Bloggers Table | An Oriental Dinner at Pan Asian, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi

“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”
Chinese proverb

Pan Asian, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New DelhiYet another evening well spent with good food midst good company. This time around the Bloggers Table was hosted at Pan Asian for an oriental meal with Japanese Chef Nakamura. It was set to be an interactive dinner, hosted in a private dining room, a lesson or two in Thai/Japanese salads, and maybe a go at the teppan grill.
Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi We battled New Delhi’s traffic to get there, resorted to the Google Gods to find the way … and walked in slightly late to be greeted by the very courteous and smiling staff at Pan Asian who escorted us to a private dining room reserved for the table.
Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi 3The evening took off pretty soon with food, food and more food making its way to the table throughout the evening. I overate … really did. Again. The thing with small bites is that you lose control over how much goodness you can embrace; a definite way to overeat.
Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi The starters were delicious. An assortment of sushis and tempura, dumplings, dipping sauces, pickled vegetables, boiled soy peanuts … the works. Could have been a meal in itself; should have been a meal in itself! We talked, laughed, giggled, wined and nibbled; ate till we were ready to burst.
Chef Hakamura, Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi Would have loved a live salad demo with Chef Nakamura but that didn’t happen for some reason. We did have a go at the teppan grill. Much to the chefs horror, we managed to char some silken tofu. We also dabbled at yakitori grill. That was fun, the end result of chicken yakitoris, amazing. The simplicity of Japanese street food, the subtle flavours came through beautifully.
Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi And there was more! I did small taste tests from here on. The Miso Soup was so comforting. Then came duck. It was the first time my tastebuds met ‘duck’! Indeed a nice first meeting with Peking Duck served with Cucumber, Spring Onion, Pancakes And a Chef Special Sauce  ending up in delicious rolls. Mmmmm…!

Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi There was tonnes to eat, maybe more than we could handle, me at least. By the time the main course arrived, I could barely eat any more.  The  KaengPhak or Green Curry Thai Style was perfect. I loved it, and wished I could have had more. I also loved the Kung Phad Xo or Pan Fried Prawns With Thai Style Chili X.O. Sauce.

Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi
Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi 15Crispy Hua or the Stir Fried Sliced Red Snapper Chili Garlic Sauce was the show stopper as it was flambéed  at the table. Neither me nor Ruchira could take a bite as those eyes stared at us while the flames leapt high!

Pan Asia, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi It was a sticky sweet end to the meal with Fig And Toffee Pudding served with Darsaan or crisp honey noodles. The dessert was absolutely delicious and I couldn’t have asked for a better and more satisfying end to the meal. The whole Pan Asian experience was very nice; the food, the ambiance and the staff, all excellent. Thank you Pan Asian for hosting us!

The others at the table that night were …
Sushmita @ My Unfinished Life
Sangeeta @ Banaras Ka Khana
Ruchira @ Cookaroo
Parul @ The Shirazine
Mukta @ Bake-a-Mania
Aishwarya @ Aishwarya Eats

Kung Hei Fat Choy… Happy CNY. Today begins the Year of the Snake. Hope it brings good luck for all of you!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Bloggers Table | Rose Café, New Delhi … a thorny affair and Pinktober let down

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.”
Ziggy

Rose Café, New DelhiIt was the high after an excellent and pampered dinner at The Leela, Gurgaon that carried the Bloggers Table to a supposedly fun filled and leisurely brunch to the Rose Café, Saket, New Delhi the next noon. Not a bunch to miss out on a fun Sunday afternoon together, even though a few of us were eating more than we could accommodate in a single weekend, we were game. Good company is always a promise for good times … Rose Café, New DelhiThe folk at the bloggers table delivered the promise as always … giggly, enthusiastic, chatty and click friendly. Rose Café, New Delhi, however didn’t!  We failed to see the writing on the wall several times, willing to overlook glaring shortcomings, ready to forgive a lacking service standards, ever ready to accommodate an upcoming new venture which showed some promise, even forgave a bit of hair in a glass of water. Maybe we shouldn’t be so large-hearted after all!Rose Café, New Delhi The first impressions were quite nice, but they didn’t last long. They were put to a brutal end by a rather obnoxious young man from the cafe, who, other than using physical force, accosted a few of us women verbally and rather nastily. Catch the horror story at the end … it was something that shouldn’t have happened!Rose Café, New DelhiThe place had this nice English rose look about it, distressed furniture that I love, a play of pastel pinks and blues that gladden the heart. Good overall feel to the place though the seating appeared a little cramped. I had happy thoughts of another good Pinktober blog postshort-lived though!Rose Café, New Delhi It was pretty pink alright, though the stewards in pink shirts were a bit much for me. The other thing about the staff was a lack of any personal touch, eye contact or ‘café warmth‘. They were very robotic from word go … and didn’t get much better as the clock ticked!Rose Café, New DelhiWe were  about 14 of us. That was definitely not too many for Rose Café to completely mess up the orders, more so since we had called ahead. A few got food, the chatty women especially {thank heavens I’m chatty}. Not so the poor men, and that got them rather hot and bothered. 40 minutes without a meal wasn’t happening at lunch time. Also, have you ever been served jacket potatoes with dessert? ROFL … that happened too!Rose Café, New Delhi To be fair, the thin crust pizzas were good. But then again, there are many more places that offer really good pizza with outstanding service, so would rather head there. Try Olive which is a stones throw from Rose Café, else head for Amici in Khan Market. For me, cuisine is the entire ambiance and hospitality experience. I’m certainly not heading back to this pink place in a hurry!Rose Café, New DelhiThe bruschetta was good too with a generous topping of goat cheese and caramelised onions. The spicy chicken bits were very overcooked and hard though the dipping sauce was zingy good with vinegar and green chili. Still, what’s a dip if the ‘main player‘ is bad news? The bunny chow was soft and the baked beans complimented it well.Rose Café, New Delhi The only other thing that deserves some mention was the shepherds pie! The rest of the food was very mediocre. What was really noticeable was service standards, or rather, the lack of them! There was large scale mixing up and slip ups on orders. Drinks either came in doubles, or didn’t come at all. The staff were unable to recall who asked for what, which meant quite a few goof ups. I also heard that the eggplant parmesan was a disaster.Rose Café, New Delhi Dessert was by far the biggest disappointment, especially for the baker in me. Can you possibly serve frozen cake at a table? The macaroons were cold {from the fridge cold}, and so was the lemon cake. The tiramisu was meh! The espresso cake with whipped cream and a caramel sauce was the only saving grace. The grand finale was a cake baked specially for the table, a layered raspberry cake I think. In many ways it looked like it was all dressed up with nowhere to go because it was served frozen. Knives and forks battled the slices which should have been melt in the mouth tender. Quite disastrous and a huge let down. Time for a new pastry chef maybe?Rose Café, New Delhi Time for adieu … and that’s when the drama unfolded. An angry young man from the cafe decided to display his very inhospitable side over a matter which was bothering him. To add injury to insult, he almost physically asked us to step back in. He’d do well with a crash course in hospitality, addressing women, public dealing and social relations. The industry is clearly unsuited to his aggressive personality because this line is not just about food. It’s about the entire experience.Sri Sathya Sai Baba The few happy good memories we packed to take away were rudely snatched away from us just as we left. NOTHING ‘ROSE-Y’ ABOUT IT, nothing worth going back for! The apology that followed did little to douse the fire as it came on demand, and carried on the inflame the situation a wee bit more. Thank you but NO THANK YOU Rose Café!

Others at brunch who shared the ‘not such a pink experience‘ that afternoon…
Sid @ Chef at Large
Sangeeta @ Banaras ka Khana
Sushmita @ My Unfinished Life
Rituparna @ Chocolate & Dreams
Charis @ Culinary Storm
Himanshu @ The White Ramekins
Ruchira @ Cookaroo
Rekha @ My Tasty Curry

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Bloggers Table | {Delhi} Summer Menu at Italia …. Olive Fest!

“Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.”
Sophia Bush

Summer Menu at ItaliaAnother Friday and we were back together, a busy, hungry, chatty bunch of food bloggers from Delhi, taking our ‘Bloggers Table‘  to a fine dining Italian restaurant, Italia, DLF Promenade, New Delhi. I’d been to the tasting table for a unique Lombardian promotion a couple of years ago. This time Italia was about to usher in the Olive Festival and we were invited for a sneak peek and nibble!
Summer Menu at ItaliaThe decor is pretty much the same as it was when we last visited. What changed this time was the noise and the cameras. Our group is expanding {not just by the waistline, but by the number too}Rituparna was new at the table at the Evernote event, and Tanya was the joined in this time. Tanya baked us some delicious chocolate chip cookies which she packed beautifully for each of us {picture at the bottom}!So there was loads of guffawing, loads of clicking and non stop banter! Did I forget musical chairs and table hopping? The hosts were very accommodating and didn’t bat an eyelid at all the cacophony we created despite it being fine dining and a Friday night!
They spoilt us and how.Olives, Italia, New DelhiWe were treated to olives from every region … my favourite the pimento queen olives!  Chef Somopriyo Basu, Vikas Sehrawat {the manager} along with the charming PR executive, Priya Sharma played the prefect hosts. We were joined for a while by the GM {Park} Abhijit Bose who was delightful company, a perfect gentleman! He is SO passionate about Park; I love it!Italia, New DelhiThe evening began with generous servings of crisp Italian cracker bread like focaccia served with an absolutely delicious roasted garlic in olive oil and some pesto. The pesto was passé but the sweetly roasted garlic and loads of olives in brine more than made up for it. With the Italia Olive Festival {24th Aug-2ndSep} on now, you will be amazed at the varieties on offer.Smoked Salmon Involtini & Four Cheese Pizza, Italia, New DelhiThe menu is VAST … it was almost impossible to sample everythingSmoked Salmon & Mascarpone Involtini with Kalamata Olives was the first course, and much enjoyed by the husband who loves salmon. Next, an assortment  – Milan Style Chicken with Colossal Olives, quite  delicious and cooked just right, Arabian Sea Calamari, Bay of Bengal Shrimp, River Sole & Taggiasche Olive, Panzanella, and Shiitake Button Mushroom & Cepes Skewers … all enjoyable with a light summery feel. The palette was happy, kept even happier with some nice Albizzia Chardonnay Toscana 2011 white!Italia, New DelhiI loved the wood oven Four Cheese & Four Olive Pizza! It had an addictive saltiness that came through with the different olives used in the topping. Wish I could have had more, but then again, the main course was on it’s way. And before that Spaghetti with Trapanese Pesto. The spaghetti wasn’t outstanding, though the Parmesan crisp {turned soft} on top was full of flavour!Pan seared polenta with asparagus spears and mixed mushroom sauceOnward we marched to the main course, most of us now quite full. I opted for the vegetarian main course of Pan Seared Polenta with Asparagus Spears and Mix Mushroom Sauce … and loved it! Well done polenta and beautiful sauce made for a great main course. The folk that picked the Tenderloins Medallions, Garden Vegetables & Rosemary Foam said it was really very good! The third option was John Dory with Israeli Couscous & Salsa Verde, relished by those that chose it. There was something for everyone!John Dory with Israeli Couscous & Salsa Verde, Italia, New DelhiIt was finally time for dessert {something eagerly anticipated} but left both Mr PAB and me rather disappointed. It was Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato with Olive Dust. There was actually nothing that stood out in either. The truffle cake didn’t beg to be eaten, if you get what I mean, and the gelato was nothing to write home about. I would have loved a panna cotta like we had the last time, or maybe a tiramisu.Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato with Olive Dust

That said, it was a memorable meal that we enjoyed. Good food, good company and a great place! Thank you Italia for hosting our table!

The rest of us at the table …
Sid Khullar, http://chefatlarge.in
Rekha Kakkar http://mytastycurry.com/
Parul Shirazi http://www.theshirazine.com/
Tanya Khanna http://communicooking.blogspot.in/
Deeba Rajpal, http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/
Apeksha Jain http://www.veggiewiz.in
Rituparna Mukerji http://chocolatesanddreams.in
Sangeeta Khanna http://www.banaraskakhana.com/
Nachiketa Chandra http://www.crazyoverdesserts.com/
Ruchira Hoon http://thegreatcookaroo.blogspot.in/
Charis Bhagianathan http://culinarystorm.com/
Sushmita Sarkar http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.com/

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


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