Saturday, August 26, 2017

Bombay Brasserie is back to Kolkata !

Bombay Brasserie is back to the city of joy, in a brand new avatar. Moving from formal dining to casual dining, the brand has put a lot of thought while curating the menu. Aimed at keeping the armchair traveller happy, the menu has a desi touch to it.

I was invited to the relaunch party and here are the four things which appealed to me :

1. Think Pauwas, Think Bombay Brasserie: The rustic pauwas have got a sophisticated touch to it with the outlet's relaunch. Served in glass bottles, they have interesting cocktails like the Pondy Rush, Jaipur Gulaabo, Go Goa Gone, Nagpuri Santra, Janta Bar to name a few.

2. And, the Chaknas to go with it: Friends, pauwa cocktails and no chaknas? Bombay Brasserie has that sorted for you - The Chakna Tray! It's a variety of snacks in a single tray to go with your cocktails.

3. Chilli Cheese toasts are a passé, BB brings Chilli Cheese Kulchas: This is one of my favourite items from the menu ! This comes from a hard core non-vegetarian, who hardly looks at the non-veg menu at most times. The concept of chilli cheese toasts in a kulcha format, this one is sinful and comforting at the same time.

4. India's favourites curated for the armchair traveller: In the menu, you find some of the country's choicest dishes - there is Kolkata's fish fry, Mumbai's keema maska pao, Kashmiri naan kebab to name a few. The brand claims that the ingredients are also locally sources to maintain the authenticity of the dishes.

Presentation of the menu is decent but portion sizes could be better. A meal for two costs you about Rs. 1600 + taxes.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Keep yourself healthy this Monsoon

Hello Guys :)
It has been raining on and off almost everywhere in India. This is the season of a hot cup of chai, some piping hot pakoras, long drives and staying curled up in bed all day! Bongs would also tell you about the beauty of the ilish maach - khichdi combo(hilsa fish & khichdi) during this season. 😋

While it is the most awaited season of the year after the hot and humid months, it also brings with itself a lot of viruses. We all have to step out of her homes due to work and other engagements. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to keep certain things in mind to keep yourself healthy this season.

Here are my mantras to keep yourself safe:

1. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean - It is absolutely necessary to keep yourself, your home and colonies clean. This is the season when viruses can breed easily due to the humidity. Mosquito borne diseases are usually on the rise. Make sure there is no stagnant water in your home/ colony. I would suggest a pest control ahead of the season to keep any unwanted insects at bay. Typically it will cost you around Rs.500 - 1000 and you will need it only thrice/four times a year. Local vendors offer more economical rates.

2. Keep germs away even on the move - We constantly have to keep moving out of our homes and offices. We avail public transport almost every day and come in contact with people from different walk of life. It is mandatory to keep a hand sanitizer and a mosquito repellent cream in your handbag. You never know where the germs might find you!

3. Eat healthy - Have loads of soup and stews this season, homemade off-course. They have this typical power to fight viruses- be it cold, cough or fever while also giving you the comfort of sipping something hot in this season. Chicken soups work best for me as an immunity booster as well :) Junk food should be avoided especially those which use a lot of water like panipuris. For a person like me who swears by her weekly dose of phuchka, I have it without the water. 

4. See a doctor if you are feeling unwell - If you have been feeling unwell for more than 2-3 days, please see a doctor. It is better to get yourself cured in the early stages than wait for it to get worse. Always trust the doctor rather than your own instincts or other's opinions, please!

5. Gargle regularly - Though we do this only when we have a sore throat, it will help if we do this on a regular basis during this season. 

6. Always remember grandma's tips are the best - We all have these trustworthy home remedies that work wonders for us. We all know the magic of the adrak wali chai (ginger tea) or masala tea or the honey-lemon drink or a glass of warm milk. There is so much more to this 😃

These tips have been adopted by generations and they still work like magic. 

Take care of your health while you enjoy this season. Happy Monsoons 😃😍 Please share your tips for this season as well :)

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Iftar In Dhaka, Bangladesh

It's a new job, yet the same corporate life! 

I have been travelling a lot all these months, and therefore haven't been able to devote too much time here. I have been missing blogging so much. 😐 Any transition is not easy and this is one amongst them. While I adapt to the new things in life, I hope I am regular here because it is one of my favourite places, my place of expression 😊😊

As a part of my work routine, I recently visited Dhaka, Bangladesh - one of the distant cousins of Kolkata! If you have ever stayed in Kolkata, you would have definitely heard the great "Ghoti - Bangal" debate.😝 To make things simpler, Ghoti are people from West BengaI and Bangal are people with a Bangladeshi origin.

I was curious to explore the other part of the border, a place I had heard a lot about from almost everyone around me in Kolkata - relatives, friends, colleagues, random strangers! From the famous ilish of Dhaka to the Dhakai Jamdani sarees to feasting on traditional Dhakai cuisine, I had everything on my "things to do" list.(Yes, that is how you tend of talk when you have been a corporate slave for more than 6 years now !) 😁.Even before I had landed, I had a list of things I had to get for people - Dhakai Jamdaani sarees were something I was really eager to buy, hilsa fish for family, biriyani for a mentor and friend from the blogging world, Poorna Di of Little did I know then, I would not be able to do any of them, thanks to the almost packed schedule of my trip. 

While I was busy brooding over what I could not do in Dhaka, I stumbled upon something which was unique in its own little way. It was the holy month of Ramzan time and all the little street corners were buzzing with excitement every evening during Iftar time. 

The city had a distinct excitement during this time of the year.Offices were shut by 4, roads which are choked with cars almost every hour of the day, became desolate by 6, a city which is as excited about its food as Calcutta, none of the lunch joints were open as people were fasting. Lunch for me was mostly KFC or Dominos! It was only in the evenings that you could smell delicious haleem, see hot pakoras being fried, chana, fruits, dates being sold and delectable kebabs in almost in every area. 

Mutton Haleem

I tried out mutton haleem from a small streetside joint in Gulshan area of Dhaka. It was a handi full of deliciousness 😊. Small pieces of mutton which almost melted in the mouth in a delicious gravy of pulses garnished with fried onions, lots of green chillies and a dash of lemon. A huge earthen pot was priced at only 200 BDT. 

Even our guesthouse treated us to some lovely iftar food in the evening one day, including kachchi biriyani for dinner.

Iftar meal at our guesthouse

The luxury hotels were also decked up for the occasion. With elaborate decor to a lavish spread of over 400 exquisite dishes, we were spoilt for choice when we sat down for iftar at Le Meridien Dhaka. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to relish all of them. We were already running late for our flight. I enjoyed the haleem, sheekh kebabs and the savouries.

Decor at Le Meridien, Dhaka

The spread at Le Meridien, Dhaka


Mutton Biriyani

Mutton Haleem again :)


Though even Kolkata has some amazing iftar food, Dhaka's iftar food experience was also something to be cherished forever. I returned as a satisfied person :)

P.S: This post doesn't list the best places to try Iftar food as I didn't get to explore them myself. It just speaks about my rendezvous with their street food and the spread at Le Meridien Dhaka.

Please do read about my experience of the Iftar food walk in Kolkata :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Maybelline's new 24 hour Colossal Kajal

Well, its Maybelline's Colossal Kajal again ! This time, it claims to last 24 hours !! Let's see if it holds true.

Maybelline's new 24hr Colossal Kajal range

Maybelline's Colossal Kajal range has been a favourite for almost all girls I know, because of it's consistent performance and for it's ease on the pocket.From its first launch, Maybelline has worked on this cult product and reinvented it several times,each time coming out with a attractive proposition. This time they claim that the kajal lasts for 24 hours.

The product comes in the classic yellow and black packaging as for most of the products in this range. You can hardly make out the difference from its outer body unless you notice the "24Hr" claim on the packaging.

Maybelline's new Colossal Kajal

How do I feel about the product?
It comes in the same retractable tube that all other Colossal Kajals have. There is definitely a change in the texture. This one is creamier and smooth on application. The end result is matte, though. I needed around 3 swipes for the perfect pigmentation on the lash line.

The formula has aloe vera, vitamin E&C to keep your eyes looking fresh without any irritation.

The kajal lasted for a good 6-8 hours despite the heat, after which there was slight smudging on the corners.You could easily ignore that if you didn't look too closely. It didn't last for 24 hours for sure on me because by the end of the day,it was almost like any other kajal without touch ups. It could be this way for me because I have extremely sensitive skin around my eyes and there are very few kajals that do a good job on me. Maybelline's Colossal range is one among the few. There was no irritation even after a long day and was not difficult to remove either.

 A stick of 0.35gm costs 180Rs, which is a pretty good price. Colossal kajal has been one of the most preferred budget kajals.

I am wearing Maybelline's Colossal 24hr Kajal here

What could be better ?
I wish they hadn't claimed 24 hours without testing it well 😐

Overall, it's a good product for everyday wear and does justice to the reputation of the Colossal range. 👍

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Himlaya Herbals Mouthwash Range: Review

Himalaya Herbals has been on a roll, with new products being added almost every 2 months. This time it's the new range of mouthwashes - Himalaya Herbals Mouthwash.

People hardly realize the importance of a good mouthwash. Not only is it good for your oral health, it also is an essential element for your personal grooming. Imagine going into a meeting with a bad breath. No matter how well dressed you are, the impression of you will be spoilt forever. In the world where people are ever ready to stereotype, don't be surprised if you are the butt of nasty jokes. Bad breath is difficult to judge for yourself and therefore, you should be extra careful. You can't always rely on people around to tell you. They might not want to point it out to you if they are not very close to you fearing that you might not take it in the right stride.

As I am in a kind of profession where I am interacting with people all the time and I am always in and out of meetings, I am extra careful. I normally chew on a gum after lunch. I realize it's a bad habit as the chewing gums are bad for your teeth. Now I am doting on the new range of mouthwashes from Himalaya. 

These mouthwashes are loaded with the goodness of herbs like neem, miswak, saunf etc that are proven to be good for healthy gums and teeth.The added advantage is that there is no alcohol.  They come in three varieties - Miswak and Pomegranate, Saunf and Mint, Papaya and Pineapple. 

What does the product claim ?

  • Removes up to 99.9% bacteria
  • Up to 12 hour protection from germs
  • Helps prevent plaque build up
  • Helps maintain a cleaner and healthier mouth

It comes in a plastic packaging with a cap, which gives you a measure of the amount of mouthwash you should take for a single rinse. A 215 ml bottle is priced at Rs. 95.

What I like about the product?

  • Though there is a slight tingling sensation, there is no uncomfortable feeling
  • The freshness lingers on for a good time
  • There is no alcohol, all natural herbs used
What could be better?
I wish they came up with a customized travel pack so that it can be easily thrown inside a handbag and carried along.

Disclaimer: PR sample, honest review.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Can't say it with words ? Say it with food this Valentines' Day

Valentines' Day is definitely extremely cliched.I believe that if you love someone, it's important to express your love every single day through small gestures. Because of the daily grind, we often miss expressing our feelings to our parents, spouses, sibling and friends. If one day and the unnecessary hype around it can make us do this, then its worth giving a shot. 😊😊

Sometimes it's difficult to express in words, that's why you have all the marketing experts working on elaborate strategies for Valentines' Day. Food outlets of Kolkata have elaborate plans for Valentines' Day as well.

1. Yauatcha has a specially curated 5 course Valentines day Menu:

The details of the Valentines Day Menu and pic references are given below.

Date: February 14, 2017

Time: 12 noon to 11pm

Price:Rs 3600 all-inclusive per couple

On offer is Sula Rose wine, Yauatcha's signature dumplings, rice and noodles and their favourite dessert. 

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2. JW Marriott:  The latest luxury destination in town is all set to celebrate its first Valentines Day in the city with a night of live music and entertainment, a bottle of Sparkling wine, exquisite ambiance and a specially curated Asian Menu at Vintage Asia.

When: 14 th February

Timing:  7:00 – 11:45 pm

Where: Vintage Asia, JW Marriott Kolkata

Charges:  INR 4000++ per couple

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3. Monkey Bar : It’s the biggest Valentines party in town today as Monkey Bar, India’s first Gastropub celebrates the day of love in style at its Kolkata outpost. 

This Valentine’s Day Monkey plays wingman and pairs you with the perfect Cocktail. Walk in single, practice your pick-up lines on our bartenders and get paired with the perfect Mama’s Girl or the Mad Men who love crazy women. Sing along to any of your favorite romantic tunes in English only, from pop and rock to rhythm and blues or rap and their bartenders will offer every Karaoke participant a complimentary shot of ‘Liquid Courage’- Monkey’s specially concocted Ballantine’s Whiskey shot to warm you up for the mike! And what’s more, they are also serving 1 free pitcher (Ballantine’s) per group of 6 or more people and a host of special deals on Cocktails all night long. If that’s not enough then punch your heart out with our special Love Pinatas guaranteed to leave you happy and satisfied.

When:  14th February

Timing : 4pm to 1am

Price : Meal for two without alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs. 1200++

Meal for two with alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs. 1800++

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4. Keventers: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Keventers has come up with their limited edition milkshake bottles with a special heart print to celebrate the joy of love. The brand is also out with a Valentine special contest. All of us have someone special in our life, people who are close to us. What a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to enjoy a nice evening out with your significant other on a date that takes you back in time. Keventers is giving you and your loved one a chance to go out for a romantic dinner date. The time is right to show your love that how special they are for you, and the dinner for two is the perfect opportunity to share a great tasting meal with someone special.

To win the dinner date, all you have to do is buy any Keventers milkshake with special Valentine bottle, post a picture on Facebook and fill the online contest form. The contest begins on 10th February and ends on 14th February 2017, the winner will be announced on 20th February on Facebook. One lucky winner will get a chance to take his/her Valentine out for a lavish dinner date on 25th February.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Low Oil Cooking - Tips and Tricks

When we were first told that we would have to cook an entire day's meal with 5 teaspoons of oil, we were taken aback. Though our family never had very oily, spicy food and the amount of oil used was always limited, we never measured it and it was surely more than 5 teaspoons.Now, I can confidently cook a delicious meal with less than  2 teaspoons of oil. We were sure of the fact that adding generous amounts of oil never enhances the taste. I make it a point not to compromise on taste because you can only make healthy food a way of life when you like eating it. I have always been finicky about food and I would never have tasteless food. Then, how can I expect others to have it every single day ? Now, even our guests are treated to food cooked with minimum oil.

It's not that difficult actually. You just need to remember a few tricks and you will be able to cook a healthy yet fulfilling meal for your family :)

Here it goes :

1. Use nonstick cookware : Invest in some nonstick cookware. It will go a long long way ensuring a healthy life for your family. Sprinkle just about a teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of oil. A quality nonstick vessel ensures that the oil doesn't stick to the pan and hence you can cook in very little oil.

Healthy Chciken Rezala - Low Oil Cooking

2. Use yoghurt to cook meat gravy : You don't need too much oil to cook meat.After frying the onions, add the meat along with yoghurt. The meat will cook in the juices coming out of the yoghurt. Cook the meal on medium heat and avoid high heat. You will be surprised to see how yoghurt adds a great flavour to your dish and how the meat turns out to be soft. For cuisines like chilli chicken, boil the chicken first or stir fry the chicken pieces with cornflour.

Homemade Chicken Biriyani with very little oil

3. Do not dry roast the masalas : When we use less oil, it's important to add a little water along with the masalas so that it cooks properly. Cook on medium heat and cover the vessel till you get the desired consistency of the gravy.

4. Pan grill your chicken or fish instead of frying: Bongs swear by their fish curries.For me, it's important to have the fish well cooked before it's added to the gravy. But I do not use buckets of oil to deep fry my fish. Instead, I grill them. You get the best results when you marinate the fish/chicken overnight and pan grill the fish with about one teaspoon of oil in a nonstick pan. But usually, I do not have that much time. I usually marinate for an hour. The results are good enough. 

Palak Chicken that uses very little oil

You just need to give it a shot and keep experimenting. You will be surprised with what you can do with just about a little oil. More importantly, it will give you the satisfaction of cooking a healthy meal for the family. 😊

I would love to hear your tips for low oil cooking ! ðŸ˜—

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