Friday, November 30, 2012

Beijing Bites

Beijing bites happens to be within walking distance of my office and it’s usually the place we hit when we have some treats or crave food other than the sad canteen fare.
I’ve been to this branch twice now for lunch– both times its extremely full with techies waiting outside , and having reservations don’t help either. Usually, there’s a waiting period of atleast 20-30 minutes.
We usually start off with the hot n sour chicken soup – which is a favorite of most of us. 
Hot N Sour Chicken soup
Pretty standard spicy soup with a generous portion of veggies and chicken.Cant go wrong here.
We ordered the dragon chicken and drums of heaven as starters.
Dragon Chicken
The dragon chicken was the usual spicy saucy fried pieces of boneless chicken along with capsicum and onion, with a hint of sweetness.Not bad but not great either.
Drums of chicken were just ok – batter fried pieces of chicken on its skimpy leg.It was hot and crispy and that was about it.
Drums of heaven
For mains we ordered a mixed fried rice along wit garlic chicken gravy . Nothing much to rave about.
Chicken Koithio,Garlic chicken and Mixed fried rice(L to R)
We also had an order of chicken koithio- which is flat noodles in a chicken spicy sauce and lot of veggies. It was ok but I’ve had better in other outlets of Beijing bites.
Overall it was just a normal eating out experience – and cost effective.
On earlier occasion - I’ve tried the Thai red curry as well, it was good but no pictures!

Location –  II Floor, 120 B, EPIP Industrial Area, Near Sai Baba Hospital, Whitefield, Bangalore    
Price ( for 3) – Rs 1200
Yum-O-Meter – 2/5

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kaira , Cochin

Nestled in the heart of the busy and bumbling Cochin city, lies this cozy little place,Kaira , with their tagline ‘A place where good things happen’.
When you walk in, you are greeted by lovely paintings – it’s kind of a mini art gallery where if your wallet permits, you can walk off with one of these masterpieces after your meal. Smiling people everywhere are ready to assist you to your table.
Mona lisa in naadan vesham?
The ambience is really classy and the d├ęcor minimal but each piece makes a statement of its own .The tables are not too closely placed together which makes for the beginning of a pleasant eating experience.

The best sitting area would be the lone table in an outdoor seating where you can feel the cool breeze and enjoy the lush surroundings- perfect for those family get-togethers or hanging out with your friends.

Everyone here recommends the fish curry meals which is a steal at 120 Rs.
You have the option of either getting it served on a plate or in true mallu style, in a banana leaf. It comes with the typical kerala side dishes to every meal – some upperi ( fried plantains) , pickled beetroot in vinegar, inji curry( sweet n sour ginger curry) , beans mezhekuperuti, pachadi(yoghurt based side),avial and kootu curry , along with your moru , rasam, sambhar and pappadam.
Kerala Meals
The fish curry has a grated coconut base and all this mixed with a handful of rice together tasted just divine. 
Fish Curry

The only complaint perhaps was that the pappadam was a little bit oily which was duly noted by the chef.
We also tried the beef ularthiyete – which was tender and spicy, karimeen( pearl spot) fry , chemmeen ularthiyete( prawns) and mussels fry.
Beef Ularthiyete
Chemeen ularthiyete
Mussels fry

The parottas here are crisp and flaky and pairs great with the beef ularthiyete. 
Don’t forget to try their signature dish of light as a feather kallapams and duck roast – the kallapams absorb that creamy n delicious gravy just like a sponge and just so flavorsome.

The mutton biriyani is also spectacular with subtle spice and rich flavours.
For dessert, we had the Vattalapam – a srilankan delicacy almost like caramel pudding but with coconut milk and jaggery .It was just spot on – creamy and delicious.

We came back here to try the Sunday breakfast. I ordered the English breakfast which consisted of eggs, sausages, bacon, a pancake, potato croquette and 2 slices of toast along with accompaniments of jam, butter and honey and a glass of watermelon juice.

English breakfast

You can decide how you want your eggs done, fried or scrambled and I went for a fluffy omelette. The potato croquette was crisp and crunchy outside n melt in the mouth inside. We finished this with a cup of coffee and some cut fruits, taking our time to relax and catch up .They plan to start a seafood grill area soon as well as a coffee shop – with bakes , sweet and savory. Looking forward to sampling these at my next visit.

Just a preview of what to expect in the pastry section- 
Orange cake with chocolate ganache and orange buttercream
Chocolate Truffle cake - simply melt in the mouth

Kaira is a place you feel like visiting again and again with its pleasant ambience and once here , you want to take all the time to enjoy your meal. Truly an experience eating here!

Location – Chittor Road, Kacheripady , Cochin, Kerala
Yum-O-Meter – 5/5