Thursday 23 December 2010

Amongst the rustling mustard fields in a 700 year old Fort!

 

What a wonderful way to end the year! Here is my recently published article on Hill Fort Kesroli, a weekend getaway from Delhi.

Read it here.

 

100_2382

 

100_2465

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Coastal cuisine in Delhi

After months of hearing about ‘Gunpowder’, the little nook of a coastal restaurant in the eclectic Hauz Khaz Village market, one sunny Sunday we decided to make the long trek down from dear ol’ Noida. The drive took us an hour, the parking 15 mins (finally settling for the DDA maidan) and finding the place another 15 mins. Lovely as it may be, wandering the cobbled winding lanes of this market, finding this place is quite a task. There’s an interesting shop we passed on the way which stocked old movie posters and maps, an old passion of mine. We even crossed the popular Kumzum cafe which works on a non payment model and is a place where travellers just go and chat with each other, sharing experiences and leaving tips to keep the kitchen running. Finally, after asking 3 people and getting exact instructions from a pan wala, we found our way around the block, over dumps of garbage and street dogs sunning themselves and found the building. Surprisingly, the restaurant has chosen not to put up a board declaring its presence. The only clue you get is an A4 sheet stuck on the ground floor declaring its arrogance of allowing only pre-booked customers.

100_2482

100_2483

Well, we decided to take the chance, climbed the very steep 3 floors and cajoled the manager to give us a table. Which he thankfully did, considering he refused 4 groups of people right in front of us! The first thing that strikes you about this place, is its view. Set in the back lane, directly overlooking the little known Deer Park and lake nestled in it, this place is a hidden gem. One can sit for hours in the sun, sipping coffee and staring at the unexpected oasis in this populated city. The second thing one notices is the crowd. It’s the kind of crowd I would often see in Ahmedabad in some hidden eateries only known to students of NID, CEPT, IIM and MICA. Journalists, students, expats…people discussing grass root microfinance or a heritage walk in chandni chowk!

100_2471

The menu was not a very extravagant affair, in terms of the options. The prices on the other hand, rivalled even Swagath which I believe is very steep! We decided to order the dry Andhra Prawn Masala(Rs.350) and for main course we settled for the Kerala Mutton Korma (Rs.260) with Appams (Rs50 each) and buttermilk (Rs.65). The prawns,unfortunately were a huge let-down. Not that they were bad…just that they did nothing to excite the taste buds like a mutton fry in Andhra Bhawan would have….at 1/10th the cost!! The korma was flavourful but not one for which I would repeat the cross country drive I had undertaken. The buttermilk thankfully salvaged the situation and was absolutely delightful. Alas, a bill of Rs.1100 just wouldn’t let itself be justified by an exceptional buttermilk.

100_2476  100_2475

As much as I liked the view, the next time I want some Andhra food, I’m heading to Andhra Bhawan and Swagath for Kerala food! Gunpowder just doesn’t pack the punch!!

100_2478

Rating: 2 on 5

Must Try: Buttermilk

Go for: The view…and the poster shop in the market

Address: 22, Hauz Khaz Village, 3rd Floor, New Delhi. Ph. 26535700

Website: www.gunpowder.co.in

Wednesday 1 December 2010

My Book List

Apparently BBC came out with a list of 100 books that they term as 'must-have-reads' and they reckon that the average person has read just 6 out of them. Well, dont know about that but their list of books left much to be desired in my opinion. So here is my list of 49 books that I have thoroughly enjoyed over time and recommended at some point of time. How many of these have you read?

  1. Sister of my heart - Chitra Bannerjee
  2. Secret Daughter - Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  3. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  6. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  7. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  8. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  9. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  13. Comedies by Shakespeare
  14. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  15. Emma -Jane Austen
  16. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  17. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
  18. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  19. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  20. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  21. Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  22. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  23. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  24. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  25. Mallory Towers Collection - Enid Blyton
  26. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  27. Jeffrey Archer - Paths of Glory
  28. John Grisham's courtroom dramas
  29. City of Djinns - William Dalrymple
  30. Nine Lives - William Dalrymple
  31. Two States- Chetan Bhagat
  32. Inscrutable Americans - Anurag Mathur
  33. Mayada - Jean Sasson
  34. Shantaram - Gregory Roberts
  35. Not without my daughter -Betty Mahmoody
  36. One Amazing Thing - Chitra Bannerjee
  37. Seven Years in Tibet - Heinrich Harrer
  38. Q&A - Vikas Swarup
  39. Love Story - Eric Segal
  40. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
  41. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  42. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
  43. The Godfather - Mario Puzo
  44. Flora Rheta Schreiber - Sybil
  45. Right Ho, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
  46. Papillon - Henri Charriere
  47. Curfewed Night - Basharat Peer
  48. PS I Love You - Cecelia Ahern
  49. Tuesdays with Morrie -Mitch Albom