Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Sweet Christmas Feast At Elementaria Bakery & Cafe | Food Review | Food Photography | Vegetarian Desserts

It was Christmas and we needed to indulge. Stars aligned perfectly and we landed here for a lunch-time review. To start off, the menu uploaded on zomato for this branch is not completely functional, I was looking forward to trying out salads, sandwiches and savory waffles but they are not available here right now. The coffee machine wasn't working either. 'Uh oh, we really need a miracle right now' -so we thought. But then we tried a bit of all that was available- hot chocolate, tea, cooler, puffs, croissants, waffles, pastries..AND it was a miracle all right. EVERYTHING is scrumptious and we couldn't have had a better Christmas feast :D

It is a small nook opposite Apsara ice cream at Matunga King Circle, like a comfy petite Parisian cafe. Warm ambiance with smiling, extremely polite staff and fast service. An array of extremely beautiful pastries and savory bakery items displayed to whet the appetite and right now it is decked up in Christmas decorations lending it another layer of charm. Overall, a hidden gem. 

Started off with a round of beverages- CHOCOLATE MARTINI COOLER was cold, refreshing, sister chose and liked it, Mom loved her MASALA CHAI served in cutting chai style,properly aromatic and flavorsome according to her but the star was my choice of AZTEC HOT CHOCOLATE, the most decadent dark chocolate, spiced up a bit to make the dark chocolate even more appetizing. I can have a gallon of this every single day. Made me try another variation of hot chocolate-WILLY WONKA which is a bit more indulgent with dark chocolate topped with whipped cream and a dash of caramel. Hot Chocolate here is MUSTTTTTTT HAVE.

For savories, we zeroed down on..well everything they had and it was all super duper fresh and delicious-

GREEN THAI CURRY PUFF- Liked a lot by mom, crispy puff with a wholesome paneer and veggies mash inside with mild thai curry flavor,

PANEER TIKKA CROISSANT- Nom Nom, the croissant was buttery and paneer tikka filling was right on the money. For those like my sister with a bias for spicier dishes, go for SCHEZWAN PANEER CROISSANT, almost similar with the famous fiery schezwan sauce hint in there encased within smooth buttery croissant. 

PERI PERI PUFF- Another one liked by mom, just like the thai curry puff, it was crispy flaky outside with a wholesome paneer + capsicum filling in mildy spicy peri peri flavor, good for meal for a very light eater :) Pair this one with a milkshake and there you go,filled up for 3-4 hours atleast.

VEG QUICHE- My absolute favorite, another MUST HAVE! A puffy well of mix veggies, paneer in a garlic-mushroom-cheese sauce mash, all layered up with a generous bout of cheese, looks good, tastes grrrrrreat.

And now it was time for my sweet jaw to get happy :D Up first was KIT KAT DUTCH TRUFFLE WAFFLE that we took in a sandwich form, one of the best waffles I have had-soft yet firm, drenched in chocolate-y deliciousness that warrants multiple repeats and served alongside whipped cream + vanilla ice cream that's a far cry from tub vanilla ice creams we are used to. Have it to believe it. MUST-HAVE.

Now we were thoroughly confused. Not only were we almost completely stuffed, the beautiful display made it impossible to choose! Finally we zeroed down on-

BAKED CHEESECAKE - Excellent as expected,

RED VELVET HAZELNUT pastry- Soft, melt in mouth, spectacular,

SEA SALT CARAMEL & DARK CHOCO RASPBERRY Cupcakes- Soft, moist, at the core they had caramel & choco-raspberry fillings respectively, complete party in mouth,

HAZEL VELVET TUB CAKE/WELL CAKE- A soft yet firm pastry boundary surrounding a sinful deluge of chocolate that overpowers all the senses, this one is another MUST-HAVE.

They also presented us with little samples of plum cake, it being Christmas and it was delicious too, heady plum concoction in dry cake form, what more doth one's heart wanteth :D 

Oh,we spent our Christmas indulging all right. But we do not feel guilty at all :D Prices are on the higher side but the quality of products is top-notch premium so we won't complain a bit. Would definitely be back to try out new items on their menu as they introduce it. Till then, Bon Appetit! 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Oven Story Dadar Mumbai | Best Vegetarian Cakes | Dessert Feast Review

One of the best cakes in Mumbai! We have ordered birthday cakes from here on my sister's birthday last month and my birthday just last week,both times experience has been fantastic and are going to continue ordering from here for foreseeable future :)

First, ordering via their website is extremely easy and their delivery mechanism throughout Mumbai is perfect. On my sister's birthday,I ordered at 3 PM and it was delivered at my home, 15 kms away from their shop, at 5.30 PM right on time as expected. Best for last minute ordering :D 

Add to that, the flavors are exotic, ingredients used are clearly top-notch, cake is soft + fresh even hours later, looks beautiful and the cakes are accompanied with beautiful cards from HelpAge India with whatever message you want. Complete value for money package in my opinion. 

For my sister's birthday, we had a Chocolate-Hazelnut cake while for my birthday, she ordered for a 1KG Dutch Truffle flavored special cake with Frozen movie's Elsa's picture and a Cherry Cheesecake. Oh my gosh, this cheesecake is unbelievable, everyone must-MUST-MUSTTTT have their cheesecake. Dutch Truffle was appropriately dense and decadent while chocolate-hazelnut felt like molten mix of dense chocolate and heavenly smokey hazelnut. Now we are planning on having some fruity flavors for mom's birthday next month :D

Friday, 15 December 2017

Vegetarian Thali At Rajdhani R City Mumbai | Food Review | Happy Birthday To Me

Was here for my birthday lunch with family mainly because I had plans of meeting with my friends in evening at some hip party place but my parents wanted a simple family lunch, nothing much fancy, just good food and Rajdhani can always be relied upon to do that :) It is a simple, clean, elegant place with delicious Indian Gujarati/Rajasthani food, and on tuesdays it is half price thalis, so yay :D

We were welcomed in nice Indian way with small chandan tilak on our forehead and a piece of laddoo (Indian tradition of welcoming people with a thaali full of flowers, tilak, something sweet! Lovely!) We had entered just as it was opening up for lunch and within 15 minutes,the place was full with loads of families, even kids running around. Not a place for romantic or solitude lunch :P Through and through the ambiance is of sitting at some revered Indian village elder's home and getting fed a gallon of food. Once the food starts coming in, it is as fast as that bus from Speed movie!

We started with a round of chutneys, pickle, strawberry dhokla, dal baati churma, veg cutlet and chaas to wash it all down with. Soon, main course followed with paneer gravy, gatte ki sabji, veg cabbage, daal, kadhi, phulkas, rotla, puri, aloo paratha, veg pulao, khichdi and more chaas to help digest all of this better :D For desserts, unlimited rounds of pineapple sheera, veg fruits custard and veg malpua! Everything simply delicious, not extremely oily but yes enough to make it all tasty, unlimited servings, the staff was very polite and really eager to serve us whatever we wanted,however times we wanted, service was very quick, and my parents especially really liked the experience so that makes me extra happy :)

Just make sure you go here with a big appetite, it is not a place for people whose tummies get full with 4 almonds :P Also, food is on the sweeter/milder side, not at all spicy, which is great for me and my family but you might want to ask for extra chillies from them if you want spicy tinge. Enjoy! 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Vegetarian Vegan Healthy + Delicious Feast | Healthylicious R City Mumbai | Food Review | Food Photography

It is so heartening to see health taking center-stage nowadays. In past year, we have to been quite a few salad-soups-sandwiches/healthy restaurants and Healthylicious is a lovely new entrant that aims to develop into a chain for healthy food, (much like McD or KFC is for unhealthy ones) and looking at the quality of their food, they surely will :)

First things first, Healthylicious brings HEALTHY + DELICIOUS food,Prepared fresh everyday without using artificial flavors,preservatives or additives,
Prepared with ingredients such as Brown Rice, Whole Wheat Wraps, Multi-Grain Sandwiches,
Served in 100% eco-friendly containers, made of palm leaves, giving back to nature,
Taking care of different concerns like Energy, Heart Healthy, Immunity, Diabetes Friendly, Jain & Vegan!

No, this is not diet food. It is perfectly suited for Indian palate, and they are expanding into subscription service so we all have a chance to add to our health quotient right in our homes/ office.

We tried something from every category, soups, salads, sandwich, wrap, rice, beverages and desserts and would recommend literally everything here. Food that is fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich, pocket friendly, not bland but with appropriate levels of dressings and spices, honestly this is going to be my go-to place whenever I am in R City next-

Started with round of Soups-both TOMATO BASIL and GOLDEN PEARL are must-have. None of that 'processed' 'packet' flavor, real tomato shining in former while dense mix of corn, bell peppers, parsely and macaroni pasta in latter made it as soothing as grandma's love,

Next up Salads-I loved CHILLING EFFECT with Cucumber, Iceberg lettuce, Bell peppers, Celery and Parsley with mild citrusy dressing while my sister loved Protein-rich HEALTHY SABZI with Broccoli, Paneer, Bell peppers, Tomato, Onions in sweet chilly dressing, a little oriental punch there, mildly sweet and mildly spicy :)

For those like my parents who love the chaat effect yet want it in healthy salad way, go for SPIRIT OF SPROUTS with Sprouted Moong, Chana and Corn, this is especially reminiscent of the chana chaat we have in monsoon or winter evenings, very chatpata! While sweet lovers like me must go for ENERGIZER with Apples & Pears in Lemon Honey Dressing, an unforgettable punch being provided by Betel leaves (the famed kolkata paan)! It is like having a paan mocktail with apple & pears :)

And for those who love something wholesome like Falafel, go for THAT'S COOL with crispy Nacho chips with cool Avocado dip with onions and coriander :) My MUST-HAVE every single time I am here,


While the salads here are quite filling, for those who want something heavier perhaps, go ahead to Wraps, Sandwiches and Rice! ORIENTAL WRAP is loaded with shredded cabbage, beats, beans, peppers in sweet-spicy mild dressing and TASTY TOFU SANDWICH with extremely soft bread & mash of tofu, peppers, onions, one of the best sandwiches ever!

For heavy eaters who do not want to have heartburn later, have anti-oxidant rich Brown Rice in RICE OF STEEL or ITALIAN HERBED RICE, both fantastic and loaded with spinach, paneer, corn, bell peppers etc. I have had brown rice at couple of places and this is one of the rare ones where it didn't taste like cattle feed, honestly! Even brown rice can be delicious and filling, go ahead and indulge.

We all know Cold Pressed juices are all the rage health-wise now, since they preserve all the nutrition of veggies/fruits, here we get a plethora of such juices, with targeted benefits such as hair growth, immunity, liver cleansing, glowing skin etc. We tried ENERGIZER and SLIM N TRIM and it was as expected, loaded with health benefits.

And for DESSERT, they have this unbelievably good POPSICLE. I never have popsicles because the 2-3 times I have had them, they felt too icy, but this one was BAE :D Fruits such as pineapple and papaya, made into a popsicle of simple lemonade, YES PLEASE :)

Keeping thing simple, nothing at Healthylicious is top-notch masterchef level gourmet or molecular gastronomy or any such glitz and glamour. It is simple, earthy food, made with locally sourced ingredients, prepared in a way to preserve maximum nutrients, leading to healthy lifestyle without losing out on taste. Yes, for our palates addicted to burgers, pastas, pizzas, loads of cheese, preservatives, sugars, salts, it would feel mild at first because this is basic food done very right.

I know I am guilty of gluttony too, but since we all know about the lifestyle diseases on the rise right now, it is important to nourish our bodies regularly. So please do not go here with pre-conceived notions of 'health food is bland' or 'it is diet food, I won't like it' and enjoy the healthy + delicious offerings. I wish this kiosk right opposite R City Mall food court all the best and would be a regular here with my family :)

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Rainforest Resto-Bar | Dining With Tarzan | Unique Ambiance Superb Service | Food Review

Nice place for those looking to chill out with friends or even steal some private moments with a loved one in a rocking ambiance :) Was here with my mom and sister for a review, we had a nice time and would definitely revisit. 

Ambiance suits the theme of rainforest with trees forming a canopy and even tables have a rustic, hand-crafted quality while figurines of monkeys, dinosaurs etc. perched atop branches over the tables give it a completely Tarzan-esque vibe. It's definitely unique. International pop hits keep the night young and place gets filled up quickly after 6 PM. Love how the tables are arranged nicely for privacy even when side-by-side. Lighting is dim so instagram addicts have to keep camera flash ready. 

Service is exceptional and staff remembers even the tiniest instruction till the end. For eg-we asked them to make our drinks at room temperature, minimal ice, and they did not need to be reminded of that for the entire 2 hours we spent here. Our orders were prompt, some things were unavailable from the menu but we were suggested good alternatives. Feedback was also taken very constructively, so definite 5 stars for them. Special word of Kudos to our host of the evening, Mr. Dinesh. 

Prices might seem higher at one glance but food is generously portioned so we found it well worth the price tag, especially the main courses. AND the menu is huge with loads of Oriental, Indian, Italian dishes, something for everyone :) Food is calorific so health freaks should just stick to salads or couple of starters, this is a place to enjoy some good grub and cool drinks without counting calories.

We started with a round of drinks-
Perfect Fresh Lime Soda
Refreshing Citrusy Rainforest Fantasy (medley of Cranberry, Black Currant, Orange, Raspberry)
Tangy Forest Spritzer (dominant Pineapple, Green Apple, Basil, Lime)

Moving on to soups-
Hot N Sour - Classic, Super Spicy, Crunchy Veggies
Lemon Coriander - Spicy, prominent coriander, hint of lemon, loads of chillies, fiery good :D

For starters, we went on to -
Bruschetta Rustica - Buttered grilled garlic bread with tangy balsamic vinegar, chopped tomatoes, parmesan and basil, quite good,

Kurkure Cheese Kebab - Cheese lovers rejoice, this is the molten cheese inside crunchy kebab that you dream of, a bit too cheesy for me but my sister couldn't stop! Must-have with alcoholic drinks, in fact I think most starters here are like this, fried and dense and cheesy to go better with drinks,

Paneer Angaray - My first favorite of the evening, big juicy paneer chunks marinated in yogurt + red chillies paste + herbs/spices, grilled to perfection and served flambeed with gin, so there is this whole fire on the plate show when it is served, giving it a slightly smokey touch. If you like paneer tikka, you will like it, paneer lovers just go for it,

Gorgonzola Stuffed Mushrooms with Spicy Plum & Kokum Chutney - My 2nd favorite here, huge solid mushrooms served fried (they look like american corn balls), and the chutney is fabulous. Explosion of flavors, must-have for mushroom lovers.

Frankly, we 3 were stuffed by now, but still wanted to try something from the main course, so we had-
 Veg Dum Biryani - Really realllly good biryani, layered, good amount of veggies, properly spiced, mom had a 2nd serving (which is rare for her) and not much discernible kevda essence (and no elaichi! woohoo!) 1 Biryani is enough to feed 3 light eaters or 2 Hulks, portions are great, so order accordingly!

Veg Raita - Perfect cooling accessory to hot biryani,

Kaju Makai Mirch Masala - Splendid, rich, dense medley of Cashewnuts, American Corn and Capsicum cooked in mildly spicy onion gravy, must have had about 5000 calories but we finished it all, will keep this one on my reorder list!

Another thing going on our reorder list is their Pizza Paratha which is basically like a naan laden with cheese and chopped bits of veggies such as bell peppers, it is cheesy, it is scrumptious, it has the earthy Indian taste and is a must have :)

Absolutely wonderful main course, we had no space left for desserts (I still downed a couple of Rajbhog, it was decent, should be softer and also their ice cream is awesome) so will have to come back to try the whole dessert section along with a 1000 other dishes from the main menu :D Here is to more prowling through this rainforest. ROAR!