McDonald’s might not be the most popular food brand these days, however the convenience offered by them at several levels is hard to ignore. This is not going to be my default goto option whenever I need a breakfast, but it would always be a viable option when in need.
There are times when I spend my nights in our studio, and when that happens I generally end up working from early in the morning as well, as those are best hours to get things done. Those are the hours when hunger pangs are at their greatest and you are so engrossed in work that stepping out is not an option. This is one of my situations and I am sure everyone gets into such situations where they need some fuel for their mind and body, however cooking or stepping out is not an option.
A quick google search for Breakfast Delivery in Delhi threw up a few options – InnerChef – I love them, however wanted to try something different, Faasos came up, however their service starts from 9 AM and so did several other names. The most interesting out of those was McDelivery – the delivery service of McDonald’s. Opened their site and it was delight to see that they had their breakfast options open for delivery before 9 am in the morning. Though the options were limited to 3 items : Sausage McMuffin™ With Egg, Veg Supreme McMuffin™ & McFlurry™ Black Forest – but these seemed good enough given scarcity of resources and the safety net that name of Mickey D offers. In fact you can also pre-order you food and schedule a time for delivery at your convenience. For eg you can place the order at 6 Am for a delivery of 8 Am or later as it seems that is when they start their service.
Once you make a selection from two types of McMuffin, the system asks you for customisation – you can order the McMuffin by itself, in a Happy Meal or the one I choose – a proper combo meal with choice of drink and a hash brown. Both Veg and Non. Veg versions offer similar option.
Registration process was smooth and order was placed in a jiffy – the meal had a list price of Rs.125 and with taxes and delivery charges it went up to Rs.183. The most delightful part was that they gave a delivery time of 30 minutes, which was unlike many gourmet and new-age delivery service who ask for 45-60 minutes at least. For a hungry tummy, a shorter time was a blessing. Got a call after 20 minutes telling me that rider was on his way and is shortly expected to make a delivery to my address. Food came in just on time, with rider carrying exact change for my Rs.500 note. He handed me 2 packets and the cup with Hot coffee – usual packaging of the packets, however cup could have been handled in a better way. maybe they need a different delivery mechanism for the same. It was just their regular cup shrink wrapped up in a plastic sheet – was in a bit of mess when it arrived but I simply poured into my mug and life was sorted.
Sausage McMuffin™ With Egg was its usual self – of which I am not the biggest fan – The bread was nice and textured, with a cheese slice, a patty of chicken sausage and one egg wrapped inside it. Its been couple of years that I had this items and I still don’t like it much. However the ketchup on the side made in palatable fuel for me and the crispy hash brown helped in the ingestion process. That said the coffee was absolute delight. Did not look like much on the face of it, however it was dark, bitter and intense – a coffee that connoisseurs would approve of and a coffee that can put some fancy specialised chains to shame.
The Rs.30 delivery charge added to the order makes a hit on the value for money proposition, and McDonald’s does not come with your fancy health food tag – as it’s the favorite bashing brand for everyone and anyyone who claims to know their food – however I am a firm believer that unless you are eating it daily, there is no way it can harm you. Infact its serves as an excellent option every now and then specially when you are seeking good clean fuel for your system or just some comfort food which will not make you throw up or run for the nearest washroom. Personally the Sausage McMuffin™ With Egg might not be for my tastebuds, however that would not stop me for ordering the Veg Supreme McMuffin™ next time when I am in need of effortless fuel for my system – Specially early in the morning.
SodaBottleOpenerWala is a much needed entry into Noida Food Scene and is a place that does warrant a visit for any food lovers who is keen on some nostalgia eating (if have visted Bomday) or just to try a brand new cuisine, which barely 2-3 places serve in entire Delhi / NCR, SodaBottleOpenerWala being the most prominent name among them.
Malls of India by DLF has recently opened its gates in Noida. The mall touted as among the biggest in India, offers a major respite to the much parched food & dining scene of Noida. Even though there is no real ‘break-through’ or standout restaurant, nothing that we have not seen before in Delhi or Gurgaon, however most of the restaurants which have opened or are about to open the shop there, are a first for Noida – Some of the names that pop to my mind – Pizza Express, Chili’s, Kylin Express & of-course SodaBottleOpenerWala.
SodaBottleOpenerWala has been around in DLF Cyber Hub of Gurgaon for several years and recent months have seen them grow into multiple Indian cities, which is a testament of their popularly, acceptance and Operations management. I have visited their Cyber Hub outlet a couple of times and have had decent experiences. As with the gurgaon outlet, the interior of the Noida outlet was also class apart. Stepping in you get almost the same feel as an age-old Irani or Parsi cafe run by some bawa uncle in Mumbai – the table clothes, the wood work, the show cases – all symbolic enough to make you instantly nostalgic about those beautiful family run cafes of Mumbai.
Their menu was another pleasant surprise, nothing seemed exorbitantly priced and rates were at par with any decent full-service restaurant that you would come cross. Another good thing about the menu – it was not full of hundreds of items to choose from. All items were quite unique in themselves and the menu had a limited selection, which makes life easy for greedy food lovers like me. After spending much time we settled on a Combo – we had several to choose from in veg, chicken and prawn versions – we selected one with Veg. Berry Pulao, Vada Pav and Kachumber Salad. To add some meat on the table we also ordered for Bhendi Bazaar Seekh along with Parantha.
The combo came in a 3 box tiffin box – the tiered steel lunch carrier that we have all grown up seeing being used in our family. Just for the convenience – these boxes were our TupperWare before the now so common plastic lunchboxes happened. The box was opened on our table and one of them had Berry Pulao, other Vada Pav and Kuchumber salad came in the Third box.
The salad was exactly like what you would make at home – very basic with not much to go wrong there. Vada pav was served the way it is served on streets of Mumbai. Despite getting the flavors right, it lacked Hot & Fresh feel that is associated with this super popular food item from Mumbai. The pav though authentic in texture felt like it was the last day before it would be declared ‘expired’. Similarly vada felt like refried which I am sure can be attributed to street vendors making it in bulk while the folks at SBOW would have to fry it one piece at a time. Here I would like to admit that I am being extremely critical – the vada pav packs enough punch to fix any cravings you might have, however could have been a bit better.
Coming to the Bhendi Bazaar Seekh Kebab – nice big pieces of Kebab which look like they mean business – slightly on the oily side these are some of the finest Seekhs you can invest your appetite on. Unlike our routine ‘Indian’ seekhs, there were barely any spices in mince and every morsel gave you a brilliant savory flavor of the mutton itself. Not soft or melt in mouth, but then the bite and chunkiness are hallmarks of a proper seekh and these ones delivered on it. The chutney served with them could have used flavors other than basic coriander which would be helpful for those who seek a bit stronger flavor from those seekhs. The parantha felt like someone took out a frozen sheet and deep fried it. Tasteless and characterless. I would advise you to save your calories and invest them in more Kekabs or other food stuff on the menu.
No visit to a parsi joint is complete without me polishing off a few Lagan nu Custards, which is one of my favorite desserts and having tried them at several places in Colaba and rest of Mumbai I can very well say that no two custards are similar. Eagerly finished the meal here as well, as custard was on my mind and once done, ordered it with a grin on my face. What came on my table left me a little disappointed, the presentation was way too boring, the mint leaves used for garnishing didn’t deserve to be there. It came in a bowl rather than a plate as I have come to expect it. Couple of bites into it and I decided not to go further with it. It just felt synthetic and nothing like some of the finer stuff I have enjoyed in Colaba Cafes. Here I would like to mention that service staff on noticing my disappointed took the custard away and offered me a replacement dessert for the same – I could choose anything from the menu. Super gesture by service staff who were anyhow exceptionally courteous and polite.
Skipping 5 star brownie & Toblerone Mousse – both of which are not my type of chocolates, as I prefer mine to be dark and bitter, I decided to play it safe and ordered Malai Kulfi from Parsi Dairy Farm. Its an icecream made with a company called ‘Parsi Dairy Farm’ in Mumbai. Simply speaking its milk thickened by continuous boiling and then some sugar – very simple and rustic flavor which has a very home-made and genuine feel to it. If you have not tried this one, then do add it to your list.
Honestly speaking those Kebabs were high in fat content – maybe some from the meat and some added on top, which I didn’t mind at all, however to wash them down a hot drink was need of the hour. Ordered a Phetaili Coffee – which can be termed as Bambaiya slang for Beaten Coffee and a Parsi Choy which is your mint infused tea without milk. Coffee was par excellence and at Rs. 90 offers excellent value for money, while at Rs.70 there was not much wrong with the tea as well.
Oh! and all this while if you were wondering when I was going to talk about Berry Pulao, then this is the time for it. The Showstopper of the meal. As a rice lover I order biryani and pulao almost everywhere – from Lucknow to Ambur to Hyderabad to Moradabad to Kerala – I have been fortunate enough to try several versions in different parts of India and this Berry Pulao is at par with the best in business. Extremely fragrant rice dish loaded with flavors. Berries add super nice texture and flavor to the dish and vegetable version we had absolutely managed to stun us. These pulaos are served in layers – a layer of cooked protein (Veggies, chicken, mutton etc) topped with fragrant rice, dry fruits & berries. Again like most other parsi dished – not spicy at all albeit slightly sweet and sour thanks to the berries used in preparation of the dish.
Coming to the cost : I think Rs.360 (plus taxes) was an excellent price for the combo, you try multiple things and is more than good enough for full meal of someone with above-average appetite. The Seekh kebab platter for Rs.315 is not a bad price at all given the amount of meat you get in that thing. Have already mentioned that drinks are reasonably priced and so are the desserts with the Malai Kulfi being the most expensive item of the menu at Rs.180 per serving.
Overall speaking I think the place does suffer from its ‘chain’ syndrome and the food does hit the Lowest Common Denominator due to standardisation at a few places, however it does offer an excellent experience for anyone who is looking for a brand new cuisine served in a very stylish and premium setting.
SodaBottleOpenerWala is a much needed entry into Noida Food Scene and is a place that does warrant a visit for any food lovers who is keen on some nostalgia eating (if have visited Bomday) or just to try a brand new cuisine, which barely 2-3 places serve in entire Delhi / NCR, SodaBottleOpenerWala being the most prominent name among them.
Just for the record other two being – Parsi Bhonu at Adchini and Parsi Anjuman (which is more of a Dharamshala) near ITO, on the outskirts of Old Delhi.
I was writing a comment on Facebook to make suggestions to my friend Ashwani Kohli for his upcoming trip to Kasauli. Given the kind of experience I had on my ride and overnight stay in the small hill-town I was not able to resist and keep my words limited for a Facebook comment. I thought making a blog post out of it and sharing some pictures would put this information to better use in long term for me and my friends.
The hotels would start from 2k, the cheapest I managed to find was for Rs.900 and that too was a dump (Hotel Aanchal I guess) . That said Google for HPTDC property there, they never disappoint.
Outside seating area at Roscommons and HPTDC Hotel
In the HPTDC hotel itself they have a restaurant called The Roscommon, which is very nice, ask them to put tables out in the sun and they would serve you there as well, even as walk in customers. A lunch is recommended for sure (Chicken Anardana I had, loved it. Local HP Specialty).
Chicken Anardana, listed as local speciality at Roscommon
Chicken Anardana with Roti
Roscommon’s Menu from outside
And there is this bakery/grocery (Daily Needs it is called I guess) store near the hotel itself, which is quite legendary for its ham and salami sandwiches. Do check that out, personally when I was there, the owner seemed a bit arrogant and that did not help my appetite along with the fact that I had an amazing breakfast sometime back at the Tannu ki Dukaan.
Narinder Sweet House or Tannu Ki Dukaan in Lower Bazaar – Dig into those hot Gulab Jamuns for dessert, Khushwant Singh says they are the best in the world, and I am still struggling to find a fault to his statement.. 😛 – And that is not all, they are L-E-G-E-N-D-A-R-Y for their Bun Samosa, part of the Kasauli folklore.
Tannu ki Dukaan
Tikki Chhole at Tannu ki Dukaan
Tikkis being made
The Legendary Bun Samosa
Khushwant Singh’s favorite Gulab Jamun
Inside of a Samosa
Sher-e-Punjab Dhaba in Lower bazaar – Rustic, Super Simple, Ek Dum Desi... a place where you just want to order Chicken Curry and Tandoori Roti on a cold winter night after few drinks. Trust me, there are not much left like them.
Shere Punjab Dhaba
Inside Shere-e-Punjab Dhaba
And then further down on the lower bazaar street there is this small Chai Ki Dukaan on the left hand side, its a stand alone shop. Uske Pakode bahut hi shaandaar hai. Father and son duo, takes 15 minutes to make a round and make only 1kg per round. So its usual to wait for 15 or 30 minutes to get your share. But that goes very well with the laid-back pace of Kasauli and gives you an opportunity to sip couple of cups of chai while sitting on the street-side looking at the valley and letting the life drift by like a cloud.
Aloo Pyaaz ke pakode on the roadside. Done to perfection.
Christ Church Kasauli
An evening in Kasauli
PS : While you are there, do search for Solan No.1, a blended malt whiskey which I last managed to find at the local booze shop in Kasauli itself. Connoisseurs say its amongst the best they have ever tasted, and me..? I don’t have much taste in booze but really enjoyed the quart I bought for myself. The reason you should look for it there : because it is made there.
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On going for second order and asking for a Cookie, our server told us a secret – a secret by which you can get a cookie from free and a secret because it was mentioned no where in the store.
Went to Subway after a long time and polished off two subs of the day. Not sure about the health factor, but the cold veggies and sauces inside were definitely a relief in the scorching heat of Delhi. On going for second order and asking for a Cookie, our server told us a secret – a secret by which you can get a cookie for free and a secret because it was mentioned no where in the store.
All you need to do is logon on TellSubway – which is a site by subway to collect feedback. Since you would be in store, so most probably you would be using your mobile to access the site – all you need to do is write www.tellsubway.in in either Chrome or Safari.
Once you open the site it will ask you for the Store ID – which is written on the top left corner of your bill. After the ID it would ask you the time of order, which can be found on Top right corner of the bill. Just enter these two details and you are ready to answer some quick questions – not much different from the restaurant feedback form, just more convenient. Once you are done it would ask for your mail ID and option to send you offers and all, which I choose NO, as did not want my mailbox to be spammed.
Once you are finished it gives you a code, which you simply take to the counter of the store you are in and redeem for the free cookie of your choice. That simple.
If you are ordering more than 1 sub, do so in multiple orders so that you have more than one bill and hence chance to have more than one cookie.
One cookie every 24 hours per email ID please. You can use the same phone, but different email ID for every claim.
Even if you don’t like the cookie for yourself, its still a good idea to claim it and give it away to someone who will appreciate it more.
Manali is one of the most famous and most visited tourists destinations in India. Every year it sees hordes of visitors from Northern Plains looking to escape the heat and just to ‘Chill’ a little. Besides that the town sees a regular flow of tourists not only from all over India, but rest of the world as well. Besides being a destination in itself it also acts as a base for lot of treks and travelers looking to explore Greater Himalayas. And on their way back it serves as a perfect spot to relax a little and rejuvenate their tired bodies.
Though the Hill town is surrounded by many worthwhile places, however I always look at Manali in 3 sections – Old Manali, Vashishtha & Main Manali.
Main Manali houses majority of eating options and that is the part that gets most chock-a-block with tourists and it is not uncommon to see it drowned in an ocean of white taxis ferrying tourists from one view-point to the other. While it remains popular with family audience, the more trendy urban populace of India chooses to hangout in Old Manali.
Old Manali is a different world from main manali – spread around a stretch of incline leading to a popular temple on top – this is a town in its own. Almost all the famous cafes are in this Area and have plenty of options for those who are looking to rub shoulders with some hipster and hippie populace.
Vashishta is a small village around 3 kms from the bus stands in Main Manali. The village has a smaller and less urban feel to it when compared to Old Manali, however it has plenty of guest houses & cafes to keep budget travelers and trekkers happy. Though there are no names that pop-up to my mind from that area, however almost any cafe would fix you a very decent sandwich, omelet, pizza or lasagna.
If you are a North Indian, then avoid eating North Indian anywhere in Manali. To throw more light on eating joints & food areas in the area, do read some of the recommendations that have come from fellow Food Enthusiasts. After these comments you can see my recommendations and some of the food pictures from Manali.
Nitin ShivaniDifferent sandwiches and coffees at Dylan’s Cafe in Old Manali.
I had one with avocado, loved it. Their cookies are nice too.
Aman SrivastavaTry anything you want to at chopsticks.. I don’t even remember the names of the dishes.. Try their springrolls for sure.. Gyathuk was tasty too.. Try Tingmo if you haven’t (it’s a bread).. Ask the waiter for suggestions.. He’ll guide you well.. But all in all, don’t skip Chopsticks.. It’s the top rated in Manali in all aspects..
Aman SrivastavaChopsticks on the mall road is a must visit but only if you’re a non vegetarian.. Johnson’s cafe, drifter’s inn and cafe 1947 shouldn’t be missed either..
Anurag SahniAnd do go to il forno if its still open for pizzas
Anisha KapoorThe food at Drifter’s Inn is exceptional. Also chill at Lazy Dog… Once ur done with these places..try the Bhagsu Cake from any of the German Bakeries, its a 30/- version of our 300/- Banoffie Pie. Once ur done with these…try anything else. Johnson is over hyped and over priced…it just enjoys being the only ‘fine dine’ in the city.
Pradeep KumarDrifter’s Inn >> just grab your ordered food and go right up to the roof top and enjoy with mountains all around you ! The food is quite good, though nothing like “not-to-be-missed” !!!
Conversation and comments above would give you a vague idea of the general opinion, however having visited Manali on a few occasions myself, here are some of my personal recommendations :
Visit any of the German or English bakeries that you can spot. They make their own bread and can fix you a mean sandwich at a reasonable price. Also opt for Yak cheese if they have to offer. Avoid the meats as they most probably would be canned, stick with vegetables and eggs. Their other baked goodies might not be as refined as what we see in fancy bakeries these days, but then once you get hand of them, you cannot get enough of them.
Drifter’s Inn – one of the personal favorites – have tried Pizzas, Eggs Florentine, various Pastas, breakfast combos, burgers, shakes, rajma chawal etc – they might not be THE best, however mostly manage to hit the spot right.
Johnson’s Cafe – This place is an experience in itself. One of the finest done places in India, they have multiple seating areas and options. This restaurant with well stocked bar is one of the most popular places in Manali and having tried their Food, specially baked Trouts a few times – I am not surprised at all. A bit expensive by all standards, however well worth the price.
Casa Bella Vista – One word – Pizza. Some of the finest you will taste in India. Do visit the restaurant of this resort run by a European lady to experience genuine food fired oven pizzas done with fresh cheese and pure veg ingredients. I love their outdoor seating or low seating in their main restaurant. Also try their drinks – specially the mint and lemon ones. Very refreshing they are.
Fresh Fruits – Just buy them from anywhere – cherries, strawberries, apples, peaches – they all grow in Himalayas and you get to savor them at their freshest best in Manali. Do consider picking few for home – they do sell by the cases – but make sure you haggle hard when buying in decent quantity.
1947 Cafe, Lazy Dog, Bob Dylans – they have their own charm and have food choices to offer. Do visit to experience these places – though have nothing to recommend in particular, however you can expect decent version of almost everything.
And not to forget Maggi at numerous ‘maggi-points’ that you will come across around and beyond manali. There is not much to differentiate one from another, however find your perfect spot and just go for it. The chances are that it would be the best Maggi you will ever have in your life.
Again – this is not a comprehensive list and we consider this as a work in progress, if you have some other eating options to recommend, please do add them in the comments below, would be helpful for fellow food lovers.
Heading to Mussoorie to escape the heat this summer? Make note of these amazing things that you can eat out there.
Mussoorie is a hill resort 300km north of Delhi, in foothills of Garwhal Himalayan Range. Its a hill-station that is often refered to as Queen of hills and evoked strong nostalgia amongst Dilliwalas, for whom its one of the most popular Summer destination.
To cater to the needs of ever thronging summer escaping population from plains, Mussoorie has developed its own range of food options. Though there are lot of eating joints out there, however there are some that have stood the test time of time and continue to please the food enthusiasts that visit the town.
Here is a question that was asked in out group and several food lovers gave prompt responses.
What are the must haves in Mussoorie..!?
Anant JainThere so many good options even at some small shops… Some really good bakeries…i can’t recall their names but few are quite good like
* THE RICE BOWL: at the middle of mall road….
* KALSANG CAFE: near Dominos
* GREEN RESTAURANT (VEG) : TYPICAL NORTH INDIAN/PUNJABI FOOD,,,,, they also deliver at your hotel till midnight, good for after party dinner.
Uncle’s bakery: near flew market, main mall..
CLOUD END COFFEE SHOP: its a beautiful resort, a hidden gem…..9 kms from Hathipav, 25 mins drive from fortune/Jaypee Hotel. Nice view, nice ambience… Great food on order, chefs name is chamoli, resort owned by Mr. Aggarwal.
It would be interesting to see how people respond to Jamie’s Pizzeria in an all ready crowded pizza segment with likes of Sbarro, NYC. Pie, InstaPizza, Pizza Express who are serving some mind blowing pizzas.
Before anything else, let me tell you I am a huge fan of Jamie Oliver- the celebrity chef from UK who has taken the internet webs by storm with his easy peasy recipes and cute looks 😉 More than anything i love his cook books.
Last week we were invited to try the newly opened Jamie’s Pizzeria in Pacific Mall, West Delhi.
While the decor captures the relaxed fun spirit of Jamie’s style, the flavours seem to be a miss. The meal left us little underwhelmed, maybe we had huge expectation but when a brand like Jamie Oliver is involved you don’t expect anything but the best!
The use of freshest & choicest ingredients does little to compensate for the taste of the food. The meal began on a positive note with the delicious Hand Stretched Cheesy Garlic Bread served with garlic butter, rosemary & olive tapenade. Since they aren’t serving the alcohol as yet, we ordered the Homemade Ginger Beer which tasted so saccharine and lacked the fizz!
From the pizza section we ordered the Spicy Meat Ball Pizza & Jamie’s Super Greens on our server’s recommendation. They do only one size i.e. 11 inches and one style of crust- which is hand stretched thin crust! Also they use fresh dough which clearly makes the difference! Both the pizzas were thin, crisp and well baked! One thing that stop out was the fermented dough which made the pizza base fluffy unlike the other flat thin crusts which we are used to eating. While the Spicy Meat Ball pizza was nice but nothing extraordinary, the Super Greens one was loaded with leaves like spinach & coriander. No doubt the ingredients were fresh and high quality, the fact remains the taste profiles need to be matched well. The heavy use of the coriander leaves simply killed the pizza, I couldn’t taste the cheese nor the sauce! The secret of a good pizza is the balance which was clearly missing in this one! Also couldn’t really understand the idea of chopping the vegetables in huge pieces or for that matter using the whole vegetable!
The pasta of the day was – Lasagna which was an extremely small portion, with very little cheese and way too much tomato sauce & lots of green leaves on top. The sauce was simple and fresh with a nice herby taste but again nothing special about the dish.
The Baked Fish in a bag which was a sole fillet was the most disasturous dish we ordered. Simple rustic style of cooking fish with some whole fresh veggies wrapped in an aluminium foil is one thing where in the fish gets cooked in its own juices & vegetables while bland, tasteless and undercooked fish is another. This one lacked any flavour to say the least. Also the veggies on the side were chopped in most stupid fashion- a broccoli piece as big as my palm? That surely not my idea of rustic!
Also if you like ketchup or mustard with your pizza then you better carry your own- they don’t serve any of the two. Really doesn’t matter to me but we all know how much our countrymen love the two!
Lets talk about the best part of the meal- DESSERTS! We ordered two sorbets, Mango and Strawberry Rasberry which were fresh, tangy and chunky! The portion is tiny and it will leave you wanting for more. I just hope they are using fresh fruits and not some industrial grade fruit pulps. I am definitely going back for the sorbets if not the pizzas. The Almond Tart with vanilla cream was trademark Jamie style-rustic, fresh and flavourful & with a twist! The tart was crumbly from the outside and spongey cake texture from the inside and smelt of butter. The vanilla cream with hint of lemon zest was the perfect accompaniment.
It would be interesting to see how people respond to Jamie’s Pizzeria in an all ready crowded pizza segment with likes of Sbarro, NYC. Pie, InstaPizza, Pizza Express who are serving some mind blowing pizzas.
I would love to go back once again to try some more pizzas before completely writing it off but then as they say calories are precious 😉