Sunday, 26 August 2012

Eating Out-Idli House, Kings Circle, Mumbai

Who wants breakfast ??

Generally regarded as the most important meal of the day, a perfect breakfast goes a long way in making the day productive.

However, a perfect breakfast also sets the tone for a long, leisurely, and lazy weekend.

The problem, with most cities, is that they do not have good breakfast joints. A lot of eating out places do not open before lunch. The reason can attributed to the fact that most cities rarely have the breakfast culture. These days, its just from bed to work and then back to bed. If at all one gets the chance to eat a hearty meal, it is often with the stress of having to drop the knife and fork and grab the briefcase.

Thus, to get a good breakfast joint in a mad rush city, is akin to finding that elusive oasis on a desert.

One good place in Mumbai I discovered years back is Idli House. Located near King's Circle, its a small little joint.

To begin with, the place has just 3 tables and a small counter (in case you have room only to stand). Behind is a tiny kitchen. 

Now, do not bother asking for the menu card. As the place's name suggests, you have only Idlis on offer. A great variety of them.

Place your order. Within minutes, you are bought freshly steamed idlis. Choose your accompaniments. Sambhar, chutney, kadhi are all there, waiting to be consumed. A tray with coriander powder, chilli powder (gunpowder), sesame and coconut oil is also provided. The onus of trying out various combinations lies on you.

The moment you start eating is when the glorious realization takes places , that you just cannot stop. Delightful idlis too. Idli steamed in jackfruit leaves (called Khotto I think), Idli Upma, Pepper Idli, Butter Idli, Vegetable Idli. it goes on and on.

The magic lies in devoting exclusive attention to only idlis. The philosophy of the kitchen is to not have anything which is fried. Which is why you get soft, melt in the mouth,and really good steamed idlis here. To cap things off, they have very good filter coffee. 

The rates are very very nominal. Simple no frills service. The better part is, they charge extra for any wastage of food. I say, though, who would want to waste such delicious, tender idlis ?. Also, they have discounts for students who bring along their school/college I.D card.

If you would like to try out something like Dosas or Vadas, you could head across to the opposite side to Cafe Mysore or Madras Cafe. However, this place is one that should be experienced on its own.


For those heading in from South Mumbai, take a train to Matunga railway station (Central Railway) from CST. Or a train to King's Circle (which comes on the CST-Andheri route).

From Matunga, head to Kings Circle. It is right among the line of shops along the circle. Same for Kings Circle.

From Thane, to Matunga, same way.


Kings Circle,

Aurora Theatre

Garnish Restaurant

Khalsa College

Hope this Google Earth depiction makes things clearer.


I do not have photographs, hence I am going to link this piece with some other blog / review posts.


 Rediff Review

 Eating Out in Bombay

 Idli House- Menu

 Idli House-Burpp Review

Do check out the above links to, it has some wonderful pictures and content.

All in all, a wonderful place. My suggestion is to head hear on a rainy morning, have a hearty meal and get back to laze while its pouring sheets outside.

Cheers :)


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Eating Out- Shree Datta Snacks, Panvel, Navi Mumbai

In  some ways, life is about combinations. The combination as a whole adds value to life. Any individual element, alone, would render it void.

Take, for example, Vodka and Pink Floyd. Or Brownies and Ice-Cream. Batman and Robin.Or so on and so forth.

Having grown up in a place where the monsoon is very eagerly awaited..perhaps more than most places on the planet.. I have another combo. In fact most people recognize this one.

Monsoon + Hot Tea Snacks

One of the most awesome combos ever, I had the privilege of experiencing it again this weekend.

The place I am talking about is Shree Datta Snacks located in Panvel, New Bombay.

Headed there on a breezy, cloudy and rainy morning. A good half an hour drive along scenic, lush green roads.

Even at around 8.30 in the morning, the place was very very crowded. Do not go expecting to find parking..either for your car..or yourself. 

Simple fare. For the uninitiated, allow me to give a brief description of a few dishes.

Vada Pav: Potato patty stuffed in between bread, with chilli garlic powder. Famously called as the "Indian Hamburger".

Misal: A gravy dish made from different kinds of pulses, topped with crisps and chopped onions. Spicy.

Sabudhana Khicdi: A dish made from Semolina, with finely chopped green chillies and mint chutney. 

The menu is very very simple. The prices are even cheaper. You could have a delicious, piping hot breakfast at as low as 60 bucks.

The amazing weather really enhanced the experience. 

The directions to the place are as below:

From Bombay: Head towards New Bombay on the Sion Panvel Highway, continue on towards Panvel. 

The Bombay Pune expressway starts right after the Mcdonalds Drive Thru. Go under the expressway and take a right turn.

There is a fork in the road, the right fork leads to J.N.PT, the left towards Panvel. Take the left fork, and follow the road straight upto the highway for Goa. On the way, you would pass the ONGC colony on the right. 

In a short while (say 10-15 minutes after taking the left fork), you would reach another junction, where one road heads to Goa and another towards Pune. Right at the corner of this intersection, you would find an ultimate experience.

Attaching a picture depicting the place:

Location of Shree Datta Snacks
Shree Datta Snacks-Google Earth

Do make it a point to visit this place, whenever you are around in the area. Preferably for breakfast.

To complete my equation above: 

Monsoon + Hot Tea Snacks = Magic

Have Fun :)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Chef Tales- Dal Amti

It had been a while since I had ventured out into the kitchen to experiment. The past Thursday, with office going at a slow pace and almost the weekend, I finally got the the opportunity. 

Had read a recipe of Dal Amti. It seemed simple enough, hence I went all out and made it.

This is a typical gem of the diverse Maharashtrian cuisine. Its simple to make, light on the tummy, and delicious.

Here is the recipe:

  1. 1 cup toor dal
  2. 1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  3. A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. 1 sprig curry leaves (kadipatta)
  6. 2 whole red chillies
  7. 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  8. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  9. 1 tbsp jaggery
  10. 2 tbsp oil
  11. Grated coconut
  12. Coriander leaves, finely chopped
  13. Salt to taste
  14. Water as required
  1. Wash the dal, add hing and turmeric powder and pressure cook with about 2.5 cups of water. Generally, 6 whistles is enough for the dal to get nicely cooked.
  2. In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves and the whole red chillies. Fry for a while, till the curry leaves are no longer crackling.
  3. Add the cooked dal, chopped green chillies and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the flame, add the jaggery, tamarind pulp and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring well such that the tamarind and jaggery have combined well. Add salt as per liking.
  5. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Lastly, add the grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves as garnish.
This dal is best served along with jowar bhakri, however you can serve it with rice or chappatis.

Happy Eating :)


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Chef Tales-Mashed Potatoes

Blessed are those who eat well. And further blessed are those who love food and want to make others eat well. 

A family that loves cooking , I guess my love for this hobby runs in my genes. Or blood.

The myriad of cuisines available to experiment with, a little twist here,a dash here, some color around...Cooking is wonderfully rewarding..for the heart, senses, for the taste and for the joy.

I recently was trying to perfect the "Perfect Mashed Potatoes"..  during this, I have come up with a basic recipe. Should be enough for a breakfast side, but may not be as perfect for the connoisseur.

Here we go..


  1. 6.5 inch baking dish / glass dish with a lid.
  2.  3 medium sized firm potatoes.
  3. Good quality olive oil
  4. Garlic powder
  5. Chilli Flakes
  6. Thyme
  7. Crushed Black Pepper
  8. Bits of Smoked Cheddar Cheese
You could use prepackaged spices, I chose the brand McCormick


  1.  Cut the potatoes into quarters. First lengthwise, then across the width.
  2. Place the quarters in the baking dish, fill half the dish with water.
  3. Cover and cook the potatoes on high heat in a microwave oven for about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Allow them to cool for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes.
  6. Do not drain the liquid in which the potatoes were cooked. Instead, after peeling the potatoes, run the liquid through them, swirl the potatoes for a while and then drain the liquid.
  7. In a separate bowl, add a bit of olive oil. Dip your fingers in the olive oil and start mashing the potatoes in your palm. I understand that it is messy, I understand that you may have a hundred equipment to mash potatoes, but the love and affection is translated to taste through the hand.
  8. Grease the baking dish with olive oil. Transfer the mashed potatoes. Further mash until the texture resembles a pie. The potatoes should have formed a white color by now.
  9. Add the spices with a tiny bit of olive oil, mix well and add.
  10. Add small bits of the cheese, and pop it back into the microwave for about 3-4 minutes.
  11. You will know you are done when you get a lovely aroma. :)
Have it single, or as a side to a good omelet or scrambled eggs. 

Some methods add milk, about half a cup while mashing the eggs. That is a delicious variation too.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Eating Out-Leopold Cafe, Mumbai.

The title of the post hopefully makes my intent clear. Well, you could interpret this as my experience / or a feedback.

All right, here we go.

I had been wanting to visit Leopold for a very long time. Though I had been past the place many times, I seldom got a chance to visit. Thus, I was obviously excited when I recently visited with my parents.

Navigating Mumbai city's traffic and the long distance of about 37 km took us about an hour and half. We were in my most favorite part of Mumbai, that is Fort and South Bombay. Childhood memories came rushing back.

Spent some time on Colaba Causeway browsing shops. I was more interested in getting to Leopold.

And soon enough we got there. Place was cramped. And a huge number waiting to get in.

Okay, here is the nutshell of it all.

We went for the :

1. Chilly Paneer (Dry)

The dish is sensational as such. Soft, fresh paneer.. good piece size.. delightful indeed.

Verdict: Go for it.

2.Prawns Butter Garlic:

Juicy Prawns (medium) drenched in melted butter and lots of garlic. If you are a butter garlic fan, look no further.

Verdict: Go for it.

3. Chilly Chicken (Dry): 

Firm, bite size pieces. Okayish. The Paneer version was way better

Verdict: Avoidable.

4. Fusilli Alfredo with Pan Fried Veggies:

Creamy, and colorful. Treat to watch. Tastes just as good.

Verdict: Could give it a try.

5. Chicken Penne with Sundried Tomato:

Large chunks of chicken, and creamy sauce. Yummy.

Verdict: Worth trying out.

6. Double Chocolate Desire:

White and Dark chocolate. Texture-wise, something like the choco lava cake. 

Verdict: Could give it a miss.


If you are those romantic types who prefer candle light dinners, then sorry..Leopold is not your kind of place.

If you have worked like a dog through the week.. and your stress cells have ruptured..or you are brain dead.. then this is THE place to unwind.

Crowd is a mixed kind. Small tables set close to each other give a cosy feeling. Though a range of spirits are available, beer is the obvious choice. You have many people going in for the canister tower with a tap. Once you get there, you will know what I mean.


A bottle of Budweiser cost me about Rs 240 (base price). 

Deserts are around Rs 150. Starters around Rs 300 for veg. Non-veg around Rs 300-500.

Veg Main Course around Rs 350. Non-Veg around Rs.450

You could pick up Leopold memorabilia like T-shirts, mugs etc. A T-shirt is Rs 500

You could check out the detailed menu at the below link.

Also,the above website gives further information on Leopold.

Location: On Colaba Causeway, after Cafe Mondegar.

Head straight from Bombay VT station, keep going south till you cross Flora Fountain, Kala Ghoda, and the Jehangir Art Gallery. Colaba Causeway is perpendicular to the right turn leading to Gateway of India. Once on the Causeway, you cannot miss the large lettering of Leopold Cafe.

Check out the following link too:

All in all, a must visit at least once kind of place. The bullet marks from the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks are still visible on the ceiling and glass counter. That itself adds to the hype.

Attaching two pics:




Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A positive work environment

This one is going to be short.

A recent incident at my workplace got me thinking.

9th March i.e the recent Friday. I had mixed emotions while going to work. Sad as I was going after a public holiday. Happy as it would be followed by the 'LIFE SAVING'   Saturday and Sunday. Well, little did I know fate planned for me to work on both of those days.

Well, to be honest, I was glad to have assigned work for the day. It would help pass time quickly. Also, I was glad to shoulder responsibility. I began my set of duties, with occasional chatting among my colleagues.

Lunch was splendid, packed from home. I was struggling then, with sleep overcoming me. Food prepared by parents, with love, do that you. Was glad for the strong tea around 2.30 pm for bringing me back to my senses.

Soon, I was left with one last hour to go, before the weekend. I dropped my plans of staying beyond 5 pm by then. Working extra wont significantly help today, I told myself.

Just then, an e-mail popped up on screen.

" Good Bye friends, till we meet again".

One of my colleagues, was spending his last day in the organization. Now, people go and come all the time in my line of work. I was accustomed to seeing such messages.

The message was a standard goodbye letter written to colleagues. It was heartfelt and sincere. A warm feeling was evoked.

A few minutes later, one of the higher management staff responded to the message. He thanked the employee for his contributions and wished him luck for the future.

He made the critical mistake of misspelling the employee's name.

Now, you could say that its only a spelling mistake. It is trivial and may be the top official was busy with a handful of work, hence it was just a typo. As valid as that case may be, I do not think a typo could be counted as trivial. Certainly not in a situation like this.

Imagine, an employee, putting in hard years of service at an organization. In those years, a person is transformed totally. He / she acquires skills. Knowledge is enhanced. Memories are created. Life-long friendships are fostered.

The last day of employee at any organization is sure to stir up a multitude of emotions within the individual. Happiness at having worked hard and contributing to the organization. Sorrow at leaving the company and comfort enjoyed among colleagues. Happiness again at better prospects on the road ahead. Fear possibly about the road ahead. Confusion about company exit policies. An uncertain feeling about how to say goodbye.

However, the employee would have felt plain embarrassed. Why, I myself was feeling that way. A single typo obliterated whatever little genuineness would have been there in wishing the employee luck for the future. It seemed as if the boss wanted to write a reply, just for the sake of writing it. It also shows the carelessness of the boss. Well, the boss just made himself look poor in front of the entire firm.

That just got me thinking. How sincere is the workplace today ?

Is it just about profitability, positive cash flow etc ? People work to earn a living. But is there any point of life which is not shared with others ? Many at the workplace discuss their personal lives. But just how many are sincere about it ? Is it all right to forget an employee just because you care more about running the firm ?

I do not claim to be perfect with emotions. No one is. For all you know, this case could be genuine with probably no one at fault.

My point however is, today the result oriented competition, is definitely killing the spirit of youth within us. It has come to a point that all we care about is ourselves. Our work. Our lives. Well, one could say that there is no way out.

Except if we make a conscious effort from our side. Sincerity should never be strained. Strive to maintain the atmosphere at the workplace calm. Happiness multiplies. Unfortunately, sorrows multiply too. A positive relationship with everyone goes a long way.

Its important as today, in a world filled with uncertainty, you never know who has got your back.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Photo Blog- Dubai

A collection of some wonderful images of the city of Dubai.

Enjoy :) :)