Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Think Organic Living. Think Devang House.

I have not been keeping well of late. In fact, I was hospitalized twice last month - in a short span of a week - for acute tonsillitis. The good news is: the worst is behind me now. I am feeling great once again, which means I can have more time for the blog.


This weekend I decided to visit a quaint lil café in the heart of the capital's Diplomatic Enclave. Housed in Amatrra, The Ashok Hotel, Chanakyapuri, and hailed for spreading the 'Joy of Being', Devang House is built by a community of creative coworkers who believe in the prowess of organic food, natural products, and holistic spaces.

Devang House

As I entered the peaceful corner where the café is located, it dawned to me how necessary it is to imbibe Organic Living as part of our new and changing lifestyle.

Devang House

The basic premise on which Devang operates is that we are a part of nature, not separate from it. Not surprising then, the Artisan Gourmet food here is made fresh on order from organic and natural ingredients, without any preservatives or synthetic additives.

Devang - Popular for serving Organic Food

Devang produces all of its fresh eggless baked products using farm-sourced organic wheat, millet, and super foods.

Baked Products at Devang House

Opened in October 2015, Devang House is the only organic and vegetarian restaurant in Delhi with ingredients sourced directly from local farms. The team curates special seasonal menus, and complements food with a variety of events such as cooking classes, Sunday brunches, and live music nights.

Organic Food Samples at Devang House
Organic Supplements (for sale) at Devang House
Organic Food (for sale) at Devang House
Organic Food (for sale) at Devang House

In fact, the new, popular band 'The Sufis' recently held their fourth performance - Soul Sessions: An Evening of Sufi Music - at the Devang House. The band has become an integral part of the Devang community!

Events section at Devang House
Events section at Devang House

The café is open every day from 9am to 10pm. My favorites on their menu include stone oven pizza, pesto khichdi, chickoo-almond butter smoothie, and ragi and banana pancakes.

Stone Oven Pizza

Interestingly, the five-course menu changes every week to keep things ticking!

Devang House
Devang House
Chessboard at Devang House
Artwork at Devang House
Devang House
Decorative Items at Devang House

Since I visited the Devang House on Sunday, I got treated to their Organic Brunch and Market.

Here's what you can expect too: 
  • Summer drinks: Mint Lemonade; Seasonal Juice
  • Soup bowls (INR 250): Roasted Pumpkin and Rosemary Soup; House Blended Masala Chaas
  • Salads (INR 300): Charred Artichoke and French Bean Salad; Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Puffed Rice Salad
Charred Artichoke and French Bean Salad
Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Puffed Rice Salad
  • Appetizers (INR 300): Rosemary and Chilly Hummus with Ragi Pita; Butternut Squash and Feta Bruschetta; Green Moong Chilla with Garlic Chutney; Herbed Chilly Cheese Garlic Bread
Rosemary and Chilly Hummus with Ragi Pita
Butternut Squash and Feta Bruschetta
  • Main Course (INR 450): Stone Oven Pizza; Gunpowder and Masala Uttapam with Sambhar; Japanese Khichdi with Pickled Vegetables; Lemon Rice and Spiced Vegetable Stew 
Gunpowder and Masala Uttapam with Sambhar
Lemon Rice and Spiced Vegetable Stew
  • Desserts: Mango and Chia Pudding; Malwa Pudding Cake
Mango and Chia Pudding

If you're too lazy to visit the café, you can place orders online or via telephone, as free delivery is available within select circles of South and Central Delhi on orders above INR 1500 (a nominal fee of INR 100 is charged on orders below that!).

Me and Sadhna at Devang House

A visit to the Devang House should be high on your priority list if you’re thinking of Organic Living.

Devang House - The Ashok Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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