28 December 2017

Wok To Walk comes to Delhi: Wok Box at its best!

The newest place in town, one that’s much talked about as well, has everything going in its stride. It’s a brand that is well known all over the globe, and has made its way into India with stepping in the waters of Delhi first. Yes, we are talking about none other than Wok To Walk.

People who have tried Wok To Walk abroad aren’t able to contain their excitement and are flipping over the fact that their favourite place is here, and people who haven’t tried the place before are flipping over the fact that there’s a new Asian fast food restaurant that’s opened. Fast food+Asian sounds quite different right? Different, it is! 

But what is Wok To Walk all about? It’s a new Asian place that works on the concept of ‘create your own wok’. The core philosophy of Wok To Walk is a wok with sauce, and a side to go with it. You create a quick meal by selecting your base (rice/noodles), pair it with a sauce of your choice, and pick a side if you wish to take that. Swift, easy, and delicious.

To go a little in detail, here's what you exactly do when you go to any of the Wok To Walk outlets:

You choose everything that goes into your wok- the rice/noodles, the veggies and proteins, and finally the sauce. They have 2 sides on the menu, some cold pressed juices, and the usual aerated beverages and juices in drinks. That's where the menu ends, and the menu has quite a few options, still keeping it very compact.

Wok To Walk opened their second outlet in Delhi at Defence Colony last week. I haven’t been to the first one in Connaught Place but I’m told that is six times the size of the Defence Colony one. But I have a feeling I will still like this one more. Cozy and intimate. Also, the crowd that will visit Defence Colony will be more about on-the-go eating and quick eating. A small place with a separate section for making the wok, a separate one for the ingredients and rice/noodles, and an open fridge counter for the drinks. The space is done up in orange and white, the brand colours, and it looks very inviting and interesting (read about the importance of colours in marketing a brand). There are some 6-7 stools and a long wooden table lined along the wall where you can have a quick grub, and a very small space on this wooden slab for the cutlery.

You place your order, go collect it from the counter when your name is called out, turn around and grab cutlery, and choose to either sit over there and enjoy it or get it packed. Went on Day 2 or 3 of their operations and I was impressed through and through with their service and promptness. The place has zero teething issues. The staff is so well informed, they’re so swift and flawless in taking your order and preparing it. No confusion about the order, no order going to the wrong person, no issue with the quality or quantity. Every single customer that I saw eating food over there was more than happy with their food.

Step 1 is choosing your base- white rice, brown rice, hakka noodles, wheat noodles, udon noodles and so on. All the rice and noodles come with carrots and cabbage and are included in the price. So if you choose not to take any veggies, this will do too.

Step 2 is choosing your ingredients. For every vegetable or protein that you choose, you pay for one serving of that. The quality of their vegetables is outstanding! Fresh, clean and not like the QSR vegetable quality at all. The same also applies for their shrimps, chicken, bacon, etc. The quality is too impressive. They recommend you shouldn’t go beyond 4 ingredients, so I’d suggest you listen to them. Veggies are for 49 per serving, meats for 99, and shrimps for 149. If you’re a non vegetarian, you have to try their shrimps!

Step 3 is choosing the sauce. They have 8 varieties of sauces, with different flavor profiles like spicy, sweet and sour, coconut-flavoured, sharp and pungent, and so on. Each sauce has a name given to it, but under that they also describe what the sauce contents are.
Step 4 is choosing your toppings (if you’d like to add anything). This one has options like fried onion, fried garlic and sesame seeds.

I tried the Udon Noodles with 2 non veg and 2 veg ingredients, and the Teriyaki sauce. A damn nice wok! So comforting yet so indulgent. The quantity of the wok is a lot for one person. I could only manage to finish 75% of it and that too when I forced myself. But this was after sharing my side orders. Even without eating anything before the wok, a person with a medium appetite cannot finish it. Immense value for money in my opinion! My sister tried the white rice with Saigon sauce- garlic and pepper, and veg and non veg toppings almost the same as me. Try this sauce if you like something less spiced. She added sesame seeds for an extra crunch and they were lovely! The mushroom oyster sauce with hakka noodles and bacon is on my list next!

There are two options for sides, priced at 99 each, Chilli Paneer and Chilli Chicken. The portion size is pretty decent for 99 bucks. Liked both the side dishes, and they’re actually ‘side dishes’ here and not a complete dish in itself.

The whole process of making a wok is standardized and how! The same measuring bowls are used for all vegetables and proteins. Because shrimps are expensive, they will not keep a small measuring bowl for it. The same portion size of each ingredient is added to your wok, the sauce quantity is not compromised with, the wok doesn’t taste too dry or with too much gravy, and the best part is they maintain this consistency with every order of theirs. Wok To Walk opening so close to home is going to be my regular haunt now. Loved it every bit!

25 December 2017

Gifting Guide Christmas Edition

Christmas is all about making merry, enjoying over good food, spreading the joy and so on. But it is now also about indulging and relishing your favourite food, eating Christmas cakes, cupcakes and other sweet delights, and playing Secret Santa and gifting each other presents! Here are some options you can bookmark for gifting on Christmas:

1. Spectacles or shades from Lenskart

Lenskart has great deals going on both on their website and on their stores across Delhi. Get a cool pair of shades to gift to someone or a nice sleek sexy spectacles. A plethora of various options to choose from, in colours, frames, designs and what not!

2. Christmas special donuts from Mad Over Donuts

Everybody loves donuts. So when you can't think of any gifting option but still want people to love your gift, just take the easy route and gift people those adorable delicious Christmasy donuts from Mad Over Donuts. Outlets spread all across Delhi, so easy to find too.

3. Cakes and cupcakes from The Dessert Studio

A bakery that delivers all across Delhi, and does some crazy cake jars of different flavours, muffins and cupcakes, assorted dry cakes, and cream cupcakes too. The presentation will make you experience 'love at first sight'. Beautiful for gifting to someone!

4. Roar With Simba Beer

We all have friends who don't fancy sweets, and enjoy drinking to that any day. For all such friends and loved ones, gift this new beer that has entered the Indian market creating quite a stir!

Easy on your wallet, high on the cool and chic quotient, yummy too, hope the list helps!

23 October 2017

Travel: What makes Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner so special

Narendra Bhawan, a new luxury boutique hotel in Bikaner, is all about a mix of modernity, grandeur, stories and luxury. The hospitality and stories are the USP of this place according to me, and anybody who experiences staying at Narendra Bhawan once will always have extremely high expectations from any other property they stay at.

I had the opportunity of staying at Narendra Bhawan last month with other food and travel bloggers from Delhi and Mumbai, and my experience was one that cannot be described in words. In this post, I will tell you all about the food experiences and food meditations at Narendra Bhawan, and will take you through the rooms, other amenities and a tour of the place too.

23 September 2017

Did you know about this super cool ice cream 'car' in Ashok Vihar?

Cross the road right opposite Kays Bar-Be-Que in Ashok Vihar Phase 1 and you’ll see a small car, pink in colour, parked on the side. The car will have lights inside it and the doors will be open. Sitting atop the car will be a huge muffin made of plastic, pink and blue in colour. One look at the car and you’ll get attracted to the colours and light, and will definitely stop to see what it is. That’s what I did- stopped to see what it was, and the rest is history gone down in indulging in icecreams like never before with the family. It's an icecream and sundae joint, only it's on wheels. The car is called Cream & Berry!

China Kitchen at Hyatt Regency completes a decade; offers 50% off on food!!

China Kitchen has stood the test of time and shone bright like no other restaurant has (or arguably so). It is Hyatt Regency Delhi's pride, if you were to ask me, alongwith La Piazza, and the food has made every diner happy and that too every single time. China Kitchen completed 10 years this August, and as a part of its celebrations, the restaurant is offering a flat 50% off on food and soft beverages every Tuesday-Thursday till the 30th of September. This promotion began on August 1st, and a 50% off deal for a period of two months at China Kitchen is a big big deal!

19 September 2017

5 reasons why you need to visit DLF Cyberhub for Dineout's ON.REPEAT

Dineout has been known to create fun crazy events, ones that also leave your pocket happy. The latest festival organised by Dineout is ON.REPEAT, a 16-day long festival to celebrate the food and drinks at Cyberhub- one of the most bustling places in Delhi NCR!

Here's why you should not miss it:

1. 1+1 on food and drinks

Multiple participating restaurants, great deals on both food and drinks, so lots of money being saved! Get 1+1 deals on food, and on your favourite liquor too. Brands like Absolut, Ballantine's, Jameson and so many more, are all on 1+1 for the duration of this festival!

Want to treat someone? Want to go out on a date? Want to go on a team outing? Or what the hell, want to just go out for food and drinks! Finish all of these things before 23rd September and save your money by dining at any of the participating restaurants in Cyberhub.

2. Additional discount on HSBC cards

If you have an HSBC Debit or Credit card, you're in for an even bigger treat. An additional 10% off if you use these cards, over and above the 1+1 deal.

3. Free Pepsi Black

In collaboration with Pepsi Black, Dineout is organising film screenings where every person attending the screening will get a complimentary Pepsi Black and chips. You also get free Pepsi cans at live performances happening here (see the point below).

4. Live performances

With all the food and drinks, there is also entertainment for people at DLF Cyberhub till 23rd September. A line-up of performances by stellars like Nizami Brothers and Parikrama, you can expect the kind of entertainment you will be getting then.

5.Dineout points

By booking tables using Dineout, you're earning yourself a great deal of points, which when get accumulated, are going to fetch you great deals and discounts on food and drinks.

Go make the most of Dineout's ON.REPEAT at DLF Cyberhub!

13 September 2017

What makes Dirty Apron so impeccable?

Piano Man and Dirty Apron have proven to be a game changer in the food and nightlife scene in Delhi. The Piano Man Jazz Club situated on the ground floor is a place where there are performances and gigs happening everyday, and Dirty Apron is the restaurant situated on the second floor that serves an elaborate menu of food and drinks. Both of these are owned by the same people, and the cocktail and food menu to quite an extent is also the same. The former is for a chilled out evening with gigs, the latter is for a chilled out meal with great food. Together they have educated the audience of Delhi with its phenomenal concoctions, a vibe and energy that the place lends with its gigs that other bars and restaurants should take inspiration from, and the fantastic food they serve which has some of the best flavours and ingredients used. They've brought jazz music to the forefront and brought music enthusiasts a very classy place to chill at.

6 September 2017

Breakfast Menu at Bread & More

Bread and More has been long known for its wide and delectable range of cakes, but a revamp of its outlet some years back also introduced me to its food side of things. A couple of days back I again went to Bread & More, and this time to try their breakfast range.

The breakfast here is available throughout the day, so you can go grab an omelette or a croissant even at 9PM. Went for a late breakfast and started off with a Ham n Cheese Sandwich with egg- something you must order here! I'd say leave the egg because it makes the sandwich moist and leaves the crispness out. The egg is actually on top of the bread, not inside it. Inside is layers of pork ham and cheese, and it's delectable and so filling. One person cannot finish it if he's eating something else too. 

2 September 2017

Get Your Fix Of Onam Sadhya At These 10 Places In Delhi

What is Onam?

Falling on the 4th of September (Monday) this year, Onam is the official state festival of Kerala which marks the beginning of their New Year. A festival celebrated by the Malayalis, you’ll find boat races taking place in Kerala on the occasion of Onam, tiger dances, martial arts, music and dance, and of course, food.

The most important part about Onam is the white and golden sari and dhoti that women and men wear, and the Sadhya that they have. My tryst with Onam Sadhya began long back, but the first time I actually learned the importance of this festival and other related things was in 2015 in Mumbai. My roommates were two very sweet Malayali girls who I still am extremely fond of. They dressed up pretty in their saris and went to college, and asked me to join them (or rather I made myself join them) for a sadhya meal in the afternoon. Had lunch with about 20 Malayali kids, all dressed up in the spirit of their festival, away from home, yet celebrating it together with food. The only non-Malayali amongst them, I was explained every single component on my banana leaf by Kajol and Alice. This blog post is also to tell them that this experience 2 years ago remains one of my fondest memories of Bombay and of life.

*picture taken from the web

So what exactly is a Sadhya?

It’s a lavish vegetarian Malayali meal served on a banana leaf. Sadhya is available all round the year at authentic Kerala restaurants across cities, but the sadhya served on Onam is more lavish and of course, special. A typical sadhya meal has about 20-30 dishes, though it varies and can go upto some 50 too. Different kinds of subjis, chutney, rice, papad, puri, rasam, chips, buttermilk and a banana are what a Sadhya consists of. Please note, you should have Sadhya only with your hands. Keep cutlery far far away from where Sadhya is being served.

Here are all the places serving Sadhya this Onam in Delhi. Some of them are even delivering the sadhya meal, which you will have to check with the restaurant directly.

23 August 2017

Domino's undergoes a revamp and we're in love with it!

Domino's is hands down the most convenient and most consistent pizza delivery chain. Having a Domino's outlet in the same colony as I stay has made my sister and I pure Domino's loyalists for reasons mentioned above, and because the pizza always reaches us piping hot. When a new side order is introduced in the menu, we're the first ones to try it. When the lady on the phone tells us 'Ma'am would you also like to try our new *bla bla* and add it to your order for only Rs.x, we tell her we've already tried it. So you get the point- we're Domino's loyalists. 

Domino's recently sent a text message saying they've launched new pizzas and it's an 'All New Domino's' now. And 2 days later I happened to try their pizzas. A girls night where my sister, my mom and I had lots of wine and ordered pizzas from Domino's!! That's when we tried the new pizzas- a Chicken Peri Peri and a Paneer Peri Peri!

So this All New Domino's is basically more variety of pizzas on the menu, and all pizzas are now made with a crispier and better crust, more cheese, and a better tomato sauce with more herbs in the base (making it more aromatic).

I will sincerely vouch for both the pizzas that I ate. The peri peri flavour really uplifts the pizza and gives it a new edge, definitely different from anything Domino's has kept in their menu before. I think it's going to replace Barbeque Chicken Pizza and become my favourite pick now. Mom loved her paneer pizza too, and because we can eat pizzas with any toppings (veg or non veg), we finished half of hers too. Loved both the pizzas, as usual. So no surprises there.

I particularly loved the new thicker golden crispier crust along the edges out of all the changes they've made. The crust is now just beautiful! More buttery and way crispier. 

Go order the new pizzas now!!

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2 August 2017

Travel: A Weekend Getaway to The Lalit Chandigarh

The long Eid weekend called for a weekend getaway, and the only options left after waking up at the 11th hour were close by places like Jaipur, Chandigarh, Agra and the likes. Narrowed down on Chandigarh and booked The Lalit Chandigarh. I’ve stayed at Lalit Delhi, Lalit Mangar and Lalit Mumbai before, so this was the 4th Lalit property I was staying at. Imagine how much I would like the Lalit properties to be choosing them everywhere I go. And I’m glad I made this choice the 4th time too. In a gist, my experience at The Lalit Chandigarh was amazing!

The property

The hotel has all the amenities and recreational stuff you expect in a hotel- a gym, a pool, a huge entrance and lobby, classy corridors, restaurants catering to different cuisines, a club in-house, good room service; so you get the idea that they have everything. It’s located a little on the outskirts of the city but Chandigarh is anyway such a small city that nothing feels too far. The famous pubs, markets and restaurants are all at a distance of 10-20 minutes, so not far at all (like I was told by people).

Thai Khun- A Thai Street Food Festival at Kylin Experience, Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar

Kylin Experience at Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar is holding a Thai Street Food Festival only during dinner hours that’s on till the 6th of this month, called Thai Khun. Kylin is well known for its Oriental fare across all its outlets in Delhi, but I never knew they had an outlet at Holiday Inn too, until I went for this festival.

The concept of this festival a Holiday Inn is recreating a Thai street food market, with hawkers and shops selling Thai dishes, where everything is prepared in front of you and the stalls lit up with different lights, the ambience that of a typical street in Thailand celebrating food. The promotion is an experiential meal for the guests. To make the experience even more real for you, the restaurant gives you fake Baht currency in exchange for money, and you go to these stalls yourself, see the price of different dishes, and buy what you want with that fake currency. The most interesting and unique part about the promotion- instantly takes the creativity to a whole new level. To give you a feel of actually eating at a street food shop, the food is served in disposable cutlery that has a wooden look to it.

24 July 2017

5 Best Places To Eat At In Bir, Himachal Pradesh

Bir is a place that hasn’t been even closely touched by tourism like its surrounding hill stations have. The place has a certain purity about it, a certain calm, that only comes from a place not being polluted or with excessive civilisation taken over. Because tourism isn’t the focus point of the people of Bir yet, the restaurant scene here is very uneven. Cafes will open at their own sweet time, shut when they want to, and a lot of times don’t even open if they don’t feel like. Hence, there were a lot of restaurants I saw during my 3 days of stay here, but most of them were shut.

I consciously stayed away from North Indian food in Bir, because that’s not the speciality, and North Indian is what we eat back home too. Having Tibetan food in Bir is how it should be, because the locals are mostly Tibetan and they, of course, do a fabulous job at the food they cook everyday.

I used to do all my dinners and breakfasts at my resort. You can read all about the resort here. So the only time I got the chance to eat out was either for lunch or evening. Tried a couple of places- listing them down below. In addition to these I tried a restaurant inside a monastery too, which was really bad, and I didn’t try Four Tables in Upper Bir because the place was shut all 3 days when I was there. I’ve heard great things about Four Tables from several people, so if you go to Bir, you should definitely give it a try. The trek to Upper Bir is beautiful! We got to know it was shut when we reached Upper Bir, but we loved loved loved the trek so we didn’t mind going there at all.

1. Garden Café

Hands down the best place to eat in Bir if you’re not looking for Tibetan food.

23 July 2017

A Supremely Delicious Breakfast Buffet at Tamra, Shangri-La's Eros Hotel

Shangri-la after its revamp almost three years ago has created quite a name for itself in the food and nightlife space. The hotel houses several restaurants, and each is doing brilliantly. They arguably have the best restaurants/clubs in Delhi for Indian, buffet, Chinese and nightlife/clubbing for me, while the other ones are bloody good too. The food is par excellence here, and the hotel keeps doing promotions and food festivals at their restaurants all round the year. Now imagine coming to a hotel for promotions so often and when you get a chance to go out at leisure with friends and spend your own money, you still choose the same hotel. That is where all their efforts and marketing, all their promotions and great food and service, comes into effect for a customer.

The Gorgeous Summer Menu at Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli

When I think of restaurants that have consistently brought out seasonal menus and done a fabulous job at them, Olive is one of them. Olive Qutub has come out with a new summer menu and synonyms of amazing are all that comes to my mind. Chef Dhruv Oberoi, the man behind leading the menu and kitchen operations now, has done a fantastic job at playing with such interesting ingredients and presenting such good flavours with them.

The new summer menu consists of all the courses and several dishes under each. I started my meal with a Green Gazpacho- a cold soup with cucumber gel and pickled cucumber, and crème fraiche sorbet crushed into pieces and sprinkled on top. The pickled cucumber was my favourite part about it! Tart and so well-balanced! Sprinkle some black pepper on the gazpacho and you’re all set.

5 July 2017

Hendrick's Gin Celebrates World Cucumber Day with ATM Bistro

When I look back at all the events attended in 2017 at the end of this year, particularly the ones that were about spirits, wines and alcohol in general, Hendrick’s is going to top the list (at least it is till now) . Hendrick's Gin and A Ta Maison in Sunder Nagar, or ATM Bistro as many would know, hosted an evening by Hendrick’s Gin on the occasion of World Cucumber Day on 14th June, and what Hendrick’s presented was pure magic. Pure simple magic.

24 June 2017

Where To Stay In Bir, Himachal Pradesh: Don't Look Beyond Colonel's Resort!

A heaven amidst hills, a heaven in a place not heard of by many- that is Colonel’s Resort in Bir, Himachal Pradesh for me. When words fall short to describe a place, when you’re missing the place to an unimaginable extent after being back for more than a month, when a resort tells you how your stay at a place is all about how it makes you ‘feel’.

A resort in the main town of Bir, Colonel’s Resort is run by Colonel and his wife. They have two dogs, Dash and Frisky, and these are the four beings that will take your experience here to a whole new level. The credit of course also goes to their sweetest and most humble staff, who are always there to take care of your needs and ever-so-smilingly.

20 June 2017

8 Delicious Places In Amritsar You Cannot Miss Eating At!

I have been to the Golden City a total of three times in my life, and the last two times were over a span of 25 days. A visit to the Golden Temple took me to Amritsar but my love for food took me to 10-11 places in the first visit itself (which was for about 20 hours in Amritsar).

A problem that I faced was to narrow down on 3-4 meals from the best places in Amritsar. I researched a lot, read so many blogs, spoke to so many people, and made a list of 12 places that I aimed at going to and making the most of my trip. I could do 11, but missed out on a chaat place sadly. 

When I visit a new city/town, I make it a point to be thorough with my research, but a research on Amritsar is of no use if you don't spend at least a week eating your way through the city. It's only then that you can maybe come close to doing justice to the food.

I have still attempted to make a list of places that you should blindly go to when in Amritsar. And considering how most people only go for the Golden Temple visit and have a thing for going to Wagah Border too, they're not left with much time to explore the city. So for that short span of stay where they go out to eat, they have a hard time in deciding where it should be. Hopefully, this list should help you with that.

I went to each one of these places and tried their food over 2 different occasions, so I'm very sure the consistency is great too and the food will be just as awesome every single time. So here are the best places in Amritsar to eat at, in no particular order.

1. Kanha Sweets

The shop that’s famous for its crisp and light pooris, served with chhole and kalonji. Kalonji is an aloo ki subji that’s sweet and tangy, and this was the first time I had kalonji somewhere. Try having all three things together or have separate bites with chhole and kalonji respectively. 

You’re not allowed to share your plate of poori here because the subji is served endlessly. 

School kids, locals, tourists- I saw everyone at Kanha Sweets. And it really should be your first stop in Amritsar!! The pooris are so thin and light, and the chhole nothing like you get in the cities. It's almost unreal.

18 June 2017

Dineout Cocktail Festival: Cocktails for 200 bucks!

What comes to your mind when you think of a lovely meal out, a night out with your girls, a chiller weekend scene at a bar, molecular gastronomy, happy hours, and so on. I’m sure at least on one of these, specially the last one, the word ‘drinks’ would definitely come to your mind. For us Delhiites, no evening, no outing, no celebration is complete without drinks, and for a lot of us that would mean cocktails. Now imagine these fancy cocktails coming to you at a price like never before. Crazy right? Crazy is what Dineout is doing. Dineout brings to us Dineout Cocktail Festival's South Delhi chapter!

To celebrate the cocktail drinking and partying culture of our city, Dineout is organising this very interesting festival that is spread across 8 days. 11 hand-picked bars and pubs in South Delhi will have exclusive cocktails available priced at only 200 bucks. This deal is only available via the Dineout app, and that should be reason enough for you to download the app right away and tick bars off your bucket list now!!

All we see these days is restaurants, bars and pubs coming up with quirky, attractive, delicious cocktails. Some will have ingredients you will have never heard of in a cocktail, and some will stick to the basics yet surprise you. Indian spices, aromatic herbs, a popsicle becoming a cocktail, a kickass balance of different flavour profiles- the list of possibilities for a cocktail are endless now, and Delhi has quite simply becoming raging as a city when it comes to cocktails now. Make the most of this festival and go try all the yummy cocktails!

Festival dates: 14th-21st June
List of participating restaurants and pubs: https://bnc.lt/6ZXm/Zaz2uPzuQD

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13 June 2017

Travel: Experience Paragliding in Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh

Experienced paragliding for the first time in my life two weeks back in Bir Billing, in the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh. Paragliding is an experience like no other, it’s a feeling that cannot be described in words, that overwhelms you, that stuns you, that leaves you awestruck and you almost choke with tears (I went all the way and shed multiple of them). It’s thrilling, it’s adventurous, it’s beautiful, it’s uplifting (both literally and as a person), it opens your mind to newer ways of travel, it is definitely one of those things that need to be on your bucket list, and then ticked off it ASAP!!

Mamagoto's super impressive Hawker's menu!

Mamagoto has recently come out with a Hawker’s menu. The name is expressive enough to tell you what the menu will consist of and what the rationale behind keeping this name is- street food that you get across Thailand, which is essentially sold at hawker carts.

The menu has a few Korean dishes as well as dishes typically Oriental and closer to what the Indian palate is used to eating. They’ve gone a little experimental in this menu too, with options like Thai Betel Puchka and a Chicken Curry which is served with rice noodle nests. Looks so attractive on the menu!

The New Chinese Menu at Setz, DLF Emporio

A restaurant that has been synonymous with DLF Emporio, Setz has built a great name for itself, considering how it has stood the test of time and remained its patrons’ frequented place all throughout. I remember when they first opened some 8 years ago, I celebrated a lot of my special occasions there, and it still holds true for a lot of important events my friends celebrate. They have recently launched a new Chinese menu which is quite vast, doesn’t restrict itself to only appetizers or gravies, but goes the whole nine yards and does everything new from soups, dimsums, stir-fry starters, fried starters, noodles, rice, curries and gravies, and ends with so many brilliant desserts! They’ve also brought about a couple of cocktails in this menu, and the cocktails are damn yum!

7 June 2017

Travel to Palampur and stay at RS Sarovar Portico

Palampur- The City Beautiful, that’s how Palampur is named when you geotag it. Completely justified by the geotag is such for this city and not for any other. I had been planning this trip for 3 months, but I never thought I would stay in Palampur for more than 1 night. By the end of my Palampur trip (which was 2 nights and 3 days at RS Sarovar Portico), I felt I should have stayed here for 2 extra nights.

Within the first 24 hours of reaching Palampur, I witnessed all seasons here- summers, monsoons and winters. Thankfully, no autumn. Palampur is very unpredictable when it comes to rainfall. It can rain anytime, so don’t go as per the forecast. Carry an umbrella with you at all times here. And this makes the sky for a very stunning view. With of course the hills to fill your heart with joy because they’re there everywhere you look.

How to reach Palampur:

Bus: I took this option. There is an overnight bus that leaves from ISBT Bus Stand operated by Himachal Tourism. There are 4 Himachal Tourism buses that leave in a day for Palampur, starting from 6 45PM to 10 55PM. I took the one that leaves at 10 45. You can book the tickets online on hrctc.gov.in. The journey from Delhi to Palampur by bus is for around 10 hours, and the buses are very comfortable. The cost of the ticket is 1300 for one way. Going by bus is the best option because it’s not tiresome and you don’t have to change modes of transportation if you take a direct bus.
Train: The train leaves you till Pathankot and from there you can take a private taxi or bus
Air: Flights to and fro Dharamsala also operate. From there, you either take a private taxi or a bus

Being done with how to reach brings me to ‘where to stay’. I researched a lot for a place to stay at in Palampur. There were normal 3 star hotels which were decent, there were homestays, lavish guest houses, and 2-3 good hotels with a star rating above 3. So there’s something for eveyr kind of traveller in Palampur when it comes to stay, but the options under each of these categories aren’t as many. Palampur is a very small city anyway, so of course the accommodation choices cannot be as widespread as Delhi or Mumbai. Also because it hasn’t been commercialised like other hill stations yet.

Where to stay: 

After a lot of research, I narrowed down to RS Sarovar Portico Palampur. In the heart of the city, with everything within walking distance, or even if you take an auto rickshaw nothing is beyond 10 minutes away. The hotel is a 4-star property with such luxurious plush comfortable rooms, and a view to kill for! It is I think the best hotel to stay at in Palampur if you’re looking for both luxury and comfort. 


The rooms are fully equipped with all the amenities. A king-sized bed with fluffy pillows, a TV, a study table, 2 chairs on the side with a table, a big cupboard to store all your stuff, and great lighting in the room! Lighting is one of those things that not many hotels get right- sometimes it’s too less, sometimes not in the right places, etc. but the lighting in the room was too good. Our room was done up in a deep shade of red with nudes to complement it. There was a huge glass window, about the size of the wall, which served as our favourite place to chill and look at the stunning view. The view is that of the Dhauladhar mountain range. We could see the Dhauladhar range, the city, the roads, everything from our room. The day it rained like crazy, I can never forget that moment of my trip. Sitting next to the window, looking at clouds all filled with water, the entire sky black, the downpour of water mixed with a hailstorm, it was all just too too beautiful to explain in words. The washroom too was very nice, with marbled flooring and walls, and a nice separate area for bath with all the toiletries.

The property:

The hotel has a very big entrance and a lobby with a front desk and a huge sitting area for guests who are waiting or visiting to get functions organised here. Royal sofas deep blue in colour, washrooms on the same level, and the rooms on all the levels above. The second floor has the hotel’s restaurant where the buffet is served. There’s also a play area or a gaming room right next to it. The floors above that and on the same floor as well have rooms of various categories. A fitness centre on the same floor to take care of the health and fitness aspect, fitted with all the machinery and gym equipments. The top floor of the hotel has a revolving restaurant called Cloud 7, where the lunch and dinner buffet is laid. This restaurant gives you a view of the entire city.


The hotel has two restaurants, one on the second floor, The Terrace, with both an outdoor and indoor seating, and one on the 7th floor called Cloud 7, which is a revolving restaurant and gives you a view of the entire city. The concept of Cloud 7 is that each side of the restaurant has something- the entrance with the lift, the main course counter, the salads and dips counter and the dessert counter, and the 4th side which is the kitchen. Only where the tables are laid is what revolves. You will actually be looking at one thing in the town when you start your meal, and by the time you reach dessert, you see that spot coming again. So much fun!

Dinner at Cloud 7 comprised of green salad, pickles, make your own papdi chaat counter, some more salads with different kinds of dips to mix the veggies with. These were the weak points of the meal, but the main course was phenomenal! Pakode with kadhi, Kashmiri aloo, Pahadi Chicken, a mushroom subji, a mutton dish, roasted potatoes, grilled veggies, Paneer Kadhai, and biryani. Every dish was finger-licking good. Food that will make you long for more, food that will fill your stomach but you will still ask for more to satiate your soul. The paneer and kadhi pakoda were to die for, and the Chicken Pahadi was just what a guest in the hotel needs to taste to know how the local food of Palampur tastes like. Dessert was another weak point, but the main course made up for everything so brilliantly!

Breakfast at RS Sarovar Portico can just not be missed! The breakfast spread at The Terrace consists of a variety of things- cereals, fresh juices and milk, Indian like poori bhaji, South Indian- idli, vada, utthapam, and dosa on order everyday, paranthe of different stuffing, fresh fruits, donuts, pastries, muffins, croissants, various breads, sausages, boiled eggs, eggs on order. A moment here to appreciate the sweet chef preparing eggs. Brilliant eggs! Scrambled eggs so soft and runny, just how I like it and just how they’re supposed to be too. A fluffy omelette which is very moist in the centre. Poori Bhaji that made me have 2 pooris. Sausages cooked so well- juicy like there’s nothing better than them! One day they were just pan seared and one day tossed in onions. Incredible sausages!

So a breakfast buffet basically means you can eat all you want, yes we know that, but you can also sample all you want. So of course, how will we leave the dosa counter behind. Fresh crisp dosas with a stuffing of aloo, uthappam on another day, idli too, and chutneys to go with. The sambhar could be better, but the other stuff was so good that this doesn’t stay in people’s memory for longer than a minute. Also, you get all this with a view that's breathtaking! Imagine checking in to the hotel at noon, and coming for breakfast the next morning, welcomed by a view of the Dhauladhar range that looks like a 3D picture, no exaggeration. Stunning!

They have a 24 hour in-room dining, and it is amazing if you stick to the safe options. On one of the nights I ordered a coffee and they said they can’t bring cappuccino because it will get cold, but can do the normal coffee. The coffee that came was really average. Asked the person taking my order what dessert would they have to go with the coffee and they said Chocolate Brownie. It tasted like cardboard. But on the day I missed the buffet breakfast, I ordered breakfast in the room. Chicken Club Sandwich, Chichen Sandwich and Cold Coffee. What delicious sandwiches! So so filling, stuffed with chicken, such good flavours, crisp bread of the club sandwich and grilled of the other one. Soul satisfying stuff! The cold coffee was made as per our specifications, and that too was superb! The perfect fix to start the day!

Service and staff:

RS Sarovar tells you why the best people and best staff you will meet is at the hidden gems of India like Palampur. People so pure at heart, people not sweet because it’s their job but genuinely sweet by nature. Always ready to help, always ready to assist in every way possible, and doing this ever-so-willingly. Apart from all the warmth the staff here emits all the time, they guide you very well with the things to do in Palampur too. They will insist and tell you to go elsewhere if you’re making a bad choice and choosing something else.

The front desk manager, Mr. Rohit, the General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Rohit Verma, the lady escorting us to our table at breakfast everyday, the lady at the front desk, a special mention to these four people. Forgetting the names of the two ladies, but they’re very very kind, very helpful people.

In a jist:

RS Sarovar Portico needs to be your ONLY choice when visiting Palampur because of its excellent location, the luxury and comfort of the hotel, affordable room rates, great great food at their restaurants, and the super sweet staff that makes your stay even more amazing.

Make your reservations on the hotel's website or any of the travel aggregator websites.
Contact: +91-8739055555 , +91-8542855555

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