29 September 2014

The Most Delicious Chinese/Asian Fare At Side Wok, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon

Side Wok is that one Chinese/Asian place that I simply adore! If I have to think of an all-time favorite Chinese place of mine, it undoubtedly has to be Side Wok. Won’t think twice before coming here, no matter what.

The Side Wok on Golf Course Road is the latest addition to this restaurant chain across Delhi NCR. A Side Wok in Gurgaon is like a sigh of relief. You now won’t have to rack your brains when thinking about where to dine-out for Chinese. 

The place is huge! Done up in wooden furniture and wooden flooring, their lighting in in the form of yellow bulbs that are not like the usual bulbs you use at home. The furniture is red and the decor is also done up in red here and there. With a very warm to feel to the place, Side Wok does a very nice job with their interiors. Not very different from the other outlets, the only different thing I could see here was quite a big bar.

Have tried a lot of their dishes at this outlet of Side Wok over the past month or so. And because I had already tried these dishes at the other Side Wok outlets in Delhi, this was like a safe bet for me.

Starting with their soups - the Lemon Coriander and Chicken Hot n Sour are absolute rockstars! My mom loved the Lemon Coriander soup so much that she couldn’t stop talking about it even when we went back home. She said it had the perfect balance of flavors and an absolutely astounding taste of lemon. I won’t disagree with her :)

The Chicken Hot n Sour too was one of the best I’ve ever had. Not too too spicy, but spicy with the right flavor. 

Their Non Veg Dimsum Basket and Veg Dimsum Basket has a choice of 3 different types of dimsums each. In Veg we ordered for Pakchoy Rice Flour Dumpling, Vegetable Gau Zi and Assorted Vegetable Dumpling with Five Spice. The five spice one was the best out of all three, and the vegetable gau zi was very bland.

In Non Veg we ordered for Prawn Harkao, Spicy Pork Rice Flour Dumpling and Chicken Dumpling in Superior Soy Sauce. Prawn Harkao was rather bland, but the pork one was really nice. The one that really stood out of the 3 in terms of flavors was however chicken. If you want to try a bunch of different dimsums and not just stick to one, then only opt for the dimsum baskets and nothing else.

Fish in Piquant Sauce - According to me, the best fish on their appetizer menu! The texture wasn’t as great for me, but the taste sure was. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, this fish is just spectacular! A must order for all.

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken - A little bland for my taste, but grilled absolutely perfectly. The presentation of this chicken is so unique that it made the people sitting on the next table inquire about the dish from the waiters and nod in appreciation as well. Served with a sweet dipping sauce, the chicken is a little tough in texture(not in a bad way) and is nice if you’re looking for really subtle flavors. But because of this, the dish isn’t my cup of tea.

Crispy Vegetable Salt n Pepper - Before I talk about the dish, I want to tell you that what really uplifts the flavors of this dish is the garlic sauce that accompanies it. The vegetables are fried and seasoned with salt n pepper, like the name suggests, and are rather bland if had on its own. But dipped in the hot garlic sauce and this dish becomes superb! A hit among the vegetarians for sure.

Thing Ming Mushroom - Shreds of mushroom that are very crispy and very yummy! Topped with sesame, this is one mushroom dish that I always gorge on when I visit Sidewok. And this is coming from a person who hates mushrooms!

Crispy Honey Lotus Stem - If I said the salt n pepper were a hit among the vegetarians, you should see how vegetarians go gaga over this one. Sidewok is the first place that revolutionized lotus stem for Indians in Chinese dine-dining. Thin sliced lotus stem tossed in a chili honey sauce and made very crispy - what you have in front of you is a stunning appetizer!

Mixed Vegetables Cantonese - Not spicy but delicious for sure, this dish consisted of some beautiful veggies. Opt for this if you’re looking for a safe option and want to steer clear of chili.

Veg Hakka Noodles - No description required for this, the Hakka Noodles here are nothing short of crazy!

Chicken Red Thai Curry - Sidewok is hands down my favorite place for Red Thai Curry! What I love most about their Thai Curry is that it is not watery like the other places but has that beautiful thick consistency. The taste, of course, cannot be done justice if described in words. It’s just the best thai curry in Delhi NCR for me. Have this with some beautiful Sticky Rice and your night is made!

You go to Sidewok and you don’t have their Chocolate Mousse, that’s a crime. One of the best and the most consistent Chocolate Mousse I’ve ever had! Relish it with fortune cookies that they give during dinner hours only, and you are instantly in heaven!

A new dessert that I tried here is the Walnut Brownie with Ice-Cream. I thought it’s going to be like any other Brownie with Ice-Cream that you get in places, but I didn’t know what was in store for me next. The brownie was muddled and crushed and came in a small jar that was so innovative! Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, the brownie tasted super delicious!

I’ve tried their Cosmopolitan and I can safely say that it is one of the best Cosmopolitans that I’ve ever had! Yummy yummy yummy! The Fruit Beer was also delicious.

A special mention for the manager who was extremely sweet, humble and kind. A very warm manager who helps you with his recommendations and makes sure you’re having a good time.

The prices are at par with all the other Chinese places in Delhi NCR, and maybe even lesser than some. Their quality of food and consistency in taste is commendable! The food never fails to impress you. 

AddressGround Floor, MPD Tower, Opposite Magnolias, DLF 5, Sector 43, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon

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24 September 2014

Lebanese, Mexican, Italian And A Lot More At Geoffrey's, Select Citywalk Mall, Saket

A meal at Geoffrey’s is what we were looking forward to for a Saturday afternoon. Having this place around us for quite some time, Geoffrey’s can be easily categorized as one of the oldest restaurants in Delhi. 

Their Saket outlet is really known for its wide spread of buffet, consisting of a lot of options ranging from soups, salads, appetizers, pastas, pizzas, desserts to what not. Was looking forward to the buffet itself when we went, but ended up ordering ala carté instead.

The place is done up dominantly in wood everywhere. The bar, the stools, chairs, tables, flooring, etc. The lighting is yellow and the restaurant gives the feel of a bistro. Booths, high-rise tables and bar stools, proper tables set up for meals - they have plenty of options for seating.

What I noticed about this restaurant was that it had a lot of managers, apart from the servers, that is. The managers were managing everything so well! Going to each table, communicating with the waiters and delegating work, coordinating with the food yet to be served on the table, and just doing a very good job at the supervision.

We started our meal with Half a Dozen Chicken Wings, Chicken Shawarma and Chicken Crispy Tacos.

The Chicken Wings were really nice! Meaty with a sauce that was just lip-smacking! A really good dish.

The Shawarma came in pita pockets, served with hummus and baba ganoush, along with fattoush salad and greek salad. The Shawarma was nice but not great. It lacked the authentic Lebanese flavors bur the stuffing of the shawarma was nice. Coming to the dips - the hummus was really sour, and I communicated this to the manager at the end of the meal as well. Guessing it was because of too much lemon in the dip. The baba ganoush was better than the hummus but again, not great. 

The Chicken Crispy Tacos was the highlight of the meal for me. Crispy, just as the name of the dish suggests, filled with minced chicken mixed with a thick gravy that was absolutely sensational! Topped with salsa, sour cream and cheese, these tacos were to die for!! It was a perfect dish! The tacos were served with some herbed rice that were just as awesome as the tacos.

For mains, we went with a half ’n’ half pizza - Pepperoni and Chicken Tikka, and a Penne in Pink Sauce with Chicken. The Pizza was a disappointment. It was either not cooked properly as far as the cheese was concerned or it had a very peculiar creamy sauce at the base that was really strange. The toppings were really nice, but that creamy sauce and the undercooked base are really what brought the dish down.

The Pasta in Pink Sauce was just as I like - saucy, with the perfect balance of white sauce and red sauce. It was deliciousness to the core! A very smooth, velvety sauce, beautiful chunks of chicken and sausages, and that lovely penne. The dish was an Indianised one but I loved it anyway. The garlic breads that came with the pasta were really bad but. It was just the way you make garlic breads at home - topped with lots of butter and heated on a pan full of chopped garlic. You could see the chopped garlic on the bread! This is the Indianised component of the dish that I didn’t like. The bread was crispy and baked alright, but the taste of salted butter and chopped burnt pieces of garlic in every bite was something that wasn't so appealing. So I’ll say just have the pasta and avoid the garlic bread.

For desserts we ordered a Sizzling Brownie with Ice-Cream. The brownie, oh my, craziness! The brownie was just the way I like it - not with too many walnuts, very gooey, and superbly intense with chocolate! The ice-cream wasn’t the basic vanilla that is served with brownie everywhere, it was a coffee-flavoured ice-cream! The brownie and ice-cream came on a sizzler plate for us and then we had a little bit of a show on the table - the server poured the beautiful chocolate sauce and the plate sizzled! A sensational dessert this was!

We even ordered for a Cosmopolitan, a Chocolate Shake and a Caipiroska. The Cosmopolitan was really bad. It was too sweet AND too bitter, both at the same time. The Chocolate Shake and Caipiroska were decent. The Shake wasn’t thick because of the addition of ice-cream and ice, but was a milky version. The Caipiroska was asked for without ice, and that’s just how it came. A nice drink they served. 

The service was too prompt, the prices aren’t too high, and the ambience was decent in all aspects. The washrooms were clean, which is definitely a plus for me. 

The place was packed during lunch and I would definitely want to come for their VFM buffet again. Some dishes impressed and some failed on this visit, but I am really looking forward to their buffet. If you plan to go there for an ala carté meal, don’t forget to order for their tacos!!

Address: 2nd Floor, Select Citywalk Mall, Saket, New Delhi

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17 September 2014

North Indian Food at Veda Cafe, DLF Promenade Mall, Vasant Kunj

Veda revamped itself and turned into Veda Cafe, taking only half the place as what Veda was taking recently. When you say cafe, the place looks more casual than what it looked earlier, but you can still as easily go here for a proper meal at a ‘restaurant’.

Wooden flooring, nice colorful furniture, yellow lighting that’s not dim, nothing very fact but looks appealing enough to make you walk inside.

We were served a complimentary basket of papad with 3 chutneys after we placed our order, and we nibbled on that for the next few minutes.

I ordered for a Non Veg Platter as that has all the basic chicken, mutton and fish appetizers in it, a Chutney Paneer Tikka and a Dahi Kebab.

The Paneer Tikka was nice but because it was hard, it ruined the impact of the marination as well, a marination was pretty decent. Flavourful, but not as much. Being the most favored appetizer at restaurants, this Paneer Tikka did nothing extraordinary for my taste buds.

Next in line was the Dahi Kebab. Nice, soft, pan-fried dahi kebab with a filing of curd and condiments that was rather sweet than having a balance. The dahi kebab, nevertheless, was addictive! The consistency of the curd was marvelous and we wiped the plate off within no time. Very light, very soft, very yummy; only if they could decrease the sweetness of the curd in it, it would be absolutely perfect!

The Non Veg Kebab Platter was just very uninspiring. Apart from the Mutton Seekh Kebab and Tandoori Chicken nothing was delicious. The components of this platter were very dry, very lifeless, very flavorless. The Chicken Tikka, Chicken Seekh Kebab, Fish Tikka, just everything was very dry.

For main course we ordered for a Dal Makhni meal and a Rarha Gosht meal. The Dal Makhni, as told to the manager as well, was really bad. Guess I was having my meal at 11PM on a Saturday night so they watered down my Dal Makhni to increase the quantity of the dal for it to be served to all the customers. The manager said we not liking the Dal Makhni was possible as that’s their best item. Maybe it was my unlucky day at Veda Cafe then.

The Rarha Gosht, again, was nothing extraordinary. It was suggested to us by the manager as one of their most favored option by customers. It was definitely better than the Dal Makhni, but nothing out of this world. The flavors and stuff were there, but just not enough to make me even go “Hmm.. I like it.” 

Their platter combos come with a choice of 2 breads/rice, salad, raita and the main dish. We went with Garlic Naan and Pudina Parantha, both of which were nice.

For dessert we had Jaggery Coconut ice-cream and Malai Parsi Dairy Kulfi with Rabri. Both the desserts were really nice. Just lip-smacking! Very velvety, superb texture of both the desserts, and the right amount of sweetness. A nice yummy end to the meal.

Accompanied my meal with Strawberry and Mint Lemonade. Refreshing, sweet, fruity - just delightful!

The prices are not too high, the service is prompt, and the place was bustling with people on a Saturday night. 

I’ve been to Veda Cafe once before, and this is after they turned into Veda Cafe from Veda. The place served such incredible food to me then! Outstanding Grilled Chicken and Paneer Tikka, followed by Butter Chicken and Dal Makhni. I cannot stop raving about that meal! But this, this was a complete opposite experience. Nothing was ‘delicious’ per se, everything was just okay. I think I’ll need a lot of time before I visit this place again. Not anytime soon for sure.

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