Tags: Restaurants in Delhi
, Social Offline
, Hauz Khas Social
, Social at Hauz Khas Village
, Coworking in Delhi
, Collaborative Working Space
, Newly Opened in Delhi
5th Jul, 2014
Social Offline - the latest addition to Hauz Khas Village isn’t just a restaurant or bar, but adds up as a uber creative, collaborative working space for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Social Offline at Hauz Khas is a brand new concept by the Impresario group. Brainchild of Riyaaz Amlani, Hauz Khas Social is a brilliant coworking space that aims to bring together freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers and those who work from homes and cafes. This is perhaps Delhi's only collaborative working space that also doubles as a cafe and bar. The aim of this newest addition to the bustling Hauz Khas Village is simple, to encourage interaction between creative minds, independent workers, freelancers and give them a space to work from, collaborate and probably create something new. Social Offline opened at Bangalore a couple of months back, as Church Street Social and they're now planning to extend to Mumbai too.
Spread over two floors, Hauz Khas Social or Social Offline, as it is officially named, overlooks the beautiful Hauz Khas lake. The ground level is a large space divided in three areas - a lounge seating with a bar, a live gig area and a cafe with two bars.
On the first level, which is the actual coworking space at Social Offline, there's space for around 50 to 70 people, where you're most likely to be sharing table with someone else; the idea is to meet new people! This place opens at 9 AM and has the work-like ambience till 6 PM (typical working hours), post which you can continue working but Social gives no guarantee of decible levels. During the work hours, only members (yes, there's membership), are allowed upstairs. After 6 PM, everyone's welcome.
Here's how the membership work - apply at socialoffline.in, and if they think you make the cut and belong at Social, you'll be a member at Rs. 5000 a month. And you won't just be a member of one location, but other Social Offline's pan India (currently, there's one in Bangalore; Mumbai coming soon). You can definitely sign up for longer periods too. What do you get - free WiFi (they have three high speed connections to ensure they take the load), ample charging points for your devices (laptops, phones, tablets, iPads), three conference rooms (that you can block as first-come-first-serve bases), printers, stationary, scanners, lockers and everything else work-friendly. Want more? You can use Social's address as your official postal address and they hold back any packages and letters for you in your locker. Super win! Add to this the awesome, and huge food and drinks menu and a crowd sourced playlist - Social is well equipped with anything you might need for a perfect office space.
If you're not a member, you can still stop by at the ground floor with your laptop and work stuff and use Social's WiFi and enjoy their super awesome food and drinks. Get breakfast till 7.30 PM and cocktails throughout.
We at TCG are huge lovers of working out of cafes and LOVE the concept at Social where you work amidst people who are there to engage and collaborate. No more disturbances of regular cafes and no more boredom of working from home. We have already applied for our membership and if you're interested, you should too!
Full food and drinks review out soon!
Tags: Food Review
, Restaurants in Hauz Khas Village
, Pubs in Delhi
, Matchbox Pub & Grub
, Pubs in Hauz Khas Village
24th Jun, 2014
Matchbox Pub & Grub is amongst the new additions to the Hauz Khas Village that now has one too many places. Amidst all the rush in HKV now, it is important for newbies to stand apart to be able to attract people and keep pulling them back. Matchbox Pub & Grub, in that respect, has tried a bit too hard and has hit the home run in many areas.
First Looks - Decor
First, there is superb attention to detail in sketching out the layout of the place. The efforts and thoughts behind the place deserve an applause. At the same time, there’s a bit too much happening with posters of sports, music, films and more on the walls. To give a vintage, old-world feel to the place there’s a London telephone booth on one corner, another one adorns a drum set. The place is reminiscent of so many others; elements of all put together. A part of me likes the detailing; a part of wishes they do a little less.
Food Talk - Menu
The menu is like a daily newspaper; nice touch but very hard to read in the dim lighting in the evenings. Torch apps on the phone and recommendations from the staff came handy.
We started off with beers and a cocktail - Fragrance (Rs. 356) which was essentially Guava Juice and Vodka with some magic portion (read: syrup) that made this taste too darn good!
To go along, we ordered a bunch of starters between the three of us. Try the Vegetarian Bruschetta, excellent executive with buttered bread topped with fresh tomatoes and pesto; this one is a must try. Pigs in a Blanket, sausages wrapped in bacon, is getting really popular in Delhi Restaurant menus. At Matchbox, my two friends had dispute over whether this was good or not. While one loved it, the thought it was rather ordinary. I suggest, you try. The Fish and Chips (Rs. 325), the regular pub grub, was good. Stuffed Mushrooms with Herbs & Cheese (Rs. 245) and Cottage Cheese Shashlik (Rs. 345) were both loved on our table despite the majority of non-vegetarians.
For main course, we ordered the Classic Maggi (Rs. 165) expecting a Mocha-style Maggi that comes topped with veggies and cheese, maybe. What we got was bloody interesting Thai-style Maggi with some fab flavours.
We skipped desserts for reasons to come back another time.
Music, Service and everything else
The music was a tad bit too loud; but then again we were too close to the console and it was Saturday night. I would still have loved it a notch lower though. The service was good, the staff was attentive and well-aware of the menu.
Overall, it was a good experience. I didn’t come out of Matchbox Pub overwhelmed or with the feeling of ‘can’t-wait-to-go-back’. But it is definitely a welcome addition to the village and seeing the commitment of the two guys who have put this place together and their love for the place, I see it as growing into something memorable. And of course, if you’re looking for a haunt to enjoy rock music, this is where you should be.
Tags: Food Review
, The Great Kabab Factory
18th Jun, 2014
The Great Kabab Factory is one of my favourite dining places in Delhi. In fact, when my folks first discovered it at Sector - 18, Noida more than a decade ago, we visited it every two weeks. The Great Kabab Factory, as a brand, is one of the few places that has maintained quality and served delicious kababs over the years, without any lack in service and attention.
I have to admit. Every time I have plans to visit the Great Kabab Factory for dinner, I almost starve myself the whole day to do justice to the food served there. And it's one of the two things that I'd recommend to all new visitors - go there with a huge appetite. Second - make it a point to try everything that is served till the last portion of desserts. It's absolutely worth it.
My recent visit was at The Great Kabab Factory at Radisson Blu Hotel, Mahipalpur and this was my first visit to this outlet. And the reason why I was hugely excited was because this is their flagship outlet under the guidance of master chef Meraj Ul Haque, who comes from a famous Qureshi family in Lucknow.
If you don’t already know, here’s how the concept works -
Once you're seated, one of the staff members runs you through the concept. You're asked to choose between vegetarian menu and non-vegetarian menu. Both include fresh salad with a dressing, 6 kababs (vegetarian/non-vegetarian, depending on your choice), Buttermilk (Chaas), Biryani, Raita, two Dals (Lentil preparations), one Subzi of the day, assorted breads and four types of desserts. Four different types of Chutneys are placed on your table - Mint Chutney, Tomato Chutney, Tamarind Chutney and Peanut Yogurt along with a plate of Laccha Onions with a slice of Lemon on the side. Different specialty breads are served to you along with a few specific Kababs through your meal.
You're served it all, one at a time, in the above order and you can have unlimited portions of everything!
The salads are usually a mix of raw cucumber, tomato, papaya, watermelon/pineapple along with a dressing of the day (mustard/strawberry/pineapple). Very refreshing and absolutely fresh! We were served the strawberry dressing, which is my favourite at TGKF.
Next start the Kababs. The signature kababs come first - Galouti Kabab (for carnivores) and Subz Galouti (for vegetarians). The Galouti Kababs are served with the Ulte Tawe ki Roti and your server would explain you that the best way to enjoy this particular kabab is to roll it in the Ulte Tawe ki Roti with Laccha Onions and Mint Chutney. Other Kababs follow like Amritsari Paneer Tikka, Chutneywale Aloo, Ananasi Chaat, Tandoori Mushroom for the vegetarians and Barrah Kabab, Seekh Kabab, Jungli Macchi Tikka, Murgh Tikka Masala for the non-vegetarians. You're served Buttermilk after one round of Kababs and encouraged to have it as well, as it helps in digestion. It will definitely make you feel a wee bit lighter after the heavy-dose of delicious Kababs. Feel free to ask for many more servings of your favourite Kababs. They're served hot and fresh, straight from the live kitchen and each time you ask for a refill, fresh kababs are prepared. Speciality breads like Sheermal, Taaftan and Bakarkhani are also served with the kababs. Mostly any two of these are served besides the Ulte Tawe ki Roti.
The favourite kababs from our brunch menu were Galouti Kabab, Achari Jhinga, Bhatti ka Chooza and Kokum Macchi Tikka for the non-vegetarians. For vegetarians, the best were Subs Galouti, Aloo Imliwale and Litchi ke Kebab. Of all my visits to TGKF, I have never had the Litchi ke Kebab and let me tell you, they were fantastic. Crisp outer coating with juicy, yummy litchi inside.
Once you're done with the Kababs, Biryani and Raita comes next. There will be a Subz Biryani and a Murgh Biryani or Lamb Biryani. Though the Raita is done well, the Biryani is passable. My advice - avoid it. Keep space for the yummy things to follow like the dals. Dal Factory (which is the signature dal of the Great Kabab Factory) is delicious and flavourful - very unlike the Biryani. Also, another Lentil preparation along with a Subzi of the day is served. A non-vegetarian preparation is also served. Try them with assorted breads (Naan, Butter Naan, Tandoori Roti, Lacha Parantha, Pudina Parantha). Knowing that by the time the guest reaches the main course, he is almost full, the people at the Great Kabab Factory have kept the sizes of the Indian breads rather small. Very thoughtful, indeed. The main course is not as mind-blowing as the Kababs but a must-have nonetheless.
No meal is complete without desserts. If you love Indian desserts, you'll be delighted by the variety and tastes of desserts served at the Great Kabab Factory. Generally, there are four types of Indian desserts prepared every day besides the three-four flavours of Ice Cream available. The desserts include Shahi Tukra, Phirni, Til wali Kulfi, Gulab Jamun, Seviyan and more. The best bit, you can try all! Also, don't miss the signature Paan Ice Cream and Rose Ice Cream at TGKF!
This time around, we had kulfi and jalebi. The Jalebi was not crisp, not yummy at all. The kulfi however, was darn good.
The staff at the Great Kabab is well-trained, attentive and courteous. They know-it-all about their kababs and very helpful. You'll be asked about the speed of your service and served according to your convenience. So for instance, you want them to slow down the speed of bringing different kababs to your table, you can simply ask them. You will also be asked about the flavours and spices in your kababs and you can specify if you wish low, medium or high spices. The staff encourages you to try everything and that actually is amazing!
Ambiance & Decor
The decor in each of the outlets of the Great Kabab Factory resembles one another. From the cutlery down to the uniform of the staff, everything is exactly similar in all the branches. An open kitchen, fairly comfortable seating, blue-coloured glasses, old brass utensils used as decorative items on the walls and slabs, folk instrumental music and slight-dim lighting signify the decor of the restaurant. The ambiance is warm, credits to the staff and service. On weekends, however, it could be quite loud and noisy.
Should you visit?
YES! You're going to love the succulent kababs and more importantly, the entire experience of dining at TGKF. And you're going to come back for more.
Things to note
Menu: The menu at the Great Kabab Factory is a fixed menu of day and no a la carte is available. If you're looking for small meals and a la carte selection, this definitely isn't the place for to visit. But if you're all in for eat-all-you-can delicious kababs and North Indian fare, head over right away!
Timings of service: Most outlets of the Great Kabab Factory are only open for lunch and dinner. However, this differs for each outlet. Do check before you visit.
Price: The price for a meal per person differs across all outlets, with those being inside hotels, being the most expensive and stand-alone restaurants being the cheapest. The price also differs for weekdays and weekends. Price for a meal for kids is generally lower.
Drinks: Besides Buttermilk, any other drink you may order is chargeable. Most outlets of TGKF serve liquor besides soft drinks and beverages.
Kababs/Dishes: The kababs and dishes served change everyday with only the signature kababs being served everyday. If you're particular about wanting some kababs, do check the fixed menu of the day, before visiting. Apparently, the Great Kabab Factory has a pool of over 400 kabab dishes and special spices that are used. This explains the consistency in flavours at TGKF outlets. The
Reservation: Reservation is not mandatory at these restaurants but definitely advisable, especially if you're a big group or heading out to dine at TGKF on weekends. Why keep yourself waiting for delicious food? Play safe, make a reservation.