Reflecting On Christmas 2016: Gorging On Plum Cake From Fatima’s

Regular readers of this blog will know that it is another Christmas-time tradition in our family (apart from gawping at the beautiful decorations in malls across the city, that is) to eat plum cake (as fruit cake is called in this part of the world!). The OH and I love trying out plum cakes from bakeries, old and new, across Bangalore this time of the year, comparing and contrasting. We have some favourite haunts by now, but that doesn’t stop us from experimenting with plum cakes and bakers. 🙂

This time around, we went for the plum cake from Fatima’s, for the first ever time, after having heard a whole lot about it from some fellow food bloggers. The little round-shaped plum cake that we bought was absolutely worth the INR 300 we paid for it. It is moist, dense, rich with orange peel and nuts and other candied fruit, beautiful in taste. It is a wee bit more sweet than is required, as per me, but I am not complaining – it isn’t cloyingly so. It is amazingly fresh, too.picmonkey-collage

I wouldn’t say I haven’t had better plum cakes than this, but this is just lovely. We are loving gorging on this rum-filled delight, slice by slice, every night post dinner.

Where do you guys get your plum cake from?

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A Peek Into Currylicious, The New Outlet At Orion Mall, Rajajinagar

I was recently offered the opportunity to sample the food at Currylicious, a recently opened outlet in Orion Mall. Here is my account of the experience at the eatery.

Location and ambience

Currylicious already has a presence in Elements Mall, Nagawara, and in Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore. They have recently launched their third outlet in Bangalore, in Orion Mall, Rajajinagar. The mall itself needs no introduction, I am sure.

This particular Currylicious outlet is a small stall in the mall’s food court, therefore not boasting of much of an ambience. One needs to pick up one’s food from the counter, and sit at any of the tables in the food court. I happened to visit the place on a weekend, when the counter was crowded with customers. Though the staff was managing the counter well, I had a tough time ferrying the trays of food to our table, dodging the crowds, a few times over.

Currylicious serves hand-picked South Indian delicacies, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There’s mostly food from Goa, Chettinad, Mangalore and Kerala. From what I hear, the place is a haven for lovers of non-vegetarian food, but I was there to sample the vegetarian part of the menu.

Food and drinks

First up, I went for a Mushroom & Babycorn Pepper Fry from the ‘Starters’.

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Mushroom & Babycorn Pepper Fry

The starter turned out to be a beautifully done, very South Indian fry redolent with the smells of pepper and curry leaf. I loved it, though the level of spice in it was a wee bit more than what I like in my food.

I also sampled the only two drinks they had on offer – spiced buttermilk and lemon juice – and found both to be well done. The buttermilk was cool, lightly spiced and flavourful, neither too watery nor too thick, just the way I like it. The lemon juice was quite refreshing, too.

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Vegetarian thali at Currylicious

Then, I chose their Vegetarian Thali, which comes with a chapati, rice, mixed vegetable fritters, a Chettinad-style gravy-based curry, salad, pickle, another simple curry, and a Mangalore-style ghassi. Of these, I loved the fritters (they were really lovely!) and the simple cabbage curry that was served the day we visited. Both the Chettinad curry and the Mangalore ghassi were too oily and spicy for my taste, but still flavourful. The rice was well cooked, unlike the half-boiled rice served at most eateries. The chapati was okay, and could have been better done, I felt.

Post this, I ordered a Neer Dosa-Mangalore Vegetarian Ghassi combo plate.

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Neer Dosa-Vegetarian Ghassi combo at Currylicious

The neer dosa was nice, done exactly the way it is supposed to be. Like I said earlier, though, I didn’t like the Mangalore ghassi that was served with the dosas. There was also a portion of sambar, which was, again, too oily and spicy for my taste.

Then, I decided to try out their Alleppey-style raw mango-based bhindi curry, with some chapatis.

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Alleppey-style raw mango-based bhindi curry at Currylicious, served with chapatis

Again, the chapatis were okay, not too bad but not great either. The curry was tasty, though a tad too oily for me.

I would have loved some dessert after all that oily, spicy food but, sadly, the eatery doesn’t serve them. I think this is one thing they should definitely look into.

Cost

The prices of food here are mid-range. A meal for two would cost between INR 500 and INR 700.

My thoughts

Overall, I think I had an average experience with the food I chose at Currylicious. I speak only about the dishes I tasted here, though, I reiterate, and only from the ‘Vegetarian’ section of the menu. Also, in general, Chettinad food is supposed to be spicy, and there’s the fact that I don’t love very spicy food.

I might not be opting for meals here again, but I would definitely love to check out the other starters here. They have a very interesting ‘Banana Flower Cutlet’ that I would love to try out the next time I am here.

Disclaimer

I was invited to sample the menu at Currylicious free of cost, in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone. I do not stand to receive any kind of gain by recommending or not recommending this eatery to you.

Happy Lunching At Forklore, The New Bistro In Town

A while ago, I was part of a bloggers’ table at the newly opened Forklore Bistro in Koramangala. We were invited to lunch at the eatery, to sample the food and drinks on their menu. Here are my impressions about the place.

The Back Story

Forklore is a family-run business, started by a lovely couple, Sanjay and Trupti. Sanjay is a musician, in charge of the music at Forklore and the overall look (of course!), while Trupti is the head chef in Forklore’s kitchen.

Sanjay and Trupti returned to India after a stint in the USA, came across this old house in Koramangala, and decided that they just needed to get their hands on it. They bought the place, renovated it, decorated it with quirky odds and ends, and launched the eatery they had always dreamt of launching. That is how Forklore came into being. Charming, right?

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Sanjay and Trupti interacting with us, bloggers

The eatery’s name, Forklore, is a play on the word ‘Folklore’, signifying its intent to become ‘lore’ (i.e. talk of the town) thanks to the power of the ‘fork’. The ‘lore’ in the name also signifies ‘Bangalore’.

The bistro is a new entrant in town, only about four months old, but it has already received some rave reviews. We, sort of, figured out how within a few minutes of entering Folklore and walking around the place. By the time we were done with our lunch there, we were sure why.

Cuisine

The bistro mostly serves Continental and Mediterranean fare, and is famous for its sangrias and hearty breakfasts and brunches. It has recently started a Sangria Festival, where you buy one sangria and get one absolutely free.

It serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

Location

Forklore is located on the hip-and-happening 80-Feet Road in Koramangala, in the midst of a whole lot of other eateries. It is quite easy to locate and to commute to.

Decor

We were struck by the charm of the decor the minute we walked into Forklore. Like I said earlier, it is a house converted into a bistro, done up with quirky furniture and odds and ends. A lot of plants add to the effect. The end result is quaint, a lovely place that emanates a warm and friendly vibe.

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Part of the indoor seating at Forklore

When we visited, Forklore was decked up for Christmas, and looked all the more gorgeous!

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The Christmas tree!

The eatery is a medium-sized place, with outdoor as well as indoor seating.

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The outdoor seating area, done up for Christmas. Would be amazing on a summer evening or an overcast winter afternoon!

Forklore surely is the kind of place that you’d like to bring a date to, or where you’d like to hang out with your close friends. I surely am going to do just that!

The bistro plays some lovely retro music, all thanks to Sanjay, which takes you back in time.

Food And Drinks

As if we weren’t charmed enough by the bistro already, the food and drinks came in and charmed us some more. I’m not exaggerating – most of the stuff we were served was absolutely beautiful!

What is even better is that there is a decent selection for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Pancakes

First up, we were served some pancakes.

The non-vegetarians had the Maple Bacon Pancakes, while the vegetarians were served their Smurf Pancakes (with white chocolate and blueberry spread!), Chocolate Pancakes, and Carrot And Spring Onion Savoury Pancakes. Every single one was much loved. I, not a great fan of pancakes myself, loved the savoury ones.

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On the left, Carrot And Spring Onion Savoury Pancakes. On the top right are the Smurf Pancakes, and on the bottom right are the Chocolate Pancakes.

Sangrias

Then came the sangrias! Yours truly had the Virgin Sangria (yes, such a thing exists!), which she loved to bits. All the other alcohol-based sangrias were thoroughly enjoyed, too, especially the Red Dirt Girl and Fruity Booty.

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On the left, Virgin Sangria with pomegranate, blueberry and spiced punch. On the top right is Fruity Booty, and Red Dirt Girl is on the bottom right.

Starters

While we sipped our respective sangrias, we were served an assortment of starters from the menu.

The non-vegetarians loved the Fried Calamari, Chicken Satay, and Pan-Seared Fish. The vegetarians amongst us got lucky because they got to lay their hands on such gorgeousness as Chilli Cheese Fries (heavenly!), Lettuce Cups (a house specialty), and Sweet Potato Fries.

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On the left is a plate of Chilli Cheese Fries. On the top right is a Lettuce Cup (the vegetarian version) and on the bottom right is a plate of Sweet Potato Fries.

I loved, loved, loved the Chilli Cheese Fries – they were cheesy and full of spice and just lovely, quite unlike the lame things I have had in the name of Chilli or Cheese Fries elsewhere.

My most favourite starter, though, would be the Vegetarian Lettuce Cups – cups made of lettuce, served with falafel, hummus, olives and ricotta. What loveliness!

Mini sliders and quesadillas

Next came some mini sliders and quesadillas.

The Chicken Quesadillas and Nutty Mushroom Mini Slider went on to become huge hits with everyone. I liked the two vegetarian dishes in this category – the Chilli Spinach And Mushroom Quesadilla With Goat And Cheddar Cheese and the Nutty Mushroom Mini Slider – but they didn’t win my heart.

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On the left is the Nutty Mushroom Mini Slider. On the top right are the Spinach And Mushroom Quesadillas, and on the bottom right are the Chicken Quesadillas.

Main Course

Then came the main course!

The non-vegetarians went gaga over the Beef Steak and Pulled Pork Pizza. The vegetarians went equally gaga over the Hawaiian Pizza and the Mujaddara.

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On the left is the Beef Steak. On the top right is the Hawaiian Pizza, and on the bottom right is the Mujaddara

The Hawaiian Pizza was just glorious – the pineapple and in-house BBQ sauce used in it made the taste top-notch. Honestly, this has to be one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had! I couldn’t keep my eyes and hands off it!

The Mujaddara – a Lebanese preparation that uses rice, lentils and caramelised onions – was simply beautiful. It was so light and perfectly done, yet so tasty and wholesome. And the name ‘Mujaddara’- ah! This is something I have absolutely got to learn how to make at home!

We were also served an Aglio e Olio (vegetarian), which was good, but didn’t really bowl me over.

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The Aglio e Olio

Desserts

By this time, all of us were way too full and threatening to sleep at the table, but, of course, we couldn’t leave without trying out the desserts!

Folklore has four, very different, desserts on its menu. We were served all four of them.

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Extreme left – Holly Berries, Centre – Monk In The Middle, Top Right – Strawberry Fields Forever, Bottom Right – Chocolate Cheese Cake

Monk In The Middle – with its centre full of Old Monk – went on to be an instant hit with everyone. It was too rum-my for someone like me, who doesn’t drink, though.

My personal favourite was Strawberry Fields Forever, which was a light, slightly tangy dessert topped with strawberry sauce. The walnut-hung curd mixture that made up the dessert took the flavour to a whole new level. And, of course, I cannot not love that beautiful, romantic, poetic name!

The Chocolate Cheesecake was too chocolate-ey, even for a chocolate lover like me.

The Holly Berries was good, somewhat similar to Strawberry Fields Forever, but not as ‘Wow!’.

Every single thing that was put on our table – from the starters and the sliders to the main course and the desserts – was plated so very beautifully. Full marks for presentation!

Prices

Considering the ambience of the place and the top-notch quality of the food and drinks (not to forget, finger-licking delish!), the prices here are on the higher side. A meal for two at the bistro would cost around INR 1500, including a starter, two main course dishes and a dessert.

Verdict

Folklore Bistro is such a charming, happy place it is easy to fall in love with. The food is beautiful, priced well too. What more do you need out of an eatery?!

Disclaimer

I lunched at the bistro free of cost, along with a group of other food bloggers, by invitation, in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed herein are entirely my own, and not influenced by anyone. Forklore really is the kind of place I would love to frequent, with or without my loved ones, and I do plan to do exactly that in the times to come. I do not stand to any kind of gain by recommending this eatery to you.

Healthy Eating At Vaho Kafe, Bannerghatta Road

I was recently invited to sample the food at Vaho Kafe on Bannerghatta Road, a very new eatery in town. The place prides itself on offering healthy, but delicious food, at reasonable prices.

Vaho Kafe is located bang opposite the IIM-B campus, making it very easy to find. The place is small, though, with only a few tables and chairs laid out. Inside, the atmosphere is mess-like, and there’s no ambience to speak of. That said, the restaurant aims at providing quick, healthy bites to its patrons, and isn’t heavily invested on the ambience.

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The inside of Vaho Kafe

The eatery has a limited menu, which keeps changing every day. Typically, the menu here consists of a wholesome salad, freshly pressed juices (without any added sugar), and global and Indian thalis (the former containing international dishes, the latter containing Indian dishes). Most of the food on the menu here has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Everything on the menu is priced below INR 150.

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The menu at Vaho Kafe, the day we visited

First up, we sampled the Indian Combo Meal, which came with two spiced rotis, raita, red chutney, green curry, daal tadka, jeera rice, and a broken wheat kheer. The green curry wasn’t great, but everything else tasted good.

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Vegetarian Indian Thali at Vaho Kafe

We also sampled a Global Combo Meal, which consisted of a cold bean salad, fried rice, Thai red curry, a hot salad, and broken wheat kheer. I liked everything this thali had to offer; I especially loved the Thai red curry, which was beautifully done. The fried rice was made the healthy way, with no sauces or colours added to it. The salad was healthy, too, and it didn’t have loads of dressing in it, as is common in most other eateries. The broken wheat kheer was the same as the one served in the Indian Combo Meal, tastefully done.

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Global Vegetarian Thali at Vaho Kafe

Next, we sampled a coupe of their freshly pressed juices – Watermelon and Pineapple – which were prepared right in front of us. Like I said before, there was no added sugar in the juices. The watermelon juice had a slightly greasy smell to it, but the pineapple juice was simply beautiful. Both juices were very fresh and refreshing to drink. The presentation of the juices was cute, too, in little glass bottles.

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Freshly pressed pineapple juice (left) and watermelon juice (right) at Vaho Kafe

Verdict:

1. The food here is really healthy and easy on the pocket. The eatery can, thus, be a boon to working professionals and students nearby.

2. We heard there are healthy sizzlers in the offing too, but we didn’t spot any on the menu the day we visited. Now, that is surely something I would love to try, and which can be a huge draw for diet-conscious foodies.

3. Unlike other eateries, this place makes its salads, juices and food in a wholesome manner. No-sugar juices and no-dressing salads are tough to find, so kudos to Vaho Kafe for trying to fill in this very crucial gap in the restaurant world for health-conscious foodies.

4. It would be great if different desserts were served as part of the Indian and Global Combo Meals.

5. The place isn’t high on ambience, so please don’t visit expecting any. I would suggest visiting the eatery for its healthy, pocket-friendly food, rather, if you are in the immediate vicinity.

6. The portion sizes in the thalis are carefully measured out, each thali serving healthy proportions of food to suit one person. If you are anything like me, though, you will need about 1-1/2 thali and a juice to fill you up.

Disclaimer:

I was invited to sample the food at this eatery, free of cost, in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed herein are entirely my own, and not influenced by anyone. I don’t stand to gain anything by recommending this place.

Lunching At Kapoor’s Cafe, Whitefield – A Delightful, Albeit Expensive Affair

The husband and I ended up lunching at Kapoor’s Cafe in Whitefield recently, a totally unplanned lunch just because he was in that part of town on work and I was in a position to accompany him right then. Now, Kapoor’s Cafe has been on my radar for almost a year now, ever since I started reading rave reviews of the place on a whole lot of food blogs. Somehow, a visit to the cafe never happened till recently, and I was thrilled to be able to finally go.

Kapoor’s Cafe is an all-vegetarian cafe (a dhaba-style cafe, to be precise), which prides itself on serving authentic Punjabi fare. There are two outlets – one behind ITPL and one in Varthur, both in Whitefield. We went to the Varthur outlet.

Decor and ambience

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The exterior of the cafe

The decor is colourful and peppy, but strictly a ‘no frills’ one. There are simple chairs and tables laid out in the seating area, which is spacious. Food is served in simple steel plates, no fancy stuff there. The roof is a colourful asbestos sheet.

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The colourful interior of the cafe

There are little quirky touches in the decor here and there, like a poster on the wall that proclaims ‘Oye! I’m Punjabi, and I cannot keep calm!’ (or something to that effect) and pretty, hanging lights. Mostly, though, the place looks like an upscale dhaba.

When we went, it was the typical lunch hour, and the cafe was bustling.

Food

I opted for a combo meal, from one of the many combos on offer – a Winter Special meal consisting of sarson ka saag, gur, desi butter, chutney and makke di roti.

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The sarson ka saag and makke di roti meal

The desi butter came wrapped in a piece of foil, and drenched the hot, hot, hot makke di rotis on my plate. Bliss, indeed! The rotis, unlike those we have tasted at some other places, were soft and tasted delicious.

The gur tasted lovely, too, and I took big bites of it in between eating the roti and the saag. It looked and tasted very different from the jaggery we are used to eating in Bangalore. I wonder where they get it from!

The green chutney was beautiful, hitting just the right notes of spicy and tangy.

The sarson ka saag came with a tadka of grated garlic, which tasted mind-blowingly brilliant. I am so going to replicate that at home now! That said, the saag could have done with a bit more flavour, according to me – it wasn’t very bad, but it wasn’t ‘Wow!’ either.

The husband ordered a few phulkas and a Mushroom Masala Subzi. The subzi was super duper delicious, though it was a tad too spicy for us – I could taste many different spices used in it – and both of us loved it to bits. Whether it was an authentic Punjabi subzi or not, I don’t know, but we loved it, and that’s all I can say.

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Mushroom Masala at Kapoor’s Cafe

The phulka rotis were nice and soft, and freshly made. When we asked for a couple more phulkas, though, a while later, we got some cold ones that were fresh, but evidently not made to order.

Next up, we got ourselves some desserts.

We opted for a Fruit Cream and a Dryfruit Lassi, both of which were served in clay kulhads, decorated with dry fruits and a cherry. Cute! That said, both desserts we ordered looked the same – a slightly different presentation for both of them would have won the cafe more brownie points, though that is a minor matter as far as I am concerned.

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Fruit Cream at Kapoor’s Cafe

The fruit cream tasted gorgeous – it was like a creamy, sweet fruit salad with nuts that was absolutely delicious, and we lapped it up in seconds. We were expecting the fruit cream to be something like the one we had in Frazer Town once, but this one was totally different. (I’m guessing the Frazer Town was fruit cream in Bombay style, while this is the Punjab style. I don’t know for sure, though.)

The dryfruit lassi was super brilliant, the star of the meal for me. It was thick and sweet and creamy, and oh so delicious! I would highly recommend you try it out whenever you visit this place.

Service

The service staff was friendly and courteous. We got our orders within 20 minutes or so.

Prices

The prices are on the higher side, we felt.

INR 150 for a dryfruit lassi and INR 265 for a Sarson Ka Saag combo is quite high, considering the absolutely no-frills environment of the place. Yes, the food (at least the food that we sampled here) is good, but still overly priced.

We paid about INR 860 for our meal, including all taxes, which is, indeed, high considering the fact that we didn’t order for any starters or additionals.

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The quirky menu at Kapoor’s Cafe

Verdict

Both the husband and I enjoyed our meal at Kapoor’s Cafe. We loved the food that we sampled (mostly!), albeit expensive, and we would love to go back to this place again.

Would I recommend this place? Absolutely!

Disclaimers

  1. The reviews I read about this place online seemed to be divided into two major categories – those who absolutely hated the food and those who loved it. Some hated it because it wasn’t not authentic, not what they had tasted in Delhi or Punjab. The husband and I fall into the latter category – we liked the food and the place – without any knowledge of the authenticity of the food.
  2. This was a meal that we paid for, personally, and not a review offer. The thoughts expressed herein are entirely my own, based on our experience of eating at the restaurant. I do not stand to receive any kind of gain by recommending this eatery to you.
  3. This was our first experience of eating at Kapoor’s Cafe, and I believe one cannot judge a place by visiting it just once. This is, therefore, just a recounting of our first ever lunch at the eatery.

Lunching At Koshe Kosha, Calcutta: Understanding Bengali Cuisine Beyond The Aloor Dom

If you have been reading my Calcutta Chronicles, you’d know that, on our trip, we didn’t have much good luck with our meals. I’m sure Calcutta has beautiful eateries serving glorious food, but we just didn’t manage to find any, till the very last day of our trip. Most meals we had in the city were very average or, worse, utterly pathetic.

The last day of our trip, though, as I said earlier, was different. Through sheer luck, we ended up at the Koshe Kosha outlet near Park Street, on this day, and I was immediately filled with a sense of joy and peace. The restaurant felt like what we had been looking for throughout our stay in Calcutta, and I knew we were in for a good meal, finally. And a good meal we definitely had.

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Decor and ambience

The place had a warm and welcoming ambience which enveloped us the minute we entered. The eatery isn’t very big, but not tiny either.

We were ushered to the upstairs seating area, where I loved the simple but classy decor, especially the wooden ceiling beams and the checkerboard tiles on the floor. The hanging lights were pretty, pretty, pretty.

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Pretty sight, right?

I also loved how the paintings on the walls depicted everything that was typical of Calcutta (Bengal, rather) – from Sindoor Khela and Shubho Drishti (do look them up if you don’t know what they are!), to the cycle rickshaws on the streets, Victoria Memorial and Howrah Bridge.

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A painting depicting Sindoor Khela at Koshe Kosha

I liked how one of the walls was decorated with Bengali books, though I couldn’t understand anything about them. Another wall was decorated with CDs of Bengali music (something I’ve always been fascinated by, but have never really studied in depth) as well as pictures of Bengali greats. Love!

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The CD and picture wall at Koshe Kosha

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Food and drinks

The Koshe Kosha meal was significant for me in the sense that it opened me up to a whole new world – the world of vegetarian Bengali food beyond the aloor dom. I am a big fan of the Bengali aloor dom, ever since I tried it for the first ever time this Durga Pujo, but I didn’t know any other vegetarian dishes from the cuisine. The visit to Koshe Kosha, therefore, came as an eye-opener.

First up, we ordered a Gondhoraj Ghol, a Bengali lassi made with Gondhoraj lebu, that very unique lemon from Bengal.

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Gondhoraj Ghol at Koshe Kosha

Served with a wedge of the famed Gondhoraj lemon, the ghol was just perfect – just the right mix of salt and sweet, and filled with the fragrance of the lemon. There were bits of Gondhoraj peel in the drink (no hint of bitterness, though!), which took its taste and texture to a whole new level. Beautiful!

The husband ordered a Bengali thali, so we could sample a whole lot of offerings at one go, and it turned out to be another beautiful experience.

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From left to right, in clockwise direction around the plate in the centre, are: Baked Rosogulla, Papad, Tomato Khejur Chaatni, Daal, Ghee, Shukto, and Dhoker Dalna. In the plate, there’s rice on the right, and on the left (from top to bottom) are Begun Bhaja, fried potato shavings, and another fried dish that I now forget the name of.

The chaatni and the baked rosogulla (the traditional sugar syrup-drenched rosogullas, baked in an oven to give it a lovely caramelised taste) were simply gorgeous, and both of us loved them to bits. The fried items were a close second favourite, followed by the dhoker dalna (chana daal cakes cooked in a flavourful gravy).

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Dhoker Dalna at Koshe Kosha

Apart from the baked rosogullas, the shukto was something I had never seen before this thali happened. For the uninitiated, shukto is a vegetable gravy-based dish that includes all sorts of vegetables, like the bitter gourd, brinjals and drumsticks. (Bengalis believe that their thali should include foods with all kinds of tastes – sour, salty, bitter, spicy – and the shukto added the bitterness). It wasn’t very bitter, as I had always imagined it would be, just mildly bitter. Though the shukto here was very well done, neither the OH nor I fell in love with it.

I ordered some phulka rotis with chhaner dalna, the latter being a dish of fresh cottage cheese cubes cooked in a lightly spiced gravy. The rotis were lovely, and the chanar dalna was perfectly done, too – the cottage cheese was super fresh and soft, and the gravy was heavenly in taste.

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Chaaner Dalna at Koshe Kosha

After all of this deliciousness, we were in the mood for one more dessert, and chose an Aam Mishti Doi (because their famed Nolen Gur ice cream was out of stock). It was super-duper awesome!

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Aam Mishti Doi at Koshe Kosha

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Service and pricing

The service staff was friendly, courteous and helpful, we found. They were patient enough to explain to me the names and characteristics of the various dishes we were served, and even arrange them the right way so I could get good photographs of them!

Prices were, we felt, decent. We paid about INR 650 for everything we had (including a Green Salad, which is not in the pics). The thali was good enough to serve two, to be honest.

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Our verdict

All in all, a hearty and delicious meal was had by us. An enlightening one, too, for it only whetted our appetite for more Bengali vegetarian delicacies. I was thrilled to discover that we have a Koshe Kosha outlet in Bangalore as well, where I can watch the movie after having my senses titillated with this beautiful trailer. Yay!

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Have you read the other posts about our recent trip to Calcutta? Please do, if you haven’t already!

Calcutta Vignettes

Calcutta Diaries: Pastry Sampling At Flury’s, Park Street

Calcutta Vignettes – 2

Visiting Nahoum’s, One Of Calcutta’s Oldest Surviving (Jewish) Bakeries

Calcutta Vignettes – 3

Calcutta Diaries: Of Hogging Street-Side Jhal Muri

The Weirdness That Was Doodh Cola

GoCheeseTasting At The Biere Club, Bangalore

I had the good luck to attend a gourmet cheese tasting session, organised by Go Cheese in conjunction with Femina, at the Biere Club, Bangalore, yesterday, along with several other food bloggers. The star attraction at the event was a visit from celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, ambassador for Go Cheese, who flew in from Delhi specially for this occasion! 🙂 I’m so thrilled at having had the chance to hear him speaking about cheese, not on TV but live!

The event started off with a stand-up comedy event by renowned comedian Sahil Shah, who had all of us in splits with his beautiful comic timing and one liners.

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Sahil Shah performing at the Go Cheese tasting session

Then, Mahesh Israni, CMO, Go Cheese India, took the stage, and educated us about the many cheesy offerings that his firm has come out with. He told us of how Gujarat ranks the first in India in terms of cheese consumption, closely followed by Maharashtra, while Bangalore and Delhi rank third and fourth respectively.

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Mahesh Israni on stage at the Go Cheese tasting event

Apparently, Gujarat leads in innovating a variety of recipes using cheese, rather cheesifying (yes, I just coined that word!) very Indian recipes like bhel poori, pani poori, dosa and the likes. I’ve been there, done the cheese paav bhaji and cheese bhel poori, and loved it too! 🙂 Bangalore, on the other hand, is, largely, a consumer of European-style confections using cheese, like canapes, nachos, crackers and pizzas. For some reason, this fact stuck with me.

Post this, it was the turn of the star attraction, Chef Ranveer Brar, to step up on stage, which he did to many hoots and claps. He spoke at length about different ways in which one can serve cheese and little ways in which everyone could incorporate cheese in their household menus. He also explained in detail how to pair different kinds of cheese with the right kind of wine.

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Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar on stage

It was a pity there were no cheese recipes demonstrated live by the chef at the session, but he surely gave everyone present there a whole lot of food for thought. I’m already itching to try out some of the things he talked about, piled with cheese of course!

I also got to know that the dapper Chef Brar has recently published a book called Come Into My Kitchen, a memoir about his growing up days in Lucknow, interspersed with other foodie memories, stories and recipes. I so want it now!

We were offered a platter containing three cheeses offered by Go Cheese, all made in India, along with fresh fruits, crackers and a dip. We were encouraged to try out our own combinations, and figure out which cheese goes well with what accompaniment. It was so much fun doing that!

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The cheese platter that was put before us – with Gouda, Orange Cheddar and Colby cheeses

We were then offered samples of some cheesy snacks, thought up by Chef Brar. As we hogged on them, he encouraged us not to follow his recipes, but come up with our own unique recipes to use the different kinds of gourmet cheeses available to us today. I’m surely going to do just that, Chef!

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The lovely cheesy snacks that we thoroughly enjoyed

The snack platter contained a Beetroot Carpaccio With Herbed Almette And Mini Greens (centre), which was one of the snacks most loved among the present food bloggers. Now, that is some innovation, right?

The Cheddar And Monterey Jack Cheese Nachos With Avocado Salsa (to the right of the beetroot carpaccio) and the Sliced Cheese, Biere Mustard, Tomato And Olive Bruschetta (exactly below the carpaccio) were my personal favourites.

Apart from these, the platter also contained a Cheesy Pepper Agrodolce Calzone (to the left of the carpaccio) and Crumb-Fried Cheese With Chilly Grape Chutney (to the top of the carpaccio). 

Next up were two beautiful, beautiful desserts containing cheese, again Chef Brar’s innovations. I loved both – a Saffron Cream Syllabub With Fresh Fruits And Biscotti Crumbles (on the left) and an Amlette Cheese-Topped Hummingbird Cake With Edible Flowers (on the right).

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The two beautiful cheese desserts that we were offered

It would have been great to have been handed the recipes for all of these lovely confections, to try and replicate them at home, but then I sort of understand why that didn’t happen.

At the end of this enlightening session, we left with a sumptuous Go Cheese goodie bag, hearts and tummies sated, with a whole lot of ideas brimming around in our heads.

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The contents of my Go Cheese goodie bag – can’t wait to use these beauties in my kitchen!

I do have some cheesy recipes coming up on the blog soon, so do stay tuned. Till then, be good and take care!

Sampling The Vegetarian Delights At Paradise, Whitefield

Paradise, that legendary seller of biryani and kebabs in Hyderabad, came to Bangalore sometime in 2015. The husband and I had always wanted to visit Paradise, but somehow kept putting it off – we had a feeling we might feel out of place, considering that we are vegetarians and that the eatery predominantly specialises in non-vegetarian food. So, a couple of days ago, when I was offered the opportunity to visit the newly opened Paradise outlet at Virginia Mall, Whitefield, and sample the vegetarian fare there, along with a group of other foodies, I was more than prepared and thrilled about it.

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Wow!

First things first, I loved the simple and functional, but tasteful decor of the place.

There are two seating areas, one at ground level and the other upstairs. There is a separate takeaway counter – quite spacious and decent, unlike the cramped ones I have seen at many other restaurants.

The eatery has a comfortable vibe to it.

I especially loved this ‘spice wall’ (as I prefer to call it) in the upstairs dining area. The wall showcases jars of spices that are commonly used in the preparation of the star dish of the eatery – biryani! Lovely idea, I say.

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The spice wall – beautiful, no?

The photographs on the walls – many of them from the kitchens of Paradise, I assume – are beautifully shot. They add a whole lot of atmosphere to the place, and only serve to increase your appetite for the biryani. 🙂

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Some of the photographs on display on the walls of the outlet

Some of the wall decorations had little nuggets of the history of the biryani and about how Paradise cooks it, all of which made for very interesting reading. So, if you have time to kill at Paradise, ever, you know exactly what to do!

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History of biryani, anyone?

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Now, let’s get to the food part of the visit, shall we?

We were served a pre-set menu, showcasing the best of what Paradise has to offer. There was no need to sit and pore over the menu, leaving us with enough time to chat, sit back and relax, and really taste every mouthful. I love that feeling, I have come to realise. 🙂

Starters

First up, the vegetarians were served three of their starters – Achaari Paneer, Paneer Tikka, and Subz Aur Moongphali Seekh. In both dishes, the paneer was tender and fresh, breaking at the touch of a fork. I would rate the Achaari Paneer as good but not great. The Paneer Tikka was good, but could have done with some more flavour. I loved the Subz Aur Moongphali Seekh – it was perfect in texture and flavour, I would say.

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Paneer Tikka at Paradise

The non-vegetarians among us were served an assortment of starters, including Chicken Garlic Kebab, Chicken Tikka, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Fish Tikka. Every non-vegetarian starter served was much loved, but the Mutton Seekh Kebab was voted as the winner.

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Chicken Tikka and Mutton Seekh Kebab at Paradise

Main Course

Then came the biryani, which all of us had been eagerly waiting for.

The vegetarians were served a Vegetable Biryani, which was quite flavourful and well cooked. The paneer in the biryani was moist and succulent, and the marination was very well done. This was my first-ever tryst with Hyderabadi biryani, so I can’t say how it compared to the original biryani from Hyderabad, but I liked this quite a bit. The raita and salan served with the biryani were tasteful, too.

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Vegetable biryani at Paradise

For the non-vegetarians, there was Chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani, of which the mutton one was hugely loved.

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Mutton biryani at Paradise (Photo Courtesy: http://www.akshayamrecipes.com, reproduced here with permission)

Apparently, Paradise makes all its biryani using the ‘dum‘ method and a layering technique. The first layer is that of good quality rice that has been a little cooked, on top of which goes a layer of well-marinated meat or vegetables. This is followed by another layer of rice, this time a little more cooked than the first layer. On top of this is a layer of marinated meat or veggies, followed by another layer of rice, this time almost fully cooked. The container is then sealed using atta, and the biryani is allowed to slowly cook.

This technique is what brings about most of the flavour of Paradise’s biryani, we were told – that and the use of the best quality of rice, the choicest of vegetables and meat, good quality spices, and the precise cutting of the meat and vegetables.

We were also told of how you can customise your biryani at Paradise, depending upon your personal spice preferences. All you have to do is explain your prefences to the staff waiting on you, and they will make the biryani as spicy or as little spicy as you want it to be.

Drinks

We were served fresh lemon water and lemon soda along with our biryanis. I think it is tough to find a good glass of lemon water, and this one was just beautiful. I am not normally a fan of lemon soda, but I loved the one that was offered to me at Paradise.

Desserts

Next up for grabs at Paradise were their desserts, which were a huge, huge, huge hit with me. I loved both the desserts served to us – Double Ka Meetha and Qubani Ka Meetha – to bits!

For the uninitiated, the Double Ka Meetha is a Hyderabadi specialty, a sweet pudding made using bread, milk, and sugar. Bread is often referred to as ‘double ki roti‘ in Hindi, considering that the bread dough rises to double its size after the addition of yeast – whence the name of this pudding.

The dessert was very well made, served warm, and tasted gorgeous. My cupful was gone in absolutely no time!

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Double Ka Meetha at Paradise

The Qubani Ka Meetha is another Hyderabad-special, a sweet dish made using stewed apricots (locally known as ‘Qubani‘). This was simply beautiful, mind-blowing I would say. The apricots were sweet and juicy, and added a whole lot of flavour to the dessert, which was served warm. The Qubani Ka Meetha was, I think, my personal star of the entire visit.

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Qubani Ka Meetha at Paradise

We left with our tummies full and our hearts sated. And that was the end of a very good afternoon. 🙂

I am definitely going back to Paradise again, the next time with no qualms.

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Disclaimers and notes:

  1. All of us at the Bloggers’ Table at Paradise were invited by the restaurant, and the meal was served to us free of cost, in exchange for an honest review of the place.
  2. Like I said in my post, this was the first ever time I had Hyderabadi biryani, so I wouldn’t be the best person to judge how it compares to the original from Hyderabad. I liked the vegetable biryani that was served to me, though.
  3. A meal for two at Paradise can cost between INR 700 and 1000, including starters, main course, and dessert.
  4. I would definitely not recommend going to Paradise and eating only the biryani there. They have some lovely starters there, and some beautiful desserts. Don’t miss out on them!
  5. The portion size of the biryani at Paradise is large, one platter good enough to serve two to three people. Do keep that in mind while you order.
  6. In spite of being one of the very few vegetarians in the foodie group, I did not have any problems eating at Paradise. There are no unpleasant smells or sights, if you are concerned about that. There is a decent enough menu selection for the vegetarians, including starters, curries, and rotis.