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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Pizza By The Bay – Buffet lunch

I’ve always loved having a soup, salad and sandwich meal. I’ve also always loved the PBTB (Pizza by the Bay) food. However, with so many new restaurants opening up, I hadn’t been to PBTB for a buffet for many years. Finally when there recently with family.

The restaurant has been recently re-decorated. Its done-up very tastefully. They now have tall glass windows that look out towards the sea. We managed to get a round table near the windows. Its was a wonderful meal – food, ambiance and the company. We spent a leisure almost 2 hours over the buffet. Of course, as usual, after an absolutely satiating meal, went home and slept.

The buffet is a soup, salads, sandwiches and desserts menu. There is a veg and non-vegetarian soup, served on the table with a basket of soft breads and crunchy sticks. The vegetarian minestrone soup as well as chicken soup were amazing.

The salads spread was outstanding. They had almost over 20 vegetarian salads, of which about 5-6 of them were without onion and garlic. For the non-vegetarians too, there were no less than 10 salads – I’m sure of it. All the salads were well flavoured and one could easily go for seconds. However, since the salads are so many and I wanted to try all, or as many as I could, I really couldn’t go back for seconds (I yet had to have the sandwiches and desserts)! The only drawback that I found in the salads was that though they were all well flavoured, there just one or two salads that were not dry-ish (like a mayo based salad). However, its easily forgotten when the spread is so good.

veg salad spread

veg salad spread

veg salad spread pic

veg salad spread pic

more veg salads

more veg salads

non veg salad spread

non veg salad spread

non veg salad spread pic

non veg salad spread pic

There are about 10 listed sandwiches. We ordered the chili cheese, Mediterranean and beef sandwiches between 5 of us. The chili cheese sandwich was the best, the other two coming a close second.

chili cheese toast

chili cheese toast

Medditerranean sandwich

Mediterranean sandwich

Beef sandwich

Beef sandwich

Finally the desserts. Very good, especially when we came to know they were eggless! Most of the desserts were great, just a couple of them were not very good.

dessert counter

dessert counter

mousse and strawberry n chocolate pastry

mousse and strawberry n chocolate pastry

Wow. What a meal. At Rs. 800 all inclusive, we were very very happy.Oh. I almost forgot. One of us took the Rs. 1400 buffet which includes the Four Seasons wine – red or white, unlimited. We took red. I strongly recommend this Rs. 1400 buffet as the wine pairs very well the complete buffet menu. This buffet is a must experience.

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.

Creamy Potato & Pasta salad

potato n pasta salad

potato n pasta salad

I love making this salad as my hubby relishes it. Its easy to make, versatile (use whatever ingredients you have at the moment at home), mix, refrigerate and eat when you want.

The original recipe is one I picked over the years from the net. However, I fine-tuned it to my taste. The above pic has potato, green peas, egg, carrots and macaroni tossed in creamy dressing. One can delete or add any element.

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Stir Fry Salad

bowl of stir fry salad

bowl of stir fry salad

I love this salad! 

So does anyone I have served it to, as well as all those who have taken the recipe from me. Its become everyone’s favourite salad.  If my hubby relishes this, then – TRUST ME – all will. My hubby is not one for veggies or / then hence salads, especially if it has no mayonnaise.  It takes just about a few minutes to slice all the veggies and another few minutes to cook them. Serve immediately and enjoy the flavour. 

Its a Tarla Dalal recipe. So, thank you Tarla Dalal for this. Love it every time I eat it. 

See the following pic. Its so easy to make and because of the various veggies, its a riot of colours. No presentation required as its vibrant and colourful by itself.

riot of colours

riot of colours

The beauty of this recipe is that most of the ingredients are invariably at home. The fun is that every time you can add or delete any ingredient and you still get a mouthful of flavour.

Last night I added shredded ham.

with shredded ham

with shredded ham

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