Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beyond Indus - Beyond Awesome

Was here as a part of preview of the Ola Prime restaurant week. I had chosen to dine here for the silliest reasons:

1. I turned vegetarian for two months and I believed if there was any cuisine that would appeal to me, this was most likely to be it. 

2. Forgot to add, not just vegetarian- but no desserts too. I assumed it would be easier to skip desserts when dining at a North Indian cuisine restaurant. A judgement I was grossly incorrect about and regretted when I saw my friend eat desserts like there was no tomorrow. 

About the food:
We were served with paapad and an in-house pre-meal appetiser. This appetiser or chips made from Indian breads was crispy and combined fabulously well with the hung curd-garlic-olive dip. 


1. Brocolli Simla mirch or cheesy brocolli
This was well cooked brocolli with a healthy cheese infusion; never tasted anything better made of Brocolli. Loved it! 

2. Lal mirch paneer tikka
Moderately soft paneer chunks with a good spicy flavour. 

3. Hara bara kebab
Not my favourite among the three, but nailed it for sure. 

Main course:
1. Aloo tee wadi da bharta - on a normal day, I would have definitely never ordered a dish with potatoes in it, that too at a luxury diner. But this, is by far (when I say far, I really mean far) the most interesting and tasty use of potatoes I have come across in North Indian/ Punjabi cuisine. 

The curry is made with mashed potatoes and I literally had to snatch my share from the otherwise carnivore friend. 

2. Paneer lababdar
A perfect contrast for the aloo curry, even-though both aren't the spicy options. They nailed the lababdar and it had the right balance; it's one dish I love but find overbearing in a few restaurants - this was fortunately not the case here. 

3. Kadai vegetables
This was the extremes to which a temporary convert carnivore would go. That said, it was an extreme I was impressed with. 

Breads: tried pudina parata, chilli olive naan and garlic naan. As always, would rate the garlic naan best. 

Vegetable pulao - Typically, the vegetables are tossed in tawa and mixed to make pulao; this was possibly the reason for the vegetables being marginally saltier than the rice. A decent offering minus this inconsistency.

Did not eat them, but a part of me ached as I saw my friend having a mini-meal with my share of desserts included. 

A relatively small restaurant if one was to judge by the carpet area. The interiors are however done gracefully and definitely sets the theme for the cuisine. 

The restaurant week is possibly the best time to try for cost conscious customers. But even otherwise, this is a place worth visiting on special occasions. 

On a summary note, this restaurant is the gleaming highlight in the last couple of weeks I have spent as a vegetarian and is one restaurant I would recommend all my north Indian cuisine loving vegetarian friends to try.

Fern Residency, Mumbai

Star Category - 4 star
Location - Chembur, Mumbai
Had stayed at Fern Residency as a part of my official visit to Mumbai a couple of months ago.

About the Hotel:
Its a four star eco-tel business hotel and shares quarters with a club; the club partners as the gym and and pool facilities provider to the hotel.

Located in Chembur and a stay here would be advisable if the locality has a reason of interest for you. Personally, I found dining options limited in the neighborhood and neither was I inclined to go in search for one after long work days.

Recommended For:Business travelers

The room rents are priced between INR 6-7k. I paid different rates as my last day's booking was through an offer I found on trip-advisor, while other days were through direct bookings.

Personally, I found that to be a tad premium given their setup and offerings.

Hospitality & Service (8/10)
The staff are pleasant and welcoming; check-in, stay extension and checkout process was smooth and I have absolutely no complaints about their service.

The first night I noticed the washroom had a minor fix was required, which they had got done without request and seamlessly during the daily room cleanup.

Room (Facilities and comfort)
The room had the basic essentials and maintenance and quality was appreciable. However, the wifi seldom worked during my stay here and I was told they had some server issues; for a business traveler these are certain basic essentials and a failure for 3 nights is impermissible.

Secondly, the beds were excessively soft. Like I could feel a part of myself drown into cotton every-time I neared it. While this is an initial wow factor, frequent hotel users would agree that excessively soft beds does give you back pain; or at least if you have a ponch like me and have a habit of lying on your tummy.

Their breakfasts were a big pass for me and that did not motivate me to try their 'paid dinner'; despite it having a slightly better spread. The masala dosa and chole poori were the two decent offerings in their breakfast menu.

On a summary note, a decent business class hotel but one that I would not be motivated to visit again.