SanaDiGe – Coastal Fine Dine – Restaurant Review

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.

Assorted Chutneys
Pickles and chutney placed an all tables.
Kokum Drink with crackers
Welcome drink and crackers.

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 Curry
Chicken Curry
Chicken Masala
Chicken Masala – scope for improvement there.
Chicken Pepper Masala
Chicken Pepper Fry – BEST dish of the lunch.

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.

Uzuri – Deck and Dining, GK2 – International, Very International

Sometimes I wonder in what direction is the food scene of Delhi evolving. There are more restaurants opening in Delhi than ever before, however what I feel a severe lack of is the variety of cuisines. Every third restaurant is selling ‘Italian’ pizza and pasta, while the fourth one would claim to be Mediterranean with Pita, falafel and hummus. If you are wondering what happened to the first and second one, then first one would be your Indian food joint, being Delhi mostly North Indian and the second one is the one who has no clue what he is selling, they just do everything they can find names of.

The Chicken Bacon Burger you would read more about later.

However one look at the menu of Uzuri Deck & Dining, and you know that you are not in for the usual, a menu which they claim is inspired by modern European Cuisine. A menu that was good enough to excite the imagination and taste buds of any inquisitive food lover like me. Inquisitive because most of it I did not understand, however tempted enough to make an effort and give it a chance. 

The evening started with ordering the cocktails, which again were ordered because there were drinks on the menu that stood out, and somehow promised to be something different than the usual fare that we get. Exotic names & exotic ingredients listed in the menu sure made us hope that we would be served something unusual and we were not disappointed at all. We ended up ordering 4 different cocktails and all of them were every well made, they definitely have a good man at the helm of things on their bar.

The first drink we ordered was called ‘Rafiki’ which as per the menu comprised of Cognac, Creme de mure liqueur (basically Blackberyy flavored Liqueur) , Blackberries & lemon along with with some soda and sugar.  It was a very refreshing drink and loved the pulp of the fruit that adds to the fresh feeling.

Rafiki

The second one being ‘Kitamu’ which had Blackcurrant Vodka, Blackcurrant Liqueur (Creme de Cassis), fresh muddle grapes and all of them were strained together in a Martini Glass. 

Kitamu

The most refreshing drink of the evening for me was the Kiwi Cucumber Freeze. Kiwi and Cucumber blended to perfection with ice, served in a glass rimmed with sugar power. Not too sweet, very refreshing. 

Cucsumber Kiwi Freeze

The fourth one being a sparking wine based drink, but this time I had an overload of cocktails and was not really able to discern was was going in my mouth. But then I remember finishing it off for sure, as confused as my palette was, it was still enjoying what it was having. 

The sparkling wine cocktail I am forgetting the name of. 

I guess I got so excited about the cocktails (as usual) that I forgot to mention the bread basket which was served to us. The basket itself was a bread, yup, the basket was made of edible bread and had assorted breads which were served along with butter in two flavors, pesto and paprika along with a small portion of Spicy Salsa. Both pesto and paprika were blended very well in the butter and added a very interesting twist to it, while we choose to ignore salsa after trying ti with couple of bites, was not appreciated by me or my dining partner. 

Bread Basket, with edible basket. 
Pestro Buuter, Spicy Salsa & Paprika Butter

Coming to the food I really like places which can showcase their entire menu on one page, less confusion for the diner and more focus for the chef and kitchen. So technically speaking, it should translate into a better dining experience. But since everything on the menu seemed exotic to me and we had the luxury of Chef Rishim Sachdeva attending to us, we left it to Chef to pamper out taste bud. 


We were served with an Appetizer and a salad. The appetizer was a combo of Salmon Cakes which were served with a slaw made of fennel and kohlrabi which again are as exotic as they come for me. A bit of chilli mayo for the sauce and then a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds. The cakes were like delicate kebabs in texture, however the highlight of the dish was the slaw and the seeds which added lot of texture and flavor to them cakes. The menu classifies it under Sea category, however I would not order it if I was looking for seafood flavors, but as a standalone dish its something I would love to have again. That reminds me, salmon is not exactly a sea fish, but its more of a fresh water breed.

Salmon Cakes

I am not much of a salad person, however the one that was served to us was like the best salad that I have ever eaten. It was loaded with Puy lentils (french dal) which were poached in red wine, had lot of hazelnuts in it and feta amongst various things, which is like my most favorite type of cheese. very Crunchy, very robust, right up my alley. 

Puy and hazelnut and feta Salad
Keeping the dining preferences of my vegetarian partner in mind, chef next served us Crosstini which had three pieces and all three came with different toppings. One was Mushroom with feta, second being roasted peppers and third had tomatoes and another vegetable glazed in pesto sauce and have a brilliant flavor. Out of the three I did not like the roasted pepper one, the mushroom and feta was best for me but then i would also attribute that to my love for feta in general. The bread again was very fresh and done very nicely.

Crostini

Despite me asking for a light meal, chef ended up recommending a Chicken burger with some bacon in it and the brave front I was putting up resisting good food just crumbled. The burger was simply called Chicken and Bacon burger, and I loved it and how. Though I have not tried many high end burgers and cannot really compare, however this one was juicy like hell and was impossible to eat it without making a mess. I really liked that the carbs (bread) in it were way lesser than the proteins (meats, vegetables etc) as that allows the flavors to really come through. And finishing the burger literally sent me in a food coma, but then isn’t that the hallmark of gluttonously, unashamedly  good food? 😛

Though I am a very dessert person, and for me that is generally the best part of the meal, specially at fine international places where they do something other than what we are used to eating at usual restaurants for desserts, however after that burger I decided to let guilt rule my mind and restrain my sweet-tooth to sharing just one with my dining partner. And that one dessert was a Chocolate Parfait, which managed to make me fall in love with it like a starry eyed lover who gives all his heart and soul on the first date itself. Light in texture, nuts adding to the crunch and bite, it just managed to hit the right spot. I am coming back for you sweetheart.

Chocolate Parfait
Chocolate Parfait – Inside

Talking about ambiance and feel of the place, its very classy and international, however in its current avatar I would prefer to dine / chill / drink at their upper level or on the open air deck.Would not comment about the service we were their to discuss some event and was with the owners, however generally speaking the staff seemed very courteous and hospitable.

Looking at the menu and prices, it does not seem overly expensive for the kind of food they are serving. Cheap by no measure, however its the kind of food that would end up in higher zone and comparatively they are not really over the top.

I am sure that I would end up making more visits to this restaurant, as while writing this post as well I referred to the menu a few times, and every-time I looked at it, I found something new that I need to try. Not sure if I would appreciate the all the flavors, but I am certain that I would not have to complain about the quality.

Uzuri Deck & Dining
M-Block Market, Greater Kailash 2
New Delhi

Fio Cookhouse & Bar : Beautiful Place, Mixed Food

Fio Cookhouse & Bar is located in Epicuria, the much epic ‘food court’ located in the premises of Nehru Place Metro station. Fio is surprisingly spacious with quite a few tables on the outside which are termed Al Fresco which in simpler words just means casual dining in an open area. Stepping inside, its at par with some of the more modern restaurant designs that I have seen, tall roofs, some greenery inside and the air conditioning done in such a way that its gives a natural feel to the place. Very pleasant for borderline claustrophobes like me.

Inside Fio
Classy looking Fio

We started off with ordering cocktails and drinks. We tried three cocktails Bellini Martini, Lemon Martini and Whiskey Sour. Lemon Martini is not on the current menu and hopefully would be added to the menu they are going to introduce soon. Though three of them cocktails were nicely done, however I experienced the use of Thyme in a cocktail for the first time and I must say I quite enjoyed it. Whether it was the novelty factor of experiencing something new, only time can tell.

Bellini Martini
Lemon Martini
Whiskey Sour

Then came in the bread-basket along with assortment of oils, vinegar and other condiments. The thing that caught our attention was Duqqa, which is supposed to be eaten with bread as Hors d’oeuvre. A quick google search tells me that its an Egyptian side dish of which you can have many versions. In the one that was served to us we were told that a huge variety of nuts have gone into it. Talking about the taste, nothing that really caught my fancy. I am someone who appreciates and loves fresh bread, I love trying them with various olive oils but then the bread here did not really leave its mark on me.

Breads served on the table
Duqqa – To be mixed with Butter and/or olive oil and eaten with bread.

Oil, vinegar and other condiments.

Next up was Flamed Feta Salad which is a mix of Bell peppers, cucumber, onion, tomato, olive, herb vinaigrette topped with hot (flamed) feta cheese, which I have a soft corner for. Fresh ingredients, tasty dressings, just the right mix for a salad.

Flamed Feta Salad

We ordered three dishes from their ‘Shareable Small Plates’ section and thankfully there was nothing small about the portion sizes. First one was Crusty Fish Finger, which did not work at any level any of us three. The only thing that we enjoyed was fried potato ‘lachha’ on top of the fish. The second dish being Cookhouse Mezze Platter which comprises of Pane, hummus, tzatziki, aubergine, tapenade, red lentil quenelles. Pane turned out be bread which had a dressing of garlic in olive oil (I would assume) on top of it and it tasted very nice. All the dips were done very nicely and quenelles offered perfect replacement for the falafel which we are so used to eating in mezze platters or with humus and dips in general. The third dish Spit Fired Grilled Chicken was also the star of evening, also proving once again that how much in love with chillies we Indians are. Chicken breasts perfectly rolled with some peri peri chilli inside. The breast was done perfectly neither it was under-cooked nor chewy. The Chilli did its job well and left quite a fire in the mouth. A must try dish if you like hot chics, I mean chickens which are hot.

Crusty Fish Fingers
 Spit Fired Grilled Chicken – Can you see the red chilli peeking out?
For the mains we went for a mix of cuisines, we ordered a pizza with Smoked Chicken, Zucchini, Red onion, & Cilantro which was quite nice as a pizza, however nothing stood out for us. Please mind that does not make it a bad pizza, its still a very good pizza by all means, but then now a days you get a good one at lot of place, nothing distinguishing this one from others.  The came in the Grilled Prawns which were marinated beautifully with lemon and cilantro. The taste of the marination, seasonings and dressings was lovely, however the quality of the prawn itself left a lot to be desired, not sure if it was due to the way they were cooked or just bad quality of raw prawns, passed on the message to chef, would leave it to the professionals to fix.

Pizza

Mutton Nalli Pulao was ordered to taste what they are doing in the Indian section and we were not disappointed at all. The taste of the dish was brilliant with aroma being more magical. The fragrance of rice, saffron and mint was good enough to intoxicate you. However the only downside being the cut of the meat, as Sahil Mahajan tells me, for those who order nalli and know how to eat it properly, might just struggle with it. Last of the mains, but not the least was Raviolo which apparently is the big brother of Ravioli. We ordered the vegetarian version of the same and it came stuffed with a mix which primarily comprised spinach and ricotta cheese, and despite the onslaught of food and flavors before it, we still ended up appreciating it. One of the better things we tried that evening for sure.

Raviolo
Coming to the most important part of this review, it was time for desserts and we had heard great things about desserts that this place has to offer. First up was Tiramisu Jar which I am sure was a novel idea when it started (if it was started by fio) but now I know of several other small and big players which you jar as a prop for their Tiramisu. It taste it was quite good, if not the best out there. Second was the Fio Chocolate flan which is a cake of three layers and about 70% of it has to be dark chocolate topped up with a layer of mascarpone cheese. Sinful was the word, a must try for chocolate lovers. They also serve something called Fresh Baked 15 min Cake, which is made of Carrots & Raisins and served with raspberry ice-cream. This one was subtly sweet, and its freshness was its USP. Felt light compared to the other two desserts and with ice-cream melting into it, it was take to the next level. A must have for those who like their desserts to be on subtle side.

The Chocolate Flan – I was not kidding about 70% of chocolate you see. 

I generally refrain from commenting on service when I am being invited for a review, however I must mention that the staff here seemed quite knowledgeable and courteous, something you do expect from a place at that price point. I have also not mentioned prices here we as did not pay for the meal, nor you can judge such places on value for money.

Overall a mixed experience in food, however I can definitely go back for that Spit fire grilled Chicken, while I sip on my whiskey sour to douse the fire of Piri piri chilli. A portion of Raviolo would just hold me good, while I save some appetite for those gorgeous desserts. And the best part – All this in a very comfortable and welcoming environment which allows you to kick back and have a good time.