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.

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.

Culinary Foods

inside the restaurant

inside the restaurant

Dined here this afternoon for lunch. Thanks to Groupon, had a fantastic meal. Its a small open air restaurant located just opposite Sterling Cinema.

For a meal for two, we started with a Veg Tom Yum soup and a Chicken Manchow soup, both small portions.

The Veg Tom Yum soup was good. Very well flavoured.

Veg Tom Yum soup - small

Veg Tom Yum soup – small

The Chicken Manchow soup was decent.

Chicken Manchow soup - small

Chicken Manchow soup – small

Next ordered Veg Wantons Manchurian style – it takes a few bites to start enjoying it. Its a very interesting combination and taste. I would order it again.

Veg Wantons Manchurian style

Veg Wantons Manchurian style

Together with the wantons, came the Chili Garlic Beef. Easily this gets a rating of 9 on 10.

Chili Garlic Beef

Chili Garlic Beef

With so much eating, and wanting to keep an appetite for dessert, we ordered just a Grilled Vegetable Crepes, with Mozzarella cheese. Ah! It was good. Something very different, not eaten something like this before. It was crepes stuffed with veggies dunked in a bed rich with cheese. Pure sin! Served with bread.

Grilled Vegetable Crepes

Grilled Vegetable Crepes

Ok, to all this, I added a Peach Iced Tea and hubby a Lemon one. Hubby loved his, and I mine. I think the restaurant has perfected the Peach Iced Tea. 7 hours later, now, I still can taste the flavour.

Peach Iced Tea

Peach Iced Tea

Lemon Iced Tea

Lemon Iced Tea

OMG – tummy full, but still had to get to my best part – desserts. Picked Hot Chocolate Mud Pie and Philadelphia Cheesecake.

The Mud Pie, tasted exactly as a gooey chocolate-walnut  brownie topped with layer of chocolate ganache would. Pure Sin – again.

Hot Chocolate Mud Pie

Hot Chocolate Mud Pie

The Philadelphia Cheesecake was ok.

Philadelphia Cheesecake

Philadelphia Cheesecake

Wasn’t this a lot to eat for two? Oh, we enjoyed the meal. It was great. Would love to go back to the place in a month for round 2.

Orange Cheesecake

Orange cheesecake

Orange cheesecake

I made this at home on Saturday. 24 hours later – its all finished. 12 slices shared with 12 persons.

I tried this flavour on a whim. With no recipe to follow, not knowing the amount of orange to use or sugar to add, it was an absolute scary time for me. I had to constantly keep adding teaspoon after teaspoon of orange or sugar, almost alternately. There was a point of time, when I was about to dunk the whole mix into the bin!  I don’t know what kept me from chucking it and made me continue my tasting and add ingredients technique. Well – it finally came together and after refrigeration for 4 hours, above is the result you see.

It was sheer pleasure in seeing the cheesecake quartering easily. Phew!

Orange cheesecake - quartered

Orange cheesecake – quartered

The cheesecake tasted nice. Mission accomplished.

Only problem is that when I have to make it again, I will have to do the same taste-and-add ingredient technique as I was not counting the spoonfuls of orange or sugar I was adding at the time – EEE…..