Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Back in 2007 with more....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Food.

I love Christmas even if I do tend to get maudlin. And the food is always excellent. Over the years, I’ve fallen into routine and been in Madras for Christmas as my Grandparents, from both sides, live there but I wasn’t able to make it this year and hence will have to eat vicariously.

When my Grandfather was alive I have recollections of large Christmas parties with hundreds of people, two bars and a mahogany dining table that fair protested under the sheer weight of food. And what a spread it was.

Post-Church breakfast, on Christmas day, was always appam and chicken stew, with a side of egg roast. And dinner, that followed the massive lunch (detailed below), is almost always from Buharis or Blue Diamond. Buharis, being past its prime (even if it did create the original Chicken 65, chicken kebab was item number 65 on their menu and no other explanation is valid.) has more or less given way to the fabulous Sri Lankan Muslim food from Blue Diamond, egg and kheema parathas, ghee parathas, mutton kurma, kotthu paratahas…oh, so good.

Yes, so on with lunch. Us being Mallu, there’d have to be some food from “Our Land”, usually a chicken curry, beef fry, fish fry, red fish curry, two vegetables, papad and some pickle, and the ‘Continental’ side would feature roast turkey, roast chicken, duck if we were lucky, glazed leg of ham, sausages, roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Russian salad, bread rolls and crumb fried fish. The menu almost never changed, and still remains the same, except for one year when the Grandmother decided that a roast pig would be a good addition. Minor variations are allowed, some years we have smoked salmon and the Mallu food is prone to change. But the basic nature of the buffet remains unchanged, to this day. Dessert is always a steamed Christmas pudding (with a silver coin in it, for one lucky soul to wish upon.), served with brandy butter, lemon juice and Bosoto Brother’s cream (cream so thick you could invert the tub and it wouldn’t fall.)

This year, being in Bangalore and not having access to my traditional meal, I dined at Sunny’s. They had a set menu, which featured a French onion soup or a pumpkin and apple soup (both were good. Thought the latter could have used more spice to hide the overbearingly sweet base.), starters of smoked salmon rolls, fried nori shrimp, Vietnamese rolls and grilled Shitake mushrooms (all of them, barring the rolls were very good.), a salad of warm goats cheese, green apples and romaine (a fabulous paring but rocket would have worked even better.), a pomegranate sorbet (excellent. But obviously made from juice and hence maybe a little too sweet.) and a main course of turkey served with a sweet potato puree, stuffing and cranberry jelly. (I'm betting that it was a Butterball turkey. Not bad, but I like mine more flavorful, leg meat and all. Good gravy, I can't stand the cranberry jelly, and the whole thing was too nouveau with the sweet potato crap. I wanted roast potatoes. Stuffing was okay, but politically correct as it had chicken sausage and no organ meat) Unfortunately, there was no glazed leg of ham. And the X'mas pudding was more a cake. And no cream and piddlingly little brandy butter.

But for the company, I’d rather have been in Madras.

So, what did you eat for Christmas?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas


The cops had closed Brigade Road to vehicular traffic on X'mas eve. I wish they'd do it more often...



Merry Christmas ya'll, have a good one and drive safe.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Opus. Christmas Special.

Last night a bunch of us went to Opus for the Christmas edition of their weekly Booze & Brains quiz. Didn't eat much apart from some all too fishy fish fingers and potato wedges.

Mark Rego managed to get atleast one question wrong, or so I firmly believe. Where is Tabasco sauce made? His answer was Mexico. Mine was the USA. He claims it's made only in Mexico and bottled in many countries, India included. I'm pretty sure he's wrong. On both counts.

A few pictures below of the special Christmas food counter Opus has set up with grilled chicken, turkey, duck and quail; roast leg of lamb and pork; baked pork rolls and glazed legs of ham, prawns and live crabs. All looks very good and maybe someone who's tried it can let me know if it's any good?

And for the record, we came third.




Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pricey Dining

Forbes has a story on India's Most Expensive Restaurants. Take a look at the slideshow and pick your jaw up off the floor.

Bangalore features twice, once with this gem from "gourmet writer Ajit Saldanha" who remarks on the rise of these expensive dining haunts thus:

"I call it trophy dining. If you've got it and don't flaunt it, well, what's the point?"

Is he the best they could do when they claim to have based their list on "...recommendations from the country's top food critics, who insist the pricy menus are worth every rupee"? Which brings me to my second sore point, their sole choice for Bangalore is Zen at the Leela, which was recently visited and trashed. Resoundlingly so. So much for the food actually mattering.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Link List


Hey! You! Yes, you dear reader!

Now that I've got your attention can I ask you to direct it to our Link Blog? Go on, take a look at it and you'll find the most interesting reads such as:


Google road maps for Bangalore and other Indian cities.

A History Of Religion in 90 Seconds.

Ever Wonder what became of Winnie Copper from the Wonder Years? Wonder no more...

Know what Drinking a Coke does to you?

Banquet Menus from the Nobel Prize Ceremonies


Heck, and that's just for this week! Go on, read it, or better yet, subscribe to it.

You know you want to...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Overheard

My colleague two tables away speaks into his phone

"Ah, Arun, where are you? Chinna veedu? Periya veedu?"

hahaha. Somehow that shit is just plain wrong.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jobless Pics.


Would you trust them? I think not...

Empire. 3.50/5.00

Given the furore that the Imperial vs. Empire debate has caused on this blog and given that the kebab question has now been answered (49% prefer Imperial chicken kebabs to the Empire ones. I can't disgaree!) I was finally able to visit Empire. This review is of the Central Street branch. My quick take: Empire has enough, kebabs apart, to want to dine there.

Our evening began at Windsor Pub where the beer was accompanied by the usual 'snackes' followed by a short detour to, ummm, build appetite as it were.

For six of us, we ordered a lot. And I mean a lot. One grilled leg of mutton (raan), one grilled chicken, one and a half kebabs, one ginger chicken, two brain fry, 12 coin parotas, 2 kerala parotas, 2 ghee rice and sulemani to round it all of. I do believe it's the first time I've ever paid a bill of over Rs. 1000 at either Empire or Imperial. And yes, we finished it all.



Honestly, I can see myself going back soon. Not for the kebabs, they weren't a patch on the ones at Imperial. Not by a long shot. But, the grilled chicken was superb. Far better than the stuff you get at Imperial or Siddiques. The raan is also excellent, I'd be happier if the crisped the outside a bit, and such good value for money but it does have far less meat than you'd expert. Oh, the grilled chicken and the raan are best with roomalis not the KP/CP stuff. The brain was very different from the pepper fry at Imperial and it wasn't necessarily worse and is worth trying. The ginger chicken, as Chinese as it sounds, seems to be a burial ground for leftover tandoori chicken which isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds. In fact, I liked it. Enough to want to go back and try it again. Personally, I prefer the parotas at Imperial but hey, don't let that cloud your judgment. There's not much between the two. However, the ghee rice/gravy and the sulemani, are far better at Imperial.

So there, my review. Finally. Feel free to disagree/agree/comment below. I'd love to hear from you. As an aside, what's with the bombastic names? Imperial? Empire? Paramount?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Food Reviews

Came by a new Restaurant Blog that has some good reviews on Tai Tai, Shiok and such places.

If you do come across blogs that review food in Bangalore, send me a mail won't you?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Richies. 3.75/5.00

It's tough rating a place like Richies. It really is. Not because the food isn't good, it is. But mainly because that's all that's good about it. The food. You really wouldn't go there for the ambiance, it's all fake wood, dim lighting from gaudy chandeliers and a, well ummm, an assorted crowd of diners. Much like other restaurants in the area.

But then, it's only about the food. And good God, it's incredible with one disclaimer, you need to be a carnivore, failing which, a poultry-vore.

There are only so many things one orders. Their mutton and chicken biryani cannot be beat. Not in this town anyway. And the stand-out feature is that the two are different, they don't take the easy way out. Their dal fry needs to be tried to be believed. It's good enough to make me order it, along with hot tandoori rotis. (Tip: Squeeze the oil out of the sauteed round red chilly that they add. Delicious!) The lamb in the biryani is tender, so very flavourful and never over cooked. It's brilliant. So too are their sheekh kebabs. On good days, you'll get deep fried teethar, which is similarly excellent. I like the fact that their raitha doesn't have cucumber and that you get a little portion of some very good kheer along with each order of biryani.


Their other food, the usual suspects of chicken and mutton hyderabadi/kholapuri/do pyaza etc., are also worth a shot but not in the same league as their biryani/roti/dal and sheekh kebab. Oh, and they'll also sell you the biryani, on order, by the kilogram. It's such a hit at parties.

Richies is on MM Road, about half way down. Hard to miss. But do go.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Autorickshaw

What a wonderful day to drive with nary an auto in sight!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chunky

The chocolate or the eater?

Jobless Pics. 70.

A bus with a speed limiter. Pity it's a private service vehicle. They ought to fit BMTC vehicles with one. And a lane limiter, if one exists. Made and advertised by Pricol.

Spencer's (the erstwhile Food World) has a very interesting looking Delicatessen (Deli, you say?) on their premises. One chiller has a wide range of cheeses.

While the other has a variety of chicken and pork sausages and other assorted cold meats. They're predominantly from the Keells stable, a Sri Lankan brand. And they're pretty damn good.

Discount @ Shiok.

For two nights (and days) only, Shiok is celebrating their third anniversary and is offering:


"a discount of 15% on your ... entire bill, including [their] nice cocktails in the cocktail lounge."
Run, don't walk and make a reservation.

Oh, and congratulations!

Monday, December 11, 2006

For The Ladies; Male Models.

Chamique and I went in search of a pair of weight training gloves yesterday and landed up at the Nike Store on 100 Foot Road where I was confronted by this visage and much gentle prodding.


As impressive as these specimens are, ladies would do well to remember that they don't have a head. Then again, most women claim men don't have one anyway. Or even if they do, that they don't use it.

But they look funny undressed! Then again, so do most of us...

Either way, men, we lose.

We must protest this base objectification of our bodies. We must ask for more realistic portrayals of the male body.

Gah! Humbug!

Update: An unnamed reader sends in a story titled "Don't Misunderestimate Yourself: Why people think that rivals are better looking than they really are" from the current edition of the Economist which states:
"...that people of both sexes reckon the sexual competition they face is stronger than it really is."
Take that you immobile mannequin!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend Food. Windsor Pub & Tai Tai.

Saturday night saw us at Windsor Pub (Click for previous review) after previewing the Srishti installations that were being constructed/finished at the Alliance Fran├žaises . Our usual meal of Masala Fried Prawns (great, as always.), Chilli Cheese Toast (jumpin' jimney! These have some bite.), Masala Peanuts (meh!), Masala Pork Sausage (Spicy but a tad over cooked and consequently, mushy.) Chicken Stew and Prawn Curry with Appams/Sannas (I actually think it's the best in Bangalore but feel free to disagree in the comments...) but unfortunately no Tosca Cake to round out the meal.

[I'm trying this new format for the pictures. Please click on them for a larger view. And let me know if you prefer this format or the individual picture format]


Given the "must-visit" status that Tai Tai has garnered, I decided to lunch there on Sunday. After some confusion (they only have a buffet with an optional barbecue on Sunday, I wanted a la carte and they very graciously cooked me an a la carte lunch.) and much hunting for parking we were seated on the terrace but chose to move downstairs as the kitchen vents hot air close to there. The buffet seemed interesting, the first picture, but we ordered from their menu, which while limited is filled with endless possibility.

We started with a cured beef and rice paper rolls with roast duck, the former being outstandingly good while the latter suffered solely on account of the paper being far thicker than ideal. The main courses were a Burmese Lamb Stew served with Noodles and the usual accompaniments, a Grilled Beef with a Soya Sabayon and Steamed Sea Bass with Basil and Mango Relish. The entrees were, and I'm being repetitive, fabulous. Balance, flavour, colour; plated Asian food works at this restaurant. And how!

Dessert was far less exciting than the rest of the meal but still very good on its own merits. A Peach Cobbler with Kiwi Coulis and a Chocolate Almond Mud Pie.


I'd say go, go as soon as you can and as often as you can simply because, and I hope I'm wrong, it would be hard work to hold this level of quality for long. But for now, it's probably one of the best restaurants in Bangalore.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

VAT. And Tipping.

I've been eating out a fair bit over the last couple of weeks and have started to notice something most incongruous, and ingenious, on bills that I've been presented at dining establishment across Bangalore.

But first, when I say VAT what number do you think of? 4%? 12.5%? Chances are, it'll be one of the two as it's the two most familiar numbers we have come to associate with the VAT charged in our fair Bangalore.

Now, think back to your last meal and recollect what the VAT component was. Did they charge you 4% VAT? Or 12.5 VAT? Or did they sneakily charge you a 12.5% "Service Charge"? The trouble is, if we see 12.5 on the bill and it's vaguely associated with the words Service or Tax or VAT or Charge we, subconsciously, write it off as a tax.

Today, after lunching at Tangerine, the bill showed a Service Charge of 12.5% and when I inquired, they stated that it was 4% VAT and and an 8.5% Service Charge. How bloody convenient. And now I'm left wondering how many restaurants pull this stunt with patrons being none the wiser.

And while on the subject of tipping, isn't it pathetic how badly Indians tip? There aren't too many people I know who decide the tip amount based on the bill value but rather on some perceived notions of charity and personal vanity. Leave 10%, at minimum and up to a maximum of 20%, if you're happy with the service calculated on the pre-tax amount.

Leave a comment. Let me know.

Update: MadMan points me to an old post of his where he states:
I also would like to mention that 80% of guests are unbelievably lousy tippers. The other 20% are the saving grace. When I see a Rs. 19 tip for a bill of Rs. 1581, I feel sad, even though I don't keep a cent for myself. Please be nice... tip in the region of 10% if the service was good. You will be remembered. Keep a cap of Rs. 200 if you want so you don't need to leave Rs. 500 for a bill of Rs. 5000.

Penis Envy

Much noise, and righteous indignation, has been made about the apparent, ummm, inadequacy of the Indian Male.

All I can say is:
via the delightful XKCD

Friday, December 08, 2006

Imperial or Empire?

Given the long running Bangalore feud over which place has better chicken kebabs, Imperial or Empire and given that Dilettante and I can't agree on this, I'm leaving the final say in the matter up to you, dear blog readers.

If you vote for "Somewhere Else", please leave us a comment and let us know where.



Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com

Maya

A friend being in town is always reason to celebrate. (Well, if not to celebrate then to inebriate, what? Gah, that sounded far more erudite when I thought it up. I apologize.) And having just read about Tai Tai I decided that we'd drop in at the bar below, Maya, and then head on up to dinner. But fate and insistent friends decided otherwise.

It's a funny feeling to exit the lift on the 3rd floor of the Bombay Store only to be accosted by wait-staff from Tiger Bay, which has given up half their floor space to Maya if not more (and that's a good thing. The only thing they've ever offered me was a bout of serious gastric distress.), asking and then pleading with you to dine at their now-emasculated-dining-establishment. It's easy enough to refuse and I headed to Maya.

At Maya, we had a few drinks, my Caipiroska was good, the Mojito wasn't a patch on the one I have at Shiok and the fruit flavoured Margaritas were a tad too sweet. Their snacks menu is small, both in size and content, and it matches the size of the portions which are minuscule. Then again, the prices are most reasonable. The food was good and much enjoyment was had by all.

As for dinner, by popular vote, we landed up at Imperial. I can't say that I was disappointed. Oh, and the highlight of the evening was when two dining companions, both Empire fans, exclaimed, with much delight, that the kebabs were far superior and that they wouldn't be going back to Empire any time soon. Score one for the home team!



Does anyone know what was happening on Brigade Road? A demolition? A renovation?


And if you've ever had the good fortune of reading "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee then you'll be happy to know that he has a blog (News For Curious Cooks) of his own. Do read it, you're assured of learning something

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bangalore. Food. Drink. Review.

Some links for you compulsive eater-outers:

Bangalore Belly

"Bangalore Belly is a blog about eating out in Bangalore. I am not an expert foodie but I love eating out and am always looking out for exciting restaurants in Bangalore. If you want some tips on what to do for lunch, dinner or dessert, read on! And don’t forget to tell me about your favourite places in Bangalore to eat and drink."
Bangalore Burrp!
"Burrp! is a fun and easy way to check out and share reviews and recommendations about establishments in your city and your neighborhood" started when "...five buddies traveled to Mumbai one December, they found it very difficult to just find the right places to go to. Hotel concierges were of some help, but they were probably getting kickbacks to drop certain establishment names. Professional journalists and reviewers had nothing in common with us. What did the people of Mumbai actually think? Walking around asking people wasn’t the best way to get those answers. We all thought, this city really needs…Burrp!"
Sig Food, India

Sig Food, Bangalore

Sig Food @ Ryze
"SIGFood stands for Special Interest Group in Food. What that means is pretty obvious. The idea is very simple - explore a new good food joint as often as possible. Sometimes budget is a concern, sometimes we just let go."
There's always Tulleeho for bar reviews across India (and the world!), even if the ones for Bangalore could do with some updating.

And in other good news, Anonymous Foodie is back, after many many months, with his take on Kaati Zone.

Update: If you're looking to order food from restaurants that don't offer home delivery or you'd like to book a table at a restaurant and don't have the number or you'd like to see the menu from a dining establishment, I'd suggest you head on over to Hungry Bangalore. I've never used it and hence can't comment on it. They also have a blog chronicling their story.

Taj Mahal

I've never visited the Taj Mahal and wanted to on my trip to Delhi but it didn't come to pass. Provo informs me that it's a nominee for a place in the New Seven Wonders of the World and it'd be nice to see it acknowledged for what it is, a wondrous testament to human expression and ability, the downsides notwithstanding.

Voting on the site isn't easy and requires registration . So follow this link, sign up and vote. An alternative, and easier, way to vote is to send an SMS with "TAJ" to 6767 and it'll cost you a maximum of three rupees. (within India only. For other countries check here.)

Oh, and vote even if you believe it was a temple and called Tejo Mahalaya as Mr. PN Oaks believes. The name has hint of Caucasian credibility, does it not? Till you realize that PN stands for Purushottam Nagesh and that he's previously claimed the Vatican, the Pyramids and the Stonehenge as Hindu constructions.

So yes, vote. By the internets or by the phone. But vote.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kerala

I had to make a quick trip to Kerala for an aunt's 50th birthday and while there, I visited both of my ancestral homes. They've recently been spruced up by the family and are looking fabulous, if a wee bit inauthentic. Some of the houses are quite outstanding, they are an all-wood construction, with even the hinges, locks and rafters being made out of wood. They're both located on the backwaters and till recently, the only way there was by boat, or a kettu vallam. On the boat ride, saw a brace of ducks and paddy fields that are five feet below the level of the river. Roads have arrived, so has civilization and all that's attendant.

A few pictures from the trip, please click on them to view them full size, and two videos that will appeal to the power hungry, male readers.





A long-ish video of my boat ride from the Kottayam Sailing Club to the Mankotta House. Dang, it was fast, at 60 MPH!



And this was the 200BHP, V6 monster driving us along. Apparently, it gives close to 5 MPG! Power! Power!

Le Rock Cafe

It's been a while since we've had a guest reviewer. MadMan paid a visit to Le Rock Cafe and reports in with this review:
-x-o-x-

Landed up at this place at 10:20 last night.

(Why? Well, a couple of my friends said they'd buy me birthday drinks at Geoffrey's last night. Was there from 8:30 to 9:40. Got serious sticker shock - Rs. 450 for Long Island Iced Tea - and watered down cocktails, and then my friends dropped a "we have to work tomorrow so we have to leave now" bomb. So had to quickly phone around to see who was available. Only one dude, who happened to be at Le Rock.)

Right, so drove to Le Rock and met my friend. Decided to go upstairs and have a drink or two. Ordered a Black Russian and later a Banana Martini. Both arrived in 90 ml liqueur martini-shaped glasses, which was odd. (In other words, not a lot of booze in there.) Cost was about Rs. 250 each.

For starters, ordered a "seafood basket" for Rs. 200, and while the prawns had a bit too much batter, the dish as a whole was surprisingly good. It came with a lot of fries and potato wedges too, which my vegetarian friend happily ate. Everything was well-seasoned and not greasy, which made me happy. The waiter seemed awfully keen to push the "tandoor" items on us, so I'm guessing it didn't sell too well that day.

Alas, at 10:40, the waiter bloke came and told us "last order", which surprised both of us (but I know the cop action in that area is harsh, which probably explains it.)

I wanted to order some main course, and was told that much of the main course section was unavailable, and once again was persuaded to try the "tandoor" dishes, and he finally recommended the "grill chicken", which turned out to be a chicken tikka redesigned. Except that it was hideous. I could taste little except for raw chilli.

The lights came on at 11 PM and 10 minutes after that, everyone was rushed to finish up. Our waiter even told us that he'd pack my friend's beer in a takeaway container if he wanted (there was half a bottle left.)

The place had emptied out at 11:25 PM.

Total cost - Rs. 1211 - for:

3 Beers
2 Mini-cocktails
1 Mixed seafood basket
1 Chicken tikka aka grilled chicken

(There is a 5% service charge added to bills.)

I like the big plasma screens and the sound quality is definitely good, though the music was a tad too loud (personal bias disclosure: I'm not a fan of loud music.)

And hey, I didn't have to shell out Rs. 325 per chicken dish like at Geoffrey's. (3 drinks and 3 starters there were about Rs. 2200.)

Neemrana

While in Delhi last week, I made a quick trip to the Neemrana Fort Palace to attend Alu's wedding. It's some place. It really is.

As a wedding location it is stunning. However, it does have one drawback. Nine levels of steps that can be treacherous when you've imbibed more than your fair share. And when it's dark, it's downright scary. The food was simple, but very good. The views National Geographic-esque and even more pretty at night. They put on a wonderful fireworks display and the place was decorated with flowers of every hue. It was wonderful.

Go! Go! eM, do you hear me?







Sunday, December 03, 2006

Old Delhi. And New.

Following Chamique's take, I did a few touristy things in Delhi. Like riding the Metro and gawking like wide eyed villagers at the progress our Capital has made, breathing fresh, relatively unpolluted air that CNG has wrought and marveling at the history within the city. The sound and light show at the Red Fort was worth every paise of the fifty rupees we paid. It's amazing how they've crammed Metro stations into places like Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar.







Lastly, never forget:

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Habba...

...is back. And you can get your passes at these locations.

It's a pity we no longer associate the word habba with Vasantahabba, but Bengalooru Habba (Other than Dasara-habba, Gowri-Ganesha habba, Christmas-habba, etc., of course).

Anyway, it seems like there are no "mega-events" at Palace Grounds which, invariably, had one show choreographed by Prasad Bidappa, who, I guess is busy dropping names to get various family members away from the long arm of the law. But, the mega-events did have some pretty cool performers - everyone from Pt. Shivkmar Sharma and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan to Strings and Indian Ocean. Good stuff, that.

What we do have this year are, a lot of smaller events at Ravindra Kalakshetra and Chowdiah Memorial Hall, rather a lot more attention is being paid to these venues. The Food Festival should be investigated, though. Last year the food festival (which got it's footfalls from the mega-events) was jolada-roti types jostling with the Sagar-types.

No news of the Artistes' Walkway, which was amongst the coolest things about that week.

Will keep you posted on anything that might happen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Food In Delhi.

I spent some time in Delhi last week and the inescapable conclusion is that the food there is far more varied than that in Bangalore. It's also far better and far more expensive but then I'm not so concerned with the latter. Over the course of a week, I tried Alkauser, Laidbackwaters, Azzuro, Swagat and Flavours. They were all outstanding bar one.

Alkauser


The kebabs were bloody marvelous. The house specialties were Galouti and Kakori kebabs, both of which were out-fucking-standing. Melt in the mouth, enough fat to make your arteries harden with fright, and they were served with a superb parataha, the name of which eludes me. We also ordered some Dal (kinda boring, but it was okay. Not good.), paneer tikka (very, very good. The Northies know their paneer.) and some surprisingly excellent fish tikka which we had to bribe them to obtain as it was the last plate. The biryani, Lucknowi, was startlingly boring. And wet. And the meal only cost us 200 bucks a head. Paisa vasool wonly.

Laidback Waters

Went here the night we got in. Uber-kewl joint it is at the Qutub. Like a lounge bar crossed with a harem. Managed to get the nicest seats, nay beds in the house. Their drinks a pifflingly weak but the food more than makes up for it. We tried some chicken tartlets (inventive but weak on execution.), saffron prawns (fresh but too much saffron.), fish finger-lets (gut. zehr gut.) and a gigantanormous bread basket with the pick being the rasin-nut bread. Main course was a Goan fish curry with rice which made us sing but it lacked in texture, as if they had run the sauce through a blender. Others had lamb with polenta, chingri malai curry and a baked potato and vegetable thingy that was good but preferable as a side to a roast leg of lamb. Dessert was superb with the wine and chocolate cake being the pick. Expensive? You bet. 12K for the five of us.

Azzuro

Small little Eye-Talian place in Saket. But this belies the price (gah! Horrendous!). Food was acceptable. Not outstanding. Fish fingers, bruschetta, red snapper in leek and cream sauce, sole with lemon butter , Caesar's salad and a very very good take on the ubiquitous chocolate fondant. But don't go there. Horrendous service. You're likely to gray waiting for your food. Seriously. I'd much prefer Sunny's or Herbs and Spice.

Swagat

Very nice place where a Southie like me feels at home, with waiters shouting in Kannada. Food is much like Anupam's and as good too. Which is something because the nearest water body is the Jamuna. Very fresh kane rawa fry and prawns koliwada to start with and the main course consisted of prawns, Manglorean and Chettinad, and some ghee roast chicken. A most excellent meal it was and most reasonable priced too.

Flavours

We had a good salad and some wonderful wood fired pizza here. I'm told the pricing is reasonable by Delhi standards but would be expensive by our Southern standards. Food is pretty good, desserts are nice but the service is a bit stuck up.

Other than these, we did the chaat routine at Chadni Chowk (dang, I'd eat chaat if they could make it like that in Bangalore.), hot chocolate fudge at Nirula's (sucks donkey's balls. You don't know HCF till you've been to Corner House.), lots of wedding food (some simple, some extravagant but all of it brilliant.), McD's (which does take away and only then do you realize how ghastly it can be.), house part food (Penne alla Vodka, and a cold macaroni salad and some eggs and some meat.) and a few more meals on the run. Oh, and Momos at Dilli Haat. Not bad, I expected better and have been told Chanakyapuri is where it's at.

Mostly, I was very impressed with the food and the city. But more on the city later. The only pity was that I wasn't able to visit TC's which was just around the corner.

Oh, did I mention that I was shacked up with the Recluse? Thanks dawg.