Tuesday, 28 April, 2009

Karaoke in the heart of Bangalore @ Opus

Well because I had a wonderful weekend, I am back in action, completely recharged. Bangalore has this happy aura, like an old aunt with welcoming arms ready to hug you! It always makes me want to live there every time I visit. But what I want to tell you most about my recent trip was this gem of a place we discovered.

So on Sunday night, me and my best friends went to this place called Opus. The disclaimer on their website (www.myopus.in) explains the vibe of the place perfectly “Opus, derived from it's mascot the overweight but very multifaceted octopus, in Latin, means a 'piece of work' of art or music. Started by Gina and Carlton Braganza, it is also all things Goan. Laid back, unpretentious and a vibe that is infectious, it has a warm hearty kitchen and a well stocked chiller”.

Opus is not a restaurant or a club. It is a family. You enter the gates of what I suspect is a converted bungalow and hope they are still holding the table you had booked. Or you can plonk yourself on one of the seating areas on the floor strewn around with pebbles. Every Sunday night is what they call KroaKnight which transforms this place into a karaoke bar. There is a stage in the front where you can volunteer to go and sing or you can just kick back and enjoy while someone else does the honors. The show started around 10pm and by 10:15pm everyone was on their feet swaying to the songs and singing way too loud!! Most people there seemed like regulars who would do anything but skip their Sunday nights at Opus.

The food was incidental so I am not even going to dwell on it. There was some goan prawn curry we ate. And then there was the singing!! I have never before been part of a community crescendo singing songs that I have never heard before. No one cared if you sang well or went off tune. As long as you sang loud, you could stay!

Opus is Bangalore’s best kept secret (or is it?). If you like the sound of it, do drop in the next time you are in town. I can recommend it whole heartedly!! I only have 2 regrets. I wish the Husband was there with me, he would have loved it!! And I wish I had opened a place like this before they came up with it!

Here’s a snap of S (the only one of us who had the guts to go on the stage) doing her number. The snaps blurred but you get the point….



Before I sign off, this is B’s new doggie. She barely fits in a palm, is a cocker spaniel and has been christened Pocahontas.

Sunday, 26 April, 2009

Dilli Darshan - Sights of Old Delhi

Due to writer's block, I regret my Dilli Darshan post still lies pending. In the mean time, here is a photo post of our tour...

















Friday, 17 April, 2009

Chicken Dishes for Home Delivery

I noticed that I have blogged about so many restaurants but haven't yet mentioned where to order from when all you want to do is sit in front of the TV and hog. We usually order in once a week and invariably it happens to be a chicken dish which we team with home-made chapatis and we're set for the 9pm movie.

So here is my pick for where you get some of the best Indian chicken gravy dishes (home delivery) in Noida:

1) Though we have found numerous other joints that can well give it competition, I have literally grown up on Chawla Chicken. Started in Ludhiana, Punjab and now with franchisees all over North India, the only consistent dish from here is the cream chicken and it comes highly recomended. A full Cream Chicken has 8 pieces in a delicious light colored gravy that goes well with Chapati, rice and even bread (something that they have realised and they now send 3 pieces of bread free with it). The gravy is flavored with pepper and can leave you licking the bowl clean. Tel: +91 120 245 2169

2) A close second is a recent discovery from a small eatery in Noida called 'Kambojh'. The 'Chicken Do Pyaza' definitely has more than 2 onions in it and is a scrumptuous red gravy. This is also a great idea for ordering in when you have guests. Serve with raita. 8 pieces per dish. Tel: +91 93507 07970

3) Kambojh has yet another winner called 'Kasuri Methi Chicken'. Different from most methi chickens, this one is made with cream and kasuri methi and spiced just perfectly. You will love it especially if you can not eat spicy food (like me). Tel: +91 93507 07970

4) A chicken post would be incomplete if I did not mention Butter Chicken. This is a test of a restaurant's capability and you can often go wrong with this. But I would recommend you stick to the originators of this dish - Moti Mahal. There is a Moti Mahal outlet in The Great India Place where you can devour this. More expensive than the options listed above, its a must try!

I am yet to discover the best Tandoori Chicken for home delivery. Most of them tend to send a dry version of it smeared with red chillies that just dont work!! The hunt for the perfect juicy tandoori chicken continues!

Wednesday, 8 April, 2009

Amigo -The new mexican haunt in Delhi

Mexican food in my life has been limited to Nachos and Salsa. So when the sister suggested we go down to Amigos, the new Mexican restaurant in Delhi, I was game! She had read a review on the restaurant and it did not disappoint. Tucked away in a corner of the Local Shopping Complex of Masjid Moth (GK 2) next to well known restaurants like Mainland China and Smoke House Grill, Amigos is a nice eatery, done up in typically with Mayan Calendars and Mexican wall hangings. The restaurant is spread over 2 floors. We took a seat next to the French windows and checked out the menu (while munching on the complementary nachos and salsa).



I must confess, though a foodie I am, Mexican food is something I am not familiar with. Everything on the menu to me sounded the same (some form of tortillas – fried, steamed, wrapped etc.) so I allowed the sister to order for the 3 of us (mom joined us).

The meal started with Fajitas (Rs.500). A sizzling plate of chicken stuffing was accompanied by 3 tortillas (with 2 more complementary added later) and a host of sauces (sour cream, salsa, cheese and guacamole). We arranged our fajitas as per taste and bit into them. The slew of flavors was unbelievable. Though I usually turn my nose up at fajitas which seem like a poor cousin of our kathi roll, this was not greasy and rather flavorful to the taste buds. The guacamole deserves a special mention. A sort of a thick dip made with avocado, its is refreshing and tasty to bite with some nachos. You can also order this as a main dish and the chef will come to your table to do a demonstration of how it is made.



Soon after, our next dish arrived. The Manchamanteles (Rs.425) arrived. Literally meaning "tablecloth stainers", because of its deep red sauce, manchamanteles is a scrumptious dish much like our Indian food. It was a chicken dish (with skin – something most restaurants will not have) cooked in a thick slightly spicy gravy and served with green and yellow rice. The dish tasted just like our Indian mutton curry and left me wondering if they had done a Karim’s takeaway! Let me not be mean though, it was excellent on the palette and a safe bet if trying Mexican food for the first time.

All in all, we ended with very full stomachs, satiated appetites and content taste-buds. It may not be someplace I’m going to visit often but Amigos was a great break from the usual places we visit. Do check it out.

Location: Amigos, 3, LSC, Masjid Moth, Greater Kailash II, Delhi.
Tel:+91 11 2921 6221
Meal for 2: Rs.1200 (without drinks)
Rating: 3.5 on 5

Tuesday, 7 April, 2009

The ugly head of Racism...

Racism is not a word one usually associates with India. We're caste-ist, get fanatical on religious divides and have a very clear class divide....none of which I am proud of. But race is not something we wonder about....or so I thought.

In college I met a diverse range of people. Some of them were from other countries and continents across the world - South America, Europe, Africa, Australia etc. Most of them were greeted by people in India as an object of awe. They were gawked at, touched to see if they were real and taken photographs of as if they were from Hollywood. That in itself can be quite taxing but the intentions were positive so no one really minded.

To my disbelief, one of them who belonged to South Africa and was dark skinned, was targetted by passer-bys every single day. She was looked down upon and sometimes, people would walk in the other direction when they saw her approaching. And this left me incredulous because these people who held such a strong dislike against Africans, were themselves not half as educated, well off or cultured as she was. And they probably did not know how advanced her country is. Unfortunately, she returned soon back to US (where she lived and was studying) with not so good an impression of India and its people.

I may add that this is in no way a generalisation of Indians but only narration of an incident. Racism is a feeling that only a section of our society nurtures.

Whenever we discuss the possibility of migrating to another country, by reflex I tend to oppose the idea as I would not want to be treated as a second grade citizen or be singled out basis where I come from. And then I realise that we're not a model society either, so why blame others.

Thursday, 2 April, 2009

Thursday Ramblings

The husband is off to the Goa Ad Fest and I'm being consumed with overwhelming jealousy. We've been planning to go to Goa for so long and the trip keeps getting cancelled and then he keeps getting these opportunities of all expense paid trips!!! Que sera sera...

Well, all's not so bad. This is also a week of fun for me. The sister is in town and has endless lists of places to go to and things to do. Add to that, there is a marriage in our house (literally IN our house) next week so its excitement all around.

Yearly planning has taken a different connotation this year. It's difficult to plan for a year where you dont know if the economy will stabilize, improve or deteriorate. Even analysts are now wary of predicting the plateau of the crisis in the west lest they be proven wrong as they have repeatedly been recently. So, I have tackled this problem in two manners. I have made 6 monthly plans instead of yearly plans. In 6 months, I hope to have a better insight in which way we are headed. Secondly, I have made 2 alternative plans. There is a Plan B if things demand continues going downhill and cash flows are affected. This will help in doing course correction instead of sticking to a plan that doesnt fit in the changed scenario.

Another thing that has been taking a lot of prime time space on News channels these days is the Varun Gandhi speech. First of all, I believe this is one orchestrated drama. The same as Muthalik - staged publicly to gain news coverage and get into the mind space of people. All politically doctored. The point is not whether Varun Gandhi is anti - Muslim. Point is not whether Congress is not as secular as they say thanks to the Sikh riots. Point is merely that voters should not be basing their judgement on these people's fanatical agendas but by scrutinising the manefestos and seeing who will help develop the nation better.

Here's a thumbs down to all those who are making a mockery of our democratic process and of us, the citizens.