Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Fatty Bao is Finally in Delhi!

The Fatty Bao has finally come to Delhi! Yay! Ever since it opened in Bangalore, I would have to hear from my Bangalore friends how awesome it is and how ‘I didn’t know what I was missing’. Well, no more! The brainchild of Chef Manu Chandra and restaurateur AD Singh, this much loved Bangalore restaurant, hailing from the same F&B family as Monkey Bar, is now here in Delhi.

Housed in the swanky Sangam Courtyard in R.K. Puram, this restaurant with a Panda for its mascot, serves up delicious Pan-Asian delicacies that leave you wanting more. Or so I’d heard. Well, when you consistently keep hearing such glowing reviews of a restaurant, you just have to visit when said restaurant finally comes to your city. And so a plan was made and some fellow foodies and I decided to head there for lunch with stomachs empty and expectations sky high :)

On arrival, we were quickly seated and ordered some Bira beer and a plate of California rolls from the Sushi section, as well as some Baos (you can't go to The Fatty Bao and not order the Baos).While we waited for the food to arrive, we took in the ambience. I have to say I love the way this restaurant is done up. Colorful walls dotted with quirky graphics, custom made lamps and multicolored chairs gave the place a playful, yet chic vibe.

California Roll with crab meat

 First to arrive was the Sushi. The California roll (with crab meat) was good, but not exceptional. I was a little worried. Was I going to be disappointed? You usually tend to be when you visit a restaurant with such high expectations. The after a short wait, the Baos arrived. We had ordered the Char Siu and the Tenderloin Bulgogi. I bit into the Char Siu and it was love at first bite, a foodgasm for all three of us. The pork belly in the Bao was the best pork belly I have ever had! It was juicy, tender & melt-in-the-mouth and worked so well with the green apple kimchi. WOW! With a glass of chilled beer and a plate of Char Siu and I’m pretty sure the problems of the world could be solved :) Admittedly the Char Siu is a hard act to follow, and sadly we made the mistake of trying the tenderloin Bao after it. All three of us were a little disappointed. The let down for me were the strips of tenderloin, which I felt weren't tender enough.

The Char Siu

The Tenderloin Bulgogi

On the advice of the manger, we ordered the Pan seared scallops with Fujiko Butter and The Fatty Bao PB&J from the Small Plates section of the menu. Once again we were very impressed with the quality of the pork in the PB&J which was delicious, and the scallops which were plump and succulent, literally melted in the mouth.

The Fatty Bao PB&J

Pan seared Scallops with Fujiko Butter

With just enough space left for dessert, we settled for the Zen Forest, which is a Yuzu Parfait (Yuzu is a citrus fruit that has a lemony flavour), with a black sesame seed sponge, beetroot ice cream and sesame nougatine. When the dessert was placed in front of us, we were floored by how beautiful it was- almost like a little forest on the plate. And it tasted as good as it looked, with the exception of the black sesame sponge which I found to be very dry. The lemony parfait was refreshing without being too tart. And I loved the earthy taste of the beetroot ice cream.

The Zen Forest

Overall, The Fatty Bao met all my expectations and exceeded them too with a few dishes. It is a little pricey, but understandable considering the quality of the ingredients used. Aside from the taste, every item was beautifully presented and I was very impressed with their attention to detail. I definitely plan to visit again. I plan to try some of their signature cocktails as well as the dim sums among other things.

The Fatty Bao is definitely worth a visit or two or three :) It’s not just the food that’s great, but the entire dining experience, from the d├ęcor, the service and the presentation of the food. I would give it a 4/5. The highlights for me were the Char Siu Bao, the Pan Seared Scallops and the Zen Forest dessert. Keep up the great work guys!

*Disclaimer: All Things Nice reviewed this meal anonymously and paid for the meal

[All images clicked by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Carl's Jr Burger Chain- Now in Delhi

Carl’s Jr, one of America’s most famous burger chains, launched a few weeks back in Delhi. Located in the ever happening Select City Skywalk, this Californian brand has opened shop with a menu that has been modified for the Indian palate, one that offers a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian burgers.  

Carl's Jr specialises in chargrilled burgers (their patties are grilled, not fried) and is positioning itself as an upscale QSR that offers quality burgers and various other items like hand breaded chicken tenders. And freshly battered onion rings as well as beer on tap. The restaurant has an ambience with a somewhat industrial, edgy look compared to its other counterparts and I’m sure the addition of beer on the menu will make this a popular and more pocket friendly hangout joint for the office crowd as well as the below 30s’. Finally a burger chain that gets that burgers and beer are a winning combination!

I was a little disappointed to hear that chicken is the only option on the menu for non-vegetarians. Sana Chopra, the executive Director and Marketing Executive Sameer Chopra explained that the brand wanted to start small and work out any kinks in the existing menu, before adding more options. While I understand the logic of this, I do think they have played it overly safe. When one hears the word burger chain, one immediately thinks of red meat! So I think if they also had a lamb option, meat lovers would be much happier.

For the burgers, some of the options are the Mile High Burger with hand breaded onion rings & Santa Fe Sauce, the Star Burger with Moroccan spiced chicken with cheese, Char-grilled Chicken fillet with Mango Jalapeno Pepper and many more. For the vegetarians there is the Char-grilled Tandoori Paneer Burger, Paneer Tikka Masala with Mint mayo, Fenugreek Burger, and more! They also have some interesting shakes like the Tiramisu and Pina colada which were quite nice, as well as the regular strawberry and chocolate shakes.

From the burgers I tried, I loved the Mile High Burger and the Chargrilled Chicken fillet with Mango Jalapeno Pepper. I also loved the breaded chicken tenders and the onion rings. The Fenugreek Burger was a veg option that I really liked, but it’s not for everyone since it has a very strong Fenugreek flavor. One thing I must commend the team for, are their Wasabi-Fries, which are really a great idea and really delicious. The fries come with a wasabi flavored powder on the side so one can add as much or as little wasabi flavor as one likes.

Compared to other QSRs, I was impressed with the burgers overall, but I really look forward to seeing a more varied menu in terms of different kinds of meat or seafood burger options. 

[All images clicked by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

Friday, 14 August 2015

Xiao Chi, Westin Sohna - New Menu Launch

Sohna Westin sits on a beautiful naturally landscaped property and felt like a welcome getaway from the chaos, grime and stress that has become Gurgaon. The best part is that it's just under an hours drive out of the city. In the midst of the natural beauty and curious emus (that's right, emus!) that follow you around, lies Xiao Chi, offering authentic chinese fare. Xiao Chi launched their new menu and I was very happy to be invited to have a taste, along with a few other food bloggers.

As soon as I entered the property, it was love at first site. I just fell in love with the natural beauty, so different to the pristine, almost clinically landscaped resorts you so often come across. I loved the way the different buildings that dotted the property were planned keeping in mind the magnificent trees that have been standing there for at least a hundred years!

Xiao Chi is located in a building that has a very tropical feel to it. The large glass openings give guests a spectacular view out onto the property, and the impressive open kitchen concept lets you look at the chefs while they cook up delicious treats. 

The first thing we tried was a selection of dim sums served steaming hot in the basket- Shoaling Pork Dumpling, Prawn Har Gau, Seafood Dolphin Style Shao Ma, Chicken Shao Mai, Chengdu Jiao Zi and Spinach Jiao Zi. I love my dim sums and these were really good and most were so beautifully presented that it seemed almost shame we had to eat them... almost :) The dim sum were thin, almost transparent casings with juicy fillings that had so much flavour. 

Seafood Dolphin Style Shao Ma & Chicken shao mai

Next came Batter fried prawns, which were golden and crispy on the outside and the prawn still juicy - everything a batter fried prawn should be. These were served with three different accompaniments- a spicy mayo, a chilly sauce and some pickled cucumber. YUM!

Crispy Batter fried prawns

After these small bites, we moved onto mains! There wasn't much room left in the tummy, but everything looked so good I tasted small bites of everything. Some of the mains we tried were Spicy Prawns with Minced Chicken, Steamed Sea Bass, Steamed Eggplant, Guangdon Roast Chicken & Five Spiced Duck. My favorites were the Sea Bass, the Raost Chicken and the Steamed Eggplant, which was so good even someone who didn't like eggplants tasted it and was converted! Think I'll get the hubs, who despises eggplant, to try this when I take him :)

Steamed Sea Bass, Spicy Prawns with Minced Chicken, 
Chicken with Chilli and Black Bean 

Steamed Eggplant & Guangdon Roast Chicken

And then came dessert, which was baked egg coconut custard. OMG! I love egg custard, or caramel custard, but I've never tried the version with coconut milk. The custard was served with lightly roasted almond flakes that just made it even better. I've brought all the ingredients needed to make it and am waiting for a chance to make some. I'm sure it won't taste as amazing as Chef Kedar's, but I can't go to Sohna Westin every time I crave this dessert :)

Egg Coconut Custard with Almond flakes

I found it quite intriguing that a restaurant that serves authentic Chinese fare has an Indian chef, and not someone from China, but Chef Kedar Bisht seems more than ready to meet this challenge and really impressed us all with the amazing fare he cooked up! The menu is also very well balanced and has something for the carnivores, something for seafood lovers and some very nice choices for vegetarians too. 

The highlights for me were - Pretty much all the dim sum options, Steamed Sea Bass, Steamed Eggplant, Guangdon Roast Chicken, Baked egg coconut custard

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Just Checking In...

Just a small post today. The weather is lovely, and I just felt like saying a quick hello. Things have been quite crazy lately and as usual the blog suffers :(  

A lot of design work has suddenly come up. Finally some work coming in! It's been tough setting up my design firm in Gurgaon and honestly I was feeling like calling it quits because work was trickling in so slowly. But I think Adhi is my lucky charm, and all of a sudden that sad little almost non-existent trickle seems to be becoming a steady flow. Some big stuff, some small stuff, but hey you gotta start somewhere right? 

Working like a crazy person has been quite exhausting, but fun too. I've missed the exhilarating high of working on crazy deadlines and drafting cadd drawings till the palm of my hand resembles a claw :)

So just a warning, I have a ton of posts pending and you will be seeing back to back posts over the next few days. Bear with me. 

Till then it's bye from me. Have a great weekend!

And in case anyone is interested you can check out my firm's website here and its Facebook page here. Please follow and like and spread the love!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

My SelectED Experience

Do you know when you see posts about certain events on blogs, and you think to yourself, "Hmm, I wish I could experience a bit of that." well that happened to me when I came across a few  blog posts about the SelectED experience. Selected Dining & Events, or SelectED is actually a catering company that provides a bespoke luxury dining experience, with a very big emphasis on the words ‘luxury’ &  ‘experience’. Whether small intimate gatherings or the ‘big fat Indian wedding’ SelectED is no ordinary catering service. It provides its client with a very special, one of a kind, ‘concept’ dining experience with artfully curated menus.

I was happy to get a taste and feel of this experience, when I was invited for a special sit down lunch with SelectED CEO, Ishaan Sarkar and a few other bloggers. Ishaan Sarkar is himself a chef and a passionate foodie and has tremendous experience in the industry. While he briefed us about SelectED, it surprised me to hear that SelectED takes on only one event per day, such is the attention to detail that they endeavor to deliver to their clients. Some of his stories describing to us the extent to which the SelectED team has often gone to create an unforgettable experience were quite impressive.

Our meal, which was carefully created by Chef Gaurav Mathur, who is the director of cuisine and has more than a decade of experience with ITC. The meal was a typical representation of what SelectED specializes in- fusion cuisine, with European and oriental influences, all beautifully and innovatively presented, with a little theatre thrown in.

On the menu for our lunch was Smoked Dill Atlantic Salmon with Garlic Sea Salt and Tandoori Murgh Wasabi Malai, both served in a mason jar filled with smoke and sealed off with a poppadom lid. Next up came Lobster Tortellini with a real hit of chilli. The presentation of the starters was beautiful and theatrical and tasted lovely.

Between courses we were served with a Jamun Gelato. It was a welcome treat that refreshed the senses and made me look forward to more :) Also, can I just say that I’ve been dreaming about this Gelato ever since that afternoon! If only it could be packaged and retailed- my freezer would be overflowing with cartons and cartons of it!

The main was a traditional Indian Thali which consisted of crispy fried bhindi (okra), aloo curry, prawn coconut cream curry, Sarson Maach (fish marinated in a mustard sauce and steamed in a banana leaf) and a Koh-e-Awadh, not to mention Lamb Biryani and dal Makhani. It was quite a spread, one that was both delicious and varied and had something for every kind of palate.

For dessert we had a tasting platter of three desserts. One was a miniature Jalebi with a delicate orange cream, which was my favourite of the three. The second was a coffee creme brulee which was rich and creamy and quite delicious. The last was a chocolate sponge with a mousse and a strawberry glaze, topped off with a macaroon. This was the most spectacular of the three in terms of looks, but my least favourite in terms of taste. For me the glaze had an artificial, almost synthetic taste which I didn’t like. This was the only thing I wasn't a big fan of.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the creations of Chef Gaurav Mathur, what I enjoyed more was the learning from Ishaan Sarkar about the effort, innovation and quick thinking that is needed to succeed in this business. I hope I get a chance someday to attend an event handled by the team at SelectED. I’m sure it would be an unforgettable experience.

[All images clicked by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

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