Thursday, August 30, 2012

Grilled Chilliz, Rahat Commercial, Defence

I had been hearing only positive things about the great quality and portion size of the food offered at a relatively new restaurant that has opened up at Rahat Commercial area in Defence, right opposite DA Degree College for men.

So we decided to try out Grilled Chilliz.
It is located on the side lane in Rahat Commercial that is right opposite Masjid Umar Farooq, which is situated on main Khayaban-e-Rahat, next to DA college.

The restaurant, to my disappointment, turned out to be a basement establishment, like Arizona Grill. Don't know about others, but I love windows and, during the day, their letting in natural light. I find basements a bit claustrophobic.

Nevertheless, one or two smaller tables are there on the main ground floor which the entrance leads into.
These stairs, pictured above, lead into the main, well-lit, red-wall-papered dining area downstairs.

Overall the ambiance is alright, although it doesn't offer much privacy.

These "tortilla chips" with salsa were on the house.
They tasted uncannily like the papri you find on chaat. :P There was not even a hint of corn! :) So what else is new? :)
Anyway, you can view their whole menu by clicking here.
And here is the Grilled Chilliz Facebook page.

My children ordered their favorite starter: Mozzarella Cheese Sticks. These came piping hot, promptly. Price was Rs 275 plus tax.
They were thicker than those you are served at most establishments, and drew more than one sigh/ exclamation of satisfaction from the kids.

Regular French Fries - Rs 145 plus tax
Very light, I must say. Crispy on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside, and dusted lightly with some kind of chilli powder (maybe it was Cayenne? Didn't taste like local red chillies).
Once again, their taste and quality left nothing more to be desired.

All in all, these two dishes, which were ordered for the children, were a huge hit. Had to get a leftover cheese stick packed.

The main course: Parmesan Chicken Pasta - Rs 445 plus tax. This is part of their Italian menu.
The dish arrived very promptly. I give the quality of their service 4.5 stars (out of 5, duh)!

I was expecting a lot more pasta, since it is supposedly a "pasta" dish. There was a succulent, piping hot, crumb-fried fillet of marinated chicken that was smothered deliciously in a creamy sauce and sprinkled sparingly with parsley. The pasta, which was too spicy, was drenched in a sauce that deceptively looked like Bologna sauce, but was in fact a mushroom-and-tomato sauce infused generously with red chillies, and hence, quite hot (meaning, spicy).

Two pieces of garlic bread, chopped and sauteed carrots and courgettes, and a small cucumber flower completed the presentation.
Everything about this dish - excepting the extra spiciness of the pasta - from the portion size to the freshness of the ingredients, to the way it was cooked and presented, was great!

Blue Colada - Rs 175 plus tax.

I do not regret trying this drink! It was a tantalizing blend of blueberries, pineapple juice, crushed ice (I could taste a delectable crunch) and creamy coconut milk.

And now for the dessert. I spent some time deliberating what dessert to order.
We finally decided on Hot Fudge Brownie, when we were told that our original choice, Chocolate Lava Cake, would take 20-25 minutes (as it is freshly baked).

Hot Fudge Brownie - Rs 245 plus tax.
The description of this item on the menu read: "Layer of warm chocolate brownie, chocolate ice cream, hot chocolate sauce, topped with a second layer of warm chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream"

The so-called "warm chocolate brownie" turned out to be actually rock-hard pieces of cold, bitter-tasting chocolate biscotti that could not even be broken with a fork, no matter how hard I tried to force them into bite-sized chunks!
Both the vanilla and chocolate "ice cream" (which tasted like a packaged local brand), which was not even one scoop each in quantity per flavor, had, by the time this little goblet reached our table, completely melted, as you can see.
And the chocolate "sauce" was a sorry little drizzle.
When we started eating this, I seriously thought that the restaurant manegement had played some sort of joke on us. Surely no one could serve this sappy, melt-down (pun intended) of a "dessert" to anyone, not even an unwanted guest!
Sheesh...what an end to an otherwise satisfying meal. Our complain to the waiter about the rock-hard "brownie" met a half-hearted and indifferent defense in response (something about this brownie being some kind of "special blah-blah".....whatever).
We took the hint and left.

Verdict: Grilled Chilliz offers some great savory food. Good value for money in terms of taste, quality, portion-size and promptness of service. However, if you like your desserts, I wouldn't advise you to order any here, unless you're so desperate that you are willing to risk being seriously let down.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eataboo, Zamzama

Eataboo was on my list of to-visit places ever since I heard of it. 

The reason is obvious: it is a children's restaurant, and anyone who has children knows how much these hyperactive little beings love and seek entertainment. :)

That is why we found ourselves outside Eataboo one fine night a couple of months ago, on 6th Lane, Zamzama. It is located next to the children's clothing shop called Mushrooms.

Seems like a wonderland even from outside doesn't it? I felt my childhood revisited.
Entry fee is charged per person at Rs 350.

Inside there is an area where children can see themselves on this flat screen television when they seat themselves before it. Novel idea!

The place is in fact loaded with the latest technological gadgets - kiddie style, and kid-sized furniture.

The roof and walls are done in different colors and designs.

Each table has a unique design on a base of white.

Wired iPads with handles. :)

Lights in the shape of helicopters. Which child wouldn't be enthralled?

The stairs leading upstairs. Yes, there is more!

The small upper play area. Incidentally, the low ceiling of this area makes it difficult for an adult to get in. It is only for little ones to play around in, and is well-stocked with toys.

It also has a flat screen television with kiddy-size chairs.

And a huge stuffed toy.

More is the age of screens, isn't it? The children will want to do what they see adults doing all the time - in this case, tapping on screens!

Windows overlooking the dining area downstairs are done in submarine/ship style.

The walls of the staircase leading to the small upper play area are done with an underwater world theme.

Hygiene thankfully seems to be an important issue in the eyes of the management.

I always appreciate a box of good tissues at the dining table.

There are some new items on the menu.

More dishes...

A wall-mounted television set.

Some tables have these boards attached on them. Education in a fun manner.

An infant feeding chair was also available.

The food left by the party at an adjoining table after they left.

Lego, another kiddie fave!

Even Duplo stuff was available for play on a table nearby.

Which child wouldn't love to have such an iPad to play with, unrestricted?
(I'm not endorsing everything you see on the screen of the iPad in the above picture, though)

Now for the food. This is the only area in which this otherwise fairytale-like restaurant lacks - quite severely.
French Fries for Rs 150.

(Slightly burned) star-shaped Chicken Nuggets for Rs 300.

Creamy Chicken Pasta for Rs 375.
Any amateur chef can make better pasta, in my opinion. Plus, there was hardly any "chicken" in it.

Mango milkshake for Rs 185.
To give credit where it is due, this tasted out of this world! We went to Eataboo in July, which is the season of succulent mangoes in our city.

We liked the milkshake so much, and it was so little in quantity, that we ordered another, chocolate-flavored one.

Chicky Rice for Rs. 275
Every item was a huge disappointment in terms of quantity.
Perhaps they serve meals for only kid-sized stomachs? Even then the food is grossly over-priced!

Strawberry milkshake Rs 185
You can see that almost one-third of the glass is empty. Makes you wonder?!
Anyhow, children loved the little umbrellas on these glasses.
Mine took them home for creative play with their dolls.

Thankfully, the food charges are included in the Rs 350 they charge per person on entry into the restaurant.

So for 4 people, the entry charges amount to Rs 1400 (no difference in rates between adults and kids).
Our food bill exceeded this amount by Rs 220 (lesson learnt - parents should not have dinner at this restaurant. Eat at home and then take your kids to Eataboo, where they can avail enough food for the entry charges.)

Before leaving, the staff gave my children these coupons/vouchers with which they could each "purchase" a free toy.

A child can pick one from any of these items (stickers, erasers, masks, earrings, hairbands, toys etc.) for the 50-rupee voucher. Nice gimmick. Will keep the kiddies coming back for more. :)

Verdict: The owners have made a considerable investment into this great idea for a children's play-place cum restaurant, which should be lauded. My children did not want to leave, and kept insisting that we come here again.

That being said, the owners and management staff should really step up to improve the food and dining aspect of the (cough) "restaurant" (given that a "restaurant" is originally a place primarily meant for just that: food, drink, dining - satisfying the palate and satiating the hunger). 

The service was also quite pathetic in that, each mini-sized, overpriced item on the menu took a disappointingly long time to reach the table, and, even though it was otherwise alright in taste (with the exception of the milkshakes, which were delightfully tasty!), its quantity was almost a joke. 

I really hope, as a parent of 3 little ones, that Eataboo improves its food and service, because I would love to bring my children here again. 

Unless that happens, however, I am afraid the restaurant will live up to its name i.e. its "Eat-a" aspect will receive "a-boo"! :P