinis being their speciality. The Green Apple Martini and the Watermelon Martini were my favourites. So refreshing, so yummy! The Mojito was also a delicious drink that they did quite a nice job at.

Chef Sujan deserves all the accolades possible for this menu. It was a meal that was lavish and delicious in every sense of these words! Truly a meal that will stay with me as one of the best meals of my life! The presentation, the infusion of different flavours in dishes, the service - everything was simply spot-on!

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