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Chaat and Jalebi at Shubh Sweets

Shubh sweets is a good-quality sweets and chaat shop located on 27th main road in HSR Layout. I had been a regular customer here for their delicious chaats, pani puri, and sweets. It’s a one-stop place for all such cravings. So, this blog post sums up all my experiences so far with their food.

Just outside the shop, they have two pani puri (gol gappe) counters, where they have 5 different varieties of pani (water) to be filled inside the puri or golgappe.
The variety includes chilli water, saunf (fennel seeds) water, sweet water, jeera (cumin) water, and pudina (mint) water. It’s a very nice concept and especially popular among the North Indians living nearby.

They have a momos counter next to it, where they have veg, cheeze, and paneer momos to choose from. Off late, I didn’t like the taste of their momos but earlier it used to be good.

Another specialty at this restaurant is their Hot Jalebis, made of pure desi ghee. You can smell the aroma of pure desi ghee and it tastes awesome!

I also tried their Aloo tikki and Dahi Papdi Chaat, the Aloo tikki was good in taste and quality. However, I didn’t like the Dahi Papdi Chaat at all and don’t recommend it. There are much better places to have Dahi Papdi Chaat in Bangalore. The other regular sweets, such as Ras Malai and Sohan Papdi are also fresh and good in taste.
Overall, the taste and quality is quite good.

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Ambience is OK nothing exciting but not bad either. They have a seating space inside the shop where you can enjoy the food. It’s a self-service restaurant so no comments on service.

 

Delicious Biryani Delivery from ReadyBowl

ReadyBowl is a delivery-only chain that specializes in biryani and South Indian food. An interesting fact is that they serve biryani and all food items by weight! After reading some reviews on Zomato, I figured out that one of their outlets is in my locality. So, I decided to visit their kitchen to order the food. I could have ordered online as well but as I was already heading outside and their kitchen is at a walking distance from my home so going there was a better option to me.

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They have a big kitchen and it is well maintained, neat and clean. Hygiene is an important factor and cannot be overlooked. ReadyBowl managed a decent score on cleanliness according to me. I ordered a 1/8 portion of a kilo of Special Chicken Biryani with leg pieces. I also ordered a 1/8 portion of a kilo of Chicken Bhuna Masala gravy with butter fulkas (chapati).

On asking the chef, he told that it was a dum biryani. If that’s correct, then they would have cooked the biryani using Dum Pukht method. I can’t assure you about this fact as they haven’t mentioned anywhere about their biryanis being dum biryanis. Nevertheless, it’s just a cooking method but the taste is really superb! I can easily say it was one of the best Hyderabad-style biryanis I had so far in Bangalore. It was a mildly-spiced biryani that suited my taste buds. They use long grain Basmati rice for preparing biryani and the flavours are perfect. The biryani was served with raita and salan. Both were good. Although, I don’t like to have biryani with salan and I always enjoy it with raita but it was the tastiest salan I had with biryani.

Chicken Bhuna Masala was a South Indian-style spicy chicken gravy with curry leaves, cashew nut and South Indian spices. It seemed like the chef had gone an extra mile to make the gravy rich and delicious. It had similarities with the Chicken Chettinad curry, I had once at a Rayalaseema cuisine restaurant. The taste was good, quality was rich, and an aroma of spices and curry leaves made it even more delicious. Overall, it was a satisfying experience.

 

North Indian Food at Silbatti

Silbatti is a typical dhaba-style restaurant with nice decor. They serve a variety of North Indian food, which includes flavourful vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. This place is usually crowded over the weekends and there is a high chance that you’ll have to wait for a table. A suggestion is to reach the restaurant early or reserve your table.

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With some expectations, I ordered Lal Maans (a popular Rajasthani mutton gravy dish) along with Garlic Naan and Plain Roti. It took a while to get the food on table. Lal Maans was not like the authentic Lal Maans that you will get in Rajasthan. Not that it was bad but it lacked the authenticity. I like the original preparation and authenticity so this was the only reason I ordered it and not any other mutton gravy.

However, the gravy was delicious and the mutton pieces were cooked to perfection. It was like any other medium-spiced mutton gravy but if you don’t think of it being Lal Maans, then certainly the taste and quality was good and I enjoyed it. Portion size was on a slightly lesser side but you can always try out more items for an enjoyable experience.

Garlic Naan had almost no garlic in it and it was almost a Butter Naan only. I don’t have a problem eating Butter Naan but in my opinion, if they added a “Garlic” tag with Naan, they should serve Garlic Naan. Plain Roti was just like how it should be.

Nevertheless, it was an average experience.

The service was a bit slow initially to get the food on table but considering the fact that it was a weekend and the restaurant was jam-packed, it should be fine. Nevertheless, they improved the service later and got us an extra Garlic Naan and Rotis in no time after ordering.

Ambience was good and I felt like sitting in a desi dhaba somewhere in Rajasthan or Punjab. They have nicely decorated the restaurant and the tableware also matched their dhaba theme well.

Restaurant Address: 171, 19th Main Road, Sector 4, HSR, Bangalore

Phone Numbers (as per Zomato): 080 65656010, +91 8105374003

Scrumptious Lunch Buffet at Empire Restaurant, Jayanagar

Empire Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Empire restaurant is a well-known name for Middle-Eastern and Kerala cuisine among Bangaloreans. They are extremely famous for their Chicken Kababs and other Non-Veg food. They have branches in all major commercial areas of Bangalore. So, this blog is not about their famous Chicken Kababs or their excellent service but their lunch buffet spread, which is relatively lesser-known and a great option for economical corporate lunch.

Usually, at work, I bring my daily tiffin box from home and don’t go anywhere outside for lunch. However, on one fine day at work, it was lunch time and I had not brought my lunchbox from home. I was hungry and so was my colleague, who also didn’t bring his lunchbox that day. So, we decided to step outside and find some good food to eat nearby. We landed up at Empire thinking to have some Chicken Kababs.

The service staff asked us whether we would like to try their buffet as they have those Kababs and much more included in it. The buffer spread was decent enough for meat-eaters and not bad for vegetarians as well. After one glimpse at the spread, we couldn’t resist ourselves to not opt for the buffet.

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There were all sorts of popular food items, including Tomato Shorba Soup, Chicken Soup, Chicken Kababs, Grilled Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken Dum Biryani, Mushroom Masala, Kerala Coin Porotta, Butter Roti, Fish Fried, Mixed Vegetable, Noodles, Salads, Sweets, and a complimentary soft drink. Also, there were many more vegetarian dishes.

Chicken Kababs were limited to two pieces per person. Butter Chicken and Chicken Dum Biryani were the tastiest food items after the delicious kababs. I would recommend their Chicken Biryani and Chicken Kababs any time. Coin Porotta and Mushroom Masala were also delicious. The quality of food was superb!

Ambience at Empire was way beyond average and they have nice interiors and decent cutlery. This was my first visit to this Empire outlet at Jayanagar. Earlier, I had been to their Koramangala outlet and one thing is common at both the outlets, their service, which is top-class! We both enjoyed the food and had a satisfying experience.

Surprisingly, the cost of the buffet is only INR 196 (including taxes) and it’s served only at the lunch time. This is the most economical buffet we had so far, which doesn’t burn a hole in our pockets. The lunch buffet is available at all Empire outlets in Bangalore. Probably, they serve buffet at this price to attract corporate employees in Bangalore for their daily lunch. A much-appreciated move by an upmarket restaurant chain.

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.

Bohri Food Festival at Nook (Aloft, Cessna Business Park)

Nook - Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was invited to attend food reviewers/bloggers meetup at Nook – Aloft, Cessna Business Park. There is a Bohri food festival going on at Aloft from 12th June till 23rd June. Although, I heard a lot about the Bohri cuisine but never got a chance to taste the authentic Bohri food. This was a welcome change from the regular cuisines. In the holy month of Ramadan, what’s better than to enjoy the food, which came from “Yemen to Gujrat”.

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Dawoodi Bohra community is a mercantile Muslim community, which has its root in Yemen. A good number of population had migrated to Gujrat in India and Sindh region of Pakistan decades ago. Bohri cuisine has a good variety of Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian items. An interesting fact is that the community enjoy food items along with delicious desserts in between.

This food festival is the creativity of the Executive Chef Sandeep Kumar and Chef Dev. I met Chef Sandeep and he walked me through the variety of food. The starters included Bohri Kubat Potato, Lagan ya Sheek, Keema Samosa, Bohri Chicken Cutlet, Dhahi Ka Kebab, Ankrut Moong ki Shaami, Malai Khus Kebab, Batata Samosa, Kukud Kabragha Tikka, and Baida Roti.

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I must say that Keema Samosa and Baida Roti were absolutely delicious. It truly showcased the authenticity of Bohri cuisine. I enjoyed and loved it.

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The main course had Mutton Yakhani Shorba (Soup), Veg Haleem (live Counter), Mutton Haleem (live counter), Bohra Murgh Badami Korma, Gosht Darbari, Fish Nirdrish, Dhudhi Ni Tarkari, Hara Aloo, Murgh Reshmi Biryani, Khatta Mitha Dal, Kefti Dal, and Irani Ran (special).

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The Mutton Haleem, Gosht Darbari, Fish Nirdish, and Irani Ran were the major highlights of the food festival. Other items were also good. Mutton Haleem was smooth and had a good consistency. Absolutely a must-try item in the menu! Gosht Darbari was tender, juicy and the flavours were superb. Irani Ran was again the best I ever had. It was served with a delicious gravy, which was flavourful. The meat was tender and the flavour was mild and subtle.

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They have some signature Mango-based cocktails especially for this food fest that includes:

  • Sweet n spice (Vodka, mango syrup, black pepper, lime juice, sugar)
  • Mango Mojito (White rum, Mango chunks, mint leave, lime juice & sugar syrup)
  • Magarita with twist (Tequila, pomegranate syrup, Mango puree, lemon juice, sugar)
  • Sweet dark side (Dark rum, mango puree, lemon juice, basil leave, caster sugar)
  • Nightlife (whisky, Mango puree, rosemary leave, lemon juice, caster sugar)
  • High tide (Vodka, Gin, white rum, mango puree, ginger ale, lime, sugar syrup)
  • Mango Daiquiri (White rum, mango puree, lemon wedges, caster sugar)

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However, I felt that the Mango flavour was not very prominent or it was overshadowed by the alcohols. Not much to my taste but it could be a different try for cocktail lovers. I settled with the Long Island Ice Tea (L.I.I.T) and it was really good with the correct flavours!

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The desserts section also had a lot of signature dishes from the Gujrat-based community.

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The ambience at Nook is classy with nice decor. The hotel is located in Cessna Business Park and the location is superb. As you enter Aloft, you will feel the premiumness that this hotel offers. They have a decent seating arrangement as well. Service is also polite and courteous. Overall, a must-try restaurant during Ramadan.

Buffet cost:

INR 1099+taxes.

Operational hours: 

Lunch buffet: 12:00 to 3:30 PM

Dinner buffet: 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM

(Excluding Saturdays and Sundays)