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Pizza Hut – Janakpuri – A review February 7, 2010

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 2comments

Pizza Hut Janakpuri outlet is located inside Satyam Cinema Complex in District Center Janakpuri. The restaurant since it opened about three years back has expanded thrice. Now it is one of the largest restaurants in the complex.

Yesterday Harmeen and yours truly decided to go for a leisurely lunch and we thought we would eat at Pizza Hut what we have never had before. So here we go:

  1. Ambiance: 8/10 As it has been made in parts, it needs one serious makeover to reach 10/10
  2. Staff: 6/10 We reached at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, the manager was busy on his laptop for all of one hour we were there. The other staff was also in a holiday mood
  3. Crockery & Cutlery: 7/10 Standard Pizza Hut variety- I felt that they must change it more frequently.
  4. Mushroom Soup: Rs 39.00 – 8/10 – Harmeen liked it a lot
  5. Masala Lemonade: Rs 49.00 – 9/10 Pizza Hut’s take on – We will do anything to succeed in India. It was good and they didn’t bill me for the refill.
  6. Cheese Tortillas: Rs 69.00 – 9/10 Great, the sauce could have been better.
  7. Pasta – Fusilli in Mushroom Sauce: Rs 139.00 – 8/10 It tasted good, but we would preferred little more sause and some more mushrooms in the sauce
  8. Pasta – Fusilli  in Spicy Tomato Sauce:   Rs 99.00 – 9/10 Cheery tomatoes and red chili almost always do the trick.
  9. Ebony & Ivory Dessert: Slice of Chocolate Cake, with Hot Chocolate Sauce and a Scoop of Vanilla Ice-cream: Rs 79.00 – 5/10 Looks like pushing it down to this price point is a tough compromise. They write it is adequate for two, which it may not be. The scoop of ice-cream is too small for sharing
  10. They charge you for service – Service Charges @10% and 15% Tax on post service charged amount add to about 27% extra

Still worth it. Best Value for Money – I would rate it overall 9/10

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”


Pizza Marzano Delhi Review May 11, 2009

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Restaurant Name: Pizza Marzano

Date: May 10, 2009

Location & Address: Cg-02/03,Ansal Plaza, Khel Gaon Marg, Delhi – 011 26254891. Once you reach Ansal Plaza. If Shoppers Stop is at the beginning, Pizza Marzano is at the end of the Ground Floor

Cuisine: Contemporary Italian and Adapted Italian, they offer you Paneer Pizza

Covers: Over 100

Ambiance: Casual-Fine Dinning

Parking: Ansal Plaza has sufficient parking, how far or how close you get to park to the restaurant is not in your hands

Portion: Decent
Prices: Are just fine, I hope to that don’t increase it and make it unreasonable.

Food: We do this restaurant about once or twice in an year. We have had the whole menu. I would restrict myself to what we had today. The reason we went to Pizza Marzano was our daughter just wanted to have the Bruschetta from their.

1. Freh Lime Soda: Perfect, they never go wrong on this 10/10
2. Garlic Bread: Their Garlic is not visible so much. It is all in there kinds. The fact that it is made fresh for you makes it very exciting, oven fresh served on the table, right amount hot. What else you want 10/10
2. Bruschetta – We all love it, but my daughter was not in a mod to share. It is yummy. There portion of sauce is always good and so is the ratio of tomatoes to the sauce. They have a variety in bruschetta – but this one is called bruschetta only. 10/10
3. Giardiniera Pizza – We tell them to give us without leeks and with only button mushrooms. As this is a ery mild pizza, I would like you make sure that you wish to actually eat a very mild pizza. Harmeen did try to make it “better” with jalapeno and some red chillies in olive oil, i don’t think she actually succeeded. I am fine with the mild authentic taste, didn’t experiment much and just enjoyed it. 8/10
4. Sicilian Sticks – Light, good and they don’t last on your plates. 8/10

All in all a good light meal for three. Service is fine, knowledge of most of the staff about Italian food is zero, need to get hold of the right person.

Sagar Ratna at Janakpuri West April 12, 2009

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Restaurant Name: Sagar Ratna

Date: April 10 and April 11, 2009

Location: Just before Janakpuri West Metro Station (vikaspuri side) – Locality Krishnapark – Yes it is that simple and that confusing

Cuisine: Known for South Indian but now offers everything which may be South Indians or Indian eat. The new menu includes Chinese and North Indian – French and Italian would soon be added ;)

Covers: Over 100

Ambiance: Something between fast food joint and fine dining

Parking: Major issue on Saturday and Sunday Nights – Go at your own risk

Portion: Regular
Prices: Could have been about 20% lower

Food: I have had the following at this joint (over two visits of course)

  1. Rasam: Excellent Right amount of tamarind – (Tell them to serve in Steel Tumbler – It doesn’t taste half as good in a Glass Glass – whatever.  9/10
  2. Papad: Excellent as if a machine makes it, no issues – 10/10
  3. Mysore Dosa: Like all dosas must be had quickly. Very quickly. Ask for Gun Powder with separate desi ghee on the side. Take with all chutnies on offer – Tomato, Coconut, Green Chili and Mint 10/10
  4. Idli – Not happy at all. The idlis thoughfresh were nowhere the best I  have ever had. They were not soft – 3/10
  5. Dahi Vara – Wow, it was awesome. 10/10 – Slightly on the sweeter side – 100% south Indian Style
  6. Upma – Regular upma, nothing great to talk home about – nothing to crib about 6/10
  7. Sambar Vada  – Good, could be better – I find their sambar inconsitent. I had it twice – Once sambar was so thick that it couldn’t seep into Vada and Vada remained tight – 7/10
  8. Masala Dosa – I am not agreat fan of Masala of Masala Dosa, but their masala is fine I like the lemonish yellow color of the potatop based masala stuffing 8/10

Restaurant in Geneva December 11, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 2comments

Several years back I  visited this fine Italian restaurant in Geneva, on the north bank of the Lake Genev, they serve some very fresh lake fish with white Homemade Sauce.

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…


Tandoori Oven – North Indian Food Restaurant, San Jose, Quick Review January 19, 2008

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

What is in a name? To me Tandoori Oven as a name of an Indian restaurant in California sounds very Californian. It’s Hybrid and people just like that. (Tandoor means oven, tandoori connotes food cooked in an oven)

So here we go:

Where: The Tandoori Oven

150 South First Street, San Jose (1) 408 392 7222

Format: Fast Food/ Counter Order Table Service 6/10

Location: Downtown San Jose - 9/10

Parking: Abundant around the area – 9/10

Menu: They got the India Map wrong…. For them the region of Punjab is on the banks of River Ganges. May God bless them, if you really care to know look at http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/india/india-political-map.htm 

Menu Rating 0/10 for getting the region wrong and 6/10 for the menu choices and options.

Ambiance -  Could be better, some Punjabi Music could have helped. 7/10,

Chicken Tikka Masala – 8/10 This is one dish which is so non Punjabi but finds itself on every menu. My friend (Mother Indian/ Father White American) really liked it, he just polished it off 8/10

Samosas – They came with Safed Channa (I prefer to call them Safed Channa and not Chitey Cholley bcause the were made in tipical (non Punjabi) UP style, though the beans were of-course closest to chitey cholley – garbanzo), portion was small, Samosas could have been slightly bigger as they are not exactly finger food, and they taste better when they are stuffed more and crust is slightly more crunchy. But they were OK. Rating 7/10

Chicken Biriyani – Portion was unending, it tasted good, good enough for my Bengali colleague who was here for the second time in one month. Rating 8/10

Karai Shrimp – I make it better, far better. The gravy was not for Shrimps. Conventional Punjabi food has nothing to do with Shrimps though but we all love our Punjabi Prawn/ Shrimp curries. Tomatto was less, Masalas were just about OK. There was no Khada Masala, as in most of the Kadai dishes, it was strangly similar to Chicken Tikka Masala Gravy.  Shrimps & Gravy were talking two absolutely different languages. It tasted fine though. I rate it 4/10, if it was called Shrimp Curry, I would have rated it 7/10

Plain Naan – You just can’t make them any better 10/10 

Basmati Rice – The rice was cooked well, but quality was not the finest. It was more of Basmati Tukda (Pieces). 7/10

Raita:  Hopeless – They just don’t know how to make it. Curd was bad, the so called homemade yogurt didn’t look like one. Masala’s were dis-proportioned.  It could be a good Dip, but Raita  – no way. 0/10

Allo Matter(Vegetable of the day)  - Just OK.  5/10

Cucumber Salad – Just OK 5/10 – I thought it would be salaad, the Punjabi version of Salad, which it was not.

Why Go? Only Indian Joint in downtown San Jose. Better than Amber, few miles away. Reasonably OK food. Not too bad prices.

Why not go? You can call it North Indian, but as they position it as Punjabi, you would be disappointed though. Food of Rajjot is far better than Tandoori Oven but Rajjot’s ambiance is zero, Amber’s food is horrible when compared to Tandoori Oven but ambiance is far better.

My 2 cents: Go grab, it looks like the best package deal in bay area for north Indian food.

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.

Pot Belly Deli, San Jose – A Review October 28, 2007

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Location: 111 N Market Street

Franchise Runner: Moon

Layout: Standard

Food: Standard but absolutely fresh on the fly

Layout: Inside and also under the great Californian Sun…

Soft Drinks: Great Range

Service: Out of the world, Moon takes personal interest and is friendly to everyone. She knows all of her regulars and not so regulars.

Price: A good Lunch with Drink for $ 7 – $ 10

Specials: Makes to your taste Sandwich, I prefer the Salmon. Also Grills Salmon and Tilapia Steak very well.

Must Have: Biscooti

Cilantro, Trident Hilton, Gurgaon – A review October 15, 2007

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Date: October 14, 2007

Time: 7:40 pm to 11:00 pm

City: Gurgaon (NCR-Delhi)

Country: India

Hotel: Trident Hilton; Owners: Prakash Singh Badal & Son; Management EIH (Oberoi Hotels); Affiliations: Hilton Group, USA

Restaurant: Cilantro

Occasion: Invite from a friend 

Location: 2 Km from Delhi Border on NH 8, Right hand side while going from Delhi to Jaipur -

Map: http://www.mapsofindia.com/hotels-india/hotels-indian-cities/gurgaon-hotels.html

Drinks: Fresh Lime Soda – Salted – No issues (They don’t understand – Lemonade); Tomato Juice – No issues; Sprint – No Issues; Old Monk Rum (Not available); Bacardi Reserve (Server doesn’t understand difference between Bacardi Breezer & Bacardi Reserve)..

Starters: Hara Kabab – Neither hara nor Kabad; Paneer Tikka – Too thin slices; Murg Kabab – Delicious, mouth watering.

Main Course: Steamed Rice – Not very good quality of rice, and not properly steamed; Goa Fish Curry – Good Fish, Good Cury, Great Flavor; Paneer Kathi Roll – Good Rolls, Good Stuffing; Good Quality of Paneer and vegetables; Chola-Kulcha – Great Fresh Kulchas; Good Cholas; Thai Chicken Curry - Not to the taste of anyone on the table.

Portions: Fine

Rates: Could be lower

Decor: Out of the world

Service: Could be much better

Chairs: Great & comfortable

Ambiance: Lively

Change in Name: I a informed that the hotel has been named as The Trident, Gurgaon – May 24th, 2008