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
Chicago is famous for its food – not only as a gourmet-dining epicenter, but also as the home of several local specialties. For an authentic experience, get a taste of these culinary staples with my personal Chicago favourites from pizzas, hot dogs and fusion style food that includes my encounter with my true blue Indian cuisine as well. Here’s a few that must not be missed out when in the windy city.
1. Deep Dish Pizza
A hallmark caramelized cheese crust that’ll make you think twice about how you want to tackle each colossal slice: crust first, or save the best part for last?
This is not meant for the faint hearted because this pizza is not about delicacy.
Baked in a deep, round pan filled to the brim with cheese and topped with a thick layer of tomato sauce, the result is a piping hot, gooey piece of pizza on a buttery, flaky crust.
Giordano’s is famed for their stuffed pizza. A dramatic flaky crust holds in the melted cheese, which oozes out the moment a slice is pulled apart.
2. Depression hot dog
A barebones version of the Chicago classis dog
Here are these humble, not so fancy late-night hot dog local stands that offer steamed dogs simply dressed in mustard, relish, onion, sport peppers, and an overly generous mound of fresh-cut fries.
3. Classic Chicago style hot dog
An all-beef hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, relish, tomato wedges, chopped onions, a pickle spear, hot peppers and celery salt. Of course, defining it is one thing; tasting it is a whole different ballgame and this is what you need to most certainly sink your teeth into.
Visit Red Hot Ranch for these beefy beauties.
4. Tacos, with a twist
Though the city is famed for their classic deep fried beef tacos, I chose to experiment with these and headed to this cozy neighborhood fast food chain of Velvet Tacos for a taste of Mexican cuisine imbedded in global flavor inspirations. Many of the fillings steer towards untraditional, like chicken tikka, crispy paneer, shrimp and grits, and ahi poke. They serve regular tacos with beef, pork belly and buffalo chicken fillings too!
I loved my indianised Mexican juicy chicken tikka taco with spicy, buttery tomato sauce, cilantro-flecked basmati rice and yogurt raita, almost had me nostalgic for Delhi street food.
Fried paneer taco was among my top favorites with tomato chutney, Thai basil tikka sauce and finely kissed with a tart mild raita. More scrumptious than it can ever sound in words.
5. Thin Crust Pizza
Not all pizzas in Chicago are deep dish and thick crust and yes, thin crust pizza exists!
The thin crust baked beauty has a crunchy crust topped with a sweet and chunky sauce, some intense pepperoni, and lots of mozzarella.
The Boss is a famous raving bar in Chicago Downtown but they serve some serious food!
You would think this is bar food but don’t be fooled by appearances because this thin crust pizza would put deep dish to shame (if you have a certain perspective, of course)
Gorgeous crusty pizza, thin as paper and loaded with spiced garlic marinara and strands of mozzarella, dotted with crimson velvety pepperoni! Magnifique.
6. Bombay Wraps
When you have had your doze of touristy local fast food in the windy city, its time to head over to this little wrap shop for some authentic indian kathi rolls, which are so refreshing and delicious amidst the cheesey beefy foods of the city.
Pick a flat bread of your choice, wholewheat or flaky parantha, pick your suffing that ranges from the evry interesting spicy smashed samosa, to tangy paneer, chicken tikka, lamb curry and even your standard beef but all cooked in indigenoius Indian curries and spices. The cilantro coriander chilly chutney and pickled red onions just tie all the chunky fillings together with the bread into the most fabulous bite with popping flavours.
7. Chicago style chicken wings
Breaded, twice fried, buffalo sauce, soy garlic and several other variants make up for the famous chicken wings in Chicago. Getting down and dirty with these deep fried, sauce coated wings is never a mistake, because these are so darn satisfying.
These wings are deep fried with their crispy skins on and tossed in spicy to mild sauces all over the American continent but Chicago has more than a handful hundred serving specialty chicken wings.
Buffalo Wild Wings is a popular fast food chain serving some wicked wings. Giordano’s also serves their version, crunchy and heavy on bold flavors.
Some real sexy food that shouldn’t be missed when in Chicago. If it looks good here, just imagine how bloody brillaint it would feel in your mouth!
Stay hungry, stay happy fellas!
Today 11 AM to 3 PM
Raj Niwas Marg, Opposite Gujarati Samaj School, Kashmiri Gate, New Delhi
Finally landed this legendary snack in my mouth and having heard enough rave around it I must say, this deep fried kachori is much more than your conventional neighbourhood kachori because trust me dear foodie, its nothing like the stereotype!
Whoever said happiness can’t be bought, hadn’t heard of this pitstop.
Be prepared to get down & dirty if you want to indulge in this bowl of rustic bold flavours.
Crispy hot fried kachoris (puff pastry) filled with spicy tangy masala, plastered with #chhole & finished off with even more zesty #aamchoor #chutney, a splash of mint chutney, fresh onions & a special homemade masala, the combination of textures and flavours is nothing short of unbridled deliciousness.
An absolute magical havoc on the taste buds because you don’t realise what hit you first, it’s spicy, tangy, sour, popping and fresh all instantaneously.
Bearing a huge culinary heritage, Fateh ki kachori is a bite worth its legendary metal!,
This is all things right and wrong in one bite.
Certainly need to plan your next trip out in the city to sample one of the finest street food in dilli!
Dim sums done so right~
Rating : 5/5
Not your standard desi “Chindian” restaurant next door!
Big Wong is an upscale take on contemporary Pan Asian-Jap cuisine with some excellent sushi concoctions that converted a sushi hater like me into someone who has fallen head over heels. A brilliant effort to serve exquisite food at rather reasonable price and excellent over all dining experience.
Ambience : Not too ambitious or fancy, Big Wong keeps it simple and humble. Done up in darker hues in a reasonable space in Epicuria Mall, the restaurant sits in panache with standard seating and closely laid out tables.
Service: The usp of the restaurant is good food, quick food. Naturally the service is fast and the servers are on call and efficient. Food arrived in surprisingly good time and piping hot!
Food: Lets talk the talk now! Utter redefinition of dim sums ! a very smart take on the menu which consisted of some superb pairings and concoctions which are hard to not love!
Starting off with a variety of veg dimsums, Spicy asparagus and vegetable dimsums Thai herbs stand out with magical popping flavours of lemongrass and basil dominating a rather innovative concoction of flavours. Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of these little crackers.
Gulping these down and making way into the chicken dim sums,
• Chicken Thai herbs is the mingling of soft and crunchy textures (from the nutty Thai herb sauce) and a gorgeous sticky sweet spicy herb sauce to lick the last morsels. . Instant gratification on consumption. Beautifully assembled and delicate on the palate with wonderful ingredients
• Chicken Sui mai is standard with bold favours and a bite best paired with spicy Schezuan sauce.
If you’re a seafood lover, Big Wong seafood dumplings take the cake. My personal favourite with gentle fillings and bold tickling sauces that make sure the party in your mouth is an everlasting one.
• Prawn curry dimsums are divine with soft meaty fillings and a creamy Thai coconut sauce with notes of basil and fresh coconut and chilly. Love at first bite. The sauce smells like it was conceived in the perfumed earthy roots of the coast.
• Prawn Hargao is much subtle and light on the palate with clean unadulterated flavours of the meat.
Ebi Tempura Roll Sushi with praw and mayonnaise was bloody fantastic with the right strike of flavor and just a tinge of sweetness. The pickled ginger served on the side elevated the dish even further
Steamed Fish in black bean sauce tasted alright. Could have been better on flavor and less on the salt.
Thai Chili chicken was cooked alright with a wonderfully balanced glazy sauce.
BW Special cheese wonton is just plain heaven. You got to eat it to believe it. A clever dish combining fried dough with orgasmic Philadelphia cheese filling. Food dreaming now! Stir fried chicken with greens, Served with scallions and beans in a light garlic soy sesame sauce makes for a delightful companion. Tasting fresh and very light this was one of my fave dishes.
Chicken Thai basil is made well with tender chicken slices, heavy basil notes and handful of minced garlic. Flavours spot on.
Caught up in this meat orgy, We avoid any apoplexy in the form of rice or noodles and order Exotic vegetables in Hoison sauce which dominates both our palate and our table. Considering a vegetarian nothing in front of hard core carnivores this gravy was immensely flavourful with deep dark sweet Hoison notes mixed into crunchy exotic vegetables. I licked it to the last drop. #word.
Verdict: The restaurant offers rather different Thai Chinese menu where the food is created for a flexible palate and flavors that appeal to children and adults alike. A clever take on serving contemporary Chinese and Thai with not so predictable elements.
The dishes are moderately spiced but hugely flavored that leaves behind a party on the mouth and you get up with a heavily satiated tummy and not such a light wallet as one would expect! Oh and they are awaiting their liquor license to flare things even more !
Cost/person : Rs 800
Will I visit again? Yes
Chi is sugar and spice and everything nice, literally!
Mesmerising cuisine and a brilliantly bright space of good food and good vibes. I think it is safe to say that the dining experience made me “weep sweetly” with the explosion of flavours I experienced during my meal, not once, not twice but several times.
As you enter the restaurant you cannot help but get consumed by the sunshine tones used in the interiors. Bright and warm, the walls are done up in shades of yellow, green and off white which leads a rather soothing touch to the space. Divided into several sections, a live kitchen, an elaborate bar and an open terrace, much effort has gone into designing the space. Bathed in daylight during the day and dimly sparkly at night, the ambience is a straight winner here.
Moving along, the staff is very friendly and courteous. They are well acquainted with the menu and food arrives quick here. Fast, fresh and delicious.
I picked out a few thirst quenchers to calm down my nerves in the hot evening and the mocktails were just the right pick.
Buddha’s Palm was freshness personified. Made with triple sec, kaffir lime, lemon wedges mixed together in magical flavours. Highly recommended. Next I had a Thai caprioska which was another beauty with Asian flavours of galangal, lemongrass and ginger. Freshness!
I ordered myself an interesting cocktail Pod Thai made in vodka coconut water and cucumber. That liquid of pure boozy magic, it obviously made me tipsy but in the right way!
Coming down to serious grub business, the menu is pretty darn exciting and elaborate with your traditional Asian delicacies and some modernised versions.
In one sentence – I was ambushed by a flavour tsunami.
We started off with an array of dimsums which happen to be my usual favourites.
Prawn Hargao was just a sublime little bag of seafood flavour. Minimally seasoned and delicate.
Mushroom spinach dimsum looked green and pretty and tasted good, mildly spiced.
Spicy chicken dumpling was classic and well made.
Loved how the dimsums tasted decadent despite being simple.
Up next was the light and spicy sweet Tom Sam Salad that I absolutely loved thanks to the fresh ingredients.
Next came the delightful Chicken Pho which served as the perfect subtle palate cleanser. Vietnamese flat noodles simmered in chicken broth that was heavily flavoured with aromatic lemongrass, basil and lime. The broth was clear and just a beautiful celebratory amalgamation of asian flavours.
Following this, we had some stunning appetisers.
Kung Pao grilled prawns were marinated generously in lemongrass and garlic finished off with a tamarind glaze and tasted spectacular. It’s hard to define that mouthgasm in words. These were followed by the quirky orange grilled mushrooms, different but refreshing.
The piece de resistance was the Roast duck rolls with Hoison sauce, for the quintessential duck lover. Served cold with cucumber batonnets and spring onions these were most sweetly flavoured and tasted just divine. I could have a dozen of these and still want more! Highly recommended.
Salt and Pepper crispy prawns continued to waltz on my palate with just the perfect crispy crunch and juicy bite complete with an equilibrium of spice. A must try for the prawn aficionados.
Not that I needed more on my plate but what the heck? I moved along to the main course where is stuck to basics.
Kung Pao chicken was sweet and fiery at the same time with Sichuan berries and am sun dried chillies mixed with tender cubed chicken. The Mapo Tofu tasted even better to my carnivore palate because it had truck loads of yummy Asian flavours mixed into shiitake and tofu in a sour spicy paste. Having lost all inhibitions at this point and being the greedy glutton that I am, I mixed these lovely dishes into the burnt garlic fried rice and enjoyed every morsel down to the last one.
Making desperate attempts to create some space in the abyss of my tummy for dessert, I was fairly amused by how much my stomach could happily handle because the dessert kind of owned me at the first bite.
Coconut pancakes with orange drizzle and vanilla ice cream was a multiple surprise package with a gooey coconut filling inside silky thin pancakes and that glistening orange drizzle. Plain beautiful.
My chopsticks never worked this fast and sharp as this time and the ecstasy that I experienced during the meal took a while to wash off!
One word to sum up my meal- Magnifique.
Ps: Prices are pretty reasonable and every morsel is worth its price.
Cost/ person: Rs 1500 (inc alcohol)
Will I visit again? Yes
Gurgaon is in no shortage of quirky destinations and overflowing breweries and the growing popularity of micro breweries is evident from the increasing number springing up in Gurugram, Hunter valley is one of the cosy little additions to the list.
Sprawled across two huge floors, Hunter Valley is done up in bright cheerful interiors and wallpapers. From quirky commentary on the walls to the cutest interior elements, it’s made in a happy vibe but dare I say, the interiors are a bit contradictory. The basement is reserved for hosting gigs and parties while the main floor is decked up into cute sections to choose from. I personally loved the artsy shirt cushions which will catch your fancy in a moment.
The staff and management is very very warm and courteous. Very attentive servers who knew exactly what they were doing and delivering efficient service.
• Whacko Tacos are crunchy corn flour shells served with saucy paneer, crispy lettuce, Mexican seasoning and cheddar. Combination of flavours and textures that make for the perfect bite with a pint of beer.
• Hunter valley fries served with cheese garlic dip are your classic finger chips with cheese sauce. Can’t complain about these.
• Tomato bruschetta was a nice palate cleanser with fresh chopped tomatoes and garlic finished off with olive oil and seasoned with salt pepper.
• Malting mushroom was fabulous. Deep fried cheese stuffed mushrooms served with tangy salads. Pull apart strands of mozzarella from the fried center. Quite indulgent.
• Grilled fish in lemon garlic butter tasted sublime and delicate. Butter basted fish in a sour cream sauce with fragrant garlic. Highly recommended.
• Indian combo meal comprised of butter paneer, spicy dal tadka and steamed rice served with coriander mint chutney and onions. A classic combo loved by all, made with full flavour and very satisfying.
• Chilly chicken combo with fried rice was passé. The chicken was gluggy and tasted bland.
• Spinach stuffed chicken served with sweet corn rice was also very average. The stuffing was dry and under seasoned and I couldn’t taste much in the parsley cream either.
• Matter Paneer tikka was delicious. Puréed spiced peas stuffed between soft paneer, very delicate and scrumptious.
Beer: The restaurant makes 6 Belgium Brewed beers and they range from strong to subtle varieties. Each one had a unique flavour and body, Belgium Ale was my favourite, very misty and sweetly sour.
Dessert: Quite a gluttonous and sinful ending to a rather heavy meal.
• sesame honey noodles with vanilla ice cream was surprisingly beautiful. Sweet crunchy pastry dripping in sweet honey glue served with soft vanilla ice cream. Must try.
• Hot Nougat Pudding with ice cream was a great alternative to your regular chocolate brownie. Gooey hot chocolate overdosing soft pudding served with cold vanilla. Lovely pairing and beautiful on the palate.
Verdict: A fun and cosy microbrewery serving more than just good hand crafted beer. An elaborate menu and a warm space to lie back and relax with a bunch of friends over good food and drinks. Comparatively inexpensive and very easy on the pocket in terms of quality and service. Great options for corporate and private parties.
Cost/ person : Rs 1000
Will I visit again? Yes.
Rating : 4/5
Connaught place is fast becoming a generic hub of swanky fine fine restaurants and innovative conceptual bars, almost transforming the central delhi food and nightlife scenario. The latest addition
Explore the world of aphrodisiacs & experience exotic flavours that excite and delight the palate. Expect a bountiful use of aphrodisiacs: chocolate, chillies, spiced and lots more all across their food and drink menu.
Ambience : The restaurant has a seductive, saucy vibe to it with it bold and bright interiors colour palate. Wooden flooring, dusty pink couches, majestic design and quite a collection of temptress frames across the space lends a rather venereous touch. The slanting bar, all lit up is an interesting play at Hot Mess.
Service: very very warm and attentive staff members who were on their toes. Food arrived quick and looking pleasing as ever.
Food: seductive, pseudo Indian, highly fusion and mostly lipsmacking.
•Cranberry chicken salad with spinach was a pop of giant flavours and textures paired in a perfect match. The sweet cranberry dressing on the chicken salad tasted divine. I could eat that salad ever day of the year.
• Salt and Pepper pad Thai was a classic warm Asian noodle salad with basil and lemongrass hints. Tasted sublime.
• Mutton galouti pav with fermented chilli paste wasn’t as decadent as I expected it to be. The mutton galouti lacked depth of flavour. A very average dish.
• Braised lamb sliders were filled with delicious sliced lamb cooked in a sweet spicy brown sauce. Very tender and flavourful. Highly recommended.
• Spicy cheese chur chur naan pizza was the first of its kind that I have tasted and a serious contender for one of the most amazing fusion marvels I ate. Flaky buttery crisp pastry toppled with your regular pizza ingredients and a lot of cheese. Quite an indulgent bite there and absolutely amazing on the palate.
• Bourbon smoked honey chicken served in a Jack Daniel smoke with full on theatrics was feasty on the eyes and tasted good.
• Samosadillas with aam Panna chutney was interesting with a veg tangy filling and a sweet spicy chutney that elevated the bite to another level.
• Dahi ke kebab weren’t my favourite. Can be avoided.
• Jumbo mutton keema parantha was well, quite a plateful of happiness. Huge keema stuffed parantha glistening with butter, loaded with some more cooked keema in spicy goodness served with chutney and red onions. Pretty badass.
• Braised lamb with mash & red wine jus was surprisingly most tender and juicy with a beautiful saucy jus and creamy mash. Highly recommended.
• Punjabi Butter chicken and Dal Makhni, essentially Indian, were creamy rich and decadent paired with garlic butter naan. These were no less than the flavour bags you’d find in an authentic Indian restaurant.
• Fish in black bean sauce, sweet and sour with tender cooked fish pieces. Yum.
• Assorted mushroom with bamboo shoot and soy was spectacular. Beautiful variety of mushroom cooked in a semi sweet oriental sauce. I licked this dish empty when my stomach couldn’t even bear another bite.
Drinks: The aphrodisiac cocktails are the highlight of this fusion bar. Immensely creative and not just boozy, these are big on flavours. The bar menu is elaborate but I picked my personal faves.
The Sheesha was quite a show. Inventive and inviting indeed, their Sheesha is the kind that one can smoke from and even drink from. Now that’s an attraction for all Sheesha lovers and only available in Hot Mess as of now!
Dessert: Well, now, an aphrodisiacs experience is incomplete without a sweet sinful indulgence.
• sugar free firni was creamy, just rightly sweetened and delish.
• crunchy chocolate cake was just bloody beautiful with layers of chocolate goodness, creamy and crunchy all put together in one humongous guilty bite.
• Red velvet brownie with vanilla ice cream was a tad bit dry with one dimensional flavour. Could be more gooey and moist.
Verdict: Billing to be the first aphrodisiac bar in the country, this one deserves a visit. The food is elaborate, drinks are quirky and the ambience promising.
Cost/ person Rs 1500 (inc alcohol)
Will I visit again? Yes.
When you are a die heart New Yorker or at least a fan of the big apple, Brooklyn Central is just the place for you. It may not be the upper east side Manhattan but it sure is a hell of an American cafe which fits the bill.
Ambience: Raw, rugged yet as charming as a typical cafe bar in a perky Brooklyn corner. The interiors are chic and bold without being too pretentious or in your face. The place is bathed in daylight and is spread across is huge area with a diverse table setting to choose from. The open kitchen with the wood fired oven and live cooking stations is a feast to watch, at least for a glutton like myself.
Service: The staff is friendly and attentive. Our servers were polite, patient and delivered our food in good time considering we ordered a lot of food.
Food: regardless of the frills that a restaurant offers, the hero is and must be the food and that’s exactly what I expected here. Well, my expectations were met.
Many outlets offer diversity in the menu but fail to deliver quality and flavour which gets lost in the vastness of their menus. However every item from the starters to the grills to the pizza, smoothies and desserts was delightful!
Exquisite selection of shakes and smoothies.
Note: Low fat smoothies are just plain beautiful, so creamy from the yogurt and full of fruity sweetness.
They also have peanut butter smoothies, Oreo shake and the likes.
•Ultimate Brooklyn “the works” Burger was a humungous work of culinary art. A juicy lamb patty, deliciously seasoned combined with fresh vegetables and pickles in soft buttered buns served with spicy fries. Te burger was big on flavours and quantity.
• Chilli hotdog with chicken sausage was visually stunning but lacked flavour and pop. The raw tomatoes killed the flavour and the chilli didn’t stand out either. It was an average dish.
• BBQ Chicken pizza was among the best I have tasted. Zesty fresh fired pizza with a paper thin crust and spot on toppings. Highly recommended.
• Chicken Highbrow was a hammered grilled chicken breast stuffed with broccoli cheese and sausages, smothered in a brown gravy, creamy mash and vegetables. Classic and yum.
• Hanoi Grilled fish came with creamy lime Ming rice noodles and was cooked to the brink with lemongrass, lime and fresh herbs. Delicate, beautiful.
• Chicken burrito bowl was a typical Mexican open burrito with the traditional beans, chicken, rice and lettuce. Light and fresh
• Cheesy Mac balls were divine. Deep fried mac and cheese balls served under a rich Italian marinara like sauce, finished off with Parmesan. Recommended.
If this was the last sweet treat I had before I died, I would die happily. I hope that explains all.
• Baked New York Cheesecake was the best I have tasted. Creamy and gooey finished off with a sweet sticky walnut caramel. Just wow.
• Red velvet cheesecake was also among the best of its kind. The Philly cheese icing was spot on and the cake was just right, not too sweet and cheesily creamy.
• Banoffie pie pot was not made well. Tasted good but the toffee sauce/ caramel hadn’t set too well. Average.
Verdict: A perfect hang out spot or a coffee place. If you’re in a mood to binge into Americano cuisine, this is the place.
Giant flavours, giant portions and not so giant prices.
A must visit!
Cost/ person : Rs 1000
Will I visit again? Yes.