From the lush green tea fields of the hill country through to the much warmer, and blissfully peaceful beaches of the south with old forts, warm people & rich traditions thrown in, it’s a roller coaster to explore the country formerly known as Ceylon!
I fell totally in love with Sri Lankan hospitality from the moment I checked into my flight with Sri Lankan Airlines. From ever smiling ground staff and crew to the most lux decadence being served on flight, everything is spectacular.
The real charm is of course embodied in the entirety of Sri Lanka- A beautiful country boasting of stunning nature and beaches, wildlife, delicious food, ancient temples, and last but not least the lovely and friendly people!
Getting straight to the point of planning your itinerary, Sri Lanka can certainly be visited as a quick getaway, especially from India thanks to the proximity of course.
Sri Lanka offers the perfect getaway experience to those seeking adventure and thrill and at the same time its perfect for travellers who are seeking a luxurious retreat to unwind and indulge.
-Don’t bother buying a simcard or getting international roaming on your sim because you get great deals on simcards in Sri Lanka with good data plans. It’s definitely cheaper to get a simcard from Sri Lanka.
-It is important to dress appropriately when visiting religious sites and temples in Sri Lanka as it is considered very disrespectful in most cultures if you don’t. Most temples won’t let you enter if you not dressed appropriately. Both men and woman will need to ensure their legs and shoulders are coveredwhile visiting religious sights.
-Use tuk tuks for most part to explore the country. At other times, hiring a bicycle is a good idea to get around.
Depending on what time you arrive (in the morning or in the evening), spend one or two nights in the capital Colombo so that you get a full day to explore this busy and energetic city.
Colombo is full of contrasts – from huge impressive colonial-style buildings and big parks and lakes, strange and creepy temples, to busy and chaotic streets.
Jump on a tuk-tuk (they are everywhere and will hunt you down and follow you until you take their offer) and let the tuk-tuk driver take you around the highlights of Colombo.
Head out to Pettah- one of the oldest districts in Colombo. You can wander around here for an hour or two. Visit Pettah Market and shopping streets located in the Old Quarter. Visit Mayura Hotel in Pettah. It’s a hole in a wall kind of place with very few or no tourists. Try the crab curry and Sr Lankan Omlette here.
Tea lovers can stock up at the Dilmah Tea Outlet at Crescent Boulevard.Take a night stroll along Galle Face Green, a huge green lawn area by the sea promenade in the evening.
Restaurants to visit: Ministry Of Crab, Isso, Curry Pot, Upali’s.
Colombo also houses some great casinos of Sri Lanka and if you love nightlife, Colombo will certainly impress you. Bally’s and Bellagio are the two famous casinos here and highly recommended if you enjoy a game or two. Both casinos run round the clock. Bars to visit in Colombo include Zaza Bar, ON14 Rooftop Bar and Sky Lounge.
The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green. The Galle Face Hotel embraces its rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to create engaging, immersive experiences that resonate with old and new generations of travelers alike. No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without staying at this majestic hotel, built in 1864 and recently restored back to its former glory.
Galle is 2 hours away from Colombo by car and one of my favorite parts of the country.
Galle has a bold tropical backdrop that frames the lines of Old Dutch colonial buildings. It is home to the gorgeous Fort area where you’ll find boutiques, cafes, and chic hotels. Galle Fort, is an iconic part of the town rich in history .The fort dramatically overlooks the ocean and there is a lovely coastal walk to the left of the ruins. Start walking from the white lighthouse on the south eastern part of the fort and go along the sea side. Walk to the northwest side where you can see the Clock Tower. That side is the connection between Galle City and Galle Fort. It’s probably a 2km walk around the fort
Some good restaurants to visit in this area are The BlockHouse, Chambers Restaurant and Lucky Fort Restaurant.
Nestled in the heart of the crowning jewel of Sri Lanka’s colonial past and over looking the Galle Fort is Le Grand Galle by Asia Leisure Hotels that offers majestic grandeur and is one of the best properties to stay at. I had one of the most magical stays here with the rooms overlooking the ocean. Waking up to the musical sounds of waves crashing against the rocks, has been the most therapeutic part of my travel to Sri Lanka, it was absolutely pristine.
Unawatuna is famous for its stunning beaches and coral formation. Barely three miles from the center of Galle and 60 miles from Colombo, this coastal town is the perfect place for a day trip to the beach.
End your day by hitting up Angel Beach, which is a premier luxury beach club in Unawatuna. With a private beach area, a poolside deck and a sprawling lounging area besides a packed bar, Angel Beach is a happening destination to let you hair down or just enjoy a drink or two while you watch the Sri Lankan sun set.
Kandy is about 2.5 hrs. away from Colombo by car and the second largest city in Sri Lanka. The train journey from Colombo to Kandy is supposed to be quite scenic and should take 2.5 hours.
It’s most famous for it’s cultural richness, scenic surroundings, central lake, nearby tea plantations and The Temple of The Sacred Tooth.
The temple is believed to house one of Buddha’s original teeth, which has become an incredibly sacred relic. The tooth is housed in an ornate golden structure in the middle of the temple and is widely worshipped. Dine at The Empire Café, which is a short walk from the temple. It’s a stylish restaurant offering a range of Sri Lankan and western dishes
Next up, the Royal Botanical Gardens are pure beauty.
Within the park itself, there is a lovely restaurant that sits on the main field and it’s cheap to dine with a lovely view.
Visit Helga’s Folly,a unique hotel in the jungle hills of Kandy. Characterized by eclectic furnishings like candelabras covered in decades of wax, nearly every square inch of the hotel is covered in murals.
A beautiful statue which towers over the city is the big white Buddha or locally known as Bahiravokanda Vihara. Not only does a statue on a hilltop have an allure to it, it also has some amazing panoramic views of the whole city! The best time to go here would be sunrise or sunset.
One of Sri Lanka’s most popular attractions isn’t actually a place, but a train rides. This Kandy-Ella leg (and vice-versa) has often been called the most beautiful train ride in the world. It’s a 6-7 hr. journey that takes you through a lush mountainous terrain with tea plantations as far as the eye can see. This is by far the most popular train route in Sri Lanka and the most difficult to book, so it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you reserve early.
Sun, Sand, Serenity is how I’d best describe the beautiful country of Sri Lanka. My week in Sri Lanka was a whirlwind of culture, curries, great company, and spectacular scenery. Sri Lanka is equally a place for relaxing as well as adventures. The exotic culture of Sri Lanka is apparent even in the big hotels, which gives a refreshing twist on the average beach holiday. With year-round sunshine, sandy beaches, friendly locals and incredible food Sri Lanka could be the best decision you’ve made all year. I couldn’t cover even half of this beautiful country but its only given me more reasons to return, for the most part left undiscovered and the warm people and wonderful hospitality.
Before you go onto reading this article, let me clarify a few points.
Travelling is a partially subjective and I believe each country has its own charms and is unique to travellers in terms of experiences & culture.
While writing this piece I had several discussions with many travellers who had mixed reviews to give on their travel to Vietnam. The country is beautiful with some great experiences to offer but if you’re a seasoned traveller, you may find yourself in lack of appreciation.
I write this article to help fellow travellers have an insight into the country as Vietnam is and to make an informed choice of Travel as I personally feel if someone wants to take time off and travel in order to explore and rejuvenate, there are many other better options than Vietnam.
I am not making swooping generalisations about Vietnam but expressing my personal disdain with my experience which didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting.
Here are a few reasons why I’d advise travellers against visiting Vietnam.
1. Rude locals
The first thing to know about Vietnam is that the locals are preposterously rude. I know it’s wrong to label them all, but as far as my dealings went, I found them to be very unpleasant & unhelpful. There is lack of basic etiquette & very often you will notice the locals laughing at you & making a mockery of the fact that you can’t understand their language. Yes language is a major barrier in the country. It’s extremely difficult to communicate due to lack of a common language, English isn’t easily understood.
2. Scams galore
The locals charge three to four times the actual rate of things to foreign travellers.
The currency can be confusing and can take some time to get a hang of, until then you should be prepared to be ripped off! It’s not before 2-3 days you realise you have been over charged for almost everything! On top of that, the locals will be laughing on your face while they cheat you, yes the atmosphere is uncomfortable.
3. There’s not much to see or do in the country
Vietnam is beautiful alright but it doesn’t offer anything that made me go, “wow”!
There’s nothing in the country that would make me want to go back.
I did visit the popular sights in Ho Chi Minh City, and well they were quite over rated. War Remenents Museum was drab and very dull, because considering the rich history, I expected more. Chu Chi Tunnels weren’t that exciting either. I thoroughly felt that I wanted more from every experience & my thirst for adventure wasn’t quite quenched.
I was told Hoi An was exceptionally beautiful. Well, after a point I realised it’s a city made of lamps and that alone, there’s nothing more there.
The famous lake center in Hanoi is average, kind of unpreserved. The shopping complex is nice, bustling streets but again, the night market is okay too but there’s nothing memorable or worthwhile there. All I remember is being ripped off at the Night Market after which I lost all interest in shopping.
Halong Bay, is majestic but sadly the cruise we booked which promised a great deal, was horrendous, probably the worst night of my life where they served unhygienic dirty food and not much of an experience.
The beaches are such a let down! I mean, c’mom I expected some beauty there, but they’re mostly dirty and unkept.
4. Food is disappointing
Ordering food at a restaurant in Vietnam is like disarming a bomb. You have to be extremely careful and every move must be precise and forget about explaining any specifications of your order. Further on I love street food and I understand what cooking conditions are like in less privileged countries – by that I mean I didn’t expect Michelin star dining, I mean I am an indian, and I can make do with the simplest kind of street food and appreciate it.
However, in Vietnam, hygiene is quite unheard of. Local cuisine is prepared in tiny shops which are almost on the road, where the plates are rinsed next to a pile of garbage. I couldn’t satisfy my stomach due to lack of cleanliness. Local food is prepared in dirty spots. Only once in Ho Chi Mohan City, I visited a great night Food Market which was bustling with variety and hygiene wise, it was decent. I expected street food to be like that throughout but it sadly wasn’t!
Coming to the flavours, the food in Vietnam is just sad. Barring a select few dishes I had in the city (which were reasonably delicious) the food was bland, mostly drowned in flavourless broths and scrawny seafood or meat. I enjoyed some Pho and Bahn Mi but eventually I wanted more and all I used to get was over fried greasy meat or lumpy sad noodles.
So yeah, more or less my trip to Vietnam was disappointing because of several factors. I was certainly warned against a few matters but being a traveller I wanted to experience the country on my own. As evident, I didn’t like it as much I thought I would.
The Asian country is cheap, infact very cheap, which attracts a lot of tourists but being cheap, I still felt I didn’t get my buck’s worth.
The only delightful element of my trip was the cheap internet & data plans which worked superbly, other than quick connectivity and the data services on local sims, I didn’t find much to rave about.
If you you plan on visiting Vietnam, do your research first. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet .
I hope your experience will be much better than mine.
Once you visit Croatia, nothing will ever be the same for you because no other place will ever be as pristine and as breathtaking as this country. Beyond a point, the beauty becomes pretty overwhelming and you start to question every other place on the planet! Eventually you just accept that this country keeps getting better and better and just learn to live with the painstakingly pure beauty around you. You can experience the best of both worlds: a fast-paced city atmosphere with the ambiance of a relaxed coastal town here.
1. Croatia is cheap
Yes, thank God that beauty doesn’t come with a price because this country is obnoxiously gorgeous, I mean it only gets better and better and the best part is, travelling here is a great value for your buck. Good value hotels are ubiquitous, as are cheap holiday apartments.
2. Food is an exciting affair
Croatian food is a delectable combination of classic Mediterranean and Italian with a new-world twist. There’s sinful amount of ridiculously brilliant gelato everywhere. Pizza is the next Croatian fad and you’d get just about every kind of gooey pizza here. If you prefer the finer cuisines, you’re in for a happy surprise because there are endless restaurants with priceless views that serve up excellent seafood and fine delicacies. Eat you full as you sip on sombre wine and watch the sun set into a gorgeous hue. Also these guys love their bakeries and the bakeries are just worth every buck. Buttery whiffs will drive you inside bakeries and you will be spoilt for choice.
3. Game of Thrones Charm
Croatia is rapidly becoming a favourite travel destination due to its relation to Game of Thrones and the fact that a huge part of the show is built around the cities of Croatia, Dubrovnik to be more specific is hard to resist. You will literally be walking through the sets of the show, amidst history and it’s magnificent. The high walls,
4. Breathtaking beaches
Croatia boasts of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so well just accept that your eye balls will keep falling out. Don’t expect your usual sandy beaches. Croatia is covered in rock beaches with are more stoney, and obviously more adventurous in the lap of picturesque beauty, it’s almost inexplicable. Remember to carry water shoes at all times. There are several nude beaches around too, keep a look out if that’s your thing, and if it’s not, check em out.
5. National Parks and Waterfalls
This is not something you want to miss. Croatia offers the most enriching experience to travellers who like to explore and wander endlessly into the unknown. Plitvice National Park is most popular and humongous. It’s literally the place where all screen savers came from. Krka National Park is relatively smaller with criss cross boardwalks across the river, crystal waters and infinite natural beauty.
6. Hidden spots and coves
Croatia is still largely unexplored, and there are plenty of secluded beaches, Islands and hidden coves untouched by commercialisation. As there’s no massive tourism, you’ll have too much personal space on the beach, sometimes even the whole island to yourself. Yes!
7. Party Haven
Croatia is among the most liberal and relaxed party destinations. There are several music festivals all over the country throughout the year. Islands like Hvar are known for their divine parties and beautiful beach resorts that host most enchanting parties.
8. Experience Wilderness and Adventure like never before.
Croatia is still not very commercial as compared to other European countries due to which the sites here are rustic, untouched and pristine. You can go snorkelling, scuba diving, go cliff jumping at several spots and make your own little adventure trip. The beaches are ingenious, rocky, unlike any you would have seen. They are just as nature intended them to be, there are not many safety instructions around and everything seems doused in a beautiful untouched oblivion.
If these aren’t reasons enough for you, nothing else will be. A summer in Croatia is all it will take to change your outlook about life and travel. Book your tickets before this gorgeous country gets tainted with commercialisation!
Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella got to sleep in castles and now you can turn those fairy tales into your own reality by staying in ITC Savoy facades and powerful towers, humoungous grounds dotted with beautiful flowers and the views of the valley’s rolling hills and the quaint city below, add to its historic beauty making it a must visit.It doesn’t get better than this!
There are several categories of rooms but they are all thoroughly grand and luxurious, spacious and beautiful rooms with gorgeous views, feature en suite bathroom,a private balcony/ sit-out area for reading or enjoying a cozy meal!
The Dining area is humongous, made in historic grandeur and the perfect spot to enjoy lavish meals. The breakfast buffet is rather elaborate and exciting with a huge spread and delicious delicacies to gorge on.
The spa is situated in a separate wing on the grounds, it’s the best way to unwind when you have travelled for hours to finally arrive to the hills.Spa offers a variety of massages, body scrubs and packages and the most divine sauna to relax your body and mind alike. The prices are a bit steep and sadly they offer no discount for the in house guests but the massage is worth it with some highly adept and qualified masseuses. The cost for a basic body massage comes down to Rs 3300!
In addition to a the spa, there is a recreation room right above it with a few games. The hotel also organises gun group activities in the evening like magic shows, bonfire, group badminton etc.
This property offers history and fantasy, memories and inspiration. You’ll feel like royalty when you snuggle into an antique four-poster bed, glide down a sweeping, elegant staircase, or feast on a sumptuous dinner in a tapestry-hung dining room that was first used decades ago.
•Tariff of the rooms is anywhere between Rs 12000- 20,000/-
WelcomHotel The Savoy by ITC
Library Bazar, Gandhi Chowk, P.O. Savoy – 248179
Whenever I’m asked, as I was the other day, “for a good sushi place, not too anal, and not bank-busting,” I direct people to this snug, refreshingly unpretentious Sumo Sushi that has got eyeballs rolling with the quality, consistency and bangin flavours. Packaging is ergonomically done up, simple, to the point ensuring that the sushi remains intact and isn’t a mess of dripping sauces and raw fish in a box.
Neat compact sections ensure that the sushi remains in place, looks fresh and inviting with small containers of Gari and Kikkoman
Traditions are held dear,however, a bit of experimentation is also at play in the menu that offers a wide range of this delicately rolled artsy food.
The better news? These guys serve up a sushi storm even post midnight which is awesome for people like me who don’t most often realise the time and place of erratic sushi cravings.
I’d put my buck on the not so healthy but oh so wonderful Las Vegas Roll, huge in size, crunchy, spicy and creamy made with juicy tuna, what a medley of flavours!
Dynamite Roll is my most standard addiction and these guys delivered well in terms of the fresh cure of salmon, crispy prawn Tempura in creamy spring Mayo. Yum.
Amaya is delicate and interesting, salmon in the centre with soft cream cheese, wasabi peas and avocado bringing out a stellar flavour, much different than anything you have tasted before thanks to those nutty peas.
Vegetarians will equally go bonkers over the indulgent sushi offerings.
Crunchy Asparagus Tempura
– The former is gooey in the centre with bold Shroom flavours, spiced, with a bit of heat and the latter is nicely crunchy in the centre, bags of flavour there, exorbitantly assembled, both are straight winners even for a carnivore like myself.
Verdict: The sushi is fresh, humungous, the menu is exciting and any sushi lover falls in love with a celebrated creative sushi menu. The prices will not leave you in regret because the food defined complete value for money!
I am lazy, I love good food, I like cheese, I like fresh produce! All this brought me closer to my “Cheat’s Cheesey One Pot Fettuccine” which was an impromptu quick fix to a dinner last week.
I love creamy dishes and of course, cheese is an essential element for all things delicious and godly.
I used some gorgeous plump cherry tomatoes to jazz up my pasta and they really did brighten up the dish and upped it by a notch with a juicy sweet tangy flavour.
You need just 30 mins to whip this restaurant quality dish!
* 8 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 4tbsp Garlic Cheese spread
* 2 tbsp Amul Butter
* 2-3 cups full fat milk
* salt/pepper to taste
* 1tbsp basil powder
* 1 tbsp garlic powder
* 2 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
* 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
* fettuccine pasta
* 1 bowl cherry tomatoes
* On medium heat, add garlic, butter, oil, and a sprinkle of salt to a large skillet or pan big enough to fit the fettuccine pasta for a few minutes to get the garlic juices flowing and the butter melted. About 5 minutes.
* Pour in water, milk, and all seasonings. Bring to a boil then bring heat down to low-medium heat.
* Place in fettuccine pasta. Press it down gently with tongs to submerge in the liquid. The pasta will absorb the liquid as it cooks making the Alfredo sauce thicker.
* Let the pasta cook for 15 minutes.Stir occasionally so it’s not sticking together. You can also lower the heat so nothing burns.
* At this point you can add in more milk if you feel the pasta is absorbing too much. All it does it make it creamier so don’t worry about adding too much.
* Adjust the seasonings to your liking. Always taste as you go. You may feel it needs more salt, or a little more garlic.
* Add the cheese spread and mix gently.
* While that’s cooking preheat your oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place cherry tomatoes on the pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for the same duration as the pasta, about 10-15 minutes.
* Once the cherry tomatoes are done add to the pot with fettuccine and mix well. Add blob of butter for extra glaze and flavour. Serve with garlic toast or a side salad.
Here’s a chance for you all to have a taste of authentic regional cuisine of Indian because let’s admit it, we often get bored with mainstream monopoly of Indian food and sometimes it’s good to indulge in something that’s essentially Indian but different from our familiar palate preferences.
Latest Recipe in Le Meridien Gurgaon has the perfect clean break for you all, where you can indulge in extravagant regional cuisine along with a host of other global dishes which is a part of their regular buffer menu.
Coming down to the regional highlight, the Uttarakhand Food Festival brings to you the real traditional food of the Garhwali and Kumaoni gastronomic affair and you will be transported to the state on just the mere sight of the grub.
Uttarakhand offers a culinary treasure of deliciousness which is well delivered by the Sous Chef Manoj Rawat here in its most glorified manner.
The food is richly prepared, yet you will be happy to know that it’s most flavourful yet devoid of grease which is what stood out for me.
The aromas of the fresh chutneys ready to be dunked on by assorted Pakodas will leave your palate not only satiated but wanting for more!
Hold your breath till you move over to the next courses, or don’t, sit back and immerse yourself in redolence of idiosyncratic spices and flavours.
Signature dishes include Shikar (Mutton Curry) Phaanu (Mixed Lentil Curry), Deep fried Catfish dabbed in spices, Mandua Roti (Buckwheat flour roti), Bal Mithai (Khoya fudge coated with sugar ball) and much more. Check out the feast for yourself.
Venue : Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Gurgaon
Time: 1900 hours until midnight
Date: 19th April,2017-30th April,2017
Cost: Rs 1999++
Ps- If you are a foodie like me then I bet you must have tempted your jaded palates with most of these dishes.
They have a small sitting that can house about 10 people so well, it’s good to grab a quick bite or order take away! The staff is friendly and orders get delivered at thunder speed, no kidding. The chefs work magic with the time management of the food orders.
There are plenty of pizza variations here, each delicious and likely deserving of all sorts of saucy praise.
They specialize in ultra-thin crust and somehow manage not to overwhelm it, even when loading up tons of toppings.
We start off on a healthy (err, yeah) note with a Walnut Feta Apple Salad that’s a crunchy crispy embodiment of fresh ingredients wrapped up in a tart chunky sundried tomato dressing. Bloody good!
Then we decided to get our hands dirty with the chicken wings.The sauce is an in-house concoction of chilli and red marinade, smoky and with just a suggestion of sweetness; This one is a bomb of flavours.
We next fish for the Shrimp Pizza ,the tiny shrimp is bursting with sweet spicy flavours of the Mediterranean and all tempered by onion and garlic. Belissima. Highly recommended.
The Jamaican Jerk Pizza and Brooklyn Pizza would be a hit with the carnivores. They have the right doughy consistency, excellent cheese stretchiness, stellar chunky meaty topped with spicy marinara and fresh mozz.
Vegetarians will be spoilt for choice with a wide selection of exotic toppings, fresh ingredients and rather exciting pairings.
The Pizzas worked wonders for my palate. El Chalpoo and Brooklyn Veg Pizza are straight winners.
The chef is using too quality Feta, sundries tomatoes, basil pesto, ricotta, porcini and a variety of sharp cheeses as toppings which elevate these crunchy babies to another level.
We delve further into Bolognese, a bubbling muddling of spaghetti ,parmesan and rich red sauce textured with tender meat. Gently steaming, each melting mouthful is a swirl of flavours and dreams. More prosaically, the edge of the parmesan blunts the sharpness of the sauce, all the gamey meat rounding off said edges.
Enough eating and hogging aside, Fat Lulus delivered a par excellent experience for someone like me who doesn’t obsess over Pizzas but these guys have such delectable confections and dishes, you’re going to be spoilt for choice.
Italian aficionados, head here for some wow moments!
Darzi, the new gastronomical “tailored” experience in Cannought Place is everything fun, quirky and delicious.
Sprawled across two floors, a terrace and a rather funky ambience, Darzi offers a fun fusion menu rooted in Indian conventions and adapting to popular cuisines, hence formulating an exciting menu.
The interiors are ever enticing with murals of tailoring items on walls, hangers, sewing machines and several drawers popping out of animated walls, plenty of sewing paraphernalia!
Also these guys have tiny cabinets which are up for renting at the price of Rs5000 a year! You are free to use these cabinets (that come with personal locks) at your disposal, to store items, or just simply get parcels delivered or use it at a PO Box.
How cool is that?
The restaurant is mercifully free of any scientific cooking alias molecular gastronomy, relying instead on fun yet traditional menu and palatable food.
The starters deliver more in reality than you’d expect, they’re pretty well executed and incorporated.
Thai Tandoori tikkas are textbook — soft and well spiced but not spicy — best had with the zingy green chutney served alongside.
Cheesey Spinach mushrooms come golden fried, enrobing a mantle of gooey spinach filling, lending each crunchy mouthful a silken finish. Delicious.
Curried Calamari was the highlight of my meal, that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really prefer calamari because of its tough texture. However this variant was fried to a crunchy spiced perfection with bags of flavours just begging to be moped up and munched upon.
Aloo Khoobani ki tikki is a crispy chaat amalgamation of delicious spicy sweet flavours and soft tikki spiced on point of addictive eating. Really good.
The starters set a rather aspirational tone to the rest of the evening by being most surprisingly Indian yet adventurous in more ways than one.
The main course maintained the momentum by a close shot though.
Dal Makhni, Darzi Mutton and Desi Chicken Curry were made rich and indulgent with bags of balanced flavours, the right amount of spice and very little grease, which made me extremely happy! No layers of glistening crimson oil over any dish! Even the mutton curry was devoid of excessive oil which was a relief.
I’d avoid the Kolhapuri Vegetarian cannelloni. It’s confused and unpleasant on the palate. Probably the only item I didn’t quite like!
Still having room for some dessert, we gorged on the Gajrela Pie which was experimental indeed, however not too sure of the extreme richness of the Gajrela and the pastry. Well, that didn’t stop me from spooning out creamy gajrela and licking it clean from the pie! ^guilty
Give this guys a visit for a funky dining experience complete with culinary awe, familiar flavours and definite satiation!
A modern Indian kitchen where the familiar is made to work with the unfamiliar to give the diner a taste of most comfortable conventions nestled in innovation.
We have been moaning about Indian cuisine being frozen in time and not evolving or pushing frontiers at all, Well Zora will change that thought for you, atleast in terms of the city of Pune!
As you walk into this surreal space, you notice how the interior elements are a mix of solid grandeur which is evident from the indoor area and a easy breezy outdoor section which is beautifully curated in earthy tones keeping it simple, near monochromatically white, reminiscing of a European cafe thanks to a certain plush vibe.
Well, there are no shocks when I say I much preferred the spatial outdoors in the gorgeous Pune weather because we not have this easy flowing airy vibe in Delhi’s burning summers!
The staff is extremely warm and forthcoming in terms of helping out with the order and making sure everything is served quick and efficiently.
Coming down to real business which is the food, Zora delights with food that may be a mix of the old & new but is made with a distinct focus on flavours and presentation.
Starting off with Spicy Okra Salad was the perfect choice because boy, this was a straight winner and obviously raised our expectations in the first bite!
Crispy fried okra tossed in spicy tangy vinegarette, these little crispies were addictive but deep fried so I forced myself to stop. Recommended.
As the spices settled onto our palate, we moved onto the Beetroot tikki which melts in the mouth before we even have a chance to understand the stupendous flavours. The creamy gravy atop lends the much contrasted texture and balance.
We moved onto the Prawn Balchao Theplas which explode like a bomb of spice richness paired against the soft textural pancake like theplas.
Some elements use not so usual pairings to coax surprise, taste, texture from it’s dishes.
Butter Chicken Lasagna with Masala Naan was the real winner for me with the quintessential butter chicken layered onto soft pasta, a wonderful fusion of the beloved dish executed with penache and richness.
The masala naan deserves a sonnet or two for just being super flavourful, so well seasoned, I am just salivating in its memory at the moment.
Dal Makhni faired equally well with just the right balance of spices and finished off with soft buttery goodness
Baby Potato Curry in Methi Masala is richness embodied in full flavours of creaminess and earthiness. Break some crispy lacha Parantha with this, and it’s the perfect little meal!
Reshmi Chicken Biryani was one of the most memorable dishes I have had this year! Excellent preparation of succulent tikka imparting richness to every grain of wholesome rice and abundantly sprinkled with sweet fried brown onions that elevated the whole dish into a magical culinary symphony.
We did lose all inhibitions at this point but couldn’t make any more room for dessert so we sadly skipped it. Leaving some things for another time.
Zora is serving up some cerebral shenanigans, some bestsellers, Sure!
Keeping the tone progressive, the food is exciting yet close to a certain homeliness
There is a mature equilibrium between what’s merely edgy and what’s truly tasty, so give these guys a shot if you already haven’t. Chances are you won’t be disappointed!