Monthly Archives: August 2011

Book Review: The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad

My book review was published in the August issue of JetWings, (international as well as domestic edition) the luxury travel in-flight magazine on Jet Airways, one of India’s premier airlines.

Please click on the link here for the PDF: Review of The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (My name at the bottom right of the review, not the entire page.)

If you think I review books in an unbiased manner, also have a look at my review of Ruskin Bond’s When the Tiger was King.

Happy reading,

Manali

Restaurant Review: Pop Tate’s, Korum Mall, Thane

Yes. Finally. At last. Pop Tate’s – The Unrestaurant set shop at Korum Mall and made hundreds of Thanekars happy. I went there on the day it opened and am happy to report, it’s as amazing as expected! Comparisons between the R-Mall branch at Mulund are inevitable and Pop Tate’s, Thane will not disappoint you. The seating area is a li’l larger than that at R-Mall, which means lesser waiting time.

Pop Tate’s has divided itself into air conditioned and an al fresco section. The a/c section looks fabulous with shining new posters of classic movies and iconic Hollywood actors. Sean Connery looks down on you, perched right beside Marilyn Monroe. Super-expensive guitars (Les Paul, I’m told) adorn a wall. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to score a table in the ac section and headed to the outdoors, braving the heat, to show our loyalty.

The indoors

The outdoors have perhaps not been furnished fully yet, because the place seemed bare. And if this is their final thing, it doesn’t cut it. Now for the food. Hang on, before that.. the menu! Thankfully, it’s been revamped in a posh manner that bears no resemblance to the previous menus. Because, honestly, it *was* getting a bit boring to see the same old menu at Pop Tate’s AND Jughead’s.

The outdoor seating area

The food.. ah, the food! Lovely thin crust pizzas. The prices of some dishes have been upped by Rs 2 and I’m sure no one’s complaining. We stuck to the tried, tested and loved. So that was a 12″ Margarita (Rs 185), Hot and Spicy Veg (Rs 185) and Exotic Veg (Rs 185). Great value for money. The sizzlers are surprisingly filling. 

Veggie Mexicano Sizzler

The service was polite and unintrusive. And an attendant simply didn’t know how to react after a friend asked him, “Aaj opening day hai.. toh kuch special offers vagera nahi hai kya?” Anyhow, just as we paid and were leaving, they got a big fan and placed it by our table. AFTER we sweated and sweated and grinned through it all, *just* because it was Pop Tate’s. That kinda ticked me off.

Update: I’ve lunched at the air-conditioned section and its just as good. The servers look seriously funny with the suspenders and bow-ties though.

Details: Pop Tate’s – The Unrestaurant, Level 4, Korum Mall, Off Eastern Express Highway, Thane (W). Call 66737988/ 022 66737987.  Rs 500 for a meal for two (with alcohol). No home delivery. Open from 12 to 12.

If you think I do a good job of reviewing restaurants, read about my meals at:

Jugheads – The Unrestaurant

Cafe Bean Garu

Manali

Restaurant Review: Jughead’s, Andheri

Now, I’m a big fan of Pop Tate’s and was pretty sure I’d be happy dining at Jughead’s too. So when my cousin Vaishali and her fiancé Janmin (very funny and very sweet, BTW) offered to take me out to dinner, there was no second guessing the destination.

We showed up on a Candle Light Tuesday night, and were received well. There is nothing notable about the ambiance and it seemed to me like a bad version of Pop Tate’s. Still, not to judge a restaurant by it’s ambiance alone, eh?

There’s something I’d like to say now to any restaurant owner/anyone in the F & B industry that might end up reading this: See, when us patrons arrive at a restaurant, we like to get settled in. We like to sit back, take in the look and feel of the place, adjust our seats, run our hand through our hair, put away our cell phones and handbags, check out other diners, wonder if they are thinner/better looking, count apart veg and non-veg eaters at our table, decide who splits a dish with whom, banter a little and *thennnnn* have a look at the menu. Capisce?

So it’s unacceptable to rush us for our orders. Not when there are only three other tables occupied and closing hour is still a long way. Which was the case at Jughead’s that night. By the way, there were two guys sipping beer on another table, lookin a li’l uncomfortable with the candle light and roses on the table, probably discussing football or something and trying very hard to not look like a gay couple. Funny! 😛

For starters, we called for a Paneer and Babycorn Chilli (Rs 120). The name says Chilli. We love spice. Shouldn’t it be spicy? It wasn’t. And the sweet taste of the Babycorn din’t go well at all with the gravy. The Paneer though was soft and tasted amazing.

Next up, a Paneer Shashlyk Sizzler (Rs 200) which was a total letdown. The paneer again was super soft but that cannot make up for the bland taste. The French Fries at any McDonald’s outlet taste better than the ones as part of the Sizzler here. There was also stuffed capsicum in the Sizzler. Stuffed with mashed potatoes and no seasoning/spices. Huh? :\

I was quite looking forward to the Vegetable Lasagne (Rs 145). I’ve had it at Pop Tate’s with relish. The Lasagne arrived. Looking the same as what Pop Tate’s served. I grin and dug in. Hmm. Not too bad.. but something’s off. Uh, I give up trying to figure what.

Oh, wait. I haven’t bitched about the service yet. Our server, who’s supposed to *serve* us, just left the food on our table. We wait, thinking he’ll be back in a second. Nope, no go. So we call him and request him to serve us, which he does with a a frown and a sour reluctant face. I am not imagining things, I tell you.

Unfortunately, neither of us had cameras, so no pictures. But you can just imagine in your head what Pop Tate’s would look like when robbed.

Service: Rude.

Food: Bad.

Ambiance/Seating: Unimpressive.

Pricing: Economical.

Bottomline: Not going back, nope.

Details: De-Mall, 103/104, Above Skoda, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai. Call 26731761/26731762.

If you deem me capable (and hungry enough) of reviewing restaurants, see what I have to say about the newest Pop Tate’s outlet.

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