Love is in the Air – Hearty Party at Phoenix Market City, Bangalore

Love is an important part of our lives and everybody wants love and compassion. To celebrate the very special feeling of being in love, February is the month. The month of love has such a potential that despite being the shortest month in an year, every four years it impacts the name of the year. It’s a month of love, wherein Valentine’s day is celebrated all over.

Valentine’s day, which is also known as Saint Valentine’s day is celebrated in the honour and memory of the saint from a bygone era. This day needs no introduction as people from all around the world celebrate it in various ways, which could be a romantic date at a starred hotel or a spending quality time with your partner by the beach. Many people choose to propose the person they love or adore. While there are some who choose this special day for their marriage. The gifts exchanged during the Valentine’s week are greeting card, teddy bears, chocolates, jewellery, and flowers, particularly red roses!

Many restaurants and eateries enhance their look and feel, and often offer some good packages for couples who want to celebrate the day there. But this is not all, in my view, that day should be really special where you enjoy shopping, great food, alcohol, party, DJ, and above all a great time with your loved one.

Phoenix Market City, which is a pioneer among the shopping malls in Bangalore had an intention to include everyone in this festival of love and offer them with great choices to celebrate. So, they had arranged the Hearty Party event in the courtyard of the mall on 10th and 11th February 2018. It was a special event with splendid performances and DJ night.

Phoenix Market City in Bangalore has always been a place where you get everything under one roof, be it branded clothing, lifestyle products, multiplex, fine dine restaurants, pubs, or a food court. It’s a mall which is spread across a huge area and houses numerous stores. It’s a preferred choice for shopping and spending some good time with your loved ones.

When I entered the courtyard of the mall to witness the Hearty Party event, I was surprised to see that they had transformed the area into a paradise. It was all decorated with hearts, cupid’s bow and arrow, beautiful posters, and all of this was in red theme, which is the colour of love.

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Featured in Photograph: Food Bloggers Association, Bangalore (FBAB) founder, Chef BB -Bibhuti Bushan Panigrahy (with his permission)

There were areas very tastefully designed with awesome background to click photographs. Cupid, the God of love was also present with his bow and arrow. People were happily clicking selfies with him and those who were struck by Cupid’s arrow were enjoying it to the fullest. The ambience was truly symbolizing the feeling of romance and love.

There was a big stage that was set up in the courtyard where Karaoke session was ongoing. After that there was a dance performance by Ocean Kids, who are one of the finalists in the popular television show, India’s Got Talent. The performance was mesmerizing!

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Later, DJ Vipul Khurana, known for mixing some desi Beats with the usual EDM, gave the night a different twist. It was laudable.

But as the party is not complete without delectable food and alcohol, there were stalls of some good restaurants, such as Café Noir, Whitefield Social, and Bar Bar surrounding the courtyard area. There were also some innovative food trucks and bikes! Some of them were the Smoke Signal BBQ, Indian’s first BBQ Bike, and the Rolling Chef. The food stalls were a hit and people were enjoying the festival while having so many options for food. The taste and quality of food was good.

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It was a delightful party for the alcohol lovers, as they had Kingfisher and Bira in beers, and also Rum, Whiskey, and Vodka were available. With these many options in drinks along with great music, what else would anyone look for.

It was time for something sweet, and I love desserts. So, there was a stall of Smoor, serving pastries and chocolates. I headed to their stall to find out what are they serving for Valentine’s. I was glad to find out that they had some amazing offerings for Valentine’s day to gift to your special one. I purchased some chocolates and had a memorable time from evening till night.

Next day, there were spectacular performances by the Naik & Jois Project, Ocean Kids, and Bangalore’s own DJ Ivan, thereby making it a perfect weekend just before the Valentine’s day. The music was enthralling and made everyone groove with it.

Hearty Party was focused on love, romance, and friendship. It was a great enjoyable experience at Phoenix Market City, looking forward to attending many such enticing events.

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Locationhttps://goo.gl/maps/JWpNB7kiBjr

Google Maps:

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Awadhi Food at The Moghul’s, HSR Layout

The Moghul’s restaurant is located at a prime area of HSR. One fine evening, I was passing through the road when I saw this restaurant, which claims to serve the Awadhi cuisine of the North Indian city of Lucknow. I hail from Allahabad city, which is near Lucknow, and Awadhi food is very popular in that region. So, I am an Awadhi food lover and I hardly find good places in Bangalore for this cuisine. So, I stopped by and decided to have an early dinner here.

ORDER, FOOD, AND QUALITY:
In starters, we ordered Galawati Kabab and for main course, Lucknowi murg masala, ulte tawe ka paratha, Lucknowi dum murg biryani and lime soda.
The waiting time here is terrible and spoiled our mood completely. It was just about 7:30 PM with hardly many customers in the restaurant still it took them more than half an hour to serve just the Lucknowi chicken dum biryani.
We had ordered only one item at a time and the first order was biryani. At one point, we decided to move on as it was a waste of time for us, but the staff asked us to wait as the order was getting ready.
Anyways, after a long wait when the biryani came, it really missed the essential flavour and aroma of Awadhi biryani. I know that an Awadhi biryani is light and less spicy, but it doesn’t lack the necessary flavours and aroma. I have had Awadhi biryani so many times since my childhood at my hometown in UP. But this one was more of a pulav than an Awadhi biryani. If you consume it considering it as a pulav then it was light and edible. No complaints there.


Our next order was Lucknowi murg masala and ulte tawe ka paratha. This order came in just about 5-10 minutes, which was good.
Lucknowi murg masala again disappointed me and it had an overdose of coriander seeds in its flavour. It was just average in taste, not too bad but definitely nothing special. But, it was a good change from the regular chicken gravy that we get in North Indian restaurants of Bangalore.
Ulte tawe ka paratha was too good! It was authentic, delicious, and melted in mouth! I’ve never had such delectable ulte tawe ka paratha before.


Our next order was Galawati Kabab and lime soda. Galawati kabab was delicious! It was cooked to perfection! It was tender and melted in mouth, which is an essential characteristic of this Awadhi dish. I enjoyed it and it resembled closely in taste to the authentic one from Lucknow. In Bangalore, this is perhaps one of the best you can have.
Lime soda was as usual in taste.


Overall, it’s a good place to try the authentic Galawati kabab with ulte tawe ka paratha.

SERVICE AND AMBIENCE:
The ambience at this restaurant is although airy and open, which connects you to the surroundings and nature however, it also makes it difficult to dine when it’s cold outside.
There were some insects because of the open dining area and garden. A suggestion is to make the dining area covered with transparent glasses so that the connection to greenery and nature remains intact, while it will prevent the insects and cold air from outside.
Service was too slow for the quality of food served.

LOCATION:

https://goo.gl/maps/ESBvRcxiZ7K2

GOOGLE MAPS:

HOURS OF OPERATION:

12 Noon to 3:30 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM, closed on Tuesdays

ZOMATO: https://www.zomato.com/bangalore/the-moghuls-hsr

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Donne Biryani at Shivaji Military Hotel, Jayanagar

Superb Donne biryani! Amazing taste and flavourful!
This is an old and famous military hotel in Bangalore that serves a variety of Non-Vegetarian food. Their Donne biryani is considered to one of the best Donne biryani in Bangalore. Donne biryani is a variation of biryani that belongs to the authentic Nati cuisine of Bangalore/Karnataka.
I heard a lot about Shivaji Military Hotel and finally decided to visit this place and try their much-hyped biryani. This place is located very near to Banshankari bus stand, so the location is good and easy to find. Usually, I’ve read that this place has a lot of waiting time but as I went before 1:30 PM, I didn’t have to wait and immediately got the seat.


I have had Donne biryani at some other restaurants earlier and didn’t like it much because of the bland taste and missing flavours. So, this time speculations were high about the taste because of the hype but the expectation was still low because of the past experience with Donne biryani elsewhere. I am glad that their biryani lived up to its name and we had an amazing biryani feast!
I could’ve rated as this place as 4 or 4.5 because it doesn’t have a very good ambience, interiors, or decor but this is not a place for all these things, it’s not a fine dine or a high-end restaurant, instead it’s a place to go only for great food, that’s all it offers. Anything under 5/5 would be injustice to their delectable biryani taste and humble service!

ORDER, TASTE, AND QUALITY:
I ordered a chicken biryani and a mutton biryani. Both the biryanis were served on banana leaves with raita, lemon, and gravy.


The taste of mutton biryani was amazing! It was delicious and flavourful. I loved the flavours of the authentic cuisine of Bangalore. The mutton pieces were tender and succulent! 🙂 The gravy served alongside was spicy and loaded with flavours, which added to the taste. The raita was made of cucumber and onions, it was OK but along with biryani, it tasted good.
Chicken biryani was delicious as well and the taste and quality of rice was the same as mutton biryani. Chicken pieces were succulent and had the right taste. However, I really liked and enjoyed their mutton biryani much more than the chicken biryani.


SERVICE AND AMBIENCE:
The service was prompt and they served us quickly. Ambience is very basic and there is nothing much to it.

LOCATION:

https://goo.gl/maps/wBpsYf3JCMN2

GOOGLE MAPS:

No. 718, 1st floor, C Main Road, 45th Cross, 8th Block, Jayanagar, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082

HOURS OF OPERATION:

8:00 AM to 3:30 PM, closed on Mondays

ZOMATO: https://www.zomato.com/bangalore/shivaji-military-hotel-jayanagar

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The Brew and Barbeque – Quality Brews, Signature Cocktails, and Delectable Food

Nice microbrewery! Good food and quality! Amazing in-house beers and cocktails!

The Brew and Barbeque is a popular microbrewery and a multi-cuisine restaurant located on the 4th floor of the Soul Space Arena mall on the Outer Ring Road. The location adds a big plus point to it. It’s a huge place with cozy ambience, suitable for partying and social gatherings. Because they have ample seating space spread out in a huge area, you won’t feel like being in an overcrowded place with people waiting for you to vacate the table. Thus, you enjoy the food and drinks at your own leisure.

I visited this place on an invite to attend the 86th Food Bloggers Association, Bangalore (FBAB) meetup.

ORDER, TASTE, AND QUALITY:

They have full bar menu with some signature cocktails, mocktails and craft beers. The food menu is extensive as well with almost all popular cuisines included it.

DRINKS:

BEERS: We tried their craft beers, which included American Pale Ale, Red Indian Ale, and Hafeweizen. The American Pale Ale was hoppy in taste so kinda bitter, which is OK if you like it that way. Red Indian Ale was smooth and easy on the tongue. Hafeweizen is a wheat beer, which is a bit stronger but very good and smooth in taste. This is my favourite!

COCKTAILS: I tried BellandurOverflow, Pina Colada, and Long Island Ice Tea (L.I.I.T). All the cocktails were really good in taste. L.I.I.T and Pina Colada are popular cocktails and were made exactly the way it should be. BellandurOverflow is their special signature cocktail, subtle flavoured and superb! A must-try one if you are there.

STARTERS:

In starters, we tried Corn Cheeze Cutlet, Chicken Hariyali Tikka, Chicken Wings, Golden Fried Corn, Butter Garlic Prawns, Tandoori Prawns, Chilli Fish, Guntur Chicken, Wonton, Malai Paneer Tikka, and Hot and Spicy Mushrooms. All items were delicious, and my favourites are Chicken Wings and Chilli Fish. Absolutely delectable! 😊

MAIN COURSE:

For main course, we ordered Butter Chicken, Thin Crust Pizzas, Veg Sizzler, Donne Biryani, Chicken Dum Biryani, and Tandoori Roti. All of their Thin Crust Pizzas are lip-smacking! 😊 A must-try item for main course. Butter Chicken and Dum Biryani were OK in taste. Veg Sizzler and Donne Biryani didn’t impress me.

DESSERTS:

In desserts, we had Choco Lava Cake, Apple Pie, Lemon Cheesecake, and Chocolate Tart. Choco Lava Cake was yummy and my favourite.

SERVICE AND AMBIENCE:

Ambience is classy, you can relax and enjoy the music being played. Also, there is ample space to park your vehicle in the mall’s parking area. You can enjoy and spend some good time with friends and family. Service staff is courteous, but the service is very slow even during the off-peak hours. They should improve upon this aspect.  Overall, it’s a good place for their signature beers, cocktails, and delectable food.

LOCATION:

https://goo.gl/maps/R8cJrjR17f22

GOOGLE MAPS:

36/5, Soulspace Arena Mall, 4th Floor, Outer Ring Road, Doddanekunddi, Doddanekundi, Mahadevapura, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560037

HOURS OF OPERATION:

12 Noon to 12 Midnight

ZOMATO: https://www.zomato.com/bangalore/the-brew-and-barbeque-marathahalli

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Legendary Indian Coffee House, Church Street

Indian Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I am a big fan of the legendary Indian Coffee House (ICH) chain that has its presence in all major cities of India. ICH has a glorious history and once it was considered an iconic place to have coffee and indulge in a discussion with friends for hours.

It was such a place where people used to come and attend meetings to discuss all sorts of political or social issues. Many notable and prominent political personalities of the past had visited the ICH restaurants and discussed the future strategies.

It’s said that the restaurant in Delhi, Connaught Place is the place where strategies were made by the opposition during the Indian emergency. This particular restaurant is also close to my heart as I was a regular customer and I met my wife and her family for the first time here. The one in Allahabad is also known to have witnessed regular visits by top politicians and notable literary people of the country in the bygone era.

ICH still has the good old and its very own culture that nobody asks the reason for sitting and discussing political issues or college chats for hours while having just a cup of coffee or sometimes maybe not even ordering anything. No one interferes in the discussions and arguments going on.

Over the decades, ICH has become a place for the common people and the elderly or sometimes college students as well. The food is really inexpensive, but the taste and quality has always been good. This place is good for breakfast.

On Zomato, I have already reviewed almost all the Indian Coffee House restaurants that I had visited in various cities. The first ICH restaurant that I visited during my childhood days was the legendary ICH restaurant in my own city of Allahabad. This was followed by visits to ICH restaurants in Jaipur, New Delhi, Bhopal, and the two restaurants in Bangalore.

In Bangalore, while the restaurant in Koramangala is new and looks classy with nice interiors and ambience, the restaurant in Church Street is the old restaurant, which looks similar to the other ICH restaurants and has the similar ambience that is very minimal and basic.

ICH, Koramangala is like a flagship restaurant of the ICH chain, which is far ahead in terms of ambience and has a huge list of items in its menu. However, the usual breakfast items remain the same in both the restaurants.

Last week, my wife and I went to Brigade road and after shopping and roaming around for a while, we decided to visit the Indian Coffee House at Church Street. It was our first visit to this restaurant and we ordered Hot Coffee, Masala Dosa, Bread Toast, Omelette, and Mutton Cutlet.

Hot Coffee was a typical ICH filter coffee, which was a bit strong. Masala Dosa was good in taste but it was served only with coconut chutney. On asking for Sambhar, they told us that it’s served in the morning.

Bread Toast and Omelette were also good in taste and quality. The toast was crispy and roasted with Amul butter. I liked the taste. Mutton Cutlet was yummy! It was fresh and crisp. The taste was awesome.

It’s recommended to visit this restaurant but don’t go there with high expectations of ambience and class. Instead, visit it for the legendary history behind it and the tasty food that it offers.

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Kareem’s Chef Delhi, Jayanagar – A Non-Vegetarian’s Delight!

Kareem's Chef Delhi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was exploring some options for dinner when I saw Kareem’s Chef Delhi restaurant. I have lived in Delhi for over 8 years and the name Kareem’s itself makes me crave for some meaty delight with Khameeri Roti. But this is about Kareem’s Chef Delhi restaurant in Bangalore and I don’t know the history behind this restaurant, so I wasn’t sure if it will match the taste and quality of the very popular Kareem’s chain in Delhi and particularly the original Kareem restaurant offering Mughlai cuisine near Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. The name suggests that perhaps some chef from Kareem’s restaurant Delhi has opened his own restaurant in Bangalore or has been hired by a restaurateur in Bangalore.

So, I decided to give this restaurant a try for delivering my dinner. I ordered a portion of Mutton Nihari and Tandoori Roti. The order was delivered timely and to my surprise the Tandoori Roti is actually the same as the fluffy Khameeri Roti, which is served in Delhi. Mutton Nihari was perfect in taste and they had served a generous number of mutton chunks. It made me feel nostalgic about Delhi and the years I spent there, where Kareem’s was my one-stop destination for Non-Veg food.

Kudos to the restaurateur who has brought the original taste of Old Delhi to Bangalore! I have not visited this restaurant yet, but the delivery experience was too good. They also have a variety of other Non-Vegetarian dishes in their menu and my next order was Mutton Paya, which was spicy and delicious.

This restaurant is pocket-friendly and the half portion of a Mutton Paya just costs around INR 125/- while the Mutton Nihari was priced at INR 200/-. I ordered through UberEATS and the delivery was really quick. Food was delivered to my doorstep in less than 30 minutes. I would recommend it to anyone craving for Old Delhi’s Non-Vegetarian food.

Demystified Bhangarh Fort – The Most Haunted Place in India

Bhangarh Fort, Alwar – popularly known as the most haunted place in India and one of the most haunted places in Asia. Although, we heard about this place but never bothered to take risk by making a visit there. Not that I hate adventure trips but when it comes to ghosts, I would rather love to see myself on a safer side! Because this is one such entity about which we are unsure and unaware so kinda unpredictability is always there.

This time we were in Gurgaon and desperately wanted a weekend getaway nearby. I double checked with my wife and brother-in-law, if we are really going there and is that the final plan. They in turn asked me to confirm. After some thoughts, we gathered the courage to take the risk this time. We started from Gurgaon in afternoon hoping to reach Bhangarh fort by evening.

Before reaching Bhangarh, we crossed Ajabgarh, a kingdom that shares the proximity to Bhangarh. We saw the Ajabgarh fort, which is secluded at the hilltop. By 6:00 PM, we reached the fort’s entrance. We were stopped by the security and asked to leave as the visiting hours were over and even the Archaeological Survey of India or the ASI has forbidden the locals and tourists from entering the fort after sunset. However, after requesting them, they allowed us to go inside the fort with an assurance that we will come back in an hour.

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The first look of the abandoned city of Bhangarh suggested that of a completely ruined and isolated place, which might be haunted according to various stories. However, the fort of Bhangarh does have a very spooky and negative aura to it. After entering the premises, we had to walk to the main fort, so while walking, I concentrated on every sound, shadow, or even a whisper. Yes, I heard some very unusual sounds! In fact, all of us heard those weird sounds coming in and hitting our ears to make us feel scared.

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But hey, within few minutes, I figured out the origin of those sounds. Isn’t that interesting? I had already started feeling like a detective or a paranormal activist by then. Anyways, the weird sounds were coming because of the fast-blowing wind that hits the hill. Bhangarh fort is underneath that hill and the hill obstructs the blow of wind, hence, the sound. There were also some scary sounds from monkeys, peacocks, and other wild animals that reside in the fort area.

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When we entered the fort, it was already getting dark and some rooms inside the fort had absolute darkness. There was no one other than us in the fort and knowing that fact thrilled us to the extreme! We were mentally prepared by that time and were awaiting something unusual to happen. For the 45 minutes, nothing unusual or paranormal was observed apart from a few scary noises by peacocks and animals. We spotted some important landmarks and temples in Bhangarh area from the rooftop of Bhangarh fort.

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Later, a person from parking staff and one other attendant came to the fort and waited for us to leave. We asked them if they have seen any ghost here and expected a fearful reply. However, to our surprise, they completely rubbished the existence of ghost or anything paranormal there. According to them, ghosts might have existed there centuries ago as told by their forefathers but now after media has popularized Bhangarh fort, it’s is experiencing heavy footfall, there is no truth in all the stories associated with people witnessing ghosts.

Finally, while leaving the fort and walking towards the exit gate, we felt something unusual.  Although, we didn’t see anyone, not even a shadow but somehow, we would often turn back and look at those hair-raising lanes and ruins in the premises. We were also looking behind to check if no one is following us. After giving a deep thought, I felt it must be a delusion that occurred because of the state-of-mind at that time.

An interesting incident happened at the exit gate. Few brahmins, who reside in the premises asked us to stay back with them to see ghosts. On asking them if they have seen any such entity, they said that there are thousands of ghosts in the fort, not just a few of them. They also added that they had many encounters with the ghosts and narrated 4-5 horrible stories of their experiences with them. Although, I don’t deny that there cannot be ghosts in the fort but whatever they told us seemed hilarious and untrue. I laughed at the baseless stories knowing that they are doing this to strengthen the hype!

How to Reach?

Bhangarh lies between Jaipur and Alwar.

Route from Delhi : Delhi-Gurgaon-Bhiwadi-Alwar-Sariska-Thanagazhi-Pratapgarh-Ajabgarh-Bhangarh. It’s a nearly 300 km drive. Best to travel in a SUV and always carry a spare tyre as there are stretches where for kilometres there are no petrol pumps or habitations.

Nearby Attractions

Sariska Wildlife Sanctury, Hotel Sariska Palace, and Bharthari Temple

Suggested Reading

In this article, I have not detailed any popular stories and the history of Bhangarh fort. This is rather about our experience to find the truth behind such stories. To know more about the fort, you can read the Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhangarh_Fort.