This Hookah Lounge Is Serving Lip smacking Food!

I don’t remember the last time I went to a Hookah joint – probably in high school. The first thing that pops up in our head when we think of a hookah joint is tonnes of smoke, young kids, and blaring music. Well honestly, that has not quite changed yet but what is a little surprising is the food. Mostly hookah joints fail to deliver when it comes to food but this place really surprised me. Invited by the Team VR1 and Jude Martin (The Food Seeker) I skeptically strut along – I really was not sure what to expect other than over smart kids and bollywood tracks, here’s what I thought about this place –

Location : Take the road (Bata Showroom) from the Hazra more and come straight till you reach Paramount Nursing Home which will be on your right. Keeping walking straight for a minute and the place will be on your left.
Ambiance : The interiors are basic, not so overpowering and kept to a bare minimum which I liked. Although they can really improve on a few grounds nevertheless. Music really needs to be toned down a little. The place isn’t very big but can decently accommodate moderate groups.
Food : Now this is where I was impressed and I really did not see this coming.
Here’s what we were served –
For Hookah, they gave us Meetha Paan and Pollo (a specialty) which was pretty decent – not very strong, just what I like. They also have happy hours where the hookahs are extremely reasonable.
Beverages – Lemon Iced Tea, Green Apple Iced Tea, Kit Kat Shake, Oreo Mint Shake
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This place has some serious beverage making skills. Their shakes are really good, especially the Kit Kat shake which had the perfect consistency, the Oreo Mint shake was also pretty great.
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However, the green apple iced tea was very refreshing, and something new for me.
Entrees – Paneer Chamula, Fish Finger, Thai Ginger Chicken, Pan Fried Momo
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The entrees were quite good and hence I was pleased – my favourites were the pan fried momos, the fish finger which is very soft and juicy, very well made.
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The thai ginger chicken which was very well seasoned and was very juicy. The paneer however needed tad bit more seasoning but that’s completely fine!
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The pan fried momos were beautifully made – the skin was thin and it was generously stuffed and had a slight kick from the schezwan sauce.
Mains – Tex Mex Rice, Grilled Chicken with Paprika Sauce, Calzone Pizza
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The have very good mains as well. My absolute favourite and the star dish of this meet was the Grilled Chicken with Paprika Sauce.
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The rice goes so well with it, it is a dish that you would find at any good continental joint, let alone a hookah parlour but they did a very good job.
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This was also my first time trying a Calzone, which is a stuffed pizza and I did like it. I would suggest ordering a calzone if you are not very hungry and stick to the pan fried momos.
Desserts – Choco Plant and Sizzling Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream
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To end this on a sweet note, the sizzling brownie and choco plant were both winners considering the amount of gooey goodness they both had. This place definitely has a lot of potential. Just come down for the food, if nothing else seems interesting.
Hospitality : The staff are friendly and welcoming. They have young crowd coming in all the time so they pretty much know the drill. They are also quite good at providing suggestions in case you need an expert advice on the food. Oh and keep an eye for their neon filters for hookah. Those are pretty cool!
To conclude, this was definitely eye opening for me and I had a great time honestly. You should definitely drop by for a change and I assure that you will not be disappointed.
Pocket pinch for two would be around INR 500/- plus taxes which I feel is quite reasonable.
Picture Courtesy : Soham Sinha
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What Da, Did You Dine Here Yet?

The Coastal Macha is by far the best restaurant in the city that is serving up Konkani Cuisine to the happy Calcuttans. They specialize in coastal delicacies hence the name. They mainly serve authentic delectable cuisine from the coast of Konkan , Malabarand Coromandel which includes Goa , Maharashtra , Mangalore and Tamil Nadu. This was my first time to the restaurant, albeit my first brush with Konkani food and let me assure you that you are not going to regret this meal here. One appam in, and I was in love.

I finally made it to this restaurant and they are currently celebrating their first anniversary! What luck. I was in for a treat. My heartiest thanks to my Management and First Idea PR for inviting me over to try their new anniversary menu.

This is their new anniversary menu with inclusion of pork. The Coastal Macha, heaven for tasty coastal cuisines at Southern Avenue has just turned one and has already mesmerized its visitors with lip-smacking coastal palettes. After serving the unique and unknown taste of coarse spices and zesty beverages to its customers, the eatery is now all set to offer its New Menu, to celebrate it’s first anniversary, for a wholesome culinary experience while unveiling some of the best dishes from the coasts of Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Malabar, Mangalore and so forth.

According to Mr. Piyush Menon, the co-owner at The Coastal Macha, “The menu will see a lot more authentic dishes coming into the scene like Gongura Fry, Cafreal, Coorgi Masala and Belluli. With the introduction of the this special anniversary new menu, we want to focus on our regular guests and anyone who wants to have a wider and more authentic choice in their meal.”

This review is divided into three parts – ambiance, food and hospitality to give you an overview of my experience. Considering that their new menu boasts of a lot of pork dishes, I would like to point out that they also have the the mutton version of the same dishes.

AMBIANCE : The restaurant has a fantastic location at Southern Avenue. The ambiance is quite simple and basic, although there are tonnes of coastal feels owing to the basket lights on the ceiling, the anchors on the wall, the seashell and sand tables to give you a feel of the coastline. Quite neat and smartly spruced up. Space isn’t huge but that hopefully won’t be a problem if you are not in a huge group.

FOOD : We started our meal with the Kokum Sherbat. Now I have never tasted anything has kokum in it. It was a lovely refreshing drink with a splash of jaljeera on top.

                                                           
                                                            PORK GONGURA FRY
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Pork Gongura Fry was the first one to go down which is a tangy & spicy andhra stir fry with sorrell leaf paste. You can also get the Mutton version if you do not eat pork. This was honestly my favourite dish here. Lovely, slightly spicy yet not overpowering. Goes brilliantly with the appam.
                                                              MUTTON CAFREAL
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Mutton Cafreal was up next which is a Goan delicacy made with a spice mix along with cilantro & mint. This is something unique, very different from anything I have ever tasted.
                                                STUFFED SQUID WITH CRAB MEAT

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Stuffed Squid with Crab Meat soon followed and it was pretty amazing. The crab meat stuffing inside is lovely and very tender. It is extremely flavourful and can be enjoyed with appam. The squid is generously stuffed and a plate should be enough for two people.
                                                         SQUID BELLULI ROAST

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Squid Belluli Roast is a gorgeous  garlic based Mangalorian dish with traditional spices and this is really good. If you are a seafood lover, then you should absolutely try this. This was amazing.
                                                             PORK VINDALOO
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Pork Vindaloo is the quintessential classic from the anglos of Goa, spicy, tangy & rustic which needs no introduction. I can return back just for this and the gongura fry.

                                                         
                                                           PRAWN GOAN CURRY
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Prawn Goan Curry is slightly different from all the dishes mentioned above, this is more on the milder side but nevertheless quite good. I would suggest that you try pairing this with rice.

Appam is the classic staple to your sides and this is hands down brilliant. A plate of appam has two of them so yeah you might want to order another if you are two people but let me assure you, they’re quite big.

 

                                                     TENDER COCONUT PUDDING
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To end the coastal gastronomy, Tender Coconut Pudding which is made with Coconut Malai, Coconut Water & Thick Milk came to the rescue and it was equally delightful. I was really skeptical about this because I am a sweet hoarder and I can’t stand my desserts going wrong but was so mistaken – you should definitely order desserts here. Their entire menu is pretty awesome – right from the entrees to the mains and desserts. What macha, come down and dine no!

HOSPITALITY : The staff are very courteous and hospitable. if you by chance happen to met the chef/owner Piyush Menon, do stop him in his tracks and engage him in an conversation. We were lucky to have him around and listened to his culinary brilliance. He loves a good chat and can educate you so much about the food they serve at the restaurant. Absolutely amazing!

To conclude, the pocket pinch for two would be around INR 1000/-
plus taxes for an entire course. I am definitely returning back very soon. Ciao!

Calcutta’s Finest Italian Diner Is Back!

Serafina definitely needs no introduction as the finest Italian eatery in Kolkata. However, they were close for quite sometime as they were going through a revamp. But guess what? They are back and even better. The interiors are beautifully done and it’s so much better than what it was previously. I have been to this restaurants quite a few times, and I love their Sunday brunch as well. But this time, I went there on an invitation from the Management and I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for this amazing dinner.

Even before that, I was intimated about Serafina with a lovely gift hamper from the PR team and Team Global Kitchens Kolkata who made this a beautiful affair. A nice hamper was soon sent out with an invitation to join them for dinner at the newly revamped Serafina and hence I followed suit to one of the best dinners that I’ve had.

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So around evening, I reached Quest Mall and trust me, I was excited to see the new look of this wonderful diner. I have had many a meals here and undoubtedly this place is close to my heart. Finally as I made it to the 5th floor where this place is housed, I was mildly surprised. The restaurant stood tall and proud after the wonderful makeover. The interiors are warm and cozy – the wood fire pizza place is bang on in the middle of the restaurant. It’s more opened up and looks very welcoming.  This also has a very rustic Italian feel to it. I don’t think I need to stress on how good the hospitality is. Absolutely warm and welcoming – staff is extremely attentive and accommodating. The managers are always on to floor to look over their patrons and this I can tell that they really value their guests.

Now let’s get down to the real deal here –

We were served the following :

Appetizers :

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Zuppa Erba Pollo E Queso which is a creamy Chicken Soup with Cheddar Cheese. Loved this soup so much. Would definitely recommend. Loved the cheddar cheese mini balls that were inside the soup. They were delightful.

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Zuppa Con Broccoli  E Mandorla which is a  Creamy Broccoli Soup flavoured with almonds. Love the mildness and the soup sticks and breads to go along with it only makes it better.

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Insalata Pollo Grosso which is grilled chicken salad with kidney beans, roasted corn, Iceberg lettuce with mustard dressing. I am really not a salad person but I couldn’t help but nibble into the salad. It is served with crackers which I think is a lovely addition.

Entrees :

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Polpette Di Manzo Piccanti which is minced fillet mignon dumplings with bell pepper in tangy sauce. I am not a mignon person but none of the less, this is amazing. The seasoning and balance of flavours are perfect, although the mignon was a little too strong for my liking.

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Patata Involantini Verdure which is stuffed potatoes with assorted vegetables & touch of Arrabbiata which was really good as well.

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Pizza Paradiso had Chicken, olives, onions, mozzarella cheese with basil pesto & tomato sauce.

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Pizza Prima had tomatoes, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts & mozzarella cheese with creamy garlic sauce.

Now, let me tell you that Serafina is famed for their amazing wood fired pizzas which taste so good. Thin crust, smoky and beautifully made.
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Farfalle Con Pollo E Salsa Di Vino Rosso was pasta tossed in creamy red wine sauce with Chicken. This is something that I had never had here and was so glad that I tried this. It was surprisingly delicious. This was an absolutely favourite here. I totally recommend.

Mains :

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Pollo Mozzarella Al Forno is fried chicken baked with mozzarella & served with coriander rice and a side of veggies and sauce. This is an amazing main course which can be ordered any time of the day. It can easily fill up two people. Great quantity and very very filling. The sauce that comes with it is amazing.

Cannelloni Fiocchi Di Lattewhich is tangy homemade pink sauce with seasonal greens, olives, & aged parmesan is also a beautiful dish, even though it is veg. Do not underestimate this dish.

Desserts :

 

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Choco Hazelnut Creme Brulee is their newest addition and I am delighted that they introduced this dish. You’ve had creme brulee, now try choco hazelnut creme brulee. It is droolworthy really!

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Blueberry Cheesecake is also the latest addition to their new menu. However, this wasn’t as great as I had expected it to be. I have definitely had better cheesecakes.

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Tiramisu is definitely the star dish at Serafina and this will never fail you. Even if you have had a bad meal somewhere, just drop by and try their Tiramisu for an instant mood lift. Highly recommended!

The dinner was one of the best that I’ve had in a long time and trust me, they are back with a bang. You need to try it out for yourself to know how good they really are. There’s a reason why they need no introduction. Thank you so much First Idea PR, Atreya Paul and Susmita Kundu for having me over. This was an amazing evening that I can boast of in days to come!

Level 7 Is The New Hangout Spot In Town

Level 7 is situated at Wizard House, at Topsia (diagonally opposite to the Porsche Showroom). It boasts of a 2,500sq ft. rooftop space which definitely gives way to a panoramic view of the skyline of the city as it overlooks the Maa flyover.

In first glace, you will absolutely fall in love with the place. Coming to the finer details, it has mismatched wooden seating, accommodating about 80 people. Ideal place for chilling with family and friends, or even catching up with the gang post office hours.

The place boasts of a lovely view, fresh air, rooftop lounging and has a lot of potential.

Coming to their USP, they have two pipes shisha bottles which is a specialty here. The open air penthouse on the rooftop, accommodating about 20 people is a perfect spot for small parties and get together as well. They also have banta drinks, game of thrones inspired chair, and a rocking bench.

Let’s get to the food, here’s what we were served –

• Tuscana Pizza

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Thin crust pizza, quite regular like other places.
• Tandoori Tikka Trilogy
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Definitely looked interesting and upon tasting, it was pretty decent, sans seasoning.
• Chicken Sriracha
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This looked really good but failed to deliver. Honestly I wouldn’t order this again.
• Cheesy Mushroom Kulcha
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This was good. Quite filling as well. Would recommend to everyone.
• Khichdi Aranchini
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Oh god, this was seriously good. Although the portions are very small here.
• Seasonal Sea Bass
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The star of the evening for me. Highly recommend this dish.
• Goat Cheese Walnut Tikki
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Pretty amazing as well. A must try.

The one thing that I felt was that the quantity for every dish is really less. Given the price points, they should really work on the portions.

For drinks, we had –

• Cosmopolitan

• Orange Martini

• Pisco Sour

• Sex On The Beach

Now the drinks are seriously very average. I was not happy with it, because they tasted more or less like sugary syrup with almost negligible alcohol content. Given that this is a roof top place, ordering alcohol is pretty obvious, they really need to pull up their socks at the bar. Other than that the place is decent. Although I wouldn’t want to pay this place another visit.

This review is based off an invitation from the management and I have tried to keep it really non biased. Thank you so much Atreya Paul Priyanka, and First Idea PR for having me over.

Have You Tried The Newest RDBD Outlet Yet?

“Raat nu Jalandhar, Sawere Dilli”

If you are punjabi, you would very well know what I am talking about. Punjabis are known for their whacky sense of humour, fun loving nature and of course food!?

At some point, we would all agree that we are in love with north indian food for some weird reason and our punjabi friends only bring  out the “desiness” in us! In ode to our love for punjabi khana, we landed at Rang De Basanti Dhaba – one of the prominent north indian joints in the city. They recently opened their newest outlet at Ballygunge and we couldn’t be happier. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jude Martin for having me over. I truly am gastronomically happy for once, because well I am a finicky person. I have previously visited their salt lake outlet and to be honest it is quite okay. However, this outlet at Ballygunge is so good – you have to try it to believe it.

Thus began one of the heaviest gastronomic journey that I have taken. We started with the beverages and starters. For beverages, we had :

                                         Nimbu Pudina Sharbat, Rang De Cola, Soda Sikanji

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My absolutely favourite was the Rang de Cola & Nimbu Pudina Sharbat. Very refreshing and it sets the tone for an epic meal.

The starters followed suit and may I warn you – this was way too much to down.

Dadima ka Paneer Tikka

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                                                                  Afghani Murg

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Dahi ke Kebab & Mutton Sikampuri Kebab

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Apart from these, we also tried Masala Murg & Achari Mushroom Tikka. The starters absolutely made me full and I barely had space for anything. My favourite here was surprisingly the paneer tikka which was so well cooked – lovely aroma, very well seasoned. Another one was the Masala Murg and Afghani Murg – Goodness, the chicken is so juicy and well cooked. The flavours are robust and it feels like a party inside the mouth. They have a very authentic smoky flavour which I absolutely love. But what stole my heart were the dahi ke kebabs. Never have I tasted such delicious dahi kebabs before. The hung curd almost acts like cheese as it melts in the mouth right from the first bite. It is pure poetry.
Finally, we started nibbling at the mains tried which were in abundance – From Jhal Vali Daal, Peeli Daal to Chicken Chatpata, Jamidari Aloo Dum, RDBD Special Chicken Bharta, Kolkata Chicken Biryani, Kolkata Mutton Biryani, Butter Naan, Tandoori Roti, Laccha Parantha,Masala Kulcha.

 

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The star of the afternoon was the masala kulcha paired with the chicken bharta. The bharta was so nice and creamy. Albeit it was heavy but who cares. Either I was dreaming, or I really downed an entire kulcha by myself with that bharta. The biryani were also pretty good honestly, if you are not up for eating bread, I would suggest stick to their biryani. It is good as well. However, another dish that was equally impressive was the chatpata chicken.The chicken dishes are so well made, the spices and seasoning – everything is on point. I was really very impressed by their food.

If you’re still for wondering, yes we had desserts as well – Shahi Tukra & Gajar ka Halwa to seal the deal.

Shahi Tukra

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                                                              Gajar Ka Halwa

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No points for guessing, Gajar ka halwa was hands down winner! To conclude, my recommendations are Masala Kulcha & Naan, Nimbu Pudina Sharbat, Dahi Ke Kebabs, Daal, Paneer Tikka, Chicken Bharta, Biryani, Chicken Chatpata and end it with the sublt Gajar ka halwa.

Price for two – INR 800/-

Thank you so much Team Rang De Basanti and Jude Martin for having me over.

Try This Place That Will Melt Your Heart!

Melting Pot is one of the newest eateries in town located in the quaint neighbourhood of Ballygunge. The location is quite fancy and convenient if you ask me. This place is very close to Weaver’s Studio in Swinhoe Street. Stroll up casually during the eveings if you’re around Ballygunge and just drop by at this place. It’s warm and welcoming and definitely has a lot of options for you to try.

Run by Srabani Kumar, who was a journalism major is extremely welcoming to her guests. This cozy 36 seater restaurant is well lit, and maintains a very homely vibe. The interiors are done up nicely – nothing too extravagant though.

We caught up with the owner and found out that this restaurant was an ode to her love for oriental cuisine. She also told us that variety is their USP as they try to create a balance between oriental and continental. It stands very true to it’s name and gives its patrons a chance to sample from a wide array of options.  Although you might feel that the place is small, it is pretty nice and airy and is really good for dates or even a bunch of friends.

Getting to the food, here’s what we were served –

Appetizer :

                                                         Cream of Chicken Soup

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The soup was a tad bit watery for my liking. Cream of Chicken soup is suppose to be nice and creamy, and should give off a lovely fragrance. They even had a few croutons in there but the soup somehow missed the mark. Need a little more creaminess in there.

Entrees :

                                                        Korean Chicken Sticks 

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The entrees were pretty amazing honestly. The Korean Chicken skewers are a delight. They are well seasoned, has a delectable taste and the salad that is on the side makes for an amazing pair. Quite refreshing if you ask me! Pair this with the Orange Mint Mojito.

                                                     Chicken Steamed Momos

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The steamed momos here are an absolute delight. The skin was thin and gave away to a lovely filling of chicken. The momo was generously stuffed with a lot of love. The sauce gives a good spicy kick and that was amazing considering it is cold outside. This one is a must have here.

Coming down to the mains, we had :

                                                      Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

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The spaghetti was good and light. Aglio e Olio is usually pretty light, fragrant and nice.  I am more of a creamy pasta person so this wasn’t up my alley. Ours had chicken bits as well. I liked it, although this could have been slightly better. The garlic bread alongside is really nice and crunchy.

              Burnt Garlic Mixed Fried Rice & Sliced Chicken in Chilli Oyster Sauce

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The burnt garlic mixed fried rice however was a little oily for my liking but I liked it nonetheless. The food here is cooked from the heart and it shows on the plate. Generous portions served hot on the table. The chicken in chill oyster sauce however is amazing. Very well seasoned, lovely broth and perfect cooked chicken. I totally recommend this one.

Beverages :

Orange Mint Mojito, Caramel Crunchy Coffee, Brownie Shake, Sweetheart

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All of their beverages are really good. My personal favourites were the Orange Mint Mojito which was so refreshing and Sweetheart which true to its name is a delight. Do not miss out this one. They serve the beverages in tall glasses so make yourself at home and sip on.

For Desserts, we had :

                                                                      Tutti Fruity

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                                                                  Toffee Walnut

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Classic desserts to gorge on. Huge quantities so you might have a hard time to finish if you are all by yourself. Nice and sweet – although if you are worried about he calories, I would suggest going a little lighter. You can end your meal with their amazing hazel cappuccino – it is absolutely amazing.

Coming to their hospitality, which is a very important factory for any restaurant – I really liked it here. The servers are always ready for your feedback, they would also ask you once in a while if you are enjoying your meal. Just a place where they give a lot of importance to it’s patrons. That shows how much they value their customers.

The place does not charge exorbitant prices and cooks up amazing food – Definitely recommend everyone to drop down to this place for a nice time!

My recommendations : Chicken steamed momos, Korean chicken sticks, hazelnut cappuccino, Sweetheart.

Price for two : INR 600/- plus taxes

To conclude, I would like to thank Atreya Paul, Susmita Kundu and First Idea PR for having me over.

Trailing the Humble Sandwich!

While you are reading this, you might find yourself munching on these staples we call bread. Without even realizing, these gentle folks have made way to our kitchen and into our daily lives. With the advent of globalization, our lifestyle has changed drastically which in return has given birth to fast foods on the go. Considering the hopscotch we all are playing time, these quick and easy food helps us with the protein that we need – plus saves our time.

Let’s check out a new places that are dishing up perfectly filling sandwiches to save time and tummy, both at the same time.

  1. Q 33 – A cafe housed at Quest Mall that dishes up breakfast, lunch and dinner for it’s patrons – their wide range of items are a total saver. They also serve sandwiches along with fries and dip.
  • The Chicken Panini

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  • The Mumbai Express (Veg)

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Both these sandwiches are very filling. Delectable and well seasoned, these are piled up with potato wedges and dips to go along with it. Just order a shake, smoothie or just tea and there you have a meal to fill you up.

2. Cafe Ccino – A small joint at Quest Mall (near Spencers) which offers quick bites, coffee and refreshments. They also have a good range of sandwiches that are filling and delectable, to be honest. I personally loved these sandwiches and would totally recommend them. Plus they’re quite economical.

  • Chicken Tikka Sandwich

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  • Corn, Pepper & Cheese Sandwich

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3. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – Quite popular as a coffee joint, CBTL has their section of nibbles and bites and they offer sandwiches as well. We sampled two of their sandwiches and they were quite good. My personal favourite was the Veg Gratin Croissant.

  • Ham, Cheese & Egg Sandwich

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  • Veg Gratin Croissant

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The range of sandwich are wide and you can choose from a variety, thus keeping your taste varied all the time. Sandwiches are pretty much a staple right now and looks like Quest got you covered if you are tired post shopping or just want to grab a quick bite.

I would like to thank Atreya Paul Riti Saha and First Idea PR for having me over!