Monday, June 22, 2015

Wenger's Deli, Connaught Place, New Delhi

Note - This place takes its last order at around 8:30 PM/8:45PM. You feel this is bad - this is actually much later than the legendary sister concern which shuts door at 7:45 PM.

Wenger's Deli, Connaught Place

Wenger's Deli is sister (and very new) concern of the legendary Wenger's. We all know about Wenger's, which is just phenomenal in terms of value for money it offers. Wenger's Deli is an attempt to get into next level - from Bakery to Delicatessan - but with same focus on 'value for money'.

It is located adjacent to Keventer's in A-Block (on the radial road), Connaught Place. With the legendary Wenger's two shops away, this place is rightly placed for attracting the crowd. But it gets a bit hidden due to its location. However once you step inside, you will find the same quality as Wenger's and will feel satiated with very less hit on the wallet.

Remember, this is a Deli - better suited for a pick-up or a quick bite between work. This is not a fine dining setup at all. Decor is very minimal. Actually, the place itself is very small - hardly 10 or 12 seats (bar stools, to be precise) are available for seating. During rush hours, the waiting can go long due to limited seating - best is to order first and wait or grab the food and step out. The seating is also much in a bar fashion with stools facing the walls (window) and fixed tables in the walls. The caricatures on both walls make the setting a bit light and makes it feel much like a Deli. Overall, seating is less but the decor is good (or maybe perfect for the venture).

The Deli has an open kitchen - actually kitchen probably has same amount of space as the front desk and the sitting area. The kitchen is visible through an open glass panel. That kind of sets a good tone as you can see your order being prepared in hygienic way. The service is just about okay. I have found it to be very quick at times and then slow at other times. Also, it depends on the rush and orders in the queue.

Food and Drinks
Now comes the main part - Food.

Food at Wenger's Deli is amazingly fresh, cheap and quantity is good. This frankly stands out in whole of Connaught Place. After trying various items from their menu, here is what I would recommend

Salads - Cucumber and Grape one; really nice combination and flavor.
Panini - Go for Greek Hero or Vegan Delite (yes the one with aubergine) in vegetarian section or Peri Peri Chicken in non-vegetarian section.
Waffles - All of them are good; perfectly baked. If you are into waffles, try them here.
Smoothies/Shakes - Zacarito or Hawaiin (if you like it in Coconut milk)
Burgers - The non-vegetarian section rules here. Sorry for the other side but the classic Chicken burger or Mutton Shami burger are both awesome. They are very filling and have perfectly prepared patties in them. A bit on spicy side though. But we, Indians, love it that way. Don't we?

So, what is missing? In my opinion, coffee is surely missing from the menu. Well, no hot drinks till now on their menu. I fail to understand why. I hope they get this corrected soon.

Three things - food preparation, food quantity and price. Perfectly sums it up.

Here are the ratings on different aspects
Decor - 3/5
Service - 3/5
Food - 5/5
Drinks - 4/5

Wenger's Deli
A-18, Radial Road
Connaught Place,
New Delhi

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mumbai Matinee (The Bollywood Cafe), Sector 18, Noida

This review comes after a long time. First things first, I have decided to change the format of reviews to include different aspects of the place and give ratings to each one of them. Most common aspects would be - food, decor, and service but there could be other occasional things which are worth mentioning for a particular place like music, drinks or USP etc...

Mumbai Matinee (The Bollywood Cafe), Sector 18, Noida

Discovered by chance while roaming around in Sector 18 market and after being to this place three times, this place does not live up to its "name" hype. Well, for a place called Mumbai Matinee, one would expect blockbuster food - isn't that what Bollywood is all about. But Mumbai Matinee fails miserably in food department. Seriously, how can one go wrong with Vada Pav.

Nostalgic. Do I need to say more. For someone who grew up in 80s & 90s and had always loved the wonderful bygone era of Bollywood, this place is really nostalgic. It has posters from old movies - some of them which even I had not seen till now. And then it has the LPs (not the real ones but very much realistic fakes) on the ceiling. Plus it has famous dialogues from some of the movies in the outer room (on first floor). To complete the look, there are boxes created out of old cassette covers - remember those tapes we used to play in our cassette players. Now this one is old for some of the readers to understand:)

One thing which hurts me in the decor is the 'Wall of Legends'. It contains a small biography of legends of Bollywood. Nice concept but the hurting part is
- There is no mention of Dilip Kumar there. I mean - this is tragic!!!
- And then there is Parveen Babi and Firoz Khan. With all due respect to the latter, isn't this too much and then Parveen Babi - seriously ???

For someone who has grown up hearing 80s and 90s music - don't laugh - this is a good place to enjoy those songs. Music is indeed good here - one can enjoy oldies as well as 80s/90s music. The volume can be tones down a bit due to the small place and closed interiors but then it depends on your mood as well.

Overall pass-able. I have not waited too long for my orders ever - which is what matters. Plus the staff is courteous. Only thing which I noticed was the staff to be less knowledgeable. For example, if they cannot understand a demand for Pesto sauce pasta then something is missing. But then, Noida has always been devoid of good knowledgeable staff in restaurants. No surprises on this one.

Coming to the probably the most important in a restaurant, food fails to make a mark to me at this place. On all my visits, I have tired nearly all items from their 'Mumbai Matinee Special' section and some pastas for my young one. Anything listed as 'Special' in the menu should be special but I am afraid they fail to make a mark. It is not that they are bad but they are just not special. I have tried Misel Pav, Vada Pav, Keema Pav, Pav Bhaji - nearly covering the whole 'Special' menu but none of them are outstanding. Moving on to pastas, they are very much 'Indianized' so to say. The sauces smell and taste very much Indian. Overall, food needs a huge lift in this otherwise good conceptualized eating joint.

Well, this the part I have been there 3 times - specially their cutting chai. If you want to get a good cutting chai - this is the place to be in Sector 18. The cutting chai is just the right quantity of tea one would want to enjoy with the food. Made with perfect amount of milk and perfectly sweetened, it makes the food taste somewhat better.Perfect for a rainy day.

Here are the ratings on different aspects
Decor - 4/5
Service - 3/5
Music - 4.5/5
Food - 2/5
Tea - 5/5 :)

Mumbai Matinee
J-19, Sector 18
National Capital Region (NCR)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

South Indian Snacks Corner, Jantar Mantar

Important - Please note that this place is not open on Sundays.

For my first 2-3 visits to this place, I never asked the name of the place at all. Food is so yummy that you forget everything else. But then, during a visit, when I asked the name of the place from the guy who stands there taking the orders most of the times, he just said 'South Indian Snacks Corner'. The most generic name (and maybe most apt) one can have for such a place.

For once, this could be just another fill-in-my-food kind of place but run out of a small kiosk and its adjoining one for past many years - some say around 20 years, this place dishes out amazing flavors through its hot South Indian snacks on dirt cheap rates. I think the most priced item on the menu would still be of 70-80 rupees only. Even the parking in some of the malls cost more than this in Delhi. Dirt cheap does not mean low on taste. The preparation of food is awesome here - I have never ever eaten any hard Idlis here or over-fried Dosas here. Move over Sagar Ratnas...

The place does not have a sitting area at all and you can see utensils being cleaned in a corner. It is like an half open kitchen with a huge boiling cauldron of Sambhar just outside of the kiosk. If you are too much into ambiance, move on to CP. But if you want to enjoy Delhi food where it is best then this is the place to be. The popularity of the place can be seen anytime you go there with sufficient enough attendance but during lunch hours you can see hordes of loyal office goers from the neighbourhood for their value-for-money meals. The service is amazingly fast and you can enjoy coffee/lassi/shakes from other shops around.

Coming back to food, I do not know where to start from and where to end. You can pick any item from the menu and it would be wonderful in taste. Everything here comes with pure coconut chutney (no dal chana in there), hot Sambhar and the Red chutney. All of them are just rightfully spiced - nothing over the board. On the main dish front, Dosas are just appropriately filled with stuffing and are never over-fried. Idlis are appropriately steamed and soft to enjoy them being dipped in Sambhar. Dal Vadas are not much interesting but till now I have never eaten Dal Vadas which can just blow my mind. Sambhar Vada is one of my favorite here since they are appropriately fried and make wonderful combination with their Sambhar. And this is the only place, where I do eat Upma. Yes, the Upma is just amazing - no fancy ingridents there - just the mix of coconut and dal. They do have other varieties of Dosas and then there is a dish of the day as well. Maybe someday, I will get bored with their regular fare and would move to more dishes but as of now the regular fare is keeping me engaged. Having said that, Rava Kesari is a good way to end the meal here - no fancy stuff but an honest home-food feeling.

And I think "home food feeling" is the best description of this place.

Average cost for two would not be more than 120 rupees

South Indian Snacks Corner
In front of designated protest area, Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar Road
New Delhi

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Andhra Bhawan Canteen

Andhra Bhawan Canteen at last - after living for more than 10 years in Delhi.

But as it is said - there is always a right time for everything. So, mine happened on one Saturday in early September when I finally reached for a lunch at Andhra Bhawan Canteen. First thing which I noted is lack of proper parking - one has to park on the road alongside. After driving in circles for two times, I decided to park in the free parking lot of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, just across the road. This looks like a good and more secure way of parking.

On reaching at the canteen,there were people already waiting. For a second, we thought of turning back but then I remembered that their management is efficient and one does not have to wait for too long. Good that we stayed for the experience - we had to wait only for 4 minutes or so.

They serve breakfast from 7:30 to 10, lunch from 12 to 2:45 and dinner from 7:30 to 10. Ordering is simple as there are fixed menu option. Breakfast has idli + dosa + vada along with tea/coffee while Lunch & Dinner has two veg. curries, plain rice, dal pappu, sambhar, rasam, curd, sweet, papad, pickle, and puri (lunch) or phulka (dinner). They serve Hyderabadi Dum Biryani on Sundays only. Plus you have options to take non-veg side dishes like chicken curry, chicken fry, mutton curry, mutton fry, fish curry, fish fry or prawn curry as an add-on.

Pretty simple for someone to make a choice. Prices are just too low to be real. Pay, take a token and then wait for your turn. And while you wait, do make sure to take a note of the efficiency of managing such a place. Place is just a simple-no-frills setup, do not expect fine dinning here. And take a note of the guy managing the show - an amazing guy who calls out the token numbers in such an interesting way, alternating between English, Hindi and Telgu. Just amazing.

Sitting could be shared - although we got lucky with a full table to ourselves. As soon as one we were seated, thali was served, and then there were always servers running around shouting "currrrry", "riiiiice" and so on. Dal Pappu was amazing - I could just have taken the full thali only for that Dal Pappu. Rest of the stuff was also fine - but nothing that amazing. Chicken Fry was typical though and loved it a lot.

Overall, the experience was over in less than 8 minutes. Phew!!! This is not the place if you are looking for any indulgence. This is basic canteen but the food is worth a shot. A must have (at least one)...

Average cost for two would be around Rs.300 - this is the best part.

Andhra Pradesh Bhawan
1, Ashoka Road
New Delhi

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lighthouse 13, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket

Went to Lighthouse 13 once last year (2012) while we were roaming around in the Saket malls. Since it was Sunday, opted for the Sunday brunch (or buffet) but it left us a lot disappointed. Seriously, the place is charging too much for literally very average food.

Seating is good, music was good but the main lifeline (food) of restaurant was very weak. The food buffet preparations were ordinary. They had nearly everything covered - Indian, Continental, Europeran etc... but I think that is the trap which they have fallen into. Too much options are actually spoiling the quality of the food there. The hotness quotient of the food was also missing - so the breads were actually coming out not-so-hot from behind the scenes. Overall, a disaster for us to go there, I must say.

Have not gone back to the place since then although Saket features regularly on our shopping or weekends activities. Maybe someday we will try to have courage to go for a-la-carte there and hopefully see much better results than last visit.

Till then, Lighthouse 13 is not where my ship is going to anchor :)

Average cost for two would be around Rs.2000 (without alcohol).

If you still want to go, here are the contact details:-

Lighthouse 13
13, 1st Floor, 
MGF Metropolitan Mall, 
Saket, New Delhi

Phone - 011-49422265

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Karim's, Jama Masjid, Delhi - 6

Karim's, an institution in itself, is something which should be placed as one of the "places-to-eat-at-before-you-die" list. This is indeed true for carnivorous humans who love Indian food.

Although Karim's has various branches across Delhi and NCR, but the best one still remains the original one at 16, Kebabian Gali, Near Jama Masjid, Delhi. It is not very hard to find - ask anyone around and you will know - but it is surely not one of the most wonderful ambiance to have a restaurant. But nevertheless, with whatever Karim's has to offer, anything is good. And believe me, if you like Indian food and that too Mughlai-style then Karim's is a must must visit. There is long history behind Karim's but in short they were the original chefs/cooks for the Mughals. And it is said that the recipes of all the dishes have carried over generations without much alterations. So, basically you are eating what Mughals ate centuries back.

My recommendations are Tandoori Burra - its just the best you can have, Nahari - only Saturday/Sunday and that too in the morning, Murg Mussallam, Jahangiri Qorma, Badshahi Badami Pasanda, top this all with Naan and specially Sheer Mal.

Average cost for two would be around 500 or so.

Contact Details:-
16, Gali Kababian,
Jama Masjid,

Phone - 011-23269880, 011-23243343, 011-23264981, 011-23243342, 011-65653802

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Town Cafe - Park Plaza, Noida

After nearly one year break on this blog, I have now decided to pen down my experiences and reviews once again. Let's hope this stretch continues unremittingly.

So, the first one after a long hiatus is New Town Cafe at Park Plaza, Noida. Over the time this restaurant has become one of my families preferred choice to spend a relaxing, cool evening out. Main reason is the relaxed ambiance plus lots of space for our daughter to roam around. The only drawback is their focus on buffet leaving their a-la-carte menu limited in choices. But nevertheless, if you want to relax and have good food, this is the place to go although a little bit costly than most of the other places in Noida.

NTC surely have the most elaborate buffet menu in whole of Noida. The choice of dishes specially the starters, cold cuts and deserts is sufficiently wide. And that is the main reason for us to not try that - we basically do not eat a lot. From the a-la-carte, worth trying are Antipasti Platter in the starters, Nasi Goreng from oriental selection, Grilled tenderloin steak or Ratatouille Lasagne from international selections, Nalli Awadi Korma (slow cooked lamb shanks in a curd based gravy) or Anjeer Ke Kofte (cottage cheese dumplings stuffed with figs and cooked with tomatoes). Their Indian dishes are served with rice/choice of bread, salad, pickle and Dal Makhani (black lentils). Top it up with Paan Ice Cream at the end.

Also, one of the places in Noida where you can get good food till 1 in the morning. Meal for two would cost something like 1600 bucks.

Contact Information:-
New Town Cafe
Lobby Level, Park Plaza
C Block, Sector 55,
Phone - +91-120-4678888