Stay fit, Eat more … Cycling to earn our breakfast!!!

Our food group is a group of people who “live to eat” like members of countless other food groups online. This time however we, The Delhi foodie club, decided to take a path less trodden and advocate the importance of fitness to our members.

TDfc ... The Delhi Foodie Cyclists

TDfc … The Delhi Foodie Cyclists

We tied up with Asia’s most active and a fast growing Cycling group (already 6000 members) know as the Delhi Cyclists. Started by Raman Chugh and Gaurav Wadhwa, they have cycling events 3 days a week and Gaurav along with his brother Vivek is an ardent cyclist and runs 2 very successful professional bicycle stores in Delhi.

The amateur Starting Line Up ... being briefed by the Pro!

The amateur Starting Line Up … being briefed by the Pro!

The first Pit Stop!

The first Pit Stop!

The Halfway mark!!!

The Halfway mark!!!

The Delhi foodie club which lives to eat, finally cycled to eat. 15 kms and all our foodies ate up the miles on their professional bicycles like they were eating a pizza, without any major trouble. Completing the whole circuit with 50 cyclists from the Delhi Cyclists and their on-road support, this event has reinforced the need to “Stay Fit and Eat More” … a motto no foodie group has realized by now.

Assisted by the Pros!

Assisted by the Pros!

Always keep your ears and eyes open and follow traffic rules!

Always keep your ears and eyes open and follow traffic rules!

The Delhi Cyclists in their bright fluorescent tshirts ... helps them to get spotted from far by traffic!

The Delhi Cyclists in their bright fluorescent tshirts … helps them to get spotted from far by traffic!

Riding always on the extreme left of the road!

Riding always on the extreme left of the road!

Safety and traffic rules first!

Safety and traffic rules first!

Successful ... tired & of course HUNGRY!!!

Successful … tired & of course HUNGRY!!!

Doing what we do best ... The Pros of eating teach the Pros of Cycling

Doing what we do best … The Pros of eating teach the Pros of Cycling

TDfc is now addicted to cycling as much as it is addicted to food and what better way to work up an appetite. Like one of our members rightly said rightly said during the ride … Burning Calories to Eat more!!!

(Picture Credits : Vivek Vaid http://tigersexperience.blogspot.in/)

Stay fit, Eat more … Cycling to earn our breakfast!!!

Posted in Cycling, Food, India, Lifestyle, Motivation, Restaurant, Sports, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FatBurger … The Last Great Hamburger Stand

Burgers … soul food for men like me, who love the combination of meat and bread. America’s, which introduced the world to Burgers, innumerable fast food chains which dish out these countless wonders by the second is a haven for burger lovers. Back here in our country, Burgers have become both a fast consuming item (I will not get into the Junk food debate) and a quick selling item for restaurants too. With specialized burger chains hitting the Indian market and stand alone restaurants opening Burger bars, the Indian food lover is in for a “Love at first bite”. Not restricted to a mediocre fast food chain dishing out inedible burgers, this food item has become serious business.

Vikramjit ... The man with a clear focus!

Vikramjit … The man with a clear focus!

Fat Burger India is the latest entrant to the Burger business. Originally called Mr. FatBurger and founded in the same year when India got its independence, this chain has a CULT status in California. Vikramjit is the man who is instrumental in getting this Burger giant from Los Angeles, California to India. Diversifying from his family business Vikramjit during his academic days in LA, used to eat at Fat Burgers and preferred its quality over the other Burger chains. Years later, naturally for him this was the first choice to get to his home country which turned out to be a boon for Burger lovers.

The American styled Interiors, with Red being the prominent colour!

The American styled Interiors, with Red being the prominent colour!

First stop for Fat Burger has been Cyberhub, a food lover’s paradise where a foodie is like a kid in a toy store. On the first floor right above Soda Bottle Openerwala, the bright red Fat Burger logo is hard to miss and of course difficult to avoid with a pleasant looking staff ready to greet you. I was invited by the restaurant for a Burger tasting session and the hostess was ready with our table for lunch, despite the heavy office rush at the restaurant. Though the crowd was increasing, I did see the waiting diners being politely accommodated as fast as possible.

Now, Fat Burger might sound like a fast food chain, but the menu and the experience guarantee a more wholesome restaurant experience. The staff has been trained well and quick on their feet, plus they know very well what they are serving you. The English is crisp and you don’t have to ask twice to understand what they say (a huge plus point in today’s times). Make sure if you are not too well versed with burgers or the meats they are using, to ask them and the servers are happy to oblige. Service is definitely a plus here.

The bright Red Yellow & Black interiors greet as you step into the restaurant and the whole place has a fresh, contemporary feel to it. The crisp lines in design, the Red Leatherite sofas, the Walnut coloured wooden chairs with red seats and the Laminated table tops completes the American Diner look of the place.

The ceiling is the focus of the restaurant and tells a story!

The ceiling is the focus of the restaurant and tells a story!

The False ceiling though, is quite the focus of the restaurant. Vikramjit says that although most of the design elements are from the US, the ceiling has been exactly replicated as you see it in LA. The elliptical ceiling is divided by stark black lines into asymmetric quadrilaterals, either coloured Red, Yellow, Black or showcasing a landmark from America. A lot is happening in the ceiling and the walls and while you wait for your order the interiors can be a learning experience for you too. I always believe if the décor of a place can tell you a story about the food you’d be eating, the designer has achieved his objective. And though FatBurger is in between a QSR and a gourmet restaurant, full marks for the interior design of the place.

Fat Burger and it is no surprise that Burgers would be the focus of the place. America’s burger legacy to the world is quite feat in the food world. Surprisingly, the starters we ordered were pretty “awesome” and that always raises the expectancy bar for the main course.

Chicken Wings in Franks Red Pepper Sauce

Chicken Wings in Franks Red Hot Pepper Sauce

World Famous wings in Franks Red Hot Pepper Sauce – I can devour Chicken wings at a pretty fast rate and have yet to find the spicy sauce that can make me stop. The Franks sauce was spicy enough but the Wings looked a little low on meat. Again the expectancy from an American chain plays where you expect larger than the normal helpings. Hope they improve the quality of wings. The sauce is the perfect with the exact balance of spice and tanginess for our Indian palate.

Chicken Chili  with Nachos

Wild West Chicken Chili with Nachos

Wild West Chicken Chili – A bowl of mince chicken (truly Indian style) but topped with Onions and melted Cheddar Cheese makes it one of the best starters. Accompanied with Homemade Nachos I was not able to stop at one, knowing fairly well that a line of burgers would be waiting for me. Even though I told the server to take the Nachos away from me, I did not have the heart to part with the Bowl of mince Chicken and kept it till I hit bottom.

Amritsari Onion Rings

Amritsari Onion Rings

Amritsari Onion Rings – Onion Rings again with an Indian Twist. Fried in a blend of spices which is similar to the batter in which an Amritsari fish is fried. Interesting but I do prefer the classic style of Onion rings.

Like the Americans say ... Shake it Baby!

Like the Americans say … Shake it Baby!

The hungry souls we are and after the initial attack on starters, a milkshake (which is another standard with American meals) was highly desired. A coffee and chocolate milkshake was served in a tall glass. The size is above average but not as tall as Johnny Rockets. The Shake was thick, creamy and milky enough to as give it, as a friend says “Ghar jaisa taste”. I however would say no one does shake as good as Johnny Rockets.

Now I had heard so much about the Fat Burger being so thin and small that I did mention it to the owners, and the obvious comparison to the other burger joints. They serve a standard 5 inch bun, but the surprise is in the pricing. A most expensive non-veg burger at Fatburger is less than Rs. 300. A price thought of for the Indian market and Rs. 100 lower than competition.

Foodgasm ... the original Fat Burger!

Foodgasm … the original Fat Burger!

But, what about guys like me who want the original Fat Burger. That is where the “Fat Stack” comes in. A Fat Stack is a double Patty with extra topping and add-ons for an extra price. But even though, I ordered the most expensive one with Double Patty and extra toppings, the price of the burger stayed well below the 500 mark. That for me is Value for money.

Foodgasm ... the original Fat Burger!

Foodgasm … the original Fat Burger!

The star of the afternoon was the The “Fat Stack” Tenderloin Burger. Have it the way I had it and remember me when the flavours hit you first. To order a Fat Stack is an art which of course I would tell you. The Tenderloin patty tenderized and oozing jucies on the patty topped with the lettuce, onion and cheese. Above that another Tenderloin Patty topped with a fried egg (Sunny Side Up) and finished with the top bun. Bacon to add to it if you are like me and your meal is set. The height and the size does become formidable and this starts getting messy the moment you hold it. The yolk of the egg when it starts melting and flows though the patty and veggies, like a waterfall snakes through a rock in the forest is pure romance. Love at first bite is what happens. If you can’t finish it, call me, I would be there to help for sure.

Also if you are sure you cannot devour the Fat Stack the normal size is always there to be sampled. The standard order has a single patty with veggies, but more like an appetizer for me.

Burgers (Top to Bottom) ... Tenderloin Burger, Outlaw Spicy Cripsy Chicken Burger, Triple “P” Burger

Burgers (Top to Bottom) … Shroom Tenderloin Burger, Outlaw Spicy Cripsy Chicken Burger, Triple “P” Burger

I also did sample the Shroom Tenderloin BurgerOutlaw Spicy Cripsy Chicken Burger and the obligatory vegetarian Triple “P” Burger, definitely in the standard size. The Crispy chicken was spicy with a chicken breast fried golden and jutting out of the the 5” bun. Great option for those who eat only chicken. The Triple P was just a bite of the Paneer burger seasoned with Peri Peri spices. Fat Burger has a lot of vegetarian spices and the menu has been adjusted to the Indian Palate.

Chicken Caesar Wrap

Chicken Caesar Wrap

Fat Burger also does wraps and I did try The Chicken Caeser Wrap but after the burgers the wraps did not hit the Home-run for me. Maybe I will try them extensively next time.

This however was a Burger binge and after trying our 4 burgers (that is barring the starters … yes I do eat that much), My Verdict … naahhhh verdict sounds too much like a criticMy Emphatic Suggestion is try the Fat Stack Tenderloin burger. One of the best I have had, great value for money and excellent quality. And for those who have been asking me the obvious question, Fat Burger and Johnny Rockets for me are neck to neck and making India a haven for burger lovers like me.

And yes, they have applied for a Liquor license, so soon the 3 Bs for a foodie all at one place, BURGER, BEER & BLISS.

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Caffe Tonino … the quaintness of an Italian Café combined with the old world charm of CP

Tonino needs no introduction and a restaurant where the people behind it believe in making a strong foundation and an equally strong statement. When I met the owner Simran Sawhney and the Tonino Chef Suman Sharma a few months back on their restaurant’s 10 year anniversary, they had mentioned the idea of Caffe Tonino to me. Simran’s vision was to get the charming and romantic ambiance of the original restaurant, the amazing food from Tuscany and combine it with the contemporary fast moving times. To give the city an Italian restaurant which, maintains the legacy of its big brother but also a no-nonsense high end place for the On-the-move present generation.

The old world charm of Connaught Place and the quaint Italian interiors makes Caffe Tonino an experience in totality!

The old world charm of Connaught Place and the quaint Italian interiors makes Caffe Tonino an experience in totality!

Thus took birth the younger Tonino in the heart of the city and at a place all Delhites love to throng in Connaught Place. Caffe Tonino has come in the PVR Plaza complex right above the famous Nizam Kathi Kebab. The entry is from the middle circle but as soon as you enter the staircase which takes you to the first floor of the Caffe you are transported to another place, somewhere closer to Italy. The winding circular steps adorned by the rustic walls, done up to give them a white brick texture, you reach the landing with a long corridor culminating in a solid teak wood glazed double door. A setting that would make the most practical person a romantic, immediately putting the guest at ease. Don’t be surprised if you find a couple taking a romantic selfie like on the streets of Italy.

Simran and the designer worked hard to create these arches in the 13 and a half thick load bearing walls to create some interesting spaces.

Simran and the designer worked hard to create these arches in the 13 and a half thick load bearing walls to create some interesting spaces.

The stark white walls complemented by the dark Teak wood furniture complete with Black & White pictures of Italian landmarks.

The stark white walls complemented by the dark Teak wood furniture complete with Black & White pictures of Italian landmarks.

The old world charm of Connaught place, the 13 and a half inch thick load bearing walls add to the flavour of the place, and though Simran did mention that they had a hard time creating Voids and Arches  the thick walls and the low open ceiling concept just add to the beautiful ambiance created by the interior designer Amith Chabbra.

Dining spaces are private as well as connected through the circular voids and large picture windows.

Dining spaces are private as well as connected through the circular voids and large picture windows.

Lucky for me that I was invited to this beautiful Caffe though unfortunately I was off any kind of food for a week. However, I realized not eating proved to be a boon for me and gave me a heightened sense of awareness to take in the décor. A sense which is already a second nature but I just strolled around the restaurant with my Diet Coke in hand. The corridor on entering through the Teak wood doors continues but the place now opens out into dining areas on the left, accessed through elliptical arches. The stark Teak wood polished chairs and tables provide a pleasing contrast to the pure white walls. The black & white pictures of Italian landmarks in black frames and the wooden step styled magazine rack each lends a personal touch to the Caffe and gives it a quaint cozy feel.

The Bar area with the oven at the rear.

The Bar area with the oven at the rear.

Walk down through the interesting array of arches and round voids and you reach the Bar area (the liquor license is still awaited). The black and white floor zigzag floor pattern gently climbs up onto the bar counter ending onto a 2 inch thick Teak wood bar counter. Behind which, is a cleverly done with red brick wall housing the oven completing the picture perfect caffe. To top it up embossed in the overhung wooden pelmet in bold letter is a saying by Virginia Woolf which embodies the spirit of the passionate owners, One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well!”

Since I did not eat and would be going back again definitely when the Caffe opens its doors to the public, I will keep you posted about the food. For the time being based on my experience of the first Tonino on MG Road and the ambiance the team of Tonino has managed to achieve here, I would highly recommend a visit to Caffe Tonino when in CP next.

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Food knows no barriers of language and culture!!!

This is a short story about “One of the most difficult and at the same time the most pleasurable meal I had in recent times.”

We all know the majority of Chinese staying in China do not speak or understand a word of English. Going out alone (without an interpreter) for a meal, therefore can be a humongous task.

But being a men on a mission which foodies like me are, I decided to venture out alone, knowing the above and somewhat skeptic of getting a full fledged meal in a restaurant. Like expected, when I reached this restaurant, no one could understand a word of English and so started the sign language. The menu thankfully had colorful pictures of the food with some words in English and I managed to order a Braised Pork with stir friend veggies in spicy sauce and a bowl of sticky rice.

The Restaurant ... sadly could not get the name!

The Restaurant … sadly could not get the name!

The concept of this place that the server would get the half-cooked ingredients on the table and cook on the table’s hot plate. This can be a patience testing exercise especially if you are hungry and the aromas flying from the pan don’t help it either. I was also handed a wooden spatula to keep stirring the meat and veggies till the pretty server returned to add the sauce and then finally allow me to eat. The pork was yummy and worth the wait. The only surprise was it was not boneless so I had a messy time with the meat and chopsticks and sometimes my fingers.

Menu with coloured pictures makes it easy to surpass the language barriers!

Menu with coloured pictures makes it easy to surpass the language barriers!

I did notice the looks of other diners around me and the sly giggly servers, only to realize that they were looking this Alien from another country taking on the whole dish alone while 3 people were sharing it on the table next to me. The meal however was a satisfying one and by the time I was finished the pretty servers were impressed by my eating skills, bowing and thanking me for enjoying the meal.

One of the most satisfying and pleasurable meal, in recent times!

One of the most satisfying and pleasurable meal, in recent times!

Surprisingly, I could not get the name of the restaurant, as it was all in Chinese, but a place I would go back to again to try the other meats for sure.Thankfully, I do have a collage of pictures to back up my story.

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The China House … revival of the Chinese food we Delhiites love!!!

A working day afternoon, a craving for Dimsums and some spicy Chinese, a suggestion by one of our food lover friends and lo we were at recently open China House by Q’BA. The impromptu food outings are one of the bests especially when you visit a place without too many “over the top” expectations and they surprise you with great ambiance, personalized service and most importantly yummy food.

The China House is situated in the in the K- block of the outer circle of Connaught Place, next to the age-old Ginza restaurant. The bright red and black glow sign cannot be missed and if lucky you will get a parking just outside the restaurant, else you can go around and park in one of the radial roads on either side. Walking in the corridors of CP always has a nostalgic feel to it, whether you are visiting an old or a new place. The high ceilings among the colonnade transport back you to the British era and Sir Edwin Lutyen’s colonial design. The grand entrance to restaurants all add up to the old-world charm of this business district. The China house itself is adorned by a glass and teak wood elevation with a bold glow sign screaming its name.

China House's Red & Black Glowsign board

China House’s Red & Black Glowsign board

The interiors of the restaurant are chic, contextual and not loud at all. One notices the mezzanine at the rear side of the place, which is standard in all CP ground floor stores, a boon due to the high ceiling height of Lutyen’s Design. Though the design and the process gone in conceptualizing this place are quite evident as you walk in, the feeling of being welcomed into the restaurant has been achieved effectively. The tables close to the large windows (during lunch) have the luxury of natural light and alternatively, if you prefer the artificial slightly lower light tables, you can choose from the tables further down or on the mezzanine floor. I for one believe stores with high ceilings “kill it” by having the run of the mill false ceiling. China house’s designer has used the height intelligently giving it a bare, industrial look with exposed ducting and visible piping. The inverted Asian styled umbrellas add another dimension to the ceiling design and a well thought of detail. The walls are done in a rustic way with white brick style cladding, though a real brick worked wall painted white would have added to the chic decor. Overall, the white rustic walls adorned with metal orchids (from Thailand), the bare ceilings, wooden paneling and furniture define a comfortable and pleasing space that does not interfere with the experience of your food, but complements it.

The Chic decor!!!

The Chic decor!!!

A smiling face and the body language of the host to the server, immediately puts the diner at ease and one is already looking forward to a good meal. Still new, the staff at China House is well trained, happy to be there (which is very important) and courteous to the demands. The people behind the place seem to have filtered down the fact that the servers need to be patient with the diners. Chef Anil, was kind enough to visit us at our table and add to the suggestions made by the articulate server. A simple man with an unassuming demeanor the Chef, understands the North Indian love for spicy Chinese and is maintaining the balance between the Indian and the Asian cuisines to suit our desi preferences.

Attention to detail!

Attention to detail!

A good décor and service with a smile is more than half the battle won from my side. I always believe happy people can never serve you bad food. More than the ingredients it is the passion with which they cook and serve brings out the actual flavour of the food. Dimsums is what China House advertises with élan and so the smart choice was to start off with an assortment of dumplings. The Assortment consisted of Seven Spiced Chicken Dumplings, Garlic Chicken Dumplings, Chicken and Prawn Sui Mai, Shrimp with water chestnut Dumplings & Spicy lamb dumplings. The dimsums were steamed and the meat cooked to complement the flavour rather than spoil it. Easily picked up by the chopsticks the experience of taking the whole dimsum in one go was a mélange of flavours exploding inside. Though the Shrimp and water chestnut rate high on the flavour scale, my favourite was the spicy lamb and if you are a meat lover like me, don’t miss this one for sure. The Chef did send us a variety of Veg Dimsums which I did eat to please him. But, if you follow my blog, you’d know vegetarian is something that I neither fancy eating nor writing about, sorry chef.

The assortment of dumplings!

The assortment of dumplings!

The assortment of dumplings!

The assortment of dumplings!

The assortment of dumplings!

The assortment of dumplings!

The next appetizer was the Garlic butter prawn, marinated in Butter milk and an Asian sauce covered with egg flakes. The prawns are fresh and full to bite into and the flavour explodes as soon as you dig your teeth into the individual bites. The butter milk marination keeps the spicy sauce in control and the twist makes them all the more delectable. A must have to start your meal. One does need a breather when one has tried an assortment of 9 dimsums and a spicy starter and a fresh lime soda is the only thing which provided the much needed break from the constant munching of food we were downing.

The Garlic Butter Prawns!

The Garlic Butter Prawns!

We did ask them to hold the main course but the prompt service ensured it was on our table as soon as we said the word “Go” again.

A special mention to the Chinese masala peanuts!

A special mention to the Chinese masala peanuts!

A fresh lime soda did wonders with the amount of food we consumed!

A fresh lime soda did wonders with the amount of food we consumed!

We had come mainly to gorge on the dumplings but then ended up ordering Chick in Red Thai Curry, steamed rice, Pork with Hot Basil and the Udon noodles with sliced fish in oyster sauce. Another marathon of food but we ensured nothing was left at the table or in the dishes. For the uninitiated Udon are thicker and flatter noodles, the origin of which are traced to Japan. China House served us the Wok fried with sliced fish in oyster sauce and lots of veggies. A dish which can be ordered and devoured all by itself, this one had the Indo-chinese taste to it and which I always prefer.

The Wok fried Udon noodles with sliced fish in Oyster sauce!

The Wok fried Udon noodles with sliced fish in Oyster sauce!

The Pork with Hot basil tastes even better than it looks in the pictures. I would recommend this one however, only if your palate loves to go beyond the normal person’s tolerance of spices. I was too enamoured by it and concentrated on eating it with some steamed rice without realizing that I never asked the chef how it was made. Pork my favourite kind of meat clubbed with the spicy oriental spices was nothing more I could have asked for. This is the one on the menu I will be going back for again and again. The Red Thai curry was alright and not bad, but we have all tasted it and either you like to eat it or you don’t, I sadly fall in the latter category. My fellow diner however gobbled up the entire bowl of Red curry with steamed rice. So if you love Thai curry I would recommend it here as my friend is somewhat a connoisseur on food and his finishing the whole bowl means a lot.

Pork with Hot Basil ... one dish I would go back again and again for!

Pork with Hot Basil … one dish I would go back again and again for!

Chicken in Red Thai Curry

Chicken in Red Thai Curry

Just when we thought we were done and ready to leave, the Chef announced that since we were so well behaved and finished all our food, we deserved desserts on the house and so he unleashed his two stars the Figs & Dates Pancake with Vanilla ice-cream & the usual Brownie with vanilla ice-cream. The crispy pancakes with the soft Vanilla ice-cream were complementing each other so well, that I finished half of it and realized that I do not even like pancakes. Having smelt the piping hot chocolate brownie I moved away from the pancakes and dived right into the hot ceramic dish with the ice-cream and brownie (be careful with the dish because it is extremely hot). The ice-cream and chocolate sauce were melting onto the extra warm and soft brownie and no matter how many versions of this dessert I have tried, people are always experimenting with how they serve it much to my pleasure.

The Dessert stars!!!

The Dessert stars!!!

I would say China house is stylish but not over the top, the Chinese food sits well on the North Indian palate, but be ready for some surprises along your meal.

I am definitely going back for more!

I am definitely going back for more!

The meal left me more than satisfied and though I knew I’d have to run that extra mile to shed the extra fat, I felt happy about it. A meal that would set you back by Rs. 1200/ person and a place where you can go regularly.

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Singham Returns … this time with Lady Singham and Daya!!!

Hollywood may have the likes of Superman, Batman and the Avengers. But what we have can kick their asses all the way to their cradle 10 times over. With the likes of Bajirao Singham and Chulbul Pandey, the police which in the olden days used to come after the climax was over have taken over the hero and is right in the center of action. The action is the highlight of the movie and Singham can make Wolverine look like a pussy in front of him, with his roar, persona and out of the screen punches.

Singham Returns ... move over the likes of Superman, Batman & Avengers!!!

Singham Returns … move over the likes of Superman, Batman & Avengers!!!

Singham Returns as the DCP of Mumbai, much stronger, feared and powerful in the second helping of the hit movie with the name Singham. The movie has no relation to the first part, except the character, his village and parents. So even if you missed the first one (which I would not believe you would have if you are reading this review), you can still go and watch this one. From teaching the young kids who are on the borderline of breaking laws, to fighting musclemen on steroids, our lovable & dependable cop Singham does it all with a panache which would put ramp models to shame.

Singham & his band of cops!!!

Singham & his band of cops!!!

The pretentious critics call the plot predictable, and I call them idiots. Making the audience wait for the next sequence, keeping them on the edge of their seat, even when they know what is going to happen is something the team of Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn (hope I have spelt his last name right) have mastered with quite a few films under their kitty. The action sequences are amazing and Ajay has delivered them even more effectively than the first part, this time with his team of equally menacing band of cops. As soon as one action sequence finishes, you wait for the next one and the director has spared the action lovers the pain of too many songs. Big city, more powerful villains and even larger gang of policemen is what the movie is about, no surprises, but watch it if you want wholesome entertainment. There is also a message, that if the cops have a will to eradicate the crime, nothing can stop them. The climax effectively uses this concept to show if the corrupt politicians can twist the law to their convenience so can the lawmen.

The Logo ... maybe we will see some tattoos now!

The Logo … maybe we will see some tattoos now!

Ajay Devgn delivers a larger than life character, who is fights like a lion, loves like a college boy and bleeds like a common man, impressive, isn’t it? That is how it is meant to be. He has worked hard on this policeman’s character both in terms of physique and mannerisms, and though over the top, has garnered all the seetis and the taalis (whistles and claps). Ajay is believable as the top cop, and convincing enough as a protector of the weak. His band of cops has a lot of familiar actors, but the man who has stood up to Singham’s person is Inspector Daya, the big guy from the popular TV series CID with the same name, and the same name in real life too, Dayanand Shetty. He became popular for his door breaking techniques in the TV series and besides breaking bones in the movies, he does break a door in the climax sequence when Singham repeats the famous lines, “Daya Tod de Darwaza!” The auditorium was filled with claps and whistles so I figure Daya has broken the door and entered the films in style.

Ajay Devgn looks and plays the part perfectly!

Ajay Devgn looks and plays the part perfectly!

Kareena Kapoor aka Lady Singham is a tamed down version of the “Jab we met” version. Talkative, jumping to conclusions and clicking selfies with strange men, she tries hard to make the romantic track entertaining but barring a few sequences I just wanted her to move on. Amol Gupte (a director par excellence) plays the role of a corrupt, scheming baba (God-man) who you would love to hate along with his political counterpart Zakir Hussain. The villains are predictable and their acts equally sinister to make you want to hate them. Anupam Kher & Mahesh Manjrekar as the self righteous politicians are supportive but in not so meaty roles.

Inspector Daya stands parallel and makes his mark!

Inspector Daya stands parallel and makes his mark!

Rohit Shetty has become the unbeatable kind of action in the Indian film industry and along with his team has produced and directed another winner. The music consists of the Singham theme from the original and a Yo Yo Honey Singh song “Ataa Majhi Sataklee” at the end. Seems like, Honey Singh has become a lucky mascot for all movies now, though you will come out humming the song.

The unbeatable duo ... Rohit Shetty & Ajay Devgn

The unbeatable duo … Rohit Shetty & Ajay Devgn

Well if you go to watch a movie by my standards this is definitely a must watch for you. If you are an Ajay Devgn fan, then you should must watch it too, those who like action should positively watch it. For the rest of you find excuses or reading critics’ reviews, go before (as Singham Bhau says) “Ataa Majhi Satakli” (I loose my temper).

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Purani Dilli’s food in the heart of New Delhi … Al Karam, a place to MEAT!!!

When I was young, my dad used to tell me stories about how every time he used to visit Jama Masjid (more specifically Karim’s) way back in 1980s, the servers and the owners used to be greeting them, to the extent of even remembering their favorite dishes and how eating at these places was more gratifying than eating at a 5 star hotel, which was a big deal in those days. I never used to get it then but now I realize that Jama Masjid’s food has always been famous with food lovers around Delhi for a long long time, much before I was born too. So when I heard of Al Karam, opening its third outlet in the heart of South Delhi, I was a little skeptic whether they would be able to do justice to the rich cuisine fit for royals. Boy was I wrong!!!

The magicians ... Umez Bhai & Varun Veigas

The magicians … Umez Bhai & Varun Veigas

The original Al Karam in Jama Masjid was started by Varun’s partner Umez’s father. Al Karam has existed in the walled city of Jama Masjid close to 65 years now. It was one of the earliest biryani eatery in Delhi. After taking over the effort has been to balance the traditional and contemporary for example using “meats” that aren’t traditionally a part of Mughlai cooking repertoire. This restaurant now reflect the passion for food from quality to quantity to pricing. Varun Veigas’s Al Karam (which I prefer to call it now) has taken that passion for food from the streets of Purani Dilli (Old Delhi) and for me is high up on that scale. Lucky for us Varun invited the members of The Delhi Foodie Club (TDfc) to his freshly opened outlet at Satya Niketan right opposite Sri Venkateshwara College. Never having tasted the Al Karam food before and considering it to be another copy of the Jama Masjid fare, the foodie in us still wanted to try it and we accepted the invite, strictly on a pay per person condition though subsidized.

A small place with seating for 19 people, but an old world charm with the wooden bench like seating and dark ceiling!

A small place with seating for 18 – 20 people, but an old world charm with the wooden bench like seating and dark ceiling!

A small restaurant with a seating for around 20 people, Al Karam is quite visible from the main road with its bright red glow sign board advertising Kebabs, Rolls, Nahari & Haleem. All specialties of Purani Dilli, Varun and his partner Umez have got it perfectly right for the meat lovers of Delhi. With wooden benches and textured Ivory coloured walls you are transported to the feel of an Old Delhi restaurant and its dining hall. No frills and no non-sense form the basis of Al Karam’s interior space and the simplicity is filtered all the way down from the décor to the servers and the straight forward service with a smile rule.

Hospitality has always been rated highly when you are eating in the lanes of Jama Masjid, and Varun has not only picked up the food and but also the concept of feeding diners like they were dining in his own home, which he believes they actually are. There are a few restaurants which are hospitable from the heart and treat guests with respect, and this place serves you direct “Dil Se”, a phrase coined by a fellow foodie friend of mine. The experience left me and others spellbound and satisfied at what these guys could conjure up for us in a small place.

Al Karam, though a small outlet, is big in flavours and that is what will make it stand out as tough contender to other restaurants trying the same cuisine. I have a lot of friends who want to try the flavours of the walled city but are apprehensive to venture through the lanes of Purani Dilli. For me the food served by Al Karam would be the closest and maybe better than what you get there. We let Varun and his team decide what was going to be served to us and over time I have realized that is the best to eat at a restaurant. Who would know better than the creator himself?

Mutton Gilafi Seekh Kebab!

Mutton Gilafi Seekh Kebab!

We started with the Mutton Gilafi while waiting for the rest of our mates as the aroma from the barbeque was getting unbearable and we had to start sampling the goods without delay. Varun had been forewarned about my love for meat and the assortment of Kebabs which started was mind boggling. Mix together with Mince Mutton, chopped onions, green chillies & coriander, the Gilafi was already being cooked on the charcoal when we had arrived and by the time it reached our table it was extremely well done with the aroma of the black coal which any Kebab lover swears by. An undulating texture while holding it converted into a softness so smooth it melted in the mouth as butter does. I finished a plate of 4 thick Gilafi Seekhs single handedly. An amazing start to our meal I could hardly wait for the rest.

Purani Dilli ka Butter Chicken

Purani Dilli ka Butter Chicken

Most of us who have visited Jama Masjid know about literal butter chicken one gets there. It is purely just Roasted Chicken poured over with a “cocktail” of yellow butter, dahi (curd) & some spices. Purani Dilli ka Butter Chicken is what we were served next along with a set of Roomali Rotis and Khameeri Roti. Talk about being spoilt for choice and only 2 dishes were served till now. The Chicken was juicy with the flavour of the marination completely dissolved in it and the left over gravy was polished off with the thick Khameeri Roti.

Tandoori Duck ... the star of the evening!

Tandoori Duck … the star of the evening!

We were silently eating without talking much, for obvious reasons, when our gracious hosts served us a dish which was to be the star of the evening. They challenged us to guess it and we had not imagined that we would be served Tandoori Duck, a speciality of the restaurant which is only prepared on 24 hours notice by the chef. In Varun’s words “It is marinated with your usual aromatic spices, tenderizer and ghee. Roasted in the tandoor and basted with more ghee, orange juice and the aromatic spice rub.” I don’t know the details of the aromatic spicy rub, but the aroma and the taste were something I have never sampled before. Never have I taken in a dish which looks tastes and smells so good all at the same time. For no other reason, if you are a meat lover, you have to visit Al Karam only for this.

Sutli Kebab, which has earned its name just for the fact of being tied with a sutli (thread), arrived next. A Kebab so soft it has to be tied around, and this softness was what we experienced when we untied the thread and devoured the kebabs. Originally made with buff we tried the mutton counterpart and the mince mutton flavour similar to the Gilafi tried earlier. I am sure the buff tastes much softer and juicier as this one was a little dry to my liking. I quickly moved onto another speciality on which was already on the table.

Roasted Quail ... another speciality!!!

Roasted Quail … another speciality!!!

Another bird on the menu which requires a 24 hour notice is Roasted Quail or more commonly known as battair. The first time I tasted Quail and I thought the meat was much tender than chicken, though lesser in quantity. The size seems like a small chick and the spices were well grounded into the bird. The meat came of easily of the bones and I loved chewing on the charred portions of the meat due to the excessive grilling at ends. The Quail roast is another reason to visit this place.

I have to tell you so much eating in one go did leave us a little overwhelmed and when Varun and Umez bhai announced that the main course was ready, we could not help but laugh. Now when I tell you we eat a lot, we really do and even this kind of hospitality was way over the top. The hospitality did not just rest at our table but two young guys were experiencing it too, when they were being served more food than they had ordered compliments of the owner. Well back our table we had to order a round of Thumbs Up, which we all bottled down NEAT, ready for the next round.

One of the best Haleem I have tasted ... Well grounded and smooth!

One of the best Haleem I have tasted … Well grounded and smooth!

The main course was Haleem, Chicken Changezi, Beef Nahari & Chicken Badami accompanied with Khameeri Roti & Sheermal. Refreshed from our bout of cold drinks we attacked the main course with renewed vigour.  For the uninitiated, Haleem, was originally cooked during the month of Ramadan, is made of lentils, meat and wheat, garnished with fried onions, chopped coriander and lemon juice. The Haleem served here was one of the best I have tasted, well grounded and smooth. Perhaps, the only way I would prefer to eat Dal (lentils). We polished of the Haleem with some potent Sheermal, a sweetened Naan almost similar to a Danish pastry in taste.

Nahari

Nahari

The Beef Nahari cooked in its own fat which can be seen floating in the dish when served is another speciality of Al Karam. Advertised in bold letters on its Glowsign board, the Nahari (not Nihari) is a stew consisting of the meat which is generally eaten in the morning, hence signifying its name. Traditionally cooked over night in a Deg (large utensil), the morsels were extremely tender and full of flavour of it’s own gravy. The meat was falling of the bones on touch and the Khameeri roti was a great accompaniment to savour the rich gravy. By the time the Chicken Changezi and Chicken Badami were served, I was upto my neck with food, but, eating such rich food requires dedication and I did give in to the temptation of tasting both, though will have to go back to do actual justice to them.

Chicken Changezi ... have to go back for more of this!

Chicken Changezi … have to go back for more of this!

Having devoured such rich food non – stop for 3 hours with only a 20 minute break, left us pretty satisfied with the both the food and experience. Umez bhai however insisted that we cannot leave without trying the desserts. Varun told us that their chef originally worked with a sweet shop and he had created his own version of Gewar resplendent with dry fruits along with Phirni and the Mango flavoured Kulfi. Even though I don’t have a sweet tooth I had to eat all this since Varun & his team would not lets us say no. However, no complains here too, and I am sure if you are a sucker for desserts, you will just love them.

Gewar & Phirni ... was too full to lift up the camera and click the mango kulfi, thereafter.

Gewar & Phirni … was too full to lift up the camera and click the mango kulfi, thereafter.

Don’t be surprised but we had a vegetarian foodie accompanying us and he was really bowled over by the herbivorous food. I apologize that I won’t be able to tell you much about it, but maybe someone else will soon. But, the point is no worries if you have a Veggie family member or friend accompanying you to this place too.

 

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