Aqaba

Yesterday – Saturday 18th April 2015 – was a great day, with my lunch and dinner out. 2 meals at 2 great restaurants.

Thanks to Restaurant Week India, I had an amazing meal at Aqaba. This restaurant opened shop about 6 months ago.

Aqaba is on the fifth level of the Peninsula Business Park Club building. It’s a spacious laid out restaurant that looks out into a lawn, giving the feeling that one is one the ground floor, having a meal across the lawn. My hubby works across the road, in the opposite building and didn’t even know it existed! After the meal, he has avowed to come back here not just singularly but bring in his clients here as well for a meal! Or, if he needs a sweet-tooth break – he just gonna run across to Aqaba and devour their signature dessert – Baked Philadelphia Cheesecake.

The meal was a 4 course one. As appetizers we ordered the Watermelon and Feta salad and an Ash e Jow soup. The soup is a Persian delicacy with lamb, chickpeas, barley and preserved lime. OMG – we’ve never had something like this soup before. It’s so well flavoured and spiced just right. The salad was perfect too, with just the right amount of everything. With each bite we could feel the cold freshness of the fruit and greens.

Watermelon n Feta salad

Watermelon n Feta salad

Ash e Jow soup

Ash e Jow soup

Next we could each choose 2 starters. I choose the Tabbouleh and the Babaganoush. These came served with some cucumber dip and 5-6 pieces of lavash. The Tabbouleh was just amazing – I could actually taste the freshly chopped parsley in my mouth. The Lamb Kibbeh was 3 portions of lamb kebabs with pine nuts, garlic and bulgur wheat – nice. The Samakmeswi was amazing. It’s a dish to order again and again. It came as a portion of 4 fish kebabs grilled to perfection,

served with a lip-smacking butter-garlic sauce. All these starters were served in smaller portions when compared to what would be served if ordered a-la-carte.

Babaganoush Tabbouleh and Lamb Kibbeh

Babaganoush Tabbouleh and Lamb Kibbeh

Samakmeswi

Samakmeswi

By now, we were already quite full in the stomach. After all this we still had the mains and desserts to eat. Whoa.

Mains – I ordered my favourite – pasta in basil and pine nut pesto. Hubby ordered a Lamb Gyro. The lamb dish was a roasted lamb placed in a rolled up pita, flavoured with tomatoes, hummus and spices. The portion of my tube-spaghetti was just right. Taste – just the way I like it. The lamb was rated 8 on 10 by my hubby. They served it with a good portion of French fries, which I dug into. They are one of the best fries I’ve eaten. The fries are really well spiced and served hot.

Bucatini al Pesto

Bucatini al Pesto

Lamb Gyro

Lamb Gyro

By now we are full, but I always have stomach for desserts. So giving into my constant desire for all things chocolate – I ordered the Caramel and Bitter chocolate Praline mousse. Big Mistake. BAKED PHILADELPHIA CHEESECAKE. The only dessert to be ordered. We paid an extra Rs. 200 for the cheesecake and it was worth it. Its awesome – no other words to describe it. I am an absolute chocolate dessert enthusiast but this time, after tasting my hubby’s cheesecake, I only wanted that. The mousse is good – a regular well-made fare.

Caramel n Bitter Chocolate Praline Mousse

Caramel n Bitter Chocolate Praline Mousse

Baked Philadelphia Cheesecake

Baked Philadelphia Cheesecake

Thanks to RWI I just paid Rs. 2,770 for all the above. It is a meal that will remembered for a long time.

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Tamarind, Fariyas

Tamarind

Tamarind

I’ve always wanted to go to Fariyas for a meal. Somehow, over time, it never materialized, till recently. Went for dinner – opted for the buffet. Surprise was, that there is live music. Simple, soft and nice.

Started with the soup. It was served on the table. Good Jade Garden soup. This was accompanied by a good basket of assorted fresh n soft breads.

Jade Garden Vegetable Soup with bread basket

Jade Garden Vegetable Soup with bread basket

After the soup, got myself a plate of salad.

Wow! Yum…If this is the kind of food they serve here, I feel bad; I haven’t visited this place earlier. The salads are amazing. All of them have a distinctively different flavour and seem absolutely fresh.

The beetroot salad was just fantastic – though beetroot, it did not have its stark flavouring. The carrot salad was exciting on the palate. So was the cucumber one. The pasta salad too was great, but it was strongly spiced with garlic.

Salad bar

Salad bar

Next, was the main course. Again, here the spread was amazing, beef, fish, and chicken for the meat lovers.

non veg dishes

non veg dishes

another non veg counter

another non veg counter

Though we were 5 persons at the table, everyone was vegetarian due to religious reasons. In vegetarian, the Basil tossed potatoes were fantastic.

 

food counter

food counter

The pasta Americana looked very appetising and I took a big bite – Aaaa….What’s this? Cloves??? 2 pieces of cloves in one bite? And it’s not that they were coarsely powered – they were whole. It a serving of say about 5 bites, I found almost 7 cloves and 2 whole peppercorns! What’s happening? See my plate.

 

my plate

my plate

The Chinese was like a regular fare – cannot really go very wrong with Hakka noodles and veg stir fry.

veg Chinese counter

veg Chinese counter

The other main course vegetarian dishes were very average. Actually below average as each of them was heavily spiced with garlic. I like my food well spiced but garlic to be at a minimum. Here, it was the other way round. The main course was thus an absolute downer.

However, I knew from the looks of them, the desserts would be a redeeming factor.

dessert counter

dessert counter

Oh. What a let-down! These looks could really con anyone. From the complete spread only the Gulab Jamuns, Pineapple Panacotta and Orange Mousse were decent.

litchi tart

litchi tart

Orange mousse

Orange mousse

Pineapple Panna Cotta

Pineapple Panna Cotta

Priced for  Rs.  940 (including taxes) for a dinner buffet, I do not recommend this place, atleast for a vegetarian.

Culinary Foods – my 2nd dining experience

Culinary Foods – again. My second time in 2 months.

I really liked the place, the last time around.

This time round, a lot of disappointments but a few great surprises.

Once seated, we asked for Iced tea because we loved it the last time. Sorry – No ice tea! That put us off. However, we were offered coolers – either Sky or Strawberry. We ordered both.

O Boy – our disappointment was immediately forgotten after a sip of the coolers. Absolutely refreshing. The Sky cooler is with Blue Curacao. It’s a tough choice between the two, but if I had to pick one, it would be the Sky cooler. It’s uplifting as well as light at the same it.

Strawberry cooler n Sky cooler

Strawberry cooler n Sky cooler

Our starters too were great. Ordered a Butter Garlic fish and a Shanghai Paneer.

For a paneer starter, the server suggested Hakka but I was keen to try the Shanghai. I was not let down. Infact, it was so much better than what I expected. Hugh chunks of paneer and some veggies in an absolutely flavour-packed thick-ish sauce.

Shanghai Paneer

Shanghai Paneer

The fish was good though bland. Would have preferred it with some more flavour, but still hubby said it was good the way it was.

Butter Garlic fish

Butter Garlic fish

Then came the downsides – We ordered two continental main courses. As I am not too fond of Chinese cuisine, I came to Culinary Foods for their continental fare. Imagine to my complete dismay, I was told there is no continental fare being served as the chef was not in! Hellooooo……I don’t want Chinese! I would have appreciated it if I was told that when we sat at the table and placed our first order. What to do?

I ordered 2 desserts.

The Apple Crumble Pie was not available! Again something I want was not available. Oh – I felt so bad. Settle for the Dutch Chocolate Truffle and Blueberry Cheesecake.

The Chocolate Truffle was light, melt in the mouth and a thorough delight. The Blueberry Cheesecake was good. Being a chocolate addict, the preference between the two was an easy one.

Dutch Chocolate Truffle

Dutch Chocolate Truffle

Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

Hubby was not too happy about ordering Chinese. As much as he loves Chinese, his heart too was on the continental fare. So he settled for another Chinese starter – Chicken Drumsticks Chilly Garlic.

The Drumsticks were good, but the whole meal towards the end left us with a bitter taste in our mouth and hearts.

Chicken Drumstick Chilly Garlic

Chicken Drumstick Chilly Garlic

Did I like the food – yes.

Will I dine here again – yes. But I shall call and confirm if complete menu is available before reservation.