Monday, 22 May 2017

Book Review - Veerappan : Chasing The Brigand

Price - Rs 256 /- for paperback , Rs500 for hardcover .

Pages -  263

Publication - Rupa Publications

About The Author - This book has been written by K.Vijay Kumar, former I.P.S. Officer and Chief of the S.T.F.(Special Task Force ) that finally slayed the infamous and dreaded bandit in an encounter during operation "Cocoon " in 2004.

What I liked about " Veerappan : Chasing The Brigand "

This is a true life account of the life and death of the dreaded Sandalwood and Ivory smuggler and Bandit - Koose Muniswamy Veerappan.It gives an interesting and detailed account of his life from his birth in 1962 to his nail biting encounter and death in 2004 .

The writing style is lucid and easy to comprehend and makes for an interesting read .

It has quite a few instances of humour which lightens the mood .

It is fast paced and full of thrills and makes you want to turn the pages .

The book is a revelation and sheds a lot of light about the various facets (some true some hype ) of Veerappan the boy,Veerappan the Robin Hood ,Veerappan the Father ,Veerappan the medicine man to Veerappan the smuggler and the Ruthless foe and  killer .



What I did not like about " Veerappan : Chasing The Brigand "

I only felt some loopholes in the "true account " that any logical person would feel too .The book has a political bias with some politicians like late Jayalalitha  glorified and some delegated to the back seats as if it was a one person political effort throughout the 20 year hunt for the Bandit .

Lot of space has been given to the author and his training which I found unnecessary since the book was about the Bandit and not the Officer. I would have preferred more about the Fugitive .

It seems that Veerappan was able to have an easy reign because of his political bosses and finally met his end when he became too ambitious or useless for them as no effort was made to capture him alive or give him a fair trial but all that I think is beyond the scope of a book review .

FINAL VERDICT - I rate it a 4/5 . 

This book is a fast paced, true life thriller - a must read for anyone intrigued by the handlebar moustached Bandit Veerappan or anyone who loves a good thriller .

Restaurant Review - Prasadam

Address: G-57, Vikas Marg, Near Walia Nursing Home, Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi - 110092
Phone number :  011 64641010

This placed is located bang on Vikas Marg so easy to find.It is a simply furnished place but quite comfortable.                          

This little note at the entrance sets the mood
                                                       
Let me say at the very outset that this is a great place which will give stiff competition to the big names of South indian food if they can continue to keep up the high quality that they have started off with .Great for quick breakfasts and family lunches .


                                                 
                                                 
In fact they start serving breakfast as early as 6.30 am and they claim to use pure Desi ghee in their Parathas which I found to be true .

Instead of flowers we had beautiful
carved vegetable bouquets on our tables 
                                                     
Founded on January 14, 2016, the restaurant serves pure vegetarian food including South Indian, North Indian ,Italian and chinese with their tag line being "Let's Eat healthy and celebrate the joy of Eating ".

Rasam papad - The litmus test
                                                       

For me the starter of Rasam and Papad is the benchmark for any respectable joint serving south Indian food. The Rasam came in a cup with a  saucer which not only added to the visual appeal of the Rasam but also made it easier to hold the cup and sip the rasam .The Rasam passed with flying colours , I could taste the tomatoes ,the asafetida ,the curry patta and the black peppers very distinctly and it tasted so much like we make at home not the spice laden thin juice that passes for rasam in many joints .


Spiced tadka buttermilk
                                             

Hotseller and must try at this place is their buttermilk (chhachh) which has a great taste and you can taste the tadka of curry patta ! Must try !!

Vegetable Khichadi - Now you see it 
                                             
Now you don't - That was how tasty it was !
                                               


I then tried their "Khichadi " it was topped with desi ghee and sprinkled with roasted cumin (zeera ) powder . Except for some gujarati thali joints , khichadi is not served in most restaurants and this was a blessing for people like me who crave simple food away from home .This is a very popular preparation here.
I loved it !
                                       

The Sampoorna Thali
                       
Next I tried their Sampoorna Thali - which had three vegetables - shahi paneer , Chhole ,rice, aloo beans sabzi served with curd , vegetable salad , raita and three rotis including one lachcha parantha  and gulabjamun as the dessert .

The thali was good with the salad and the chhole standing out , also I noticed that they served long grain rice not the stubby one .
                                                     
The South Indian platter
 
I also tried their south Indian platter and the Vada and Idly stood out for me .The Sambhar was Ok  but the chutney was good - specially the onion and tomato chutney .The upma was light and wholesome but could have more flavor .


Kadak paneer 
                                             
I also tried their Kadak paneer which had a crunchy crust and soft paneer inside .It was served on a very interesting boat complete with a small boatman too !
                                                   
Dahi Kababs


The owner Ms. Suman Bansal and her husband Mr. Sethia seemed quite familiar with their regular customers as I could see them exchanging pleasantries with many of the regulars and even serving the food themselves .That speaks a lot for their service !


    
                                                                
    
                                                          
     
  
                                                                


Ms Bansal informed me that they are soon going to launch an ambitious plan to start carts for serving some of their specialities at prime locations like nearby Temples and Parks .They also have a tiffin service which I hear is very popular with the offices and PG crowds .

FINAL VERDICT -  They have started with a lot of promise in terms of quality of ingredients , hygiene and pricing .I can't say this is the best ever food I have had but it was certainly the best food in this price range and with a freshness that reminds of home .

I rate it a 4/5 . 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fragrance Review - Boss Nuit Pour Femme from Hugo Boss

BOSS Nuit Pour Femme, a women's fragrance from the house of Hugo Boss was launched in 2012.
It has been said to be inspired by the timeless appeal and elegance of the little black dress because the LBB is something you can always count on .In the same way the BOSS Nuit Pour Femme is introduced as something you can fall back on to give you the poise and confidence whenever you step out . It is the final touch a sophisticated and elegant woman needs before she embarks on a night out to enjoy herself .
                                                 
Source- Hugo Boss 

PRICE - Rs 4300 /- for 50 ml .
But you can search for offers on different websites or buy at much lesser on duty free shops .
                                                                               
 According to the website - "The fragrance begins with modern, elegant and fresh sparkling notes of aldehydes and peach. The heart radiates feminine white flowers, jasmine and sensual violet. The base consists of crystalline moss and creamy sandalwood."                                                     




One of my favorite actresses Gwyneth Paltrow has been the face of this perfume which is  another reason I wanted to try it out . It is available in 30 ml , 50ml and 75 ml Eau de Parfum ,and also in a 200 ml body lotion and 200 ml shower gel.

                                                   
                                                     PROS of Boss Nuit Pour Femme

  1. I love the clean and simplistic packaging .
  2. The fragrance is available as 30, 50 and 75 ml Eau de Parfum, along with 200 ml body lotion and 200 ml shower gel so you can layer it on to make it last longer .
  3. Sophisticated fragrance , not very loud if you understand what I mean.
  4. One would think that a fragrance that stands for 'Night ' (nuit means night in French ) in its very name might be very musky or overpowering and alluring but  it's a very light and fresh fragrance with just hints of dark . It is light enough for me to use it as a daytime fragrance .
  5. A warm ,sensual ( but not seductive ) floral , fruity powdery fragrance .
  6. I hardly smell the fruity notes on applying , to me it immediately smells of violets and white flowers and dries down on a sandalwood note .

                                                          

                                            CONS of Boss Nuit Pour Femme


  1. The longevity is a big problem .I like perfumes with low sillage but at least a longevity of 4-5 hours , this one unfortunately hardly lasts 1.5 to 2 hours .I feared I may be having a fake product but then I checked other reviews and saw that this was a universal problem !
  2. The price might be a deterrent.Who wants to spend so much for something that doesn't even last !
  3. The packaging doesn't feel sturdy enough to me , though it has not cracked but the lid takes some care to get into place .

 FINAL VERDICT  - I rate it a 3/5 .I like the fragrance but am really disappointed by the longevity .


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Mr.Brown - Bliss in every Bite -Pastry Shop Review

Location : Mr. Brown ,C-1 Saya Zenith, Opp. Shipa Sun City, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, UP 201014
Contact numbers - +91-9871993465, 0120-4913314

                                        

Tagline –" Bliss in every single bite "

                                           

Mr. Brown is a family owned , gourmet pastry shop that started their business from the "City of Nawabs - Lucknow" and have now opened their outlet in Indirapuram .
You can also place your orders online   here  .


Cakes available in wide range of flavors including Blueberry cakes, Fresh fruit cake, Cream less cakes, Eggless cakes. White Forest cake, Red Velvet, Wedding cakes, birthday cakes, Light chocolate, brownies, cookies(eggless cookies, Maida free cookies, sugar free cookies)puddings ,custards ,breads, namkeens ,Sparkling fruit beer. Italian snacks pasta, burgers subs, sandwiches etc.

  
                                                                    
  

The owner Mr.Rajneesh Mathur ,whom I found to be of a very amicable disposition stated ,“We believe in making our customers’ celebration ,an amazing memory .”

With their stress on taste ,health ,hygiene freshness and their factory located just about a km only from the pastry shop, the cakes and pastries are one of the freshest you may have .

                                             
                                                                 



My Experience - I had already been to their Kaushambi outlet and was quite satisfied with the foood served there ,so I had similar expectations with this outlet too .

The now-empty shelves are a proof of their popularity 
                                                        

Ambience - Young and energetic vibe .Airy and spacious interiors.The staff is helpful ,

They offer a free pastry/pudding to their first time customers ,which makes them very popular

I ordered the following snacks ;
                                       
Mushroom String -  A savory snack, extremely tasty and flavorful , in fact it has a meaty taste which would appeal a lot to the non veg friends in the All vegetarian menu (except for eggs ) .A must try !

                                     

Apple Pie - It was OK ,The pastry was flaky and the apples were soft but it had too much glaze and very sticky to handle . I also missed the spice in the apple .

Danish - Flaky,soft, melt in your mouth with a hint of diced apple in the middle .

                                           

Choco Lava  cake - Very gooey and chocolaty but I found it too small !

                                         

Chocolate pudding - Topped with shaved white chocolate flakes and a cherry , this was quite good . Neither too sweet not too heavy .

                                               

Roasted Tikki Cheese burger - Except for the fresh tasting bread , there was nothing worth mention in this burger .I think it was too bland for Indian palates and even carried the lettuce although the tikki was otherwise crisp and well done .

I topped it all with some Cold coffee which was quite thick and good unlike some very watered down versions that we get at other places .

                                       
                                              

Before leaving , I got some of their scrumptious cookies and they offer free tasting before you zero in on what to order .They also are the pioneers of baked goodies in this business so you can get stuff like Baked Gujia, Almond Florentine,Multigrain Florentine, Baked Modak, Baked Baklava,Open Pouch Baklava,Nest baklava etc.
                                                    

An exhibition by young artistes at the cafe
in collaboration with the Times of India

FINAL VERDICT  - To sum it up , I would rate it a 3.8 /5 for the fun ambience , the spacious seating , the warm hospitality and customer friendly policies and of course the baked goodies and cakes.Icing on the cake - they are open till 11 pm !


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Tourist Janpath

LOCATION - 1, Scindia House, Janpath Road, Janpath, New Delhi .The outside is unassuming and unimpressive ,in fact I had some difficulty in finding it .Parking can be a hassle on weekends .


The unassuming exteriors of The Tourist Janpath
                                                                                                                           
The double decker seating like railway carriages
             

AMBIENCE - As the name suggests , this place has travel as its theme and that is repeated in the double decker seating arrangements , the passport menus which bear Far East, Far west etc on the top and list the dishes of that region inside .The lobby has the feel of an airport and there are wall clocks showing the different times zones of different world cities and the theme goes on and on ...

The seating is comfortable with wooden furniture and very basic looking whitewashed brick walled interiors .


                                         

World clocks !
                                                  
To be honest , except for the menus , I did not find anything interesting in the theme nor was there any functionality to the double decker seating !
The passport menus 
                                                 

CUISINENorth Indian, American, Asian ,European 


MOCKTAILS -  That day being a dry day ,I could not have any cocktails so I am listing the moctails that were served to me .


                                                      

Mandarin and Basil Splash – Mandarin juice, orange juice, Basil leaves and Tourist spices . The fresh mandarin juice stood out and it was extremely good .

                                                      

Cool sensation – Watermelon ,Orange ,mint ,lemon masala .A hot summer drink  - it was perfectly done.


                                                        

Rim Jhim – Green apple, Basil leaves,lemon and apple juice : I hear this is the hot selling mocktail and I just loved it .Tangy ,sweet ,salty and very refreshing !
                                                         


Go Green – Kaffir lime ,cucumber ,rock salt , Lemonade ,In house sweet and sour top up .I was expecting it to be more minty and green in colour but it was nice too .

In conclusion, if the mocktails were anything to go by , I would definitely revisit the place to also try their cocktails .

VEGETARIAN STARTERS


We had a great range of starters to choose from ,I was especially happy with the choice of the vegetarian starters

                                                       

Arancini – Hand rolled risotto dumplings, crispy fried with cheese lava . Very crunchy because of the rice and soft ,creamy insides ! The tomatoey sauce was nice too .

                                                     

Chilled rice paper summer rolls  - A vietnamese dish of bean sprouts, Jalapeno and steam peppers with Kikkoman ginger Shoyu .The Kikkoman sauce was very mild , which worked for me ,but I wished the rice paper rolls were slightly thinner .

                                           

Kapi Cho Potato- To simplify this was what we Diliiwallahs call - Chilly potato !Schezwan style five spice tossed crispy potatoes sesame ,basil and rice wine flambe .The Flambe definitely added a different dimension in terms of taste and texture .

                                                   

Corn and Chilly Fritters—A thai dish made of corn kernels batter fried with lime leaves,chili paste and red bean sauce .This was the  pièce de résistance , juicy and crisp with a hint of garlic .The sauce had just the right balance .


                                                                   

Pizza  - This thin crust pizza was topped abundantly with corn , peppers ,mushrooms and olives .I like the fact that despite being thin crust , it did not get stiff and card board like even aftre 20 mins of being served .

NON VEG STARTERS


                                           

London fish n chips – The classic batter fried halibut fillet with crisp potato chips and mushy peas and tartar sauce was nice but I wish the potatoes were more crisp and had slightly more seasoning .The fish was soft and moist and well done .

Juicy Lemon grass Chicken
                                         

Lemongrass chicken – These were minced chicken skewers on lemongrass talks with curry sauce .
                                                        
                                                     
Croqueta de pollo
                                                                                    
Croqueta de Pollo – Hand rolled crispy chicken and cheese nuggets .Quite good and lip smacking !

MAIN COURSE  


                                                

Wok tossed Udon noodles – We started with stir fried vegetables with Udon noodles .The noodles were done perfectly and it had a very nice mild flavor which I quite liked . I liked plenty of vegetables tossed into my noodles and I was quite happy with both .


                                                   

Hasselback potatoes – Thinly sliced potatoes with skin on with lemon and garlic ,bakes and served with cream cheese .


                                              

Coq au Vin - Chicken breast in a red wine sauce ,button mushrooms, pearl onions and buttery potatoes

                                                      

Chicken Pasta - The chicken was served with garlic bread and white sauce pasta .An O.K dish .

Kosho Mangsho – A delectable slow cooked  Bengali lamb dish .My friends liked it , the lamb was quite soft according to them .
                                                             
Kosho Mangsho,Tak Tak Paneer and Balochi Dal

Balochi Dal - Urad and moong dal lentils ,cooked over tandoor and tempered with garlic and cumin.I found it just average the Dal was tender and creamy but the flavor of cumin and garlic did not stand out .
                                                       


Tak Tak Paneer - This was more like shahi paneer and again failed to impress .Accompanied by Naans .
                                                                  


Green Thai curry with jasmine rice - Though the vegetables were done well and the rice was fluffy but it lacked the flavors .


Desserts - For desserts we were served an assorted platter of chocolate cheese cake,Chocolate eclairs ,Chocolate brownie and Chocolate tarts . The base of the tarts was slightly on the harder side and the brownie were dense too but the Eclairs were well glazed and flaky and the cheese cake was very good too ,soft but not too sweet .

                                                   
 

FINAL VERDICT - I came out happy to discover an outlet which was serious about serving good food , the mocktails were quite good and I am definitely going to come back to try their cocktails which I missed .They had a large variety of foods to offer from across the world and I think their Asian menu was the best among the lot .

I would rate it a 4.2/5 .