Feb 17, 2009

Another foodie post

The last post got me thinking - why haven't I ever blogged about restaurants and food?! So, after devoting one post to Yellow Chilli, I'm writing another one. This is a list of some of my favorite restaurants, and in most cases - favorite dishes there, too.

(This is not a ranking, just writing about them as I remember)

1. Stuffed crabs @ Britto's, Goa. Twice I went to Britto's. Twice we ordered the sea food platter. Twice the only item repeated - multiple times - was the stuffed crab. Eating whole crabs can be quite a chore, but one you don't have to bother with at Britto's. They scoop out the meat, cook it, and serve it in open shells with a layer of cheese on top. Heavenly!

2. Poutine @ Mocha, everywhere. Add: shredded chicken, cottage cheese, pineapple & corn. Ok, this isn't a spectacular dish, but I love it anyway. It's simple, it's tasty, and it fills your stomach without emptying your pocket. And Mocha's always a nice place to visit. Even if you order a terrible dish, the ambience, milk-shakes and hookah esnure you have a great time.

3. Bombay duck fry (starter)Surmai masala and steamed rice (main) @ Mahesh Lunch Home, Mumbai. Mahesh's is the best Indian sea-food restaurant I've been to, and I think I've tried all the famous ones outside of the 5-star hotels. Good food, awesome sea-food aroma (?) all around, and some kick-ass cocktails to go with it. Try their LIIT - it's one of the best. The dishes I've listed are my standard order there. They probably have better stuff - but this is so good I never thought of trying anything else. BTW - did you know the so-called Bombay duck is actually a fish, and found only near Mumbai? I didn't, and I was educated by the Queen of Snobs about this. Well, the food was good anyway.

4. Pacific Islander, off Soi Bang La, Patong, Phuket, Thailand. This is a true hidden gem. Soi Bang La is a commercial street in Phuket - with in-your-face sleazy establishments on one side, and clean establishments - restaurants, tailors, tour operators etc. on the other side. And, no - I didn't mean that they're on two opposite ends of the road, I mean sides - facing each other. The contrast is stark, almost surreal.

Now, on the 'clean' side, there are many little restaurants - each of them indistinguishable from not just one another, but any restaurant near a beach in a touristy town. They're all full of loud, jovial, pot-bellied white men drinkin their beer and watching football on TV. One such restaurant is Pacific Islander. They serve the best Thai food I've ever had. Even the hotels and popular restaurants I visited (in Thailand) weren't anywhere near as good. And they serve some pretty darn good Continental fare as well. Between two of us, we had prawns in green curry, liver and kidney pie, cheesecake and fried green tea ice cream. Every single thing was mind-blowing.

If you ever visit Phuket, do check out this place. But let me warn you - the amount of chilli n spice will blow ur brains (This comes from a guy who regularly devours andhra chilli chicken, kohlapuri curries and chettinad cuisine - so take it seriously)

5. Shammi kebab, chicken masala and mughlai parathas @ Dastarkhwan, near hotel Gemini Continental, Lucknow. You must have heard about Lakhnavi kebab, and probably the name of Tunde Miyan in old city. If you wanna see pictures of a chef with Dilip Kumar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Shah Rukh Khan etc. - go to Tunde's shop. If you wanna have good, friggin lakhnavi kebab, go to Dastarkhwan. Dastarkhwan is also much easier to reach, but keep in mind that you won't be dining with the upper-class there. And like all genuine Muslim restaurants, the food is sinfully greasy and spicy.
Sidenote: Lucknow is famous for its kebabs, but in my not-so-humble opinion, you also get the best chaat there. That's right - the best 'chaat' - not in Delhi, definitely not in Mumbai, but in Lucknow. Just go to any decent looking shop.

6. Karim's, Nizamuddin, New Delhi. The owners claim that Karimuddin was a chef to the Mughal royalty, and the stuff they serve you is made using genuine mughal-court recipes. To drive the point home, they do not have 'Mughlai Chicken' on the menu. In stead, they have Akbari murg, Shahjahani murg... ostensibly prepared just the way each of the kings liked it. I find the legend hard to believe - coz the dishes at their Jama Masjid branch taste nothing like dishes of the same names at Nizamuddin, so at least one version is not genuine.
But if you go to Delhi and are non-vegetarian, DO NOT LEAVE TILL YOU'VE HAD AT LEAST ONE MEAL AT KARIM, NIZAMUDDIN. Then, you can happily tick 'good mughlai food' off your 'things to taste before I die' list.

7. The Dome, 64th floor, State Towers, Bangkok, Thailand. Not the best food. But you can feel like a king sipping your drink in the open, atop 64 storeys of concrete - looking down upon the rest of the world. And a Johnnie Gold there costs just 300 THB! Add some good Sushi for THB 500 :)

Random sidenote: To understand the concept of 'sister' or 'twin' cities, visit London and Singapore. Both are business/financial centers. Both have amazing demographic mixes. Both have public transport systems considered among the best in the world. Both have depressing climate, and erratic showers. And in both - I couldn't find a single remarkable eating joint or dish in a whole week!

Well, these are all that came to mind tonight. I might update this list with more entries later, but these are certainly the most memorable!

How about naming some of your favorites in the comments? If I've missed them, I'll make it a point to follow your recommendations :)


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  2. I love street food here are my recommendations -
    Bhelpuri @ Jesus & Mary College – Delhi
    Choley –Bhaturey @ Roshan’s Karol Bagh - Delhi
    Tandori Allu Parantha @ Jhilmi Dhaba – Karnal
    Tundey Mian key kebabs @ Lucknow
    Double Chicken Kathi Roll @ Park Street- Kolkata