Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lunch buffet at Kokum

I dont think a lot of people have heard of Kokum yet. Its an upscale south Indian style fine dining restaurant located in Viman Nagar.I have been there a few times for their weekday lunch buffets and have come away quite satisfied with the experience. Not that I am terribly fond of Andhra or Tamil style of cooking, but at least the buffet at Kokum allows you to sample some of the best dishes that the south of India can offer. Priced at Rs.275 for the weekday lunch, this buffet is definitely value for money.

One of the things that draws me to this place is the ambience. The wood and dark green colour theme with the traditional lamps at the centre give a very comfortable and soothing feel to the restaurant. After you load your first plate with some typical appetisers from the south like chicken or fish fry and dry mutton and fill your soup bowls with crabmeat soup or whatever are the soups of the day, you can sit back and relax in the cool atmosphere. There arent too many starters or salads to spoil your appetite and you can start off on the main course in your second round to the buffet.

I am not well versed with the south Indian names of the dishes on offer, but I was told by a good friend of mine who is knowledgable in this style of cuisine, that the main course includes dishes from all the southern states. Fortunately, the staff is there to guide you through the buffet if required and the English descriptions are also written below each dish. I have never sampled the veg courses here as I am not too fond of them especially cooked in south Indian style. However the chicken, fish and mutton dishes in the buffet have always been very well cooked and the taste has been to my liking. Typical of the cuisine, they are a little spicy, but if you enjoy spicy food, you will love these. The dessert section is not very vast unlike some other buffets, but all the desserts are worth trying. Again I am not fond of the payasam, but the chocolate balls, butterscotch pastries, fruit salad and the tastiest vanilla ice-cream I have ever had is a very satisfying end to the buffet.

I have never tried a la carte here as the dishes seem to be expensively priced, but I am inclined to try that the next time I go. Or I would love to try their dinner thalis sometime which are also very good I am told. All in all, Kokum is not a place which I would frequently visit as I am not terribly fond of south Indian cooking, but the lunch buffet is worth a visit if you want to experiment or try out something new, at a comparatively low cost.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dessert coffees at CCD

After a gap of several months, I had occasion to visit the Cafe Coffee Day chain four times in the space of a week. Normally I have the hot coffees there, but this time I decided to indulge myself and try out their dessert coffees. Apart from their staple hot and cold coffees, CCD boasts of serving some premium cream blended cold coffees which I am calling as dessert coffees here. There are four of them - kaapi nirvana, cafe frappe, devil's own and choco frappe. I tried each one during my recent visits and have concluded that only one of them requires special mention.

Out of these, Devil's Own is undoubtedly the best dessert coffee served there. It is a smooth blend of cream & coffee, drenched with chocolate sauce, topped up with some whipped cream and coffee beans. First of all, it tastes like coffee and not a milkshake as the others. It is not too milky and heavy on the stomach and has less ice in it in any form. I actually craved to have more of this coffee preparation on finishing my tall glass of the brew, while the others I did not crave for more. All in all, if you want to spend about a hundred bucks on some coffee at CCD, you wont be dissatisfied if you choose the Devil's Own.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Royal Symphony

Have you
ever been to a restaurant where the food, ambience, service was all good, but still you dont feel like revisiting the place? Simply because the place has no character, no USP. I recently had an occasion to go for a dinner party to one such place. It was at the President hotel's restaurant called Royal Symphony.

It is a decent place with good lighting and ample space even for big dinner party groups like ours was that night. The menu is predominantly North Indian (serving non-veg as well) with a few chinese and continental dishes thrown in. I thought the prices were a little steep for the place with the regular non-veg fare priced over Rs. 250 per dish. We had a few rounds of vodka with tonic water with the usual Indian appetisers like chicken tikka, chilly chicken, veg platter, reshmi kabab and the like. The food was good, the service was good and the table conversation was good. And yet, the whole experience left something missing.

First of all, the restaurant was very silent with hardly any tables filled. Also there was no soft music playing in the background and nothing around in the decor of the place to catch one's attention. The table settings were the standard run-of-the-mill stuff and even the menu card and the menu were uninspiring. In short, there was no USP and no character to the place to draw you back. The food was surprisingly good though with the murgh musallam and the lucknowi gosht being very tasty. The chicken biryani was among the better ones I have ever had. The fresh lychees with ice-cream and the generously sized sizzling brownees went down well.

However, Royal Symphony is a little too standard for my liking and the place does not leave you with a very good impression to call for a revisit.
The food is definitely good, but I would rather spend the same amount at Deccan Rendezvous or even Koyla for that matter.