Restaurant Week India 2016

Since today is the close day for the Restaurant week India. My experience about the week that was 🙂
I actually tried booking three restaurants and ended up going for one. On The Rocks, Crown Plaza was my first booking along with my family, my second booking was The Golden Dragon at Taj Coromandel, which inspite of the fact that it was wait listed at one did not get confirmed, I was very disappointed and my third booking was at the Lotus, The Park and thats where i really ended up going, since i overlooked the fine print at The Rocks which mentioned children below 21yrs not allowed – Really 21yrs?
Well, so we landed at 9.30pm since the 7.30pm slot showed full and the 9.30pm getting booked fast.
When we landed on time for Dinner, we were taken for a surprise when the restaurant staff said they had no booking for us. I had to actually show my booking confirmation that i received by email. After we were seated we realized that we were the only guest in that restaurant for that evening. It did not look like anybody had dined there for the 7.30pm slot too!!!
At Lotus at The Park, Chennai, The food selection was good, we were seven of us and we got to taste almost every dish on the menu.
The Food was excellent and made to perfection, the staff was courteous and the whole experience  was par excellence.

Foodwalk on Mint Street

Foodwalk on Mint Street on a rainy November evening.

I was very apprehensive about the food walk on 1st Nov 2014, because of the predicted rains, even though we communicated a week ago and received many confirmations from the food walkers. But ,what I realized on the day of food walk was, rain or shine or for that matter any form of discouragement can never ever deter the true spirit of any real explorative foodie !!!:)

This time the walk was planned in North Chennai ie: Sowcarpet/Mint area and decided to meet at Kakada Ramprasad. Shwetha who was leading the group, as a true leader arrived before all of us. Prem who never misses anything to do with food followed soon. Sandeep overcame all the delays due to parking challenges and managed to reach. Soon we became a group of 15, to hit the roads of Mint, to try out the best of food, from that side of the country.

At Kakada we tried the Aloo Tikki chat, Behl-Puri, Sev-Puri, Dahi paapdi chat, Jelabi and Badam milk. We all thoroughly enjoyed the food. Personally I liked all their chats, their jelabi is one of the best and the Badam milk is famous too. They have about three flavors of Paani for their paani puri. We dint try them this time, but I have tasted all three flavors (Hing, Pudina and Jeera) in the past and they are simply awesome. My personal favorite is Hing Pani. Kakada is more like the Shree Mithai and Gangotree type of place. Next, we decided to move on to Sardha Chats.

Sardha chats, were the first ever to serve their innovative Muruku Sandwich. Sounds interesting isnt’it.?? They truly are. We tried two kinds on their signature sandwiches ie: Murukku Sandwich and Puff Sandwich. Murukku Sandwich is like normal veg sandwich without bread, Muruku is used on both sides instead of bread. Puff Sandwich is a puff with no filling, just the covering. The puff is then opened and stuffed with chutney chopped raw onions and masala, this too comes with and without cheese. I personally loved the cheese version. ..yummy. Now with partially (!!!!) filled tummy, decided to try out one of the well known sandwich joint opposite to the Jain temple. It was like any other usual sandwich and good as well. Nothing signature-ful about it.

Road side sugarcane juice is a total No No for me, but couple of places in sowcarpet looked cleaner and gave us some confidence to try out . Based on the recommendation, we barged into Ganesh cool bar. The place was really nice and cleaner than the others.

There comes Rahul with a recommendation to try out, yet another sandwich stall outside Mahaasakthi and opp Rasoee. Oh boy !!!!what a sandwich, it was just a perfect definition for any desi sandwich, the right kind of sandwich one would want, yummy and big.

From sandwich to Pani Puri, Rajsri was the small shop we walked to get the best pani puri. Our pani puri katori’s had a base of steamed moong and raw chopped onions and each pani puri were placed on this, we had the option of garnishing our puri with moong and onions if required. My suggestion, do not have the pani puri without the sweet chutney, its too spicy.

By this time it had started pouring, to my surprise, non of us were even bothered about the rains and we were busy planning out next stop, we were drenched, but decided we need to go on……. We walked back towards kakada. Opposite kakada, this small shop kamal pan house, they are the one’s who served the best Badam milk for many years and still do so, we stopped by for badam milk, Gulkand Sharbad, sweet pan and the most favorite drink for the evening was the Masala Thumbs up. We started with ordering 2 of the masala thumbs up and the order went on increasing 4, 6….. It was nicely spiced and such a digestive after all the food we had.

Now that we have too much chat, we to eat some south Indian food and so our next hop was at Seena bhai tiffin center, we had both their signature dish. The mini idli’s and the uthappam. If you are high on cholesterol please do not try the uthappam, it’s loaded with ghee. But taste is out of the world (offcourse it would be with so much of ghee) they open are open only between 5pm-10pm all days.

How can we leave the Foodies paradise without a bite of Vada Pav and so we had a recommendation to visit the place that got vada pav to Chennai. Mehta Brothers and truly this is the best vada pav in Chennai. I went back to my Mumbai days for the first time in 16yrs of being in Chennai. They do truly make the best vada pav in Chennai.

We heard somebody whisper fruits ice cream and the nearest place from where we were for the fruit ice cream was Novelty tea house. So we all entered this tiny little place. There was laughter and noise all over the place, this was the first place were we could sit after 2 1/2hrs of walking. Only disappointment was we did not get fruit ice cream there, so we ended up ordering for Pan ice cream, which I thought was nice, but a few of them thought it was too sweet. Looking around, Pav Bhaji was tempting us; the order for Plain pav Bhaji and cheese pav bhaji was placed. I am not a big fan of pav bhaji at Novelty, my feeling is its too greasy for my taste, and so I decided to skip it. But the others did enjoy it! I had shouted “ Falooda” 1hr before we came to Novelty and someone was holding on to it and said we have to have falooda and so we ordered for 2 glasses of Falooda and boy oh boy the falooda looked out of the world colorful huge glasses vanished as soon as it came, we ordered for 2 more, which also got gulped in minutes.

With our tummy full we thought we should call it a day! It was an evening of making new friends, who share the same passion as yours “FOOD” I personally believe that every person I meet in my life has a meaning in my life I cherish each and every moment I spent with each one of you. I also believe that the food walk was never ever possible without each one of you and your contribution.

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The First Food Walk in Coimbatore R.S Puram on 23rd September 2013

The First Ever Food walk in and around  R S Puram Coimbatore on 23rd September 2013

The “Food Walkers” of Coimbatore met at the “A-1 Snack Street” at Venkataswamy Road(E), R S Puram at 5 PM and the pleasant weather was a combo. Since it was the first time such an event was organized, some of the foodies were excited and some were apprehensive, nevertheless the attendance was impressive.  Though, my interaction with some of the foodies were limited to FB and phone, I was excited to meet them in person. Believe me, it was one my memorable trip to Coimbatore in the last 15 years. People started walking in, one by one, and after getting to know each other,  we met the young entrepreneur Sudeesh who is in charge of A-1 Snack street, a dynamic young man, explained their specialty and signature dishes.

The first suggestion from their menu was “Paniyaram” which came piping hot with 5 different chutney’s, with their signature date and ginger chutney  (shhh….grandmother’s recipe), that left an unforgettable taste in our taste buds. Few us tried their “Butter Appam” and chats, every bit was truly a value for money item with quality and quantity. We had to sign off with an authentic filter coffee…what else!!, believe me, it was served in a traditional brass “davara-set”, and the coffee was amazing.  Not to miss are the wall paintings of film stars and ambience.

Kick starting the walk at A-1, local foodies recommended “Shree Kulfi house”, off  DB Road, behind Rajasthani Sangh.. Though I have lived most of my life in Mumbai and tasted some of the best kulfi’s and Gola’s, but the one’s at Shree were absolutely awesome. The Gola syrup was nice and subtle, The Falooda Kulfi was nice.

With all the kulfi and gola setting the sugar high in us, it was time to move on to a place that gave us some nice spicy sandwich and  vada pav -“Ridhi Sidhi Chat House”. Shankar the person who was at the counter made some most yummiest and tastiest sandwich’s and vada pav, was a bit camera conscious, but responded to all the question that I threw at him. He is basically from Bihar and moved to Coimbatore 4yrs ago. He is the one who makes 12 varieties of sandwich. The vegetable cheese sandwich that was recommended to us was nice and made of fresh vegetable.

A good cup of tea was needed after all the food and walking we did. We walked upto “Chai and Gupshup”, adjacent to Ridhi Sidhi chat house and had some tea and the unique one being “Saffron Tea”.  With the taste of chai  in our mouth, all of us decided to call it a day for the first walk.

It was beautiful , fun and food filled evening and we made some very good new friends.  I was lucky to be a foodie who had a chance to meet beautiful like-minded foodies. Each and every person was enthusiastic about the walk and we promised to meet again, which we will do with many more foodies joining the food walk. We promised to make the next food walk even more a bigger event with many more foodies joining the group. Thank you Coimbatore and lovely people of Coimbatore for making me feel at home.

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