Dudefood, Satya Niketan – A review by Varun Chaudhary

It was a few days ago I read a user rant about how the FED days were so good and now its all commercial, well not for anything else – I thank him for this blog’s inspiration. For all wondering, how – I joined the FB group FED randomly, went for a food raid at American Diner – met a few people (most of them are on my FB friends list now) and have also contributed through some blogs and occasional posts. So to revive the FED goodness, and to salute the spirit – Happyness is Eatlo. I decided what better way than to revisit the past habits and write a blog J
Okay, enough of history rambling.  Now to present rambling, one of my colleagues – who is excellent cook and who lives for food – as most of us, Eatlo members – told me about this new place at Satyaniketan. Then after reading some reviews, I got inspired enough to visit Satyaniketan, particularly for DUDEFOOD.
Dude food from outside
Once a nondescript market, Satyaniketan, has now seen a metamorphosis of sorts.  My last visit to this market was when someone took me to a joint bang opposite Sri Venkateswara College – operating from a mezzanine floor of a PG(paying guest accommodation) serving 20 types of Maggie noodles variations. From what I ate then, left such an impression that it took me almost five years to visit this area again.
Me and the life-partner in crime (my wife) went to DudeFood for the second time in two weeks.  The first time around it was a quick visit and we were fairly full from the tandoori momos we ate at QDs – which were the most pathetic food item I’ve eaten in a while.  Truly bad, and I don’t say bad for food so easily. First bad part, they were cold – like the first batch of pre-steamed and not steamed before serving cold. Second, the chicken momos filling was not of chicken but soya – you need not be a genius to tell the difference and the icing on the cake (here momos) the tandoori paste on top is nothing but orange color with a hint of ajwain flavoring and some salt.
Moving on to the agenda of the visit – DudeFood, what is this place all about  – big serving sizes teamed with decent pricing. Sample this, where in South Delhi can you get a quarter plate sized mountain of freshly fried corn tortillas topped with layers of mozzarella cheese, some liquid cheese, boiled kidney beans (rajma not tomato sauce breakfast variety), onions, tomatoes, capsicum and some mild sauces for hold your… lets say pockets… Rs75, total after Sarkaar’s kharcha paani – Rs88.59. Not impressed yet, okay, lets add chicken chunks too for … Rs10 (Rs11.81), and note the fact on freshly fried nachos. The chips taste very similar to the pakwaan of dal pakwaan in Sindhi food.  And yes, do ask for the salsa sauce, our server forgot this and got it just in time before we polished off the entire lot.
Along with the awesome pricing, the place is done up very well. A break from the classic movie posters or feedback sticky notes – the walls feature funny art and a big wooden bike (decorative size big, not drivable size) adoring the wall as you enter through the sliding door (be careful if the door is shut, do not try to pull it in or out). The single wire for each hanging bulbs and the almost reflective mirror with partial view of the kitchen and yes the BIG factor (especially for this market) – they have a restroom. Apparently, there are not many places with restrooms – infact we were told only PHD (Pizza Hut delivery) is the only other pee or poo option. Another interesting fact, the whole market area is a free parking zone – unless the traffic cops otherwise instruct (this does happen on some odd days).
The wall
The roof
Okay, what else made the cut for DudeFood – Vietnamese french fries, as cosmopolitan and international the dish may sound it’s a simple yet good version of french fries topped with cheese.  DudeFood has a variety of cheesy fries, the Vietnamese version was recommended by our server.  It was topped with spicy chilli mayo sauce and cheese, and yet again the quantity was impressive. It tasted fine for the first few pickings, but it got cold very soon and oil taste started dominating.  So a word of caution – ask the server to make sure they make a fresh batch of french fries or make sure they are hot enough for the best taste till the end.  The pricing for most of these variations are again very decent, Rs125 – with chicken chunks Rs145.
Vietnamese French Fries
DudeFood also has a long list of sandwiches, almost two pages of vegetarian and non-vegetarian listings. You can choose your bed, I mean bread type from jumbo white / jumbo brown / baguette (the footlong type) / pita (the kulcha type). I choose one of the cheapest and simplest version, chicken & mayo sandwich. If you like your sandwich grilled (I do) then that comes for an extra cost of Rs15.
Four fairly decent sized double breaded pieces arrived with some cheesy dip. For the price I paid for the sandwich, it was good. Taste – not the best, not the worst ever eaten. I guess the over usage of mayo killed it a bit. But yes, for a student – whose metabolism is faster than Shatabdi and loves extra of everything – this will hit the spot on any given day for the after lecture treat. How much you guessing (since I said cheapest) Rs65+ Rs15.
Moving to sort of mains, yes we were still hanging around ‘hors d’oeuvres’ – bhai matlab, snacks J
We ordered a Mama Rossa pasta and Dude lamb burger, on the recommendation of our smiley server. He was also recommending a Dark Knight burger, which is a BLACK burger. Now that would intrigue anyone, so on asking we were (not) told why its black – ‘its our secret’ was the reply.  The classified info remained intact.
Pasta (Rs125), penne with mixed sauce (red& white walon ki baat hi kuchh aur hoti hai – if you understood this, then you were definitely watching TV in the early 90s) version with added chicken (Rs50). Now two things here, one I’m spoilt by Big Chill, Kafiaa and similar pasta kitchens which hooked the punjabee in me to the gravier pastas and second my heart breaks when I see just one garlic bread piece along with a plate full of pasta. But here couldn’t complain much, for the money charged one slice was justified (kahin toh cost cutting karengey na, boss).
Mama Rossa Pasta
Now, the pasta was not fully boiled and hence was very chewy so was the chicken – which was neither grilled, smoked or roasted. With pasta and chicken being flavourless items in themselves and then without being tossed in the sauces for the goodness to soak in – Elvis left the building – in this case, killed the goodness of the mix of sauces, which by itself was good to dunk in the single garlic toast.
Now for the ‘claimed’ pièce de résistance, dude lamb burger. Okay, imagine two fairly soft buns packed with two big a$$ sized lamb patties, smoked bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese – this will make anyone drool. Well for this one, stop the imagination just at that moment.  Why?
Well, the patties otherwise nice and flavorsome but sadly were done ‘rare’.  And one bite, I knew something has gone wrong. I ate one half of the burger (they cut it into two pieces and add a big toothpick, which is a blessing from messing it up) and couldn’t go further. 
Dude Lamb Burger
The server noticed it, and asked if I didn’t like it, and I told him that the patty was not well done and he offered to change. Here I told him since I’ve eaten half, its not fair but I requested him if he can just put it on the griddle for a minute – hoping it will help.  Sadly, it didn’t.  So, I chose the saving grace option, opened the burger, peeled the bacon strip with some cheese and devoured it. That was a good feeling to end the meal with. The burger also came with wedges, which were A+ class – I even suspected a hint of cinnamon on those.  They can be ordered as an extra side on any given day – that good.
Then I wondered, what could be the reason for something I read such good reviews about, turning out to be so wrong. Was it because I choose mine without fried egg? or Was it because it was a Monday (Delhi restaurants and cafes are usually very low on business on Mondays – notice it, next time)? or was it because we were the only ones present then? So after all the permutations and combinations I concluded on this:
DudeFood is eager to serve, now that is a good thing on service standards.  But to keep with pace I believe they keep the food half done before – so it gets dry or chewy – or they simply have been told by the owners to whip it fast – like factory line fast: one burger = one minute, else no beers n bitches for tonight J
The beverages, again there is a long list to choose – from smoothies, shakes, cold coffees, iced teas, hot  beverages and even flavoured lassis.  We played safe here with fresh lime soda and mint mojito. Good!  A bit sweet, but again – perfect for the days when I was sweating it out at the basketball courts of my college – ahhhhhhhh, those were the days of guilt-free gluttony.   
We were done enough with no space for desserts. But they were tempting enough, particular intriguing were fried mars chocolate bar and another one was ice cream with caramalised bacon strips.  I’m the kind who would make a face at the mention of meat as sweet, but then I will go back for this one – definitely.
Like I just said, yes – I will go back. Even after a mixed bag, this place deserves a visit on the sheer benefit of the 16+ page menu, so there is still lots to go before the towel can be thrown in and for the fact that after so much stuffing we still walked out with a bill under 750. Please note, the chicken sandwich and the cheesy fries not part of this bill – those are from our previous visit.

We headed out with a smile and thank you, received a Big smile and a loud thank you in return. 
On our way home, stopped by at the newly opened Starbucks store at Lajpat Nagar – right next to Big Apple (I find Big Apple as a name for a grocery store cum veggie market – very funny). This Starbucks outlet is a big one with two floors and has ‘free’ international coffee tasting sessions J. The store also deserves a special mention for the paintings on the walls – superb! 
Written by Varun Chaudhary

Chili’s – finally some Mexican in Delhi

I’ve been thinking of writing food reviews for quite a while now & considering how much I eat, it’s not a bad idea at all! So here goes my first food review blog.
Ever since Sanchos shut down (first from south ex & then CP), Delhi is officially devoid of any good Mexican food restaurant. No, Rodeo does not qualify because it serves Dal & Paneer in it’s buffet. And as for Amigo, well a bad experience there (let’s not get into details but it involved an insect) would ensure I never go there again!
So my long wait for cheesy Tacos, Burritos, Enchiladas & Quesadillas finally ended when the American chain Chillis opened it’s shutter at the Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
Firstly, the ambiance: I’d give it a high rating of 8/10 because I felt extremely comfortable there. Plenty of seating space, despite which I’m guessing they are gonna have waiting soon.
Now the Food : The Menu is well focused. In appetizers, go for their Classic Nachos- not as messy as the ones at Hard Rock Cafe(which I think are superb) but tasty in their own way. And dare not forget the Onion Rings & Jalapeno Pepper stack (they were almost over by the time I remembered to take the pic), the yummiest big basket of fried vegetarian appetizer I’ve had.
Classic Nachos Platter
Onion Rings & Jalapeno Pepper Stack
The drinks menu is pretty good too, they serve 4 chilled Beers in a basket for just Rs.500 & for just Rs.100 you get unlimited refills of any soft drink (diet coke, sprite etc)! That’s pretty neat i say, but forget all that & go for their Minty Melon, a mocktail that will blow your mind away, it’s so refreshing & comes in a big martini glass that looks like it belongs to a clown. Very cute :D.
Minty Melon
Now the main course, it is kind of difficult to decide but I chose the classics – Cheese & Mushroom Tacos, the Vegetable Quesadillas, Chicken Fajitas & the Crispy Honey – Chipotle Chicken Crispers. Quite a big order eh? Yes, we were 4 people and we all eat like Monsters. By the way, they give you an option of choosing your tacos Crisp or non-Crisp, I always go for the crisp ones cos, even thought it makes the food messy, it just tastes better!

The tacos were messy and delicious, they don’t go stingy on the cheese or the vegetables inside & I like that. The Quesadillas too, were made to perfection & boy, were they cheesy. Both of these dishes were served with rice & black-beans on the side, true Mexican way. The chicken, OMG the CHICKEN, it was awesome! so crispy and flavorful on the outside & juicy on the inside. The chicken is served with fries and corn-on-cob on the side. I’d actually go back there just for the chicken, no wait, actually i’d go back for a lot of things. Oh & the Fajitas were good too, I can’t write too much about them coz i just had a bite or two & I’m not a big Fajita fan. Over all, I’d give the food a high 8.5/10

Cheese & Mushroom Tacos (Crisp)
Veggie Quesadillas
The service at the place was quick & efficient, most dishes came within 10 minutes of ordering. The portions are BIG & the prices are not. The staff is well informed and makes good suggestions, I personally find that a very good thing.
One extremely wonderful thing about this restaurant is that despite having a full Bar, it still seems like a family restaurant & is very child-friendly. My second visit here was with my 3yr-old niece and the waitress was kind enough to get a baby chair along with an activity kit that contained child-safe crayons & coloring book to keep them entertained. Excellent way to attract families I say!
After visiting the place thrice, I’d strongly recommend this place. Be it for a couple of drinks with buddies, or a fulfilling meal with family after shopping, A good place to unwind!