The New Age Japanese breakfast at Baywatch, WelcomHotel Sheraton

An account by Anurakta Behera of the Japanese Breakfast she had at Baywatch, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi

The moment I heard Japanese Breakfast was
being served at Baywatch, the coffee shop of WelcomHotel Sheraton, a feeling of
excitement took over me. As someone who has studied bit of Japanese culture and
language, I was very much looking forward to try what Chef Nakamura had to
offer.
Though I was initially sceptical, I thought
it would be an amalgamation of raw sea food. But being the food enthusiast that
I am; I went ahead and tried it.
Bento, as presented to us.

The Bento (the Japanese breakfast box)
seemed to be a palette strewn with Yumminess. It was a Nihongo breakfast
Sheraton Style. It changed my perception about Japanese food forever.  And for those not aware about it, Japanese
food is way beyond Sushi. 
Now to the dishes: It was a fat free fresh
breakfast and the entire meal was for 750 grams only. I know, I couldn’t
believe it either.

  • Salted Salmon, which was
    marinated with salt a day prior. 
  • Shashimi style Fish cakes with Wasabi
    (Hand made).
  • Tofu with Spring onion and
    ginger. 
  • Japanese egg omelette with
    radish. 
  • Rice with dried prawns. 
  • Miso soup with tofu. 
  • Sauteed Vegetables.

Salted Salmon
Shashimi style Fish cakes with Wasabi
  
Tofu with Spring onion and
ginger
With so many colourful and yummy varieties I was in a dilemma, where do I start first, and Shashank came to my rescue. He mentioned
that he was an eggetarian so I started my bento with the Japanese omelette. Of
the various dishes on my Bento, I loved the Salted
Salmon, the tofu with Spring onions and the Miso soup with tofu which is basically a fish
broth with tofu pieces. 
Japanese Egg Omelette with
radish.
The fish cakes were nice and were a delight for the palette.
They had dried fish leafs as well, if someone was interested in preparing
personal style sushi. Pickled prawns was a great palette cleanser and the rice
was traditional Japanese sticky rice with dried prawns with had a rock salt
flavour to it. 
Rice with dried Prawns
The palette cleansers
“I wanted to swim in the fish broth”, it was so perfectly cooked
without a tinge of fish stench in it. It was lightly spiced with a crisp edge
to it. The sautéed veggies were slightly simmered
to perfection; the asparagus did not lose its crunch even after being seethed
without salt.
Sauteed Vegetables
 
Well all I would say is, this is heaven for
all fish lovers and a tip for all you vegetarians out there; “BECOME A PISCITARIAN”. The breakfast is a labor of love, and is impeccably done and presented. All worth Rs.1500 (plus taxes) that they charge or it. 
Anurakta, hard at work.
One important point to remember, you will
have to place the order 24 hours in advance and have to specify a time when you
want it served.  
Written By – Anurakta Behera
Photographs – Shashank Aggarwal

The Big Chill Cafe – Dessert-a-thon : A report from FED raid

The Big Chill Cafe, a name that has risen to incredible heights in food scene of Delhi over the last decade. I am not able to recall any other joint that serves non-Indian cuisine that is as popular as The Big Chill Cafe. And as surprising as it sounds, my first rendezvous with them was just 2-3 weeks back, and since then I have been there 4 times, my last visit being last night itself.

What started as as a single restaurant in East of Kailash, now has 4 outlets, the original being closed a few years back. They are known for their desserts, more than anything else, and with my limited experience with them, I am not surprised. Whatever I have tried there till date, I have not been disappointed.

Giving the reputation and my desire to visit The Big Chill Cafe, when FED had to call for a meetup, it seemed to be an obvious choice, and the agenda was very clear, to sample very single cheese cake on their menu and then some. With date and time decided, 10 of us descended on Big chill for a RAID. And order was made pretty much simple to the waiter serving us, get ALL the cheesecakes on the menu and if there were some not on menu, get those as well.

This is what out table looked like 😀
Chocolate Double Decadence
Mississippi Mud Pie
Tiramisu Cheese Cake
 There we were 10 of us, sitting on a table with about 10 cheese cakes along with Banoffie Pie, Chocolate Truffle and Frozen Yoghurt, though I do not recollect all the names and the ones I remember might not be accurate, however you will get an idea.  There was Mississippi Mud Pie, Chocolate Double Decadence, Blueberrry Cheese Cake, Tiramisu Cheese Cake, Irish Cream Cheese Cake, Plain Cheese Cake, Mango Cheese Cake,  and waiters looking at us in amazement. Then started the conveyer belt, the desserts started doing the rounds and we were digging in each one of them one after the other. Each better or as good as other other one, least favorite of someone was the most favorite of other. Surprisingly we reached a point where small amount of some cake was left on the table and no one wanted to eat it, no one was full, however the senses were overloaded. Now we needed to change the taste, enough with those ‘starters’ :D.
FEDs at The Big Chill Cafe
FEDs at The Big Chill Cafe
Garlic Bread
Fattoush Salad
Penne Pasta with Mixed Sauce
Spaghetti and Mushrooms

Chicken Lasagna
Veg. Peri Peri Pizza
 Then came the main course, here I must mention that every time I have been to the Big Chill Cafe, they have managed to surprise me with their service and efficiency. The rates are quite reasonable for current times and portion sizes are good. We ordered several things including Pastas, Pizza, Garlic Bread and Fattoush Salad, I personally cannot comment on authenticity of the food, however we enjoyed everything we had, and it was not different from my experience earlier where we had a Pesto Pasta, Four seasons Pizza and Mezze Platter.
Veg. Four Seasons Pizza

Mezze Platter
Overall my 2 cents say, Big Chill Cafe is about no pretensions eating, in a relaxed atmosphere. The place is almost always full, informal, chirpy and they do not accept reservations over the phone and waiting for a table is quite expected.

It was a great evening, and as I have mentioned earlier on FED, that joy of sharing food is like no other, and this is what we discovered on that day as well, and thanks to The Big Chill Cafe for making it a pleasant experience.

If I am asked to rate this place, I would give it a 4/5.

PS : All pictures in this post  have been shot using my mobile phone camera, so pardon the quality. 

an evening in DLF Place, Saket

 Last night Ashish, Sakshi and me planned to visit Hard Rock Cafe to hear ‘Musafir’ play. However Sakshi did not want to eat at HRC and she was insistent on trying the food court at 2nd floor of DLF Place. And being the polite and courteous gentleman that I am, I obliged the lady (Ashish had no choice in the matter you see, he is married to her :D) and we were at the Food Court deciding on what to eat.
As stated earlier, I am not a fan of mall food, and have never appreciated it, unless of course it is a known outlet running a branch there. On the contrary, this court hardly has any brands, and whatever is recognizable is far from exciting (McDonald, Subway and Haldiram’s). So we went adventurous and shortlisted three different outlets from where we wanted to order. First was this ‘American’ joint, the person at helm of things there was quite convincing and we thought of giving a shot to their veg. combo and one of the Joes, something which was an omelette with stuffing. Next was Paneer Shashlik sizzler from Kobe’s Sizzler, and finally some Mid-eastern / Israeli food from a joint called Zaitoon.

assembly line Lasagna at the ‘American’ joint..
The time taken to serve and other service of all three joints was satisfactory; I wish I could have said the same about food. The veg. combo turned out quite sad, contained one sliver of a slice of garlic bread, lasagna, mashed potato and baked beans, along with some vegetables. Let us say, it was uninspired food at its best, with baked beans, which were probably packaged, being the best item of the lot. However the second item, called the ‘Joe’, with Black Olives, Mushroom and cheese was quite good, however there is only so much you can do wrong with an omelette.

Vegetarian Combo
Paneer Shashlik Sizzler from Kobe’s
Next up was the sizzler, which did not look appetizing to start with, and did not betray its looks as well. We ate it, because we put our money in it, we were hungry and it was just, mind you just edible. Now we came to food we ordered from Zaitoon, for those who are not aware, it is Hindi for Olive.  We ordered two items, one was Paneer Baghdadi Tikka with pita, and other was Falafel with Humus and Pita. And those two dishes were the saving grace of the evening. I have got limited experience of eating humus and falafel, and mostly in backpacker areas, so I am no authority to judge its authenticity, however whatever we had was fantastic, and I am definitely going back there for more. Paneer Tikka was marinated unlike anything else I have tasted before, and went very well with pita. The pricing was very decent, and portion sizes were VFM.

Baghdadi Paneer Tikka, with Pita
Falafel with Humus
Now it was time for dessert and having been lamented by Sakshi and Ashish previous night for not having visited The Big Chill Café till date, I decided to make amends. And while we settled and were looking at the menu, I was amazed to find Banoffee pie on it, as before this, I had only heard about and had it in my travels specifically in backpacker trail (Leh, Manali, Goa, Pushkar etc.). The second thing we ordered and I cannot thank Sakshi enough for it, was Double Chocolate Decadence Cake, which is her favorite dessert and now mine as well, at least favorite chocolate flavor.

Banoffee Pie @ The Big Chill Cafe
Double Chocolate Decadence Cake

 Oh, and what happened to the band playing at Hard Rock Café, well they had a cover charge of Rs.500 per person, and all three of us being non-drinkers and our bellies full of food, decided to give it a miss and went to our favorite open air lounging area of Mocha. A Paan Hookah (Sheesha) and some white tea from north eastern part of India facilitated further conversation.

Chilling out at Mocha

PS : All the pictures used in this post have been shot using my phone camera, kindly pardon the poor quality.

Weekend in Pictures

Onion Rawa Masala Dosa
South Indian Thali
Not exactly weekend, but Thursday afternoon, Honey, my cousin popped up, and we decided to go out for lunch. Not looking beyond our neighboring Karol Bagh, he suggested we eat at a Udupi that he has been to, and he liked their food. However that particular Udupi was closed for renovation, and we settled at Sri Krishna Udupi on Saraswati Marg. Nothing extraordinary in terms of food and quality. However be careful when you order an ‘unlimited’ meal, they might put some ‘limits’ on it.
Cheese and Corn Maggi
Bun Maska and Chai
Fast forward to Friday evening, I was with Ashish Tulsian at DLF Place, in Saket. Ashish, though a non-smoker, is a big fan of Hookah or Sheesha, and a regular at Mocha. We settled in their open air lounging area, with  an absolutely fantastic Pan Hookah. Soon we were joined by Moumita Rudra, and we spent hours there talking about theories of god knows what. Coming to food we ordered a ‘Cheese & Corn Maggi’, and ‘Bun Maska & Chai’. Though I did not fancy the Maggi much, however I liked the Bun Maska & Chai, first for the taste, then for the concept. I have never had it in Mumbai, however after eating it at Mocha, I cannot wait to gobble it down at one of the Iranian cafes.
Fish From Bijoli Grill
Chicken Biryani from Karim’s
Saturday evening was the day for FED walk, and we had decided to explore the ‘Food Chowk’, again at DLF Place in Saket. Even though I have no affinity to the ‘mall food’, however Food Chowk brings some of the better known names in Delhi food Scene under same roof, and that is what attracted me to visit that place. And I was not disappointed at all. Nizam’s, Karim’s, Rajdhani, Nathu’s, Prince Pan, Nirula’s etc all coming under the same roof, is a foodie’s delight. And visiting this place with a bunch of foodies, allows you to sample multiple things.

Aamras
Egg and Paneer Roll
Dal Baati Choorma

Rolls from Nizam’s were just fabulous, I had heard about them before, however never got around to having them. However every bite lived upto its reputation. Then we moved on to Rajdhani, and had Dal Baati Churma. Now this was one of the rare occasions where I actually loved Dal Baati Churma made outside my home. There are only two other places where I liked them, one was in Chokhi Dhani, and other at an Interstate Bus station, incidentally both in Jaipur. Another thing that interested me was Aamras, again from Rajdhani. Have heard a lot about it, however never had it before. Not sure how it tastes otherwise, however I quite liked what Rajdhani had to offer.

The weekend also comprised a late night visit to Yashwant Place for Momos and Fried rice, home cooked Pao Bhaaji, Kachoris from Shyam Sweets, home made Paapdi Chaat, Pan kulfi, Pan and Mufarrah Sharbat from prince pan and I guess I am still missing a few things. Quite an amazing weekend it was, lets see what next one has in store.


PS : All the pictures in this post have been shot by using my mobile phone camera, so pardon the quality.