Summer House Café [Todi Mill, Lower Parel]

The weekend aways makes us happy. But this time, it left us elated! Like any other day, we zeroed in on a location to satiate our growling tummies and went ahead. We had heard the place we had selected – Summer House Café is an amazing one, we just did not know the enormity of the amazingness and hence, were more than under prepared for what hit us once we landed here!

Summer House Café is a dreamy setup, a beautiful place! For us, it felt like another world! Just far away, another country, another landscape, ‘coz surely, something this amazing cannot be right here, correct?

The white and blue facade with bamboo sticks forming a part of the wall reminded us of a shack in some beach country. Then we entered through the doors and were awestruck by the bustling area and it literally took us a few minutes to take everything in.

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During these few minutes, we were informed that a workshop was in progress on the lower level, were ushered to our tables upstairs and handed over the menu.

And not assimilating all this, we were still looking around wondering how the wooden beams and columns fit perfectly, how just the right amount of light enters through the glass windows and how beautiful it would be to stare at the sky in the evening (if only Mumbai skies were clear).

How the clock, which surprisingly wasn’t working, fits perfectly in the scene and how the lampshade next to us is the epitome of vintage chicness! Yup, such are the exaggerated feelings when you are not prepared for something and then are clean bowled by it.

The ambience makes everything look better. The area is huge and very spacious. and superbly lit during the daytime and transforms to a dim lit, fine dining area come evening. That’s the upper level. The lower level is still the den of activity. It is a house to comedy shows, band performances, crazy retro dance nights, book & reading clubs and painting workshops to name few. When we were here, by the evening, a workshop on knife painting led to a colourful chatter here and then, just like in the movies, the entire scene changed to become host to a movie launch party. And we sat there, hogging and marvelling!

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The menu here is a maze! There is so much variety that you are confused and yet the humble staff say that they know the variety is limited! Coming to the staff, the service is prompt and friendly and the Chef surely knows how to win you over, en route your stomach! Here is what we hogged on at Summer House Café –

Yuzu Pineapple Smash – A refreshing combination of lime, yuzu (a citrus fruit giving the drink a slight tart) and basil. Thyme and fennel seeds added a mind blowing aroma and flavour.

Blueberry Twist Smash – A tangy concoction of blueberry, lime and orange. Rosemary adds a very refreshing flavour. This one packs a sure punch!

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Yuzu Pineapple Smash & Blueberry Twist Smash

Jalapeno Cheese Poppers – Crispy batter fried poppers with mozzarella cheese and made spicy with lots of chilli flakes and jalapenos. These are better spelt as ‘perfection’! Pop these and see the cheese oozing out! But make sure you have the poppers before someone snatches them off the plate.

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Jalapeno Cheese Poppers

The Haystack Salad – Sprouts, bell peppers, tomatoes, black beans, cucumber, lettuce, corn and more! And topped or rather stacked with crispy tortilla fingers. There is a slight hint of sweetness in the salad owing to the ingredients and we would have better liked it with a little bit of black pepper if not chilli to ease out the sweetness.

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The Haystack Salad

Nachos with Salsa and Sour Cream – Fresh, crispy tortilla chip loaded with chopped tomatoes, spring onions, jalapenos, black beans, and a tangy salsa sauce. The cheese sauce and sour cream are wonderful!

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Nachos with Salsa and Sour Cream

Indian Vegetarian Platter – The intense and spicy flavours of the dishes in the Indian vegetarian platter were mind blowing. Spicy masalas that do justice to the preparations. There were three items in the platter – Char grilled paneer chunks with a smokey flavour and marinated in strong spices. Pineapple presented in a chatpata avatar that we definitely had not tried earlier. The masalas overshadowed the inherent sweetness of the fruit and left for a delicious preparation on the sticks.

Soya Kebabs were the star of the show in this platter. Soft soya, marinated in a very spicy sauce, stuffed with veggies, paneer and nuts. This one was amazing! It was served with a yoghurt based dip and a non-spicy mint dip.

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Indian Vegetarian Platter

Veg Mezze Platter – Consisted of crispy and delicious falafels, feta samosas and crispy soft pita bread. Sticky rice balls were made with the thicker rice, slightly crisp on the outside and had a filling of veggies and a little bit of cheese. The dips are mind blowing, especially the hummus. We did not really enjoy the feta samosas as they were a bit oily and a little bland for our taste.

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Veg Mezze Platter

Thai Veg Curry – Lots of exotic veggies in a superbly fragrant curry spiced with Thai herbs. It has a mildly spicy aftertaste. We loved the fact that it has just the adequate amount of creaminess and spices. Recommended!

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Thai Veg Curry

Sundried and Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini and Fresh Basil Pizza – Thin crusted pizza that is topped with bocconcini. The combination of bocconcini and the tomato based sauce were marvellous. Topped with sun-dried and cherry tomatoes and basil leaves, this pizza is a delight. We especially loved the crusty corners and the fresh aroma added by the basil.

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Sundried and Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini and Fresh Basil Pizza

Pesto Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich – Overloaded with cheese and pesto, this is a simple yet delightful sandwich in a crispy panini bread. The sandwich primarily has lots of tomatoes and a non-spicy pesto sauce.

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Pesto Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich

Tiramisu – Tiramisu here is a must have! Not only is it perfect, it also has a surprise for you! The creamy dessert is served in a glass along with rum soaked bread. We could not figure out why this bread tasted so good even after we had scavenged it through the deep ends of the glass. The chef then let us in on this secret. The strong essence and flavours that the rum bread and coffee add are mind boggling!

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Tiramisu

Mega Brownie Sundae Mug – This should be called Mega Happiness Sundae Mug! Delicious, soft and crunchy brownie with lots and lots of vanilla ice cream that was threatening to melt! Made a hell lot messy and tasty by the chocolate sauce and finished with a cherry on top!

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Mega Brownie Sundae Mug

Carrot Cake With Whipped Cream – A soft spongy cake with intense cinnamon flavour, lots of nuts and whipped cream. We loved how gooey and soft it was.

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Carrot Cake With Whipped Cream

The Ultimate Banoffee Pie – If we were not averse to bananas, this one would have been the dessert for us at Summer House Café. It is without a doubt on the sweeter side, but the toffee sauce makes you want to dig in for just another bite till you have licked the glass and the spoon and maybe even the plate! Heavenly!

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The Ultimate Banoffee Pie

Overall Experience:  First, the ambience blows you away and then you are washed over by the astonishingly delicious food and delicate flavours! We were looking at each other with baffled expression after every bite!

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

We guess that enough explanation for the love affair we had with Summer House Café to make you wanna check it out for yourselves? We surely hope so, ‘coz we wouldn’t want you to miss out on this amazing place! Highly recommended!

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The Battle: The battle is having to get up and leave from here! Can’t we just get mattresses and sleep here?

Summer House Café – Google Maps

Summer House Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Artika Café [White Town, Pondicherry]

First look at Artika Café and you feel like you are in a slow motion video of some lost town. Time probably, literally stops here! Artika Café is one of the best places to laze around in Pondicherry.

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It is essentially a black and white shot, with a random table or two adding the colours. Dry leaves and white bougainvillaea decorate the courtyard, giving the feel of a never-ending autumn. The quietness here can be the brand ambassador for Pondicherry’s ‘Peaceful Pondicherry’ tagline! This peacefulness is what drew us here and kept us here and what made us never want to get up and leave!

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A narrow and beautiful shrub covered path led us to the graffiti and mural covered courtyard. There are a few tables in the open courtyard and a few lounge chairs in the shade covered area to just stretch and relax.

There are a few tables inside as well, in an old, pretty worn-out house but we chose outside, obviously!

There is an art gallery and a shop inside, which sort of seems like the thing in Pondicherry!

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Once we had taken in the amazing surroundings and rested for a few good minutes, we asked for the menu. The menu is another surprise. They give you a big handmade paperboard menu that is hand written – art all the way, we say! There are quite a few breakfast options, sandwiches, baguettes and crepes to pick from. They have some really good combos to pick from. The food ranges from affordable to average pricey but one can easily find something according to their budget. Another good thing here is the free WiFi for as long as you want. The service is prompt and super friendly.

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We had a Ratatouille and Cheese Sandwich. The aroma of the ratatouille being prepared made our mouths water! The sandwich was delicious, non-spicy ratatouille with lots of veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and more with lots of mozzarella cheese! It was lip-smacking!

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Ratatouille and Cheese Sandwich

We also had Mango Lassi which was more like thick mango pulp smoothie! It was very refreshing and filling!

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Mango Lassi & Fresh Lime Juice

Artika Café and Gallery should be where you head to, to chill on a hot summer day or to get your work done in peace. And if nothing, a few hours of peace don’t hurt!

We had an amazing time at Artika Café, do tell us about yours!!

Artika Café [Pondicherry] – Google Maps

Artika Cafe Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The American Joint [Borivali]

We are among the folks who were very happy when we saw that The American Joint has popped up so close to home. Every time we passed by the junction that is now home to The American Joint, we would smile.

We had been to the BKC outlet (read more here) earlier and had loved every bite we had there. So when we visited the Borivali Outlet, our expectations were sky-rocketing.

The outlet is huge in comparison to the BKC one. They have two levels of seating, the lower level with a few tables and a sprawling upper floor.

The interiors are classy and stylish and definitely make you stop and read/see again. Mainly done in greens and whites, the place has a good ambience and is quite spacious. You may miss this, so let us tell you, there is a small passageway on the first floor with tables to accommodate 2 and a maximum of three people, hidden away. We love the tables near the huge glass windows that give a good view of the road and park outside.

The service is pretty prompt and friendly. The menu is quite spread out compared to their BKC outlet and that is because they have introduced a whole new range of dishes, burgers, pizza, soups, salads among others, while also keeping their hot selling chef specials from the earlier menu.

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Here is what we tried at our meal at The American Joint:

Hummus to You  The hummus was perfect  – soft, well spiced with chilli powder and coriander and had a little tang. It was served with slightly crisp whole wheat pita bread pieces. The pita was really light and the dish was tasty overall.

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Hummus to You

Mountain O’ Nachos  Crisp tortilla chips with lots of veggies and loaded with Queso cheese sauce. It had olives, tomatoes, jalapenos that added a much-needed spiciness along with charro beans. We were served a smaller tasting portion but the actual portion size is filling to even look at!

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Mountain O’ Nacho

Garlic Bomb Cheese Bread ⇔ Small bread buns with sharp garlic flavour. Served on a bed of sizzling hot tomato and veggies sauce. It was spiced with a lot of chilli flakes and topped with lots of cheese. The cheese was the right amount of stretchy and chewy. This is something you will definitely not want to share. And the aroma was equally mouth watering. Delicious!

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Garlic Bomb Cheese Bread

Tikka Fries ⇔ Thick, crispy fries served with a gravy. But they did not do justice to the tikka gravy. It was supposed to be spicy but it lacked any strong flavours. It was just a creamy tomato based paste. Did not do justice to the name or description. Also, the fries, though were crispy, could have been much better. They were essentially hollow! 😦

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Tikka Fries

We called for Pineapple Julep which was a delicious blend of juices. It was tangy-sweet and one would not be able to point at a single flavour but will definitely smile at every sip! Mint and lemon made it refreshing!

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Pineapple Julep

We called for a few shakes as well. The shakes are very light. Going by the name, if at all you are assuming them to be freak-shakes of sorts, then you will be in for a huge disappointment. But if you are looking for light, flavorful shakes, then go on and order one of these! Though be warned, you will not find even the supposedly chunky shakes to be chunky. We would be disappointed too but were not coz the lighter version was welcome this time around. Another time? That is another story.

Khaike Paan Banaras Wala ⇔ This was the best of the shakes. Refreshing and light. It was not overly sweet and had the perfect paan flavour. Just imagine a delicious meetha paan crushed with milk to make a shake. The shake had everything, from beetle leaves to fennel seeds to those yummy cherries. Much recommended.

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Khaike Paan Banaras Wala

Cookies and Creme Oreo Shake and Nutella Be Chillin’ Shake were light and flavourful and as mentioned, lacked any chunky bits of oreo or frozen Nutella.

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Cookies and Creme Oreo Shake and Nutella Be Chillin’ Shake
 Overall Experience: We liked the food overall, except a few hiccups. The biggest disappointment was that we did not get quite a few items from the menu. From their entire dessert range, only the Ferrero Nutella Mousse was available. From the shakes and mocktails too quite, a few weren’t available.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: The ambience and those juices and paan shake in your hand, won’t let you wanna leave. It is so perfect for a good time with friends and family.

The American Joint – Google Maps

The American Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Garde Manger Café [Vile Parle]

Keeper of Food

That is what Garde Manger means. And we would like to modify it for this café as – keeper of awesome, delicious and healthy food!

Garde Manger Café is a fairly new addition to the healthy-eating clan. Located in Vile Parle, this café is small, cute and cozy. The focus on clean, fresh and green eating is also apparent from their green and brown decor, small potted plants here and there and the vibe this place gives. The have an indoor AC section and an outdoor open air one which was, as usual, our favourite.

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The interiors are comfortable and warm. A counter has a display of various mushrooms in jars, coffee beans in bottles, a few odd knick-knacks and more. The service is friendly and prompt.  The menu has a selection of soups, sandwiches, salads as also pasta and smoothies. They have a range of healthy desserts which also include some gluten free ones.

We started with Roasted Tomatoes and  Bocconcini Sandwich. Soft multigrain bread with a non-spicy green chutney, tomatoes, lettuce and lots of bocconcini cheese. Bocconcini is a type of Mozerella cheese. It added a delicate creamy and savoury flavour to the sandwich. The green chutney/sauce and cheese added good flavours to the sandwich which was otherwise basic. Liked it!

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Roasted Tomatoes and Bocconcini Sandwich

From the specials, we called for Stuffed Multigrain Paratha. 8 triangular pieces of parathas that were made semi-crispy. Stuffed with a mixture of loads of veggies or as they call it vegetable keema considering the vegetable sizes were really small. The mixture/keema was well spiced and herbed. The paratha was served with a small bowl of curd and green chutney and pickle. It made for a perfect heavy and healthy breakfast!

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Multigrain Stuffed Paratha
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Cold Coffee

Cold Coffee which is not mentioned on the menu was the no-nonsense coffee with a little coffee powder dusted on top.

We also called for a Fresh Fruit Popsicle and got an orange popsicle. It was the perfect end to out breakfast! The pieces of orange in the popsicle made for the perfect juicy candy!

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Fresh Fruit Popsicle

The food may not blow you away but is totally worth every penny and is in no doubt delicious. So yes, the next time you wanna go healthy and vegan, Garde Manger is one of the places to look at.

Garde Manger Café – Google Maps

Garde Manger Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Keventers : The Original Milkshake [Carter Road, Bandra]

Some things are done so right, that they become household names for the category. You say Xyz and this ‘done right’ thing is the first name that pops up in people’s minds.

As much as this sounds like the start of a marketing lesson, it is not! 😉

We would not do that to you guys! Anyways, to cut the chase short, what we were saying is, if suppose you say Milkshakes to a Delhiite, then the first name they will probably take is Keventers. And then we Mumbaikars are left with a small face ‘coz we probably have never been to Keventers or cannot go there as per our whims and fancies!

But those were age old days! ‘Coz Keventers is in finally in Mumbai, baby!

Delhi = 1                                                                                                                            Mumbai = 1

Hahaha! 😉😉

Keventers has finally opened shop in Mumbai at Carter Road (Bandra). Do we love this road or what! It is always coming up with the best of places! Only hoping this one sticks around.. or you know, maybe, just maybe they could come up in Andheri? Or say, Borivali? Common, Borivali is not that bad!!

Do we love this road or what! It is always coming up with the best of places! Only hoping this one sticks around.. or you know, maybe, just maybe they could come up in Andheri? Or say, Borivali? Common, Borivali is not that bad!! :D” width=”16″ height=”16″>

A small shop, it serves up some kick-ass flavours that are surprisingly not priced to burn a hole in our pockets! The outlet is cute with wooden interiors. There is no seating available inside, but one can find a place outside on the stairs. A vintage camera, a vintage phone, few picture frames showing Keventers’ history and glass bottles are all that decorate the outlet, but no one is going to be here for the decor. What matters are the milkshakes!

They have some contemporary flavours like mint-oreo crumble or raspberry delight along with the age old rose and alphonso mango.

We tried:

⇒ Mint Oreo Crumble – Yummy combination of Mint and Oreo, with Oreo being dominant. The addition of mint makes it so refreshing!

Exotic Strawberry – Made with original strawberry puree, this one is a bomb fo strawberry lovers!

Exotic Blueberry  – Personal favourite with the perfect taste of blueberries! ❤

⇒ Tutti Frutti – Who does not like this? We are fans! Flavourful and yet not overly done.

⇒ Alphonso Mango – This is for when you are craving mangoes and it is just winter yet! Yummy!

⇒ Raspberry Delight – Slurping on these for the perfect raspberry flavours! So good!

The milkshakes were delicious, not overly sweet and super light. They would fill you up and yet not leave you with the ‘My God, I had too much’ feeling! We did not find one that we did not like! Either we are too good at picking flavours or they are good at making everything!

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One that we could not lay our hands on despite multiple visits was Bubblegum 😥😥

But that just gives us an added reason to go here!!

Head here for some delectable milkshakes and tell us which flavours you tried out! 😄

Oh, and PS: You get to take those bottles home!! ❤❤

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

MasalaBar [ Carter Road, Bandra]

Food Is Music To Body And Music Is Food To Heart – Gregory Roberts

And we revelled in this music at Masala Bar. An evening full of surprises, to the taste buds and to the soul.

Masala Bar is another feather in the cap of the infamous Kalra duo. Located above CCD at Carter Road, it provides an unrestricted view of the shore, the busy ‘Carter’ road and of course the sunset!

The decor is minimal yet luxe and classy. The seating is spread over a mid-sized area with a very prominent and uniquely done up bar counter that you notice as you step in. Black and brown, Silver and Ivory are the colours that decorate this restaurant. The main items of decor are mirrors and candles, in hexagonal arrangements and enclosures to render an amazing space.

MasalaBar opens at 5 pm and their timing could not have been better considering the theme and location. The entire restaurant is sun-kissed at this hour.

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Come evening, it transforms so beautifully into an oasis of light! It is dreamy once the entire place is lit up by candles. Just B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. It is one of the places that pull off candles and minimal lights with elan. The warmth that the place breathes due to this lighting will never let you want to leave voluntarily! We were mesmerised!

MasalaBar is one of the places that pull off candles and minimal lights with elan. The warmth that the place breathes due to this lighting will never let you want to leave voluntarily! We were mesmerised!

MasalaBar has recently revamped their entire menu, adding new classy dishes while keeping a few old favourites as well. Change is the only Constant philosophy at work! But are we loving the change? The answer is an astounding Yes!

And here is whay we said ‘Yes’….

Mocktails

Heaven On Earth – A refreshing and tangy combination of Watermelon, Cranberry and Passion Fruit! First, the fruity fragrance hits you and then basil adds freshness to it.

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Heaven on Earth

Berry Cooler – An amazing blend of Strawberries, Cranberries and Wild Berries and topped up with soda.

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Berry Cooler

Mulled Masala Punch – A mildly sweet and unique mix of masala tea reduction and orange juice. Tea dominates the flavours in this drink. It was really refreshing, which is a surprise considering the combination is so different!

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Mulled Masala Punch

Sea Side – If you are a fan of coconut milk in your mocktails, this one is for you. Orange juice, grapefruit and coconut cream, this one is very much on the lines of a pina colada.

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Sea Side

Salad

Figs and Honey, Carpaccio of Watermelon and Feta Salad – Arugula with a balsamic dressing forms the bed of the salad. Cherry tomatoes, figs and thinly sliced watermelon (carpaccio) along with Feta Cheese are added. The feta was fresh and soft and s delicious. Cherry tomatoes complemented the sweetness of figs well. Watermelon adds freshness to the entire combination. Loved it!

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Figs and Honey, Carpaccio of Watermelon and Feta Salad

Appetizers

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Baked Potatoes, Sweet and Spicy Beetroot and Apple, Sweet Fennel Yogurt

Baked Potatoes, Sweet and Spicy Beetroot and Apple, Sweet Fennel Yogurt – Potato skins stuffed with a mixture of beetroot and green apple, topped with cheese and baked. The stuffing is non-spicy and very mildly sweet owing to the beetroots. It has a very strong smokey flavour and fragrance. Dressed with sweet fennel yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. We loved biting into these. Burnt cheese on top does wonders to the filling inside and the combination of potato and cheese is surprisingly good!

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Baked Potatoes, Sweet and Spicy Beetroot and Apple, Sweet Fennel Yogurt

Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pav – A black twist to the regular pav bhaji. Carbon Pav Bhaji is prepared by adding edible charcoal to the bhaji as well as to the buns/pav. The bhaji is non-spicy but has very strong presence of garam masala giving it a lip-smacking aftertaste. Very finely mashed potatoes, onions, cilantro, fennel seeds (saunf), tomatoes and lots of garlic and garnished with baby carrots. The bhaji also has very earthy flavour. Pav is fresh and almost of the colour of soot. It well complements the bhaji.

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Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pav

Main Course

Asparagus & Bok Choy Biryani, Black Sesame Curd – The biryani is so fragrant that we almost did not wait to click the picture! Asparagus and fried onions did wonders together and left our mouths watering! Biryani is non-spicy and flavourful. There was definitely no need of any accompaniment with the biryani but a spoonful of black sesame curd does not it (on the sweeter side).

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Asparagus & Bok Choy Biryani, Black Sesame Curd

Desserts

Mango Cardamom Cheese Cake, Banana and Butterscotch Waffle – Now this is what we call ending on a high note! Cardamom base with mango cheesecake. The waffle was crisp and had the perfect butterscotch flavour without being too sweet. Elaichi banana drizzled in caramel added a twist. Strawberry sauce and mango pulp garnish made this a mind-boggling combination! Smooth and creamy, the cheesecake melted in the mouth.  No wonder we were on a sugar high post-gorging on this!

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Mango Cardamom Cheese Cake, Banana and Butterscotch Waffle

Overall Experience – MasalaBar was a one of a kind experience with delicious food, warm hospitality and beautiful ambience. The wait staff is really friendly and has in-depth knowledge about the entire menu. Ask anyone anything and they will help you with a smile. We were taken care of by Mr Sachin, who explained every dish in detail and served us wholeheartedly.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: 5 calls from home were what made us finally get up and leave this restaurant. You will not want to leave voluntarily, trust us on that! And the delicious food doesn’t help either!

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P.S.: Go here at least a little before the sun sets, the view and ambience are amazing and you get to see how the place transforms!

Someone said – The only way to see the Sunset, is to ride into it! But after experiencing MasalaBar, we can safely say – One of the best ways to see the Sunset, is to dine alongside it!  😍

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MasalaBar – Google Maps

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