Archive for the ‘Bloggers meet’ Category

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.


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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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 Parisโ€“Brestโ€“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.


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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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.


Next came the full-bodied red wines. I love how pretty the bottles are ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


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.


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Decanted wine

By this time we were smiling (or should I say giggling :P) rather loudly. Look at pretty Mukta – I love her smile! ๐Ÿ™‚


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


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.


Here’s another look at some of the lovely Fratelli wines. Which one is your favourite? ๐Ÿ™‚

Fratelli wines


The winner of Timescity shopping voucher is Bhakti! Congratulations sweetie! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks everyone for their entries!

Have a good weekend folks!

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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.


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.


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?


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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’.


Here’s happy Sid having a go.


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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Chefs, in general, are quite wonderful.

They could be moody and temperamental, or lovable and cuddly, or bald and handsome.

Whatever their personality, it’s always a treat to spend time in their company.

Last week, Saffola Masala Oats organised an event at Blue Frog, Mehrauli to meet the Michelin Star chef, Vikas Khanna.

Vikas Khanna 1

Since I’m far from what you would call a fan of the Masterchef India tv show, I went with not-too-high expectations.

I was SO pleasantly surprised!

Vikas Khanna (as anyone who has interacted with him will know) is a veritable treat. He has that rare and supremely attractive quality of being able to laugh at oneself. He’s obviously very talented, but he’s incredibly humble. He lives in New York, but is endearingly Punjabi at heart. And he is crazy funny! We all were in splits throughout the event.

Vikas Khanna 3

He made a surprisingly tasty baked tinda dish (I know!) and spoke about the healthy + tasty dishes you can rustle up with oats.

Vikas Khanna 2

I decided I’d give it a shot too.

And these mini cuties are the result of that.

Oat bites 2

What I don’t like about oats is their general gloopy quality. Made this way, the baking dries them out a little bit, while retaining all the goodness.

I used Saffola Classic Masala Oats, which is one of the 6 flavours available. You could be far more adventurous with your toppings – although this fresh, lemony tomato-onion mix is kinda perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

Oat bites 3

Mini oat bites

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes: 5


1 packet Saffola Masala oats
oil, for greasing
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste

Saffola Masala oats


1. Preheat the oven to 180ยบ C. Pour the oats into a bowl and cover with about half a cup of boiling water (the mixture shouldn’t be too runny). Stir well, cover, and set aside.
2. Grease a cupcake tray with oil. Mix the tomato, onion, lemon juice, and salt together in a bowl.
3. Add about one heaped tablespoon of oat mixture into each of the grooves in the tray (I got about 5). Pat down gently with the back of the spoon and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the sides of each oat patty and gently remove from the tray. Top with the tomato-onion mixture and serve.

Oat bites 4

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What’s better than a chilled mojito on a hot summer day?

Mojito 1

Maybe two?

Mojito 2

Perhaps three? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mojito 3

The very popular Hard Rock Cafe, in Delhi, is currently running a mojito festival called Mojito Mania.

All the mojitos are made with Bacardi and are available in many, many fresh, fruity flavours like Watermelon, Mango, Grape, Green apple, Strawberry, and Kiwi to name a few.

The drinks have a generous portion of muddled lime and mint in them. Such summery flavour boosters!

I particularly loved the watermelon one – it had chunks of the juicy fruit in it and wasn’t too sweet.

Strawberry was another popular one at our table, although I found it a little too sweet.

The mango one was super – yellow in colour and very refreshing with the occasional bite of slightly-sweet, slightly-tart mango.

Mojito 4

The ones to steer clear of in my opinion are: kiwi, grape, and bell pepper. None of them had any discernible flavour.

On only for a few more days, stop by the Hard Rock Cafe, Delhi for perfect summer pick-me-up drink!

Mojito 5

Read what the others there had to say:

Sid from Chef at Large
Parul from The Shirazine

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