Sunday, March 27, 2016

Boo Away Calorie-Counting at The All American Diner


"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”

~Oscar Wilde
A trip to Delhi's India Habitat Centre is often incomplete without a quick bite at the All American Diner. This is one place that always provided sumptuous, wholesome American style meals after you had had your fill of deciphering that abstract piece of nothing at the art exhibitions, solving all of Earth's problems in heated panel debates, got moved to tears in intense plays and rendered speechless after ethereal ghazal recitals.
No matter what your pursuits and interests in life, an All American kinda meal never failed to lift your spirits. It is after all a no-holds-barred kind of eating, when you give calorie counting a gentle nudge out of the window and embrace and accept your curves. The day you tell yourself, "Of course I am in shape. Round is a shape too!" Ha
Bagels, pancakes, hash browns, waffles, enormous omelettes, shakes, Sundaes! Yeah! There are some days when your body actually wakes up feeling deprived of them carbs. When Atkins seems like some nuthead. These are days when the temptation to have a giant American meal hits you. This temptation is all encompassing.
Enough to make you feel you belong in an American sitcom, where most of the action from proposals to break-ups to making-ups happen in diners like these anyway. There's something about American Diners that bring out those dime a dozen one-liners. These diners are enough to awaken the closet teen in you. Well, maybe one who has no lame ambition of being a prom queen anymore! So you've moved on in life. You know you are judged today by your work and talent and not necessarily a 24 inch waist. You know the people who matter will accept you the way you are. You give two hoots to narrow definitions of who you should be.
That is the time to indulge and have a truly guilt free meal.
Delhi’s iconic The All American Diner has been on as pop-up in Gurgaon's Epicentre, the quiet retreat that always gives you a comforting sort of privacy. It is always nice to drift into The Drift after catching the latest comedy play or a dance recital and the food never disappoints.

All of Feb and March this year there has been the added allure of the All American Diner. Considering that many of Gurgaon's denizens were once habitants of Delhi, they carry with them memories of old haunts from the Capital, except that driving all the way to Delhi for a meal has become a bit of a luxury.

So what better than to have those old favourites in the vicinity. I too ventured there recently on a particularly taxing weekend day that uncannily turns out to be busier than a weekday. The restaurant had a revamped look with cute black white and red table mats and American bric a brac on the tables. It cheered up the otherwise too-brown décor of the place that I find a bit dull.
The All American Diner at Epicentre offered a great American meal experience. Waffles, Pancakes, Eggs, Burgers, Malts, Shakes, Coffees and all your other Diner favourites, which will be available at the POP UP DINER at Drift only upto the end of March. So drop in and get that lovely American recap.

I am not much of a bread person but some days I do let go. The waffles and pancakes were great as expected. Some of the traditional breakfast specialities made a great meal even in the evening. Sunrise Skillet is a wonderful option comprising of two scrambled eggs with bacon, sausages and pancake, that can easily be shared by two people. The Ultimate Omelette is sure to please egg lovers. For the health conscious, there are some very nice smoothies that make for a perfect antidote.

Sunrise Skillet

The Ultimate Omelette

In the other mains, Surf n' Turf was something I really liked, a Chicken  Steak with Fried Prawns and American Corn. Personally, I found the Veg Pie a bit too heavy for my taste, too much pastry in there. Herb Crumbed Grilled Fish is another great option, as it comes with a lot of crunchy veggies. Other than these there are plenty of burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches and salads to choose from.
Non Vegetarian Sampler

Herb Crumbed Grilled Fish

Surf n' Turf

Vegetarian Pot Pie

Baked Hash and Corn

Brownie Blast


Timing: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Call +91 124 2715100 for Table Reservations.
My 'All American Diner Look of the day' was a plaid check shirt in black, white and red with black skin tight leggings and two toned pumps I love. I swear I had no clue of the colours used for the pop-up but they blended well. This is a co-incidence that has happened often in my restaurant reviewing stints, and a bit of a leitmotif now. It is something that gives me a pleasant surprise every time, reinstating my faith that when you do something you really enjoy, the universe conspires to give you a silent nod every time! :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

#PunjabiNext at Made in Punjab

Punjab, the land of Five Rivers, since time immemorial, has been blessed with rich fields, farms and a natural legacy most sought after. It is this land with an addictive spirit of celebration, forming the erstwhile Kingdom of Punjab, that gave birth to one of the most adored cuisines in the World. Such is the reputation of the cuisine from Punjab, that not only has it become synonymous and representative of Indian food, no restaurant menu serving Indian cuisine is complete without having atleast a few dishes from the region.

As part of it’s converted culinary experience, Made in Punjab, the multi-award winning, critically acclaimed, smart-casual concept under Zorawar Kalra’s Massive Restaurants umbrella, yesterday announced the launch of it’s new menu.

Incorporating a fine balance between earthy-rustic and modern-chic, Made in Punjab endeavors to offer a contemporary culinary experience, retaining the cuisine’s traditional essence, taking the legacy forward as #PunjabiNext.

Speaking on the occasion, Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director of Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. who was a picture of politeness and humility, mingling with guests, said, "Representing over 5000 years of culinary heritage, Indian food is one of the oldest known cuisines in the World. Since its commercial proliferation and representation in India and more so, overseas, Indian food has come to be synonymous with Punjabi cuisine in its numerous hues. With the launch of Made in Punjab’s new menu, we are earnestly endeavoring to offer our patrons traditional flavors of Punjab, while also showcasing the vibrancy of its people and their zest for life."

Dahi Pataka

Burnt Lehsun Tikka

At the glamorous evening of food and drinks, guests immersed themselves in the culinary legacy from regions of Amritsar, Patiala, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, among others. Dan Jones, brand ambassador of USL-Diageo Reserve served creatively titled, exquisite cocktails paired with delicious hors d'oeuvres.

I personally loved the Dahi Pataka, a veg starter I found outstanding after long. A crisp shell holding within the richly flavourful, creamy hung yoghurt that melts in the mouth. The Bun Chori is also a slider that made me get over my aversion for anything that resembles a burger. The size is just right, not overwhelming like usual burgers and the taste is exceptional with such a lovely interpretation of a substitute to French fries, small round baby potatoes with skin, fried to perfection. Another noticeable feature was the presentation of each starter. In a crowded restaurant, snacks always end up in a mess but here I saw each platter distinctly original and served with style and aesthetic precision. The staff heaped lavish attention and care on each guest.

The LOL Mary paired with LOL Tikki, a 6 hour-slow preparation of cooked leg of lamb patties in mint & tomato, the Gold Fashioned with Nalli Hard Kaur, slow braised kid lamb shanks in onions & yoghurt and the Kalmi Down paired with Kalmi Kebab, a tandoor roasted bone chicken leg in double malai marinade were some of the innovations on showcase from the new menu.

Bun Chori

Nalli Hard Kour

"While food forms a large part of a true Punjabi lifestyle, no Punjabi celebration is complete without a cocktail to match. Therefore, innovation taking center-stage, Made in Punjab has curated its signature beverage section with equal aplomb, offering concept beverage options such as LOL Mary, Gold Fashioned and Kalmi Down cocktails that taste as interesting as their names sound. Using some of the finest blends and contemporary innovations, these exciting cocktails are crafted to enhance and bring out the complexity of the rich, intense and layered flavors of the cuisine served at Made in Punjab," added Zorawar.

USL-Diageo Reserve brand ambassador Dan Jones added "Be sure to try the LOL Mary, Gold Fashioned and Kalmi Down cocktails that taste as interesting as their names sound. Using the light, sweet smoky blend of Johnnie Walker Gold Label, the warming, rich and fruity single-malt Singleton and crisp, and citrus Ketel One vodka, these exciting cocktails are specially crafted to enhance and bring out the complexity of the rich, intense and layered flavors of the dishes at MIP."

Balancing between global favorites and dishes from the pind, Made in Punjab aims to take the revered culinary heritage of the region forward, enticing the well heeled and exposed diner of today. The evening was made even more special with the performance of desi rock band Faridkot that
churned out one hit track after the other, connecting with the eclectic audience well and often asking them to sing along. Starting with hard core rock, he moved on to popular Indi and Punjabi rock down the ages and even incorporating some popular movie numbers with his distinct style, playing to the gallery singing Mohd Rafi to Mohit Chauhan.

The menu is a delight to just read through. You can't help smiling conspiratorially at the puns, the jokes one has grown up with, the rustic humour that is so Punjabi. With cocktails such as Syappa, Nashili Chai and Jaat Risky after Whiskey, you know the party is pretty much on! The Nashili Chai was a runaway hit, being served in chai glass holders of 6 shot glasses and poured from a kettle into the ice. I also tried the mocktail Khatta Meetha which was refreshing and oozing with citrus flavours I love(Fresh muddled orange with mango juice, lime juice and passion fruit puree) that of course I asked the bartender to spike with a little vodka. As they say, Punjabis don't know any half measures!


My Made in Punjab menu launch look of the day. I anticipated a lot of colourful phulkari inspired outfits all around, so purposely decided to keep it monochromatic(afterall Punjabiyat is all in the mind and attitude). So this black and white Marks and Spencer(That UK brand you know from apna London!) dress it was with my two toned pumps from Charles and Keith(They hurt last year when I bought them but have become really comfy now with wear and tear). A delicate silver and pearl piece in the neck and a black and white animal print bag I don't even remember where I bought from! Okay now it comes back, I bought it from the Mecca of Punjabi in Delhi-Karol Bagh! ;-)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Chettinad Food Festival at Cafe G

Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon celebrated the famed Chettinad Cuisine of South India over the last two weeks. The last two days are left and lovers of authentic South Indian flavours can still savour the fragrant and aromatic curries until tomorrow night at Café G, their coffee shop.
The hotel has a prolific track record as far as food promotions go, organising almost 2-3 per month. This time round we were welcomed with a fuchsia profusion at the entrance with marigold flowers adorning their salad bar chandelier area. It is amazing how they transform the look of the restaurant every time. In the seafood festival deep blue serviettes gave the appearance of sail boats deep in the sea. This time it was bright canary yellow serviettes with a rustic table appointment.


Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India. The Chettiar community, who are a majority in this region, are a very successful trading community. Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. Now let me clarify that when we say 'spice' it doesn't always mean hot or with lots of chilly but the aroma of freshly ground spices that actually help you savour food without unnecessary oil or cream or butter, items North Indian chefs often add to food to make it tasty.

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. The meat is restricted to fish, prawn, crab, chicken and lamb. Chettiars do not eat beef and pork.

Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosais, appams, idiyappams, adais and idlis. The Chettinad people through their mercantile contacts with Burma, learnt to prepare a type of rice pudding made with sticky red rice.

Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes include idiyappam, paniyaram, vellai paniyaram, karuppatti paniyaram, paal paniyaram, kuzhi paniyaram, kozhakattai, masala paniyaram,adikoozh, kandharappam, seeyam, masala seeyam, kavuni arisi & athirasam.

I personally liked their starters, a wonderful barbecued chicken with red marination and that raw spice taste that hits you instantly.

The appam with veg stew was truly flavorful and actually did not need anything else with it. The use of okra in a tangy curry(Kai Kari Mandi) is also I find appealing in south Indian cuisines as I am pretty bored of the north Indian Bhindi Do Piazas of the world!

In the non veg, the lamb chops (Kari Chops Masala)were highly recommended by everybody. But I personally loved the fish. It is the kind of fish curry fix every seafood lover craves for. Tangy, flavourful curry(Meen Koshambu) with some no-nonsense fish. You could have it with plain rice or this out of the world rice full of herbs called Karivepila Sadam.

For desserts a lentil payasam oozing with the goodness of jaggery found place of pride with the usual buffet fare of Café G which as it is sumptuous. All in all a wonderful meal with just the right balance of elements.

My Café G spicy, 'Chettinad' look of the day was inspired from the colour of their fuchsia promo invite. A fuchsia Lucknawi kurti I had bought at the Surajkund craft mela this year paired with my dependable San Francisco jeans and very very comfy blue Nine West pumps!










Saturday, March 5, 2016

Celebrate being a Woman at Kylin Premier


Every woman would define what it is to be a woman differently. They play many roles to perfection and are often multi-taskers. It wouldn't be unusual for a woman to be talking on the phone, getting kids to do the homework, putting on a face pack and rustling up something in the kitchen simultaneously. Now try asking a guy to do the same!
But there are times when women too should take a break and revel in all that womanhood has given them, collect their thoughts, put their phones on silent and just be. Kylin, the Pan Asian restaurant celebrates the power of womanhood this Women's Day. It’s time to celebrate the amazing woman you are. Drop into Kylin Premier for a memorable meal that celebrates womanhood, bonding and friendship. 


Having a fabulous time? Upload a picture of yourself, or your delicious meal on our social media platforms to avail 50% discount on the bill.

Timing: 12noon to 12.30pm
Date: 8th March, 2016
Address: T-302, 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

The Lalit Arts Festival 2016 featuring 'Shiv-Vivah' at Khajuraho

India is such a diverse land of unique experiences and beliefs. Faith exists here in myriad forms and rituals that touch human lives with a spiritual force that is unshakeable. Perhaps that is the beauty of India. These festivals add an interest to every part of the year. There is ardent anticipation of such events, massive preparations. Perhaps these beliefs were instituted to channelize human thoughts and energies into fruitful communion and sense of community and to dispel negativity. It is up to us, as we live detached, clinical lives, to find time to savour these rich traditions and internalize the rich culture this land has bequeathed us.
Lord Shiva’s union with Devi Parvati is celebrated with zeal and fervour in the form of Shiv Ratri. Igniting the Holy Spirit on this auspicious day, the celestial temples of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, come alive with celebrations of Shiv Vivaha. With a mission to develop destinations and not just hotels, The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho will celebrate this Shiv Vivaha on 6th March, in the auspicious temples. This divine union of Shiv Shakti is the main theme of The Lalit Arts Festival 2016. With Shiv Vivaha in its sixth year, Dr Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group aimed to revive the essence of art & culture in the city of famed temples - Khajuraho. 

The festivities will offer a traditional Indian wedding. In evening, the Shiv Baraat procession will proceed from The Lalit Temple View Kajuraho to the Western Temple Festival Grounds. The baraat will be welcomed with an ensnared dance drama Shiv Shakti – musical recital by Meeta Pandit which will weave the spectators in a silken web of magic and Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi performances inspired by Parvati Mangal of Tulsidas, choreographed by Kamaiani Dutt, Sharon Lowen and Deepti Gupta, will render the evening with joy.

The Shiv Vivaha is open to the local people of Khajuraho and nearby towns. Over 5000 people are expected to witness the commemoration of this auspicious wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati including the local inhabitants, tourists and important dignitaries will also participate in it 

Commenting about the event, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said, “The annual Lalit Arts Festival has picked up great momentum since its first edition local people as well as tourists both look forward to it. The Lalit Group’s ethos is to not just promote our hotels but the destination itself - the annual Lalit Arts Festival is certainly, a step in that direction. Shivratri is celebrated as one of the most important festivals of Khajuraho, and our efforts have been aimed at re-energizing it.”

Elaborating on the special Shiv Vivah presentation, Dr. Suri further added, “We have created this presentation with local nuances to bring alive the art & culture of the city. The whole of Khajuraho is our guest today and celebrates the festival with us in the form of Shiv Vivaha.”

The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho is a UNESCO world heritage site in a city of beautiful temples that date back to 950 AD. Embellished with inspirations from this rich and exotic locale, The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho, overlooks the Western Group of Temples famed for their erotic sculptures.


A destination of contemplation and calm, The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho is located just minutes away from the international airport and railway station. The hotel features 47 exquisitely appointed rooms & suites, fine dining restaurant & a bar, besides three banquet & conference venues and the award-winning Rejuve – The Spa.
The Lalit Temple View organises special evening programmes for guests reflecting the heritage and culture of the City of Exotic Temples like an in-house light and sound show and the traditional Sandhya Aarti (evening ritual). 
This is a unique holiday you can explore the next time you want to try an experience truly Indian.