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Happy new year my darlings!


Culinarystorm says sorry for the slow posts these past few weeks.


There’s been a solid reason for it though – I’ve moved to Singapore!


I’m starting a new job here and it’s been quite the challenge – moving to a new country, doing interesting work I’ve not done before, and making new friends.


But the very best part is being in a place that’s full of fantastic food :)


Last weekend, some friends took me to brunch to place called Wild Honey. The bright and colourful decor, large chalkboard menu, and array of food and beverage choices will make you forget all about the 45 minute wait to get in.


wild honey inside


Wild Honey has 2 locations in Singapore, but the one I went to was in the super pish-poshy mall, Mandarin Gallery, that’s full of designer clothes and art and a rather adorable dessert shop called Antoinette where the macarons are not bad.


I’m a sucker for the chalkboard menus at Wild Honey.


wild honey chalkboard menu


If you think eggs are magic (like me), then you must try this place. They specialise in all-day breakfasts from around the world, so you could choose from Tunisian or Spanish, Norwegian or Aussie, English or Mexican, and many more!


I bullied everyone at my table into ordering different things so I could try a little of everything.


Here’s a look at what we stuffed our faces with.


Spanish breakfast


Spanish Hash- A plateful of uniformly cut cubes of spicy chorizo, corned beef, and crispy potato, topped with poached eggs doused in Hollandaise Sauce and served with giant brioche slices.


Norwegian breakfast


Norwegian- This delightful plate comes with creamy avocado pieces nestled in a bed of whole wheat brioche, covered with grilled asparagus, and then poached eggs that have been wrapped like a dream in Norwegian smoked salmon.


This is what happens when you cut into it.


Norwegian breakfast 2


If you’re drooling all over your keyboard, call me. We’re soulmates.


Portobello road breakfast


Portobello Road- A pile of baked portobello mushroom, spinach, red pepper confit and poached eggs drizzled with lemon Hollandaise on brioche.


Sweet mornings


Sweet mornings- This is what French toast should look like. Thick, golden-brown caramelized brioche. The bread was stuffed with sweet mango. YUM. And the dish also came with maple syrup, vanilla mascarpone, and a bright red berry compote. YUM YUM YUM.


wild honey iced tea


I also tried the Wild honey iced tea which was, well, interesting, but too “herby” for my liking.


Latte


The Latte was clearly pretty decent, because my friend drank two. Also, so pretty!


Juice


There is also an assortment of fresh juices on offer – a breakfast necessity, no? And aren’t the straws adorable? :)


Try Wild Honey if you enjoy international all-day breakfasts, eggs, and oh ya, Hollandaise sauce.


To kick off my first post for 2014, let’s do a poll! It’s been ages right?! I know!



I love you guys! Hoping this will be a brilliant year for us all! Hugs!


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These days it seems like everyone’s talking about health food – or wait, it may be just me :P


So when I heard about Bueno, in the DLF Cyber City food court, I was keen to try it.


Bueno is a tiny counter in a food court, offering up healthy “fast” food. Everything is prepared in-house from scratch, with zero preservatives, and nothing is processed. They replace mayo with hung curd for creaminess, use only whole wheat for their breads, and cook only in olive oil. The food comes to you in disposables made from recycled sugarcane!


Intrigued yet? I’ll bet you are.


Here’s what we sampled.


We started with some lovely plump Steamed wheat dimsums (chicken) – they were generously filled and came with a spicy sauce. I found them slightly greasy, but I’m glad it was all olive oil!


Wheat dimsum


The Smoked chicken garden fresh salad was quite good – it was a large potion of lettuce, smoked chicken bits, onion slivers, and cucumber half-moons doused in a lemon vinaigrette. The dish also came with some crisp garlic-loaded toast – yum!


Smoken chicken salad


We tried the Paprika grilled mushroom sandwich which was stuffed full of a spicy mushroom and tomato mixture, with lettuce and onions. The multigrain bread was fresh and very soft.


Mushroom sandwich


The drinks were ordinary but refreshing. The Pineapple juice had a hint of mint and great fibre, while the Watermelon one was laced with ginger.


Fresh juices


My favourite thing was the gorgeous Tomato and Basil thin-crust stone oven pizza. Packed full of tomatoes and melting cheese, and studded with bits of basil, this one was a delight. The crust was thin and crisp, and the grainy mustard that came with it was excellent – so much better than the gloopy yellow stuff from a bottle. I do wish there was more basil on the pizza though.


Tomato basil pizza


For a sweet finish, it was Chocolate surprise – 3 chocolate-ty chunks rolled with cornflakes, crisps, nuts, and raisins. No complaints.


Chocolate surprise


Despite its humble location and small menu, Bueno serves mid-day meals to 175 underprivileged children at Diksha, a non-profit school in Gurgaon – isn’t that heart warming?


If you’re ever in the area and are looking for a quick snack in between a meeting or shopping, Bueno is a good choice.


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My love for all things North Eastern isn’t new.


I spent a couple of my impressionable baby years in Shillong and since then I’ve been in love.


My family took a holiday there recently, and we just couldn’t get enough of the food.


So clearly, when I heard there was a new restaurant in Hauz Khas dishing up North Eastern cuisine, I couldn’t wait to go.


And I went. Thrice in one month. That’s how much I love it.


The menu at Rosang showcases a mix from all the North Eastern states.
There is lots to choose from, but here are my personal favourites.


Bawngsa Kan (Mizoram): A dish of fried beef, bright orange pieces of bamboo shoot, slivered onions, and North Eastern herbs. Served with a chilli salt. A spicy dish, there is no better way to start your meal here.


Bawngsa Kan


Pork spare ribs: Crisp and fatty – go for this one if you’re a seasoned fat fan only. Crispy, hot, melting, just one piece of this and you’ll have to loosen your pants.


Traditional rice beverage: Bubbly, creamy-white, and the perfect accompaniment to the meal. I could knock back 3 or 4 of these happily – easy!


Traditional Rice Drink


Jadoh (Meghalaya): This is my absolute fav thing on the menu. Wild red rice cooked with black sesame and pork, if you order just one thing at Rosang, this MUST be it. Jadoh has great crunch from the sesame seeds, and the rice is interspersed with small bits of pork that melts with every bite. The chunky pork on top has an equal fat to meat ratio, and is cooked in traditional spices.


Jadoh


Dohneii Hong (Meghalaya): More pork with black sesame – but definitely go for this one if you’re a pork lover like me. Try it with plain steamed rice to really savour the flavours.


Dohneii Hong


Ngatok (Arunachal Pradesh): A delicate, light fish stew made with herbs and lemongrass. It’s also super healthy because it has zero oil! This one also goes best with plain white rice, although I mixed some with my Jadoh and loved it :)


Ngatok


Kelsa (Manipur): A spicy goat dish cooked with a slightly sour berry that looked a lot like a blackberry. The meat was tender and falling off the bone – perfect.


Kelsa


Wild red rice dessert: A creamy rice, coconut, and honey dessert. It’s studded with raisins and has a very underplayed sweetness about it.


Wild rice dessert


Wild red rice tea: A dull maroon hot drink, this is exactly what you need after you’ve gorged on all the delicious food at Rosang. Mildly sour, the tea has digestive and soothing properties.


Wild rice tea


Rosang Cafe is a small place with a big heart. And the big heart behind Rosang Cafe belongs to this gorgeous lady – Mary Lalboi.


Mary


She has a warmth that will make you feel like you’ve known her forever, and her personal attention to every guest makes you feel like you’re not eating in a restaurant, but in her home.


The food is fantastic, but does take a little time to arrive as it’s all prepared only after the order is taken. Drink the rice beverage while you wait, have a chat with the wonderful people around, and build up an appetite.


Our Meal


Please, please visit the wonderful Rosang Cafe. I recommend it with all of my pork-lovin’ heart.


The CAL Blogger’s Table also visited Rosang Cafe. Here’s what everyone else had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Parul from The Shirazine
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts


*All photographs by the most fabulous Sid Khullar*

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A quirky new joint has opened in Delhi’s very own posh-ville – Khan Market.


SONY DSC


Called Trolleys (because some of the food comes to you in adorable trolleys :)), this place is spread over 2 floors. I love that all the chairs and tables are different. Very quirky!


As soon as we sat down, a small bowl of chaat came to us on a trolley. A complimentary dish that changes everyday, on other days you could be pleasantly surprised with alcohol golgappas and chuskis!


The chaat was crunchy, slightly sweet and a little sour – a great way to open up the palate.


SONY DSC


Young restauranteurs Pravat and Sandy came over to chat with us about the very fabulous drinking ware Trolleys creates and uses.


They up-cycle old alcohol bottles and create the most stunning wine glasses, martini glasses, margarita glasses, and water glasses among others. I was amazed at how beautiful the stuff was. They’re planning to take orders soon, and I’m definitely buying a set!


SONY DSC


The Trolleys menu is a mix of Indian, Middle Eastern, and Continental.


We started with Melting Mozzarella – deep fried balls of melty cheese served with a smokey barbecue sauce. The cheese inside also has a touch of mustard which gives it zing to cut through the creaminess rather well.


SONY DSC


The Kacche kela and anjeer kebab (smooth like a Veg Galouti) and the Makkai aur mirch ki seekh (slightly sweet with flecks of chilli and bite from sweet corn) were both rather good.


SONY DSC


The Non-vegetarian kebab platter came to the table on a long plate and then it was lit up for us. Rather exciting!


It had Patthar ke kebab (smooth and spicy), Sharaabi kababi tikka (perfectly cooked), and Murgh tikka kesari malai (creamy and distinctly saffrony).


SONY DSC


You cannot go to Trolleys and leave without trying at least a few fruit martinis. I say this because they use zero articifical flavours, zero preservatives, and make their drinks with fresh fruit every single day. Pretty cool, right?


The result is a drink bursting with the real flavour of the fruit of your choice, generously mixed with alcohol and brought to you in a signature hand-made glass. We tried the watermelon, apple, and kiwi martinis, and a pineapple margarita – all excellent and strongly recommended.


SONY DSC


Parmesan crusted chicken steak, served with herb polenta and mashed potatoes came next. I enjoyed the black pepper sauce and grilled veggies, but unfortunately the chicken wasn’t tender.


SONY DSC


The Pesto and ricotta tortellini was a very interesting dish – the chunky tomato-onion sauce was rustic and slightly sweet, and the paneer-like ricotta inside the tortellini was well-flavoured. This would be a great order for a vegetarian. Oh and I loved the crisp garlic bread!


SONY DSC


Trolleys strength appears to be their Indian food. We had the Dal Makhani and Nihari Gosht with warm, buttery naans and laccha parathas. The dal was rich with that familiar ghee flavour, and the gosht came in a thick gravy with large pieces on the bone. My piece wasn’t as tender as I’d expect Nahari to be, but the other one had meat falling off the bone.


SONY DSC


For meetha, we got the very prettily plated Shahi tukda, creamy yet crisp, and topped with pistachios and saffron strands.


SONY DSC


We also tasted Baklava – warm filo wrapped bites of nuts and honey – quite a decadent way to end the meal.


SONY DSC


Trolleys is definitely worth a visit – must trys include the kebabs and Indian mains.


I’ll be returning very soon to try their Chandan ice-cream (so curious!) and apparently they’re also introducing fresh-brewed cider soon! Yum!


Head over there right away for a fresh fruit martini. You’ll love it :)


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A quaint little cafe has come to town.


le bistro du parc


It’s very French, complete with chalkboard menus, divine desserts, and a very charming half French-half Punjabi restauranter called Naina.


menu


Four of us from the CAL Blogger’s Table, stopped by for dinner one drizzly Saturday night. I wasn’t feeling well, but Sid convinced me to go anyway and I’m glad I did.


We started with a Midinette salad – tender pieces of grilled chicken, topped with julienne of green apple and celery, studded with bright pomegranate seeds, and tossed in a very light parsley mayonnaise.


Midinette salad


Pan fried calamaris came next – a warm dish of delicious squid rings with garlic, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes, black olives, and a red chilly coulis.


Pan fried calamaris


If you like liver, definitely try the Chicken liver parfait served with crispy pieces of baguette, a balsamic reduction, and confit onions. The pate is very delicate, and the sticky balsamic sauce is quite lovely with it.


Chicken liver parfait


The main courses are probably Le Bistro du Parc’s weakest link.


There was the average Grilled lamb with vegetables. It came with a mint-mango chutney and potatoes, but none of the flavours were memorable.


Grilled lamb, veggies


We also tried the Chicken and zucchini with olive tapenade – the tapenade was rich and slightly tart, but the zucchini was overcooked and mushy. Plus there was a little too much green on my plate :(


Marinated chicken, roasted zucchini, olive tapenade


The Pan-fried red snapper with ratatouille vegetables and in a bed of lemon foam was probably the most frou-frou dish on the menu. The vegetables were slightly sweet which I loved, and the fish had a gorgeous crispy skin, but the fish itself was a little under seasoned.


Pan fried red snapper, ratatouille vegetables, lemon foam


The big gun on the menu was the Rib of beef for two. After being asked how you would like your meat (we said medium-rare) it’s brought to the table like this.


Rib of beef 1


Then it’s taken back to the kitchen, cut into pieces, and brought back like this.


Rib of beef 2


The meat itself was too rare for our liking (we were told that “French” medium-rare was our “rare”) but it was taken back and cooked a while longer so it didn’t feel like we were cavemen gnawing at raw meat.


The hand-cut fries that came with it were excellent, as was the divine morel sauce, with little pieces of the mushroom floating in the golden sauce like succulent black jewels.


And now for the main event – the desserts.


Between the four of us, we choose 5 desserts to share.


all desserts


The Lemon tart with meringue, Raspberry Charlotte, and Plum and almond tart were excellent. Each one made with care, pronounced, unapologetic flavours, and excellent presentation.


But let me tell you about the two desserts that will most certainly make me return to Le Bistro du Parc.


This most beautiful chocolate mousse – made with Valrhona dark chocolate, and served with pomegranate seeds and a strawberry coulis. When you put that first decadent spoonful in your mouth, you understand why people often liken chocolate to sex.


chocolate mousse, strawberry coulis and pomegranate


The other stunning dessert I can’t stop thinking about was the Pistachio Paris Brest – a choux pastry bun filled with a luscious lime-green pistachio cream. The dessert gets its name from Paris–Brest–Paris – a 1200km bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris and is therefore shaped to match the circular circuit.


pistachio Paris Brest


Even Nachiketa, our reigning dessert queen was suitably impressed.


nachiketa


Le Bistro du Parc is a lovely place to perhaps go on your first date. It’s relaxed, the food is reasonably good, and the desserts will most certainly make that magical first kiss happen.


Here’s what the others there had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life


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This is how I felt at Varq, in The Taj Mahal Hotel, Delhi.


posh pants


Oh wait – that doesn’t look like me, does it?


Aah here I am :) Can you say faaancy?


Posh storm


The table was set most tastefully. I love the red accents with the gold. Don’t you?


Table setting


The cameras were out in full force! :)


cameras


This pretty little amuse-bouche set the ball rolling.


Amuse bouche


I started with this most gorgeous plate of Varqui crab – layers of lightly spiced crabmeat between crisp filo sheets, topped with a plump tandoori shrimp.


Varqui crab


Next up was Haleem aur Kebab – a heavenly trio of smooth haleem, melt-in-the-mouth galouti, and a kebab in a glass.


meat


You can’t do posh without lobster now can you?


This dish of Lobster Rassa was a broth with prawns, scallops, and crisp squid. The presentation was so simple, yet beautiful.


soup


We tried some signature cocktails and mocktails with Indian flavours – I particularly liked the mint and pineapple. (I didn’t drink ALL those btw :P)


Drinks


A very magical, smokey palate cleanser of lime and ginger came around shortly.


Palate cleanser


For my main course I chose Sea Bass on spiced potato dauphinoise and I’m so glad I did. The fish was fresh and flaky, the potatoes were done just right, and the gravy – sigh. My favourite coconut and mango flavours danced about in my mouth in perfect harmony, and it really was a creamy, spicy bowl of joy.


Sea bass


Even though we were stuffed beyond belief by now, I tried the Martabaan ka meat with baby naan. This was one dish where there was no fuss about the presentation, and it was probabaly my favourite of the night. The meat was incredibly tender and flavourful, and the crisp naan was a perfect accompaniment.


Martabaan ka meat


It came with these Aloo and Palak wadi side dishes.


Sides


The dessert was another trio: khaas malpua, apple kheer, and jalebi. The unusual apple kheer was delicately sweet, and the gravity-defying jalebi was sticky and very crisp.


dessert


Nachiketa, back from her fancy stint at Le Cordon Bleu in London, was in attendance and she’s promised us some pastry secrets. So exciting!


Here she is with Sid. Now tell me she’s not looking like Nigella Lawson!


Sid and Nigella


It was such a happy night. Everyone on the CAL Blogger’s Table was there because it was also Ruchira‘s bye-bye dinner. She’s leaving us in Delhi, but she won’t leave our hearts. She brought us presents which we’re all going to blog about soon and wrote us lovely letters. Ruchira – we will miss you so much but I know you’re going to have the most fabulous time!


Group at Varq


The next time you’re looking for some poshness, stop by Varq, at The Taj Mahal Hotel for some yummies.


This is what the others there had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts
Parul from The Shirazine
Deeba from Passionate about Baking
Sangeeta from Healthfood Desi Videshi
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Mukta from Bake-a-Mania
Himanshu from The White Ramekins


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Last Saturday, Delhi was under water. I’m not kidding – cars were floating, little boys on the street had taken off all their clothes and were dancing in pools of water as high as them, and I was in a car, wondering if I might die.


Okay that was a tad dramatic, but seriously it was a crazy amount of rain. Apparently the most we’ve had in 4 years!


I was on my way to a Fratelli event at Set’Z in DLF Emporio to celebrate their award winning wines over a CAL Blogger’s Table lunch. I didn’t turn back and head home for two reasons – I love these wines. And this was a chance to spend a relaxed afternoon with some of my favourite people!


The menu had such apt writing on it. Take a look the circled text below. Hehe :P


Raining wine


We started with some lovely cheese and caramelised walnuts. Yummm.


Cheese plate


Then we said hello to these two lovely white wines: a tart, summer-in-your-mouth Chardonnay and a fruity-flowery Chenin Blanc.


White wines


With these wines we had some delicious sushi, dim sum, and herb roasted chicken among other things.


Sushi


Next came the full-bodied red wines. I love how pretty the bottles are :)


Wine pouring


Red wines have a way of creeping up on you – particularly if you’re tasting 4 types in 2 hours.


It all started rather innocently – with one glass of hearty Cabernet Shiraz and Simon, a Fratelli sommelier, (in the centre) telling us about the different types of wines. That’s my friend Varun on the right. I adore him.


Simon the sommelier


I learnt how to swirl my glass to release the flavours.


Glasses swirling


There was some great food to accompany the reds – like this melt-in-the-mouth Bara gosht kali mirch.


Tender mutton


And these yummy thin crust pizzas.


Pizzas


Oh and some perfectly fat-kissed pork belly skewers.


Pork belly


Soon there were three more types of reds before me – the rather smooth Sangiovese, the lighter Merlot, and perhaps my favourite of the afternoon – Sette.


Three


A fusion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese varieties, a Sette needs to be decanted before it can be enjoyed and Jaswinder (our CAL wine man) did that like a boss.


Jaswinder the wine guy


Here’s the decanted Sette being poured into my glass :)


Decanted wine


By this time we were smiling (or should I say giggling :P) rather loudly. Look at pretty Mukta – I love her smile! :)


Mukta


At one point there were four glasses in front of me.


Four


And very quickly after that, I lost count!


Ummm five


I’m sorry I can’t say more intelligent things about the wine. What I can say is that they were all immensely drinkable and enjoyable. I loved some more than the others, but I’m sure you’ll find your own Fratelli favourites.


We rounded things up with dessert and then spent some time exploring the mall before heading home in the receding rain.


Desserts


Here’s another look at some of the lovely Fratelli wines. Which one is your favourite? :)


Fratelli wines


*GIVEAWAY WINNER*


The winner of Timescity shopping voucher is Bhakti! Congratulations sweetie! :) Thanks everyone for their entries!


Have a good weekend folks!


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I adore Thai food. I’ve visited Thailand a few times and the food has never failed to blow me away. Look at my Eating in Thailand post to see what I mean.


The abundance of seafood, the celebration of coconut, the fresh produce, and the colour in everything – it’s the best food destination in the world.


So when I heard about Ego Thai being one of the participating restaurants in the Timescity Gourmet Week, I was really excited.


The Timescity Gourmet Week is a week-long celebration of culinary indulgences at the Times Food Awards 2013 winning restaurants in Delhi, Bombay, and Bangalore, starting at just 750 INR.


There’s a great list to choose from in Delhi, but I chose Ego Thai because I was really craving good Thai food, and also ’cause it’s right next to my place and I’m a lazy bum sometimes.


Ego Thai


It’s such a pretty place too!


Ego Thai ceiling


The Gourmet week menu is a set menu in each restaurant, and Ego Thai had a lot of great options to choose from.


We started with Pla Lard Phrik Krob (Sweet chilly fish) and Yam Woon Sen Koong (Thai glass noodle salad with shrimp).


The fish was sweetened with honey and red chilli, and I loved that the pieces of Sole were large (almost like mini fish steaks!) and covered with wilted, fragrant basil.


Sweet chilly fish


The noodle salad was a classic dish – a celebration of all the vibrant Thai flavours and textures. Slippery, translucent glass noodles, crunchy peanuts, tangy lime, plump, pink prawns, red tomatoes, spicy dried chilli, knobbly bits of baby corn, a hint of sugar, and freshness from bright green coriander. Just perfect.


Thai glass noodle salad


For mains we choose Gaeng Phed Kai (Traditional Thai red curry chicken) and Thod Kratiam Sole (Fish in garlic pepper sauce).


Main course


The Thai red curry was just as good as I expected – rich, coconut-ty, and spicy. It was bursting with basil and lemongrass flavours, and I loved the softened bits of aubergine and bamboo shoot. The chicken was almost secondary – I could drink this gravy straight from the bowl! Look at the bright, happy colour!


Thai red curry


The sole was tender and peppery, with occasional bits of burnt garlic (yum!) and went perfectly with the rice.


Fish in garlic pepper sauce


I was expecting plain noodles as a side, but we got served Pad Thai in a gorgeous peek-a-boo omelette envelope. How beautiful, na?


Pad thai


Through the meal we were drinking delicate, fragrant Jasmine tea – so relaxing and soothing. Sigh. Makes me want a cup as I’m writing this.


Jasmine tea


Even though I was stuffed beyond belief I couldn’t say no to the desserts because they were both coconut-based! And you guys know how much I adore coconuts.


There was this stunning, white, Coconut icecream with toasted coconut on top. It had a great creamy quality, but was rather sweet.


Coconut icecream


I also tried Thab Thim Krob (Water chestnuts in coconut milk) which was utterly divine. A large bowl of delicately sweetened coconut milk with pink, jewel-like pieces of water chestnuts swimming in it. The crushed ice on top is what adds wonderful texture with each bite, and as it melts it makes the dessert more and more mellow. What a great summer dessert – I can imagine long chats with my girlfriends over a lingering bowl of this dessert.


Water chestnuts in coconut milk


We rounded things off with more Jasmine tea and then headed home, tummies full, and hearts happy.


This meal at Ego Thai costs 1000 INR and 1200 INR (plus taxes), for lunch and dinner respectively. I think that’s an outstanding deal for the quality and quantity you’ll be served here by their very friendly staff.


But if Thai food doesn’t do it for you, try any of the other restaurants for a fantastic meal at very reasonable prices.


All you have to do is log on to Timescity.com > Select the Restaurant, date and time > Book a table for just 100 INR > Enjoy your meal and pay remaining amount! It’s on till the 21st of July, so you need to do this now :)


*GIVEAWAY ALERT*


As an added surprise, Times City wants to give one of you lucky readers an IndiaTimes shopping voucher worth 1500 INR! All you gotta do is leave me comment below choosing one restaurant from the list of participating restaurants and tell me why you’d love to eat there. Easy peasy :)


I’ll choose one lucky winner a week from today! Happy eating!


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“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”
George Miller


I can tell you that man knew what he was talking about.


Last Saturday the CAL Blogger’s table met up for some Italian food at Pomodoro, in Hilton, Janakpuri. We were expecting some good food – we just weren’t expecting so much of it.


The courses came to us in a never-ending chain, one after another, until we had to loosen our pants.


It all started rather innocently with this lovely bread, accompanied by a tomato dip and some Parmesan-y pesto.


Bread


While the rest of us were waiting for Ruchira, we gobbled up the bread, which was magically replenished every few minutes, just before the last piece vanished. It was lovely with this fresh, summery Riesling we drank through the afternoon.


White wine


The food officially started with Bruschetta – two types. First, this almost sweet, tomato and Parmesan one. So cute it was.


Bruschetta 1


And this equally adorable artichoke and olive one.


Bruschetta 2


After OD’ing on bread, it was time for some seafood: Insalata di gamberi e calamari con burro fuso or Warm squid and prawn cooked in brown butter. I loved the “fishiness” of this dish that came from the crushed anchovies. Also, that prawn deserves a moment of our respect. Such plump awesomeness.


Seafood


Rekha’s fav dish – Minestrone di legume con pasta arrived next. I enjoyed the crispy garlic bread that accompanied it even more than the soup. Everything is made better with some Parmesan grated over – don’t you agree?


Minestrone


Pizza Pomodoro followed – a colourful riot of veggies over a thin, cheesy crust. We could spy onions, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini among others.


Pizza


You need to see what Ruchira did to her pizza – Atkins would be so proud.


Ruchira's pizza


My favourite dish of the afternoon came next – Rigatoni alla pastora or Slow braised lamb ragout with pecorino cheese and red wine. A non-fussy dish of chunky (not minced) bits of lamb in a rich sauce coating each piece of rigatoni – this dish made me think of cozy winter dinners at home.


Pasta


The carbs were no match for Ruchira this time either.


Ruchira's pasta


There were several choices for the main course – we all ordered different things so we could taste almost everything.


I got the Trancio di salmon or Pan seared Salmon which was probably the most beautifully presented dish of the afternoon. The skin was crisp and the flesh beneath – flaky and tender. It came with Parmesan mash, a Parmesan crisp, and a creamy caper-parsley sauce.


Salmon


Sid got the Costolette di agnello or Grilled lamb chops. The meat was was pink inside, slightly rarer than we usually have it, but still melt-in-the-mouth tender.


Lamb


Ruchira tried the Verdure alla griglia e polenta or Grilled vegetables on creamy polenta. Veggies have never looked better.


Polenta and veggies


We rounded things off with Tiramisu, which we had great hope for, but unfortunately it was much too creamy and lacked that distinctive strong coffee flavour we all love in the dessert.


Tiramisu


It was a fun afternoon punctuated with many laughs, as our times together always are.


I leave you with some smiling faces and a mustache.


Smiley faces 1


And some more.


Smiley faces 2


All in all, Pomodoro at Hilton, Janakpuri is a great choice for Italian food if you’re in the area. There are several options for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, and enough fresh, crusty, wonderful bread to drive you into carb-induced coma for days.


The other happy folk at the table were:


Sid from Chef at Large
Mukta from Bake-a-Mania
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo


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If you know me at all, you know I’m not a fan of vegetarian food. However good Mr Vegetarian pretends to be, he could never match up to Mr Meat. Just never. Mr Meat and I are long time lovers.


Then, one evening, the CAL Blogger’s Table met at The Piano Man Art Cafe, in Vasant Vihar, and I was made to eat my words.


A small cafe with a global menu, this is the place to be in if you’re looking for some great vegetarian food, good music, and desserts that will make you weep with sheer joy.


The cafe


A cellist was playing some haunting tunes – including Nearer my God to thee, which always reminds me of death, but he changed it up soon enough.


Cellist


This stunning piano sat by one side of the cafe, and we got to hear Arjun Gupta belt out some fabulous jazz that night.


Piano


Now for the main event – the food.


I started with a Chocolate hazelnut shake which was served in small bottle-type jar. Very chocolatey with a whisper of hazelnut, the rich drink went down slowly and rather pleasurably. Some others at the table tried the Paan smoothie, which was bursting with paan flavour and fresh green in colour.


Chocolate hazelnut shake


The best soup I’ve had in a long time followed next. It was a sunshine yellow Pumpkin and peanut butter soup. Both flavours were prominent, yet their marriage in my mouth was a thing of dreams. Please, please try this soup as soon as you can.


Pumpkin and peanut butter soup


A very crisp salad of Apple and fennel came next.


Apple fennel salad


That was probably the first and last “healthy” thing we ate that night.


We shared this generous Mezze platter. Loved the Hummus.


Mezze platter


These adorable Vegan sliders were so good. The patty was walnut and brown rice – who would have guessed? But why are they so cute? I want to hug them.


Vegan slider


We also tried Potato Dauphinoise (super rich and creamy), Wild mushroom risotto (cooked perfectly but not “mushroomy” enough for me), and some divine Maple-glazed corn cakes (unusual sticky texture, laden with fragrant lemongrass).


I really enjoyed the Ratatouille – full of aubergine, peppers, and zucchini.


Ratatouille


While we were digesting our crazy good meal and making room for dessert, a magician entertained us with some card tricks. Here he is doing some cool shufflin’.


Magician


Here’s happy Sid having a go.


Sid


For dessert it was Tiramisu (not overly sweet – which was much appreciated and enjoyed) and this decadent, can-die-for, poetry-inducing, worth-an-arm-and-leg, gorgeous Sea salt caramel chocolate tart.


Salted caramel tart


Just look at that stunning fleck of sea salt, glistening like a diamond. I can almost taste it on my tongue.


Darling Ruchira also made a Crack pie to celebrate 2 birthdays (Sushmita’s and mine) earlier that week. This was so good – head off here for the recipe.


Crack pie


Here’s all the happy people. (Thanks Mukta for the picture :))


CAL bloggers


Parul from The Shirazine
Sangeeta from Health food Desi Videshi
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Mukta from Bake-a-mania
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Rituparna from Chocolates & Dreams
Sid from Chef at Large
Himanshu from The White Ramekins


A fabulous night, spent in the company of some wonderful friends, really great food, and lovely music. Head over to The Piano Man Art Cafe soon, and if you leave without trying the Pumpkin and peanut butter soup and the Sea salt caramel chocolate tart, you’ll have me to reckon with. Grrrrrr.


Have a happy week ahead lovelies :*


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