Category Archives: Food

Thank god it was friday…

.. yesterday I mean. We decided to roam the streets of london to soak in the christmas festivities in westend. I wrapped up work around 7 and we started off with an agreement to meet outside embankment station. S was out with her office folks for a friday evening tipple (pineapple juice!) and when i reached embankment, i realised she hadnt even got on to the underground. Time to kill so time for a corona ! As it turned out, there was enough time for 2 coronas actually : ) at the Ha ha bar …

We finally got off to our plan with a bit of a tiff about delays and getting mad at each other but a rose helped things sort out ! Took a while for us to conclude that there wasnt going to be a cab so it was gonna be a walk to Somerset house .. to get a taste of the mulled wine and a view of their annual skating rink setup, especially for christmas. The walk was pretty nice and this was our 3rd attempt to go to Somerset house so we were hoping it will be open by the time we reach there. Last year when we tried with A and N, it got too crowded and they refused us entry, but this year we were 3rd time lucky ! By the time we got there, we were pretty hungry though S had already had a bowl of thai noodle salad from Spar. Somerset house had setup a pretty nice skating rink and a beautiful natural christmas tree decorated with some messages in bengali which I couldnt figure out. I mean why put messages in bengali in england .. dunno. The views with backdrop of the historical somerset house, were stunning, i dint carry my camera which was a pity. You can see some pics though on their website .

Somerset House Christmas Tree
We tried out the flat bread (or good ol’ roti) with some humous at the makeshift restaurant but mulled wine remained something we enjoyed only from a distance.

After soaking in the atmosphere at somerset house (christmas tree was the highlight) we walked back towards covent garden to check out the santa grotto and the always special christmas tree and it did not disappoint us. The tree here was much bigger than that at Somerset house but not as pretty I thought.

Covent Garden Christmas Tree

we roamed around looking for a restaurant and found “taste of india” on the way (opposite Her Majesty’s theatre on Drury lane) but we thought that we will check out some other. Eventually we dint find any place else interesting enough.. so we came back to Taste of India.

It was a reasonably good decor with a coat hanging area (thats always a relief not to hang it the back of a small chair) and very well mannered bengali waiting staff. We are generally not too excited by bangladeshi restaurants pretending to be indian restaurants but this one turned out to be alright. The prices were ok by central london standards, and from what I have seen, Covent garden is largely dominated by Bangladeshi run indian restaurants, dunno if there is a historical reason for that.

As always, S had the privelege of ordering the food for both of us (thats a rule when we go to indian restaurants!). She chose a thali to share between the two of us with an extra roti. We now always eat only veg food when we go to indian restaurants. The food was reasonable, not too much oil. the thali had daal, aloo gobi, palak ,mushroom, raita, pilau (sic) rice. Quite a sumptuous meal wth a naan and extra roti, not to mention the unsolicited papadums that we started with. We actually thought they were on the house, but when the bill arrived, we were charged for those 2!

Our verdict was that the food was not too bad for a bangladeshi indian restaurant ! Though the best bangladeshi indian restaurant we have ever been to is planet spice. More about it another time.

Well fed .. we decided to walk back to embankment via strand and take a little detour to see the christmas tree at Trafalgar square. This is one tree which is always gifted by Norway to londoners as thank you for supporting them in WW II.  It was a pretty sight with lots of tourists taking pictures at this famous landmark. There was a little display of birth of Jesus christ at Trafalgar square, drawing lot of attention from toursits.

xmas tree at trafalgar square

It wasnt a very cold night and we walked back to charing cross station and took a direct train home. Apparently this is turning out to be the warmest year for london since they started recording temperatures! I slept for some part of the way, was really tired and two and half pints of beer had to show the effect some where… all in all a good night out and we saw the somerset house skating rink after 3 attempts!


La porte des Indes

So whats a french title doing in my english blog, well, its the french name of an indian restaurant in the heart of the city of london. Talk of tributes to multiple colonizers at the same time!

 Why am I talking about this restaurant, coz I had the best office xmas party at this restaurant tonight. The restaurant is pretty posh and hip and when the HR team sent me an invite for this party, I was impressed with the choice of the place. I had been to this place a couple of years ago and they lived up to their reputation. The decor is very eco friendly (!), lots of green foliage inside the restaurant which gives a garden kinda nice feel. The bar was small but served the purpose. The cutlery was gold and silver plated and gave the table a rich look. Starters were served and were sumptuos. chicken, fish, veggies and the works, all as canapes along with drinks. Our parties btw never have alcohol on the house (its always a cash bar!) and I was not in the mood for drinks anyways, so i stuck to pineapple juice with a hint of ginger *yummy*.

The main course took a little while to arrive but while we waited for it, since it was a table of some 8 people and most of us hadnt met each other before, we introduced each other and I had some interesting conversations with the Alan Boots (SGS), Nishant, Ambi, Satya (the guy who moved from Ramco), Rob (IC) and the russian couple of demitri and his babe. Had some interesting conversations around english accents and multiculturalism in britain. Seems like the newcastle (jordies) are the hardest to understand but the folks from Cornwall can give them a run for their money with the guttural accent.

The main course was pretty delicious with enough options for veggies and the non foliage eaters. Included one main course each of chicken, lamb, fish and paneer. The nan were freshly made and rice was nicely cooked and fragrant. As we indians always do, there was very little conversation till the last morcel of the main course was finished from the table!

 The presentation of food was quite different from any indian restaurant that you will see in london. Quite stylised with a raised plate carrying 4 different bowls with a main course each.

While all the food was being eaten away, i must tell you about the piece de resistance of the evening! The belly dancing babe : ) authentic egyptian ishtyle! While most of us enjoyed the belly dance, I really dint think it was authentic belly dance, coz it dint compare to the one I had seen in Cairo last year around the same time. Lot of flesh was on show but all from a distance : ). Some guys in their inebriated state did join the girl ont he dance floor, notably including Anup U, Sanjay J, Rajiv S and lots other. Sudhir and KV kept a safe distance.

 The desserts took an unsually long time to arrive, at one point in time, almost everyone started to leave, but belly dancer was introduced yet again, making every one return to their seats … you know where the priority of all the men lay : )

Dessert was absolutely awesome, a combination in small measures of Srikhand, Gulabjamun and finger lickin mousse of chocolat, a tribute yet again to our colonisers !

All in all a sumptuous evening and in my view the best office party i have ever attended! Long live HR : )

Shopping at Sainsburys and Tesco

Just came back from the weekly grocery shopping chore and it was quite a refreshing experience. For a change we went to a Sainsbury rather than the Tesco. Tesco seems to have that “I dont care a damn…” attitude about customers and even the merchandise. All the stuff just seems to be lying around and the space between aisles is so narrow that you invariably land up playing trolley dodgem! Its like driving in a narrow 2 way street, which never was meant to be a 2 way street in the first place.

All the fresh areas were clean and didnt have any rotting “value” range lying all over the place. All the glass counters were sparkling clean and the stuff in patisserie actually looked fresh. 

Even the girl on the checkout counter actually offered to help pack (and sounded like she meant it!) and was an epitome of service with a smile .. .tesco tills are all about speed .. how quickly can she knock your shopping off, it doesnt matter if I can match her speed in bagging the stuff or not.

I did have one bad experience though, tried asking a guy who was stacking shelves, if there were bigger packs of baby corn available and he didn’t seem like he was bothered.

It was a sunday afternoon and Sainsbury was not that crowded, so that could have made a difference to the whole experince, but i still think the store was much more spacious.

Prices are slightly higher, you can check out your trolley price here and this site tells you that your shopping trolley is about 10% more expensive at Sainsbury’s. Is the premium worth paying .. your call. For now, my view is in favour of Taste the difference .. rather than Every little helps …