Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Home Delivery | Biryani Central

Delivery:You can place your order on the Biryani Central website; phone 9873333048; Biryani Central App, Zomato or Swiggy. There is a minimum order amount as per location. 

-      It is recommended to order at least 3 hours prior to the desired time of delivery as each biryani is made fresh only after the order is received. 

-      You can choose to order cutlery or not. This is a more sustainable choice instead of accumulating and wasting unnecessary items. 

-      There is an option for contactless delivery, which is only available for online paid orders. 

-      You may further leave any additional delivery instructions if you have any. 


Packaging: The biryani itself comes in a sealed handi made of earthenware. You may heat the biryani in this container, by placing it on a flat on the stove on medium heat for about 10 minutes. This handi is made of sustainable material and it can be re-used. The raita, salan and other curries however come in neatly labeled plastic containers. For breads and desserts, there are biodegradable boxes, with minimal use of aluminium foil.

Choice of Dishes: The USP is dum biryanis ranging from Awadhi and Hyderabadi to Bohri and Calcutta egg biryani. Vegetarians are catered to with four variants such as Awadhi vegetable, Hyderabadi kathal, Bombay masala and Peshawari paneer biryani. Then there is a variety of chargrilled kebabs made with chicken, mutton and also some vegetarian options,slowcooked curries, breads covering the entire gamut from roomali to garlic naan plus bakarkhani, sheermal, taftan and khameeri roti. To end on a sweet note, you can have seviyaan, malai phirnee, shahi tukda and more. 

Food Quality: 
I tried the Lucknow Chowk ki Murgh biryani with salan, burrani raita and papaya relish. The total combo, and I mean a little bit of everything in one bite is a party in the mouth, not the bold and bombastic type, but the subtle and mellow kind, with the aromatics and fine spices revealing themselves in a masterful way.


Pricing: From Biryani for 1 to party packs of 5kg, along with 1/2kg and 1kg options, there are enough options to cater to all types of requirements.

There is no cash on delivery. Digital payment options include debit/credit card or netbanking, MobiKwik, Paytm and freecharge.


Disclaimer:I received a complimentary combo pack of biryani and Bira’s Boom super strong beer in order to write about my experience. The above article, however, is free of all bias.


Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Home Delivery | MKT at The Chanakya

After writing about my experience of dining at numerous restaurants over the years, I am happy to get back to sharing my love for dining out as well as ordering in. 

The Post-Covid world, however, requires more details that readers would be keen to know about, over and above the taste and quality of the food. Hope you enjoy this new format. And please do let me know if you’d like me to elaborate on more aspects. 

Delivery: I had requested for the food to be delivered at 8pm and I received it by 8.10pm. Pretty much on time! The restaurant is using Zomato as their delivery partner. You can find the menu and place your order on the app. 

Packaging: All the dishes came individually packaged in labeled plastic disposable boxes that we transferred into my home crockery immediately. I do wish that more and more restaurants start using biodegradable packaging going forward. I am specifically putting it out there because change will happen when customers demand it! 

Menu Options: MKT is known for its extensive choice of cuisines and even for home delivery you’ll find everything from Asian and Mexican to European, Middle Eastern and Indian fare. To give you an idea of the choice available: Indian dishes include street food, rolls, stuffed paranthas, appetisers and mains as one would expect, biryanis and coastal fare. 

Chicken and chilli oil dimsum; Udon Noodles, MKT Chicken.

Food Taste & Quality: I opted for the MKT signatures from the Oriental section and some Italian. The Chinese dishes at the restaurant have always been popular and fabulous. I would definitely recommend that you order Chinese from here. The previous weekend I had ordered in from another popular Chinese restaurant but unfortunately the food was not as great as it is when you dine in there, but I am happy to report that that was not the case at MKT. The udon noodles and MKT chicken were as delicious as they are when served in the restaurant. I would even give a thumbs-up to the chicken chilli oil dimsum. The chilli oil was packed separately though, and that worked well. The chicken tortellini came tossed in the Bolognese sauce. Even though the sauce was rich and very tasty, the dish became a little dry. If you order this dish, and I recommend you to do so, just request them to send the sauce separately so that you can toss it together for a highly satiating bowl of stuffed pasta. The Jasper pizza is topped with chicken and roasted peppers. Although the taste of the toppings was good, the base was a tad thick and dry for my liking. I would suggest that you stick to ordering in pizzas from one of the many other great choices in the city since there are quite a few now. And finally, the dessert – Belgium chocolate torte. It is a pity that given the weather, the torte didn’t hold its shape by the time it reached me, but it still tasted fantastic. The silky mousse-like texture literally melted in the mouth. And yes, it is definitely made with Belgian chocolate! 

Belgian chocolate torte; Jasper Pizza; Chicken Tortellini. 

Pricing: The pricing is the same as dining-in. 
Payment: The delivery partner app offers the option of digital payment. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary meal from the MKT in order to write about my experience. The above article, however, is free of all bias.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Staycation | Here is My Experience of Checking-In to a Lovely Hotel in Aerocity

This trend of holidaying within your own city by checking-in to a fancy hotel has been around for a while, but since the real joy of travel for me lies in exploring new destinations and experiencing the charm of different cities, as well as countries, I had never opted for a staycation… until recently. Last weekend, my family and I checked-in to Andaz Delhi and came back feeling like we were away on a holiday!

To begin with, the kids’ excitement rubbed off on me. The process of packing, even for a one-nighter, got us in holiday mode. Not only is it absolutely stress-free, there’s zero tension of carrying excess baggage! So, when my little girl took out a bunch of board games to carry along, instead of having our usual tug-o-war of what to carry and what to leave behind, I packed them in with a smile. The next morning we all got up and got ready comfortably since there was no hurry to catch a flight or anything. We just loaded up the car, cranked up the music and off we went for our very first staycation.

Beautiful Installations. 
Andaz Delhi prides itself on its art collection. Must get a tour of the
property just for the art. 

Despite being a modern hotel ‘Made in India’ is the central philosophy of Andaz Delhi. One enters Andaz Delhi through the Kashmiri Gate, an iconic symbol connecting Old and New Delhi. Here it is represented in a seven-layered papier-mâché installation hanging above the main entrance, symbolizing the seven ancient cities of Delhi. Outside, the hotel fleet consists of vibrant-coloured Ambassadors and snazzy Jaguars – both Indian-owned brands.  

The Barrier Free Lounge

Their ‘barrier free environment’ means they have a lounge instead of a lobby. It’s fun to hangout in the Lounge since it’s littered with lovely art and installation pieces. The community table is a great place to meet people and strike up a conversation over a cup of tea or coffee at that is served there complimentary 24-hours, along with some nibbles and candy for kids. 

One of the highlights of staying at Andaz Delhi is its location. Aerocity is easily the most buzzing and vibrant part of New Delhi. It is an international-style hospitality district with worldclass infrastructure that offers quick access to the airport. Additionally, its location is central enough to provide easy approach for people from Delhi as well as Gurgaon. While there is a huge choice of hotels to suit varied price brackets for both business as well as leisure travellers, the many restaurants and bars offer plenty of choice within these hotels and as standalone establishments.  Within the last few months, Worldmark has come up as a swanky destination comprising offices and commercial space on the higher floors and high-end retail and F&B outlets on the lower floors. The two towers, Worldmark 1 and Worldmark 2, stand tall opposite each other, but are connected via a prettified underground walkway. From fine-dine options to foodcourt outlets there is literally something to cater to every tastebud. While it is great to be able to walk from Andaz to Worldmark to catch the vibe, the hotel itself lends a lovely view of the high-rises on one side and the airport runway on the other. 

Our room, with the view of the runway.

This brings me to the most exciting part of my staycation. I have an affinity for ‘rooms with a view’, this usually means either the sea or a beautiful hillside. Here, our room had a view of the runway. Not only the kids, even I was surprisingly fascinated with all the take offs and landings. It reminded me of a time, decades ago, when we used to drive all the way to the airport, Jumbo Point, to see planes flying low, almost overhead.

Each of the guest rooms features a unique curated piece of art by Rajeev Sethi. The hotel offers 401 rooms including suites, thus Andaz Delhi has put together a collector’s book entitled 401 Reasons to Fall in Love with Delhi. Written by well-known travel writer Fiona Caulfield the reasons include the city’s celebrated iconic monuments to its forgotten rituals and lesser-known places that are new even to the locals of the city. It is worth buying – depending on your interests, you may take your pick from Delhi’s Building Heritage, Taste of Delhi, Creative Delhi, Delhi Celebrates, Cultural Delhi, Sporting Delhi, Delhi Shops, New Delhi Architecture, Delhi Devotion, Delhi on the Move, Natural Delhi and Iconic Delhi. Each room is dedicated to one of the reasons from the book which you’ll find lying open to the corresponding page on a coffee table. The art piece also highlights that particular reason albeit in a contemporary way. 

The hotel offers a good choice of bars and restaurants that attract walk-ins from Delhi and Gurgaon as well. Juniper is India’s first gin bar that serves 35 varieties of home infused gins. Just to have some fun, they have also created a Delhi Sapphire, to play on the light-hearted rivalry between Delhi and Bombay (Bombay Sapphire being a famous gin brand). AnnaMaya is the all-day dining on the lines of a European-style foodhall where most dishes incorporate some local, artisanal produce like ancient Indian grains that are still grown in the hills of north India or burratta from a cheese maker from a farm near Delhi or olive oil from Rajasthan, and of course specially procured organic veggies and so on.

There's Plenty of Choice of Drinking and Dining.

Many of the local producers are proudly named on the menu to give them recognition and some of their products can also be bought at AnnaMaya at prices that are only nominally higher than the MRP to also give them more business. You’ll thus find a range of natural millets, organic honey, flavoured salts and sugar as well as crockery, copper glasses, glass bottles and other qwirky bric a brac that are stocked up on various shelves all over the restaurant. The Hong Kong Club a multi-level Cantonese restaurant and evening destination with a bar, club and lounge.  Mixologist Agnieszka Rozenska is brilliant behind the bar and a pleasure to chat with. Of Polish origin and popularly known as Agni, this globetrotter likes to get to know her guests and happily talks about her experiences in India along with sharing the nuances of making perfectly balanced cocktails. The Sunday brunch at The Hong Kong Club is particularly popular and makes for a great day out with the family. Since customisation and artisanal products are the highlight throughtout the hotel, the spa too features an Apothecary Blending Bar where you can custom-make your scrubs and infused oils according to your preference and requirement. I will come back to experience this one since this weekend was all about spending time with the kids.

I have come to believe that a staycation is a great idea, especially if the hotel is well located and offers a great choice of dining and activities for you and your family.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Here’s Why You Should Check Out The Mexican Food Festival at Setz

Of the various international cuisines, Mexican is amongst my favourites. And I often lament the lack of good Mexican restaurants in Delhi. Even if good eateries do open, they don't seem to last very long.

Top: Appetiser Sampler
Bottom L-R: Potato Tacos Dorados; Chicken Tinga Tostadas.

As I had written a couple of years ago, after my interaction with the affable Mexican Ambassador to India H.E. Melba Pria at a food festival organised by the Mexican Embassy in India, there is a lot more to Mexican fare than tacos and burritos. In fact these come under the category of Tex-Mex or Mexican food that initially became popular in North America and spread to other parts of the world. In fact, the cuisine is so rich in terms of ingredients and diversity that it has earned the status of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The current Mexican food promotion at Setz features Chef Tania’s interpretation of this beautiful cuisine. Being the executive chef at Mexico City’s Fonda Fina, she is in India to showcase some of her signature dishes. Her tantalizing selection includes Potato Tacos Dorados, Molletes, Prawns Aguachile, Tamales, Mole De Olla Lamb, Chicken Tinga Tostadas and more. She has tried to use the Mexican staple, corn, in most of her dishes that combine the wholesome goodness of grandmother-style cooking along with modern techniques and some local ingredients. While she has brought some special chillies with her along with ingredients like avocado leaf that she didn’t think she’d find her, she has also adapted some recipes to use produce that is easily available in India. Instead of using the Mezcal leaf sheet to make mixiotes, for instance, she substituted it with a banana leaf.

Coming to the food: we start with a platter of bite-sized appetisers (this was a sampler size, larger portions are served when you order a la carte), that we are encouraged to eat with our hand. Potato Tacos Dorados are made with soft tortillas that rolled and deep-fried. This is street-style wholesome food, she explains. It is served with fresh cheese and avocado, simple and comforting in every bite. Then there’s mollettes. You may think of this is a hearty cheese toast with the addition of beans and mildly spicy pico de gallo. Mollettes are usually made with a soft bread known as bolillo, but here she used baguette to make it. Since this is the first time I tried, I can’t comment on the authenticity, but it tastes good. And chicken thinga tostada is something that we are familiar with. A thin, crisp corn tortilla topped with chicken, refried beans and sour cream.

Top: Prawns AguachileBottom L-R: Tamales; Mole do olla Lamb. 

Among the mains, we go for the popular Tamale and Mole options. The vegetarian tamale is served fresh out of the steamer. It is like a corndog stuffed with cottage cheese, steamed in banana leaf and served in a piquant caldillo sauce made of tomatoes, onion, garlic and chillies and topped with fresh cheese, sour cream and coriander. Mole de olla Lamb is a delicious lamb rack done to perfection, in a rich and flavourful adobo sauce and served with corn on the cob and grilled zucchini and onions. Every component of this dish is packed with flavour, including the onions! As you may know, Mole is to Mexico what curry is to India. While the most popular mole is associated with a chocolate-based sauce, mole simply is any curry made with chillies and spices. Almost every household thus has its own distinct mole. The chocolate-based mole is the specialty of only one region of Mexico – Oxaca. For this one, Chef Tania used the avocado leaf, and reduced the consistency of the sauce to make it more intense in flavour. The result is a very robust sauce with well-rounded flavours.

And as we often save the best for last, let me finally tell you about Prawns Aguachile. This light and refreshing dish is part of Mexican cuisine, but inspired from the Peruvian classic – ceviche. Typically, prawns are marinated in lime juice and served with refreshing yet piquant sauce made with habanero chillies, cucumber and coriander. Served with freshly made nachos, this one is a star dish that I would urge you to go and try.

Although various insects, including fried crickets tossed with vegetables are also part of traditional Mexican fare, Chef Tania has left them out of this particular menu. What you have on offer though is tasty comfort food, with refreshing flavours.

Venue: SET'Z (Third Floor,) DLF Emporio, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.
Dates: 13th-19th January 2020.
Timing: 11 am - 11 pm.