#RoyalIndianExperience @ Shakahari, JW Marriott, Pune

Ever wondered how a royal dining would have been and what royals used to eat? I always did and it took me a trip to JW Marriott, Pune to understand that royal dining is less about royal food and more about a royal experience. As far as food it concerned, it is the authenticity that makes it royal.

A royal dining experience with authentic food is what makes Shakahari, a pure vegetarian restaurant at JW Marriott, Pune, distinct from others. Formerly known for its delicious Pan Asian veg. cuisine, Shakahari now showcases an entirely new theme of #RoyalIndianExperience, presenting a lavish menu based on authentic Indian cuisines inspired from regions of India with the royal monarchy.

Our trip to Pune started with light showers in Mumbai. While the atmosphere in Mumbai started becoming cooler, we received a warm welcome upon reaching JW Marriott, Pune. We were greeted with Kokum Sherbet to cool off after a tiring journey.

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After a quick introduction session with some of the key staff, we were ushered to the lunch table. The table was so meticulously arranged, we were reluctant to touch anything and make it unordered. Everything from the silverware, thali and cutlery, chutney and pickle container to the serviette and the ring had a royal touch.

Shakahari (PC: JW Marriott)
Shakahari (PC: JW Marriott)

We got started with a pour of Fratelli wines, a basket of papad/papdi, freshly cut salad, pickles and varieties of chutney like mint, peanut and plum which perfectly complemented the food.

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In starters, we had Dahi Wada, Palak Patta Chaat, Rajma Lasooni Salad, Palak Chawli Tikki, Beetroot Tikki, Besan Chilli and Amritsari Paneer. It will be almost impossible to describe the burst of flavors the dishes had so I will rather stick to what I liked the most. From starters, I liked Palak Patta Chaat and Rajma Lasooni Salad the most. The Palak Patta Chaat gave a typical crunchy chaat like experience and the Rajma Lasooni Salad had a hint of burnt garlic flavor in it which won many hearts.

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At Shakahari, the menu is continuously evolving and the restaurant follows the concept of dual cuisines. On the day we visited, the menu comprised Rajasthani and North Indian cuisines.

The Rajasthani main course included:

Ker Sanger ke Kofta
Rajasthani Ker, bamnera beans dumplings cooked in fresh tomato gravy.

Jodhpuri Gatta Curry
Steamed gram flour dumpling, cooked in spicy tangy hung yogurt gravy.

Subz Panchmel
Mélange of selected vegetables tossed in dry spices flavored with asafoetida.

Dal Bati Churma
Rajasthan special-lentil preparation and baked wheat flour dough served with ghee and jaggery.

Gatta ka Pulao
Spiced Gram flour dumpling cooked on dum with basmati rice.

Assorted Breads
Multigrain Phulka, Palak Poori, Ajwaini Poori.

I was trying Ker Sanger ke Kofta and Jodhpuri Gatta Curry for the first time and liked them both but it was Dal Bati Churma that I liked the most. perhaps one of the best I have had outside Rajasthan.

The North Indian main course included:

Dum Paneer Kasoori
Homemade cottage cheese simmered in rich tomato gravy, delicately flavored with fenugreek seeds.

Subz Makhmali Kofta
Vegetable kofta filled with dried plums, almonds simmered in a cardamom cashew gravy.

Pindi Chooley
Slow cooked chickpea preparation flavored with whole Indian spices tempered with dried pomegranate seeds, smoked with desi ghee.

Dal Shakahari
Overnight soaked black lentil, rajma, tempered with cumin, fresh garlic finished with white butter.

Gucchi Pulao
Long grain rice muddled with Himalayan morels flavored with whole spices.

Breads
Stuffed kulcha, Roti, Naan, Laccha Paratha.

Here, the spicy Pindi Chholey and Dal Shakahari along with Laccha Paratha is something I would recommend as ‘not-to-be-missed’.

No royal Indian meal is complete without desserts and Shakahari takes this to the next level. Shakahari provides a glimpse of what the Indian royal families would traditionally indulge in by having a ‘Mishtaan Bhandar’, a room full of sweets and desserts instead of a standard, run-of-a-mill dessert counter. Shakahari walks the talk by offering traditional Indian sweets instead of desserts and verities of Rajashthani Kulfi with a host of toppings instead of ice-creams.

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The dessert spread included Mango Rabadi, Malai Kulfi, Kesar Pista Kulfi, Moong Dal Halwa, Gulab Jamun, Lychee Gulla, Kaju Pista Roll, Moti Chor Ladoo, Kadambari, Badambhog and Ghewar.

Maharaj Jai Kishen
Maharaj Jai Kishen (PC: JW Marriott)

We also got an opportunity to interact with Maharaj Jai Kishen who carries over 4 decades of experience in the kitchen and is the energy behind crafting the new royal avatar of Shakahari.

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Chef’s Table in a private area

 

While we traveled from just Mumbai to Pune, Shakahari indeed embarked us on a much longer royal culinary journey by the overwhelming hospitality and authentic Indian cuisines inspired from princely provinces.

Shakahari - JW Marriott Pune Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

P.S. We were invited by JW Marriott, Pune to for #RoyalIndianExperience @ Shakahari.


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Indian Curry @ Tansha Comfort Regency, Vadodara

 A family gathering of around 15 people and an obvious and annoying question, where to go for dinner so that everyone gets some or other thing of their liking?

Long discussion and Indian Curry @ Hotel Tansha Comfort Regency came out as a choice. It was Sunday evening and we called to book a table only to discover that they don’t take bookings. Reaching early helped secure one as the restaurant got fully occupied by 8 PM.

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Our order consisted Hot and Sour and Almond Broccoli soups, Bruschetta, Jalapeno Cheese Nuggets, French Fries, Roasted Papad and Palak Makai Lahori Seekh Kabab to start with. In the main course, we stuck to north Indian and tried Paneer Do Pyaza and Veg Deewani Handi.

Almost everything in food was up to the mark and didn’t disappoint us.

With average service, decent interiors and good food, this surely secures a backup option berth.


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Indian Curry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Get Spiced Up with Curry Me Up, Chandivali, Mumbai

There is no dearth of North Indian food options in Powai and Hiranandani and neither there is a lack of food delivery options. But there are times when you want to ditch the Pizzas, Pastas and other fashion food and want to stick to the classic North Indian to tickle your spicy taste buds.

Curry Me Up is a delivery only kitchen, serving North Indian and Mughlai food. CMU started with the first outlet in Versova and have newly opened the second one in Chandivali. CMU also has an app to explore the menu and take orders.

The menu has extensive North Indian and Mughlai options largely consisting non-vegetarian varieties. For vegetarians, like me, the options are limited but complete.

curry_me_up_header

My order for lunch included Achari Aloo, Kashmiri Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka, Mughlai Paratha, Whole Wheat Mirchi Paratha, Rumali Roti, Garlic Naan, Garlic Paneer Masala, Veg. Kolhapuri, Dal Makhani and Paneer Biryani. The delivery was on time and the packing was good and free from any spillage and mess.

Achari Aloo was spiced up boiled potatoes. Kashmiri Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka was Paneer and capsicums mixed in Kashmiri Mirch spices. The Paneer was tender fresh but the dish lacked an adequate amount of salt.

In the main course, all the different breads we tried were excellent especially the whole wheat Mirchi Paratha and Mughlai Paratha. Garlic Paneer Masala and Veg. Kolhapuri were right blend of vegetables and gravy with balanced spices.

With a generous amount of Paneer, the Biryani too was good. Though it was quite spicy for my taste.

Although we have enough North Indian options in the near vicinity, the specialized North Indian and Mughlai delivery only kitchen, Curry Me Up, is a great value for money option considering the food, delivery service and prices.

Curry Me Up Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The lunch was offered by Curry Me Up to try their food from the newly opened Chandivali kitchen.

If you have a recommendation on something we should try from Curry Me Up, leave a comment below.

Countries Connection, Andheri (W), Mumbai

What happens when five friends sharing the same passion, the passion for food, come together? You get a restaurant serving good continental food including Indian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and much more.

C2, as they call it, is relatively small-sized, is diagonally opposite to Infinity mall and easily reachable. The neighborhood boasts of plenty of restaurants and you have to have your USP well defined and maintained to survive, let alone thrive.
Although it was Friday evening, only a couple of tables remained occupied during our entire visit. This can be easily attributed to lack of alcohol permit. But this very fact makes it a silent and peaceful place to spend some good time with friends and family over a meal.
C2 has a vast menu and options to choose from. The start of the dinner was nice with Veg. Manchow Soup having a right amount of spiciness. Just the way it should be.
Veg. Manchow Soup
Veg. Manchow Soup
In starters, the Veg. Seekh Kabab, made with minced vegetables, cheese and potato, was again satisfactory.
Veg. Seekh Kabab
Veg. Seekh Kabab
Mexican Pizza had a thin crust and the right amount of crispiness to it. A little more pizza sauce would have certainly enhanced its taste thought.
Mexican Pizza
Mexican Pizza
Onion Kulcha was something innovative. Pizza triangles like cutouts of Onion Kulcha pieces stuffed with cheese. A cheese burst variant of Onion Kulcha.
Onion Cheese Kulcha
Onion Cheese Kulcha
Next in the line of innovation was Pav-bhaji Fondue. Made with Pav-bhaji gravy and cheese mixed together to form a fondue served with bread pieces, cut parathas and vegetables sauteed in garlic. It had a well familiar cheese Pav-bhaji taste with little indispensable sweet taste may be because of the type of cheese or white wine used.
Pav Bhaji Fondue
Pav Bhaji Fondue
Although late but we went for mock-tails. Hazel Samrat, a combination of cream and Nutella was my selection but to my disappointment, it lacked any taste of the latter.
Hazel Samrat
Hazel Samrat
In the mains, we were served house specialty South Western Chipotle. A dish of rice with paneer marinated curd and cream gravy. This was again a fusion dish and less spicy because of use of Indian chilies than their Mexican counterpart.
South Western Chipotle
South Western Chipotle
In desserts, I rested my choice on Tiramisu and the chef also have us try Blueberry Cheesecake. This is where C2 strikes the chord.
Blueberry Cheesecake
Blueberry Cheesecake
The round shaped Blueberry cheesecake with blueberry compote was an instant hit amongst us. Tiramisu had the right balance of coffee, cream and chocolate which even some Italian fine dine restaurants fail to maintain. It was one of the best I have had lately.
Tiramisu
Tiramisu
Almost every food item will seesaw between average to above-average yet satisfactory when it comes to taste but scores considerably high on presentation and appeal.
Service has some scope of improvements. We experienced a few hiccups like some dishes arriving early and for some, we had to wait considerably. Errors and omissions in ordered items, mainly in drinks.
Recommendations: Tiramisu, Blueberry Cheesecake.

Would you like to recommend something we should try on our next visit to Countries Connection? Leave a comment below.

Countries Connection Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I was invited by Countries Connection for the food tasting session.

Rooftop Dining – Mehman Nawazi, Powai, Mumbai

Never thought that a pure veg. Indian restaurant, located at a far end of a business park would be full even on Saturday evening.  We were advised to walk in and we gave our luck a try.

Supreme Business Park, which houses this restaurant is located on a far end corner of Hiranandani Business Park. You can drive up to the building reception where wallet service is available for Mehman Nawazi and its brother Breeze Lounge. In fact, they are located just opposite to each other. Breeze Lounge gets an advantage of stunning views Hiranandani & Powai while the Indian counterpart gets views of broken and cut mountains.

See my review of Breeze Lounge here.

5-7 mins and we were assigned a table in what appeared to be almost full. The roof-top restaurant has minimal lighting with decor suiting the demi-royal theme.

A special mention to the annoying heavy noise of continuous rock cutting which completely kills the ambiance. Another contrast is loud music in the adjoining Breeze Lounge which does not go well with the promised ‘king size lifestyle, princely treatment, royal feel and lavish ambiance’.

 The staff was welcoming and friendly. Quickness in service was a function of items ordered. The starters arrived almost instantly but mains took more than due time.

Peach Ice Tea
Peach Ice Tea
Veg. Galafi Seekh
Veg. Galafi Seekh
Hare Bharre Kabab
Hare Bharre Kabab

We started with Peach Iced Tea (Rs 275++), Veg. Galafi Seekh (Rs. 315++), a tandoor preparation of mix vegetables, paneer and Indian spices, Hare Bharre Kabab (Rs 315++), a stuffed kabab preparation of green peas, spinach and cheese. In the mains, we had Mehman Mix Veg Special (Rs. 395++), a very balanced mix of vegetables and paneer in lightly flavored gravy. with Tandoori Roti. With none of the items disappointing us, the food is sumptuous for sure qualifying the restaurant for repeated visits.

Paan Shots
Paan Shots

The Paan shot at the end complemented the food very well.

If only one thing for which I would not like to visit again is the annoying ambient noise and parallelly, one thing for which I would like to do the opposite is the food.

Mehman Nawazi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Deck, Dasvino Club, Lavasa

You are seldom out of food options at the Promenade but in case you are, The Deck at the Dasvino Club comes as an alternate.

Located on the other side of the Promenade, the Dasvino Club is at walking distance from the Promenade. Even driving down there hardly takes a couple of minutes and the club has ample parking space.

Now coming to the best thing first. The location of the restaurant overlooking the lake and the Promenade gives an excellent opportunity to have a panoramic view of the Promenade, especially in the evening.

Promenade
Promenade

The Deck has outside, inside and by the pool seating options. We were the first and only one that evening despite the fact that it was a high season. That was surprising, the first. Second was the time it took for our order to arrive.

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The multi-cuisine restaurant serves Indian, Italian, Meditirrenian food with limited options in each. We ordered Cream of Tomato Soup (110++), Veg. Mezze Platter (225++), Pizza Afumicato (245++) and Veg Steak BBQ Sauce and Garlic Bread (255++).

Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Tomato Soup
Veg. Mezze Platter
Veg. Mezze Platter
Veg Steak, BBQ Sauce and Garlic Bread
Veg Steak, BBQ Sauce and Garlic Bread

The average in taste food came with the second surprise. It took us 20 mins from order to bill. Flat 20 mins! Rather than a compliment to the service, this makes me think and makes me worry about the freshness of the food.

Conclusively, an average VFM fine dine option at Lavasa complemented by great views.

B Bhagat Tarachand, Viviana Mall, Thane

A shiny metallic board catches your attention even from the farthest corner of the food court. Bhagat Tarachand or B Bhagat Tarachand, in this case, is always a preferred name when it comes to great Indian veg. food.

This being an outlet in the food court, you are left on your own to find a seat and getting it near to the outlet becomes a challenge especially in the weekend rush.

My minimalistic order was Dal Fry Tadka and Tandoori Butter Rotis. Order placing was smooth, but a noteworthy thing is their upselling skills. If you don’t remain firm, you end up ordering more than you required or planned for. Order arrival took a while and must be attributed again to the weekend rush.

Dal Tadka and Butter Tandoori Roti
Dal Tadka and Butter Tandoori Roti

Now coming back to my order, the Dal Tadka was great in taste, a little thin with generous onion tadka. Butter Rotis were topped with a dollop of butter.

Worthy of consideration when it comes to Veg. Indian food.

B Bhagat Tarachand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato