Muted interiors in brown greet you as you enter the Thane outlet of Barbeque Nation. The outlet, which has an indoors and an al fresco section, has a seating capacity of 145. On the Saturday night that we visited, all the tables were occupied and even when we left at 10 pm, a good number of people were waiting to get in.The concept of Barbeque Nation is unique. The highlight of Barbeque Nation is the grill they fit in the center of each table. It’s an absolute delight for fans of grilled food.
Barbeque Nation is hit among non-vegetarians but it doesn’t result into them ignoring the humble ghaas phoos eaters such as yours truly. I really appreciate the numerous options they had for vegetarians. What they are essentially saying is that their vegetarian patrons are equally important to them. This philosophy is frequently missing among many restaurants which are known for their meat dishes.
The starters began to arrive as soon as we had settled down. An assortment of marinated vegetables and other items on iron skewers was the first. So we have mushrooms, capsicum, cottage cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, and also, surprisingly, chunks of corn cob! Then came Dahi ke Sohote (sweet batter fried stuffed veggies), gold coins (crisp fried potatoes), paneer (spiced cottage cheese which was the right degree of firm and soft). Then they served one of their specialties – Crispy Corn. Batter fried corn? It was genius, really. I would have never conceived of such a thing. They tasted lovely – crunchy and corn-y. Haha. Then came another special appetizer – Spicy Paneer, which was a disappointment. There wasn’t enough spice to justify its name – in fact, it was completely bland from the inside and needed proper marinating).
The cool thing about Barbeque Nation is the customisation it offers. A tray containing various tiny bowls of sauces and dips (soy sauce, mayo, etc) is placed on the table. You are free to marinate the veggies according to your preferences using a brush. And some time after all the starters are served, the chef drops by your table and enquires whether everything is to your liking. He can take your feedback and spice levels into consideration and go back and get you custom-made starters for you.
As for the mocktails – they have a lovely selection and are affordably priced. Chocolate Monk was a smooth blend of chocolate, cream, hazelnut and ice cream. What’s not to love?! Pacific Blue was a cooling mix of litchi, lemonade and blue curaco. Cranberry Cooler, a combination of ginger, lime and of course, cranberry was rather nice. Lady in Red was strawberry based and got my approval. In the Fruit Punch, the dominant flavour was that of apple and was the only mocktail I didn’t really like.
At Barbeque Nation, you are spoilt for choice. And what invariably happens is that they really pamper you with the starters. A quick inspection of the buffet table and it was clear that the mains would sort of be skipped in favour of the array of deserts on display. I mean, who wants to eat stuff like Aloo Capsicum and Dal Makhni when cheesecakes and fruit tarts slyly beckon you to come savour them! So I just had a little bit of Moroccan Harira soup, rice and Choliya te Paneer before loading up my plate with deserts. Before you think I’m greedy, let me tell you that they had nearly eight to ten sweet dishes and even though I took just enough of everything to taste, my plate seemed quite loaded!
Shots of creamy Mango Pudding with pieces of real mango in them, piping hot Angoori Gulab Jamun, Phirni (perfectly light and sweet), bite sized Chocolate Walnut Brownies, garma garam Dudhi ka Halwa (not overtly sweet), Chocolate Pastry, Banana Cheesecake, watermelon slices, Vanilla ice cream and tiny, adorable Mix Fruit Tarts were the options. At one point during the dinner, I was so exasperated, I said, “Tasting is a tough job. There’s so much to eat!’
Was quite full by then but then we realised that there was a live pasta counter in the al fresco section. I mean, how is anybody supposed to resist that? So off we went, and had ourselves a lovely plate of white sauce pasta. The chef made it as we wanted – abundant mushrooms, broccoli and bell peppers, extra herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley) and a generous amount of cheese. Needless to say, the pasta was divine.
Throughout the meal, the service was prompt and polite. The only thing Barbeque Nation can work on is the music. ‘Hey Macerena’ doesn’t quite cut it!
All in all, Barbeque Nation gets a double thumbs up from me!
Disclaimer: This writer and her companions were guests of Barbeque Nation for this particular meal.
Some pictures from my trip.
Aboard The Voyager of The Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Sunset from the balcony of our room on the cruise.
Malaysia in the evening. From our balcony. Unedited. The colours are for real.
Don’t remember what time of the day this was. From our balcony, again. All you can see is water. All around you.
The clear blue ocean.
Singapore at night. A little land, bright lights and a lot of water. View from Marina Bay Sands.
That’s the Singapore Flyer, taller than the London Eye. And yes, we went on it 😉
Now, the food pictures.
Noodles with tofu. And mushroom something. At an Asian fusion restaurant in Singapore. Big thanks to my friend from Singapore, Ying Ci, who showed me around and treated me to this meal!
Mediterranean Platter at Pita Pan restaurant, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
Grape fruit, half. Breakfast on the cruise.
Indian meal. At Ulu Ulu restaurant, inside the Night Safari, Singapore. Naan, tofu, and daal. And two hungry sisters.
Caption not needed.
Gnocchi in cheese, generously sprinkled with pepper. With white wine. At Portofino, the Italian restaurant on the cruise. The restaurant had more spoons, forks and glasses than I knew what to do with.
Aaaand finally, one super touristy photo. Ying Ci tells me that such a picture is a must take for first timers in Singapore.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures!! 🙂
Here are a few pictures I’ve shot over time using my humble point-and-shoot camera. Which just proves a point: You do not need a fancy DSLR and expensive lens to get a good picture.
Please note that none of these pictures are edited in any manner.
My friend Anindya treated me to donuts at Mad Over Donut because he was happpy 😀 I like having friends like these.
This was a traditional Gujarati lunch at my cousin Vaishali‘s pre-wedding ceremony.
Marshmallows on a stick. Bought from a store near my place for Rs 10. It was too sweet for my liking but Sosha easily devoured two of these.
Chocolates, hazelnuts rolls, strawberry dipped in chocolate and more at my friend Eli’s wedding.
Let me know how you like the pictures.. whether or not they made you hungry 😀
Wishing you love and good food (because they’re the only two things that matter).
Introducing you to the basics of some popular Italian food. You can thank me by eating well. 🙂
This soup forms one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine, though in India, it is still not as popular as pasta or pizza. This is a very seasonal soup and hence, use of veggies that are in season is encouraged. Chicken stock is often used, but even then, this is one dish that places its focus on vegetables. Generally, different types of beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots go into cooking this ‘big soup’, as Italians popularly refer to it. It’s fairly easy to rustle up and one can make use of absolutely any vegetables desired.
Pronounced las-aa-nia, this Italian dish is sinfully loaded with cheese, and is guaranteed to have you lusting for more. It is an exquisite baked dish that has layers of sheets of pasta, cheese and a filling between them. Ricotta, parmesan or mozzarella, or a combination of all three cheeses can be used. Again, the filling, which usually consists of meat, can differ a little. But since we have vegetarian options for all dishes inIndia(even sushi!), fillings of spinach, bell peppers, and mixed vegetable aren’t rare. If you’re an enthusiastic home cook, try making lasagna with all the vegetables lying in your fridge, leftovers included!
Risotto is to Italians what curd-rice is to south Indians. The choice of rice makes all the difference here and sets apart Risotto from other rice dishes. Arborio or Carnaroli rice is to be used, not Basmati. Risotto follows a mostly mixed recipe with a few variations. Onions, butter, white or red wine, meat or vegetables, stock, and a variety of cheeses are used. It is not a dish that can be mastered easily. Indians will like Risotto because of our familiarity to rice dishes. Though not typically a main dish, it can suffice if had with a salad on the side.
Confused between macaroni, penne and fusilli? They are just different shaped pasta made from the same ingredient – refined wheat flour (maida). Then there is spaghetti, that looks like noodles but is actually a pasta. There can be innumerable combinations and pairings when it comes to pasta, since they lend themselves well to varied sauces and vegetables. Tomato sauce and white sauce are the ones most commonly used inIndia. Go for the white if you like cheese and cream, and tomato if you like tangy flavours. The pasta is a pretty versatile food, which leads to chefs experimenting with different shapes and sizes. Do not shy away from trying pasta with uncommon ingredients such as zucchini, pine nuts, or bell peppers.
Undoubtedly, Tiramisu is the most famous Italian desert. And not without good reason! This heavenly cake has layers of coffee-soaked sponge cakes called Ladyfinger (Thankfully nowhere close to the vegetable), cream of whipped eggs, mascarpone (a very thick Italian cheese) and a topping of chocolate. Tiramisu with some form of liquor in them are not uncommon. Though eggs are an integral part of the traditional way of making Tiramisu, eggless Tiramisu cakes are also possible. Variations for this dessert are endless, find the combination you love! Tiramisu in Italian literally means ‘pick me up’. Do you need any more invitation?
By the way, this is an article I wrote for Scribido Magazine – an e-mag for th youth, by the youth.