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

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Café Amigos [Thane]

A friend of a friend who knows we like to try new places told us – if you are ever in Thane, try out Café Amigos.

Zomato, when we were in Thane last week showed suggested places – Café Amigos.

A coffee mug we randomly spotted with a Sombrero and moustache again reminds us of Café Amigos.

So before the universe got any more obvious, and dropped a coconut on our head that said ‘Head to Café Amigos now, you dimwits’ we decided it was time to check this place off our to-try list!

Café Amigos is a cozy place with a happy vibe. The moment we stepped in and the aroma of something nice being cooked hit us, we smiled thinking what we had been missing all this while! The café is not very huge, with 2 tables downstairs and 3-4 tables on the mezzanine floor. There is an outdoor sitting arrangement as well, that is so apt for evenings!

Raw undone ceilings with light bulbs hanging via long wires add a rustic charm. The walls are adorned with number plates, colourful metal boxes, a vintage camera here and a typewriter there, aluminium kettle, a vintage recorder and more. We love how messily good these look! A small open kitchen is located on the lower floor and it whips up awesomeness! The service is super friendly and impeccable!

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The menu is pretty spread out and one can find English breakfast options, cereals, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, shawarma alongside salads, smoothies, tea and coffee! The café serves breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. There is plenty of parking space nearby and the place is located on a comparatively peaceful lane.

Here is what we dug into:

Veg. Melting Sandwich – It should rather be called heart melting sandwich!  A triple decker surprise with veggies, cottage cheese, lots and lots and lots more of cheese, spices, mayonnaise and more sauces! It just drives you crazy with that cheese-filled aroma and then makes you lick the last morsel off the plates. So filling and delicious! Yummy!

 

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Veg. Melting Sandwich

 

Egg Omelette Sandwich – An Indian spiced and perfectly cooked omelette sandwiched between grilled bread pieces! It is served with a chilli mayo dip. Loved it!

 

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Egg Omelette Sandwich

 

Pink Sauce Pasta – Apparently, their pasta is well known and now we know why! Penne pasta in a deliciously creamy and herbed pink sauce with lots of veggies. It was non-spicy but well flavoured.

 

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Pink Sauce Pasta

 

Now that we are done with telling you what we hogged on, let us take you to 7th heaven with the shakes at Café Amigos! Trust us when we say, the phrase No one can have just one’ was made after taking a sip of one of these delights!

The have an extensive list of shakes and some will just take you by surprise! The shakes are thick, very flavourful and refreshing. All of them fall in the price range of ₹150 to ₹200 and are totally worth it, although, we would definitely want their quantity to be a bit more!

♥ Cookie-Gingerbread Oreo Shake – What is not to like in this one? Oreo with a slight hint of ginger and cinnamon flavours! Superb!

 

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Cookie – Gingerbread Oreo Shake

 

Mudpie Shake – If we had to pick a favourite, we would without a doubt pick this one. At first, you think it is only a chocolate milkshake but give it a maximum of two seconds and you will know the full depth of flavours in this one! Love at first sip we say!

 

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Mudpie Shake

 

♥ Rajbhog Shake – This saffron spiced refreshing drink takes you to another level. It has authentic flavours and is not overwhelmingly sweet. And the aroma is amazing!

♥ Paan Shake – The first sip of this minty delight and you will know why paan is called a mouth freshener! So refreshing.

Cold Coffee Shake – And of course we tried coffee! It was perfect. Strong coffee kick and not too sweet. Loved it!

 

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Cold Coffee Shake

 

There are many more flavours that we wanted to try here. So yep, there is going to be a next time and soooooon!

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Overall Experience: Café Amigos is our new amigo! Delicious food, pocket-friendly prices and superb service. And did we tell you they have a kick-ass playlist as well? Our total bill came to ₹1352 ,which is a steal for that delicious food 😍

Food  🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

Tha Battle: You and your amigos will no longer be amigos if one of them lay hands on one of your shakes! Speaking from experience, ‘coz our friendship got seriously tested here! :D” width=”16″ height=”16″>:D” width=”16″ height=”16″>

Café Amigos – Google Maps

Cafe Amigos 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