Monday, August 20, 2012

Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain is a great place to hit if you feel a rumbling in your tummy – but not enough for a hearty meal.
The first time I went here, I was so impressed with the self service system and the items on display , this was at the outlet in Mantri Mall. We were so tired after walking around and dropped in for some juice .We also ordered a white forest cake for S's mom who was celebrating her birthday the same day . It was nice and moist .Unfortunately no pics of it.
The next time I went, was in the outlet in the Cradle hospital where I went for a scan while expecting baby A. I just had a croissant that day and it was really soft and buttery, you can make out its freshly baked.
An actual visit was when we were in Koramangala during one of those cooler mornings. Dropped in to have a snack.On entering we see some soups on offer and immediately change our mind .
We tried the oriental chicken soup , which was the nonveg soup of the day , the veg option was potato and leek soup.We decided to get it served in the bread bowl – it was a good decision cos the bread soaked up all the goodness of the soup and tasted so comforting and filling- just perfect when there is a slight nip in the air.

The soup was hot and garlicky with just enough spice in it.We teamed that with a chicken wonderwich .Now I expected 2 pieces of brown /white bread with some chicken filling inside but what came was a roll kinda bread with a chicken patty and some slices of tomato and lettuce inside( almost like a burger). Blame it on my poor observation.It was not that great.
The staff are really helpful and welcoming , and I particularly liked the self service part where you can choose whatever you want with the help of some tongs and little baskets . I highly recommend the soup particularly inside the bread bowl.

Location - Intersection Of 100 Feet Ring Road And 80 Feet Road, Sony Center Signal, Koramangala
Price ( for 2) - Inside 200 Rs
Yum-O-Meter - 3/5

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We visited this place with high expectations for my birthday dinner. First impressions – wow, looks pretty interesting! The walls , curtains, chairs are all blinged up and there are lovely chandeliers all around to give it a sort of Mughal palace feel. There is a big screen in the middle of the dining area playing old Bollywood cabaret songs.
 I liked the way the lights kept changing shades of colour , almost like a disco light. 
Another interesting thing was they had turbans and extensively decorated waistcoats for the diners to try on ,complete with fake swords. 
That was the only good part of the whole experience- had a good laugh with all of us trying them on and posing for pictures. After that, it went completely downhill.
For starters, we ordered the so called Heera delicacy ‘Lal Mirch ka murgh’ – the description was chicken pieces marinated and cooked with chilly paste and spices in a tandoor. Then we waited.. and waited… and waited.The waiter kept  reassuring us that it would be coming out soon. Finally after 30-40 minutes – seeing our grumpy faces I guess – he came and said it would take more time and whether we want to start with the mains. But we decided to wait for some more time. Finally it came out.
Lal Mirch ka murgh
 One taste and all our faces fell – it was just chinese chilly chicken – with a good amount of cornflour and ajinomoto mixed with some extra chilly powder. And I’ve had better chilly chicken from local places near my house. It was definitely not cooked on a tandoor – we asked the waiter and he said that was the cooking style of this dish , but if so it definitely should not be in the tandoor section. S believes that they just ran out at the last minute and bought chilly chicken from some nearby joint.
For mains, we planned to order a butter chicken and a mutton dish . I say planned because the waiter kindly informed us that none of the mutton items were available as it was over ! That was pretty surprising considering it was only 9pm and the place wasn’t exactly jam-packed even for a Sunday evening. Finally he came back and said that mutton seekh masala was available. So we decided to try that was well.
We also ordered some roomali rotis- which the kind waiter again mentioned is not available –we settled for some plain rotis and lacha parathas.
Again after quite some waiting, the food arrived and we dug into it with gusto – and tasted a mouthful of disappointment. 
Mutton seekh masala ( L) and Butter chicken (R)
 The butter chicken lacked any kind of flavour – I can safely say that it was the worst chicken dish I’ve ever had( including my initial cooking disasters) . The mutton seekh was pretty big in size but lacked any kind of flavour – I guess they just put the leftover seekh kababs into very chinesy gravy – I dunno which part of mughal kingdom the Chinese dishes came from!
The rotis were  good .
By now .we dint want to even attempt any of the desserts and got ready to leave. I think it was pretty obvious we were unhappy as the manager asked us the feedback. He promised me that it would be better in a month’s time but I don’t know if I would have the courage to go back and burn my wallet. S is not convinced and says if they were genuine they would have reduced some part of the really hefty bill.
The food is outrageously priced and below standard. The menu was sticky and had foodmarks on it. And the icing in the cake was the fly in my glass of water. Overall a huge disappointment!
Location - 4th floor, Opposite Shoppers Stop,3rd phase, JP Nagar, Bangalore
Price – Around 2000 Rs ( all dishes are around the 300 rs range )
Yum-O-Meter – 1/5 ( just for the laughs provided cos of the dressup and the rotis)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breakfast @ Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad!

This is a continuation of our trip to Hyderabad. Since it was in celebration of my parents 30th anniversary , we decided to treat them to a special day and booked a days stay at the Taj Falaknuma Palace, amongst the top most hotels in India, and by the way things are looking , heading towards the top list in the world. It was just a spectacular experience. Get ready to get pampered in style from the moment you arrive - where a horse driven carriage awaits you at the reception, rose petal showers welcome you inside , and once inside your breath is taken away by the wondrous architecture which is a mix of European and Indian. Each and every tile, lamp, clock around  manages to fascinate you by its beauty . I especially loved the lobby with its venetian work , beautiful murals and soft lights.
The lobby

In the evening , you can attend the palace tour by the historian , truly a very interesting tour - his knowledge of the Nizami way of life and times is immense. After which you can relax and listen to some qawwali music on the balcony overlooking Hyderabad city.

Each and every room in this palace is so unique and remarkable, but to mention a few, there was an amazing library with extremley rare books, many first editions ones like the Encyclopedia Brittanica, books by Winston Churchill, a book written by one of the survivors of the titanic. I especially enjoyed thumbing through the earliest Visitors book with entries from British officials.

Every ballroom was lovely with breathtaking chandliers, and the most famous room here is the 101 dining room - named so cos it can seat 101 guests . Its the longest dining table in the world, complete with Versace plates and gold tumblers.
101 Dining room

Truly magnificent and no picture can do justice to its beauty .
We spend the whole day exploring the palace , clicking thousands of pictures and just taking everything in.
Obviously the next morning we were ravenous. Breakfast was an absolute delight , we could choose whatever we wanted from the menu in the Celeste restaurant , and it was made fresh and bought to us.There is a great selection to choose from and ,while you wait they bring you a wide selection of croissants( both white and brown), muffins ,pastries, biscuits,doughnuts and danishes.
This was served with a variety of preserves, honey and fresh juices as well as champagne(!) .
We ordered quite a bit of things and everything was delicious.
Here you can see poached eggs , served on top of toasted muffins, ham and wilted spinach. Really tasty. 
Poached eggs with ham

Where ever we see an english breakfast on the menu , we have to try it , and here it was no disapointemnt with a spread of scrambled eggs done perfectly, chicken sausages, bakes potatoes, toast and grilled tomato.It had a side of baked beans as well .
English Breakfast
For baby A , we ordered the banana pancakes with honey and cream.This was seriously addictive - filled with the richness of bananas and butter. Baby A loved it and so did we.
Banana pancakes
Dad went for the spanish omlette - which is a thick omelette with potatoes and served with some baked beans and toast . He seemed to be enjoying it as he dint even look up while eating it :)
Spanish omelette
Bro tried the orange french toast served with some mascarpone cream - again so buttery and rich and oh so full of calories, but who cares when you are on vacation .
Orange french toast

We also tried sides of ham and pork sausages.

Mom went for indian and tried the upuma , as well as the panner paratha.
Upuma and sambhar
The paratha  was served with a variety of chutneys and tasty with lots of desi ghee but then it was like the ones we get in good north indian restaurants .

Paneer paratha

Now we were totally bursting at the seams after this spread .

Truly a 5 star meal , we all immensely enjoyed the stay as well as the food.Of course, being a Taj property its on the expensive side but I think it was worth every penny. A trip to remember!

Price - Around 1000Rs ( Buffet + included in the stay )
Yum-O-Meter - 5/5