Virgin Courtyard – Chandigarh’s Chak de Italiano 

If you are a foodie then Chandigarh should be a must visit on your cards. One of the best time to visit the ‘City Beautiful’ is during the start of Winter season.

Evenings are very pleasant with the mercury hovering slightly below 10 degrees. If you are from that part of the country where you don’t get the chance to take out your winter clothes then you will be super happy. The jacket that you had bought and kept safely secured in your wardrobe will come to your help while you are in Chandigarh.

 The first thing that comes to your mind while thinking of the cuisine here will be Paranthas, Kulchas, Chole Batture, Sarson ka saag & makkai di roti, dahi bhale, etc. When I was planning to have my dinner I had all these dishes in my mind. I started searching for the best restaurants in Cgarh. There were some great Punjabi cuisine options which popped up when I hit the search button.  My eyes caught the attention of a restaurant named “Virgin Courtyard” 😉 . This was rated as one of the top 10 restaurants in Chandigarh. I clicked on the link to check the details. To my surprise it turned out to be a fine dine Italian restaurant.

I continued my search for other restaurants to find out a place serving authentic Punjabi food. But somehow I was impressed and I was tempted to visit the Italian restaurant. May be this is what you call love at first sight and that too when you see a Virgin courtyard :).

Virgin Courtyard is nestled in one corner of Sector 7 . The moment you reach the entrance of the restaurant you will get the vibe that this is a place where you can sit back, relax and enjoy your food at peace. Since I visited this place on Monday and that too at 10 pm there were not much of occupants.

The flooring of the entry point is designed in such a way that you get the feel of the European cobble streets  decorated with pebble stones underneath. This is enhanced with a small water body flowing beneath the entrance. You will be greeted with colourful wall art works predominantly in blue color on top of the white walls. The décor and ambience is top notch and we’ll maintained considering that this place is 5 years old. They have a covered area and an open area seating as well. I chose to occupy a table on the outside to enjoy the cold weather. Candle lights and mashals are the only lights that will guide you to be table. The whole place is very cosy and will make you wish that you were here with your partner to enjoy the awesome weather and ambience.  

Wine is quintessential to enjoy the Italian cuisine. This place offers you some good variety of wines. I placed my order to the soft spoken waiter. Breads, Italian cheese and pesto sauce were served complimentary. Mushroom soup was served hot and preparation was typical European style – light flavors with thin slices of mushroom. Menu gives you lot of options to choose from in all categories including mocktails, cocktails, beverages, appetizer, main course which includes pizza, pasta, ravioli, risotto, etc. They also have healthy preparation available like grilled food served with veggies and sauces. Portions were good enough for two people. Luckily, though I was hungry, I didn’t order lot of food and still struggled to finish the portions all alone. 

Ambience, decor – Awesome

Food and Beverages – Classic

Quantity – Generous

Service – Excellent

Price- Luxurious

I had a wonderful evening  at the Virgin Courtyard. I am sure this place will be crowded during occasions especially Valentine’s Day.

Virgin Courtyard Details

Kill No Kalories – It’s a Crime – Keep eating and Save the Calories 

‘Burn Calories’ is the trend everywhere.

People are doing everything possible to burn the precious calories, earned from eating & drinking at some point in time, by joining a gym or following a strict diet, etc. 

I was surprised to see a restaurant which has propped up two months back in Thane which has gone against this tide. 

“Kill No Kalories” – yes you read it right. That’s the name of this cosy small cafe started by the Bhatt brothers – Drupad and Yashit. 

The ambience and decor is apt. Wall decor contains captions which will bring a smile to your face and will make you decide that this is my “Cheat Day”.

The moment you enter the cafe you will be a bit taken aback by seeing the small tables and chairs. But it will hardly take you couple of  minutes to feel happy and decide not to ‘Kill’ the person who recommended this restaurant. Outlet can take maximum 20-25 people at a time but still the ambience will make you feel relaxed.

Coming to the business side of the restaurant :- This is a classic example of Vertical integration. The Bhatt brothers have been busy with their Food blog ‘TheHoggingBhat’ for more than a year now. Tasting food and reviewing the cuisines and restaurants made them realize that they also can try their hand in opening a restaurant of their own. Thus they started “Kill No Kalories (KNK)”. The experience of reviewing lot of Restaurants have helped them realize that it’s just not about the ambience and the food. It’s a combination of Music + Food + Board Games + Ambience which gives the perfect vibe to this cafe. 

So irrespective of with whom you are visiting the cafe, friends, family or alone, there are enough options – Ludo, tic tac toe, Rubik’s cube, Uno cards, etc. to make use of the waiting time (after you order the food).

The music played in the background is also awesome. Dhrupad said that they do perform sometimes in the evening. I would definitely visit once to see them perform. 

The main attraction of a restaurant is always food. Kill No Kalories offer you Shakes, Coffee, Green tea, Fries, Burgers, Pasta, Pizza, European rice preparations, Maggi and Desserts.

Injected Samosa Maggi is the talk of the Town and I visited this place to try that in specific. 

The combo of Samosa + Maggi serving with a syringe filled with cheese. Good idea to bring together on one plate the two most sought out snacks. Maggi + veggies + samosa + cheese – it won’t disappoint you for sure.

I also tried the basic Cheese fries and Spinach rice. Cheese fries was crispy and classic. Spinach rice was served along with couple of garlic bread. Rice was cooked along with some herbs like Rosemary which brings the European feel to the plate. The preparation was typical European – slightly bland. So if you want it to be more spicy and salty then you need to tell them while placing the order. I liked the Spinach rice in it’s original form. 

Quantity of servings of all dishes were adequate for two people. 

Desserts and shakes will tickle your cravings. 

No meal is complete without a Dessert. KNK special shake, Oreo shake, Nutella shake and deep fried Oreo with ice cream are few of the drinks and desserts in the offering. The way it is served in a glass mug with waffers, Oreo and ice cream will put you in a spot – whether to spoil the decorated dessert serving or to dig into it straight away as you will not be able to resist it. 

(KNK pic of Deep fried Oreo with ice cream )

Overall Kill No Kalories is a must visit to relax, smile, play some board games, listen to good music and eat without guilt – Buring Calories can take a one day break ;). 

Location :- Ghantali Devi Road, Near Sai Baba Mandir (adjacent to Ram Maruti Road)

Rates are inclusive of taxes 🙂

Street Food Diaries : Jai Malhar – Hot bhajiyas and Vada pav near the lake 

Gaimukh Chowpaty – The new upcoming hang out place in Thane is bustling with lot of visitors especially in the weekends. There are also lot of people who stop by this place on weekdays to have a cutting chai / snacks / smoke a cigarette. 
Though it is an upcoming spot in Thane , still it lacks eatery joints / restaurants. So when you visit Gaimukh Chowpaty – the first question that arises in your mind is ‘kya khaaye aur idhar se khayega toh pet karaab hoga ?’ 

So if you are fond of Bhajiya and Vada pav then there is a good option.

Visit  ‘Jai Malhar Snacks Corner’ – small eatery joint managed by a husband and wife. Though it is a ‘tapri’ they have managed good hygiene conditions. They sell hot Vada pav and Bhajiya . You should try their kandha (onion) bhajiyas. They also serve the small pakodas / bhajiyas. 

The best thing is the way they manage to serve hot food all the time. They keep the basic preparation ready – aloo stuffing required for Vada pav. Depending upon the order they dip the aloo stuffing in besan atta and then fry it. So you always end up getting hot food. This is served along with sauteed green chilies, chutney and onion. The chutney is also yummy. 

So next time you visit Thane Gaimukh Chowpaty – make sure to try the Vada pav and bhajiyas of ‘Jai Malhar’. I am sure that you will end up asking ‘ek aur Vada pav dijiye bhaiya’. 

Street Food Diaries :Healthy sumptuous Litti Chokha 

Health, Fitness, diet – In the last 2 – 3 years everyone has become conscious about their lifestyle. For some it is about maintaining their ‘body’ and for some it is about keeping themselves fit to increase their ‘shelf life’.  Many people make new year resolution as well on these topics. But having said that, if you are a foodie then the urge to eat outside and that too at a Street food outlet becomes the barrier in accomplishing the said lifestyle or resolution.

Being a foodie myself, who is trying to get in to a healthy lifestyle,  it was really tough not to eat from my favourite street food stalls.
I was delighted when I figured out that there is a healthy street food option – Litti Chokha.
Litti Chokha – the staple food of farmers and peasants in Bihar, UP and some parts of MP is a healthy and tasty dish. The earthiness of the dish will give you a rustic feel.
The dish itself is healthy and you can’t ask for anything better when all the ingredients are prepared on a grill.
Prabhudas , owner of Maa Durga snacks corner, has been running his small make shift street side outlet for the past 4-5 years. His outlet is located in Thane West opposite to Kashinath Ghanekar auditorium.

There are 2-3 ways of making the flour for Litti. The Litti made by Prabhudas is made out of sattu (bengal gram, chickpeas). Once the flour is prepared by him it is then rolled in to small balls (Littis). These small balls are then grilled on top a layer of charcoal. Chokha is made out of eggplant (baingan), potatoes , tomatoes, onion, chillies and some special masala ingredients mixed with a tinge of mustard oil. Eggplant, potato and tomato are grilled and then smashed to prepare the Chokha. There is no frying involved which makes the dish healthier.

Litti Chokha gives your body fibre, nutrients and proteins. It is low on calories and glycemic index as well.

4 Littis, Chokha, onion and chutney is served in each plate. One plate of Litti Chokha will cost you Rs. 40/-. In case you need some ghee on top then you need to pay extra Rs.10/-.

The customers at Maa Durga snacks corner includes auto drivers , professionals, people who are lazy to cook on weekends and health conscious people like me who want to eat out 🙂

It’s Tea Time : Ketley Brews

The first thing that comes to your mind after a 3-4 hours of shopping with your family on a rainy day is ‘Garam adhrak Chai Chahiye’. This craving for Tea on a Sunday afternoon led us to this small Restaurant in Thane.

Ketley Brews and Bites – as the name suggests – they brew some lovely varieties of tea and also put together good food as well. It is located near to the TCS Campus on Pokhran Road Nos.2 Majiwada, and focuses on Speciality Tea offerings.

The first thing that impressed me was the ambience of the place:- Great décor, creative wall painting, low floor seating and unique ‘Ring For Tea’ concept to call the Waiter. The restaurant can take maximum of 25 – 30 customers at a time.

I realized that there are a lot of Tea options available in the market other than the regular Ginger / Black and Green Tea.

Ketley has a long list of tea varieties in their Menu which ranges from the basic Assam Tea, Ginger Tea, and Cardamom to exotic Silver Needle White Tea, Ice Wine Tea, Beehive Twist and The Red Dose.

The moment you are seated – you will be provided a small bell. To place orders you just need to “Ring For Tea” Bell and the Waiter will come to your table.

We tried the Ginger Tea and Apple Mint flavoured Organic Green Tea. Both tasted really well. Apple Mint Green Tea was infused with Apple flavour and the taste will leave you wanting for more.

The urge to try the food menu made us convert this visit to a very early Dinner (5 pm) outing.

Their Food menu comprises of Starters, Main Course and Dessert. Menu comprises of Veg and Non Veg options – Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Burgers, etc.

We ordered Maggi, Cheese Nuggets, French Fries and finished our meal with Risotto and Garlic Bread.

Maggi was tasty – the authentic taste of Maggi was maintained.

Cheese Nuggets – Yummy

French Fries – was happy to see thin strips fried with less amount of oil.

Risotto – They serve Caribean, Jamaican, Spiced Greek Yogurt, Hot Chilli Tomato to name a few from the list. We tried the Hot Chilli Tomato and indeed it was real Spicy.

Overall a good cosy place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Though the plan for having Rs.10/- Tea turned out to be Rs.1000/- dinner outing we were content.

“Ketley Brews & Bites: Let’s Brew Happiness”

Price: I felt that the rates were slightly on a higher side but the ambience and taste of tea + food somewhat makes it for the price you pay.

Service: Good

Parking: Since there is road work happening you will have to park your car on the opposite side of the road. It is a challenge till the time the road work is not completed. 

Iyer’s Food Corner : South Indian Delicacies​ : Started by Three Sisters 

Three sisters, hailing from Pudukad a small town in Thrissur Kerala, who were in to different walks of life have come together to open up a South Indian Restaurant in Thane. 

 All of us who are part of the corporate world have at least once thought of quitting our job and starting some business on our own. The same thought has given life to this new restaurant. Three sisters – one who was working with a MNC , second one a homeopathic doctor and third one who was running a play school came together to open an authentic South Indian Iyer Restaurant.

Coming to the restaurant offerings : The moment you taste the Sambhar you will know that this is real TamBrahm offering. 

Menu includes idli, vadai, dosa, rice thali, etc. Rasam vadai was yummy. Masala dosa also was tasty. 

They have different varieties of rice in their menu : Tamarind rice, curd rice , lemon rice, coconut rice, Sambhar rice and rasam rice. Definitely got to taste all of these in the coming days. 

South Indian Thali and Carrier meals are available as well. 

Cost : 300 for two people 

Location : Soham Plaza, Manpada (same lane as the Bikaner shop)

Timing : 7:30 am to 10 pm

Weekly holiday : Thursday

Parking : It is a challenge on that Manpada road but if you are lucky then you will get a place to park your car. For two wheelers it shouldn’t be an issue.

Payment options : as of now they accept only Cash

Contact : +917738311856 / +919920043654

If you are a South Indian cuisine lover then you should definitely try this place.

Oh yes.. the filter Coffee is a must try.. Iyer Cappuccino 🙂 

Iyer’s Food Corner : superaa iruke …!!! 

(Gun powder – mulagapodi was missed the most, tomato chutney / onion chutney would be a welcome addition, felt that the dosa aata was slightly sweet – hope they make necessary changes)

Street Food Diaries : Loni (White Butter) Dosa – Davangere Special

Being a South Indian myself, normally I don’t get satisfied with the taste of Dosas i get to eat outside – either at restaurants or at the street side stalls.

Then I came across this variety of Dosa, a popular type of Dosa from Davangere ( a city in Karnataka State). Davangere Benne Dosa , as it is known in Karnataka, is popularly known as ‘Loni Dosa’ in Mumbai.

The USP of the Dosa is that white butter (instead of oil or ghee)  is used in the preparation of Dosa. This gives a different texture and taste to the Dosa.

There are different versions of Loni Dosas that you get to choose. My favourite ones are the plain Loni Dosa and the sponge dosa. Dosa is served along with sambhar, coconut chutney and masala (onion potato mix). Dosa powder is also available which normally is sprinkled on top of the Dosa while preparing it to make the Dosa slightly spicy.

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You can find this street side stall in front of the Happy Valley Entrance, Thane.

Yummy,, Delicious, Soft dosas served Hot…!!!

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India Bistro: Master Chef inspired dishes served in interesting cutleries

India Bistro is the newly opened restaurant in Thane, Maharashtra by Foodlink Restaurants.

Foodlink Restaurants, started by Sanjay Vazirani, have Glocal Junction, China Bistro, India Bistro and Bungalow 9 under their group.

India Bistro Thane outlet is the latest offering from this group. Located on Pokhran Road No.1, this Restaurant is slowly and steadily becoming the must visit restaurants in Thane.

Ambience: Well lit and the spacious seating makes you feel comfortable.

Service: Quick service and customer friendly staff. Staff is well versed with the detailing of all the dishes.

Food: Master Chef inspired dishes served on interesting cutleries

Paani puri : This was served as a complimentary starter. Syringes were filled with the khatta and meetha paani.

The presentation of other Starters were also equally interesting and inspiring. Panco Cruster Jodhpuri Chilli is a must try. Firangi Paneer was also tasty.

The main course was served in cutlery looking like train engine.

‘Chuski’ aka ‘Kaala khatta’ was served in a miniature pressure cooker. This again was a complimentary dish.

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Guava kulfi with chili foam tasted good. It reminds you of the same taste when you eat guava with a tinge of chilli powder.

Cheque / Bill is presented to the customer inside an ‘iron-box’

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Different varieties of Starters, Main courses and Desserts makes this place a must visit for Diners.

One more addition to the growing stand alone restaurants in Thane.

Eat to your heart’s content 🙂

PS: Happy Hours on all days from  7pm to 9:30 pm. 

Cost for two – approx. Rs. 2000/- (costly compared to Thane standards plus taxes are extra)

Parking – Valet parking is available (though they park your car across the road)

Madeira & Mime : Drink and Enjoy, Food does the talking here

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It is always great to see when people come out with Restaurants with a Social cause connect.

By now most of the people in Mumbai would have either dined at or heard about Mirchi & Mime. For those who have not heard about Mirchi & Mime : This is a restaurant in Powai which serves mainly Indian Cuisine. The speciality of the restaurant is that the employees here have the special ability to communicate with the help of sign language. The specially abled employees (who cannot hear or speak) take orders and make sure that they serve the right dishes each and every time.

Madeira & Mime is the second offering from this group. As the name mentions you get to quench your alcoholic thirst at this restaurant. The menu is also different. Menu comprises of Finger Food, Salads, Burgers, Sandwiches, Indo-Chinese, Japanese Ramen, Pasta, Pizza, Rice plates, Lankan Hoppers and of course Desserts. Here also the Specially abled employees communicate with customers through Sign language.

Madeira : Cocktails. The mixing of the drinks as well as the taste of the drinks were really good. I liked the real long glass in which the Long Island Tea was served.

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Food : The portion of Starters served were really worth mentioning. It easily serves two to three people. Preparation was good and palatable. Similar is the case with the main course as well.

Ambience : Dim lighting, different styles of seating and a long bar makes it an interesting place to visit. They also have DJ playing some awesome music which will keep you grooving.

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Madeira & Mime will let you enjoy your drink and music. The Restaurant staff will been seen talking but they make sure that Food does the talking here.

They even provide books and board games in case you need them as your companion.

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Street Food Diaries : Yummy, Delicious Tirunelveli Idli available at Mumbai

Street Food at its best…!!!

Mumbaikars don’t have to travel all the way to Tirunelveli to taste the authentic Tirunelveli special Idli. It is available right here in Mumbai.

‘Shaktivel Idliwala’ is what the owner Shaktivel has named his cycle on which he sells the yummy delicious idlis.

Idlis are served with a topping of special South Indian Coconut Chutney and Tirunelveli Sambhar (the taste of this Sambhar is slightly different from the regular South Indian Sambhar).

He also serves “Medu Vada’ along with Idlis.

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Shaktivel puts up his idli cycle store near Samta Nagar Bus Depot, Thakur Village, Kandivili (E).

Timing: Morning 9 am to 12 pm and Evening 6 pm to 9 pm

Price is also nominal. Cost for one plate of Idli is just Rs.20/- (4 idlis). Vada served in the morning is of smaller size – so that is priced at Rs. 20/- (4 vadas). In the evening he serves bigger sized vadas at Rs. 10/- per piece.

One thing I liked about this person is that he makes sure that the garbage is not thrown around. He carries a garbage bag with him in which he collects the papers, left overs, etc. He also gets water along with him so that his Customers can wash their hands before and after indulging on a super tasty breakfast / snack.

You can speak to him at 9867255593 and make sure that he is available before visiting the place.