Baraesti is a rooftop bar and restaurant with a laid-back and chilled ambience. The place is well known for their Sheesha. Comfy sofas and low tables, hip music and friendly staff… perfect for the crowd that it aims to woo.
We visited the place in the late evening hours… it is nicely done up with vibrant colours. There are TV screens and a big projector screen near the bar counter. They have a buffet type meal option wherein you can select a few appetizers, main course dishes etc. from their regular menu and order for the table.
We started with their House Favourite Mocktails – Virgin Backwaters and Baraesti Punch.
Virgin Back Waters & Baraesti Punch
Virgin Back Waters & Baraesti Punch
Virgin Backwaters is a refreshing drink, a blend of red bull, cardamom, lime. One can also taste cloves and the aroma that mint leafs give is wonderful. Loved this one! Baraesti Punch is a mixture of fruit juices and fresh cream… a little on the sweet side and fails to pack a punch.
We tried the Pav Bhaji Papdi Chaat, which was a pretty welcome break from the regular chaats. The pav bhaji was perfectly spiced and tangy and the combination goes really well together. Six pieces of delicious pav bhaji on puris topped with lots of onions, coriander, and sev, street style with a twist. The puris could have been a little crisper, but nonetheless, liked this one!
Pav Bhaji Fondue was equally delicious. We were actually curious as to how the pav bhaji in the papdi chat will be presented as fondue and so we ordered this one. Obviously, it was not the same. The fondue was delicious and creamy, had a tangy tomato aftertaste and really filling!
From their signature specialty, we tried Fusion Misal Masala Dal Khichdi and Vegetable Lababdar with Paratha.
Fusion Misal Masala Dal Khichdi – The aroma of the tadka hit us while this was being prepared. That was enough to make our mouth water! The dal khichdi was delicious. I am not exactly sure why it was called misal fusion, coz it did not have the farsan at all, the addition was of soft spiced pieces of paneer. Even this combination was well executed and presented in a no fuss glass jar.
Vegetable Lababdar with Parathas – If you are looking for something filling and delicious, this is the one to choose! Delicious mixed vegetable, creamy with a hint of sweetness (not the likes that make you go whyyyyyy!?) served with perfect Laccha Parathas.
We were just too full to try any desserts! Maybe next time!
Overall Experience: The food is good, ambience and music fun!
The Battle: You are surely going to utilize those skewers for much more than to dip the buns in pav bhaji… if you know what I mean!
The launch of Upstairs has been the talk of the foodie clan for the past week and for good reasons. We happened to review this place on its launch and were amazed by great the show put up.
Upstairs is one of the places where the music and the vibe hit you before the alcohol gives you a high. They have two seating areas, an indoor one with high stools and a bar and the outdoor seating with dim lights, cute decor, and comfy seating. They are a multi cuisine bistro with some speciality dishes from many South Asian countries. They have an interesting alcohol menu that is bound to get you drunk, ‘coz well, the more you drink, the less you pay!
The menu has been designed to encompass a wide spread of some famous dishes from multiple countries; authentic flavours with a mild tweak to suit Indian sensibilities. I am not very well versed with these cuisines, so I have taken this opportunity to learn a few new things and to tell you guys the same in a gist (Please do correct me if I am wrong, I am human and I am hungry! )
Murtabak is a stuffed pancake (in Indian terms – stuffed paratha) which is a famous delight served in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and North India. Yup, we Indians have our special version of almost everything! The preparation style and filling for Murtabak differs from region to region, so there is not one right taste for these. Broadly, there can be a savoury version and a comparatively sweet version.
The ones we tried here were tending towards the sweeter version. Served with a delicious and thick Sambal, the Vegetable Murtabak was pretty delicious. A crispy-thin overlay of wheat flour bread with a stuffing of onions, carrots, beans, etc. and Sambal which managed to tickle our taste buds. It was spicy with a hint of coconut.
Mushroom Yakitori, grilled mushrooms served on skewers with a thick tamarind sauce. The sauce used can be best described as a sweet, thick version of soy sauce (famous in Japanese cuisine to prepare Yakitori and Kushiyaki). Yakitori involves skewering of meat/veg. options with specially prepared sauces. Yakitori is essentially a meat-based dish and this is possibly the reason that the Mushroom Yakitori here did not really do much for my palate. Maybe the flavours come alive in meat, ‘coz for this one, the mushrooms did not get any special flavour which one would expect over all the grilling and sauces.
Cottage Cheese Chilli Pepper was a very mildly spicy dish with lots of pepper. The cottage cheese had a crispy outer coating. Made with loads of bell pepper, this is a safe option on the menu if you are not one to experiment much.
Next up: Lemon Coriander Soup and Mushroom Char Siew Pao.
Lemon-Coriander soup is a popular item listed in many Indo-Chinese menus.The Lemon Coriander soup at Upstairs Bistro was a refreshing combination of lemon and coriander along with tons of veggies. Although the lemon content could be increased to make it tangier, I still loved it. I am having this one for sure when I go here again!
Pao is essentially a variety of Baozi (Bao) that is stuffed,steamed and generally served like dim sums and can be prepared in various styles with a variety of fillings.
Mushroom Char Siew Pao had a filling of onions, garlic, red pepper and obviously mushrooms. We were reluctant to try anything else on the menu but were convinced by Mr Dishant, the manager that these are a real delicacy. And are we glad to be convinced? Totally!! These mushroom filled Paos are deliciousness! Served with three dips/ sauces – an insanely spicy sweet chilli sauce that left my lips with a tingling sensation, a medium spicy garlic & chilli sauce and soy sauce, these are amazing and not at all chewy. We went from ‘I am not eating so much’ to ‘That last piece is mine’ in a matter of sauces! Must try!!
They also have an interesting lineup of mocktails. We tried:
Peachiana – A refreshing peach based drink, not too sweet and with a hint of mint. That rhymed!
Virgin Mojito & Kalakatta
Peachiana & Coco Jumbo
Coco Jumbo – A watermelon, coconut water & cardamom based drink. Yup, cardamom. A surprising addition to a mocktail, this one needs a little getting used to.One is hit by the strong fragrance, which is expected; cardamom duh! It took me a little time, but I liked it in the end!
Strawberry Margarita – A tangy strawberry delight, with the essence of Roohafza. Yummy!
Kiwi Delight, Virgin Mojito & Kalakatta – Refreshing options. None too sweet. I especially liked the Kalakatta, takes one back to the flavoured ice licking childhood memories!
We were full. Like really full, and were all ready to call it a night. But our server Mr Vicky would not have it. And trust me, if at all he is the one taking care of you on your visit, you are not coming back without a few pounds added!
Anyway, as Vicky would have it, we tried the Crispy Honey noodles glazed with Sesame seeds & Vanilla ice cream. Yup that big a name, and that huge a quantity and that delicious a dish! We also tried the Choco – Coco Mousse.
The honey noodles are delicious. Flat noodles, perfectly crispy, with the right amount of honey, served with vanilla or coconut ice cream. We stuck to vanilla. The sesame seeds are not overshadowed in all this honey – ice cream madness, which came as a big surprise to me. Loved these!!
The Choco – Coco mousse has a top creamy layer of coconut mousse with a second layer of mildly flavoured chocolate mousse. It is prepared in-house, and is worth every calorie!
Overall Experience: Some delicious food, groovy music and an amazingly proactive staff, Upstairs : Asian Bistro & Bar is a delightful experience!
The Battle: With the perfect music and the chilled out ambience, it will be difficult to get up and leave.The regret is that we could not try their kickass cocktails. But worry not, we are coming back!