MasalaBar [ Carter Road, Bandra]

Food Is Music To Body And Music Is Food To Heart – Gregory Roberts

And we revelled in this music at Masala Bar. An evening full of surprises, to the taste buds and to the soul.

Masala Bar is another feather in the cap of the infamous Kalra duo. Located above CCD at Carter Road, it provides an unrestricted view of the shore, the busy Carter road and of course the sunset!

The decor is minimal yet luxe and classy. The seating is spread over a mid-sized area with a very prominent and uniquely done up bar counter that you notice as you step in. Black and brown, silver and ivory are the colours that decorate this restaurant. The main items of decor are mirrors and candles, in hexagonal arrangements and enclosures to render an amazing space.

MasalaBar opens at 5 pm and their timing could not have been better considering the theme and location. The entire restaurant is sun-kissed at this hour.

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Come evening, it transforms so beautifully into an oasis of light! It is dreamy once the entire place is lit up by candles. Just B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. It is one of the places that pull off candles and minimal lights with elan. The warmth that the place breathes due to this lighting will never let you want to leave voluntarily! We were mesmerised!

MasalaBar is one of the places that pull off candles and minimal lights with elan. The warmth that the place breathes due to this lighting will never let you want to leave voluntarily! We were mesmerised!

 

MasalaBar has recently revamped their entire menu, adding new classy dishes while keeping a few old favourites as well. Change is the only Constant philosophy at work! But are we loving the change? The answer is an astounding Yes!

And here is whay we said ‘Yes’….

Mocktails

Heaven On Earth – A refreshing and tangy combination of Watermelon, Cranberry and Passion Fruit! First, the fruity fragrance hits you and then basil adds freshness to it.

Berry Cooler – An amazing blend of Strawberries, Cranberries and Wild Berries and topped up with soda.

Mulled Masala Punch – A mildly sweet and unique mix of masala tea reduction and orange juice. Tea dominates the flavours in this drink. It was really refreshing, which is a surprise considering the combination is so different!

Sea Side – If you are a fan of coconut milk in your mocktails, this one is for you. Orange juice, grapefruit and coconut cream, this one is very much on the lines of a pina colada.

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Salad

Figs and Honey, Carpaccio of Watermelon and Feta Salad – Arugula with a balsamic dressing forms the bed of the salad. Cherry tomatoes, figs and thinly sliced watermelon (carpaccio) along with Feta Cheese are added. The feta was fresh and soft and delicious. Cherry tomatoes complemented the sweetness of figs well. Watermelon adds freshness to the entire combination. Loved it!

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Figs and Honey, Carpaccio of Watermelon and Feta Salad

Appetizers

Baked Potatoes, Sweet and Spicy Beetroot and Apple, Sweet Fennel Yogurt – Potato skins stuffed with a mixture of beetroot and green apple, topped with cheese and baked. The stuffing is non-spicy and very mildly sweet owing to the beetroots. It has a very strong smokey flavour and fragrance. Dressed with sweet fennel yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. We loved biting into these. Burnt cheese on top does wonders to the filling inside and the combination of potato and cheese is surprisingly good!

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Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pav – A black twist to the regular pav bhaji. Carbon Pav Bhaji is prepared by adding edible charcoal to the bhaji as well as to the buns/pav. The bhaji is non-spicy but has very strong presence of garam masala giving it a lip-smacking aftertaste. Very finely mashed potatoes, onions, cilantro, fennel seeds (saunf), tomatoes and lots of garlic and garnished with baby carrots. The bhaji also has very earthy flavour. Pav is fresh and almost of the colour of soot. It well complements the bhaji.

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Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pav

Main Course

Asparagus & Bok Choy Biryani, Black Sesame Curd – The biryani is so fragrant that we almost did not wait to click the picture! Asparagus and fried onions did wonders together and left our mouths watering! Biryani is non-spicy and flavourful. There was definitely no need of any accompaniment with the biryani but a spoonful of black sesame curd does not it (on the sweeter side).

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Asparagus & Bok Choy Biryani, Black Sesame Curd

Desserts

Mango Cardamom Cheese Cake, Banana and Butterscotch Waffle – Now this is what we call ending on a high note! Cardamom base with mango cheesecake. The waffle was crisp and had the perfect butterscotch flavour without being too sweet. Elaichi banana drizzled in caramel added a twist. Strawberry sauce and mango pulp garnish made this a mind-boggling combination! Smooth and creamy, the cheesecake melted in the mouth.  No wonder we were on a sugar high post-gorging on this!

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Mango Cardamom Cheese Cake, Banana and Butterscotch Waffle

 

Overall Experience – MasalaBar was a one of a kind experience with delicious food, warm hospitality and beautiful ambience.

 

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P.S.: Go here at least a little before the sun sets, the view and ambience are amazing and you get to see how the place transforms!

Someone said – The only way to see the Sunset, is to ride into it! But after experiencing MasalaBar, we can safely say – One of the best ways to see the Sunset, is to dine alongside it!  😍

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MasalaBar – Google Maps

MasalaBar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Whistling Teal [Chandpole, Udaipur]

Finding The Whistling Teal was a mere fluke for us. As we wandered down the Lake Palace Road, we saw a large board that said Authentic Espresso Coffee. A claim like that is bound to make us stop in our tracks. So we did. We stopped and we crossed the road and we made our way through the huge entrance and through the climber covered door, inside the beautiful café. Or should we say garden?

Hidden away in the verandah of Jhadol Haveli from the busy street, one can not guess that such a calm and serene place exists here. It is successful in reminding one how peaceful nature can be!

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The Whistling Teal makes you want to skip everything and just sit there enjoying the quiet and calm of the garden and the occasional chirping of birds or antics of squirrels.

 

It does not boast of a lake view or of being on a hill top but yet, The Whistling Teal is a place you should head to if you are in Udaipur. It can be romantic and cosy while being beautifully luxe at the same time.

 

 

Odd garden knick-knacks can be found all around which make walking around here really interesting. The owners also have pet dogs and rabbits and you are allowed to play with them. Aroma of coffee being brewed fills the area and the chips and barks and squeaks of birds and animals are the only music here, which by the way is more than enough!!

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We were so lost in the peacefulness that we really did not think about eating anything, but we hear that they serve really lip-smacking Rajasthani dishes. We can vouch for the coffee, though! 😉 😉

The Whistling Teal calls for a visit, even if it is a detour for you!

 

 

The Whistling Teal – Google Maps

The Whistling Teal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery [Gangaur Ghat, Chandpole, Udaipur]

What happens when you visit a new city and meet locals, be it relatives or friends?

They tell you all about the places you should check out. All this advice is definitely worth heeding to (mostly).

But what when each one tells you  ‘You have to visit Xyz, the view is amazing’ or ‘Have you been to Xyz yet? If not, let me take you, you will thank me later’ and you proudly nod and say, Oh we checked out Xyz yesterday, and we know what you are raving about!’

The Xyz in this context is Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar and Bakery and obviously, we are the epic people who checked it out!

Jheel’s Ginger CBB is a guest house that also houses a café and bakery and is located at Gangaur Ghat with a magnificent view of Lake Pichola. The café is spread over two floors of the guest house – the ground floor and the open terrace.
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One can see the entire area lit up, from the bridge to the other hotels and buildings.

February being comparatively cool in Udaipur, the cool breeze made us shiver, but the feeling is totally worth it!

The menu is quite well spread, but we were not here for the food, so we stuck to coffee and a sandwich.

Jheel’s Giner CBB is pretty famous for the breakfast range it has on offer, so that is something one can check out

 

Getting here is a bit tricky since the Cabs do not come beyond Jagdish Temple. One can take a tuk-tuk or an autorickshaw to the nearest point (being the Mata Temple bridge) or can just walk the distance (which is not much) and enjoy the colourful handicrafts and artefacts on the way.

Jheel’s Ginger Coffe Bar is one café you must visit on your trip to Udaipur, not only for the view but also for their decent grub.

Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery – Google Maps

Jheel's Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Café Ra – Bollywood Café & Restaurant [Chandpole, Udaipur]

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Bollywood Themed Café?

Nothing new in that, right?

But finding it in one of the lanes in Chandpole, famous amongst tourists who may not know many of our stars, was pretty surprising for us.

Café Ra looks like the house of a crazy Bollywood lover, who knows every movie and every dialogue at the back of the head and has a room that is a shrine to a celebrity or Bollywood in general.

Replete with drama, Café Ra is a cute and rugged restaurant dedicated to the owner’s love for Bollywood.

In fact, the way we located this cafe was equally dramatic. We were walking down the narrow lanes of Chandpole, to find another café, when we saw some really colourful and funky looking graffiti on the side walls.

Curious we walk in and discover this fun place. The walls at each level are covered in movie posters, pictures of actors and actresses or movie names. The topmost floor is labelled Stall and has its two walls covered in paintings and movie posters. On the same wall, one can find Coolie and 3 Idiots, Umrao Jaan and Jodhaa Akbar, Pyasaa and Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge!

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The cold coffee was something you can refrain from ordering. It was basically sugar water with a little flavour. Hot Coffee was decent.

What you must give a shot to are the parathas and other desi items. We loved the Aloo Paratha we ordered. It was huge and super delicious and spicy like we asked it to be. Served with a lip-smacking mango pickle, this one totally made our day! Another good news? It was for only ₹50!

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Café Ra is a restaurant you should definitely visit for a pocket-friendly meal. Our bill came to a total of ₹150. If not the food, the paintings and the insignias and the Bollywood craziness is sure to make you smile.

Café Ra, Bollywood Café and Restaurant – Google Maps

Cafe Ra - Bollywood Cafe & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

PotLuck [Lokhandwala]

I make my own luck and I make it in a pot and then I bring it to potluck – Jarod Kintz

So there the secret is… you gotta make your own damn luck!

And we think, we did.

Sometimes you get happen to hit a jackpot and find a place that makes you really happy the moment you step in each time!

Done in cool blues and peaceful whites, this place is modern yet has an old world, rustic charm! Wooden tables that bear a worn out look, floral chairs and cushions give it a very cozy and homely feel. Once you enter, you definitely will not wish to leave. Complete with huge wooden panelled windows and knick-knacks that add colour and pizzazz to the interiors.

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The outdoor seating is the best one, with lots of plants to lift your spirit. Only one issue, they do not have a shade and hence one can comfortably sit here only when the sun has set. Otherwise, this would be our favourite spot to be at!

Just like the décor, a great deal of effort is put in the preparation and the presentation of food. They have a good mix of breakfast options, nibbles, sandwiches, burgers along with salads, pizzas and kinds of pasta. We entered the place in desperate need of coffee (no, it is never going to change!) and were really happy and satisfied with the Cold Coffee. It was the right amount of strong and thick and was so chocolatey.

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Cold Coffee

How often does it happen, that you go to a place, just for coffee or tea or maybe a sandwich, but you end up staying for so much more! It happened to us at PotLuck. The music, the ambience, the food and everything, literally everything made us stay back for just a little longer. We ordered Maggi with a twist and Mince Soya Burger.

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Maggi

The twist in the Maggi was the insane number of veggies added and the spicy masala. One can find tiny pieces of everything, from carrots to mushroom to onion to bell pepper. The masala makes it mildly spicy and really delicious. Slurpy and delicious!  😍

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Mince Soya Burger

Mince Soya Burger had a soya based crisp patty with mushrooms. Lots of cheese, rocket leaves and tomatoes made the burger a complete delight. The flavours very not very sharp, as is expected from mushrooms and soya, but we could not have enough of the burger!  😍

Cranberry-Lemongrass Cooler was magnificent! When it was first put on our table, we were a little shocked.

Who wouldn’t be? Look at that!

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Cranberry-Lemongrass Cooler

And then, a strong aroma of Lemongrass filled the air. Not only is it totally Instagram-worthy but it was really refreshing and enjoyable with intense flavours of cranberry and lemongrass, the later overpowering the former just by a whisker.

Watermelon Basil Splash is another delightful drink made fresh, with watermelon and basil leaves and topped over with Sprite. We say fresh coz we saw them cut open a watermelon, crush its pieces along with basil leaves and then prepare our drink. The best part? Flavours of watermelon and basil overshadowed the soda content.

Open Garden Sandwich was equally delicious with lots of veggies, a really strong pesto sauce and cheese!

Fruit Barni Ginger Ale was a mix fruit mocktail with pieces of apple, pears and cucumber. Ginger did not overpower the other flavours, rendering a fruity and energising drink.

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Fruit Barni Ginger Ale

Apart from the food, another amazing thing about the restaurant is their playlist! Seriously, keep your Shazam ready, you are going to want to get a lot of those songs!

Overall, we just love the place. A calm and serene ambience, with really good food and warm service. 🙂

PotLuck – Google Maps

PotLuck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boardwalk by Flamboyante [Alibaug/Mandwa]

There is no blue like the Greek blue…… 

Perched on the waterfront near Mandwa jetty, this place screams romance and solitude at the same time. The whites and the blues, the salt sprays and the gush of the wind, the pebbled floor and the sunshade are what one should visit Boardwalk for!

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There is an indoor section as well, but frankly, why would you want to choose it! Getting here is fairly simple. Just hop on to one of the many ferries from Gateway and cover a short distance on foot after you alight at Mandwa jetty. The effort is totally worth it.

We went here for the Sundowner and were mesmerised by the tranquil and perfect sunset! What more does one need!

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The food here is good too, but we did not really try much.

Amritsari Chole with Kulcha: Chole ki sabzi was really yummy and very mildly spicy. Kulcha was basically aloo paratha, got and butter laden. The tamarind chutney that is served with the dish is definitely worth trying as well. Tangy and sweet, totally loved it. The quantity is just decent, with one Kulcha served. You can call for different types of Indian bread (parathas) as an addition.

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From the mocktails, we enjoyed Fresh Fruit Margarita and Shirley Temple. We also had Virgin Caprioska and Fresh Lime Soda.

 

The best time to visit the place is around late afternoon, right about when the sun is not too bright and it is not already evening. You get to watch the sunset! 😍

However, the time for which one can occupy a table here is limited. The management does ask you to get up once you have really surpassed your booking time. The place is generally fully booked, with large and small groups and couples alike. They also have sheesha which is another crowd puller. There is generally one or the other group celebrating an occasion by the evening, so the crowd is quirky and fun. A nuisance if you care, so rather let it drown in the sea as you enjoy your time here.

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Overall Experience: Amazing. Being water people, the setting was perfect. Loved every bit of our time here. The food is good, but on the pricier side. Our bill came to ₹2000 (two people).

Service 😐

Now you ask why 😐 for service? Read on, every coin has two sides. Only wish it were not true for this place!

Everything that is wrong about Boardwalk: The management is notoriously arrogant. It is a pain trying to get a table here. We had to call them continuously for 10-12 days and leave multiple texts to finally get through to them.

Another issue is the total lack of any consideration or hospitality on the part of the management. After making a booking almost a month in advance, they do not ensure that we get a flawless experience. Our table was near the edge, right next to the beach, and people kept flogging all three tables by this side for pictures. They would climb up the wall and pose endlessly, totally ruining our experience, while the management stood there doing nothing, saying nothing. Only when another couple raised their voice against this did the management ask people to vacate the area. The manager got into a tiff with around 5 customers in a span of three hours, which just goes on to show how irresponsible and uncourteous the management is. Thankfully, our servers were good.

Also, we were overcharged for our mocktails. They charged the cocktail prices for them and refused to accept that the prices are different for virgin drinks.

The only reason we would go back for would be the ambience and the view. The feeling of being far away in a beautiful place. If you ignore everything else, then you will definitely come back feeling refreshed and happy.

Boardwalk by Flamboyante – Google Maps

Boardwalk by Flamboyante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato