The Coffee Club, Sukhumvit, Bangkok

What a trip we had to Bangkok last month! Four days of eating, massages, shopping and sightseeing! A highly welcome break.

We started our trip with breakfast at the Coffee Club at Sukhumvit. This was bang opposite Novotel hotel at Soi 4. Nice, welcoming ambiance, the awesome smell of coffee permeating through the space, good service, bright airy interiors…this was just right to ring in our holiday. The tagline “Where will i meet you?” is written all over the restaurant and it really does look like an ideal place to meet up with friends.

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We tried the blueberry pancakes – yum, soft, fluffy pancakes drenched in blueberry jam and butter with lots of blueberries on top. The poached eggs came next, sitting prettily on red quinoa and wok fried snow peas. Fresh dish that reminds you of spring. We had two cups of cappuccino each and just sat and chatted for a long time.

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Coast Asia, Manipal

Located right over Radha Medical, in front of KMC, this restaurant seems to be quite popular in Manipal. I have been there three times now, and it has always been quite full. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor seating is thankfully air-conditioned. The ambiance is decent. The service is good- the servers are well-informed about the menu and give good recommendations. Sometimes it is a little difficult to catch his eye though – but that is a problem across Manipal :))

What I loved:

Sukka crab – The crab is a decent size – not very large but then the rates are not too high either. The meat is quite sweet, the quality of the crab is good and fresh. I liked the sukka crab which is a typical dish of Karnataka.

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Ghee Roast crab – Again, a rather typical local dish. It is dripping in ghee. A tasty dish – it is heavy and rich. But it is yum (tastes even better the next day). Forget the calories and dig right in.

Anjal fish tawa fry (phonetic spelling!) – A large but slim piece of Anjal fish, tawa fried with practically no masala. I usually like all my fish as simple tawa fries – rather than masking the taste with too much masala. The fish was fresh and tasty.

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Kerala Paratha – soft, flaky parathas which go pretty well with the crab.

What was meh:

Surmai gravy: The fish was a little smelly like surmai usually is but I did not really like the consistency of the fish. The gravy was good.

Neer Dosa: These a okay but could be a little softer.

What I did not like:

Fish meal: Had ordered this the first time I was here and frankly speaking, had decided not to visit the restaurant again. There was nothing great about the meal. The fish was over-fried, there were some vegetables which were pretty much unidentifiable, the dal/rasam was just boring. Thankfully, I tried the restaurant again and tried the crab dishes which are the highlights of this restaurant.

Caramel Custard: Too sweet and too dense, an avoidable dish.

Ice cream with hot chocolate : The quality of the vanilla ice cream was just okay, nothing great. A pretty large amount of hot chocolate is given but again, the quality of the chocolate is not great. It is too sweet.

The dessert menu needs a serious overhaul. Would be great if they could include some local sweet dishes, since the rest of the coastal menu is pretty local. Also, that is where their core expertise lies.

 

Cafe Mysore, Matunga, Mumbai

Had been to this restaurant for breakfast on a Sunday morning. Matunga is usually very crowded during breakfast in the weekends. You are expected to queue up in the sun and wait. There is no one taking down names or calling customers as per their turn. Anyway, after about 15 minutes we did manage to get a place.

We had dahi vada (not a good option, the curd had not permeated into the bhalla (vada). The masala dosa was very good, served with sambar and coconut chutney. Please remember that the restaurant does not customize anything. We had wanted onions to be put into the masala dosa but they simply refused despite having rawa onion dosa in their menu (but we didn’t want a rava dosa). Then came pooris and aam ras. This is seasonal and was yummy. The pooris are light and fluffy. The filter coffee is one thing which I never miss at a South Indian restaurant.
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Like most South Indian restaurants (especially in Matunga), the restaurant does not provide much of an ambiance and want you to scoot when you are done eating. This restaurant goes one step ahead and even puts up a notice saying “Please come here for eating only, not for meeting!”
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Garage Inc. Public House, Colaba, Mumbai

Visited this restaurant one afternoon for some snacks and drinks. We were just looking for a place to sit for a while and this place was just right for that. Located in one of the by-lanes of Colaba, the restaurant is spacious and was almost empty when we reached.

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We ordered some cutlets and some prawns. Can’t say that I liked the food too much. The cutlets were too dense and hard while the prawns had a thick coat of batter. The skillet dough cookie was too sweet and we only managed a take a few spoons of it.

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The service was good. Attentive but not in your face.

 

Bayroute, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai

What a smashing addition to the restaurant scene of Mumbai. Totally deserves the good reviews it has been getting online.

We booked at the last minute and were told that we would get outside seating but it would be cool enough. We were a little apprehensive – the relentless heat of Mumbai has the ability to make ambrosia tasteless. But it really was cool enough – the tables are shaded and each table has a cooler. Along with the greenery around, it was cool enough.

We based our order on the recommendations of the server especially since it was the first time that we had visited the restaurant and were not too aware of the dishes.

First came the Muhammara – served with pita and pickled vegetables. The pickled vegetables were a bit too sour but the pita was very good – soft and warm. The dip itself was tasty with a delicate flavour. Loved the plating.

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The Harissa chicken kebab was soft, succulent and came with a slightly sweet dip. The kebab was absolutely yummy.

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The Arni Arnaki, a mutton dish, which was recommended by the server as one of the best dishes on the menu, lived up to our expectations. The mutton was soft, falling off the bone. The rice was very tasty and one can have it as a meal in itself. Very delicious.

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The only issue I had was the fact that all the dishes were practically served together and not one after the other. The place was going full and they probably were in a hurry. Still, the main course got a little cold by the time we finished the starter, which was a pity.

The portions were good (three people could share each dish) and the prices are a little on the higher side. We were two, and couldn’t finish all the food.

Looking forward to exploring the other dishes at this lovely restaurant.

Arsalan, Park Circus, Kolkata

I am seriously in love with mutton biryani from Arsalan. That’s the first place where I want to eat when I visit Kolkata (which is a city with the most amazing food). Unlike the biryani at other parts of the country, this has very little spice – the taste of the mutton comes through without any adulteration. And the big potato soaked with the mutton juice is absolutely yum. Have this with some raita for a piece of heaven.

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Apoorva, Fort, Mumbai

Good place to have seafood at reasonable rates in a city where the rates for seafood are going through the roof. Food is not great but if you are craving for seafood and don’t want to sell your kidney for it, do visit this restaurant. Best things to try here are – crabs, calamari and mussels.

They really need to change the reservation system, the people answering the phone are just not trained well. The tables are a little crammed, and the place gets crowded.

Would be great if they used a little less oil in the food.