Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Get a Taste of the Mumbai Cuisine at the Junoon Restro Bar

There is no dearth of good multicuisine restaurants in or around Gurgaon. But when you specifically talk of restaurants that specialize in the Mumbai cuisine, you identify a gap that is so hard to fill. This is where Junoon Restro Bar steps in, churning out a large assortment of interesting, authentic dishes from Mumbai.


Located in a quaint little corner of Baani Square, Sector 50, Gurgaon, Junoon Restro Bar was opened to the general public on February 4 of this year. 

Junoon Restro Bar

Brainchild of restaurateur Pooja Ahuja, this 60-cover property is the perfect place to wine and dine after a long, arduous day at work.

Junoon Restro Bar

With a covered area of nearly 3500 square feet, the restro bar is hailed for serving Mumbai Tawa and North Indian delicacies. In fact, it was the Mumbai cuisine that I couldn't stop raving about! 

Open every day from 12 noon to 12 midnight, Junoon offers a flat 30 percent discount on dine-in orders above INR 1000. The only condition is: make sure you order between 12 noon to 7 pm.

Mural at Junoon

The kitchen is in the capable hands of Chef Qutab Singh Negi, who specializes in the tandoor cuisine of India and Chef Jamil, who specializes in the Mumbai cuisine. Before joining Junoon in January 2016, Qutab worked for several reputed F&B properties like The Ashok, Punjab Grill, Green Lounge, etc.

Chef Qutab Singh Negi

If you've ever been through the famous food lanes of Mohemmad Ali road in South Mumbai, you probably know that each year the place comes alive with gastronomic activities during the Holy month of Ramadan. Now you no longer need to travel all the way to Mumbai to get a real taste of Mumbai. Junoon has it all!

Beverage at Junoon Restro Bar
Beverage at Junoon Restro Bar

My favorite dishes at the Junoon Restro Bar are:

[Mumbai Tawa]

Aloo Cheese Roll (Veg Rolls)

A crowd pleaser made of potato and cheese that serves both as a great snack and a scrumptious starter.

Aloo Cheese Roll

Chicken Baida (Egg) Roti

A delicious mix of flavorful chicken and eggs in a crispy roti.

Chicken Baida Roti

Reshmi Paratha

Stuffed multi-layered paratha, which is pan cooked until both the sides are golden brown.

[North-Indian]

Bhutta (Corn) De Kebab (Veg)

Deep-fried vegetarian cutlets made of sweet corn and gram flour mixed with spices.

Beetroot Tikki (Veg)

Spicy, vegetarian pan fried beetroot patties; serves as an excellent snack or starter.

Beetroot Tikki, Reshmi Paratha, and Bhutta De Kebab

Mutton Seekh Kebab

Mutton mince spiced with green chili, finely chopped coriander, cooked in tandoor.

Mutton Seekh Kebab

Chicken Rara

An exotic spicy chicken preparation, which is also a chef special at Junoon.

Gosht-E-Josh-Roganjosh

This exotic lamb preparation, with origins from the Kashmir region, is bound to tickle your palate.

[Desserts]

Among the desserts, I drooled over the Chef Special Phirni and Kulfi (Paan/Melon).

If you're too lazy to walk down to the restro bar, you can also opt for home delivery.

Decor - Junoon Restro Bar

Other attractions at Junoon include:
  • Fully functional bar
  • Live screening of sports
  • Live music (DJ is available in the evening)
  • Smoking area

DJ at Junoon Resto Bar

Junoon Restro Bar is popular for all the good reasons, and I strongly recommend a visit to this property.

Junoon Restro Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Memorable Day at the GreenR Cafe and Store

I love reviewing new and interesting properties. This weekend I was invited to review a unique cafe and store in the heart of Shahpur Jat village called the GreenR.


Opened last year in the month of September, the GreenR Cafe and Store is the brainchild of young entrepreneurs Mohit Yadav (34) and Nitin Dixit (41), who have been instrumental in the sustainable sector for quite some time now. Combined, they have more than 20 years of experience in developing sustainable products in diverse industries like real estate, hospitality, retail, and consumer products. No wonder then, GreenR too is built on a sustainable model - high on design and aesthetics, yet very affordable!

GreenR Cafe

Visiting this property was a revelation in many different ways. For instance, who would've known that the GreenR Cafe boasts of India's first modern Californian vegetarian kitchen. True to its name, the cafe aims to popularize flavorful, wholesome, and innovative vegetarian food made from plant sources, with emphasis on seasonal and locally available produce and ingredients.

GreenR Cafe

Promoting progressive vegetarian food is quite relevant and necessary for a country like ours, which has the largest number of vegetarians in the world.

Burgers at the GreenR Cafe

The cafe has partnered with several India based food vendors like Picco Licko (for fresh Italian ice creams), Earth Loaf (for handmade raw chocolates and laddoos), The Green Snack Co. (for sun-dried chips that aren't baked or fried), Blue Tokai/Indian Bean (for organic coffee), Anandini (for Himalayan tea), etc. According to the owners, the decision to rope in homegrown brands is a conscious one.

Taste Fresh Italian Ice Creams from Picco Licko at GreenR Cafe

I was ecstatic to find some of my favorite food products at the GreenR Cafe such as the Kale Chips, Quinoa Puffs, Cacao Nibs, Watapi/Kaldeva coffee, and Tea Infusion (Green Tea). The best part - they're all ‘made in India’.

That's not all!

You can also order cold pressed organic juices from popular vendors like Antedote, TBH (To Be Healthy) and Shuddha. These juices are free from gluten, chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors, sugar, and so on.

So there, get ready to choose from a wide range of delicatessen and condiments only at the GreenR Cafe!

Pizza at the GreenR Cafe

The service and kitchen staff at GreenR Cafe is prompt and attentive. To maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction, the service staff comprises of four personnel, including two floor managers (Akato from Nagaland and Peter from Kolkata).

See-through Kitchen at the GreenR Cafe

To bolster its kitchen staff, the owners have hired one head chef (Gajpal from Uttarakhand) and one chef de partie (Sagar from West Bengal). In addition to that, the partnering chefs at GreenR Cafe include the likes of Rishi Bhardwaj and Janeya Khanna* from Holy Belly. Together, they have experimented with 'mock meats' and have come up with food options for special needs like raw, vegan and gluten-free.

[PS: Both Rishi Bhardwaj and Janeya Mehta are graduates of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and represent Holy Belly Food Boutique, an experiential gourmet catering company.]

By the way, did I mention that GreenR is also hailed as a coworking space where you can come and work for a mere INR 5500 a month? For that amount, you'll also get healthy food worth INR 7000 free of cost, free WiFi, 24*7 power backup, and a reserved coworker seat; now isn't that great! 

The GreenR Cafe has a cover for 40 and even includes a community table for 10 people where you can conduct meetings or lunches. You can choose your favorite dishes from the new menu or from the 'Specials of the Day' menu displayed on a whiteboard adjacent to the kitchen.

Specials of the Day at the GreenR Cafe

The cafe is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 11am to 8pm. Many special events are being held here from time to time; popular bands like Folka Dots and Trippy Tales have already performed at the cafe some time ago. The cafe is also open to the idea of hosting private/birthday parties.

GreenR Cafe

Here are some of my favorite dishes at the GreenR Cafe:
  • Starters: Special meatballs (made using brown rice, kidney beans, Panko breadcrumbs, chopped olives, salt, and pepper); Meatless meatball pizza
Meatless Meatball Pizza
  • Mains: Earth bowl (contains a delightful mix of 30 ingredients such as hummus quinnell, orange tahini, pine nuts, etc.); Special Pasta using Zucchini (signature dish)

Earth Bowl
Special Pasta using Zucchini
  • Desserts: Natural Gelatos; Chocolate Ganache with Wildberry Coulis
Natural Gelatos
Chocolate Ganache with Wildberry Coulis
  • Artisan coffee by Blue Tokai: Affogato with large scoop of French Vanilla Picco Licko Gelato 

Located on the ground floor of the same premises is the GreenR Store, a multi-brand destination where works of indigenous designer and artisanal brands are curated. Here you can expect an eclectic mix of fashion, furniture, home objects, and personal care products from celebrated brands like Akaaro, Anantaya, Upasana, Proyog, Khara Kapas, Anomaly, Bodice, AKFD Studio, Cord, Jaipur Watch Company, and Mantra.

Artifacts at the GreenR Store
Artifacts at the GreenR Store
Artifacts at the GreenR Store
Artifacts at the GreenR Store
Artifacts at the GreenR Store
Artifacts at the GreenR Store

A visit to GreenR is an absolute must for anyone who wants to make a lifestyle change towards 'conscious consumption' by choosing responsible, ethical, quality, and value-oriented products.

Greenr Store & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

A Gastronomic Journey to National Highway 44

Did you know that the National Highway 44 (a. k. a. NH 44) is India's longest running North-South national highway that spans from Srinagar to Kanyakumari? If you're on this highway, embrace yourself on a journey of a lifetime to some of the best states in India, such as Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

What if I told you that there's a new, exciting restaurant in West Delhi where you can savor regional cuisines from India's longest highway?


Aptly called the National Highway 44 (NH 44), this pan Indian restaurant is the brainchild of restaurateurs Udit Bagga and Udit Bhasin, Board of Directors of Spring Hill Cafe Private Limited Company.

National Highway 44

As a matter of fact, Udit Bagga is one of the most popular restaurateurs in Delhi right now, having tasted success with his very first venture, Out Of The Box (a. k. a. OTB) in Khan Market, New Delhi. He now plans to open up another great place to hang out in Rajouri Garden, New Delhi, by the name of Factory.

National Highway 44

Yours truly was invited for a food and property review at NH 44 last month, and here are my top 10 recommendations on why you should visit this new property without further ado. 
  1. The kitchen is in the capable hands of Corporate Chef Sanjeev Takyar, who has worked for reputed names like the Coriander Leaf Restaurant Gurgaon, Diwan Restaurant (a unit of Berkshire Group), Vatika Group, etc.

    Sanjeev is an expert in Indo-Pak, modern Italian and Cantonese cuisines, and is instrumental in designing the elaborate truck-shaped menu at NH 44.

    [PS: The Hinglish menu at NH 44 took almost a month to compile.]

    In the past, Sanjeev has played a significant role in the opening of Fox World Cuisine Restaurant in Gurgaon and Saffron restaurant in Park Hotel Kolkata. He has also trained over 100 chefs throughout his F&B career.

    South Indian Food at NH 44

  2. NH 44 provides a classic mix of casual- cum fine-dining experience. The restaurant can accommodate up to 48 guests at any given time and includes a private dining area as well, where 35 guests can be easily seated.

  3. Private Dining Area at NH 44

  4. Talking of the private dining area, this specially designed room can be partitioned into two if the need shall be. With partition, the two rooms can accommodate 15 guests each. The private dining area also boasts of two LED TVs to take your entertainment quotient several notches higher.

  5. Truck-shaped menu at NH 44

  6. With a covered area of nearly 3000 square feet, there is plenty of room for everyone to move inside the premises. The space is not cramped; even at peak hours, there is no way that you'll ever feel claustrophobic here.

  7. Seating Arrangement at NH 44

  8. Both service and kitchen staff at NH 44 is prompt and attentive. To maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction, the service staff includes one corporate general manager (Saroj Kumar Singh), three captains, and six stewards.

    To bolster its kitchen staff, NH 44 employs one corporate chef (Sanjeev Takyar), one sous chef, and twelve chefs from different regions of India.

  9. The bar at NH 44 is in the capable hands of a Mixologist by the name of Harish. If you're ordering from the bar, my recommendation will be the following drinks:
      • Frozen Kiwi Daiquiri: A Brazilian drink made of kiwis, strawberries, and lemon (available in two variants - alcoholic and virgin). You can also order frozen green apple/mango/chocolate daiquiri.
      • NH 44 Special: Made of Guava juice, fresh mint and coriander leaves, lemon juice, and seasoning.
      • Fruit Punch: Mix of different juices blended with ice cream.

        Frozen Kiwi Daiquiri
        NH 44 Special
        Fruit Punch

        • At NH 44, it doesn't take long to tell that a lot of research has gone into food, decor and other elements; serving dishes from India on a single platter is a herculean task as it is, and on top of that, creating a national highway like ambience must have been extremely challenging.

          I couldn't help but admire the multicolored cutlery, wooden jharokhas, ceiling lights fixed in inverted Banta bottles, stainless steel multicolor tiffin box, miniature collectibles like the Hawkins Toy Cooker, handwoven colorful bed Charpai, etc.

          Coming to food, here are some of my favorite dishes at NH 44: 
            • Palak Patta Chaat (vegetarian starter)
            • Maharaja Patiala Sword Kebab (non-vegetarian starter)
            • Paneer Long Latta (mains)
            • Chicken Chettinad (mains)
            • Beetroot Halwa (dessert)
            • Gul-e-bahisht (dessert)
          Maharaja Patiala Sword Kebab

        • No other place in West Delhi to my knowledge offers such a vast expanse of Indian cuisines like the Kashmiri, Mughlai, Andhra, Maharashtrian, and Gujarati - all at one place.

        • Idlis at NH 44
          Mains at NH 44
          Starters at NH 44
          South Indian starters at NH 44

        • Open every day from 12 noon to 1 am, NH 44 is the ideal place to enjoy meals on tables made of old tree trunks or seats adorned with earthy fabrics or Jaipuri quilts.


        • Without doubt, NH 44 is taking the dining experience in Delhi to the next level. Guests at NH 44 can enjoy quality food and music amidst beautiful decor and great service.
          National Highway 44 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato