Monday, 29 September 2014

#Hotel Review - Comfort isn't Complicated @ Four Points By Sheraton - Now in Bangalore

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Bangalore has been witnessing the opening of a lot of new business hotels. Each very different from the other. What's common is that they belong to the 'Starwood' brand. In July, we saw the opening and launch of a quirky, trendy, vibrant, playful and tech savvy Aloft Hotels at Cesna Business Park and now is Bangalore's first Four Points by Sheraton which believes and lives by the motto - 'Comfort isn't Complicated'.

A group of bloggers were invited to experience this new business hotel in Whitefield and what better way to do it that to plan a stay over in the very middle of the week. Located in Whitefield, this Four Points by Sheraton (FPBSBengaluru) is in close proximity to ITPL and the surrounding IT/Business parks.

All I knew about this hotel was it's location and everything from there turned out to be a surprise; a good one indeed. Wow! 10 minutes drive from and to work? Awesome! I was pretty excited. I drove from work to arrive at Four Points by Sheraton at 6 PM.

Welcomed by the staff, and the necessary security check, I was guided through the lobby to the check-in desks. The lobby was very simplistically done, architect-ed to make the best of natural day light, lots of free floor space and with all this exuded an elegance of sorts. The check-in was quite fast and required no forms or what so ever to be filled; yet ensuring the security protocols (Valid ID card) were followed.
The Reception

Library Lounge @ The Lobby
The room is where comfort begins and aptly named, it was 'Comfort Room - King Bed' for me. It was well equipped right from a well stocked bar, safety locker, a work desk, iron board, tea/coffee maker, in-room service, alarm clock to wake a sound sleeper and a lot more. The overhead wall of the bed has beautiful wall paintings of places of prominence and importance around Karnataka.

Overhead Canvas
Life outside the room was quite interesting as well. Additionally to meet the business needs, #FPBSBengaluru also houses meeting spaces to host either board meetings or banquets for events; all of which come equipped with latest audiovisual technology.

The rooftop at the hotel houses a well equipped gym, a lovely pool on the rooftop on one side and an open terrace on the other being readied to provide guests with an exclusive offering and experience. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait for a while to hear about what's in store for us.

 The first floor houses 'The Best Brew' - a pub that boasts of a vast selection of lager beer (#BestBrews) from across the globe, some very interesting beer cocktails and of-course the classics. Again revolving around the theme of Karnataka, munchies like muruku, kodbelle, nippat etc are served along with the drinks on every table. 

Famous Snacks from Karnataka
Karl, the man behind the bar does a fabulous job of showcasing and concocting some wonderful beer cocktails. The food that kept beer / beer cocktails company was delicious as well. For the non-vegetarians it was the spicy and delicious chicken tikka and a fried prawn starter that was perfectly cooked to leave the prawn moist and juicy. 
Karl concocted some fabulous beer cocktails

We juggled in and out of this place until it was last order. As the cop came chasing us down (not literarily) to place our last order it only meant a round of shots to make a grand finish. Open to both resident and non-resident guests, 'The Best Brew' is a nice place to unwind after a long day at work.

On the other side of the floor is their multi-cuisine restaurant 'The Eatery' which serves both a-la carte and buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, we got to experience the masterclass by none other that Chef Michael Swamy and Chef Kurley. At this time, we not only got to hear the sizzle of the preparations but also the clicks of camera that kept going, as did the masterclass. It was an overload of starters, hence I settled for just Mutton Bhuna Ghost and an oriental fish dish with naan and noodles for dinner from the buffet spread. The food was quite good.
Chef Michael Swamy
A fabulous Prawn dish by Chef Kurley - 'Dehekte Ginger Jhinge'
Mutton Bhuna Ghost
Post dinner, it was time to call it a day and what better than an inviting #FourComfortBed - a signature mattress customized for FourPoints world over to ensure a good nights sleep. With temperature set at the right temperature, I dozed like a log knowing that I had an additional hour to sleep with office in the vicinity – A rarity for me who travels for over an hour to work. Yippee! Good Night!

Hello, Good Morning!

The bathroom was well equipped with the necessary personal care products and plush bathroom fittings. The day saver for me was the presence of a dental kit which I had missed including in my baggage.

I could have slept more but it was for the love of breakfast that I was up and running. Breakfast can be ordered to the room or like I did; head down to The Eatery for their breakfast buffet. It surely was a great way to start the day with a nice coffee, eggs made to order, juices to go along (both fresh and canned), cereals, fruits, breads, breakfast desserts and more.

All right, time for quick and hassle free check-out. After this wonderful experience at the youngest business hotel in Whitefield, I was all set to head to work close to ITPL which was less than a 10 minute drive away.

Address: 43/3 Whitefield Main Road, Bengaluru - 560066
Phone Number: +91 80 4030 1212

Monday, 22 September 2014

#Food - 'Home Delivered' via 'FoodPanda'

Twitter: @nkandhari     Facebook: Review Of Restaurants     Instagram: Review Of Restaurants 

The synergy of food and technology is quite fascinating and that's what urged me to make my first post on food and technology a few months ago. Technology is not only bringing people closer but is also making everything under the sun much more accessible. All of this giving utmost importance to the time of the consumer.

Be it websites for online shopping, movie ticket, event ticketing, travel planner, flight bookings, hotel bookings, online food delivery sites etc are all examples of technology becoming an enabler of a better lifestyle.

From my experience of online shopping, I have enjoyed the conveniences like - 
- Shopping from my seat, 
- No interruption/shadowing from a sales person, 
- A range of brands to select from, 
- Flexibility to receive my order at my doorstep, 
- Exchange / return facilities as may be necessary, 
- Pay by cash or card and many more.

I must say, "The online shopping segment of e-commerce has really grown and evolved in our country in the last few years."On similar lines, shopping for food online / home delivery is also gaining popularity. Home delivery via a phone has existed for ages and continues to be a popular mode of ordering food for home delivery or take away. In today's age of advanced technology, internet, smart phones, laptops and tablets, there clearly are various ways of getting food home delivered. 

On a lazy sunday, scouting for options to eat in the confines of my home I took it to the internet and stumbled upon FoodPanda - the online food delivery site. Exploring this site, I learnt of their global presence and soon navigated to their page specific to Bangalore City. In no time, I was on my way to confirming my first order via FoodPanda. I hit 'Confirm' and the order was placed.

The very same evening, I needed food delivered to my home again and this time, on the move, I hit the website on my mobile phone browser. Instantly, I was led to the FoodPanda mobile app download page. Most of the times having an app on the mobile make browsing much easier and again, I was all set to place an order for the second time on the very same day.

On the good side, for both the orders - 
- Since the menu cards and listed on the website, it was easy to pick and add or reduce the number of dishes being ordered.
- I received a confirmation message almost instantly notifying the order being received and confirmed by the restaurant,
- A phone call was received where the menu price had changed but was not reflected on the website,
- Cash on delivery was a mode of payment,
- The food was delivered in the estimated time mentioned upfront even before the order was placed.
- For a registered user, it gets even more convenient as one does not need to re-enter the delivery address (if it is same) as the history gets recorded and stored.

On the flip side, I wish the system got a wider listing of restaurants that are willing to deliver food at the doorstep. It would also be nice to better handle the search and filtering criteria based o n locality or area.

Unsure of the service experience and what to expect, I was a happy customer at the end of the day. 

As for the food review.. It will be up soon :)


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Event Update: 'Jamva Chalo Ji' - Parsi Food Festival @Cubbon Pavilion, ITC Gardenia, Bangalore

Twitter: @nkandhari     Facebook: Review Of Restaurants     Instagram: Review Of Restaurants 

Food festivals are the best way to experience great food and learn about their culture. With the Parsi Food Festival on at ITC Gardenia's Cubbon Pavilion, I looked forward to the Parsi food on offer but also learnt that -

(1) Parsi food is a mix of Persian food influenced by Gujarati style of cooking.
(2) Fish is a symbol of good luck and is always a dish at celebrations and feasts.

Seated on a designated table, we walked around to explore the buffet which was expansive not just in terms of the dishes but also the cuisines and courses.What centered the buffet and remained my focus was the Parsi food which had various vegetarian and non-vegetarian classics as a part of the spread. 
Parsi Food - Vegetarian Spread
Parsi Food - Non-Vegetarian Spread
For starters, there was 'Paneer Akuri' and 'Bharuchi Akuri / Egg Akuri' both eaten with bread. There was also the wonderful 'Patra-Ni-Machhi' and 'Prawn Kebabs' in starters for the non-vegetarians. What I loved about the 'Patra-Ni-Machhi' was that the fish wrapped and steamed in banana leaf parcels was the ever fabulous white pomfret. The marinate of coriander and mint successfully soaked in the flavor of the banana leaf which in all completeness paired beautifully with the perfectly steamed fish.
Caution! Not being a fillet, do expect bones as you eat.
Patra-Ni-Machhi - In the steamer
Patra-Ni-Machhi - On my plate
Prawn Kebabs
For the mains, there was 'Salli-Ma-Murgi' and 'Mutton Dhansak with Dhansak rice, kuchumber and meat balls'. 'Salli-Ma-Murgi' - spiced chicken garnished with finely sliced fried potatoes (Salli) is best enjoyed with Indian breads (Rotlis to be specific). 
Mutton Dhansak is a whole meal by itself. Traditionally, Parsi families assemble their Dhansak on their own to suit their taste buds and that's how it is served here as well. Mine was fully loaded with rice,  mutton meat balls, mutton dhansak (lots of mutton) and kachumber salad to top it all. I liked this preparation - the meat balls and mutton were delicious and the daal added to the flavor. For me, the only weak-link in this otherwise wonderful dish was the kachumber. I've known kachumber to primarily include slivers of onion (if not only onions) but here it was chunks of carrots that drove the show.
Mutton Dhansak with rice, kachumber & Mutton meat balls
For the vegetarians, there was a veg. version of dhansak (with out mutton) and the 'Tarkari-Nu-Kebab' taking the place of delicious meat balls. There was also 'Kharo Papeto' and more but my focus for this dinner remained the non-vegetarian food.

Being a part of the buffet; in addition to the Parsi section, there was a whole range of cuisines spanning the globe wide horizon right from Japanese to the American with a whole lot in between. In terms of courses, there were soups, breads, Anti-Pasti (cute little mono-portions of salads and meat), starters, mains, desserts and tea/coffee to finish with.

It is believed that no Parsi meal is complete with out their signature dessert - Lagan-Nu-Custard and 'Yes' it was there. This was my first taste of 'Lagan-Nu-Custard' and I loved this dessert. The sweetness and flavor of the cardamom was really well balanced and the texture was smooth and fluffy right in between the consistency of jelly and mousse.
Don't remember the name of this dessert
With Chef Parvez Patel of Ideal Corner, Mumbai at the helm of things - the Indian section of the buffet at Cubbon Pavilion has been taken over to represent the wonderful Parsi cuisine for the remainder of this week. So 'Yes' each night for dinner; on till the 21st of September, the buffet at Cubbon Pavilion, ITC Gardenia will feature Parsi cuisine along with its standard elaborate offering at the regular price of Rs. 1600 plus taxes.

Address: No. 1, Residency Road, Bengaluru - 560025
Phone Number: +91 80 2211 9898

Friday, 5 September 2014

Kashmiri Food Festival: Kashmiri Wazwan @ The Pink Poppadom, Hyatt Bangalore

Twitter: @nkandhari     Facebook: Review Of Restaurants     Instagram: Review Of Restaurants 

Kashmiri Wazwan is a meal crafted specially for Kashmiri weddings and celebrations. It's an extravagant affair and a feast for both the vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. It has always been on my list of foods to try. Well, this statement holds good until a year ago when on one fine day, I got to experience the wazwan at a specially curated foodie event by Suresh Hinduja. It was love at first taste. 

Again, Suresh Hinduja the force behind wazwan in Bangalore; this time has teamed up with Chef Gautam Chaudhry of The Pink Poppadom, Hyatt Bangalore, M.G. Road to curate a fabulous Kashmiri Food Festival offering the wazwan meal. I flipped at the chance to experience this extravagance once again and only realized I loved it more that I ever did.

What makes this event special is the fact that, there are specific ingredients and dishes that are being flown down right from Kashmir to add to the authenticity of the experience. On only till the 7th of September for dinners, the food here has all the ingredients to teleport you to the magical land of Kashmir. 
Chef Gautam Chaudhry 
At 'The Pink Poppadom' it was an evening of deliciousness, excellence and interesting insights on the famous Kashmiri Wazwan by Suresh Hinduja. We took a good 2.5 hours to go over this dinner and all that is required from an individual is a serious appetite.

The start was announced with the arrival of 'Tabakh Maaz' and 'Murgh Gadh' soon to be followed by the 'Nadru Kabab' and 'Chaman Pakoda' for the vegetarians. I got to try all of them and my personal favorites were the 'Tabak Maaz' - tender ribs the meat of which melted in the mouth and the 'Nadru Kabab' that was so subtle in flavor and was enjoyed best with 'Doon Chetin' - a walnut chutney made in curds flavored with cumin seeds. What surely was a surprise was the super tender and succulent 'Murgh Gadh' but for me, its 'Tabakh Maaz' all the way for the inherit flavor of the meat itself.

In soup, it was the delicious 'Gosht Yakhini Shorba' which clearly had the wonderful flavor of the lamb broth, yogurt and hints of saffron. For vegetarians, there is a 'Khumb aur Pista ki Yakhani'.
Left: 'Khumb aur Pista ki Yakhani'; Right: 'Gosht Yakhani Shorba'
Mains, started the nontraditional way and this was done intentionally to enhance the dining experience. Normally the last of the mains to be served; 'GhushtaBa' arrived first for the sole reason that a dish as wonderful as this is best enjoyed on a nearly empty stomach rather than a point where the wazwan has our stomach and mind hitting the food wall. We were warned of the magnitude of the food yet to arrive but were so mesmerized by the 'GhushtaBa' that there was no stopping us from asking for the second helping. 

In addition to the 'GhushtaBa', mains also included the ever famous 'Roganjosh' - a classic Kashmiri preparation of lamb curry, 'Dhaniwal Murgh' for the non-vegetarians and in vegetarian it was 'Rawangan Chaman' (Paneer), 'Nadru Yakhani' (lotus stems in thin yogurt curry), 'Mutter Haddar' (whole button mushrooms and green peas), 'Dum Aloo' (in a spicy red gravy) and again the classic - 'Rahmah' (needs no introduction).

Accompanying the mains were the traditional Kashmiri breads which included the really soft and fuffy 'Gilafi Kulcha' and the fabulous 'Bakharkhani' rich in flavors of cashew and aniseed. In rice, there is steamed rice and the delicately flavored 'Kashmiri Pulao'.

For dessert it is 'Apple Firni' which is a Kashmiri twist to the classic firni and includes chunks of apple in the flavored rice pudding. A Kashmiri meal cannot end with a nice hot cup of 'Kahwa' - Kashmiri green team flavored with green cardamoms, cinnamon and of course saffron.

Priced at Rs. 1400 + taxes for non-vegetarians and Rs. 1250 + Taxes for vegetarians, the spread is possibly the best that can be experienced.

What more! At a special price of Rs. 500 get unlimited beer and at Rs. 750 its Wine.


Address: Hyatt Bangalore M.G. Road, 1/1 Swami Vivekanda Road, Next to MG Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore - 560008
Phone Number: +91 80 4936 1234