Parsi Food in DLF Mall of India, Noida by SodaBottleOpenerWala

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.

Just like your basic Homemade salad - nothing more, nothing less. But Good Quality.
Just like your basic Homemade salad – nothing more, nothing less. But Good Quality.
For those who have not been to Mumbai can try this, if you have had Vada Pav in Mumbai, you can very well skip this one.
For those who have not been to Mumbai can try this, if you have had Vada Pav in Mumbai, you can very well skip this one.

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.

Seekh Kebab along with Parantha, Chutney & Pyaz.
Seekh Kebab along with Parantha, Chutney & Pyaz.

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.

Laganu Custard that we returned. Desserts are supposed to make one happy, this one did not.
Laganu Custard that we returned. Desserts are supposed to make one happy, this one did not.

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.

They import this Parsi kulfi from Mumbai. Nothing to go wrong here.
They import this Parsi kulfi from Mumbai. Nothing to go wrong here.

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.

Berry Pulao - One item that makes it all worth it. They have got this one right to perfection. Aromatic and Flavorful - pure delight.
Berry Pulao – One item that makes it all worth it. They have got this one right to perfection. Aromatic and Flavorful – pure delight.

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.

SodaBottleOpenerWala Bill

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.

Nawab’s Sector 7, Noida – by Jen Sugermeyer

Nawab’s Restaurant, specializing in authentic dishes from Lucknow, is a newly formed gem right on Delhi-Noida border. With both Veg and Non-Veg options, there is something on the menu for everyone, with a unique taste that all food lovers are sure to enjoy.  

Chicken Kali Mirch & Chicken Lucknavi Masala with Varqi Parantha

For the Non-Vegetarian in you, the Galauti Kabab is a recommended must-try.  The minced meat is created with a brilliant mixture of papaya, curd, onions, garlic, besan, and a varietal of spices.  The scrumptious mounds of meat are so tender they will melt in your mouth- giving a gratifying flavor burst to your senses.  Additionally, dishes such as Chicken Masala Lucknawi; made in a coconut, brown gravy, and Chicken Kali Mirch; made in peppery, white gravy, are equally satisfying.

Kebabs in Making
For the Vegetarian in you, the Crispy Paneer is the perfect snack or accompaniment for any meal.  A tasty paste of onions and chilies is applied between two slices of paneer, then rolled in crushed cornflakes and fried – creating a crispy bite chalked full of flavor.  Their Paneer Husseini is also a highly recommended dish to try, and their Malai Kofta is a must.  

Crispy Paneer
Their Biryanis come in both Veg and Non-Veg options, and are both a local delights in Lucknow.  The generous portions given make the perfect dish or compliment to any of their meals. 
Biryani being Prepared
Nawab’s has perfected the art of their Naans; a specialty of Lucknow.  Equally, if not more impressive, is their crispy and flaky Varqi and Ulte Tawe Ka Paranthas- it leaves one wondering just how they do it!

making the Ulte Tawe ka Parantha
Here, one can order-in food, and enjoy the mouthwatering cuisine from the comfort of their own home.  The owners, Gaurav Saxena and Apurva Gupta, take pride in the food their staff create, and use a variety of over 50 spices to make such cuisine.  The staff takes the time and the due diligence to each and every dish, making each order an authentic creation.

Me posing with Chef from Lucknow, Gaurav and Apurva. Quite a young team.

Nawab’s extensive menu can be found on-line at on their facebook page, and they can be reached at 9999615671 or 9999615645.  Try them out today, and experience the culinary joy that Lucknow has to offer.

Text & Pictures by Jen Sugermeyer

Nawab’s – Pocket – D, Plot number – 158, Sector – 7, Noida

Numbers where you can order : 9999615671, 9999615645
https://www.facebook.com/Nawabs.Noida

To share your experiences, reviews, recipes, food pictures etc, mail them to shashank@foodenthusiastsofdelhi.com 

Nawab’s, Noida Sector-7 – Awadhi Surprise

Awadhi cuisine. As a layman I find it very similar to Mughlai, Punjabi and other north Indian style of cooking. And being a vegetarian, differentiating becomes much more difficult. As per Wikipedia, the bawarchis and rakabdars of Awadh gave birth to the dum style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire, which has become synonymous with Lucknow today. I guess I need to go around sampling a lot more food, before I can start to differentiate between food cooked in ‘Dum’ style or some other ‘normal’ style

So when I was invited to Nawab’s in sector 7 Noida, I was not sure what to expect from a joint specializing in Awadhi cuisine, specially as a vegetarian. Plus they do not have a dine-in facility, and I was more like a guest of the owners in their office/kitchen. But people who know me, know that I am always willing to go that extra mile for good food ;-).

I started off with Ulte Tawe ka Parantha with Veg Galauti Kebabs. I never expect much from vegetarian kebabs, honestly speaking they are not supposed to exist. However off late I have been surprised with the kind of attention establishments have been paying to Kebabs for vegetarians. I have had kebabs made of Ghiya and daal (Bottle Gourd and Lentils), Rajma, Papaya and Daal etc. None of them disappointed me, and I would be more than willing to have those again. Talking about the kebabs that were served to me, truth be told I have had more succulent and softer versions, however considering that it’s a delivery/takeaway joint and all the food has to be packed in boxes, anything softer than what they had served would get mashed up and end up like a Halwa. They tasted quite good with the Ulte Tawe ka parantha, however I felt the serving of Kebab was quite less for the size of Parantha.

Kebabs in the making
Ulte tawe ka parantha

Continuing with starters/snacks, normally I avoid looking at something that says ‘Crispy Paneer’, specially at an outlet like this one. It look some convincing by Gaurav (owner) for me to give it a shot. Now I have to thank him for introducing me to such an awesome dish. A snack of paneer never tasted as good as the Crispy Paneer I had at Nawab’s Noida. I looked like paneer pakora, however the coating was much thicker and realy crispy, much crispier than than pakoda I have ever had. A bit into it, the real goodness came out. Unlike the normal paneer pakora where spices are applied between two layers of paneer, here it was ‘stuffed’ with a mix of spices with a pasty feel to it, probably due to the garlic used in it. The garlic and other spices gave it a brilliant flavor and went very well with the bland paneer.

Though I enjoyed the Ulte Tawe ka Parantha earlier however it made me wonder how would a Lachha Parantha taste if made out of the dough used for Ulte tawe ka parantha?  Apurva (Gaurav’s partner) was more than happy to oblige and what came out was named FED parantha :D. They also suggested me another dish which was not on the menu, made from Paneer in Kali Mirch Style, which we decided to name FED Paneer.

FED Paneer, earlier known as Paneer Kali Mirch

I eat out a lot, and I mean a LOT. And it is rare that I get hooked onto to something like this. The combination of the FED Parantha and FED Paneer (Basically Paneer Kali Mirch 😀 ) turned out to be deadly. It was unlike the usual Kadahi/Butter/Shahi/Pasanda paneer that we get everywhere in Delhi. That is stands out from rest of the Paneer Gang, makes it so dear to me. And talking about parantha, it was a very nice change from the regular Tandoori breads that I am so used to now, it is more delicate and flavorful than your routine breads. I also tried Paneer Husseini however would not comment on it, as was too engrossed in Paneer Kali Mirch. Would try it for surre when I am there next.

Paneer Husseini
And while I was there, Chicken Masala Lucknawi, Mutton Burra and Galauti Kebabs (Mutton) seemed to be selling like hot cakes. So I am pretty much sure they must be doing a good job with them too.

As mentioned earlier is a Delivery/Takeaway only joint based out of Sector-7 Noida, catering to some parts of Mayur Vihar, Noida and Vasundhra Enclave.

PS – The day I wrote this review, I ended up visiting them again.

Paneer Husseini which I missed on last time, I am in love with it as well. Its another dish which is unlike the usual paneer dishes serves in Delhi, though some might want to draw parallels with Kadhai Paneer, however it is completely different. So it is another dish I can recommend.

Vegetable Biryani

Also tried their Vegetarian Biryani, however since I have no experience with Biryanis, I would not comment on that. But honestly speaking, it did not excite me much as well.

My Rating : 4/5 (based on by vegetarian experience)

Their facebook page : http://www.facebook.com/Nawabs.Noida

Nawab’s – Pocket – D, Plot number – 158, Sector – 7, Noida

Numbers where you can order : 9999615671, 9999615645

Photo Credit – Jen Sugermeyer