Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chaayos: Cheers To सर्दियों की Chai...

Chaayos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Chaayos is a breeze of fresh air with its food-for-the-soul teas and quick bites complementing those teas, as opposed to the cafes that have mushroomed all over with the caffeinated counterpart in focus.

In their bid to keep innovating with India's most loved classic beverage, Chaayos had launched a New Food Menu, for the tasting of which I had been invited in August and the newest feather in their cap is that they had launched their Winter Menu in December 2016. With that as the premise, a long-pending visit to their new outlet in Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden was also ticked off the checklist, this chilly weekend.



With their Winter Menu on my mind, I thus decided to finally go to the outlet in Pacific, situated on the Lower Ground Floor right opposite Marks & Spencer. The Lower Ground Floor is a place that attracts a lot of footfall, thanks to the placement of Spar (for staples, fashion, home needs, electronics et al) on the same floor and Chaayos is the first outlet you see when you descend the escalator from Ground Floor to reach Lower Ground Floor.

It is thus an excellent spot in the Mall and quite a strategic location at that because it entices you with the refreshing aroma of freshly made steaming hot tea and a huge ਮੇਰੀ ਵਾਲੀ ਚਾਹ (मेरी वाली चाय) adorning their main counter, right as you arrive on the floor itself.



The outlet itself is quite aesthetically designed with those cutesy टपरी चाय holders hanging on top, a white bicycle parked at the entrance with archaic चाय की केतली hanging on its handle and wheel spokes marking the wall boundaries of the place that otherwise has no walls.


Their गुड़ वाली चाय has been the most appreciated, and I decided to begin my meal with that. Needless to say, it served as the perfect sweet beginning, more so because at Chaayos they've decided to ditch the sugar and go ahead with our own देसी, healthier sweetener that is Jaggery.


Served in the classic Chaayos कुल्हड़, it was a hot cuppa of bliss. 


Thinking of कुल्हड़, Chaayos has also come up with a unique plating of a popular बम्बईया snack that is Pav Bhaji, by presenting Kulhad Pav Bhaji. Mini versions of the Chaayos कुल्हड़ are filled to the brim with warm Bhaji topped with a generous dollop of मक्खन, served with two slices of Pav, some onion and a lime slice too. Add that lime to your Kulhad for the lemony zing touch-up to your Bhaji.
I did so, and it tasted fantastic.


A unique Modern-Classic plating up their sleeve is Shaami Nachos, which is not unique because of just the fact that it would do well as a शाम का नाश्ता, but because they've paired Mexican Nachos with Indian Shaami Kebabs. Well, it would sound like a not-so-pleasant pairing, but it sure is aesthetic and delicious.


Talking of Modern-Classic, another such pairing that they have done is Thepla Tacos, which is another Mexican-Indian pairing. Served as Tacos with a separate complementary dip and with a filling of Paneer / Chicken as may be the case, topped with Sev and jalapenos layered with some tangy sauce on the inside.



What impressed me was the fact that Chaayos is trying to think out-of-the-box not only with their snacks but also with their teas, for they have introduced not only गुड़ वाली चाय but also चटकारा चाय, which has a tang of Hajmola in its essence for that tang, and Golden Green Tea, which is a revamp from boring to bold with the amalgamation of honey and lemon, that are natural antioxidants.


Their cakes however literally take the 'cake' with the sheer heart-melting variety and life-size slices.

The various cakes on offer in this nippy chill, each with its characteristic flavor are:


  • Chocolate Factory
  • Date and Fig
  • Masala Chai
  • Apple Streusal



Needless to say, I had a fantastic time at Chaayos and shall keep coming back for मेरी वाली चाय and मेरा वाला नाश्ता. :)

Monday, 16 January 2017

Feasting On Lohri At Pind Balluchi...

Pind Balluchi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


India is a land of festivals. Food in India, is a festival in itself too. Why should it not be so, given that India is a melting pot of cultures and beliefs?

The onset of January thus marks the first festival in India, that is celebrated with fervor across North India (though mainly Punjab) is Lohri. What better place to celebrate Lohri then, other than Punjab itself? 

What if I make known to you, the fact that Punjab has rightfully descended in Delhi/NCR through the iconic Pind Balluchi, that emulates a Punjabi Village or Pind as it is called? Well, of course, Pind Balluchi is a classic brand and must be a favorite for many of us when it comes to authentic North Indian fare and festive celebrations with family by means of food. 

I am thus, no different, as I decided to celebrate Lohri by pampering myself with a feast of sorts at the newest outlet of Pind Balluchi, located at Level 3 in Mahagun Metro Mall, Vaishali, Ghaziabad. 

Pind Balluchi is an interesting amalgamation of rustic ambiance and authentic food. The ambiance being dominated by earthy tones mirrors a rural backdrop, with mud plastered walls, imitation artifacts, and their staff's ethnic attire which have ਪਿੰਡ ਬਲੂਚੀ embroidered on it.



Pind Balluchi is a place which transports patrons into a quintessential Pind of Punjab. The experience begins from the entrance itself where a traditionally attired सरदार जी sitting on a मँजी welcomes patrons with a सत् श्री अकाल. The traditional entrance doors and windows, झरोका with dazzling hanging beads and bangles, wooden chairs, and lanterns further aesthetically enhance the entire village set up.







An artificial Banyan Tree is also positioned central to each Pind Balluchi to play a vital role in enhancing the aesthetics of the restaurant. An open kitchen in the restaurant emulates a ढाबा with some delicious तंदूर and तवा preparations which further enhances a dining experience.





Pind Balluchi aces it with their food, because the flawless preparations, authentic taste of dishes and quick service are what make them earn points in their kitty.

Going by the 'Best Of Pind Balluchi' section earmarked at the beginning of their extensive menu, we decided to relish the following preparations, which were presented as Pind Balluchi's home-style signature dishes.

Appetizers: 


  • Mushroom Kurkure - Button Mushrooms placed in fried, crispy cups, stuffed with Khoya and Cheese. It had a unique presentation and taste and would be one of my must-have dishes at Pind Balluchi. 



  • Dahi Ke Kebab - Hung Curd with a mild tang, stuffed in fried bread. Simply melt-in-mouth. 


  • Paneer Tikka - A तंदूर preparation, with Chef's Special cottage cheese chunks char-grilled to perfection. 



  • Ajwaini Fish Tikka - Another तंदूर preparation which is Chef's classic, with a lemony zest infused into fish fillets char-grilled in mustard oil. 



  • Kalmi Kebab - Chicken leg pieces marinated with cashew paste, hung curd, and mildly spiced, yet again in तंदूर. 


  • Also tried their Soups - Murg Shorba and Tamatar Shorba - steaming hot and flavorful. 



Main Course: 


  • सरसों दा साग ते मक्की दी रोटी - Quintessentially Punjab. It would be a crime to overlook this classic preparation when at Pind Balluchi. It was served alongside sinful pieces of गुड़ and melt-in-mouth मक्ख़न. If you'd ask me, this is the one preparation that is most highly recommended, more so because the साग is authentically prepared in mustard oil (सरसों तेल) as well lending it an unforgettable taste. :)


  • An array of Indian gravies and curries, namely Chef's Recommended Pindi Choley, Khumb Pyaaz Bhujiya, and Murg Lababdar paired with Chicken and Mutton Parantha respectively. 








Desserts:

Classic Punjabi sweet delicacies were there to bring the meal to a fitting conclusion.


  • Gulab Jamun 
  • Thandi Kheer 
  • Rasmalai 
  • Matka and Teela Kulfi 
  • Gajar Ka Halwa 

I had a great time at Pind Balluchi and would like to say that it is one of my must-visit places for authentic North Indian delicacies since the past many years. It is one chain that is effortlessly keeping the essence and the legacy of home-cooked food alive. :)

It's All At Wah Ji Wah...

Wah Ji Wah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wah Ji Wah is an iconic name in the food circle especially in Delhi since the past many decades. It offers feel-at-home kind of food, catering entirely to the Vegetarian's palate and liking.



On a recent visit to a market in Janakpuri, I decided to visit the newest Wah Ji Wah located in C Block for dinner, which interestingly is the first outlet in their chain to offer dine-in facility i.e. by providing seating space for a good twenty to thirty people (on a small scale), apart from a couple of tables positioned right outside the outlet where patrons can opt to stand and eat (basically quick bites).



It is a simplistic outlet that aims to present good food and quick service to its patrons and we weren't disappointed by their humble attempt to do so.

Being a vegetarian's delight, Wah Ji Wah has taken the onus on themselves to provide interesting nomenclature to a few dishes, like Veg Fish Tikka, paralleling their non-vegetarian counterpart.

Though there is a lot of variety partaking to Indian and Chinese cuisines, our meal was mostly Indian, with a dash of Chinese Gravy Momos thrown in for the appetizers.

Wah Ji Wah scores a point in their tally through the fact that it's priced economically and is a bang for the buck sort of place.

There was a variety of Chaap dishes that we tried, namely Malai Chaap, Achaari Chaap, and Afghani Chaap, and Tandoori Chaap.


Also, Veg Fish Tikka looked just like fish on the exterior but it was the nutrition of soy that was put into preparing that dish.



Gravy Paneer Momos were a classic, with the appropriate stuffing of cottage cheese and some veggies.



For Mains, we tried their signature Pindi Chole, which had a royal presentation of sorts.


Also, a couple of gravies and curries, namely Dal Makhni, Mushroom Masala and Paneer Lababdar paired with an array of Indian Breads completed my outing at this outlet of Wah Ji Wah.






Needless to say, Wah Ji Wah is a humble family place, which satiates a craving for good Vegetarian food on a reasonable budget. :)