Bhangra – Best Punjabi food in Chennai.

Bhangra, if you are looking for some great Punjabi food with home cooked type of flavour!

So, this is a long pending visit to this awesome place. Long pending only because the distance from my house to this place is long.

We started our early Sunday dinner with sugar cane juice. I love sugarcane juice and unlike Mumbai I do not have it in the streets of Chennai. So this was exciting for me, since I was having one after a really long time.

Since we are foodies we typically like to taste almost everything on the menu and the only way we could do this is by ordering for the non-vegetarian kebab platter.

The kebabs were succulent and perfectly spiced. Malai kebab, sheekh kebab, Afghani kebab, tandoori chicken.

The lacha paratha was made of wheat and I personally prefer wheat over maida. They were flaky and went well with the kebabs and gravy.

Dal Makhani offcourse one of the best that I have had in Chennai.

Mutton rara the meat was soft and succulent and well laced with the gravy.

We had two desserts. The Kheer and moong dal halwa.

The saffron kheer was outstanding with subtle flavour of saffron and perfectly sweetened.

The moong dal halwa was warm and perfect for the rainy weather outside.

Special mention to the pudina chutney that has chopped onions and a tangy flavour.

The host Navtej ji treats every customer, as a guest and that I think makes a lot of difference.

Prems graama bhojanam, Anna Nagar, Chennai

Prems graama bhojanam, Anna Nagar, Chennai.

And this traditionally done up place has the most yummiest and healthy food. The all health food place. Serves food that is made with millet only. Did you know that millet is complex carbs and takes long to digest and hence you will not put on weight as quickly as you do when you eat simple carbs like rice.

At prems they do not use maida or any refined flour, no white sugar, no vanaspati, no colour, no artificial flavours, no preservatives and no soda. Everything you eat here is natural and full of goodness. They use only ghee and rice bran oil for cooking.
The most softest idly is made not of rice but of millets. Dosa are made using black rice, red rice, Bajra, and different varieties of millets.

This moringa leaves was peppery and yummy. It was served with ragi and udad dal vadams/ fries.

Cutlets are made using full green moong and sweet potato. Pakoda’s are made using greens and ridge gourd.

Kulfi the dessert is made using palm jaggery and dry fruits and served in earthen pot!
End of it could not ask for anything more healthy.
Mr Krishna Murthy the brain behind this wonderful concept of healthy eating has a wealth of knowledge about these foods. Do meet him on your visit if he is there. You will know more about what you eat!

Fudgy Avocado Sweet Potato Brownie

Fudgy Avocado sweet potato Brownie.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Cup boiled and mashed Sweet Potato
  2. 1 Avocado pitted and peeled
  3. 2 Large eggs
  4. 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  5. 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  6. 1/2 cup maple syrup or Honey
  7. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  8. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. 1/2 tsp sea salt

Frosting :

  1. 1 Avocado
  2. 1/3 cup coco powder
  3. 1/4 cup soft dates
  4. 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  5. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius . Line the bottom of an 8″ by 8″ baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Blend ingredients for frosting in a food processor until smooth, then chill in fridge or freezer until brownies are ready.
  3. In a food processor combine ingredients for brownies until smooth. Spread batter into an 8″ by 8″ baking dish.
  4. Bake on 180 Celsius for 40 minutes, then cool before frosting. Optional: top with mini chocolate chips. Side note: it’s best to store these in the fridge or freezer- I like them frozen!

Please note – This is not my recipe I got this from Kaylie who does a lot of paleo recipe.

Kappa Chakka Kandhari! A whole new kerala toddy shop food experience in Chennai!

Kappa chakka kanthari!

So if you have been to Kerala and loved eating at the small road side toddy shop?Kappa Chakka Kandhari, is giving you the same food experience in Chennai.

We tasted almost 20 odd dishes and did not feel heavy or over full. We felt light and happy!

We started our dinner with 3 drinks the guava chilli, spiced buttermilk and fruit drink with nannari!

Special mention to the water that is stored in copper vessel over night and served in clay bottles.

The starters were super cool and yummy. Small fishes similar to anchovies from the backwaters of Kerala was deep fried, crispy and yummy, the beef fry was nothing like what I have tasted in ages!

Another interesting starters we had was boiled Kappa (Tapioca) with kanthari chilli chutney. This sure needs a special mention.

The main course started pouring in just when we finsihed the starters.

The ramaserri idly is unheard off and they have a person all the way from ramaserri to make this one, since it needs special skill required to make these idlies. The chicken curry served with this had all the right flavours of coconut and coconut oil.

The patri with fish curry was a hit. Patri was soft and the fish was from the backwaters of Kerala, this sure did add to the flavour.

The vattayappam with duck curry was extremely flavourful. The Toddy taste and flavour made the appam very special.

Special mention to the puttu. We had the beef and the chicken puttu. There is some magic in this puttu that makes it so light and does not make your tummy heavy.

The chicken puttu had quail eggs on top and I think that made it a little special.

Pidi with country chicken curry was extremely tasty. Pidi are small rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk. The combo was indeed yummy.

Another special mention to one more special and rare dish from Kerala. Pazham pori ( sweet banana fritters) with beef curry. Unimaginable but amazing in taste.

We ended our dinner with some yummy desserts.

Pazham nirachattu. Ripe banana stuffed with coconut and jaggery.

The final dessert was an icing to the cake that Justified the name of the restaurant. And can you ever imagine ice cream with a lace of chilli flavour? Yes this ice cream had a dash of kanthari chilli in it that was so flavourful.

Few things if you are visiting the place:

1) A must visit for everyone.

2) prices are very nominal

3) They have enough and more vegetarian options too.

4) get yourself to understand what you are eating you will love your food even more.

5) most of their ingredients come from Kerala. E.g the fish, coconut, coconut oil, etc etc

6) they are open for public on 5th July.

7) they have a private studio that will see lot of action in the coming days. Will write about it in detail.

Would like to sign off with a special thanks to chef Regi for taking time to explain to us in detail about each dish and showing us around.

Location at haddows road next to haddows park and Krishnavillasam, Nungambakkam.

Kappa Chakka Kandhari Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italy – Venice, Florence and Rome, May 2018

Our Italy trip started from Venice, the city of love!

Venice is all about the waterfront and the boat and gondola ride, that is beautiful and well preserved for many many years now. Though due to global warming the buildings are sinking 1mili meter every year. We passed through many historical buildings on our gondola ride. Marco Polo house was one of the them. Well, though our gondola rider did give lot of information, like I expected he did not sing for us 😦

We loved our first authentic Italian lunch. After wandering around for sometime we bought a few souvenirs and decided to return to our hotel at mestre.

Dinner was as usual an exploration of good place to eat around our hotel. We bumped into a very quiet place ” Gustoclick” the food was good and our server younis from morocco was very patient and understood and spoke good English. He was yet another person we met who loved Indians and bollywood. Probably thats the reason for extra attention and good service 😉

Our journey to Florence from Venice was our first euro rail experience. The Trenitalia took us 2 hours from Venice to Firenze (Florence) it was a very pleasant experience.

Florence is another beautiful city, quaint, happy and colourful. The city is very well connected with rail and road service.

Our hotel staff at Florence were very warm and helpful, specially Ale the bubbly young lady. They were very excited to help us and also helped us find some very good place to dine authentic Tuscany dinner.

Our first food stop was at the organic icecream shop Barroccino. This sure was a fun experience with children around and the staff enthusiatic to make us taste all the flavours. Their ice-creams are made using fresh organic fruits, milk and cream. They are churned everyday at the ice cream laboratory.

Next stop was dinner at Osteria. This place serves authentic Tuscany food. They have innumerable collections of wine and meat. We got to taste reindeer meat at Osteria. This place is totally packed, but we were lucky to reach there early, before 7.30pm and also had Ale make a reservation for us. The food was authentic and nothing like the Italian/Tuscany we get in India. I understand and appreciate the difference in taste now. How every food is tweeked for local palate.

Next morning was our trip to one of the wonders of the world The leaning tower of Pisa! And my God, this magnificent structure is mind blowing. The cathedrals around are something to watch too. And if Italy is your only destination, there is some good bargain shopping one could do outside the tower campus.

Rome the most famous city of Italy was our next and final destination in Italy. This time we decided to ride the first class train. Well, the first class is no different from the 2nd class, expect for that the seat cover’s are made of leather, but all said well it was an experience and we enjoyed it, as our train touchdown the 240 speed, it was rather exciting.

The train station of Rome is like a huge airport, it is crowded and one can get lost for a while.

Important information that we wanted at the station and could not get and I think I should share it here to help others. There is bus service on the left side of the main entrance when you get out to go to Fiumicino. Many of them prefer hotels and B&B in Fiumicino because it is close to the airport, it is a country side and you get better places to stay there.

The place that we stayed Smallville was a amazing place. The rooms, bathrooms and view was mind blowing. Our super host Danny and Franco were the best, very warm host who offered to drive us around and also very enthusiastic to show us around. I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality. Will miss you guys for sure and you will remain always in our memories of Rome.

We preferred to take the hop-on hop-off in Rome since it covered most of the places we wanted to see.

Our first stop was the Colosseum, this magnificent historical monument is never to be missed.

The Vatican and the Trevi fountain makes our trip worthwhile.

After the hop on hop off we decided to drive back to Fiumicino and spend the evening at the Mediterranean sea front. Our host Danny and Franco were were excited to take us on a drive to the seafront.

Stroll on the beach and seafood dinner with awesome sunset was an excellent finale to our Italy trip.

Gossip Bistro at ECR, Chennai.

One of the best lunch at Gossip Bistro today.

A trip to Mahabalipuram after many years was a good reason for us to tick this place that’s been in my bucket list for a long time now.

When we reached there around 12.30pm we were lucky to be the first customers, we could comfortably take some photos.

As suggested by Hari our soup was the pumpkin broccoli soup and Melon Prawn soup. Both the soups were an awesome fusion. The presentation was perfect.

Our excitement had no limits as our starters started coming on the table one by one!

A special mention to the Nacho’s that was made using yam and sprinkled with chat masala. The yam was light and a good replacement for the corn Nacho’s. We loved this dish.

The mutton kebab was soft succulent was a burst of flavours!

Prawn with black olives was yummy. The prawns were fresh and catch of the day.

The beef ularthiyathu took us to Kerala.

The chilli beef was succulent and full of flavour with the right spices.

The two dishes that made our hearts beat fast with excitement was the Jumbo prawns and coffee meat. What a fusion, totally whacky and most awesome!

The best for the last. The baklava tart with fresh seasonal fruit was unassumingly excellent.

I loved the coconut mousse that was made without added sugar. The presentation was perfect.

Good news is the Goli soda is available here, we were happy to find it!

The place is very well done. The service is par excellence.

I am definitely going back for their weekend breakfast buffet.

Hari was kind enough to help us choose our food. Keep watching this couple Hari and Ramya they have big plans for people of chennai.

Gossip Fusion Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Prague the historic city in Czech, May 2018.

The beautiful city of Prague/ Praha in Czech has a lot of history and many interesting places to visit.

We decided to visit the famous Prague castle, cathedral, Charles bridge and the night life with authentic Czech food at “U Vejvodu”

To start with we stayed in an independent house in Bechovice that had 3 bedrooms. Very well maintained and absolutely stunning, with a kitchen.

The trip to the 9th century castle was an extremely pleasant experience for many reasons. Couple of which I would like to quote here;

1) we were in the castle on the first day of tourism season, that meant all entries were free.

2) The tour guides who work for the castle were suppose to render their services for free, only for that day. They had also requested retired guides to come and help tourist for free.

So guess what we had this young old sweet man all of 88yrs near us. He asked us can I help you and I said well, we are not sure if we need a guide, since we were not planning to spend a lot of time there. He said no problem I can just tell you as much as you want and you know I will do it for free. I laughed and he said, don’t laugh I am serious. And than he told us that we had indeed arrived on a very special day.

And from then on we walked and talked together for 3hrs. He had a wealth of knowledge, since he worked in the castle for almost 50yrs. He just loved us, because he had not met any Indian before and he was very curious to know a lot about India. We exchanged a lot of information about our respective countries. After 3 hrs we kissed him goodbye. I really take a lot of good memories from this particular trip. Mr Slavek you stole my heart. I will always remember you in my memories of Prague.

Charles Bridge full of tourists, but a good place to hang around, with a good view of the castle from below.

Dinner at a local restaurant was total Czech with whole load of meat. Czech’s eat a lot of meat and barely any veggies. I presume a vegetarian might have a difficult time here. The restaurant that we visited is open till 3am everyday and till 4am on weekends. You must have guessed how hard they party!