Service Charge, Service Tax, Value Added Taxes – We bet they have got you all confused. Here is a layman’s guide for understanding & making sense of our Eating out bills.
Menu prices may seem very deceptive once you get the final bill in hand. Suddenly there is a barrage of taxes and charges staring in your face which you cannot make any sense of, however still are supposed to pay. Here is a guide that we have put together, which may help you in making any semblance of your eating out bills.
Difference between Tax and Charge
Charge is not fixed by anyone and outlets are free to write whatever percentage they deem fit on the menu. You can protest against it sure – if you do it before eating, it would be like haggling for the price of food and if you do it after eating it’s similar to you refusing to pay the bill if you are not satisfied with it. Service Charge is the most common charge applied in India and ranges from 5 – 15% of the total bill, 10% being the most common number in industry. Charge is something which is part of the revenue of the restaurant – what they do with it is their prerogative.
The charm of the location, the view, the knowledge that who’s who of the world dine here – ensures that every evening spent here, is going to be an evening of lifetime.
ITC Maurya has been part of Delhi’s Landscape for around 40 years now. Though a slew of modern and luxury hotels have opened in Capital and NCR, they have not taken any charm away from this luxury hotel, located in Diplomatic Enclaves of New Delhi. Well known for hosting executives, ministers, leaders and head of states from all over the world – the hotel is equally popular with denizens of City of Delhi – thanks to many culinary aces that they keep up their sleeves including Dum Pukht and probably the most famous restaurant in India – Bukhara.
West View been a part of the hotel for couple of decades, it never was as busy or famous as other restaurants in the same hotel, however it always had its cult following – a dedicated audience who swear by the place as well the lavishness of their Sunday Brunches. Infact when ITC wanted to introduce Ottimo to this property, which has been a great success at their hotels in other cities, they decided to keep the ‘West View’ name (unlike other properties) where Ottimo is a standalone brand, here it became Ottimo at West View.
I have been told that Ottimo means excellent in Italian and is lead by Chef Vittorio Gecco – who after working for several Michelin Star restaurants around the world, joined ITC and started Ottimo at ITC Chola – their signature property in Chennai.
Now that you know more about the place, let me start at the start. West View has been fully redone and we were invited by team ITC Maurya to experience what they have worked really hard on.
We landed their at 7 pm – just the start of their Dinner service. Walking into the restaurant it felt like a drawing-room or just an extension of the kitchen – a very classy one at that. Occupying a table for two on the west windows of West View – the view and the location started to dawn on us. When you can see a sprawling green forest and a setting sun on horizon, it becomes hard to believe that you are bang in the center of a City like Delhi. We jumped from our seats and leaped towards the terrace area – now called an Infinity Theater and a sky bathed in colors of sunset was out there to welcome us. The terrace now has a few tables along with some greens, which technically are their kitchen garden, also housing a pizza oven in a corner.
Coming to food offered – it can primarily be divided into 3 parts –
Ottimo’s Italian a la carte menu- Pastas, Pizzas, Soups & More.
The Grill – Array of meats and vegetables for you to choose and ready to go on the grill.
Cold Buffet spread – with choicest of cheese, meats and salads.
Rs. 1200 gets you to the cold buffet, while you can order other things A la carte, then comes Rs. 2500 option where you get access to the Cold Buffet Cart, choice of one Soup and choice of a pasta. For Rs.3500 you get access to the Cold Buffet, Soup, Pasta, Grills as well as the desserts. All the prices are exclusive of taxes and service charges may apply.
We started off with assortment of cheese, olives, sparkling wine, bread basket and some goodies from their Cold cart. As expected from an establishment of such repute – all of them were of highest quality and set our tummies for gastronomical delights that Italian Chef was about to dish out for us. A special mention to the Pesto sauce served to us with our breads – it has to THE finest and most aromatic pesto I have tasted till date, closely followed by Naturellement in Auroville, Puducherry. No wonder both of these restaurants are growing their own basil.
We started again, this time with Risotto – topped with crunchy asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Simple but robust flavors and beautiful texture defined this European Rice preparation. In pastas, we chose Ravioli – and were served one stuffed with wild mushroom and ricotta and truffle – topped with Parmesan reduction which added the magic to this dish – definitely among the finest that I have laid my fork on.
How can visit to an Italian restaurant be complete without trying their Pizza? – we decided to go for one with Mascarpone Cheese, Tomato, Mozzarella and Parma Ham. Very simple combination, made exotic by availability of Mascarapone and Parma – both of them still a rarity across pizzerias in town. By this point we were at the end of our appetites, however succumbed to our taste-buds, which demanded more food. Still curious to try the main courses, we went for the lamb chops.
Tender lamb chops stuffed with Parmesan and truffle crusted with almonds and bread crumbs, served with vanilla mash potato, spinach and sautéed vegetables. That is the literal translation from menu – wonder how they managed to get cheese and truffle inside the chop. The texture definitely felt that it has been worked on – reminded of a very fine hand pounded gustaba – coated with crispy goodness of nuts and bread most probably used as a binder. Beautiful texture of meat was accentuated by the rich nutty crust, while the the potato mash served with it was as creamy as they come. The way zucchini was ‘buttoned’ and served, talked a lot about the art that went behind this dish.
We ended the meal with couple of desserts – Handmade Mango Icecream topped with cherry compote and a Tiramisu – came in a jar and was served with three different chocolates on the side. Not the most bitter or intense Tiramisu, however light, airy and still full of flavors. That said, would expect the Italian chef to produce a show stopper – which this definitely was not. In Mango Cherry ice-cream would love to see more play with the cherries, instead of being a compote or sauce.
As detailed as I have been about the main dishes, I would say that this place is more about a relaxed dinner experience. The kitchen type setup of the restaurant is very inviting, very casual, still exuding that classy feel. You can just go for the cold buffet and the amazing assortment of ‘Tapas’ made of produce from their garden, meats and cheese would keep you great company while you nurse your favorite wine or champagne. Add to that the charm of the location, the view, the knowledge that who’s who of the world dine here – ensures that every evening spent here, is going to be an evening of lifetime.
If rising popularity of momos was not surprising enough, we Dilliwalas decided to give them our own twist – like everything else we put them on skewers and grilled them in Tandoor. An original creation of Delhi, these are one of the HOTTEST selling food items these days.
This list will be helpful if you are yet to try them or you are a fan – Lets keep it simple and get down to the recommendations we have received from Foodiye.
Where to eat Tandoori Momos in Delhi?
The list is in no particular order. If you click on picture you will be taken to the original post about those momos – where you can ask the Foodiye for more information, reviews and feedback if you need.
If you find any of the recommendations helpful, do thank the original poster on Foodiye.com.
Please do share your recommendations and pictures as well, would love to update this list and make it more comprehensive.
This one has multiple recommendations and pictures look super awesome. Though we have featured this image from Green Dot, you can see more here & here from this Vegetarian outlet in Sector 10 market of Dwarka.
Hunger Strike from very busy Amar Colony Market of South Delhi has the greatest number of recommendations across our platforms.
WOW Momos are the upmarket players and can be found in various hotspots of town. Their hygiene levels and prices are slightly higher than your average street joint.
North West Delhi – Rohini / Pitampura belt is a hot bed for these tandoori delights. Giri Momos from Pitam Pura make it to the list.
This one is an age-old classic – they very well might be the people who started and made Tandoori momos such a rage. You can savor QD’s version at their restaurants in South as well as North Campus of Delhi University.
If you happen to be in Faridabad, this small joint in Sector 17 HUDA Market, TMOS – comes highly recommended.
The USP being the nice central location, abundance of parking and super exotic food – which is starting to find favor with us Dilliwalas, however is still not very common.
SanaDiGe is a restaurant that has recently opened up in Malcha Marg Market in Diplomatic Enclave of Delhi – Chanakya Puri. It opened in the building that housed Schengen – Deli & Cafe, which we incidentally visited last year itself. Walking into the same building we were expecting some elements of familiarity with the last restaurant, however was surprised by the way the place has been completely made over. You are politely ushered in and directly towards the hydraulic lift which takes you to the next floor.
Though the menu had lot of options however we decided to go with the Thali or fixed meal platters on offer as that would give is a chance to try multiple things without ordering a lot of different dishes (Thali is on offer only from Monday to Thursday in lunch hours). There were 5 types of Thali to choose from – Veg, Chicken, Mutton, Fish and Prawn.
We ordered for Veg and Chicken versions however wished that restaurant would have done some mix and match of the meats. The Chicken Thali comes with three chicken dishes, prawn one with 3 prawn dishes and so and so worth – it would nice to have a thali with one chicken, one mutton and one fish dish or whatever combo the restaurant decides. Unless of-course there is some logic that says you should only be eating one type of meat in one meal.
A welcome drink of Kokum Kadhi along with some crackers was served to us, followed by assorted condiments – pickles, chutneys and sauces was placed on or table. The chicken thali came with Sanna & plain rice for carbohydrates – sanna can be described as a cousin of Idli – quite similar, still very different. The Veg thali came with two chapatis and a very small portion of what I would call Veg Biryani.
There were three chicken items in my Thali – Chicken Pepper Fry, Chicken Masala and Chicken Curry . Chicken Curry was well made and reminded of my meal at Manglorean restaurants down south, where I enjoyed the curry with Kori Roti – which thankfully was available on the menu of SanaDiGe and was promptly served, at additional cost of-course. Chicken Masala did not seem right – the flavors has just not got inside the meat and left a bit to be desired.
Chicken Pepper Fry – I guess that was the name was highlight of the meal for me – juicy and succulent morsels of chicken tossed in spices including pepper and overload of curry leaves – flavors that took me straight back street carts of semi-urban Chennai – a taste I have not found anywhere else till date.
Thali also came with Rasam, Salad, Coconut Chutney & Pickle – two of those items are anyhow available as condiments on the table and serves no purpose in the Thali – infact can leave you feeling like a fool as they seem like items just to fill the space in the platter, while adding no real value to the meal – same was the case with their vegetarian Thali as well. However my dining companion who is a moderate eater found the Veg thali at Rs.350, super bang for the buck and full of flavors. And honestly speaking the Chicken Thali at Rs.450 was not bad value for money either.
Incidentally table next to us was occupied by 3 gentleman, one of them Rajiv Talwar is also one of our readers. Thanks to him got to taste their Chicken Ghee Roast – which was well made and rich in flavors – the taste of spices tingling in the aroma of Desi Ghee were enough to make sure that I find my way back there and have more of it with their Neer Dosa. Our friends ordered Mutton Thali, Prawn Thali and Fish Thali – and only the Mutton Thali was able to satisfy them both in terms of quality and quantity. A Calamari side dish ordered by them, did not get favorable review aswell.
The Payasam served in Thalis worked as a fulfilling dessert and ended our meals with their filter coffee, which though not served in traditional apparatus was still right on spot. Our total bill was around Rs.1300-1500, which also included a massive portion of Kori Roti.
Overall a very pleasant experience full of rich flavors and considerate hospitality, just what you would expect from a fine dine establishment. The USP being the nice central location, abundance of parking and super exotic food – which is starting to find favor with us Dilliwalas, however is still not very common.
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.
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.