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Ever heard of an eatable Margarita?

No, this isn’t your traditional glass of tequila and fruit juice cocktail that you sip casually on a usual Friday evening. Doug Laming’s Margarita is definitely much more interesting than that! As suggested by the name, this cocktail was introduced by Molecular Mixologist, Doug Laming at his experimental lab i.e. Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining, Sydney.

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Laming uses ‘Cointreau Caviar Spherification’ to create spheres of Tequila, Cointreau and syrup, which results in little ‘pearls’ of alcohol that burst in the mouth!  While the glass is only there for decoration, to actually consume this margarita, one has to lift up the salt rimmed lime and eat the pink finger lime and the two types of the caviar pearls. One contains a Souza Gold tequila and sugar syrup and the other contains Cointreau. Basically, you eat these and lick the salted lime. It’s a margarita unlike any other kind that you may have had.

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Food Review: AMBROSIA BLISS, DELHI

L 51 to 54, 2nd Floor, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi

Reviewed by Ashwin Anand

Cuisine: World cuisine

On the Menu: Twist of Bliss, Khao Suey soup, Mushroom galouti with kesari puff, Tandoori Chicken Roulade, Chicken meat ball in piri piri, Nalli da Korma, Dal Makhani

Ambrosia Bliss - Dining Area (2)

The Experience: Look, I don’t know how to describe this place. Is it a fine-dining restaurant, is it a lounge, is it a bar? Reading this, you would be forgiven for being confused and possibly discouraged. But to be perfectly frank, herein lies the charm of Ambrosia Bliss. The flamboyant fine-dining area, the humbly lit lounge, the laid-back outdoors, the private booths – there is something to fit every mood and it works well.

The first thing that strikes you as you enter the restaurant is the space. Living in Delhi, you are not used to hearing the word “spacious” in Connaught Place. But that’s exactly what you get here. The next thing to hit you in the décor which is dominated by black, white and gold. And there’s a lot of gold! But perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t seem gaudy. It looks good and suits the place.

Ambrosia Bliss - Dining Area (1)

We happened to eat there on a dry day, and began with their signature mocktail, Twist of Bliss. A mixture of cranberry juice and passion fruit soda, the drink failed to excite. I’m not a big fan of canned juice and that’s what it tasted like. The Mushroom Galouti with Kesari Puff lived up to its meaning—it melted in the mouth and was delicious, though the kesari puffs they were served on were a little tough. The Tandoori Chicken Roulade, a modified version of the popular malai tikka, starred juicy, tender chicken—one of the highlights of the evening. The Khao Suey, a personal favourite, was everything a good Khao Suey should be. Chicken Meat Balls in Piri-Piri featured meat balls and potato wedges slathered in delicious piri-piri sauce—best suited for an evening with friends, over beer. Simple, delicious, comfort food.

"Khow suey" by Tizbad2k
“Khow suey” by Tizbad2k

The main course was Dal Makhani and Nalli da Korma with garlic butter naans. Thankfully, Ambrosia Bliss joins a handful of restaurants in Delhi to deliver a delicious dal. It is just what you expect – rich, delectable and sinful! Staying true to the traditional flavours, the saffron-infused nalli da korma delivers with a bang. The gravy is rich and the meat falls off the bone. A highly recommended dish at Ambrosia Bliss. We rounded off the meal with Molten Lava Cake with Vanilla ice-cream. While the dessert wasn’t the best I’ve eaten, you can’t go wrong with oozing chocolate!

The Verdict: The food lives up to the restaurant’s name—ambrosial and blissful. The service is good, but the waiters could be trained better in understanding the food they serve. There is a large variety of starters, but the main course is limited and predominantly Indian. Presentation and finish need some working on.

Meal for two: Rs. 2,000 with Alcohol

3 Point Impression: Spacious. Comfortable. Delicious.

Check out more reviews, photos and the menu here

Ambrosia Bliss on Facebook

How Not to Eat in Florence, Italy

Posted By Travel Secrets Editor Shubhra Krishan

As someone who believes in stumbling upon great places, I decided to ditch the guide books/blogs/local advice, and plunged straight into Florence.

Big mistake.

Stepping out of the magnificent Santa Maria Novella Railway Station…

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I wended my way through the crowded streets of the city…

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asking for directions to  The Gallery Hotel Art

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Along the way, hunger pangs hit. Hard. And since I was in Italy, the fragrance of herbs and the aroma of baked bread was everywhere. Honestly, I could hardly wait to drop my bags at the hotel and get back on the streets for a bite.

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Strung along a pipe-thin lane, I spotted a string of eateries that promised big meals at incredible deals. Smiling restaurant staff stood outside their outlets, handing out colourful pamphlets that promised a free drink with pizza and seemingly endless menus.

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Photo: thepodanys.blogspot.com Used here for representational purposes only

 

I succumbed.

And regretted it minutes later. The pizza was cold and leathery, with about 3 olives that tasted as if they had been glued atop the bread a month ago. Sure, it cost me “just 4 euros” for pizza and coke, but I would rather have spent a few bucks more to get a better bite.

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I am sure the giant plastic chef standing outside the restaurant, holding that huge menu card, giggled a little when I walked in.

Moral of the story: do your research when you are going to Florence. Read helpful advice such as this. And this.

Bon Appetit!

 

A good dhaba in Amritsar, Punjab?

Located a short walk from the Golden Temple, in the Town Hall, is Bharawan da Dhaba, where we ate a hearty meal of chana masala, paneer kulcha, sweet lassi, and have never quite forgotten the taste!

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This divine food is reason enough to go to Amritsar, and no, the dhaba hasn’t paid us to write this for them!

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The name literally means “Restaurant of the brothers,” and whoever they are, they deserve a collective pat on their backs for dishing up such amazing food.

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The dhaba is always crowded, and that is a good sign. It only serves vegetarian food, but even if you are a meat lover, it is hard not to fall in love with the hearty Punjabi flavours here. Those lachcha paranthas topped with big dollops of butter…mmm!

Address: Hall Bazar, Golden Temple Out Road, Town Hall, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143001

Phone:0183 253 2575

 

The best pizza in Toronto?

Honest answer: we can’t say. Our team has toured Toronto twice and enjoyed some good slices of pizza, but a few days in a city cannot make you an authority on its best eats.

Having said that…

…We know the best resource where you can learn not only about Toronto’s best pizza, but also its best bars, bakeries, bistros, bubble tea and more!

Here it is.

BlogTo, in their own words, are: ” Toronto’s most-visited web site for local news and culture, best of lists, restaurant reviews and events. Founded in 2004, we’re a growing and diverse team of artists, baristas, bakers, tech geeks, DJs, fashionistas, comedians and people who take daily multi-vitamins. ”

About the best pizza: check out their list, and you will know where to go.

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I love Punjabi cuisine. Can you suggest a good Dhaba-style restaurant in Delhi?

You should check out Dhaba by Claridges at the DLF Place Mall, Saket. Read on to find out what TS writer Harshvardhan thought about the place and its food.

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The zesty ‘Dhaba’ by the iconic Claridges is a welcome addition to the ‘Punjabi restaurant’ family in Delhi, which I always think is surprisingly small. (Besides Punjabi By Nature, Pind Baluchi and Pandara Road, it takes a bit of head scratching to think of other ‘good’ places to go to for a hearty North Indian meal, no?)

I was pleased to see the redoubtable Ravi Saxena heading the Dhaba kitchen—a good chef guarantees good food. Make that great. Once you have feasted your eyes on the very colourful decor of this eatery, focus on the delicacies that arrive, and let your taste buds feel pampered. The black dal rivals the best in the city, and I liked that it had a bit of fire in the form of red chillies. The only mild disappointment was the Kadhi, which felt a bit bland. But then as my companion pointed out, kadhi really is a matter of individual taste, and it’s hard to agree on the ‘right’ flavour. But the rest of the fare from lassi to kababs and everything after—was undoubtedly luscious, filling and satisfying.

Dhaba

The bar is alluringly named ‘Theka’ but alas, the restaurant was still awaiting its liquor license when I went. If you haven’t been to the Dhaba yet, now is the time. I am sure they are serving Makka ki Roti and Sarson ka Saag these days. You make your booking, while I make mine!

Meal for two: Rs.1400 plus taxes

They are also at DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon and The Claridges on Aurangzeb Road, New Delhi

www.dhababyclaridges.com

Read more reviews here

This review was first published in the January-February 2014 issue of Travel Secrets Magazine.
Digital copies available online at Magzter.com

Q: I love discovering roadside eateries. Is there a good one close to Delhi?

If you enjoy a long and leisurely drive, we know just the place. And a five-star chef, no less, tipped us off on this one:  it’s called Sharma Dhaba, and it is located on the fringe of   Jaipur city. Wind your way to Sikar Road and almost anyone will be able to point you to it.

Dhabas near jaipur

Order the aloo paratha, and you’ll thank us for recommending the place. Sizzling hot and oozing filling, the paratha comes with a terrific pickle, yoghurt and subzi. The Sharma brothers have run this place for over two decades now, and the sheer number of moodhas and tables in front and at the much cleaner back section are testimony to its thumping success.

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Image: http://www.bcmtouring.com

The brothers said their best-seller is the Mawa Paratha, which comes filled with khoya and dry fruit. We didn’t particularly enjoy the idea of a sweet filling, but maybe you will.

A meal for two here will cost you about Rs. 350. And the fare is all vegetarian.

Read more about Sharma Dhaba:

www.zomato.com/jaipur/sharma-dhaba

 

Why you shouldn’t order the ‘soup of the day.’ 5 Dirty restaurant secrets: spilled!

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  • The ‘restaurant special’ or ‘soup of the day’ is often special only because they are trying to finish it off before it goes bad.
  • That slice of lemon in your drink—looks lovely, but isn’t clean. Everybody touches it, and nobody washes it. Cheers!
  • If you ask ‘Is this dish made from vegetable stock?,” many waiters will say ‘Yes,’ which is a lie. The truth is, you cannot tell the difference, so they don’t bother clarifying.
  • If you ask your waiter ‘how’s this dish,’ and she says, ‘It’s one of our most popular,’ chances are she hates it, but isn’t supposed to tell you that. Ask her to recommend a good dish instead.
  • If you’re worried about how clean the kitchen is, visit the restaurant’s loo. If that is dirty, you can be sure the kitchen is much worse.

(Secrets spilled by veteran waiters to Readers Digest magazine, USA )

A few years back, a restaurant in Tampa had a major roach problem. We don’t want anything like this happening to you.

For more nasty secrets, take a look here.

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