Friday, 29 December 2017

How to Keep your Skin Healthy and Glowing despite Air Pollution

For people  living in large cities, it has become inevitable to suffer  the manifold harmful effects of air pollution which affects almost every organ of the body. Cities like Delhi, are the extreme, but even London and Paris have its  share of bad air.

   Image source -(

The skin being the largest organ and the barrier for our inner organs, has to face the brunt of the damage.The problems include skin dryness, rashes, allergy, wrinkles, pigment spots, eczema and accelerated aging.


Air pollution increases the amount of free radicals in the air and this along the ultraviolet radiation, decreases the amount of collagen (the fibres that give softness and elasticity to our skin and give sit its youthful appearance ) in the skin.The skin thus loses its elasticity, developing fine lines and wrinkles. With this toxic  air, the oxygen delivered to the cells of the skin is decreased,  making it look dull and tired. The tiny particulate matter in the vehicular traffic cause pigment spots on the skin. New research shows that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen dioxide and other chemicals in the air accelerate skin aging significantly. In the review article, 'Air Pollution and the Skin', Dr Akaki et al. warned that "considerable effects mediated by air pollutants on the human skin may contribute  to skin aging, atopic dermatitis, skin cancer, psoriasis and acne". It is not only outdoors that we are exposed to pollution, the air indoors may be worse at times.


Indoor Pollution - It may not be possible to move out of cities and live in the villages, but there is a lot we can do to reduce the harmful effects air pollution on our skin. Keeping our houses dust free is very important. Keeping  the house uncluttered helps with cleaning. Using vacuum cleaners and wet mopping and dusting is recommended. There are many air purifiers available that claim to reduce the pollution; these claims are not evidence based and may not work as well as advertised. But even if they reduce the particulate matter slightly, it may be better than nothing.

Screening from pollutants - On days that pollution levels are particularly high, wearing full sleeve clothes may offer the skin some protection. Always use a good quality sunscreen, even in winter to protect again sun damage. Wearing good quality hypoallergenic  mineral makeup may offer some physical protection.
Some skin benefiting foods 

Nutrition - A healthy skin is the best barrier, and a healthy body will offer good nutrition to the skin. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking, less alcohol and regular exercise keeps the body healthy. Drink water to hydrate the skin.Include lots of berries, citrus fruits and leafy vegetables  in your diet that help fight the free radicals .

Skin Care - Having a good skin care routine, for cleaning, toning and moisturising the skin, every morning and evening is very important to keep the skin clear and  replenish the skin and make it ready to fight the pollutants .

(in association with Dr. Anup Dhir, Senior Consultant and Cosmetic Surgeon, Apollo Hospital.Dr. Anup Dhir specialises in cosmetic & aesthetic surgery of the face and body.)

Friday, 22 December 2017

Cafe Wall Street - Review

Actually Cafe is a misnomer because it is more of a restaurant, bar and Lounge.This place was earlier known as Cafe Public Connection and has now been taken over and revamped as Cafe Wall Street in C.P., New Delhi.The name "Wall Street "speaks for high ambitions as they aim to be a landmark in Connaught Place for its food scene and nightlife just like the famous Wall street of New York .

INTERIORS - The place has three segregated areas - The Cafe,The Lounge,The Private Dining and the Smoking Area.The furnishing- plush and very comfortable, has been done in royal purple and cream colours for the Cafe and the Private Dining area and the lounge area  has been done in cream with muted lighting and tea lights on every table .In short - the interiors have  a plush, cosy ,spacious and comfortable feel but at the same time segregated areas and separate entrance to the cafe ensure that families can have a good time too .

The Lounge Area
Seating in The Cafe Area
Private Dining Area for Small gatherings 
SERVICE - The service was courteous and prompt but no one kept hovering over my head which was a relief .



SOUP - I started with a wild mushroom and thyme flavored frothy soup .The taste was earthy and very good and the home baked bread served with it was great too ,but  I missed the thyme flavors.


SALAD - I had the Vegetarian version of Casear Salad  which had cherry tomatoes ,olives and shredded iceberg lettuce and lightly toasted bread crumbs .The salad was nice and crucnhy but the dressing needed more lemon juice and olive oil and the salad was unevenly tossed so the dressing was missing in some areas .

CROSTINI - The Crostinis I had, had the same fresh home made bread topped with artichokes, mushrooms ,bell peppers and grated Parmesan .I found it average in taste and in fact it could have done with a little more toasting and the toppings were too dry .


MUSTARD CHICKEN - Smoked chicken flavored with Bengali mustard and yogurt .This could have been a great dish but it stopped short because of being slightly dry .


COCKTAILS - I chose An Alex Jenta ,it had Bourbon Whisky ,Orange Juice ,Passion fruit syrup , Angostura bitters and was muddled with Mint leaves . It had a good balance of freshness and bitterness .


I also tried Midnight Delight -  It was a combination of Dark rum ,chocolate syrup and fresh cream .I really liked this one .

 PIZZA - I had the Pesto Pizza , it had a thin crust and was liberally topped with mozarella cheese and  my favorite bell peppers but again I did not feel any basil or pesto taste .


PASTA - My mouth still waters at the thought of this dish .It was Penne Pasta in a mixed sauce,topped with cheese and baked .The flavors were tongue tickling and the pasta was al dente .I polished off the whole dish throwing any thoughts of weight gain to the wind .
Very flavorful - highly recommended !


COTTAGE CHEESE STEAK - It was served with a barbecue sauce and stir fired baby corns and broccoli .It was passable in taste .


DESSERT - For dessert  I tried a Lemon and cinnamon pie ,The Pie base was nice and crumbly and the glaze was nice too but I would have loved a little more lemoni-ness to the glaze if you understand what I mean .


FINAL VERDICT -  The place has great ambience ,spacious and soothing interiors and a very well stocked bar too , the food aims to achieve a high standard but fall just short of that . 

I rate it a 3.5/5

Phone Numbers

+91 9811883964
+91 9811883965


F-39-40, 1st & 2nd Floor, Inner Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi

Cafe Wall Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 21 December 2017


The name of this Gastropub on the Invite perplexed me - I can understand "Smaaash " but what is a "Pub Exchange "?

The mystery was solved once I went inside.They have actually created a very unique and I must say a very popular concept for pub loving crowds - SMAAASH Gurgaon Pub Exchange  is designed to give you the feel of a real stock exchange, the features of the pub include proprietary software and trading servers. The pub is also lined with LCD screens, LED tickers and the legendary stock market 'gong', all of which add the 'traders' charm to this fun concept . 

As a particular drink gets ordered more and more,the prices start falling and you can end up getting your favourite poison at a ridiculously low price !
The LCD screens keep flashing the fluctuating prices so that you can keep a tab.


That's not all - the place is not only a drinking hole.It is actually a complete recreational and relaxation center . They have gaming alleys with a huge variety of games available and when you get tired of playing , you can unwind with a drink or indulge in the sumptuous food .I did not play any games since I was already quite tired that day and famished
SERVICE - I give full marks to the service .Everyone on the floor from the bar tender to the manager was very attentive and careful in serving the customers .The service was quite prompt too with food arriving quite fast at our table.


 So here is what I ordered as per the recommendations of the chef :


I started with a refreshing  Caprisoka  ( A Vodka based cocktail ) and my partner chose Jack Daniel Whisky with Soda. Reflexively our eyes shot at the LCD screen displaying their prices , it was another kind of fun altogether .


Smaash Mezze Platter - Consisting of Pita bread served with Baba Ganoush, Falafel, Hummus and pickles .We were really smashed as it was bang on .Loved it . The consistency of the hummus and the Baba Ganoush and I just loved the pickled cucumber !
I will recommend this dish .


Dahi ke Kebabs - Kebabs that were crisp on the outside and had hung curd seasoned with jalapenos.I liked them but they were not as soft as some of the other Dahi kebabs I have had .


Tempura stuffed  Mushrooms- Mushrooms stuffed with cheese and spinach ,deep fried and tossed with  thyme and Basil . I could taste thyme and basil and it added a beautiful freshness to the juicy and tangy mushrooms .Splendid !


Chaing Mai Prawns - Fried Prawns sauteed with bell peppers and chilly flakes .The Prawns were very crunchy and would go very well with a cold glass of beer .


Tangdi kebabs - Tender chicken legs marinated in lime and yogurt sprinkle with freshly crushed peppercorns . This was nothing extra ordinary , the chicken legs could have been juicier .


They have a vast number of oriental,continental and Indian dishes to choose from ,but we were in the mood for old Indian food after trying the oriental appetisers .So we had :


Dal Makhani with Lachha Parantha -  The Dal was soft and robust in taste and had a reddish tinge to it (food colour or too many tomatoes ) .The Lachcha parantha was perfect and was quite tasty .


Mutton Rogan Josh - Juicy lamb curry with buttered Naans .This was average in terms of taste and the quality of meat .


I ditched the regular cakes and Jalebis for a slightly different dessert and we were not disappointed .
We had Darsaan  - It had thin,crispy,flat noodles glazed with honey, sprinkled with nuts and served with a scoop of cold Vanilla ice cream .The strips were not overtly crisp and neither overtly sweet and really worked with the cold vanilla ice cream

FINAL VERDICT - I loved the concept of a Pub Exchange and I think it will work well for large groups . The place is a complete entertainment zone with games , large screens to display your favorite matches and of course tasty food and a large array of drinks to refresh and re-energize you .

I rate it a 4.2/5 .

Gurgaon Pub Exchange Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 18 December 2017

Mia Bella - Romantic Bar and Kitchen

Mia Bella- Romantic Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
I was recently invited to the blogger tasting table at Mia Bella -  Romantic Kitchen and Bar in Hauz Khas village . 


Before I venture any further, a word for the ambience - Mia Bella is very strategically located near the tomb of Firozshah Tughlaq and overlooks the Hauz Khas (meaning royal lake ) which is an ancient reservoir converted into a lake. 

So one gets a beautiful view of the majestic domes of the tomb and the emerald waters of the lake and the clear blue skies while being seated at Mia Bella .The mezzanine floor offers the best view so try to have a seat over there when you visit .


It has warm wood furniture upholstered in cobalt blue shades with bright yellow cushions brightening up the whole place.

I was thirsty so the first thing I asked for was a glass of Classic Sangria .It had Cointreau ,red wine (Crucillon Tinto Red Wine ),Cognac and Orange juice with seasonal fruits ,Very refreshing and welcome !
I also tried a white wine from their collection - and found it to my liking .It was a Spanish Crucillon Blanche White Wine .


A vain female that I am , I could not resist trying another cocktail - Fountain of youth . It had a wonderful pinkish-red color and was served in a shot glass with a julienne of ginger on top . It had Bacardi white vodka with pomegranate juice and ginger juice.



Coming to starters I started with Roasted garlic and Cream of Mushroom soup which was basically mushrooms mixed with roasted garlic and infused with thyme and cooked very slowly it was very apt for winters very hearty and had great flavors of mushroom and garlic you could taste it in every bite it was served topped with cream and a slice of bread which I wish was a little thicker with more texture.
It set the mood for the evening .



I then  started with a salad of Red wine Poached Pear,Pomegranate seeds, baby lettuce and Feta cheese in a champagne vinaigrette the Feta Cheese added the right amount of saltiness to the sweetness of the Poached pear and the pomegranate seeds but it would have done well with a little bit of toasted nuts  for that crackling texture. 


Next I had Bruschettas and  they had four types of Bruschetta  - Mild cheddar and Caramelized onions,Olive Tapenade,Tomato and basil ,Chicken Caponata . 


The Olive Tapenade and Chicken Caponata stood out for the flavors.The Olive Tapenade had finally chopped olives capers with garlic and  olive oil and was placed on a crunchy slice of toasted bread .
The tomato and basil was fresh and juicy but the tomato sauce added to it made it little too sweet likewise the Mild Cheddar and Caramelized  onion and lettuce had messed up today which made it a little on the sweeter side.

The chicken Caponata had the right balance of chicken pieces,it was buttery and the herbs really gave it another dimension and was a clear favorite of the other foodies too.

Mia Bella Mojito ( Orange juice,cranberry juice and
 kiwi juice make it different from Classic Mint Mojito )



Among the Tapas, I tried the stuff mushroom with creamy leak sauce .The sauce was very good and the mushrooms were well done .It was delectable to the core and great with the accompanying white wine .


Next I moved onto the live grill section and opted for The grilled Mediterranean chicken kebabs with Tzatziki sauce. This was boneless chicken dice marinated in olive oil ,lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic ,basil ,thyme ,coriander black peppers and zucchini slices . It was a let down in terms of flavors , the chicken though chunky n juicy did not absorb the flavors well and was a little bland and also the smokiness was missing .




For mains we had wood fired Mediterranean pizza with artichokes and pesto - it was a classic thin crust pizza with the right amount of cheese and the artichokes were done to perfection. But I wished for a little more pesto flavor .


The wood fired three cheese and spinach pizza with sun dried tomatoes was very good . It had ricotta,Parmesan and mozzarella,I missed the fresh basil though .

UPSIDE DOWN PIZZAS              
Next on offer was  the Upside Down pizzas which is more like a pot pie with toppings under the pizza crust .The toppings or in this case the base or filling, is separately cooked in a pan and then it is topped with the crust and baked covered with a foil to avoid too much browning . 


They had a vegetarian one with the base of chunky pieces of  zucchini ,assorted peppers , mushrooms and olives.It was good but I did not find it as appealing as the regular pizza .


I felt the non-vegetarian upside down pizza with a filling of sausage and meat sauce was much better in taste .This was a true winter delicacy . 


Next , I tried the wild mushroom risotto . The risotto was creamy yet not mushy and had bold mushroom flavors . Quite good !In fact  I could visit this place only for this single dish .


Finally for deserts , I had a traditional tiramisu,the coffee infused sponge cake was soft and the Mascarpone cream was light and not dense with the right amount of sweetness set off perfectly with Kahlua .


Cookie and cream cheesecake - cookie base topped with a delectable chocolate brownie and topped with cheesecake.quite good to round off the sumptuous meal .

FINAL VERDICT -   Though the grin on my face says it all ,yet if i must really put it into figures , I shall rate this place 4/5 . Some things need fine tuning ,but rest of it really gives you a great experience .