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Nirula’s Potpourri restaurant review

By on Jul 22, 2009 in Reviews | 0 comments

Originally posted at Youthpad. My rating of Nirula’s Potpourri: 7.9 / 10 Address: N-64, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi (other locations) Phone number: 011-41517070 Open from: 11am to 11pm Potpourri is restaurant chain operated by the Nirula’s group, offering a fine finer dining experience than you get at the ol’ regular Nirula’s establishments. Potpourri, true to its name, offers a smorgasbord of offerings – Indian cuisine, Italian cuisine, Thai cuisine, Continental cuisine, and a miscellaneous International cuisine. Naturally, prices are higher – compared to normal Nirula’s restaurants but it’s worth it. The CP branch of Potpourri is situated on the first floor of outer circle Connaught Place. When you’re going by that road it’s hard to miss its sign (and the floor which its occupying). Entrance is tucked away in corner leading to a narrow flight of stairs. You generally wouldn’t need to make a reservation. On entering you’ll find the bar straight ahead with the seating area to the right. Interior is a curious mix of old school CP building and new school funky designs on the walls. Don’t let those ceiling fans in the picture fool you; won’t have to sweat it out, the joint is air-conditioned (obviously). But those old-school fans are a nice touch. I didn’t really pay much attention to the paintings / pictures on the walls. Nothing really called much attention. Seating is primarily designed to accommodate groups of 4-6 people so in case this a family / team dinner it’s a great place. Hardly noisy at all, you won’t be disturbed by a constant din. Menu at Potpourri is extensive. You can browse through the complete Nirula’s Potpourri menu online. Fans of Italian food might want to try out the ‘create your own pasta’ option at the live pasta station. Waiting staff is quite helpful in making choices. When our group ordered too much food than what we would need, the waiter pointed it out and helped us eliminate items we wouldn’t need. Food arrived within 10-15 minutes and they took care to see items were brought in more or less at the same time so that nobody felt left behind. Ratatouille (with pasta) was a bit cold. That spoiled the taste. Even if the vegetable bit was good I couldn’t make it out because the pasta bit was bad. Verdict – avoid. Chana masala was not spicy at all. I often have problem eating Indian food at restaurants because I can’t handle the tiniest bit of spiciness. For me this was great but most people would find it…weak I guess as it isn’t spicy. This bias towards milder spiciness is probably brought on by the fact that Potpourri is frequented by foreign tourists, so the food has been altered to suite and international palate. Verdict – up to you, depending on which side of the ‘spicy’ debate you’re on. Navratan korma was heavenly! It’s a dish with nine vegetable mixed with lots of cashewnuts in a thick, sweet gravy. Best taken with chapati. Verdict – don’t miss this at any cost! I ate a gourmet vegetable burger with mushrooms added as an extra. Coleslaw was provided separately on raw cabbage peels but that meant all the dressing fell away, making the buns soggy. Still, the burger was good. Mushrooms add quite a unique taste to the mix. Accompanying French fries were twisty and very crunchy – not the limp variety you find at McDonald’s. (No point comparing the two of course. They’re worlds apart.) Verdict – Buy, but I’m assuming most others would opt for chicken / lamb burger. Can’t comment on that, I’m a vegetarian. I also had peach iced tea. Portions served are more than enough for one person – for all the dishes. Indeed, we were quite full and had no room left for dessert. Assuming that the same Nirula’s ice-cream served in their normal restaurants is given here, the premium you pay is for the ambience. Total bill for a group of three came out to be around Rs 1000. Then, you will get served. Overall, I would recommend Potpourri for its good food, helpful waiting staff, quick service times, and prices which aren’t overly...

Saravana Bhavan review

By on Jul 18, 2009 in Reviews | 5 comments

Originally posted at Youthpad. Saravana Bhavan is a popular South Indian cuisine restaurant situated in Delhi’s Connaught Place. Often considered as ‘the best place on this side of the Vindhyas to have our kind of food’ by people with handlebar moustaches, I decided to give it a try. My rating of Saravana Bhavan: 6.8 / 10 Saravana Bhavan is an old-school type eatery which still refers to itself as a ‘hotel’. You’ll invariably have to wait if you haven’t made a reservation; it’s a popular choice for family dinners from the looks of it. Unlike chic places who think it’s kosher that whoever has to wait must stand, they do provide a few plastic chairs strewn outside the entrance for people to sit. As expected from a place popular with families, the ambiance isn’t particularly quite once you get in. It’s quite noisy in fact. You’re presented with a pamphlet boasting the other locations they’re at – including Sunnyvale, California – before you’re given the menu. Compared to pricing in most other places Saravana Bhavan’s menu could be considered expensive but not overtly so. (Later you’ll discover it’s not even worth that.) Completely vegetarian restaurant. You have a respectable number of choices for most categories – dosas, uttapams, etc. For a group of people your bill will probably come to around Rs 500-800 depending on how many people you’re talking of, and what you eat. (My case it was four people.) Orders take around 20-30 minutes to arrive. Strangely, appetizers are sent along with the main dishes so don’t bother ordering any of those. Food is served on plastic trays with a banana leaf piece added for show. It also helps boast “Oh look, how much kokkonet oil we’ve used” as the oil glistens more a leaf than a plastic tray. You get the usual sambar and different kinds of chutney. While your dosa itself would be hot the same can’t be said about sambar. All you get is tepid liquid vaguely resembling some sort of dal. Replenishment are charged extra and you get the same cold shit again. What you must definitely try out is the ‘dry fruit dosa‘. Until I saw the menu there, a ‘dry fruit dosa‘ was a mythical creature food of the gods found only in Sidin Vadukut jokes. It’s basically a masala dosa where the dosa batter has been mixed with dry fruits. The taste is quite…new…but also sweet. Too sweet according to some. Maybe the idea is balance that out with the dosa filling. Desserts – weirdly named as ‘Exoticas’ and ‘Fantasies’ – are many on the menu. The section on ice cream has many entries with a curious term ‘gorilla vanilla’. Now what the heck is that?! Nobody really had the courage to try that out in case a hundred kilogram primate wearing an apron came dashing out of the kitchen to serve us a delectable ice cream sundae, wrecking most of the restaurant in its wake. That was enough to send me into one of my uninterruptible laughing fits, reportedly causing others diners to complain that the establishment to ‘call ghostbusters and chase away the ghoul ruining their dinner with shrieks of laughter’. I had to be dragged away before security arrived. Service is extremely lax. A simple request for a water refill revealed their callous attitude. Guys, we weren’t asking you to go to the Himalayas to fetch crystal clear mountain water. First the request went ignored, then despite requesting multiple waiters it took a good twenty minutes to finally get a refill. Don’t even think of inquiring what a menu items because you won’t get any information of them beyond some mumbled monosyllables. The impression I walked away with is that while it may have some unique stuff like the dry fruit dosa, Saravana Bhavan is basically running on its reputation and charging more than it ught to. If you want better quality food with a good ‘South Indian’ ambiance then check out one of the Naivedyam...