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Karachi Bakery, Banjara Hills

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Unique and classy bakery products-must try

I first bumped in to them at the awesome new Hyderabad Airport. Then, on subsequent visits, got here. I grew up in Delhi, so have a huge fondness and weakness for 'karachi halwa' - no other halwa comes up with as much dry fruit - it smacks of the best raisins from Afghanistan and the best badams. generous amount of dry fruit in every portion :) have tried the following specialties in the last four months and absolutely love them: fruit biscuits - butter and tutti frooti biscuits come with a lingering vanilla flavor. fruit rusk - almost a plum cake version of rusk. could be slightly harder for the seniors, but very crisp. warning: if you don't like the typical rum marinated taste, this one is not for you - but they have an alternate rusk, get that. khajoor dry fruit halwa - REAL FIND. no artificial sugar or essence. pure dates, badam and pista. nothing else. they don't even share the ingredients on the carton (only for this preparation) because its obviously that secret :) very expensive but oh so awesome. must try. badam biscuit - tiny finger biscuits made with badam pieces. soft. addictive. can't stop at one. some items come in convenient quarter and half kg packs. some come only in half kg packs (like the fruit biscuit). all their items are safely storable for at least two months, some a quarter. service is awesome. ambiance very good - even at the Airport. this place is v good.

price is expensive. but worth every Rupee. Go for it. I have many photos - will post them tomorrow - keying this review close to midnight - just an hour left :) giving food 4 on 5. service 5 on 5. ambiance 3 on 5. price 3 on 5.

Vrindavan, Mylapore

3.9

Good salad, masala papad, south indian

A very chennai dining experience this one. bang opposite nilgiris, mylapore. compact ambience. good a/c. clean. fast service. i like: salad masala papad (one of the best) south indian thali south Indian tiffin items Don't like desserts as they are over priced and quality is not that great. Ice creams are terrible :( Service is fast. There are two who we know, so they are courteous. The ones we don't know don't really care that much :( Price is moderate for all except desserts. the irony is they provide good desserts as part of their banquets (oh any number of wedding receptions here). Parking comfortable. Good south Indian dining outing.

Dewberry's - The Resto-Cafe, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai

3.5

Awesome outdoor seating, I like Italian cuisine

Been here twice, a bit earlier. Just now reviewing :)

Awesome outdoor seating - except, don't choose it in the month of May in Chennai - its sweltering heat. Now, from July onwards, its a very pleasant setting to have a meal. There are very few pleasant outdoor seating resto cafes in chennai. this is a good one. very high marks for ambience, therefore. i m very fond of outdoor seating.

I have had limited experience with their menu (I have this personal trait of re-ordering a good past experience)!

Here is what I tried and I liked it (I basically love Italian cuisine):

Lasagne Crepe: I think this is the only place in Chennai offering this (I apologize if its not - i haven't seen it or tried it anywhere else).

Penne pasta: my perennial favorite.

Brownie with Ice Cream: was awesome.

Service is hearty and good. Pricing is expensive for non-veg i think (just by seeing the menu card. i m a vegetarian). Its kinda moderate for veg. bordering on expensive. a good meal for two could cost Rs.1000 (without alcoholic drinks, of course). I think some sections of their menu more expensive than the market parity for similar offering (example: beverage, non-veg).

Sachin ka Dhaba, Mahalingapuram

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Rustic punjabi decor, very good sweet lassi

This is right on the intersection of the Mahalingapuram Road with Usman Road. So, very conveniently located. A rather small, unimposing place. essentially the first floor air-conditioned space is what i am reviewing here: you have to visit it to believe how rustic the decor is. so, its a matter of personal choice if you like it. i do don't miss their sweet lassi in a huge typical punjabi silver lotta :) it is their best. their paneer tikka and rumali roti are very nice. i am not a big fan of their parathas. biriyani is good, but i m not a biriyani person. service is good (because I know them). can't say it is bad for new comers, but may take a bit getting used to - they are not aggressive sellers. so, no outgoing service. price is moderate. A meal for two could cost, say Rs. 800 approx. worth a try. then decide if you want to ignore or continue :) ah, parking - after the construction of the flyover, parking is a song because the entire space under the flyover (between the two side lanes) is available for parking, in addition to the space in front of the restaurant :) that is a big plus.

Baskin Robbins, Royapettah

3.4

Bubblegum Love!

I first fell in love with Baskin Robbins - guess, for what? Their almost 'iconic' pink spoon doling out free taste :) Original premium, global ice cream truly. Almost thirty standard flavors. What excites me the most is the 'flavor of the month' & the seasonal flavors that hit the freezer. One such that I eagerly wait for (which is not standard availability) is the 'bubblegum' flavor. By far, the most authentic bubblegum flavored ice cream. Helps that it is a beautiful pink in color as well :) Melts the born pinkaholic in me. Love their classic cookies n cream flavor. Must try. Other favorites and must try flavors include 'praline n cream', 'cotton candy' (remember going to rustic melas as a child and eating cotton candy - you can relive it, trust me :), black currant :) In store creations are a good option too - see menu card and ask the personnel there. Tip: If you are trying more than one flavor, take the first flavor with waffle cone; the second pure scoop in a cup :) that way, you won't feel heavy or full yet can get the best out of it. Service at this outlet and the Cathedral Road outlet very personal and good. Ambiance is always compact, friendly and good. Price is expensive. A good two course outing for three could cost Rs.800 to Rs.1000 approximately. A good indulgence once in a while especially in hot summers and weekends :) Enjoy.

Rajdhani Thali Restaurant, Aminjikarai

2.9

Good Ethnic Dining Experience

This remains a favorite ethnic dining experience. Where else do they welcome you with a 'tilak' (vermilion mark) on the forehead and see you off with complimentary moong dhal halwa (green lentil halwa)?

The Ambience is crowded because its a small enclosure in Ampa Skywalk. So don't expect a sprawling, leisurely experience. Its compact seating and fast service that you will be racing to keep pace :) I am a slow eater and would love it to be slower paced.

They only serve Vegetarian Thali as you may already know. Menu changes frequently (definitely weekly - I do not know if its daily). You get a minimum of 15 to 20 food items. Predominantly Rajasthani + some Gujarati ones too. Food is of the right spice mix (its not hot or masala filled :) The breads are very good, including the rotla. their chaas and dal bhati churma out of the world.

Food quality, hygiene and quantity very good. In fact, you will struggle to finish it. Their desserts are awesome. my most favorite is their moong dhal halwa - not to be missed. basundi and jalebis very good too.

Price is value for money - a Thali still costs approx. Rs.250/- which is thoroughly worth the money.

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Nice Screens, Boring Food

I go here very often. Have around 7-8 screens (6 operational at any point, include the 3-D one). Nice screens and seating.

Booking is expensive if online (their service charges still the more expensive one - two tickets booking will cost you Rs.70 just for the service charges). Going there to their booking counters is a nightmare - long queues any day, any time (wonder what is the definition of peak time!). the counters are manned by contract staff - young and inexperienced (they won't even be able to help you with the PVR gift card related queries and will direct you inside :)

the other complaint i have: they never bring their 'film festivals' that regularly happen in North India PVR network to Chennai :(

Nice in-multiplex food court with plush red sofas but alas, food is boring. The fries outlet will always be out of stock :( The pop corn, nachos, samosas routine is boring. the brownie counter is good. the cafe outlet is good (their dessert shots are a hit). Food pricing expensive. Since they disallow outside food, this is actually fleecing like every other multiplex :) The irony is: Ampa Skywalk has such an awesome food court, just one floor / level below. But, PVR won't allow us to bring that food one level up. Instead, we are fleeced and forced to eat boring food during the movies :(

parking is a hassle (though that is a skywalk issue not a PVR issue per se).

to conclude, nice screen. endure all else if you are a hard core movie goer because any day, PVR is far better than INOX :)

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Not the \'centre of attention\' any more

It started out with a bang. Has eroded in the value derived currently - two reasons: 1. swankier, more comprehensive malls have sprung up (for example, the Ampa Skywalk - for a smaller size and not as swankier - is packed with more brands and better shopping and dining experience). 2. the main brands here in Citi Center - Lifestyle, especially, has branched out.

the landmark store is good (though I prefer the Ampa Skywalk one). Similarly, Mochi Shoes at Ampa Skywalk is the favorite compared to the one here. Lifestyle store is huge (over many levels) but now that they have opened in Forum Vijaya Mall, that is where I would go :)

INOX is terrible. its expensive, service is poor, long queues even to be frisked and sent in :(

Parking in this mall a big hassle. I just don't like it.

Expensive - from parking to food to brands. Food court is good, but not reason enough to go there, for itself. Ambience quite swanky. Has always been.

So, to sum up, I have no reason left to visit this mall :( Sorry.

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Nice starters, main course, bad desserts

Authentic Chinese still - though this restaurant has gone through its cyclic phases. Right in the beginning, their portion sizes are very good, so a very good bet if you are going as a medium / large group. In fact, they welcome Corporate groups and offer discounts (the accent recently has been on Corporate packages). My favorites: Crackling Spinach (its a starter :) crispy corn chilli coriander (my groupies loved it - i m a no chilli person :) gold coin (nice veggie, white bread offering) papaya and green mango salad - its crunchy n flavorful
pan fried noodles not a big fan of their fried rice, though they offer in many varieties. my biggest grouse is the lack of choice in their desserts section. i just didn't like that 'steamed choco pudding' - why torture the basically fantastic choco pudding by steaming it? please leave it alone. so, go there for starters and main course. then hop out for desserts: khader nawaz khan road is spoilt for choice as far as desserts go - coz there is Haagen Dazs next door, Movenpick on Nungambkm High Road now etc. etc. list is long. Pricing is expensive if you are dining out as just a couple. Moderate if you are a group of 4-5 or more. Value for money if you get that 10% discount they selectively offer (not all Corporate groups get it). Ambience ok. Service can vastly improve - its been tanking a while now. perennial parking problem that comes with khader nawaz khan road - so you have to park a little further and walk.

Shree Mithai, Shanthi Colony

3.7

Best Kesar Burfi,Softest & best Dhokla in the city

This outlet is right at the center of the Shanthi Colony Road. First floor for the sweets and quick eats. Has a good lift service :) Nice place to hang out with family. Spacious. Awesome delicacies, service and even price :) Must try - my favorites and recommendations: 1. Kesar Burfi - this is uniquely theirs :) two layered burfi - a bottom white kova layer topped up by a kesar (saffron) flavored milk kova layer. Its a milk sweet with limited shelf life therefore. Its mildly sweet but has an awesome flavor to it. Very value for money pricing (if I am right, you get about 8-9 small pieces for Rs.140/-). If you are taking away, refrigerate immediately. 2. Dhokla - the softest, flavorsome, most succulent Dhoklas in Chennai. Wonder what their ingredients are - its steamer fresh. soft and melts in your mouth. served with two chutneys. very value for money pricing. you can eat a plate full for under Rs.50/- :) warning: highly addictive. I actually develop their dhokla cravings often and get there just for this. You have to get there before 7.30 pm else the day's dhokla stock is over as many have by then devoured it :) 3. kachori: they serve authentic north Indian kachori. a favorite with my family. Ample car parking. Service is good. Pricing is by and large value for money (even the expensive sweets are actually worth it - they have a very extensive cashew and pista range). A range of typical North Indian namkeen (savoury items). Ambiance is clean, air-conditioned, spacious and nice - no music etc. though. nice place to go to. try it :)

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