Monday, June 22, 2015

Wenger's Deli, Connaught Place, New Delhi

Note - This place takes its last order at around 8:30 PM/8:45PM. You feel this is bad - this is actually much later than the legendary sister concern which shuts door at 7:45 PM.

Wenger's Deli, Connaught Place

Wenger's Deli is sister (and very new) concern of the legendary Wenger's. We all know about Wenger's, which is just phenomenal in terms of value for money it offers. Wenger's Deli is an attempt to get into next level - from Bakery to Delicatessan - but with same focus on 'value for money'.

It is located adjacent to Keventer's in A-Block (on the radial road), Connaught Place. With the legendary Wenger's two shops away, this place is rightly placed for attracting the crowd. But it gets a bit hidden due to its location. However once you step inside, you will find the same quality as Wenger's and will feel satiated with very less hit on the wallet.

Remember, this is a Deli - better suited for a pick-up or a quick bite between work. This is not a fine dining setup at all. Decor is very minimal. Actually, the place itself is very small - hardly 10 or 12 seats (bar stools, to be precise) are available for seating. During rush hours, the waiting can go long due to limited seating - best is to order first and wait or grab the food and step out. The seating is also much in a bar fashion with stools facing the walls (window) and fixed tables in the walls. The caricatures on both walls make the setting a bit light and makes it feel much like a Deli. Overall, seating is less but the decor is good (or maybe perfect for the venture).

The Deli has an open kitchen - actually kitchen probably has same amount of space as the front desk and the sitting area. The kitchen is visible through an open glass panel. That kind of sets a good tone as you can see your order being prepared in hygienic way. The service is just about okay. I have found it to be very quick at times and then slow at other times. Also, it depends on the rush and orders in the queue.

Food and Drinks
Now comes the main part - Food.

Food at Wenger's Deli is amazingly fresh, cheap and quantity is good. This frankly stands out in whole of Connaught Place. After trying various items from their menu, here is what I would recommend

Salads - Cucumber and Grape one; really nice combination and flavor.
Panini - Go for Greek Hero or Vegan Delite (yes the one with aubergine) in vegetarian section or Peri Peri Chicken in non-vegetarian section.
Waffles - All of them are good; perfectly baked. If you are into waffles, try them here.
Smoothies/Shakes - Zacarito or Hawaiin (if you like it in Coconut milk)
Burgers - The non-vegetarian section rules here. Sorry for the other side but the classic Chicken burger or Mutton Shami burger are both awesome. They are very filling and have perfectly prepared patties in them. A bit on spicy side though. But we, Indians, love it that way. Don't we?

So, what is missing? In my opinion, coffee is surely missing from the menu. Well, no hot drinks till now on their menu. I fail to understand why. I hope they get this corrected soon.

Three things - food preparation, food quantity and price. Perfectly sums it up.

Here are the ratings on different aspects
Decor - 3/5
Service - 3/5
Food - 5/5
Drinks - 4/5

Wenger's Deli
A-18, Radial Road
Connaught Place,
New Delhi

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mumbai Matinee (The Bollywood Cafe), Sector 18, Noida

This review comes after a long time. First things first, I have decided to change the format of reviews to include different aspects of the place and give ratings to each one of them. Most common aspects would be - food, decor, and service but there could be other occasional things which are worth mentioning for a particular place like music, drinks or USP etc...

Mumbai Matinee (The Bollywood Cafe), Sector 18, Noida

Discovered by chance while roaming around in Sector 18 market and after being to this place three times, this place does not live up to its "name" hype. Well, for a place called Mumbai Matinee, one would expect blockbuster food - isn't that what Bollywood is all about. But Mumbai Matinee fails miserably in food department. Seriously, how can one go wrong with Vada Pav.

Nostalgic. Do I need to say more. For someone who grew up in 80s & 90s and had always loved the wonderful bygone era of Bollywood, this place is really nostalgic. It has posters from old movies - some of them which even I had not seen till now. And then it has the LPs (not the real ones but very much realistic fakes) on the ceiling. Plus it has famous dialogues from some of the movies in the outer room (on first floor). To complete the look, there are boxes created out of old cassette covers - remember those tapes we used to play in our cassette players. Now this one is old for some of the readers to understand:)

One thing which hurts me in the decor is the 'Wall of Legends'. It contains a small biography of legends of Bollywood. Nice concept but the hurting part is
- There is no mention of Dilip Kumar there. I mean - this is tragic!!!
- And then there is Parveen Babi and Firoz Khan. With all due respect to the latter, isn't this too much and then Parveen Babi - seriously ???

For someone who has grown up hearing 80s and 90s music - don't laugh - this is a good place to enjoy those songs. Music is indeed good here - one can enjoy oldies as well as 80s/90s music. The volume can be tones down a bit due to the small place and closed interiors but then it depends on your mood as well.

Overall pass-able. I have not waited too long for my orders ever - which is what matters. Plus the staff is courteous. Only thing which I noticed was the staff to be less knowledgeable. For example, if they cannot understand a demand for Pesto sauce pasta then something is missing. But then, Noida has always been devoid of good knowledgeable staff in restaurants. No surprises on this one.

Coming to the probably the most important in a restaurant, food fails to make a mark to me at this place. On all my visits, I have tired nearly all items from their 'Mumbai Matinee Special' section and some pastas for my young one. Anything listed as 'Special' in the menu should be special but I am afraid they fail to make a mark. It is not that they are bad but they are just not special. I have tried Misel Pav, Vada Pav, Keema Pav, Pav Bhaji - nearly covering the whole 'Special' menu but none of them are outstanding. Moving on to pastas, they are very much 'Indianized' so to say. The sauces smell and taste very much Indian. Overall, food needs a huge lift in this otherwise good conceptualized eating joint.

Well, this the part I have been there 3 times - specially their cutting chai. If you want to get a good cutting chai - this is the place to be in Sector 18. The cutting chai is just the right quantity of tea one would want to enjoy with the food. Made with perfect amount of milk and perfectly sweetened, it makes the food taste somewhat better.Perfect for a rainy day.

Here are the ratings on different aspects
Decor - 4/5
Service - 3/5
Music - 4.5/5
Food - 2/5
Tea - 5/5 :)

Mumbai Matinee
J-19, Sector 18
National Capital Region (NCR)