Hi, I will be writing my blog on various food joints around the city and will be also posting the recipes cooked by me.
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I don’t know it’s my Indian palate, but I find breakfast that is served in hotels in Europe dull, boring…
I don’t know it’s my Indian palate, but I find breakfast that is served in hotels in Europe dull, boring and predictable. This is how it usually goes. There is selection of cereal, scrambled eggs, bacon, that has been placed in the room since 6:30 in the morning. A few cold cuts, 3-4 varieties of cheese, two-three little bowls of yoghurt dips, a fruit basket with unripe fruit, packets of toast and bread station with 5 or 6 kinds of breads. Muffins, cakes that look yesterdays. It’s a scam as to how they will list the five kinds of Jams that are Jam’s at the buffet. If you are lucky there would be some fried tomatoes. A few hotels charge you, if you order an omelet or egg white scrambled egg or poached egg anywhere in 6-10 Euros. I don’t know they are so short staffed. In the Grand Hotel Siena, there was only one waitress to do the entire breakfast service and this is true with lot of hotels in Tuscany. This is my observation of almost 50 five star or four star hotels.
The Ritz Carlton in Moscow was amongst the better places. They had a live counter, for eggs except that the guy did know how to make a gooey scrambled egg. I asked him to put a little truffle oil in the scrambled egg and he replied but that is so expensive. I will have to get it from another kitchen. It might take 10-15 minutes. But eventually the truffle oil did come and we got the scrambled eggs the way we wanted.
The Glockenhof in Zurich is amongst the better Swiss hotels, at least the breakfast has a bigger spread and the staff is attentive. The service is good.
The Art Hotel in Florence charges as much as 9 Euros, for an egg other than that that is served in buffet i.e. White Scrambled eggs, Omelet, Poached Eggs, Sunny Side up and this after charging you 28 Euros. If you order fresh juice combo it is 6 Euros. An a so called healthy juice of Green Apple, Carrot, Celery, Tomatoes combination will set you back by 9 Euros.
The worst hotel I have stayed in is The Mercure in Courchevel. The website shows the views from the lobby and that is very impressive, but that’s about it. We had occupied four rooms and clearly requested for vegetarian food, but they feigned ignorance. The rooms did not have toiletries. One had to ask for them. Between a couple there were two bath towels and one hand towel. The breakfast was the worst I have ever had in Europe and specially at the luxury ski resort like Courchevel. There was a waiter called Eni, who insisted that breakfast, would shut at 10 in the morning. It didn’t matter that guests were still eating. He would shut the breakfast buffet without a warning. There was only one live egg station. Two varieties of bread, an automatic tea-coffee machine and tetra pack juices and that’s about it. They didn’t care if you not had your breakfast or there was a queue at the egg counter; Eni wanted the buffet to be shut at 10 sharp. Mainly because the serving staff was going to have their own breakfast at 10:30. Courchevel is a beautiful ski resort, one of the most popular in Europe and probably the most expensive, and have fine tuned the concept of service. Unfortunately Mercure was a nightmare. Don’t stay here.
Amongst the nicer breakfast buffet layouts was in Hotel Penz in Innsbruck. The breakfast was served in banquet room on the terrace. They had a large section of fruits, Yoghurt, Bread station with fresh bread coming in Hot from Owen, a cheese counter, a live egg station, a live crepe counter. If I go back to Innsbruck, I would stay there just for the breakfast.
Nothing like an English breakfast cooked fresh and served hot in a small café round the corner. Similarly there is a lot to eat in smaller café’s/Bistros in Europe, than the Five/Four star category hotels. You would be better off in eating in a small local café round the corner. The food will be fresh and hot, not something that was placed on the buffet at 6:30 AM
In India the Leela Banglore and Chennai serves a top class breakfast. The Taj Westend all provides a great dining experience.
~ Vickram Sethi
The Godrej Nature’s Basket is without doubt a very interesting place to shop. They have a very good selection of…
The Godrej Nature’s Basket is without doubt a very interesting place to shop. They have a very good selection of Cheeses, Breads, Frozen Foods, a large wine selection. I often shop there and it’s always a pleasant experience. Two young girls who manage the Colaba store. One whose name is Krutika, I forget the other are enthusiastic sales people. Understand what clients want and are generally very efficient.
I received a wonderful flyer which is attached. There are flyers and flyers but what is unique about the Godrej flyer is the whole visual and off course the word “Fresh Everyday” seems more appropriate here than Reliance Fresh. Along with the flyer enclosed was a small piece of paper, with instructions on the back on how to grow some herbs, with these instructions. I haven’t grown mine, but I do intent to and it should hopefully grow and connect me to Godrej Natures’ Basket. Whoever conceptualized this idea needs to be congratulated.
On Saturday February 18th, two young chef’s Ashay & Neha presented a twelve course tasting menu at the Magazine Street…
On Saturday February 18th, two young chef’s Ashay & Neha presented a twelve course tasting menu at the Magazine Street Kitchen and here is how it went.
The Amuse Bruge was tiny little pieces of Asparagus served with a sauce on a spoon. It was tasteless, I wondered if this was going to be the trend of the evening.
The first course was a Whipped Cauliflower. A Cauliflower Espuma served with White truffle oil, Candied Walnuts Pistachio Crumb & Balsamic Pearls. One mouthful, but what a mouthful it was. It was easily the most outstanding dish of the evening. The Cauliflower perfectly infused with the truffle and cream. The Truffle Oil fully there and the Walnut Pistachio crumbs were perfect little specks on the dish also the balsamic pearls were a triumph. All in all it was a great symphony of taste. I asked for second helping.
The second course was Chilled Pea & Mint Soup – Pea & Mint soup with Parmesan Air. Perfectly chilled, but it lacked taste.
The next course was Quinoa & Beetroot Patch – Salad of Seasonal greens and Nitrogen Frozen Goat Cheese Egg. A little odd, but in an inspired way.
The next course was Passion Fruit & Chill Spheres – Spheres made of Passion Fruit Puree with a hint of Tabasco, served with Parsley Crumb. This was a delicious. The Passion Fruit and the Parsley, very well matched.
The next course was Vinaigrette de Poireau – Braised Leek Vinaigrette with Asparagus & Aerated Pumpkin. The aerated Pumpkin didn’t add to the taste. I struggled with the Leek and gave it up. I couldn’t cut it. The Asparagus didn’t do anything. I noticed that the chef’s had used the spears here and the bottom bits of the Asparagus were finely chopped and served in the Amuse Bruge. To me this course was a failure.
The next course was Potato Dauphinois – Gratinated Layers of Potato Baked in Brie Sauce & Garnished with Walnut Crumb. Now why on earth would you serve, layers of potato with some cheese in what it suppose to be a Gourmet Tasting Menu. Something so elementary was it exceptional? No way!! Anyone could do this from Youtube.
Then the next course was Spinach Risotto – Risotto made with Spinach & Cheese decorated with Edible flowers and the goat cheese sphere. The Risotto by itself was quite ordinary, but the goat cheese sphere was a big saving grace.
The next course was a Raspberry Nitro Lollipop – Instant Nitrogen Frozen Raspberry Coulis. This was very good. Perfectly made, nicely presented, Chilled lollipop, delicious.
Next course was Charcoal Ravioli of Wild Mushroom Duxelle – Hand Rolled Charcoal Flavoured Ravioli with wild Mushroom Duxelle stuffing, served with Mustard Veloute. I didn’t think this dish worked. The Ravioli was too thick. The Mushrooms stuffing needed some taste. The Mustard not working with the Charcoal flavored Ravioli. This needed tweaking.
For the Dessert they served a cute little Tiramisu Cupcake which was very good, pretty looking and great to pop in the mouth. The next was Deconstructed Banoffee Pie. Cream Cheese Espuma served with Banana sphere & Crumble base with Decadent Banoffee, accompanied with freeze Dried Banana, Raspberry Pearls and Chocolate Thins. It was good, but not great.
This troublesome duo as they call themselves, have mastered some bit of Nitrogen infused cooking eg. – Their Passion Fruit Sphere, Goat cheese Sphere, The Raspberry Lollipop, The Balsamic Pearls and The Raspberry Pearls were perfect. They are young and may be as they go along they will get better.
In the last one week, I have been on five airlines and this is my experience regarding the food. Air…
In the last one week, I have been on five airlines and this is my experience regarding the food.
Air Vistara for breakfast served Parsi Bhurji in a neat looking tray. The bhurji reasonably hot. The bread rolls fresh and a delight to eat. On dinner I had a Khema, again the food was hot and the meal was delight. Air Vistara meal box/tray is easy to handle. A neat contraction that keeps the food warm.
In the business class from Bangalore to Mumbai, in Jet Airways I was served two pieces of Crum fried chicken, a little pizzalet and a mashed potato tikki. The chicken was sweaty, the mashed potato tikki had an overdose of Basel and the pizzalet had an overdose of rosemary. I couldn’t go through the meal. There was another choice of chicken in Pita bread, which the air hostess claimed that they have run out and only two were loaded on board. I was in the second row and I was little surprised at that. Jet Airway’s business class is frightfully expensive and it had sixteen seats and was completely sold out. Yet Jet Airways couldn’t service there premier customers.
I traveled Air India Delhi Amritsar, Business Class and the breakfast was an Aloo Tikki soaked in Dahi with Chutney and Tomato Sauce, A piece of burfi, Two slices of white and brown bread with one slice of cheese cut diagonally was the sandwich. The food was probably packed at 5 AM in the morning. The Aloo Tikki was soaked to its core. Air India did not have Masala Tea or any other choice of tea. Somebody ought to tell the food and beverage head, that at 8 O’clock in the morning no one has an Aloo Tikki and Dahi. It’s a tea time snack. A sandwich is again a tea time snack, don’t they know this or they simply don’t care?
I then traveled Spicejet, from Amritsar to Mumbai. I was sitting in the first row. A trolley of disheveled paper boxes was rolled out. It was most unappetizing. I asked for a Chicken Tikka Biryani, which the air hostess said that she didn’t have. Her answer was that I had only one portion which my neighbor had taken. After a little thinking she said, let me check and low and behold a dishevel box of Biryani came off of the trolley. The biryani was served with a little Mirchi ka Salan, a single chili in gravy. That couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to be a Dahi Kadhi or Coconut based gravy. The seat was most uncomfortable. If you sat in the second row and the person on the window seat had to go to the loo, unless the other two passengers got up, there is no way that the other passenger could pass except by a knee to bottom rub. You by cheap you get cheap.
Clearly Air Vistara comes out a winner as far as the food is concern.
During my recent visit to Amritsar, I mentioned to my aunt that I was going for lunch to Bharawan Da…
During my recent visit to Amritsar, I mentioned to my aunt that I was going for lunch to Bharawan Da Dhaba and she remarked that, I would have to wash my hands quite a few times to get the Ghee off my fingers. A lot of legend has been built around, Kesar ka Dhaba, Brawa da dhaba and Mitra da dhaba.
Just like my aunt said, that the food is full of ghee and little else. This being the Sarso ka Saag season, I ordered Sarso ka Saag, Makai ki Roti and Kaali Dal. The Saag came with one centimeter of ghee floating on it. The Kaali Daal also had a centimeter of ghee floating on it, and the Makai ki Roti was of uneven thickness, not because it was rustic but because it was shoddy job. The Kaali Dal was cooked in pressure cooker, lacked taste and texture of dal that is slow cooked in a clay pot (Matti ki Handi). The Sarso Ka saag which should have been cooked in a kadai on slow fire and thickened was lack luster. I then asked the waiter what he would recommend, he said Kadhai Paneer. Little cubes of Paneer deep fried, and put into a thick onion gravy with strands of capsicum. Not content with Makai ki Roti. I ordered a Ajwain Paratha, here again it wasn’t up to the mark. In Punjabi homes, when a paratha is rolled, the ajwain is put into the folds of the paratha. In this case, the paratha was cooked in the tandoor, and on the surface a lot of ajwain was sprinkled. I asked for Aloo Wadiyan which they said was not on the menu.
I then asked for a dessert, the waiter recommended a Firni. Sure enough it came with silver leaf (wark). It was so starchy that I could have used it to starch my shirt , the rice was ground put into the milk with a little Elaichi, Kesar for effect. This is not how phirni is made.
The restaurant says established in 1912. I don’t know what made the place popular. As my aunt said the food was full of ghee and sat heavy on the gut. My recommendation is do not eat at this place.
~ Vickram Sethi
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