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Zest Restaurant, Vasant Kunj – New Delhi. A Review January 2, 2010

Posted by simarprit in : Delhi, Food, Review , 1 comment so far

Zest has been covered by most of the magazines and all newspapers since it opened its door to New Delhi’s creme de la creme on July 10, 2009. We decided Zest as the restaurant for our first family dine out of  the year 2010, yes, I did think twice about it, read few blogs and concluded that it is likely to be somewhere between OK and awesome. Mini and Mishti were as excited as me as it would be a change from our half-dozen faves.

So here we go:

Location: DLF Emporio, No 4 Vasant Kunj Malls, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj Phase -  II, New Delhi – 110 070, India – Tel (+ 91 11) 43119999  – Excellent 10/10 (Though approach roads currently are under re-routing, so be prepared to get lost and keep time to reach 15 minutes on the side of error of omission)

Interior: Bar format, wine cellar followed by semi formal sitting (formal = The Orient Express, casual = Coffee Shop at any decent hotel property). Decor is great, layout of the kitchens and food counters is a little more than a bit confusing – take time to understand before you get going   – 6/10

Reservations – Works, it is better to do a table booking well in advance maybe even a couple of days in advance. Give correct number, they would call back to confirm 10/10

Hostess: Busy, pretending to be busy, on the side of arrogant – all guests are never equal approach.  – 4/10

Staff: Senor staff fairly competent, on look out to identify regulars all others looked like on-the-job-trainees, evident lack of confidence and no long term goals. Restaurant manager couldn’t be identified, though one person looked and operated as one, but as he was sans “you may ask me smile” I concluded that he can’t be the one whose career depends on this restaurants success. Overall 6/10

Crockery: White, pure white. Fine bone china from Luxemburg – 8/10

Glasses: Wine glasses and other tumblers were all fine – 8/10

Cutlery: I was expecting much better cutlery – 6/10

Table and seating: Very cramped layout, no walkways (you have to move around all other dinners)  swill chair is an excellent idea. They couldn’t find us a table for three so they made us sit on a table for six. Overall table and seating rating 5/10.

Soups & Salads: Today they had only one soup in the buffet, an adaptation of  vegetarian Manchow Soup. I am calling it an adaptation as it was one, not authentic recipe, though it was excellent in taste . Soup -10/10.

Salads were few and Cheese Platter was missing. With Red & White wine on the house – Cheese platter missing is not a good thing., there was fresh mozzarella cheese in one of the salads. I liked Smoked Salmon and Potato salad, though potatoes far outnumbered pieces of salmon. I am sure the salmon was farm raised and not wild, but good nevertheless. Total about 10 – 12 different  salads were there. Salad – 8/10. Mini who is 100% vegetarian found the selection very limited.

Starters: No separate section for starters, you have to go from kitchen to kitchen to fill your platter. My suggestion skip this course and enjoy seven distinct cuisines however we did. I took grilled Sea Bass (it was Asian Sea Bass and not the Black Sea Bass which I die for in San Jose). It was very tasty, well marinated and nicely grilled, it was accompanied with White Wine Sauce which was just perfect. 9/10  – Mini took Hing Aloo 6/10  & Hara Bhara Kababs 7/10 (her ratings) – Mishti skipped

Main course: Portion management on the counters is an issue. You never have all to choose from.

The following is the mix-n-match as courses were not separated by them, we had it all together so covering them in the main course:

Mix Veg Pizza (Mini/Mishti) 9/10 – Thin Italian hand tossed

Shell Pasta with Arrabiata Sauce 7/10 – I would have preferred little more drained pastas and some more ginger flakes

Chicken  Indian/ Arabic Kitchen (Mishti) – 10/10 She had 4 pieces, it was spicy and very tasty as per her

Veg dumplings – 7/10 (Mishti) they were bland for her

Noodles (Chilli, Tomato, Garlic): 9/10 (Mishti)

Shrimp dumplings: 9/10 They were good – I enjoyed them

Veg Pulao 6/10 – The rice was not the ideal rice for pulao and the full aroma which Dum Pukht Pulao can get was not there

Fish Curry – Indian Arabic Kitchen – 9/10 – very tasty though they said it was fresh river sole, which I am again sure it was not, it was King Fish and tasted like one. I have no issues with King Fish

Salmon Sushi – 3/10 It was nicely made but somehow I didn’t like the bonded taste of rice and salmon

Deserts: Fresh fruits, Cakes, Custards, Mousse, Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun. I loved Blueberry Mousse and Chocolate cake with Gold flake – Over all Deserts 10/10

Date: Jan 2, 2010 – Time: 1:30 – 3:30

Over all experience – 7/10

Price Rs 5,000/- or $ 110 – They include service charge @10% before Taxes. Base price is Rs 1,250.00 per person or $27 per person. Taxes and service charges account for about 25% and you invariably land up giving an additional 10% tip.

Valet Parking: Costs Rs 140.00 or $3

I recommend one visit, repeat is purely your call.

“Zest is now called Setz”


November – Top Indian Sites in the US November 3, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 2comments

Here is the November update of the Top Indian Sites in the US. I am seriously considering moving this post to a site, let me hope – I am able to do it before my next month report becomes due.

Rank Top 50 Indian websites in US Quantcast Rank 11/2
1 mapsofworld.com 1,149
2 rediff.com 1,712
3 bollywoodsargam.com 1,975
4 indiatimes.com 3,002
5 sulekha.com 4,402
6 ibibo.com 4,956
7 bharatstudent.com 5,350
8 dgreetings.com 6,099
9 tradeindia.com 6,202
10 indiamart.com 6,556
11 mydearvalentine.com 6,581
12 sify.com 6,954
13 guruji.com 6,955
14 chakpak.com 8,035
15 hindustantimes.com 8,775
16 in.com 9,685
17 shaadi.com 10,127
18 cricinfo.com 10,281
19 hindu.com 11,526
20 mapsofindia.com 12,759
21 bharatmatrimony.com 13,160
22 webindia123.com 13,758
23 expressindia.com 13,784
24 clickindia.com 14,561
25 makemytrip.com 19,043
26 ndtv.com 19,561
27 bollywoodhungama.com 20,347
28 rajshri.com 22,713
29 tribuneindia.com 22,785
30 samachar.com 26,231
31 raaga.com 28,706
32 jeevansathi.com 37,616
33 timesjobs.com 37,874
34 indiainfo.com 41,456
35 carwale.com 42,265
36 beautytipshub.com 45,356
37 rediffmail.com 46,526
38 zapak.com 47,537
39 indiaedu.com 50,567
40 indya.com 54,549
41 icicibank.com 55,305
42 naukrihub.com 55,476
43 indiahousing.com 58,842
44 bseindia.com 59,974
45 ibnlive.com 60,887
46 magicbricks.com 65,739
47 indiaglitz.com 67,054
48 craftsinindia.com 71,579
49 naukri.com 74,577
50 liveindia.com 89,051

Top Indian Websites in The US June-2009 June 26, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 2comments

The October Top 50 is at this link -


The September Top 50 is at this link -


Hi Folks -

Sorry for the delay in posting my monthly report on the Top Indian Websites in the US. It gives me pleasure to share that MapsofWorld.com continues to top the charts. The site is doing well and improving its positioning. As always all the highlighted sites are either owned or managed by Compare Infobase Limited or MapXL Inc.

Rank Top 50 Indian websites in US Quantcast Rank 6/17
1 mapsofworld.com 1,636
2 rediff.com 1,890
3 indiatimes.com 2,317
4 bollywoodsargam.com 2,765
5 sulekha.com 4,682
6 ibibo.com 6,243
7 indiamart.com 6,407
8 sify.com 6,467
9 cricinfo.com 6,719
10 hindustantimes.com 7,031
11 mydearvalentine.com 8,510
12 hindu.com 8,603
13 chakpak.com 9,542
14 tradeindia.com 9,778
15 guruji.com 9,848
16 ndtv.com 9,874
17 bharatstudent.com 10,374
18 shaadi.com 11,032
19 webindia123.com 11,162
20 bharatmatrimony.com 12,337
21 tribuneindia.com 12,710
22 expressindia.com 13,485
23 mapsofindia.com 15,121
24 in.com 15,163
25 samachar.com 15,379
26 icicibank.com 15,476
27 dgreetings.com 17,006
28 bollywoodhungama.com 19,780
29 makemytrip.com 20,609
30 rajshri.com 23,954
31 raaga.com 25,083
32 naukri.com 29,322
33 bseindia.com 30,693
34 indiainfo.com 34,146
35 zapak.com 37,661
36 jeevansathi.com 38,619
37 timesofindia.com 40,778
38 rediffmail.com 41,031
39 carwale.com 42,004
40 indiaedu.com 51,209
41 indiahousing.com 61,654
42 naukrihub.com 62,699
43 timesjobs.com 66,054
44 yatra.com 72,826
45 indiaglitz.com 78,792
46 magicbricks.com 81,194
47 ibnlive.com 85,269
48 realbollywood.com 87,213
49 liveindia.com 94,823
50 indya.com 96,705

Barbeque Nation Restaurant – A Review May 18, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Barbecue, City, Food, Review , 5comments

Date: May 18, 2008

Time: 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm

City: New Delhi (Janak Puri Outlet)

Address: B-1/ 623 Janakpuri, (Near District Center)

Country: India

Restaurant: Barbeque Nation; Owners: Barbeque Nation Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.

Occasion: Sunday evening Family Dinner

Location: Bang opposite District Center Janakpuri on Shivaji Marg/ Najafgarh Road.

Map: http://www.mapsofindia.com/delhi/block-b-jankpuri.html

Drinks: Masala Cola – No issues ; Pistachio Twirl – No issues

Format – One Price buffet spread, no drinks included. Barbecue on the table.

Starters: 5 Veg and 5 Non Veg Starters – Served on the table – Directly to plates or on skewers kept on Charcoal Grill placed in the hollow center of the table:

Vegetarian Starters: Hara Seekh Kabab - totally avoidable; Mushrooms on skewers – OK; Thai Grilled Vegetables – very good; Uncut Sauteed Potatoes on skewers - very good;  Paneer Tikka - trash, poor quality of Cottage Cheese followed up with extremely poor marination. 

Non Vegetarian Starters: Chicken Kabab on skewers – OK; Mutton Seekh Kabab – all chilli no taste; Chicken Boneless tandori – Good; Fish Fry – very good; Prawns on skewers- very good.

Salads: Standard unexciting spread with an exception of Corn Salad. 

Main Course Buffet (Non Veg Menu) Spread: Standard Upper Middle Class North Indian Shaadi Spread, looks like a roll call. 1 chicken dish (Chicken Tikka Masala) – Good; Mutton Biryani – Good; 1 mutton dish (Rogan Josh) – Good, 1 fish (Lemon Sauce) – Rubbish and hopeless and above all it was stale and real bad – had to be vomited out instantly and still live with chances of food poisoning for several hours. 

Main Course Buffet (Vegetarian Menu) Spread: Dum Daal – Regular OK; Veg Manchurian – OK; Paneer Dish – Horrible, they have a problem with their quality of Paneer; Mushroom dish – Good. Veg Biryani – Very Good; Roti & Naan – Good.

Deserts: Fresh Fruits – OK, Gulab Jamun – good; Ice cream with sauces very good.

Water: Kinley bottled water served as part of the buffet.

Locational Access: Very good.

Parking: Valet support.

Ambiance: Very good.

Interior: Excellent for this price range.

Tables: Very Good, Plates need to be wiped once brought on the table.

Cooling: Not correct tonnage. Becomes too hot, with live grill.

Acoustics & Music: Acoustics bad, becomes very noisy, Music could be far better. 

Staff Attitude: Indifferent

Service: Very Fast but totally Unpersonalized

Washroom: Insufficient numbers and not very clean

Rates: Reasonable (at 500 + drinks in May 2008 )

Why Go: Ambiance; Location; Concept; Starters

Why Think Twice: Main Course unexciting menu; Indifferent staff and unpersonalized service; Process flawed – stale fish landed on the table, I noticed – Fish was withdrawn from the buffet for rest of our stay. Thank God.

More to come…


Rajjot – Sunnyvale, CA. Indian Restaurant, Review December 9, 2007

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 7comments

Where: 1234 S Wolfe Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, 408 730 5510

Owned by: A Punjabi Family

What do they have: Indian – Indian Food.  It is not Americanised Indian.  So if a non Indian is having it, he must appreciate that this is Indian, and not what you get at places like Shagun & Amber.

I have over last three visits, tried their following dshes:

  1.  Samosa –  Rating 8/10
  2. Aallo Tikki – Rating 9/10
  3. Aallo Parantha – Rating 10/10
  4. Kardhi – Rating 7/10
  5. Chicken Curry (My friends tried) Rating 7/10
  6. Gajrela – Gajar Ka Halwa Rating 10/10
  7. Yellowdaal – Rating 7/10
  8. Dal Makhani – Rating 7/10
  9. Chitay (Safed) Chollay (Channa)  - Rating 9/10
  10. Jalebi – Rating 6/10
  11. Chaul  – (Chawal) Rating 7/10

Overall  ratings:

Location: 7/10 

Ambiance: 1/10

Food: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Togo: 8/10

Value for Money: 10/10… You just can’t get any better Indian Food at this price.

Simar’s 2cents: Go for food, closest you can get to truly desi home food in the Bay area.

Om Shanti Om – Indian Movie Quick Review November 13, 2007

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

Do you want to see two movies at the cost of one? See Om Shanti Om. First half OSO is one movie and the second half is another. They are two altogether different films made, directed, edited and acted very differently. First half is fun, second half is trash. First half is comedy, second is tragedy of errors. First half can be called a masterpiece, second half is just scattered pieces.  First half is tight and great editing, second half is loose and what is editing? First half is direction par excellence, second half is why do you need direction, action is sufficient. First half see Shahrukh Khan as a great actor, second half SRK is an insecure rowdy. 

First half of the movie can be seen again and again, second half wastage of time. The ghost and spirits angle is ill-conceived in otherwise a decent plot. Darde Disco should be rated as the most horrible song ever conceived, composed and shot.

My take 5/10 4.5 for the first half and .5 for the second half.