वranda [Pali Hill, Bandra]

When we think of the word veranda, our mind inadvertently takes us to that part of our homes (generally our grandparents’ homes) where we had the best memories. It’s where we sat all evening and watched the rain work its wonder and make everything magically beautiful, where we had the most heart-to-heart conversations and where we played as kids. This verandais one of the cosiest places in our memories.

Our intention was not to get you all nostalgic, the food at वranda will do it for us. Our intention was to just tell you, how beautiful and cosy veranda is. ‘Coz वranda is, it is beautiful, it is cosy, it is charming and it is definitely worthy of every praise you have heard about it.

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वranda is a creation to bring to us desi flavours with a videsi twist. वranda is tastefully decorated with pastel colours and bright floral prints, plants and flowers, beautiful lights and more. Art is deeply ingrained in every nook and corner of the restaurant. There’s chic upholstery, antique vases, bold doors, paintings that depict the many forms of India and Indian culture and more. वranda is a lovechild of an art gallery and restaurant if you ask us! It’s the perfect place for a cosy family brunch as well as a romantic dinner date.

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The menu is limited to serving Indian dishes with a modern twist. So if you are dreaming dahi bada, be ready to experience new flavours in this very simple dish. Heard of sun-dried tomatoes on your pizza right? How about sun-dried tomatoes in your kulchas? They have created delicious aberrations while maintaining the integrity of the core dishes, and that is what we loved about the food at वranda.

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There is another thing we were absolutely fascinated with – the menu is presented on a tab, with videos of dishes being prepared and plated. It got us exploring through the menu which then turned to rummaging. The videos are shot beautifully, and they just make you all the more hungry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what we gorged on at वranda –

Raja Dahi Verma – A filmy name for a fancy version of our beloved Dahi Bhalla chaat. Dahi bhallas or badas soaked in curd and sweet-tangy tamarind chutney.  It is served on a bed of green mint chutney and topped with potato salli. Baked yoghurt squares are delicious and soft and the pomegranate jam reduction has a sharp and sweet taste. The overall dish is on the sweeter side but we loved the medley of flavours.

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Raja Dahi Verma

Cottage Cheese Trilogy – Very soft malai paneer chunks, done in three delicious styles – fresh basil, spicy tikka/zafrani one and a saffron based marination. Each one has intense flavours and is delicious.

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Cottage Cheese Trilogy

Veg Seekh Kebabs – The seekh kebabs are soft and literally melt-in-the-mouth. The seekh kebabs have a very strong flavour of cardamom, almost to the point of shadowing other flavours. These are served on a bed of fresh chopped vegetables with a sweet-spicy mint chutney.

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Veg Seekh Kebabs

Rajasthani Gatta Nu Saak – Gatte Ki Sabzi and their delicious kulchas! They nailed the gravy and flavour of the sabzi. Mindblowing aroma and lip-smacking taste. Just the right amount of spices and it took us back to Nanima’s kitchen. The gatte (flour balls), however, were a little too firm, which is bound to happen given the short time allowed for preparation. These were served with sun-dried tomato kulchas and basil kulchas. A mini meal in itself. And did we mention that we are a fan of the tomato kulchas? You will be too, do try them.

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Rajasthani Gatta Nu Saak

Mix Berry Lemonade – A combination of strawberries, raspberries and lemon. It packs a punch with the tanginess. Loved it.

Chocolate Basil Lemonade – Yes, that was our reaction too. Chocolate and basil? In a mocktail? Are you sure? But be sure that you give this one a shot. It an amazing combination. First, there is the fresh flavour of basil and lemon and then slowly you get the chocolatey taste. Lemon and chocolate could be this good a duo, is difficult to fathom.

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Mix Berry Lemonade and Chocolate Basil Lemonade

Gulkand Chocobar – A dreamy preparation with lots of soft and airy chocolate mousse, bits of gulkand and thick, dense chocolate. It is the right amount of sweet with the gulkand adding a mind-blowing edge to it. Sugar coated fennel seeds add a fresh crunch to every bit. Just loved how smooth and light the mousse was. This is a must have at वranda.

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Gulkand Chocobar

Overall Experience – Delicious food, a delightful ambience and good service makes वranda a place you must visit. It may not be easy on the pocket but is definitely worth the money spent.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂 🙂

Service 🙂

वranda – Google Maps

Veranda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pravas [Lower Parel]

Pravas means journey or migration and a train is quite essentially synonymous with a journey. Pravas- a restaurant on wheels is our ticket to delicious and lip-smacking Gujarati cuisine.Pravas – Gujarati Kitchen & Bar is the first railway coach themed restaurant in Mumbai, that specialises in Gujarati & Kathiawadi cuisine and serves a really mouth-watering thali combination.

The interiors are beautifully done with gold-ivory work and definitely transport us to when rail coaches were a luxurious experience. The instrumental music being played in the background add to this fine dine affair. Pravas is a recreation of the legendary Palace on Wheels and there also exist quite a few aspects in the restaurant that are a reminiscence of the geography that they want to capture. From the famous Kutch embroidery pieces on the walls to the beautiful copper pitchers and lavers used to wash hands to the umbrellas and lanterns with colourful and intricate embroideries and glass-work, all present the best of Gujarat.

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They have a different thali menu for weekdays and weekends with dishes being rotated to include a huge variety and some seasonal specials. They also have an a-la-carte menu and a variety of cocktails and mocktails.

We started with two of the special seasonal mocktails – Damru Paan and Mango Creme Delight. Paan and refreshing go together and so does mango and summer.  It would be safe to say that we should be playing the damru to tell you how delightful these two were!

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Mango Creme Delight
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Damru Paan

Damru Paan is a delicious concoction of the refreshing flavours of paan, gulkand and vanilla in milk. Beetle leaf adds an amazing aroma and flavour to this superb combination. Mango Creme Delight is a very thick and creamy preparation with mango pulp and mint leaves. This is served in an earthen pot and frankly speaking, they couldn’t have done it better!

If our meal begins that well, it has to be a good one! Here is what our weekend thali lunch looked like:

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Thali at Pravas

We started with the chaat counter and hogged on Pani Puri, Delhi Chaat and Rawa Biscuit Utappam. 

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Rawa Biscuit Utappam

A Gujarati thali is incomplete without delicious sweets and at Pravas, the thali starts with sweets! We were served Ghevar BasundiChurma Ladoo and Anjeer Puran Poli. These are more Rajasthani and Maharashtrian dishes that Gujarati but who are we to complain when they were this delicious? Basundi with bits of crisp Ghevar, this was a perfect delight. It was not very sweet or thick and had the aromatic saffron filled flavour we all love. Churma Ladoo was just as good but a little on the heavier side as was the Puran Poli, owing to the high ghee content.

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Ghevar Basundi

Starters included Aloo Armani and Dabeli Dhokla. Aloo Armani was scrumptious, hollow potato skins stuffed with a slightly spicy mixture of onions, chillies, ground nuts, among other ingredients, batter coated and shallow fried. This was not oily and tasted so good. Dabeli Dhokla is a sandwich of dhokla with tamarind chutney and spicy coriander-mint chutney.

There were four sabzis/curries – Tamatar Vatana Khandvi which is a preparation in tomato based curry and lots of peas (vatana) and was on the sweeter side. Ringara Nu Olo is baingan-bharta or eggplant/brinjal based preparation and had a non-spicy, smokey flavour. Sev Tamatar Nu Saak was one of the best options with the desi Gujarati style flavours of tomato curry and was topped with thick sev. Kanda Batata Sambaria is onion and potato based sabzi, it was not spicy and neither was it sweet. This was another favourite here!

Kadhi was not like the sweet Gujarati kadhi but was the Rajasthani version of the same which is thick and slightly spicy with red chilli powder and coriander. It was perfect! Surati Dal was slightly on the sweeter side with lots of ginger and onions. We had these with Bajra Roti, Phulkas and Puri and Steam Rice as accompaniments.

Buttermilk (chaas), salad and an assorted papad platter also came with the thali, everything being unlimited. The prices for the Thali are ₹500 (plus taxes) for weekdays (Monday through Thursday) and ₹700 (plus taxes) for weekends (Friday through Sunday).

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Mango Creme Delight

Overall Experience: We don’t know how to say this in Gujarati but the food, as well as the service, was amazing! The staff makes sure they attend to every customer personally and you will not leave without overeating from your meal here!

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: Unlimited Thalis are a test of everyone’s capacities and when they start with sweet dishes, suffice to say, it was a long slow battle! Only hope we left something for the other guests! :p

Pravas – Google Maps

Pravas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Family Tree [Panch Pakhadi, Thane]

A Mumbaikar knows what a pain it is to travel to the Northern Suburbs from the Western Suburbs. It is a huge task to even come to terms with the time and energy one is going to dedicate, in order to just get here! Imagine the same scenario – Borivali to Thane and then, add say 1.2 hrs of mega jam to this, and you know the pain we went through!

But what if, we say it was totally worth it? Yup, you read that right! That commute was worth it.

Why? Because at the end of that dreadful journey was an amazing destination with a lip-smacking and appetising meal- Family Tree, Thane.

Family Tree is another amazing restaurant by Kabir Samtani and team that completely deserves all the praises that are doing the rounds these days. Amazing ambience, great hospitality and genuinely good food, so you know what we are talking about!

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Family Tree is a fairly new place with a cozy and homely vibe. The restaurant is sizeable with two AC sections – an indoor one with yellow lights and family sized tables and an outdoor one, comparatively bright owing to the large windows and has floral decorations and also has tables for larger groups. The moment you step in, the restaurant engulfs you in a warm fuzzy feeling. The ambience is perfect for every generation. One can see youngsters and oldies alike at the restaurant. Odd knick-knacks indoors that give an impression of a showcase in an old English home. There are books, picture frames, wall-clocks, metal artefacts, etc. placed on the wall cabinets. The chairs have faces depicting each family member and a menu that is a reminiscence of a photo album, add fun chapters to this family.

The restaurant is a multi-cuisine one and the menu is pretty spread out. European, Chinese, Indian…..there is something for everyone. Here is what made us smile even after that arduous commute:

Paneer Paprika – Soft pieces of paneer in a seasoned coating with papad-churi.  The masala is non-spicy and flavorful enough to not need any accompaniment but was served with a pesto-mayo dip. The combination is delicious and we gobbled up pieces after pieces of the starter. Totally different from what one would expect and without a doubt a nice surprise. Totally recommended!

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Paneer Paprika

Mexican Paneer Shashlik – Soft grilled pieces of paneer coated in a sweet chilli sauce. They are topped with a little cheese and served with a tangy salsa sauce.

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Mexican Paneer Shashlik

Pav Bhaji Fondue – The bhaji is delicious with lots of veggies. It is non-spicy and has a slightly smokey flavour. It is served with bite-sized pieces of crisp pav that were seasoned with mild spices and coriander.

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Pav Bhaji Fondue

California Potatoes – Baked potato skins with a tangy-sweet filling and loads of cheese. Delicious! It is served with a slightly sweet salsa and a sour cream dip.

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California Potatoes

Paneer Kurchan –Creamy and mildly spicy gravy, this is one of the best options from their North Indian mains. Extremely soft and succulent paneer pieces in a thick textured sweet-spicy gravy with lots of veggies, especially bell peppers. This one is perfect!

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Paneer Kurchan

Yellow Chilli – If we had to pick a favourite, this is it. Yellow Chilli is one of the recent additions to their already amazing menu and an insanely delicious one. Small palak based koftas that are stuffed with paneer. The gravy is creamy with a prominent flavour of turmeric. This is a must try dish! If you can save a little bit of the gravy from all the licking and ooh-ahhing, then it goes superbly well with the rotis (Indian bread).

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Yellow Chilli

Veg. Abu Dabhi – Another latest addition to the menu, this one is mix vegetable in a thick kofta-style gravy. The preparation has tons of veggies, prominently french beans and has a slightly smokey, spicy flavour. It is delicious!

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Veg. Abu Dabhi
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Paneer Kurchan & Yellow Chilli
We also sipped on a range of mocktails. They have quite a variety, from juice based mocktails, to chillers, to milk-based preparations and freak shakes.

Mango Basil Chilli – A delicious combination that leaves you sweating due to the spiciness. A sharp taste added by green chillies that suppress the sweet-sour flavour of mangoes. Refreshing, or should we ideally say awakening!

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Mango Basil Chilli

Grape Fruit Mojito – You remember those small half-moon shaped orange candies that we relished as kids? If ever, you are feeling nostalgic and want a taste of those, the this is your answer. That perfect orange-y flavour with a little more tang to it!

Mosambi with a splash of Ginger – Mosambi juice with a hint of ginger that adds a sharp sour taste and reduces the sweetness. Refreshing. This one is a must try if you are a juice fan!

Smoked Strawberry Chiller – This one is sort of a strawberry slush with a little tart. Refreshing and perfect for the summer.

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Smoked Strawberry Chiller

The desserts here are amazing too. We happened to try a few and seem to be confused as to which one is the best one!

Banoffee Pie – A whole load of happiness sits on a freshly made thick and crisp crust. The toffee sauce is to die for. The perfect combination of whipped cream atop thinly sliced bananas adding the necessary sweetness and flavour to the mind-blowing toffee sauce. It is then dusted with cocoa powder and served to kill you! Trust us, you cannot have just one bite! And it is so light!

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Banoffee Pie

Paan Ice Cream – When they said paan, they meant paan. Refreshing paan flavoured ice-cream rolled up in a beetle leaf with all the ingredients and sweet nothings that go in a meetha paan. This is then dipped in gulkand and covered in a silver foil and served with a cherry on top! Ideally, this should be called the cherry on top of every meal!

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Paan Ice Cream

Aamras with Vanilla Ice Cream – It is summer, the official season of Mangoes and aamras! And we could not leave the opportunity to try this one! Aamras in perfect, thick and not overly sweet and we loved this combination!

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Aamras with Vanilla Ice Cream

Overall Experience: We are going to use a small phrase to describe this – Family No. 1! Family Tree is a complete package and a complete family entertainer. Delicious food, warm service and great ambience. The food is totally worth the prices, which by the way will not burn a hole in your pockets!

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: The white dish in which the Banoffee Pie was served would have turned red due to the bloodshed had anyone tried to steal a bite from it!

Family Tree – Google Maps

Family Tree Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mantraa {Panch Pakhadi, Thane]

Good Food is the Foundation of Genuine Happiness

Someone said those words and they seem to be the Mantra that Mantraa lives by!

Mantraa is a resto-bar in Thane, located on the highway. A casual, classy yet simple mid-sized place that specialises in North Indian cuisine and also serves Italian, Asian and Continental dishes. They have recently revamped the menu to add a plethora of global fusion dishes.

The area is pretty spacious with seating arrangements for different sizes of groups. One can find a crowd ranging from youngsters to families to corporates, everyone! A mid-sized bar is located at the far end and is well stocked. The music ranges from soothing instrumental to chartbuster singles and more. The service is prompt and one does not need to have to wait for more than a few seconds for a response, someone is always around but yet give you enough privacy.

Coming to the food, you know when your expectations are surpassed time and again? That is the apropos way to describe the food at Mantraa. It left us satisfied yet craving for more!

Here is what we tried:

Soups

Mushroom Cappuccino – Thick mushroom based broth with lots of cream. It was delicious with the sharp mushroom flavour and aroma! ♥♥

Kashmiri Shalgam – As the name suggests, it consists of turnip or shaljam as we know it along with garlic, ginger and a few other veggies. Thick, consistent and fragrant, this soup was equally delightful.

Appetisers

Mushroom Galouti Kebabs – Before we tell you anything else, know one thing, if you go to Mantra and do not try these, then…. we don’t know what then, just try these!!

So soft, you cannot lift these without them almost melting in your hands. Gone are the days of melt in the mouth! A very thin charred layer on top and a thin puri of sorts at the base hold this goodness together. The kebabs are non-spicy and flavourful. We were informed that the idea behind mushroom galouti kebabs was to provide a lip-smacking vegetarian version of the legendary galouti kebabs. And boy were they successful!♥♥

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Mushroom Galouti Kebabs
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Spinach and Kale Fingers

Spinach and Kale Fingers – Spinach and Kale leaves rolled up with cheese stuffed inside and batter fried. What a delicious combination.

Kale is generally associated with being a little bitter, but not these. Not even a hint of bitterness.

Crisp on the outside with molten cheese inside, these are fantastic!

Cheese dominates the flavour but we are not complaining. Who doesn’t like that! Served in small glass cones that are filled with herbed mayo and topped with parsley, this must be on your ‘to try’ list at Mantraa.

Spinach Squares – Another spinach based delicacy that is delicious. Soft spinach mousse with water chestnuts that add a little crunch to the squares. These are served with a spicy garlic chutney that adds just the right amount of zest!

Paneer Pesto Seekh – A slightly smokey paneer based preparation. Cottage cheese with coriander chutney and fried groundnut pieces inside. Lots of chilli flakes but is not spicy as paneer well balances them. Soft textured and scrumptious.

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Paneer Pesto Seekh

Mantraa is known for their kebabs and we are not surprised given the delicacies we tasted!

These were served with three dips – Peanut butter, a mustard based dip and a slightly sweet coriander based.

Main Course

Smokey Vegetable Kolhapuri – If you are expecting the usual spicy mix vegetable, then you are in for a surprise!

This is a unique preparation though it still holds the infamous spiciness of the Kolhapuri delight. There is the infamous mix vegetable sabzi with exotic veggies and a strong tadka and then there is a smoky, spicy gravy that you pour on top of it! Delicious and spicy as promised!

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Smokey Vegetable Kolhapuri

Paneer Ludhiana – A mildly spicy and creamy paneer based sabzi. Paneer pieces melt in the mouth! Yummy!

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Paneer Ludhiana

Big Crispy Roomali – Roomali roti turned to a masala papad of sorts with lots o tomatoes, onions, coriander and chilli powder.

P.S.: This one is originally double this size. We asked for a smaller version!

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Big Crispy Roomali

Mocktails

Happy Ending – You know what is ironic? When Happy Ending arrived, the song Happy (Pharrell Williams) started playing in the background.

Happy Ending is a happy mix of watermelon, orange and ginger. Watermelon caviar added the oomph factor to it! It was not overly sweet as ginger and lime well balance the flavours. Served in a unique green jar/mug that resembles a face, this was refreshing!  I think we can safely sing along –

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
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Happy Ending
Closest to Sangria – Oh they mean it! This mocktail is in all certainty, closest to sangria. Made with pineapple and cranberry juice and sangria soda along with small pieces of apple that give it the very sangria-like taste, this one is perfect.
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Closest to Sangria
Desserts
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Toffee Apple Tart and Mango Pannacotta
Toffee Apple Tart – Soft pastry base, loaded with cashew nuts, raisins, apples and lots of toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! The toffee sauce is mind-blowing, to say the least! Delectable! We thoroughly enjoyed licking it off the plate and spoons and then off our fingers (when spoons could not help anymore 😉 😄)
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Toffee Apple Tart
We had only one disappointment in this amazing meal – Mango Pannacotta. The mango syrup was good, but the pannacotta was unsatisfactory. Maybe a one off situation. But that does not change the fact that our meal was lip-smacking in all senses of the term!
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Mango Pannacotta
Overall Experience: Delicious food, good service and good ambience, what more does one need? The place is pocket-friendly and a complete value for money with generous portion sizes.
Food 🙂
Ambience 🙂
Service 🙂
The Battle: The battle is one that we are facing at this moment, to pick one! ‘Coz trust me, you cannot. The food is amazing!

Mantraa Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1441 Pizzeria [Lokhandwala, Andheri]

Pizza is like the entire food pyramid! – Madeline Oles

If that is true, then 1441 Pizzeria is Egypt where this pyramid is placed.

But then, if you think about it, this is a problem. ‘Coz they were going for Naples and we called them Egypt. Those two places are not even close!

Tchk Tchk! Wrong quote.

Anyway, what we were trying to say is, 1441 Pizzeria brings a world of amazing pizzas for us! Quite a range of chef specials wood-fired pizzas and a fantastic array of toppings and cheese to choose from in case you are a fan of make your own pizza!

All this in a petite looking outlet from the outside. It is only when you step inside that bright green door that you realise why we were stressing on Naples above. Bricked walls with pictures depicting the history of pizza and reminiscence of the old Italian world.

1441 are the coordinates of the first ever pizza parlour in Naples, but we are sure you already knew that?

Nope?

Well, better late than never!

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You can pick from the high tables and stools or the normal ones. The combination of red and black chairs with the lightly brown coloured tables is apt for the ambience and yellow lighting. A few tables and chairs are also extended outside in case you want to enjoy your pizza as you watch a crowd whizz past!

For the make your own pizza, they have around 30-40 topping options, multiple sauces and cheese varieties to choose from. A half and half or probably more divisions are possible in the make your own pizza. You can choose from single topping to multiple toppings (gourmet pizza) and both are priced differently. If you are feeling indecisive, ask the staff for help, they will be more than happy to. Along with pizza, they also have some kick-ass and much talked about starters, beverages and desserts.

Bottomless soda or what we know as unlimited soda with no strings attached, just help yourself. You are given an empty cup and you have to get it yourself everytime you need a refill. The staff is very friendly and helpful. After we settled down, we were taken for a tour to explain their entire menu and process, which they do for every new customer.

Here is what we hogged on:

PS: No drooling!

Smokey Dough Balls: Made with freshly kneaded dough and lots of chilli flakes, oregano and of course cheese, these bite-sized balls are delicious! They were served with a mustard dip and a mild spicy jalapeno yoghurt dip.

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Smokey Dough Balls

Krish Pizza – The pizza is named after the owner and was one of the specials that day. The pizza base was prepared right in front of us and was topped with Mama’s sauce, mozzarella cheese, jalapenos and caramelised onions and then baked in their wood fired oven. Sun-dried tomatoes and basil were then added. The pizza was smokey and had a combination of sweet-tangy flavours owing to the caramelised onions and base sauce.

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Krish Pizza

Paneer Tikka Pizza – Thin crusted delight with lots of paneer, capsicum and onions and a tangy sauce.Loved it!

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Paneer Tikka Pizza

We also tried pizzas from their Cheese Festival menu –

Stracciatella Pizza – Thin crusted base, topped with and Italian sauce and lots of cream. On top were tomatoes and basil and the start –Stracciatella cheese! Small shreds of this cheese and Parmesan made this one a sinfully delicious option. The combination of cream, tomatoes and black pepper was delicious! Loved it! This is a must try!

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Stracciatella Pizza

Camembert and Blue Cheese Pizza – This pizza is cheese heaven! Mozzarella, Camembert cheese and blue cheese! Although we know that blue cheese is significantly different from feta cheese, we felt the same tang and creamy texture in this cheese. It was scrumptious! Another must try!

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Camembert and Blue Cheese Pizza

Since we were here for their 1st birthday party and we were treated to Nutella Pizza and Chocolate Calzones made for the birthday celebrations! *Happy Dance*

Thin crusted base with a spread of Nutella and an option of topping! Strawberry, marshmallows and bananas – what is not to love!

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Nutella Pizza

The chocolate calzones are a dessert version of the smokey dough balls. Filled with chocolate and dusted with lots of sugar, this is sinister, to say the least!

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Chocolate Calzones

We also sipped on Lychee Lemonade and Masala Lemonade both of which were refreshing.

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Masala & Lychee Lemonade

Overall Experience: Pizzalicious! The service is prompt and friendly but the place is a little on the higher side cost-wise.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: Did you see the amount and variety of cheese up there? Try to put those Cheese special pizzas down, no just try and you will know how difficult life is! 😉

 1441 Pizzeria – Google Maps

1441 Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

5 Reasons you must head to Namak, Sahara Star for the Persian Food Festival!

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food – Kurt Vonnegut

And you have to understand the amazing, lip-smacking and fragrant Persian food! Persian food is described as one of the world’s greatest gastronomies and the ongoing Persian Food Festival at Namak, Sahara Star brings home these intricate flavours.

Here are five reasons you should head to Namak, Sahara Star and treat yourself to these tantalising flavours:

  1. The menu is designed and curated by Master Chef Mujeeb ur Rehman and Chef Mona who hails from Iran. Every dish is prepared by them and under their expert guidance.
  2. The warm, cosy, and contemporary decor of the restaurant and the hospitality are impeccable.
  3. Some of the most iconic dishes of Persian cuisine are included in the festival menu.
  4. Gotab and Halwa-e-Sheer are to die for!
  5. Like all good things, this one is for a limited time only! The Persian Food Festival is from – 24th February to 12th March.

Here are some of the delights for our feast the other day:

Saffron Sherbet ≡ We were welcomed with this saffron, sugar syrup and mint infused sherbet. It is quite sweet but the flavours are well balanced by the addition of mint. And the fragrance was amazing! Chef Mona informed us that Saffron is a very integral part of Persian cuisine and is added to a lot of dishes for the fragrance and the flavours.

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Saffron Sherbet

Soup-e-Jao ≡ A thick, creamy and flavourful broth made with tomatoes and carrots with barley (jow) added. This soup ideally has chicken or lamb pieces in the traditional version, but the vegetarian version had potato wedges and mushrooms. Juliennes of carrots and parsley were also added. Parsley is very native to Persian cuisine and added a refreshing aroma to this delightful soup. The soup is quite filling and has a little tart because of the tomatoes.

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Soup-e-Jao

Panir Kebbah, Mavoha Tanur & Gharth Tanuri ≡ Panir Kebab is soft paneer (cottage cheese) marinated in yoghurt and just melted in the mouth. Chef Rehman believes that adding a lot of spices kills the authentic tastes of the food. The kebabs were flavourful in their own sense and needed no accompaniments.

Mavoha Tanur had fruits like pineapple, apple and pears, grilled and marinated in sumac powder. Sumac powder added a tart, lemony taste to the sweet fruits. The result was a saporous dish with intense yet well-balanced flavours. Apparently, like Saffron, Sumac powder is also used in a multitude of Persian dishes.

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Panir Kebbah, Mavoha Tanur & Gharth Tanuri

Gharth Tanuri (Gharch – Mushroom)  is soft, succulent mushrooms simmered in olive oil and mildly spiced. Though not very high on distinct flavours, this dish was just as delicious.

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Beetroot Dip & Mustard Yoghurt Dip

The kebabs were served with two dips –Beetroot Dip and Mustard Yoghurt Dip. Beetroot Dip is made with beetroots and chilli and has a sour-sweet taste. We assumed it to be tamarind, but it was the chillies and spices that added these flavours. So good!

Mustard Yoghurt dip is something else!

Spicy and creamy, I could totally eat this daily. Who am I kidding? I won’t be eating it, I would be licking it off the plates, which is what I was doing here, much to the embarrassment of others!

Paneer Fasenjan ≡ Paneer (Cottage Cheese) pieces in a mildly spicy gravy with walnuts. Pomegranates were added to enhance the flavour. The gravy is not like the regular gravy we are used to having. It tastes really good!

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Paneer Fasenjan

Khuresh Bamiyan ≡ This one is our favourite from the main course. A unique combination of crisp okra (lady finger), onions, and garlic in a tangy tomato based gravy. What added to the uniqueness was the crisp chickpeas thinly sliced and added on top! Scrumptious! Loved it with the naans as well as alone!

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Khuresh Bamiyan
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Dal Adasi

Dal Adasi ≡ The traditional black lentil dal, non-spicy and perfect!

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Naan E Barbari & Naan E Kirmani ≡ Persian flatbreads are thick traditionally. Naan E Barbari has a history behind its name that comes from – barbarian, foreign, uncivilised. Both the naans were crisp and filling. Turmeric and other spices are added and the naan is topped with black and white sesame seeds.

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Naan E Kirmani
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Naan E Barbari

Ghotab ≡ The desserts were just as ravishing as the main course. Ghotab is one of the traditional sweets of Persia/Iran. Flour halwa with lots of pistachios and almonds stuffed in a gujiya style pastry and deep fried. It is finished with powdered sugar, cinnamon and rose. The halwa was also served separately. So toothsome! The addition of rose petals lifted this sweet delight to another level!

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Ghotab
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Hibiscus Passion and Mint Fizz

We also tried Hibiscus Passion and Mint Fizz from the regular menu. The mocktails were simple, no show-sha, but refreshing! Hibiscus Passion is watermelon based with lemon wedges adding a tang to it while Mint Fizz has a refreshing combination of lemon, khus and mint!

Overall Experience: The meal was satiating and gratifying, to say the least.

Amazing hospitality, good ambience and a lot of information about Persian food delivered to us by the Chefs completed it!

Head to Namak soon and experience it for yourself!

Nooshe Jan! (Bon Appetit)

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: With so many flavours and items to try from, it is difficult to choose with the fear of losing out! And once chosen, it is difficult to put the spoon down!

Namak, Sahara Star – Google Maps

Namak - Sahara Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato